What’s new in quilting? 10 quilt trends to watch out for in 2021

Join us for a sneak peak at the looks, palettes and design themes that are on the up in modern quilt patterns for 2021

Hand quilting modern quilt patterns

Some design trends in the quilting world are so dear to our hearts that they’ll endure for years (we’re looking at you, paper-pieced hexagon quilt patterns or triangle quilts), but we also love to see fresh looks, techniques and modern quilting trends as they emerge and evolve in the quiltosphere. Watch out for these upcoming themes that are set to big stuff in the quilting world in 2021 – from quilting for change to community projects, sea blue tones and soothing hand stitching. Many of the upcoming themes that are on the rise this year are emerging from wider social movements, while reflect the styles and methods of quilt-making that modern quilters are turning to, often inspired by traditional techniques from appliqué to embroidery. We’ll pack this post full of our favourite modern quilt patterns to inspire you. And if you want to look further afield than just fabric, head to our sister posts – the hottest 2021 Craft Trends to watch out for.


So what’s new in quilting?


Pep up your speed piecing with panels

We saw a surge in makers using advent calendar panels last Christmas and the huge leap in lockdown sewing last year brought with it a renewed interest in using printed panels to add instant detail to your quilts. Leading the way as always are  Ruby Star Society, who have launched Projects With Purpose – an ongoing series designed to fundraise for a better world. They launched the initiative with this  Pep Talk Panel – featuring all sorts of shapes filled with reminders including our personal favourite – Done is Better than Perfect. For every Pep Talk Panel sold, $5 is donated to The Loveland Foundation. The panel includes designs from Ruby Star Society’s designers and ships this month.

Ruby Star Society Pep Talk Fabric Panels


Slow stitching & the rise of raw edge appliqué

There’s nothing like a global pandemic for collectively forcing us all to slow down and appreciate the mindful power of slow sewing. Look out for more and more raw edge appliqué in the months to come as we collectively embrace the benefits of hand stitching. Combine it with curved motifs and you’ll have modern patchwork quilt pattern magic. See this technique in action in Love Patchwork & Quilting’s current Blomma Block of the Month series.

Blomma Block of the Month Block 1


Alphabet quilt patterns

Patchwork lettering follows on from a the wider thirst in society for more personalisation among a busy digital world. We’ve got our own alphabet quilt patterndiagrams here on Gathered, or if you’re up for a challenge,  check out Patch and Dot’s Blackletter FPP Modern Quilt pattern on Etsy.

Alphabet Quilt Pattern
Blackletter FPP Modern Quilt pattern by Patch and Dot

Quilting for change

We’re hesitant to call this a trend as it’s more of a movement towards harnessing the power of craft to call for, and support social change for the better, but quilting for a cause is on the rise and there are some incredible community projects on the go that you can get involved with to use your quilting for good. Modern quilters Porfiria Gomez, Keyana Richardson and Michelle Collins have started a movement for colourful change. Color of Connection was created through a belief that there is more beauty to be celebrated when the quilting community is connected across all colours, ages, genders and backgrounds, The non-profit organisation will host quilting workshops for vulnerable youth of all colours, helping to raise up the next generation of modern quilters. Sew their first Color of Connection quilt pattern at colorofconnectionquilt.com and join in their community sewalong in February.

Colour of Connection Quilt


Curves continue to dominate

We saw big block curves explode in popularity last year and this beautiful patchwork trend will go from strength to strength in the modern quilt patterns that we pin, plan and covert in 2021. See it in action in Donna McLeod’s “Spots and Stripes” modern quilt pattern from Love Patchwork & Quilting issue 92.

Circle modern quilt pattern


Eco quilting – sewing in a more sustainable way

Born out of the wider social movement towards living a greener lifestyle that protects the planet, look out for a boom in sustainable sewing projects in 2021. Eco quilting choices cover everything from refashioning fabrics from your pre-loved wardrobe to exploring fabrics coloured with natural dies or trying zero waste quilt patterns. You can start small with this change and collect your fabric scraps from past projects to build into a new scrappy quilt top (log cabin and paper pieced quilt patterns are a great place to start with small fabric scraps), or raid your wardrobe for jeans you never wear any more and head to our tutorial for How to make a denim patchwork quilt.

how to make a patchwork quilt


Modern quilt samplers

Modern quilt samplers – we’re loving the rise of intricate sampler-style quilt tops – mixing and matching a series of pictorial or geometric quilt blocks to create a quilt that wows. This trend gets to the heart of one of our favourite thing about modern quilt trends – taking traditional styles and giving them a fresh twist for contemporary relevance. Wren Collective’s Kinfolk Quilt Pattern shows off this style with 9 different feature blocks and different size options to choose from.

Wren Collective Kinfolk Quilt Pattern
© The Wren Collective –Kinfolk Quilt Pattern

True blues

Robert Kaufman’s 2021 Colour of the Year is Horizon – an eye-popping sky blue that will fill your quilts with fresh palettes in the months to come. See it in action in Darlene Zimmerman’s China Quilt Pattern.

Fine China Quilt Pattern Robert Kaufman Colour of the Year


Embroidered details – aka the Bridgerton Effect

Netflix’s period drama with a modern twist was the show to watch this Christmas and the sight of the central characters, hoop in hand leading to a surge in embroidery sales (alongside google searches for The Duke). Since the show began, Hobbycraft has revealed searches for embroidery have increased by 86%, while sales of stitching accessories and kits have increased by 30% and 20% respectively. We love this Kate Webber’s Sunny Side Up Quilt from Love Patchwork & Quilting issue 84  uses an embroidered central section to add a sunshine boost to her finished mini quilt. If you’re loving reconnecting with embroidery, or trying it for the first time, head to our Embroidery patterns section for more ideas or check out our sister magazine, Love Embroidery.

Sunshine quilt pattern


Hand quilting

Sewing by hand, rather than machine, is on the rise, and we’ve seen a surge in Sashiko stitching and hand quilting in recent months, as we rediscover the soothing power of ditching our machines in favour of a needle and thread. It’s about the process, not about the destination. Shannon Fraser’s modern quilt pattern, Cloud Surfing shows the this look perfectly. She’s featured Jenny Haynes of Papper, Sax, Sten‘s Oval Drunkard’s Path templates to nail the curves trend too.

Shannon Fraser Designs Curvy Abstract quilt