Chinese Quilting Techniques

Written by casey fatzinger
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Chinese Quilting Techniques
A tradition in China is to give a quilt to a newborn. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The Chinese have been quilting since the Han Dynasty. Their techniques have been passed on to quilters all over the world. The first quilts were entirely hand stitched. The Chinese mastered certain techniques such as patchwork, block patterns, sashiko stitching and chain stitching. The most popular subjects for Chinese quilts are the Door Gods, the Dragon King and Qilin Bringing the Child.

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Patchwork is sewing together different scraps of fabric to make a design. The Chinese were some of the first people to use patchwork. This technique is still used in quilting today. The material they would use for patchwork was made of silk or cotton. The design for the patchwork would often tell a story from Chinese folklore.


The Chinese also inspired and created many quilting patterns. The quilting block is one of them. In a quilting block, sections of fabric are sewn together to create a pattern such as the Chinese lantern. Each block is an even square that is then sewn together to make a quilt. Other Chinese patterns include the Chinese coin, 100 good wishes and lattice.

Sashiko Stitch

The term sashiko means "little stabs." This particular stitch was originally used to repair a rip in patches. Over time it evolved into being used in embroidery for quilting. A design is first drawn on a piece of fabric. A needle is then fed through the fabric following the lines of the pattern with coloured thread. A small space is left in between each stitch, which makes it a sashiko stitch.

Chinese Quilting Techniques
If a sashiko stitch is pulled too tight the fabric will buckle. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Chain Stitch

The Chinese were also one of the first to use the chain stitch. It is another stitch used in embroidery for quilting. The Chinese originally used silk thread to create a design using a chain stitch. The size of the stitch depends on the size of the thread. The needle is fed through the fabric leaving a loop. The needle then is fed through the first loop then creates another loop. This process is repeated until the pattern is finished.

Chinese Quilting Techniques
A chain stitching is similar to a crochet stitch. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

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