Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Garden Bouquet Quilt- Month 1

Hello Readers! I have a great new project that I would love for you to join me in creating. This project and pattern comes from the Kansas City Kansan newspaper. A while ago I’d been looking at sewing books in the library and came along a series of books that had this and similar projects compiled. They are articles from the early 1920’s to the 1950’s from the Kansas City Star newspaper and the Kansas City Kansan newspaper. These are just a wonderful piece of history! Needless to say, I borrowed the books from the library and copied every single page. I chose the Garden Bouquet Quilt (24 designs) from 1931 to begin with and for this particular project. Each article has a little story to go along with the pattern. I have re-typed these because they are a little hard to read from the scanned page. This project, once finished, will be a beautiful appliquéd quilt. I have chosen to hand appliqué but you can machine appliqué if you’d like. I also have posted a method of appliqué in my tutorials here. Alright, let’s get started!
A Fascinating… Exciting… New Nancy Page Quilt Pattern

Isn’t this a precious new pattern? It combines all the traditional quaintness of grandmothers’ quilts, with a crisp modern cleverness- for the delight of all women who love to do charming things with their fingers.

The Nancy Page Quilt club members were so anxious to see what kind of a quilt Nancy had designed for them that they came to her house almost an hour early.

“Please Nancy, show it to us!” “Please Nancy, tell us what it’s like.” “Oh, have a heart, Nancy don’t make us wait any longer.” But Nancy was adamant. As the clock struck two she opened the meeting.

“The quilt I have designed this time ought to please those of you who like flowers. It ought to please the garden lovers. I think it will please those who enjoy birds. I hope it will please all of you who like to sew and to make the kind of appliqué that grandmother did. This quilt which I will now show you is called-“ but as she unrolled the quilt there were so many exclamations of delight the she had no chance to give its name.

“Oh look at that quaint urn in which the flowers are put. My grandmother had one just like that.” “Will you see that cunning bird?” “Won’t it be fun to have a quilt with birds and flowers?” “Oh, I want to start right away. I can see the very bed in my house that is going to have a quilt like that.”

When the voices died down Nancy continued, “I am calling this new quilt ‘Garden Bouquet.’ By the time we have finished we will have a collection of flowers that would please any gardener and would call the birds from far and near. In fact, as you can see, they have already gathered and are standing, paired and filled with admiration on the edge of each urn. Some birds choose the wild rose, others the tulip or pansy. But each urn has its flowers and its birds, making- when gathered together- a delightful garden bouquet. Let’s look at the pattern closely.”

The Nancy Page Quilt club was suddenly devoted to arithmetic and a study of the direction leaflet. By sending for this leaflet, you too will get a diagram of the finished quilt and will understand just how to put the blocks together.

There are border strips, small and large triangles that are a fourth and a half the size of large diamond blocks. These diamond blocks are cut or torn 12 ½ inches by 12 ½ inches. For them use soft white gingham. There are 12 of them. But club members prepared 18 more which were later cut in half diagonally. These gave 36 large triangles. Two of these were cut into halves again diagonally, making four small triangles. These were corner pieces. The remaining large triangles were the pieces next to the border strips and the pieces on to which the birds and flowers were appliquéd.

The finished quilt has 32 large diamond-shaped blocks. In 20 of these the lower half is made up of the pieced urn as shown in today’s paper. The upper half is the white triangle which is seamed to the pieced block. The combination of the two makes a diamond block which is the same size as the diamond block of solid white, of which there are 12. The border strips can wait a later description.

Now for the urn. Keep this pattern for you will need to use it 20 times. Nancy suggests pasting it into your Nancy Page Quilt Scrap Book after you have made a tracing of it on light-weight cardboard. This tracing is cut into pieces and these are used for patterns.

In using them, allow one-quarter inch on all sides for seaming. Not the pieces are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. These numbers correspond to placement of blocks in urn as shown in small drawing.

Note that only one-half of urn is shaded in that small drawing. This has been done to show how pieces are put together. The whole urn, is of course, of one color with background of white.

Note that on each piece there is further printing telling how many pieces of each size to cut. Just because it says “dark” it is not necessary, or wise, to choose a dark color for the urn. Pale yellow, ecru, tan or soft green are suggested. Choose color-fast, soft material like gingham.

