The Circus Train-A Machine Quilting Tutorial

Train, Machine Quilting, Lori Kennedy

Good Morning, Quilters!

The Circus has come to town!

(Sadly, Ringling will perform its last act this May–Read more at

This tutorial was requested by several readers, however it took me a long time to create a continuous line design that was teachable in a Tuesday Tutorial format.  Thank you for your patience!

NOTE-Today we will stitch the Train Engine and we will add the Coal Cars and Caboose next week.

There are many steps–but each step is EASY–so don’t be overwhelmed!!


Begin by drawing two parallel lines -3 inches apart.  Add a line 3/4″ above the bottom line.  (Or fit to YOUR quilt!)

Begin stitching on the line above the bottom line.

Stitch a right triangle.  Stitch down several stitches then stitch a short horizontal line.

Add a Silly Spiral (see tutorial HERE)

Stitch over several stitches and create another Silly Spiral.

End the Silly Spiral on the right edge of the Train’s wheel.

Stitch through both wheels (from right to left) then stitch a straight vertical line to create the front of the train.

Stitch a short horizontal line, then add a smokestack…add a few more horizontal stitches. Stitch a vertical line, jog to the left and add a short rectangle. Stitch horizontally from right to left, stitch back a few stitches.

Drop down to create a window. Complete the window, stitch to the right 3-4 stitches, then complete the back of the Train Engine with a straight vertical line (or add a little bumper)…

Chugga, Chugga….

Here’s the entire tutorial…(In the photo below, step one is shown twice…)

Again, don’t be discouraged–it is easier than it looks with just a little doodling!




From my Circus to YOURS!

Happy Quilting!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy 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  Thanks!

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Doodle to Design, Craftsy, Lori Kennedy

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21 thoughts on “The Circus Train-A Machine Quilting Tutorial

  1. Yaaaaa!!!!…….Worth the waiit .,..,.You are totally amazing!.,…..Thank you so much …….Doddle …..Doddle…. Doddling.,…Love it .,.Lol

  2. Super cute Lori! Charlie loves trains! So the people that own the Ringling Bros. horses and horse act bought our house and horse property in FL when we moved. They had rings and trapeze set up out in the back pasture for practices. Amazing athletes and people. Was fun getting to meet them.

    • My husband played the circus in Florida around 1979. He was lead trumpet in the band…. played for all the acts! Oh, the stories he tells! 🙂

  3. Besides my husband playing trumpet for the circus band, my daughter teaches 4 year olds, and one of her main themes is the circus! This is just what I need to get inspired to make a quilt for her class. Thank you!

    • That is so neat. Yes the stories, we could of visited with these people for hours . Their sense of humor was so great too. A circus quilt for your daughters classroom would be so cute!!!

  4. Nicely done. The most amazing “circus” I have ever seen is at the Shelbourne Museum in Vermont. Figures of a circus parade fill an entire building of display cases – the wagons, the characters, the animals! And the final display is the big top. There must be a thousand tiny figures. Incredible.

    I had a ride on a circus elephant when I was a child – thanks for the memories!

  5. I can’t remember, do you have an elephant, Lion and tiger. Maybe a giraffe? They would look cute in the cars and the elephants trailing behind.

  6. Very nice…,..,..,doing Reno on my sewing room………Long ways from finish ….Hope my room looks as good when done…….Thank you for sharing !

  7. Pingback: The Coal Car-A Machine Quilting Tutorial | The Inbox Jaunt

  8. Pingback: The Caboose-A Machine Quilting Tutorial | The Inbox Jaunt

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