Patchwork: what is it and how to implement it at home

Blankets made with patterned scraps, curtains that wink at the “vintage” style and colorful tablecloths are some examples that result from “patchwork”. This sewing technique offers a new opportunity to fabrics that you thought were lost.

Last update: September 14, 2022

Sewing is a skill that is entertaining, lucrative, relaxing and useful if you want to make your own pieces of clothing or to decorate the house. A popular technique is patchwork, relative to the sewing pieces of cloth to put together a new garment.

You don’t need more experience than to have an idea in mind and materialize it with patience. Used patches are welcome. With this method it is possible to make bedding, accessories, wall lights and much more. Discover how to take advantage of this art.

What is patchwork?

Two words in English baptized the concept of patchwork. Patch means “piece or patch of cloth”, while work It means “work”. The fusion of both terms in Spanish alludes to work with scraps of cloth.

Based on a definition of Cambridge Dictionary, it is a mantle sewn with many pieces or cuts of other textiles. The procedure contemplates different patterns and colors.

The trend is not modern; its roots lie in ancient Egypt, where they designed pieces by joining pieces. Over time, each civilization added its touch, amplifying styles, textures, sizes, and shapes.

For the execution you require the essential implements in any sewing activity:

  • cutter.
  • Scissors.
  • needles.
  • Iron.

As for textiles, it has a lot to do with resistance, size and type. Although you can put them together by hand, the sewing machine is also used. The limitation, in this case, is to verify that the device has a presser foot ¼ inch, to accentuate the distance at the edges.

The following kinds of fabric are recommended:

  • Wool.
  • Linen.
  • Silk.
  • Canvas.
  • Cotton.
  • Hatches.
  • Denim either Jean.
  • Cotton flannel.
You need the minimum sewing supplies to get started. Then you can add some tools that are more useful to you, depending on the designs.

Techniques for working with scraps

There are several methods for working with scraps. The common point is creativity:

  • paper piecing: match the pieces with the paper pattern guide. Try geometric shapes of various colors to assemble a block of fabric.
  • log cabin: you build from a small square, adding more, until you draw a kind of hut. Some seamstresses use this style to make flowers.
  • Dish dresden: is to sew all the pieces, one next to the other, to form a circle. The pieces have to be the same size.
  • Grandma’s Garden: They are the drawings designed with pieces in the shape of a hexagon. You superimpose each cutout on another fabric, playing with texture and colours. It is functional for coasters or to decorate bags.
  • App: draw what you want on a piece of paper, cut out the fabrics and stick them on the image with iron-on tape or glue to patchwork. You can use the technique on shirts or sweaters. For best results, stitch between the pattern and the garment.

How to implement the “patchwork” at home?

It is advisable that, before starting to work with the cutouts, you iron them. Also, have a ruler on hand to specify lengths and that the pieces have the same proportion. If you’re making round shapes, use a compass-type utility knife instead of scissors.

After these recommendations, what follows is to create pieces for your house from old fabrics or with new scraps. The functionality of patchwork is evident in the following alternatives.

wall mat

Replace wallpaper with cloth rugs. After you sew all the cutouts, stick the result on the wall. This decorative element looks good in the rooms of the house and the rooms.


If the plan is to attach patchwork to the curtains, Ideally, you should select translucent textiles. Thus, the light passes through the fixture. In this activity it is possible to sew by hand, with a machine or by joining the cutouts with fabric glue.

Furniture upholstery

For this craft you need to know a little about upholstery, as long as what you are looking for is a covering for the furniture. Another option is to take advantage of sewing pieces to cover cushions.


Create tablecloths with small, medium or large figures, taken from plain fabrics. You can join squares, rectangles, rhombuses or the shape you prefer. It is key that the texture is flat, since otherwise, what you pose on the cloth will not remain stable.

children’s tents

The tents or teepee for children are fashionable. The patchwork It is a clever way of making the tents. Design a large blanket to serve as a roof at sleepovers.

Tents are all the rage among children and even to decorate patios. Make your own with this technique.

Maintenance of patchwork fabrics

There are 2 proper ways to wash the patchwork. By hand, to take better care of the garment, or in the washing machine inside a bag special mesh. If it fades, it works to add a couple of drops of vinegar; in this way, the colors are maintained and do not stain the rest of the clothes.

If you’re working with 100% cotton scraps, it’s best to wash them before you start sewing. This is because the material tends to shrink on the first wash. If you anticipate, there will be no surprises.

Are patchwork and quilting the same?

To the patchwork They often confuse him with quilting. The difference is that the latter is used for triple-ply quilts.

The top layer is patchwork, the middle one corresponds to the spongy filling of the quilt and the last one is the lining that fuses the whole craft. This is how working with scraps of fabric works for some quilts, but not all quilts are made with scraps.

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