What Is Modern Quilting?

Modern quilting is a new and rapidly growing movement in the quilting world. A group of quilters applied their current tastes and points of view to this traditional craft and shared their work online.  Their fresh approach and new designs attracted sewers and quilters and the modern quilting movement was born.

Modern quilting, like all art, changes, grows and adapts from quilter to quilter as they find their own voice. Modern quilts reflect each quilter’s personality and personal style, and as the movement has grown, a modern quilt aesthetic, a set of principles that define and guide the movement, is beginning to emerge.

Modern quilts and quilters:
  • Make primarily functional rather than decorative quilts
  • Use asymmetry in quilt design
  • Rely less on repetition and on the interaction of quilt block motifs
  • Contain reinterpreted traditional blocks
  • Embrace simplicity and minimalism
  • Utilize alternative block structures or lack of visible block structure
  • Incorporate increased use of negative space
  • Are inspired by modern art and architecture
  • Frequently use improvisational piecing
  • Contain bold colors, on trend color combinations and graphic prints
  • Often use gray and white as neutrals
  • Reflect an increased use of solid fabrics
  • Focus on finishing quilts on home sewing machines
Modern quilting has its roots in rebellion, in our desire to do something different, but simultaneously its feet are firmly planted in the field of tradition.  Modern quilting is our response to what has come before.  We are quilters first, modern quilters second. There are however, characteristics that set modern quilters apart from our traditional and art quilting friends.

Modern quilters are a diverse group of woman and men, young and old, experienced and novice, yet each of us feels the need to differentiate ourselves as modern quilters by how we work, the fabrics we choose, and the aesthetic of our quilts. We create in a way that supports our individual creative needs and our lifestyle preferences.  Modern quilters resist the imposition of hard and fast rules for making a quilt.  We pick and choose traditional techniques and methods that work for us and at the same time feel free to redefine or reinvent what is possible and allowable in making quilts.

Modern quilters have embraced the new options available in textiles: bold colors, graphic prints, larger scale prints, and Japanese fabrics.  Much like the Amish quilting tradition, many modern quilters are also exploring quilt designs made exclusively with solid fabrics or with just a hint of print.

The Internet has played an integral role in the development of modern quilting.  Through blogs, online tutorials and social media the modern quilting community interacts, providing inspiration and friendship for each other.  This has helped the community grow at an astounding pace, providing feedback and support at a moment’s notice.

In many ways, modern quilting has taken us back to the basics of the early quilters, when women of the day used the colors and styles of their time to express themselves creatively while finding friendship and community along the way.  Welcome to modern quilting!


  1. What exciting news! Delighted to read that we now have a Modern Quilt Guild here :-)

  2. Fabulous! I will look forward to hearing all about the Guild's progress and projects. Jxo

  3. Please let me know more. Though I am currently in the States, I hope to move back to Ireland soon. Need to keep up my quilting skills. Love contemporary pieces. So happy to hear about this guild.

  4. Hello, I found your website not entirely by accident. Borrowed a book from our local library about Modern Quilting and this fast growing movement. Decided to check if any such group exists in Ireland. I am very happy to find that there is :-) thank you! Hope to join soon. P.S. I am a somewhat nervous beginner.

    1. Hi Sandra you came up as no reply on the email so responding directly here. We are a very beginner friendly group and love to share. Please join us on Facebook, Flickr or IG and say hi!

  5. Ah! I'm a newbie with social media too! Thank you Ruth. Have never used IG or Flickr either. First time for everything I suppose :-). Will visit soon if I can work out how to use it...


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