Contemporary Quilt Trends in 2016


The concept of the quilt dates back centuries. Its beginnings trace back before European settlers arrived in America, and their warmth and comfort has embraced our culture for centuries. Quilts have certainly become a staple in American homes, and you might be hard pressed to find a home that doesn’t have a quilt stashed away somewhere.

However, like anything else, times have changed in the world of quilting. Quilts went through numerous design phases and trends throughout the decades. In the year of 2016, a new line of quilts has stolen the hearts of quilt lovers around the country—otherwise known as contemporary quilts. 

Aren’t Quilt Styles Really All The Same?

Some may find it odd that there are classifications of quilts in the first place. Whether it’s a patchwork quilt or a contemporary quilt, why bother segmenting the styles at all?

The truth is that quilting is a business as much as it is a hobby. There are different classifications to help appease and attract specific types of styles. It helps customers determine which quilt will be best suited for their style, and it also helps businesses such as Primitive Star Quilt Shop sort out different trends they need to pay attention to when determining what their buyers need.

The other reality is that contemporary and modern quilts won’t necessarily fit the same décor scene. For example, you would not want to place a bright contemporary quilt in a home with a rustic country theme. Of course, you could do so if you’re looking for an eclectic theme for your home—but that’s another topic for another day.

What Are Contemporary Quilts?

Modern quilts provide a new spin on the traditional quilt that we all know and love. According to The Modern Quilt Guild, contemporary quilts integrate bold patterns, alternate grid work, and improvisational piecing. These quilts are still as functional and decorative as the traditional quilt, but they celebrate a new era of the quilt and its purpose.

What Are Traditional Quilts?

Traditional quilts are typically what you’ll think about when the word “quilt” pops into your head. It’s the type of quilt that you remember your grandma making when you’d go visit her.

There aren’t a whole lot of rules when it comes to designing a traditional quilt, which is a big part of the beauty of quilts. Traditional quilts can be whimsical, exciting, simplistic, and have a variety of patterns and shapes.

Traditional quilts can even be made from scraps, rags, and tattered clothing. Colors won’t always coordinate with each other, but this is what makes each and every handmade quilt completely unique. 

The Rules of Quilting in 2016

Even though there aren’t necessarily any rules when it comes to fabrics and colors, there are rules for sewing a quilt. Fabric should be carefully cut into straight lines so you can clearly see the seams. Even though the colors and patterns in contemporary quilts or traditional quilts can be busy, the seams are sewn to perfection.

As years go by, the actual technique of quilting will always remain the same.

Debating The Modern Style of Contemporary Quilts

If you think about it, quilts are functional pieces of art. It’s no secret that art is subjective, and the definition of contemporary art can be a touchy topic indeed. Quilts have been around for centuries, and giving an old hobby a modern twist can blur lines as to what is considered contemporary.

However, one seemingly agreed upon characteristics of modern quilts is the use of negative space. This means using large amounts of solid colors (whether the colors are bold or neutral) and incorporating small patterns throughout the quilt. It forces the eye to focus more on the quilting pattern itself instead of becoming lost in the pattern.

Negative space also adds a very minimalist look and feel to the quilt. Quilts are famous for having busy patterns, especially patchworks. However, contemporary quilts using negative space helps the eye relax instead of constantly looking for a place to focus. This style is ideal for people who want the warmth of a quilt without adding distraction to their existing décor.

Another common characteristic of contemporary quilts is the use of modern fabrics. Think of fabric that has pattern involving thin lines, grids, waves, and etching. These patterns aren’t what you’d typically find in the traditional patchwork quilt, but they can be very beautiful and add a new element of visual interest.

Pixelated design is also another interesting characteristic of modern quilts. If you’re unaware, a pixel is an extremely small fragment of an online image. It blends together with millions of other pixels to create a whole photo, which loads on your computer as a regular image. You aren’t able to see pixels in an image unless the quality is very poor, or if you’re using a program such as Adobe Photoshop to zoom into the image.

However, this works a bit differently when you’re creating a pixel-inspired quilts. The pixels in the quilt will be much larger so you’re able to clearly determine the style you’re trying to achieve. The difference here is that the image will be purposely blocky and designed using squares rather than one smooth image.

Contemporary Quilts vs. Traditional Quilts: Finding Your Style

Based on these definitions, you’ll likely have an idea if contemporary and traditional quilts suit your taste. Whether you’re attracted to bold or simplistic, there’s no doubt that quilts will serve a decorative and functional purpose in your home.

Primitive Star Quilt Shop has a great selection of contemporary quilts and bedding in our shop as well as some legacy line tried and true traditional patchwork favorites. We invite you to browse around and find the perfect fit for your bedroom and the lifestyle you prefer. If you have any questions or concerns about our products, reach out to us on our website or give us a call at 574-892-5043.

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  • Jacki Alcorn
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