The Basic Bow–A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Basic Bow, LKennedy, FMQGood Morning, Quilters!

Hope you are all doodling and quilting, and maybe a little gardening??

It’s that time of year-Mother’s Day, Graduations, Picnics, parties.  I thought we could use a little festive motif–a pretty little bow.

The Basic Bow would look great on any baby quilt or girl’s quilt.  A single bow could be used to tie a quilt (stitch one in the center of every block)  Or stitch a chain of bows in a border.

For the Bow Border, begin by drawing two parallel lines 1-3/ inches apart.

Start in the middle-between the two lines.  Stitch a sideways figure “8”.

TheBasicBow.FMQ.LKennedy007Next, stitch a larger and slightly squared, figure eight.

TheBasicBow.FMQ.LKennedy006Stitch a wavy line down, to the point where the next bow will begin.  Stitch back to the center.

TheBasicBow.FMQ.LKennedy005Stitch down to the previous point and begin the next bow.

TheBasicBow.FMQ.LKennedy004To fill a large area with The Bow, draw a large grid–the sample below is a 2-1/2 inch square grid.

Stitch the bows at the intersections of each square.  Change the angle of the ribbon to create a lattice pattern to fill a very large area quickly.


Wouldn’t this be darling on a Baby Quilt?


TheBasicBow.FMQ.LKennedy001Keep doodling and stitching every day to see the fastest improvement in your free motion quilt skills.

Also, don’t forget to iron your quilts before stitching–even practice pieces!

I’m off to a baseball game-a sure sign that spring is here!



PS…This sample was stitched on Kona cotton with Sulky Rayon 40 wt on top and Aurifil 50 wt cotton in the bobbin.–on my Bernina 820-a domestic sewing machine.

PPS  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 blog, share, Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

26 thoughts on “The Basic Bow–A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. Oh Lori, I LOVE this one! It makes such a pretty grid of bows and ribbons, and I can see it becoming one of my favourites. Thank you for sharing all your clever designs.

  2. This is so simple yet so pretty…thank you so much, Lori….and I’m even “seeing” some small filler stitch in the (sort of) diamond shape of the diagonal grid. I can hardly wait to try this. Have a great day!

  3. Ok Lori,
    You’ve got another hit. The bows at the intersection of squares is an open enough (reads “fast”) one for me to put on the top of my list. Plus it leaves the middle of the square for some dates and initials. Now if you could just “open up” some time in my day to give it a real workout!

  4. You know us all to well….I have been doodling, quilting and gardening. Can’t wait for the next doodle lesson. Great way to keep the hands busy at night while watching a little tv. Thanks

  5. I like this. So great that it is symmetrical enough to work from top to bottom OR bottom to top (I noticed as I was trying to trace the lines in your full length photo). The diagonal grid is genius … reminds me of those old flowerdy wallpaper patterns except this one isn’t as gaudy ;). Simple is Sometimes Sweeter.
    I just ordered a fat quarter of Kona solids in pinks from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Hm-m-m-m-m … is that a fateful hint of some kind that now I open your tutorial and find bows on pink??? And I was doodling circles and squiggles with pink ink last night!!! What the heck?

  6. How beautiful!
    This would be just perfect as a little quilt for the newest baby girl in our family who arrived today!

  7. Perfect timing, we have a new grandone, arriving in July, this would be a special added touch to a quilt! Love your ingenious expressions with thread designs.

  8. Lori, I’m new to your blog (and I love it). Can you tell me what tool you typically use to make your registration lines and grids? In the photos, it appears to be chalk.

  9. I love looking at the designs you make, How do you set your machine to start free motion quilting? drop feed dogs, tension, stitch???? Or how do you get the stitch looking so nice…Is the stitch just as nice at the back/ I have a lot of trouble with my stitching

  10. Thank you, Lori! I am new to your blog and am really enjoying your designs. I never know how to quilt my tops, but this one is very inspiring! I just did it on a baby quilt for the local hospital NICU unit. Not as even as yours, but I am so pleased with my first attempt!

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