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Bow Tie Required Quilt

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

My Bow Tie Required quilt is complete! This was such a fun collaboration with my fellow Milwaukeean, fabric designer Allison Beilke. And now you all can enjoy the fruits of that collaboration with my new free pattern!

Yep, a complete pattern to make this quilt is now available on Craftsy, free of charge. Click here to download the pattern. It’s a fun and very beginner-friendly pattern! And to bring mid-century modern cool to your pad, click here to check out Allison’s fabric line, Business and Leisure, available in four colorways and multiple scales from Modern Yardage.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

If you’ve been hanging around this corner of the blogosphere for any length of time, you know I’m not much of an improv girl. Wonkiness doesn’t come easily or naturally for me. But when Allison asked me to design a pattern for her Business and Leisure line, I took one look and just knew some wonkiness had to be involved somehow. I mean, it would have been borderline tragic to create a pattern for this line that had all straight lines and right angles.

So I took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet. But of course I didn’t want to go too crazy-improvvy on this thing, since that is definitely not my thing. In the end, I think I came up with a good compromise. This design is wonky and improvisational, but within a definite structure, which I love.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!

The bow tie blocks were inspired by Allison’s amazing Mad-Men-esque prints. And you guys, these blocks are genuinely fun to piece, even for a wonky-phobe like myself. In fact, they’re kind of addicting. The pattern includes complete instructions for making the bow-tie blocks, of course, and you can also come back on Thursday when I’ll be posting a full Bow-Tie Block tutorial right here.

I complimented the bow-tie blocks with some wonky squares and wonky frame blocks. They’re made in a bit of an odd way in order to give them that floating appearance without too many seams, but again, it’s all 100% beginner-friendly.

Bow Tie Required - a free pattern!
For the quilting, you might remember that I was attempting something new: Boxy, straight-line free-motion quilting. Wow, I found this quilting style very difficult to pull off. It’s challenging to get sharp corners with a free-motion-quilting foot—you have to pause for just a beat or two, or you won’t get a corner at all, and pausing is not something you normally want to do during FMQ! It’s usually all smooth and flowy, while this style was all herky-jerky and kind of robotic. Then there was the matter of keeping the lines from curving, another difficult task. Last but not least, I was trying to keep the lines either perfectly vertical or horizontal—no angled lines allowed. Yeah, right! That last part proved to be the hardest to master. By the time I quilted this entire quilt, I had the sharp corners down pat, and my lines weren’t curving anymore—but they sure weren’t straight 90-degree angles either. LOL. Oh well—again, I think the wonkiness suits the quilt, so I’m calling this quilting style a success and moving on.

Bow Tie Required - the back

You’ll have some pieced scraps leftover from making the bow tie blocks, so I incorporated those as one long strip of wonky diamonds on the quilt back. This pattern gives you such an easy way to make a pieced back, since you have those scraps ready to go, whether you use them in this project or not!

Bow Tie Required - the binding

The final touch was the binding—the Limbo print might become one of my favorite binding prints ever! It’s perfection. I cut this binding on the straight-grain, but Limbo would be a great bias-binding print as well, since the stripes would end up angled. So many fun possibilities!

I want to thank Allison for giving me the chance to work with this fabulous line, and hope you all will check out her work, as she is an incredibly talented designer. She’s got plenty of other collections available at Modern Yardage as well, including her gorgeous new “Autumn Harvest” line. And when you’re done with that, head over to Craftsy to download Bow Tie Required!

23 replies
  1. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Your quilting looks great – but I agree with you, it is a nightmare to do it that way! 🙂 I could not face doing a whole quilt all-over like that – it would drive me nuts. Trust you still have your sanity!

  2. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this quilt! The pattern, the fabrics…. the colors! I even like the white, and I'm definitely not (usually) a lover of white. And.. the quilting is the perfect compliment. I admire your perseverance, I think it turned out great! Did you do that on a long arm, or a regular machine?

    Count me as another one who has great difficulty with free-form non-structured piecing. But its not so difficult when the wonkiness is confined within a defined block, don't you think? Is it me, or are your bow ties also a bit wonky? At any rate, I love it.

    Did I mention I love this quilt??

  3. Kimetha TURNER
    Kimetha TURNER says:

    this is beautiful.You did an amazing job, thanks for being gracious and sharing your skills in the form of free patterns thanks so much. i have some layer cakes that i want to see if will suit this pattern. mod century and road 15? i think that will be good for this.. so off to take a looksy at that pattern.. if i get around to actually making it i will be sure to post pics

  4. Kelly Young
    Kelly Young says:

    This is such a great mix of fabric, pattern, and quilting, Lee! That boxy FMQ does sound like it would be tough, but looks like you pulled it off beautifully!

    🙂 Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  5. Ramona
    Ramona says:

    Thanks so much for providing this quilt pattern. I have had my eye on it since you started posting 'in progress' photos. I just love what you have done with this fabric and quilt.

  6. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    You are so generous to share with us. I enjoyed reading about how the quilting went–we quilters like to get in the groove and having to hesitate at each turn would be a challenge.

    It really turned out lovely, Lee. Wonderful!

    Elizabeth E.

  7. Franziska
    Franziska says:

    Thank you for the free quilt pattern! I like the quilt a lot and felt joy when I read that it's a free pattern. Unfortunately I don't have a craftsy account, so I will continue admiring your quilt. I know what you mean with the boxy quilting. I tried it, too, and experienced all problems, too. At the end of my mini quilt my lines and angles became better. But I'm far from perfect. Your lines and angles look wonderful. Well done!


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