Free Motion Quilting on Patterned Fabrics


As I mentioned earlier in the week, judging by comments and letters I receive, YOUR favorite days of the week here at The Inbox Jaunt are Tuesday (Tutorials) and (Silent) Sundays. I love Tuesdays and Sundays, but MY FAVORITE day is (Open Line) Fridays.  I absolutely love the “Newbie” advice you provided last week…HERE and thought the discussion on quilt abbreviations HERE was hysterical!  YOU are all so creative–and not just with your stitching!

Mini Log Cabin Quilt, Purple


I’ve received several questions about using the quilt motifs on patterned fabric.  (Find more than 75 free motion quilt tutorials HERE.)   I do all the tutorials on solid fabric so that you can see them best, but all of the motifs look great on printed fabrics as well.  Mini Log Cabin Quilt, Purple

The effect is more subtle on printed fabrics, but at different angles of light, you will see the patterns and you will see the nice textured effect.  That being said, I would save the most intricate free motion quilting for areas of the quilt that have low contrast patterns.

Mini Log Cabin Quilt, Purple

In this miniature quilt, the quilting is very subtle-more texture than anything.  The highly patterned, multi-colored purple fabric hides the quilting.  (The low-contrast gray fabric would have revealed more quilting–however, I wanted the more subtle effect.)

Mini Log Cabin Quilt, Purple

The following images were sent in by a reader–thank you, Peggy!

Peggy R.  Free Motion Quilting.

Peggy R. Free Motion Quilting.

The quilting looks great on all fabric types…depending on the angle of the light.

Peggy R.  Free Motion Quilting.

Peggy R. Free Motion Quilting.


When you really want to showcase a free motion quilt motif:

  • Choose solid or low contrast prints.
  • Use  contrasting thread.
  • Use  heavier thread.
  • Add unpieced, solid or low-contrast fabric blocks to your design 
  • Stitch samples of different thread:  fiber, weight and color.

Mini Log Cabin Quilt, Purple

Whether your fabric is solid or patterned, the quilt motifs found HERE will look great.  The best way to judge the quilting effect:   STITCH SAMPLES!  I know it takes a few extra minutes….think NIKE–Just Do It!


Love to hear…


Vary The Maypop Leaf for YOUR Next Quilt


The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilted Design

It’s been a busy week here at The Inbox Jaunt. I hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s guest post from the very creative, Hilary Florence. (Hilary blogs HERE) My machine was smoking late into the evening trying all the variations…Great job,Hilary…Come again any time!


I would like to encourage other bloggers and would-be bloggers to give “guest posting” a try. We’d love to feature YOU here at The Inbox Jaunt!
Though the weather does not reflect the calendar…it is almost Easter!…You might want to try The Easter Egg tutorial HERE and the Bunny tutorial HERE... They are quick projects that you may have time to whip up before Sunday!

Free Motion Quilting, FMQ, Easter, Eggs

Easter Bunny, Free Motion Quilting, Tutorial
On Tuesday, we worked on a versatile motif-The Maypop Leaf. As with all the tutorials, I think it is easiest to learn a pattern if you have a few “rails” or drawn lines to establish scale. Once you learn the motif,  try modifying it to fit YOUR quilt.
The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilted DesignFILLING A SQUARE

One way to fill a square with The Maypop Leaf is to draw diagonal lines across the square and stitch leaves radiating out from the center on those lines.
The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilted Design
Another way to fill a square: Draw one diagonal line across the square and place two separate Maypop Leafs inside the triangles.
The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilted DesignFILLING A TRIANGLE

If you have a triangle to fill: Use one Maypop Leaf like the image above, or two Maypop leaves as in the image below:
The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilted Design


Below is a sneak preview of tomorrow’s discussion. We will be talking about using patterned fabric and making samples!
The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilted Design

The Maypop Leaf Free Motion Quilted Design
Until next time…Happy Stitching!


Lady Kennedy, Maven of Maypop
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 pin and blog with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt. For all other uses, please contact me at Thank you!

FMQ The Hilary Florence Way–A Guest Post


It’s your lucky week!  We have two FREE free motion quilt tutorials for you!  Yesterday, we worked on The Maypop Leaf HERE.

