The process of quilting uses a needle and thread to join two or more layers of material to make a quilt. The quilter’s hand or sewing machine passes the needle and thread through all layers and then brings the needle back up. The process is repeated across the entire area where quilting is wanted. Rocking, straight or running stitches are commonly used with these stitches being purely functional or decorative. Quilting is done to create bed spreads, art quilt wall hangings, clothing, and a variety of textile products. Quilting can make a project thick, or with dense quilting, can raise one area so that another stands out.
The mola or molas, forms part of the traditional outfit of a Kuna woman in Panama. Two mola panels belong together as front and back panels in a blouse. The full costume traditionally includes a patterned wrapped skirt (saburet), a red and yellow headscarf (musue), arm and leg beads (wini), a gold nose ring (olasu) and earrings in addition to the mola blouse (dulemor).
In Dulegaya, the Kuna’s native language, “mola” means “shirt” or “clothing”. The mola originated with the tradition of Kuna women painting their bodies with geometric designs, using available natural colors; in later years these same designs were woven in cotton, and later still, sewn using cloth bought from the European settlers of Panamá.