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Crazy quilting

© Graham Enterprises
Traditional quilt-making involves sewing together hexagonal or square pieces of fabric in a symmetrical patchwork design. In Victorian times, well-to-do ladies spent hundreds of hours making quilts and their precise, neat designs are now considered collectors’ items.

But the seamstresses had a problem. What to do with the off-cuts of material left over from making the main quilt? The answer came in the form of crazy quilting – sewing together scraps of material in random patterns to make fun, individual fabric designs. As the following for crazy quilting grew, so did the range of materials that were incorporated into designs. Old pieces of wedding dress, a man’s hatband, a piece of corset, brocade, a scrap of soldier’s uniform… Over time, people also began to use embroidery, appliqué and a range of other needlework skills to decorate their crazy quilt designs.

When making a crazy quilt today, craftspeople usually collect a range of unwanted clothing, look carefully at the colours and textures available, then plan their design on paper before beginning to make. The scraps of material are sewn onto a backing cloth made from either muslin or calico. The result is a unique piece of fabric that can be turned into anything from a scarf or waistcoat to a bag or wall hanging.

For more great examples visit: www.nmia.com/~mgdesign/qor/styles/crazy/crzayqlt.htm

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