What is Modern Patchwork Quilting?

What does “modern quilting” mean?


modern patchwork quilts
Lots of white in the background is a hallmark
of modern patchwork quilting style.

There are a lot of opinions on what modern quilting isand isn’t. But one thing’s for sure, modern patchwork quilting is hot right now.

On the first episode of “Quilting Arts TV” Series 1000, host Pokey Bolton addressed the modern quilting aesthetic with her first guest, quilt designer Heather Jones. According to Heather, the hallmarks of modern quilts are:

  • Simplified forms
  • Large-scale patchwork blocks
  • Expanses of whites and grays
  • Connection to traditional quilting
  • Simple, straight lines of quilting
  • Usefulness (as opposed to solely art pieces)


modern patchwork quilt block
Starting with the center vertical strip,
this modern courthouse steps patchwork
block comes together easily.

With that introduction, Heather showed how to make a patchwork quilt block based on the traditional courthouse steps design, to be used as a pillow top.

Heather plans out her designs on graph paper and cuts the strips to size, using scraps of florals and coordinating solids.

Because it’s very important in this kind of design to keep the seams straight and even, Heather uses a ¼” foot to stitch one piece to another.

Pressing the seams open after each fabric strip addition also helps to keep the strips flat and properly aligned.

Heather’s patchwork quilt block pillow top was a cinch to make. Depending on your choice of fabric, it could look very modern, or more traditional.

Heather demonstrates more modern patchwork quilt projects in a later episode of “QATV” Series 1000, too.

What do you think of the modern patchwork and the modern quilting movement? Leave your comments below.


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4 thoughts on “What is Modern Patchwork Quilting?

  1. I agree with Candyce3 – the quilting can be non-traditional shapes as well as straight lines. I think as well that modern quilts more often than not contain some asymmetry – whether it’s the block layout, proportion of different colours, and the quilting design. Modern quilting is exploratory and I would argue, increasingly artistic, but at the size of bed quilts. Modern quilting takes advantage of the mass amounts of large scale prints on the market as well as creating solely solid colour quilts back into fashion,. We’ll see how ‘modern’ looks again in 10 years – already I think it’s trending back towards solids and prints together.

  2. I have just become aware of Modern Quilting. Some people create beautiful designs. When done well, the quilts are strikingly lovely and relaxing to look at. I’m going to keep my antennae up for more Modern Quilts.

  3. I’m so glad to see articles on making something useful with modern techniques. While I love to look at art quilts, I don’t really make them because I like to make something that can be used.