Hand-stitched patchwork pattern: ‘Bright Garden Borders’


I thoroughly enjoy the gentle occupation of hand-stitched patchwork. The quilt above is one of the ones I entered into the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK, last year. In the show, the title was ‘The Missed Exhibition’ and there was a back story (you can read about that here).  Now, in happier times(!), it has been re-named ‘Bright Garden Borders’ because it certainly is bright. It began with a set of 40 Kaffe Fassett charm squares which formed the centres of the flowers. I picked the solids from my fabric collection, and then decided how to combine them in rows. The background fabric (also by Kaffe Fassett) was chosen at a later date. The idea behind the quilt was a re-working of ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’ where the background forms a path round the hexagon flowers.

The bright green along the border is fabric gleaned from some recycling: you can read about that here. In the quilt above, ALL of the quilt was hand-stitched including adding the borders, but these could be added by hand.

The finished size of the quilt is 70” (178 cm) long x 58” (147cm) wide. The quilt was quilted by hand, too.


I have now released this as a pattern, so you can make your own. If you are in the UK/EU please follow the link on the website under my photo to my Etsy shop and you will find a paper and an electronic version of the pattern for instant download. If you are outside the UK/EU please follow the link to Craftsy where you will find an electronic pattern.

The pattern is very easy to follow, even if you have never before  tried English Paper Piecing (also known as ‘piecing over papers’). Like all my patterns, this one has clear, step-by-step instructions on how to make the quilt. with a photograph, in colour, of each stage (like the one below, showing the fabric being marked out).  I also tell you how to layer up your quilt, do the quilting and finish the edges. There’s a useful colour chart and a diagram of the templates needed.


This is the very opposite of a ‘make it in a weekend’ quilt.  You need to be patient with this one!  This is an enjoyable, relaxing, slow method of making a quilt.

A birthday weekend

This weekend has seen major celebrations in the UK, as the Queen’s 90th birthday has been celebrated. In this case we are talking about the ‘official’ birthday, as her actual 90th birthday was in April. On Saturday the Queen  wore a bold bright green coat and hat – the colour of a neon highlighter pen, which seems to have wowed everyone.

Trooping the Colour

Designer: Stewart Parvin    Photo: Getty images

The colour stood out strongly against the red of the uniforms of the soldiers on parade during the ceremony of trooping the colour. You can see the effect in the photo above. The shade of pink on the hat is also a perfect foil for the green. Fabulous!

Bogod & Company, the manufacturers of Bernina sewing machines, decided to join in the celebrations with a ‘Quilt Fit for a Queen’ project. You can see some of the entries on the Bernina blog here. This was also a fund-raising project, benefiting the charity ‘Friends of the Elderly’, as each square-maker made a contribution.  I thought this was a fun idea, so decided to join in, with a pair of corgis (the Queen’s particular favourite dog):


Also this weekend: a long trip to celebrate a family birthday (84 years)  and rather a large amount of football watching (on the television) and listening (on the radio) by those around. Fortunately, I have two hand-sewing projects on at the moment:  a big hand-stitched patchwork, pieced over papers and the hand-quilting of a single quilt that I am making with a friend. Sneak previews below: