Quilting Business

Introduction | Books | Magazines | Professional Resources | Related Articles | Sample Business Plans | Start-up Issues


Quilting is a method of sewing two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating batting in between. A bed covering or similar large rectangular piece of quilting work is called a quilt.


  • Quilting originated in utilitarianism rather than decoration. This is what distinguishes it from most other fine needlework.

  • The origins of this method of craft are thought to be in the Crusades, when soldiers needed warmth as well as protection from the chafing caused by heavy armour. Additionally, there are ancient Egyptian sculptures showing figures which appear to be wearing clothing which is quilted, possibly for warmth in the chilly desert evenings.

  • Quilting is used in the making of a garment called a gambeson.

  • In modern times, art quilts have started to become popular for their aesthetic, artistic qualities rather than for functionality (i.e. they may hang on a wall instead of lying on a bed).


  • The most basic form of quilting is a simple geometric grid sewn either by hand or nowadays by machine. The gridwork of stitches traps air in the material, making it much warmer than a single layer of fabric would be, or even the layers separately.

  • Quilting can also be used as a form of elaborate decoration, where the stitchery creates complex designs and patterns, with or without the use of colour. Designs in the original fabrics can be put together to form new patterns.

  • A quilt using a single piece of fabric as a quilt top is called a whole cloth quilt.

  • Quilting is very often combined with embroidery, patchwork, applique and other forms of needlework to create patchwork quilts.

  • Specialist quilting techniques:

    • Sashiko quilting
    • Trapunto quilting, also known as Italian quilting
    • Shadow trapunto - quilting a design in fine Lawn and filling the pattern with small lengths of coloured wool

Social aspects

  • Quilters are cooperative people. They exchange fabrics or quilt blocks with each other.

  • They also frequently gather in larger groups (sometimes called "quilting bees") to collectively apply the gridwork of quilting.

  • Quilters may also attend Quilt Guild meetings in their local area. Many quilt guilds meet monthly and feature lectures and other activities.

  • Quilters are usually very charitable, giving away many of the beautiful projects to loved ones and to organizations which then redistribute the quilts to children's hospitals, crisis centers, and similar groups.

  • Quilts are often made to commemorate events (e.g. weddings and births) and can incorporate pieces of fabric from used or worn-out clothing. Such quilts become historical documents for the quiltmaker and his or her loved ones.

  • Quilting is an excellent educational tool. It requires students to use mathematical, geometric, spatial, artistic and manual skills. It can be used in conjunction with any unit of study (examples would be to make a pictorial quilt that depicts a story the class is reading, or a particular event in history). It can be made age-appropriate by choice of materials (paper, fabric, etc.) and complexity of design.

Quilting as a business is classified as an industry based on its purpose. It can be in the manufacturing industry as a textile product (NAICS Code 314999) if what is produced is a new product, such as an article of clothing. It can be in the arts industry if the quilt is considered to be a work of art (NAICS Code 711510), rather than a product.

There are a variety of ways people make money from quilting. Some sell their quilts locally, at trade shows or via the internet. Others sell original patterns or kits they have designed themselves. And, still others teach quilting. The best way to learn more about the viabiiity of any of these business models is to participate in associations and workshops, subscribe to magazines that are related to your interests, and read books that give more in-depth information about the business.

Introduction | Books | Magazines | Professional Resources | Related Articles | Sample Business Plans | Start-up Issues


300 Paper-pieced Quilt Blocks
These 3" and 4" block patterns feature traditional blocks, seasonal and holiday themes, alphabets, numbers, and much more. You can print patterns on the spot using a home computer - even resize or make multiple patterns with the click of a mouse.

The Amish Quilt
Draws together the body of available information about the Amish and their textile traditions.

Baltimore Beauties and Beyond: Studies in Classic Album Quilt Applique
The ingenious methods employed a century past by Baltimore women, and others favored by contemporary needleworkers (who use timesaving devices such as freezer paper, glue sticks and masking tape without shame). Each lesson prepares the reader to execute a 16-inch quilt block in one or more of 27 full-size patterns, cut from paper first folded into halves, quarters or eighths.

