Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Helicopter Appliqué Quilt - a lesson on selecting fabric and colours. - UPDATED

It's a common problem: Find a quilting design I love, decide to replicate, can't find the same fabric. Solution: Do it from your stash!

This gorgeous appliquéd and pieced quilt was made for a friend's baby on the occasion of his 1st birthday (see here for what I made his older brother). The design comes from 'Cherished Quilts for Babies and Kids', produced under the Better Homes and Gardens label, but I've completely changed the colour scheme. And what an agonising process it was picking all those fabrics!

As mentioned in my previous blog, I'm a fabric addict, probably like anyone reading this piece. I buy up things I like when on sale so that hopefully my overall production costs will be a bit less. For themed appliqué like this, I find fat quarter bundles a real saviour; someone else has done the hard part of matching the complementary fabrics. Despite this, it did take me a long time to select exactly which fabrics I would use. Main considerations are:
  1. Do I have enough? Particularly relevant for binding, which is the same fabric I used for the helicopter body. 
  2. Does the pattern look ok given the size of the pieces? i.e. small vs large pattern.
  3. Do the fabrics match given their locations on the quilt? Nothing worse than fabric standing out for the wrong reason.
  4. Take your time.
I started with the central appliqué panel and was clearly happy with the results. I was then unsure how to proceed with the rest of the quilt and happily found some white fabric with colourful spots that complimented the busy design nicely. As with all quilt piecing, photographing potential layout is a great way to see the overall look of a quilt before stitching it together. I also had great fun quilting this one with the square border blocks giving me ample opportunity to hone the FMQ skills. I couldn't have been happier with the finished product but let me tell you, I spent so long swapping potential fabrics in and out and seeing how they all went together. What did I learn? Do exactly that. Take your time and make sure you're happy BEFORE anything starts being cut out. Happy quilting!


After writing the above article, a family member asked me to make another quilt like this for a little boy who is about to be adopted into the family. At very short notice, this is what I came up with thanks to a cute charm pack and some leftovers! Which colour scheme do you prefer? The original or the replica? 


  1. Impossible to choose. Both are excellent examples of your skill in planning and constructing quilts.

  2. That's it! They are so different, I like each for it's own merit!