Trapunto quilting

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Detail of the late 13th century linen Tristan Quilt. Surface wear has exposed the wadding beneath.
The collar on this uniform from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan employs the trapunto method.[1]

Trapunto, from the Italian for "to quilt," is a method of quilting that is also called "stuffed technique." A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt.


The style originated in Italy before the 14th century.[2]


Trapunto is often confused with the relatively similar techniques used in making traditional whole cloth Provençal quilts that were developed from the 17th century onwards in France.[3]


One of the earliest surviving examples of trapunto quilting is the Tristan Quilt in the Victoria and Albert Museum, a linen quilt representing scenes from the story of Tristan and Isolde which was made in Sicily during the second half of the 13th century.[4] Another piece of the Tristan Quilt, thought to be from a pair to the V. & A.'s example, is in the Bargello, an art museum in Florence.[4]


The technique was used for the inner-tunic collars worn in Star Fleet uniforms from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Unfortunately, as of the 1980s, functional trapunto machines were rare, and the specialized needles which they employed were even rarer.


  1. ^ Anderson, Kay (1982). "'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan': How the TV series became a hit movie, at last". Cinefantastique. 12 (5–6): 50–74. 
  2. ^ Art:Quilts and Quilters:Techniques:Trapunto
  3. ^ Etienne-Bugnot, Isabelle. "Quilting in France: The French Traditions". Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  4. ^ a b The Tristan Quilt in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Accessed 5-2-2010