The Basic Guide to Pricing Your Craftwork
Basic formulas for pricing craftwork, retail or wholesale.

The Basic Guide to Selling Arts & Crafts
Step-by-step help on over 150 topics for marketing your home made crafts.

The Basic Guide to Selling Crafts on the Internet
Unravels the mysteries of selling crafts online with clear, step-by-step advice.

Business and Legal Forms for Crafts
A complete set of business and legal forms designed to meet the active craftperson's every need.

The Business of Sewing, Volume 1
Sample price lists; lists of organizations and lending institutions; payment methods you can offer your customers; how to get a merchant account for credit card sales; how to collect money on past due accounts; buying in bulk with a list of suppliers and a sample letter to contact them; business and financial plans; studio design, networking; time management; tackling your fears; turning sewing into a business and making the transition; how to avoid getting frustrated; industry statistics.

The Business of Sewing, Volume 2
How to make a "Consumer Price List", and how to structure a "Working Price List" and the use of both; what "Pricing" method is best for you and how to handle price resistance; how to conduct production analysis with a time and motion study; how to make a project inventory list; how to market your business; subcontractors or fabricators and how to hire them; E-commerce and on-line merchant accounts, web design, shopping carts and E-newsletters; how to write books and articles, teach seminars and workshops, and produce sewing audios and videos.

Color Play: Easy Steps to Imaginative Color in Quilts
A gallery of over seventy lusciously colored quilts illustrates the author's techniques for choosing colors. Sample fabric arrangements make color concepts easy to understand; color scales show the variations of pure hues, tints, shades, and tones and how they affect the mood of a quilt.

Celtic Quilts: A New Look for Ancient Designs
These all-new, timesaving techniques show you how to create exquisite, interlacing Celtic patterns more simply and quickly than ever before! Just "baste" designs with fusible web, machine appliqué with "invisible" stitches, and add dramatic color and texture with decorative threads. A mix of ancient and modern Celtic patterns is provided.

Crafting as a Business
How to develop a thriving retail business.

Crafting for Dollars
Covers every aspect of starting and managing your own craft-based business.

Crafts and Crafts Shows
Good business practice in dealing with customers, pricing, and presentation in the show booth.

The Crafts Business Answer Book & Resource Guide
Answers to questions about starting, marketing, and managing a homebased business efficiently, legally, and profitably.

Designing Tessellations: The Secrets of Interlocking Patterns
Tessellations are designs made up of the repeated use of seemingly complex but deceptively simple shapes that interlock perfectly to flow across a quilt. Inspired by artist M. C. Escher, Jinny Beyer introduces quilters to the fascinating world of symmetry and then clearly shows how to experiment with shapes and images to create sensational, tessellating designs.

Flawless Hand Quilting
More than 270 clear color photos in this reference will guide you through all the basics and then beyond into a world of beautiful hand-quilting techniques.

Free Stuff for Quilters on the Internet
Guide on where to find information on free patterns, tips, instructions, and advice on all aspects of quilting, as well as discussion groups and mailing lists.

Glorious Patchwork
Over 25 different patchwork designs that are pictured and displayed in gorgeous settings. There are no shortage of color photographs and most of the designs are pictured close up and then pictured again being used in the home decor.

Guide to Machine Quilting
Covers every aspect of quilting with a sewing machine, from choosing equipment and supplies to marking and quilting the design and finishing the quilt. Of special note are the sections on free-motion quilting and dealing with the bulk of a quilt in the machine. The text is rounded out by three machine-quilting projects designed to illustrate techniques taught in the book.

Handmade for Profit
Hundreds of secrets to success in selling arts & crafts.

A Joy Forever: Marie Webster's Quilt Patterns
This book spotlights the life and quilt patterns of Marie Webster (1859-1956), world famous leader of the quilt revival of the early 20th century. Containing 12 full size patterns and complete directions for her charming appliqu quilts.

Little Quilts: All Through the House
Choose from 18 quick-to-assemble miniature quilt projects and companion pillows. Includes shortcut techniques for quick piecing and full-size templates. Find hints for using "magic" fabrics to create quilts with an antique look.

