I am so happy to get the pattern and tutorial of the Secret Garden Quilt done. Thanks to all who are patiently waiting for the pattern and tutorial to get ready.
I spent almost a year to get it up here and on my daughter’s bed, from idea to drawing to the actual quilt, then, to this Secret Garden Quilt pattern and tutorial sharing. The reason behind this long stretch of time is because I have too many tasks on hand. I was being carried away with and lost my sense of priority.
In early last year, we bought a new condominium (yes, we are moving from a landed double story house to a condo, crazy!) so that we could have a place of our own. The quilting idea emerging into my mind and I told myself that I am going to make each of my kids at least a quilted blanket for their new bedrooms. A quilt that they can remember for their whole life and perhaps can make it an heirloom piece to show the next generation “See, this quilt is designed and made by your grandma, and it has a name – it’s called the “Secret Garden Quilt”.”
I bought a Bernina B550 QE (quilter’s edition) from Bernina Malaysia to sew the Secret Garden Quilt. A million thanks to Kelvin who came all the way up to Penang to demonstrate how to use the machine to the fullest. I really love this machine as it has a cruise control on the sewing speed, the BSR stitch regulator, the hands-free foot lifter, and many more….. not to mention the reliability of the machine which is well known to be able to pass down for generations. Love love love it!
Hope you will quilt one soon. I am almost finished with my son’s quilt, the “Road Runner”…… stay tuned!
Secret Garden Quilt Pattern
Pattern: Download quilt patterns, piecing layout, and fabric cutting layout (5 pages) here.
Tools & Materials
1. Applique patterns, collect the patterns and tutorials from the following pages: “Flowers, Leaves and Stems“, “Ladybug, Butterflies and Snails“, “Songbird, Tree and Sun“, and, “Secret Garden Font“
2. Applique fusible web (I used Steam-A-Seam), Qty = 20 sheets
3. Sewing Machine that is able to do free motion quilting, ie. with feed dog down or covered (I used Bernina B550 Quilter’s Edition)
4. Darning foot (or Bernina Stitch Regulator, BSR), walking foot, 1/4″ foot
5. Cotton blend batting (at least 64″ x 88″)
6. Polyester high loft batting (approximately half of the batting size)
7. Quilting cotton thread, #50, white, coordinate colors and contrast colors of your choice
8. Quilter Safety pins and/or basting thread
9. Fabric chalk or pencil and ruler
10. Cutting Mat
11. Rotary cutter
14. Printer and papers (letter size, qty= 20)
1. White cotton 44″ wide, 4.5 yards
2. Backing fabric, Pink base white polka-dot, 44″ wide 6 yards
3. Edge binder, 2.5″, 9 yard (or use 8 strips from jelly-roll)
4. Applique and square patchwork:
Brand: Moda Fabrics
Designer: Sandy Gervais
Theme: Sassy [precuts: 5″ charm pack and 2.5″ jelly-roll]
usage: 1 charm pack and 2 jelly-rolls
Finished Dimension: approximately 62″ x 86″ (to suit Super Single Bed).
If you want to quilt for a single bed, the quilt size is 56″ x 86″ and the center part includes the inner boxed border is 36″ wide. Adjust the appliques and the rest of the components accordingly either by resizing them or omit some of them.
Cut white fabric pieces according to the quilt pattern downloaded from the above link. Snip a small cut at the edge of the fabric and tear along the way is always better than cutting by using a scissor or rotary cutter. It will give you absolutely straight grain lines by tearing the fabric.
I cut the white fabric pieces with a 1″ seam allowance for the initial stage. The reason is that the fabric pieces might distort (shrink) a little during patchwork and trapunto quilting. In order to make sure you have enough fabric for piecing up, add 1″ at each side as a safety factor. Use fabric chalk or pencil to lightly mark the actual size of all of the panels (on the right side), erasable fabric marker fades away too fast. After patchwork and trapunto quilt is done, check the dimension again and redraw the marking again if needed, trim down the seam allowance to 1/4″ before you piece them up.