Today, we are honored to have Hilary Florence from Quilting Workshop present a tutorial of her original designs. Hilary is a fiber artist and quilter based in the UK.  Her work is beautiful!   Be sure to pop over to her blog  HERE.and see her work, especially her fabulous surface designs.  Perhaps she could give us a little tutorial on that, too?  hint, hint…


Hello Quilters. I am Hilary Florence and I am really thrilled and excited that Lori has agreed to let me do a guest post on her blog. Although our quilting styles are very different, like Lori, I love to create new free motion quilting patterns. So, what better topic than how to start with a simple idea and by playing here and tweaking there, changing it to create:

Theme and Variation

I am going to start with a very simple, elegant design which lets you get into a lovely rhythm on a swinging cross over curve.



Start with a simple downward curve out to the left.

Stitch up  the middle stopping just short of the starting point

Now do a mirror image of the curve – out to the right this time, cross over and do another curve to the left – making and inverted S shape.


Go straight up the center, stopping short of the cross over line. You are now ready to begin the motif again with your inverted S – and that’s it. Keep going as long as you want.

So – that’s the theme, on to the variations

If you have a curve, alter the depth of it.


My first curve was pretty shallow. Here I have made it much deeper, into semi – circles. You can do anything in between or even push it even further and make the motif wider than it is long.

If you have a curve, turn it into a V


Instead of soft curves you now have sharp angles, giving the motif quite a different character. The central line is now enclosed in a box. Think of going across from right to left at 45 degrees, making the exterior angles 90 degrees.

 If you have sharp angles, round them.


The change here is more subtle. Still Vs rather than curves, but this has a softer look.

If you have straight lines, put a kink in them.



This again is not a great change but it gives another feel. Each side of the box should kink slightly towards the centre. Put the kink in the outer lines only, not the central line. The cross right to left cross-over line is now a little more complicated as it has to first kink upwards towards the upper box and then downwards towards the lower box.

Now come the real fun!

If you have a central line, embellish it!




Anything goes here and there are lots of possibilities. Here are just some examples.

I’ve taken the semi-circle version, started my upward line and then inserted a (more-or-less) symmetrical meander. You could also think of this as a very squashed S.


Next I’ve gone back to my original flat-curve shape and filled it almost meanders. Just enter and exit with a short bit of straight line. This is one of my favourites and it usually finds a place somewhere in my quilts

The sharp cornered square version deserves a couple of sharp thorns.


And here is the same motif with all the corners smoothed out!

This ‘squiggle’ also makes a good centre line. Start curving upwards to the left, change direction and curve gently upwards, change direction again and curve upwards to reach the top of the inverted ‘S’.

If you have a nearly close point, open it up.



In all the samples up until now, the middle line has nearly but not quite met the upper line giving the illusion of a square or circle. Now, I have only gone about two-thirds of the way up (with the embellishing circle placed about one-third of the way up)and dropped the next cross-over line opening the motive up more.


And finally, if you have been there, done that, go back and do it all again!


This one is taken from the current piece I am working on, hence the enclosing ‘tram lines’. It is a combination of two of the above variations. Firstly, I have done the rounded square version without central embellishment. I have then gone back stitching over with the circular version and the central squiggle – and I do mean gone back. Of course you could start at the top again, but I suppose I am too lazy to deal with all the threads involved in stopping and starting. When ever possible, I will stitch down a row and then back up. This is also excellent practise for when dealing with items that are too bulky to turn round.

So there we are – from one idea to many versions. All of the above samples are about 1 inch wide with the exception of the last which is one and a half inches. One inch is a good width to start with, but you can also vary the density by varying the size.

Finally, a word about marking. I often say that I mark as little as possible and advocate learning to love your wobbles! I am in awe of the skill of FMQ quilters who produce absolutely identical motifs, but I like the organic look of everything a bit wonky and each repeated motif having its own individuality. I admit to being anxious about this when I considered Lori’s wonderful tidy accurate quilting and wondered if I should make an exception. In the end, I decided to be true to my philosophy and stay a bit messy! To start off with I advise marking guide lines 1 inch apart until you can feel the motif. You can chose whether to be neat and tidy and do this with a ruler, or free and easy and mark the lines free hand!  I would be interested to hear where you find easier/better for you. I personally also feel it helps to draw the motif first, or at least to trace it with your finger.

It remains to thank Lori for allowing me to do a guest spot on her blog. I feel very honoured. At the time of writing this, she has just revealed that she has been asked to do a bimonthly column for the  American Quilter  magazine and I want to add my voice to the congratulations. It is richly deserved.

If you would like to see more of my work and fmq designs, please visit my blog at

Thanks for reading,


PS…This tutorial including all images and directions are the property of Hilary Florence at The Quilt Workshop and are intended for personal use.  Feel free to blog and Pin with attribution to Hilary.