Free quilt pattern: Springtime Tulips

February 11, 2020

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It’s still February and winter could still pack a powerful punch for several weeks! To shake those winter doldrums away, Suzan Pons of APQS France has come up with the perfect pick-me-up pattern to brighten your day. Imagine enjoying your morning coffee with pretty springtime tulips perking up your breakfast table!

Complete "Springtime tulip" placemat.
A place setting with a "Springtime tulip" placemat.

Though most of the tulips come from Holland, it will soon be time for the local crop in France to start popping up. Dreaming of those tulips and the warm sunshine that will spur their growth inspired Suzan to dive into her stash and pull out lots of flowery fabric for these springtime placemats. She admits that it also required a trip to her local quilt shop, “Chez Marceline” for the border and center fabrics. I think we can all relate to that!

Even if you’ve never done fusible appliqué before, Suzan’s pattern provides simple, step-by-step instructions that will give you the confidence to succeed. Part of the tulips peek out from the outer border fabric, giving the design more depth and realism. You’ll learn how to trace the pattern shapes on to your background unit using a window or lightbox for perfect placement so that yours will look just as stunning.

Using natural window light to trace fabric pattern.
Utilizing traced pattern as a background to trace onto the fabric used on the "Springtime Tulip" placemat.

Using natural window light to trace fabric pattern.

Suzan used a fusible web to hold her tulip petals and leaves in place. Since the tulip petals are layered with different colored fabric, she cleverly preassembled the tulip units using a silicone baking sheet (NOTE: in the U.S., Teflon pressing sheets used for this purpose are available in many local quilt shops). The sheets are sheer enough to see the pattern placed underneath so that you can precisely align the fabric pieces. When you’re happy with their layout, you can press them together. The pieces will stick to each other, but not to the baking sheet, giving you an accurate unit already assembled and ready to use.

Assembled tulip top example.

The instructions also show you how to use bias cut fabric strips to create the gentle curving stems that fall under the flower petals and leaves. Unlike cross-grain or straight grain fabric strips, bias strips can bend and contort without causing lumps and bumps.

A varieties of bias strips.
Connecting a bias cut fabric strip to the base of a tulip head.

To finish the raw edges and make the placemats more durable, Suzan used a decorative blanket stitch on the flower petals and straight stitching along the stem edges.

Close up detail of "Springtime Tulip" blanket stitch.

Suzan quilted the placemats with gorgeous feathers and swirls using her APQS Lucey using her favorite Aurifil 40 wt. cotton thread and a polyester batting called “Nuage” which is made in France. Though a longarm always speeds up the quilting process, Suzan made it even quicker by loading three placemats at once on to the batting and backing.

Three "Springtime Tulip" placemats placed side by side on a longarm machine.
Close up highlight of feathered stitching in the leaves of quilted tulips.

Suzan always has a place setting on her table, as she feels it gives a fresh and romantic touch and gives the table a taste of the season. If you’re ever in France, be sure to pop by her studio in as it looks like her table’s ready for company—especially quilting friends!

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