Process of stitching together two layers of fabric, usually with a soft, thick substance placed between them. The layer of wool, cotton, or other stuffing provides insulation; the stitching keeps the stuffing evenly distributed and also provides opportunity for artistic expression. Quilting has long been used for clothing in many parts of the world, especially in the Far and Middle East and the Muslim regions of Africa. It reached its fullest development in the U.S., where it was at first popularly used for petticoats and comforters. By the end of the 18th century the U.S. quilt had distinctive features, such as coloured fabric sewn on the outer layers (appliqué) and stitching that echoed the appliqué pattern. Patchwork patterns proliferated in the 19th and 20th centuries.