Patch work is a piece of fabric formed by little pieces of fabric.  The idea of patchwork started early in ancient Egypt and northern China, possibly because of the shortage of material and the cold climate.  It was later developed as an art in Renaissance Europe and then became a popular during the period of new settlement in America.  The patchwork quilt at one time was the symbol of reminiscence of their mother countries.

In China, patchwork is called the “hundred swatch quilt”.  Upon a child first birthday, village friends and neighbors would each contribute a swatch of fabric, old or new, to the child as a present.  The mother would then patch these pieces of fabric to make a vest or a small quilt for her child, depending on the quantity she acquired.  The vest or quilt is supposed to embrace hundred of blessins and render the child a happy and healthy life.

Step by step guide for making a patchwork quilt from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.