The word quilt is derived from the Latin word culcita, meaning a stuffed sack but it is believed that it came into the English language from the French word cuilte. Although its origins are mostly unknown, it is safe to acknowledge that the sewing techniques of applique and quilting have been used for clothing and furnishing for many centuries. The Quilting process involves sewing two or more layers of fabric to create a padded material, which is then used to create a quilt or a quilted garment. The process typically uses a needle and thread and can be handmade or made with a sewing machine and sometimes by a specialised longarm quilting system. Rocking, straight and running stitches are the commonly used stitches for functional or decorative purposes. The process also involves other steps such as designing, piecing/ patchwork, applique and binding.
Patchwork is also known as piecing and is one of the steps involved in quilting. This process involves joining strips and pieces of garments in various geometrical shapes such as squares, triangles, hexagons, and other by hand or using a sewing machine into square blocks. Patchwork is also often combined with Applique. These square blocks are then used to put together the quilt top and can be designed as desired.
While Patchwork involves the piecing of small pieces of fabric to create a larger whole, Applique is a technique where smaller pieces of fabric are sewn onto a larger fabric to create a desired design or pattern. The pattern is achieved using different pieces of cloth cut in different shapes to create it. This method is primarily used for decorative purposes. It is believed that nomadic people have been using this technique to create and even decorate their tents for centuries.