The things that humans have been sewing together, at least until the Industrial Revolution, have been expensive. Hides and pelts were costly, especially for the animals involved. But plants were also not easily coaxed into becoming fabric.

The things humans sewed together have been valuable. So scraps were salvaged and reworked into new projects. This form of needlework, patchwork, where smaller pieces of material are conserved and sewn together to make a larger new piece, became one of the earliest art forms.

Quilting began when two pieces of fabric with some type of insulation between them were held together with stitching so things don't shift around with use or washing. The earliest examples of quilting were in clothing, but the making of bed covers was not far behind. The needle work of stitching the three layers together became an art in itself.