The Dragonfly–A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Free Motion Quilted Dragonfly

Good Morning, Quilters!  We’re back to work today with another circle tutorial in our progression.

While circles look easy, they are challenging to master.  In order to ensure success, we have been learning circles in a step-by-step progression.  Each motif builds on the previous technique to develop the hand-eye coordination and the motor planning necessary to advance to the next level.  (Race cars were just thrown in for fun–not really necessary for the progression.)

Today we have another fun motif for your free motion quilting net–The Dragonfly.

Free Motion Quilted DragonflyBegin by stitching a full circle.  In the sample below, the circle is the size of a pencil eraser.

Stitch an antenna with a curl on the top.

Stitch back over the antenna to the small circle, then stitch over one or two stitches to begin the second antenna.

Free Motion Quilted DragonflyStitch another antenna.  It’s fun if the second antenna is a little larger…

Stitch around the head of the dragonfly and stop at “the chin”…

Free Motion Quilted DragonflyNext, stitch another circle, slightly larger than the first circle.

Stitch a loop-de-loop set of wings…

Free Motion Quilted Dragonfly

Stitch ON the stitches of the lower part of the larger circle to get to the right side then stitch another set of loop-de-loop wings.

Stitch down to the base of the second circle.

Free Motion Quilted Dragonfly

Then stitch a String of Pearls–with each circle getting progressively smaller.

Finish off with a twirling flight line.

Free Motion Quilted DragonflyLovely!  Just the perfect touch for YOUR next quilt…

Free Motion Quilted DragonflyWe have a few more bugs to net tomorrow…

Next week we’ll work on Pebbles–the most challenging of the circle motifs–Not to worry…it will be EASY for YOU because you have done your homework!

Did you know that some cultures associate the Dragonfly with evil spirits while other cultures love the Dragonfly as a symbol of change…

To me The Dragonfly symbolizes the beginning of the beautiful days of autumn.

Happy Stitching!


PS…Don’t forget to DOODLE FIRST!

PPS…This tutorial was stitched with Aurifil 50 wt cotton in the bobbin and Sulky 40wt Rayon on top with a Schmetz 90 Topstitch needle on Kona cotton on my Bernina 150 without a stitch regulator.

PPPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

25 thoughts on “The Dragonfly–A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. Doodling on a piece of paper is a great idea as I have to study over and over how you get from point A to point B with such ease. You’ve got it all figured out so no reason for us to “reinvent the wheel”. One antenna bigger than the other makes him/her look more realistic.

    Tavette – S. Fla.

  2. I was thinking about emailing you the other day when you had the butterfly tutorial and ask if you would do a dragonfly…I love dragonflies and I love this tutorial, thank you so much..

  3. Hi Laura – I love bumble bee and the dragon fly! I think they’d both be great to use as a filler design. Do you have any suggestions on how to do that? When I doodle them and then add a few curlicues and then start the next one, the line starts at the head (since that is where the design starts). When I do that, it looks funny to me. I’d appreciate your suggestions on this.

    • I just tried it and I think it works okay if you start from the wings. It is still easy to visualize the shape. I tried doing it from th bottom triangle up but I kept coming up with an odd shaped body. Let me know how that works.

  4. Definitely love yesterday’s bee and today’s dragonfly is superb! ….but dragonflies do not have antennae! They just need googly eyes!

  5. Oh I have a quilt pinned on the frame and ready to go. I attached a short piece of white fab next to it, so that I can practice (w batting scraps of course). #1 my thread isn’t enough of a contrast. #2 when I start stitching slower speed, my stitches are too large…. #3 I like the antenna, but it makes it look like a butterfly.
    #4 There are dragon flies on my patches, and they have antenna.
    I think I will practice some more.

  6. I’ve not been to your blog before. The dragonfly drew me in. I think I might need to come again. Love the dragonfly, and authentic or not, the antennae add a certain “je ne sais quoi”.

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