Note that piece number 3 shows a dotted line. Lay this piece with the dotted line on a fold of the material, for only half of it is shown. This is because of lack of space in the drawing.

Use fine stitches and put the pieces together as indicated in the small drawing. Then seam the larger white triangle along the upper edge. Now you are ready for your first appliqué which appears next week and is a tulip.


*For fabric choices, I have been collecting reproduction fabrics from the 1930’s era that I plan to use in this quilt which you can see below in the box. I also chose to use unbleached muslin for my background/main fabric. I didn’t really want plain white and I like the feel & look of the unbleached muslin. Choose whatever colors/patterns draw you to them.

* I began by cutting out the appropriate number of squares and triangles from my background fabric. I found a big mistake in the math and messed up a lot of my fabric, so that will save you all some headache! Here is the correct number of squares and triangles you’ll need to cut with the corrected measurements…

*Cut (12) 12 and a half in squares. These will be saved for when the appliquéd blocks are completed. Put a little note on them or stick them in a plastic baggie to keep clean… just clearly mark them so you don’t forget what they are supposed to be used for!

* Cut (18) 12 and ¾ inch squares. Cut them in half diagonally to create 36 triangles. 20 of these triangles will be used for the appliqué basket blocks. The others will be stored away for later use. Mark them clearly as stated above.

* Cut (1) 13 inch square. Cut it diagonally from both sides to create 4 smaller triangles. These will be used later, so again, mark them & put them away as stated above.

*Below is a photo of the urn pattern. I believe you can save the image to your computer & print it out. I have drawn a 1 inch square for size comparison… you may need to adjust your image size to make the square be 1 inch.

* Below is an urn that I completed. I, personally, think this block is way too difficult, complicated, and involved. I decided to make a basket block instead of an urn. You are welcome to make the urn or the basket. I will give directions on how to make the basket below.

*Below is the basket pattern that I redesigned using AutoCAD. Nothing fancy here. Fabrics will give it the flair needed.

*Below are the cutting measurements and basic information needed for making the basket. Below this are step by step photos.

For 1 basket

Background Fabric: (Cut 1) 4 and 7/8 inch square- cut it in half diagonally; (Cut 2) 2 and a half inches by 9 inches rectangle- from 1 corner cut diagonally at a 45 degree angle.

Basket Fabric: (Cut 1) 4 and 7/8 inch square- cut it in half diagonally; (Cut 2) 2 and a half inches by 7 inches rectangle- from 1 corner cut diagonally at a 45 degree angle.
* For both 4 and 7/8 inch squares- cut them in half diagonally. You now have 2 triangles. You will need both triangles from the basket fabric but only 1 triangle from the background fabric. Save the 2nd background fabric triangle for another block.

*Cut out your rectangles from the measurements stated above.

*From 1 corner cut off a triangle at a 45 degree angle, make sure you do this on the opposite angle for the basket. The small triangles are not needed.

* You can cut and sew 1 basket block at a time or you can cut everything out at once and then sew them later. There will be a total of 20 basket blocks. Below are all the basket pieces that I have cut. I used a variety of browns and tans. If you cut them out all at once you will need the following:

Basket Fabric: (20) 4 and 7/8 inch squares- cut in half diagonally to create 40 triangles

(20) 2 and a half by 7 inch rectangles- one edge trimmed off at a 45 degree angle (see above)

(20) 2 and a half by 7 inch rectangles- the opposite edge trimmed off at a 45 degree angle (see above)

Background Fabric: (10) 4 and 7/8 inch squares- cut in half diagonally to create 20 triangles

(20) 2 and a half by 9 inch rectangles- one edge trimmed off at a 45 degree angle (see above)

(20) 2 and a half by 9 inch rectangles- the opposite edge trimmed off at a 45 degree angle (see above)

* Now we begin piecing together the basket blocks! Below you can see how I pieced the blocks together. Once all the pieces are sewn together, sew a straight line all the way around the square/block 1/8 inch from the edge. This will help keep the edges from unraveling or fraying too badly while you appliqué the block. I don’t think I need to explain it but if you need help please ask!


Your assignment this month is to cut out all the pieces needed and sew the baskets together (or, if you choose, do the urns).

I will post a new pattern on the first Wednesday of each month.

If you are sewing along with me, please send me photos that I can post to my blog to show everyone! My email is

I hope you enjoy!


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