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A Stitch in Time

Article Published 06/06/2022

By Shelley Dawson Davies

Sewing layers of fabric and fleece together to make a quilt has been an artful way to keep loved ones warm for hundreds of years. Quilts made from one piece of fabric, called whole cloth quilts, gradually gave way to pieced and patchwork quilts in the mid-1800s as materials became less expensive and more readily available. Many women rose to the challenge of “making do” by transforming scraps of worn clothing into blocks that created beautiful designs when sewn together as a quilt top. The introduction of the home sewing machine in 1856 fueled a quilting craze as stitching became faster and easier than ever, allowing women more time to piece fabrics together. Hand-stitching was reserved for quilting the top, batting and backing together, showcasing a women’s needling skills and artistry.


Homemade quilts eventually fell out of fashion with the availability of affordable commercial bedcoverings, but became popular again in the 1960s, when counterculture ideas encouraged people to return to their pre-industrial roots. The first exhibition featuring quilts as art in 1971 inspired a craft movement that today is a 3.75 billion dollar industry.


Whether or not you are one of America’s estimated 10 million quilters, you’re sure to enjoy the Heritage Quilts exhibit of over 30 quilts created by Layton City residents, running from June 6 through August 31. If you are a quilter, why not enter the museum’s quilt block contest? All entries must be Layton-themed and 12"x12" finished size. Entries will be displayed in the Museum from July 5 until August 31. Submissions are due June 20. For more information, contact Annie at or (801) 336-3930.

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