Japanese Lanterns-The Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quilting

Good Morning, Quilters!
I’m glad so many of you joined me for coffee and doodling yesterday!  Good news…The American Quilter Society is doing a Fall Membership Drive and you can get all the benefits of membership including six issues of American Quilter Magazine--including My Line Free Motion Quilting with Yours Truly…all for $20!  

Let’s have coffee together more often!


I never think a fall bouquet is complete without a spray of Japanese Lanterns (also known as Chinese Lanterns)– Naturally, these beautiful seed pods made their way to my doodling and on to my fabric.

While I associate the plant with Autumn, the motif is a pretty design that would make a great border on any quilt!  Use Japanese Lanterns on any modern or traditional quilt.  It pairs nicely with Pearls or Dots and Dashes that are reminiscent of the round seeds found inside the papery husks.


Begin by drawing two parallel lines.  In the sample below the (barely visible-sorry!) lines are 1-1/2 inches apart.

Begin sewing between the lines.  Stitch down slightly to begin the upside down heart shape curve.  Curve all the way to the left line and taper to a point.Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quiltingTaper down slightly then create the right side of the Lantern, roughly mirroring the left side.

Stitch into the shape.Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quiltingCurve and taper to the top of the Lantern.  Be careful to avoid overstitching at the taper point–preventing a messy looking build up of stitches.Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quiltingStitch the right side and back through the middle of the Lantern.

Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quiltingStitch through the tip of the Lantern and begin the next motif in the row.Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quiltingThis creates a beautiful  (and quick) border motif.

However, if this is not full enough for your quilt, after completing the entire border, echo stitch the right and left sides adding embellishments like an occasional Curl or a berry
Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quilting

Japanese Lanterns, Free Motion quilting

The Japanese Lantern is a Beginner motif–it has a smooth rhythm while stitching and can quickly fill a border…

Can’t wait to see how YOU will use the Japanese Lantern free motion quilting!

Happy Stitching,


NOTE-This tutorial was stitched on Kona cotton, Warm and Natural cotton batting, Superior Magnifico thread on top and Aurifil cotton 50 wt in the bobbin on my extra-fabulous BERNINA 770QE–(no regulator).

PS…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 re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!



9 thoughts on “Japanese Lanterns-The Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. I grew up with a Mom who loved gardening and always had these in her garden. We would let them dry and spray them metallic gold for dried floral arrangements. Really pretty!!!
    BTW………..What is the gold fabric you are doing your stitching on???? I have been searching for just that color for a while now without any luck. I thought it was a Kona solid but haven’t located it!!!! Puh—-leeze share info!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • The fabric is Kona’s 1482: School Bus Orange. Just be cautious if you are looking for a specific color as computer monitors are notoriously “off”. I have been disappointed frequently by this. Your best bet is to invest in a color swatch card. I use a Kona solids card all the time. Hope this helps.

  2. Lori, I already subscribe to American Quilter magazine and the biggest reason is your lessons! Thank you!!! You are so inspiring!

  3. Thanks, Lori, for this quilting motif. It’s perfect for the border of a quilt I’m going to be working on later today. And so easy–at least with paper and pencil! 🙂

  4. Ha I didn’t know you can type Japanese 🙂 おはよー。They are pretty Lori. To me, Japanese, they are always slightly open so we can see the fire ball/fruit itself. I never lernt how to make squeezing noise with them and my sister did well!

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