Flower quilts 3 ways + ruched flowers how-to

Posted by on March 18, 2013, in quilting & sewing, ,

from Another Season of Beautiful BloomsSpring officially arrives Wednesday, and it’s time for flowers. Quilts with flowers!
There are so many ways to make flower quilts. Simply using a floral fabric can get the job done, but that’s just the start of it. So let’s survey some of the other options, shall we? Today we’ll showcase three approaches to making quilts with flowers.

1. In Another Season of Beautiful Blooms and Artful Appliqué II, you just might find your perfect flower-appliqué pattern.
2. Not in the mood to appliqué your flowers? Quilt by number instead with spectacular patterns from Melinda Bula.
3. Ready for something fun and dimensional? We’ll learn from Sharon K Baker how to make ruched flowers.

Virginia's rose quiltBut first we have to fess up. While it’s true that spring is (nearly) here and flowers are blooming outside, what really got us thinking floral was Virginia and her "Portland Roses" quilt. One of our able accountants and an accomplished quilter, Virginia made a stunning quilt for her son and daughter-in-law, to commemorate their wedding. The happy couple asked for red, and they asked for roses. While she’d never made any rose quilts before, Virginia obliged—with a king-size quilt. Talk about a loving mother! Aren’t those roses fabulous? She appliquéd all the motifs by hand and then hand quilted the king-size quilt to boot. (While we don’t have an exact pattern to share, Virginia says she pulled the bud motifs from Mimi Dietrich books and some of the flower templates from A Dozen Roses.)

Virginia's rose quilt, two more views

Heirloom roses for an heirloom quilt? How appropriate! (For another amazing rose quilt, be sure to check out Melinda Bula’s quilt-by-number stunner later in this post.)

1. Appliquéd Flowers
Did Virginia’s roses whet your appetite for more floral appliqué? Whether you’re looking for a rose quilt or a lily quilt, a pillow or a wall hanging, expert appliquérs Susan Taylor Propst and Jane Townswick have crafted a gorgeous array of floral appliqué patterns to choose from. (And you can get the patterns shown below in books that are 40% off this week only.)

from Another Season of Beautiful Blooms
Pillows and wall hangings from
Another Season of Beautiful Blooms

from Artful Applique II
Flower blocks from Artful Appliqué II

2. Quilt-by-Number Flowers
How do you quilt by number? Pretty much the same way you paint by number. Following a simple color chart, you place colors as directed in Melinda Bula’s painterly patterns. And because you use fusible web, it’s easy to get your pieces positioned just right. You can learn more about how the process works here.

quilt-by-number blossoms from Cutting Garden Quilts
Quilt-by-number blossoms from
Cutting-Garden Quilts

3. Dimensional Flowers
For wilt-proof blooms in the form of a mini quilt, start with a few simple folding and gathering techniques. In More Fabulous Flowers, Sharon K Baker uses a variety of easy methods to make fun, textural floral quilts. Let’s hear from Sharon how you can use ruching to stitch petals of your own.
Marigolds from More Fabulous Flower Quilts
"Marigolds" from More Fabulous Flowers

How to make ruched flowers

Adapted from More Fabulous Flowers by Sharon K Baker

You can form a wide range of flowers by hand stitching patterns onto a strip of fabric. The shape of the pattern affects the shape of the petal. The number of petals depends on the number of pattern repeats and the length of your strip.

1. Fold a strip of fabric in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together.
2. Choose one of the stitching patterns shown below or improvise your own.
Ruching stitches from More Fabulous Flowers

3. Thread a hand-sewing needle with a double strand of thread that matches your fabric.
4. As a general rule, begin stitching at the raw edges of your strips (although where you start stitching may depend on the look you’re trying to achieve). sew a running stitch through both layers toward the fold, and then stitch back toward the raw edges. Continue the pattern along the length of the strip.
5. When you’re done stitching, pull the ends of the thread to gather, or ruche, the strip. The strip will curl around on itself. Adjust the gathers until you have a nice shape for the flower. Don’t knot the thread yet. With a second needle threaded with a single strand of matching thread, whipstitch the raw edges together at the beginning (center) of the spiral. Continue stitching along the raw edges of the strip, adjusting the gathers until you have all the "petals" joined. Knot both threads when you are pleased with the look of your flower.

Thanks for the how-to, Sharon! Making ruched flowers sounds like fun. For more inspiration, check out Sharon’s charming mini quilts below.

Mini Quilts from More Fabulous Flowers
Mini quilts from
More Fabulous Flowers

What’s your favorite way to quilt a flower garden? Tell us about it in the comments!

6 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Actually I just tried painting on quilts and love the applique portion and then hand paint the accents…dark and light areas, shadows etc on the quilt itself.

    —Debbie Berkebile on March 18, 2013
  • Quilting + Garden = sitting outside to crochet. Sigh…

    —Lynne on March 18, 2013
  • I haven’t gotten there yet. My ideas are still in my head. Thus, I would adore winning this wonderful book.

    —Jackie Roisler on March 19, 2013
  • Quilt by numbers really interest me, although I’ve never tried the technique. The results look beautiful!

    —Susan Clarkson on March 22, 2013
  • I adore all these ruched flowers, but the Portland Roses quilt takes my breath away.

    —Jusa on June 17, 2013
  • I love the appliqued and also the embroidered flowers in the various quilts. It is my dream to be able to do some of these. Thank you for showing so many lovely flowers

    —LuAnn V lambright on February 2, 2019

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