Evidence of patchwork—piecing small pieces of fabric together to create a larger piece and quilting layers of textile fabrics together—has been found throughout history. The earliest examples have been located in Egyptian tombs and also in early age of China about 5000 years ago. Further finds have been dated from the early Middle Ages, where layers of quilted fabric were used in the construction of armor—this kept the soldiers warm and protected. Japanese armor was made in a similar fashion.
Using this technique, quilts began to appear in households of the 11th to 13th centuries. As the European climate became colder around this time, the incidence of the use of bed quilts rose, and so developed the practice of embellishing a simple cloth through the creation of pattern and design, alongside the development of decorative quilting. The tradition of making quilts in this fashion was taken to America by the Pilgrims.