Print out all the appliques as listed above, follow the tutorials and quilt pattern to stick them on the white fabrics that you have cut. Plan your colors and fabrics carefully for the applique, I used a 5″ charm pack for larger appliques and sometimes with jelly-roll for smaller pieces.
Refer to this method for a fast and easy way to make a huge amount of fabric applique.
Cut the high loft batting slightly bigger than the applique, pin it or use washable glue to temporarily stick it on the wrong side of the white fabric where the applique was fused on. Quilt the applique patchworks with the trapunto method.
After you have done with all the appliques, trim the raw edge to have 1/4″ seam allowance, except those at the utmost edges of the quilt.
Piecing up square patchwork.
1. Sew a few strips of jelly rolls next to each other with 1/4″ foot. It doesn’t have to be fixed numbers and colors of the strip, just do it as you think will look good, for example, in a group of 3 strips, 4 strips, 5 strips, etc…
2. Cut 2 1/2″ across the roll of the strip.
3 & 4. Mix and match each set with others and sew with 1/4″ foot to make up the boxed borders and top panel of the quilt.
Full assembly of the front quilt after sewing all the pieces together.
Full assembly of the back quilt after sewing all the pieces together.
The pink/white polka-dot backing is joined by 3 pieces of panels, sides are 10″ each, and the center is 42″.
Now, sandwich the cotton blend batting in between the front and back pieces.
Align the backing to the front so that the 2 vertical joining lines are on the outer seam lines of the first square patchwork boxed border (the one next to the center panel). Baste them together along the lines.
Pin or baste the rest of the area.
Sew the 2 vertical lines with a walking foot. I noticed that this method is difficult to get a perfect alignment, so I tried another method when I did my son’s blanket. That second method is to baste the centerpiece of the backing to the batting and front quilt, then add and sew the two side panels followed by the top banner. I will do a more detailed tutorial when I share my son’s “Road Runner” Quilt.
Here comes the interesting and challenging part, Free Motion Quilting!!!! This quilt is huge, so you need to do it section by section by rolling the quilt up to cater to the arm space of the sewing machine.
Change your presser foot to darning foot or BSR, lower your feed dog, or cover it up.
Needle down and up to bring the lower thread up to the surface, make a few stitches on the same spot to lock the stitch. Always perform this when you start a new quilting route.
Quilt an outline just outside the appliques with white #50 quilting thread.
Continue to quilt the rest of the white areas with loopy lines (click to see the video by Leah Day) except the utmost white border. If this is your first time, practice with a 4″ swatch before quilting.
The utmost border is quilted in 1″ spacing straight lines.
Stitch in the ditch for the square patchwork boxed border, then quilt a smaller square (1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″) in alternate squares.
Hide all thread-ends into the quilt or you can trim them away.
Trim the borders of the quilt to 62″ (W) x 86″ (L) or 2 inches on the white borders and the squares of the patchwork.
Prepare 2 1/2″ binder strips by joining 8 jelly-roll strips to make up approximately 9 yards long.
Fold the strip into half (1 1/4″) and iron.
1. Align the raw edges of the folded binder to the quilt edge, sew with a walking foot of 1/4″ seam allowance around (refer to the picture below for mitered corner).
2. Stop at about 2 1/2″ away from the beginning.
3. Mark the joining distance and sew to join the binder strip together. Trim away excess.
4. Continue to sew the binder on the edge.
These are the steps to sew mitered corners for the binding.
1. Stop at 1/4″ before you reach the end of the edge, perform backstitching to secure the stitches.
2. Flip the strip up vertically to form a 45° angle.
3. Flip it down again with a horizontal fold align to the top edge. Align the binder strip to the next corner of the raw edge.
4. Sew from the top raw edge down. Repeat the same at every corner.
Fold the binder over to the other side and stitch along the previous sewing lines. I like to hand-sewn this side as it gives a perfectly nice and clean seam line, though it took me a day to slip stitch the binder of the whole quilt it is worth the effort when you see the end result.
That’s it, you have got the beautiful quilt finished. I have spent months to get it done bit by bit with lots of interruptions while getting my house designed interiorly, renovated, touch up, and moving! I think I could do it within a month if I am focused enough! Bravo!