Making a ‘dolphin’ birthday quilt

Last month’s activities included the completion of a special quilt made to celebrate a 30th birthday.  The brief was to make a king-size bed quilt with a nautical theme, including dolphins, palm-trees and boats. The colours were to be blues, greys and taupes.

As this was going to be a large quilt, I designed it to be made in three sections. First I pieced the lower section (6 foot by 2 foot) which would be the foreground, dark blue sea with waves, then the middle section which was still the sea, but further away, and finally the top section which included the distant sea and the blue sky with some high clouds typical of a tropical location:


All the sections were laid out (more than once) on the floor so I could determine where to place the dolphins and the boat and just where the islands should come:


It became clear that a couple of rocks with sea-birds were required and an early dolphin was later edited out because he just didn’t fit quite right in the final composition!


All the details were added, using raw edge applique, before the quilt was layered up.


I  was therefore able to layer up in three strips, each six foot long and two foot wide. This made it relatively easy to quilt each section on the machine. Different free-machine quilting lines were used in the different sections:

The strips were joined with a 1/4″ seam by putting right sides together on the front. On the reverse side, the backing fabric was tucked neatly under by 1/4″ along one side of each join, the fold was laid over the raw edge of the other side and then a line of quilting in the ditch on the right side held the join in place.  The backing fabric was just right for the tropical theme – and it was very forgiving when it came to joining fabrics.


The new owner works in the theatre, so this is likely to be a well-travelled quilt. Here is a view of the finished item:

the 'dolphin' quilt

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There’s a dolphin fabric design too. You can find it here.


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Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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