One reason why quilting has become so popular is that it does not need any specific quilting material. Hence, it is easy for beginners to take this wonderful hobby up as a whim. It is another story that once they try their hand at it, and hold their first quilt in their hands, they are hooked on it forever.
The Traditional quilting Material
#1 When it started in the USA, it started with scraps of fabric, which was usually discarded by different tailoring houses.
The favorite among all the fabrics, owing mostly to their non-slippery texture, was the calico and broadcloth. However, other fabrics were used as quilting material as per availability.
These were the ‘raw material.’ These became quilting material when they were carefully matched with the other pieces available to create a picture of symmetry or asymmetry using light and dark colors, and different prints.
Most of the quilt masters were actually scavengers when it came to obtaining the quilting material required for their quilts.
They were forever watchful for any piece of cloth that is scrapped following the stitching of a dress, or a coat, or drapes, or upholstery, and so on.
They used to hoard such scraps carefully and when they thought they got enough they would go and make a quilt out of it.
#2 It is fascinating to see scraps being turned into a majestically beautiful work of art, and work of art it is. Not all the people who love to make quilts can actually make it.
It takes a great artistic eye, besides the immense patience to sit and match each one of the pieces just as you would a large jigsaw puzzle, to put together a well-orchestrated quilt. For this, you require a great deal of talent besides the workmanship to stitch it together flawlessly.
#3 The best quilting material even today, comes from scraps collected from various sources. Of course, many do not wait till they get sufficient scraps to start making a quilt; rather buy the cloth that they think they would need.
However, there is much higher satisfaction in making a pure-scrap cloth quilt.
#4 Do not be surprised then, if you find your quilt-making friend asking you for scraps of cloth, or finding him at the local tailor taking the remnant cloth pieces that result from making different ready-made garments.
They are not cutting corners, as I once thought (before I really knew about quilting methods), they are procuring quilting material.