The modern quilting movement is a diverse and multifaceted community with many different types of makers. Some people define modern quilts in their own way, but a few common characteristics are apparent: bold colors and prints, high contrast or graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, alternate grid work, and traditional quilting patterns being updated for modern aesthetics.
The current quilting world is leaning into a new modern design aesthetic that incorporates the best of both worlds: re-use, resourcefulness, and inspiration. These textile artists are using quilts as a medium to tell stories, engage in conversations about identity, sustainability, and circularity, and build communities of care that center the lives of others.
This trend continues to thrive, with a new crop of designers embracing the possibilities it offers. One such brand is Thompson Street Studio, who uses modern fabrics and contemporary patterns to create imaginative interpretations of classic quilt blocks.
These quilts aren’t just pretty — they’re incredibly soft, plush, and comfortable to sleep on! The cool blue-green-teal palette and organic shapes are a great fit for a modern bedroom or living room.
Another trend that continues to gain momentum is the use of applique in modern quilts, which often involves embellishing details in a quilt block with fabric or thread. This is a particularly powerful and meaningful technique for modern quilters to use because it combines the power of traditional embroidery techniques with the aesthetic of modern design. A recent applique quilt, Canary Meets Goldmine by Stephanie Ruyle @spontaneousthreads won 1st place for Handwork and beautifully illustrates how traditional methods of embellishment can effectively create a modern style.
Other applique techniques are also making a strong statement in the modern quilting world, with a variety of techniques being used to achieve an expressive and unique look. For example, Cheryl Brickey of Meadowmist Designs has created a paper pieced pattern called Half Circle Mirror that rotates each block 180 degrees to create a dynamic focal diamond shape, creating an unexpected visual effect.
For the quilter who likes to challenge themselves, these techniques can be a great way to try something new and expand your skills. Kitty Wilkin’s Constant Flux mini quilt is a perfect example of how this technique can be applied to an entire modern quilt by rotating each block from a paper piecing pattern to create an entirely new look.
This technique is also easy to learn and can be applied to a variety of quilts, especially for those who want to take their quilting to the next level. These patterns offer clear step-by-step instructions, as well as lovely photos of finished quilts.
Modern quilts are a versatile and accessible art form that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. For this reason, these quilts are a great addition to any modern home decor, whether you’re looking to add a pop of color or a simple and elegant piece of textile art.