Make It Profitable!
The best ideas and information from 80 professionals in various fields of the craft industry.

Make Money Quilting
No-nonsense business guide on the transition from hobby to a profitable, state-of-the-art quilting business.

Perfect Piecing
More than 270 color, step-by-step photos and crystal-clear directions from the experts make each and every sewing session fun and successful no matter what your skill level is.

Piecing: Expanding the Basics
Details on all the unique seams.

Quilters Complete Guide
First published in 1993, it has gone into reprint over 16 times. Fons and Porter are the most recognizable experts in the quilting industry. They are the authoritative guides through all the latest trends and technological advances in the quilting world.

The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide : From A to Z
Hundreds of tips and techniques for successful quiltmaking.

Quilting with Japanese Fabrics
Japanese-inspired textiles and fabrics are now more popular than ever, but their large-scale motifs can be challenging to use in quilts. Award-winning quiltmaker Kitty Pippen shares her expertise and enthusiasm for Japanese textiles with eight exquisite quilt designs and 40 glorious photos of quilts that showcase the beauty of these fine fabrics.

Quilts for Baby: Easy as ABC
Learn to make 11 super-easy quilts, using fun, colorful fabrics and novelty prints. Construct many old-time favorite blocks, including an easy adaptation of Attic Windows. Yardage and cutting charts, plus complete instructions, make assembly a breeze.

Quilts in America
Surveys nearly 300 years of quilt history, techniques, patterns, and styles. Originally stimulated by the desire for warmth and the need to economize, quilt-making evolved from an extremely practical enterprise into an elaborate and highly personal art form.

Sensational Sets and Borders
Discover lots of exciting new ways to arrange your stash of blocks in fresh, creative settings, and then surround them with a dynamic pieced or plain border. More than 200 quilter's-eye-view photos and clear step-by-step directions will guide you each step of the way.

That Perfect Stitch
Explains the complexities behind proper stitching and teaches quilters of all levels how they can improve their skills. Quilters will learn to achieve more stitches per inch and create even quilting lines, resulting in a finer quality quilt that both showcases the quilter's creative and technical skills and withstands the test of time.

Watercolor Quilts
Unlike traditional quilts in which the color scheme is the key element, watercolor quilts, often mood pieces intended to be hung on a wall, are constructed with more attention to the fabric design and to color values than to the actual hues used. Manipulating small squares of fabric into a flowing design takes not only patience, but good design sense and thorough planning. In this remarkable, unusual book, Magaret and Slusser explain how it's done.

Your Crafts Business: A Legal Guide
Explains legal principles that protect a crafts business and help it grow. It also provides practical advice on how to deal with day-to-day problems -- such as dealing with delinquent payments. The book provides over a dozen tear-out contracts and other legal forms, plus step-by-step instructions to fill them out.

Introduction | Books | Magazines | Professional Resources | Related Articles | Sample Business Plans | Start-up Issues


American Patchwork and Quilting
This project-driven publication comes with complete step-by-step instructions and full-size patterns.

McCall's Quilting
Journal devoted to providing new patterns, lessons and ideas in the art of quilting.

Quick Quilts
Features quilt patterns and photographs of quilts, as well as information on quilting.

Written for both the beginning and accomplished quilter. Features traditional quilts, quilting personalities and activities. How-to-make-it articles teaching quilting techniques and full size patterns with instructions are included in each issue.

Quilter Magazine
A teaching magazine that offers inspiration to all quilters as well as gorgeous photographs.

Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
Articles on design, technique, history, new and old quilt patterns, trends, museum quilts, and current events in quilting. Exhibitions, quilt shows, quiltmaking lessons, and quilt competitions.

Quilting Arts Magazine
The latest techniques in art and embellished quilting, wearable arts, mixed media, surface design, and other textile arts. Features guest artists and teachers, and addresses a wide range of skills including surface embroidery, thread painting, stamping, and fabric painting.

Tips, techniques & patterns for today's quilters. Features include projects, lessons, and instructions for all interest levels and abilities.

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