Tuesday Tutorial-The Clamshell

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Today is Tuesday and we are going to sew seashells in the sunshine (no sea-shore here in Minnesota!)  We are stitching a lovely border or fill pattern called The Clam Shell.  There are many variations of The Clamshell that we can explore going forward, but this one is easy and lovely.  I am sure you are all going to stitch this right into your next quilt?!

I like to minimize the number of lines I draw, so for this pattern, draw three lines or “rails” as guidelines to help me keep my stitching fairly straight.  The “rails” are 1/2 inch apart.

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

I stitched this pattern from right to left, but it can be stitched in either direction depending on your quilt.

Start in one corner, and stitch a few stitches along the bottom rail.  Stitch a curved line well below your middle “rail”.  Stitch up one or two stitches, then echo-quilt closely down to the bottom rail again.

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Stitch along the bottom rail a few stitches and then stitch another curve just above the middle rail.  Echo quilt back to your bottom rail.

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

Stitch over a few more stitches and then stitch a third curved line just below your top rail.  Echo quilt back to the bottom rail.

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

For the remaining clamshells, repeat the process, curving each arc up right to the previous clamshell so they look connected.

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

This pattern makes a great border around any quilt.  The Clamshells can be stacked to fill in a larger area.

The Clamshell, Free Motion Quilting Tutorial

I would rate this a Beginner pattern, so if you have been hesitating to jump in–this is a good place to start.  The pattern is easy and it always looks great.  Remember, perfection is not our goal...reasonably even quilting creates a great look.

PS…The Royal Baby is a boy...I predicted a girl named Charlotte…50/50 chance and I lost–no lottery tickets for me!

21 thoughts on “Tuesday Tutorial-The Clamshell

  1. hello ! I’m from france ! thank you very much for this tutorial … I decide to try it …. I hope that I could succeed …. i had doodled a lot ( as you said )

  2. Hello, Lori. I attended a quilt session at Norma’s house on Sunday evening and I was in charge of the ironing. Everyone kept telling me what an important job I had as the sweat rolled off my face. It probably was a good job for the woman who did not bring a sewing machine and who is self described as “not-a-quilter”. But I was talking about you and your wonderful blog and there were so many good things said about you and your many talents!!

  3. Hi Lori, wow could have used this idea for a border on my last quilt, did clam shells in the blocks so I think this would have worked beautifully along the border, instead I did feathers for the first time. Liked the look. Am so enjoying free motion! So I will save this idea, thank you. Many more chances to use!

  4. Brilliant! I’ve usually seen the clamshell as just one line with other one line clamshells above or around …I like this version better! :) Thanks!

  5. Coucou de la Côte d’Azur (France)
    Superbe cette frise en coquille. Je vais tester le cours dès que possible. Pour le moment je profite de mes amies venues en vacances.
    Amitiés à toutes.
    Patricia

  6. I am on vacation and could not bring my Bernina. I did bring my doodle book! I’m doodling just as you’ve suggested and I love it! I can see how this will bring new ideas to my quilting. Many thanks-

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