Princess Quilt


I have a little Miss who turned three on the weekend and is obsessed with Princesses.  We have been trying to decide on a name for her dolly and she is adamant that dolly should be called “Princess”.  Anyway, with a third birthday looming we decided it was time for Missy to move into a big girl bed and a quilt was therefore needed.

Princess Quilt in direct sunlight

As I mentioned previously, this quilt is sooooo hard to photograph.  The colours come across as washed out.  Trust me, this one is a stunner.  I love absolutely everything about it and it is not at all washed out in real life :)

This shot captures the true colours of the Princess Quilt well

I started out with some Alexandra Henry “Princess Kingdom” prints from Hawthorne Threads and then pulled themed prints from my stash (I was quite shocked when I discovered three magic toadstool prints, there’s a possibility that I’ve become a hoarder!).  I then selected high value/high volume/saturated prints from my stash, many of these have come from my stash subscription with Pink Castle Threads.  I actually meant to use a darker background as Missy is known for staining quilts with textas but I ended up using some Bella Bleached White from the Fat Quarter Shop (I use both Kona and Bella solids but have a slight preference for Bella).  (And this post isn’t sponsored, just letting you know where to source these goodies.)

Lovely Princess prints by Alexander Henry

I framed each of the feature prints in the high value prints and then added white sashing.  I love improv piecing and I’ve found that it pays to layout your pieces on the design wall, break them up into sections and then try and get these sections to either the same width or length.  To do this I generally cut sashing at two widths, a wide sashing of around 3.5″ and a narrower sashing of around 2″.  These can then be trimmed back or added to.

In this progress shot you can better see how different sized blocks were pieced together using a wide and a narrow sashing

I added some floating blocks to the top and the bottom using some super special Liberty of London scraps, some voile and some favourite quilting cottons.

The top and bottom feature floating squares of some favourite prints, Liberty scraps and voiles.

I like big quilts.  I like a quilt that covers the pillows and hangs nicely over the end as well as both sides.  This quilt ended up at 87″ x 62″ (I lost a fair amount in both trimming and washing) and I love the size.

L-R: Rainbow I Spy Quilt, Princess Quilt, Kitchen Windows Quilt

I actually didn’t realise that I had unintentionally made quite similar quilts for my children until I lay down and admired them.  How cool is this view?  If only I could snuggle here all day!

I love that they match without being too matchy-matchy

I used a super soft and snuggly Anna Maria Horner flannel (again from Hawthorne Threads) for the back.  I love how the quilting looks on the back :)

AMH flannel paired with 100% wool batting makes for a super snugly quilt!

Free motion quilting is my passion.  If I could quilt every day of my life I would be a happy woman indeed.  A little while ago I read a quote that was something like, “be so awesome that they can’t ignore you” and it has rung in my ears ever since.  I put that philosophy 100% into my quilting.  I want to be a famous quilter, not for the money or the fame (like there’s any of that in handmade LOL) but because I want enough people to want me to quilt for them and actually get paid so I can make this my job.  That’s the dream, but the reality is that I love to quilt and that I spend a lot of time coming up with designs, practicing them and making myself the best quilter I can be.  And I enjoy it! :)

Here you see a mix of feathers, dense lines and large pebbles. The quilting was designed to enhance and compliment, but not overshadow the quilt.

I quilted feathers in the negative space around the floating blocks in a soft pink (if you’re looking for a soft pink thread, try this one!) Aurifil 2410 in 50wt. I would have used it for the whole quilt except the spool was low, so I outlined the feathers in white (Aurifil 2024 in 50wt) and then densely FMQed the blank areas.

I quilted around the designs in some of the larger prints.

I quilted large pebbles between the feature blocks.  I didn’t want the quilting to distract from the prints and I think I achieved this well.

Each section of the quilt is quilted differently but all with a princess in mind. I see vines covering a tower, flowers to be used for a crown and true love aplenty :)

I saw the negative space between the curved borders on the side and the pieced center as an opportunity to have fun.  Again using the soft pink (Aurifil 2410) I did a kind of curvy pattern inspired by Angela Walters quilting of Tula Pink’s Anchor Quilt.  I would have liked to have had three of these on both sides, but I didn’t have space to do a third nicely so instead I densely FMQed swirls, butterflies, paisleys, hearts, flowers and a few words in white (Aurifil 2024 in 50wt).

The curvy lines on the left were inspired by the quilting of Angela Walters on Tula Pink’s Anchor Quilt.

The curved pieced border was a lot of fun and a key feature of this quilt.  I selected matching low value prints from my stash cut them at 7″ x 5″ and then did an improv curved piecing technique to join them to the bella bleached white.  I realised afterwards that I should have done this part slightly differently to get perfect corners but  am happy with how it turned out.

The pink quilting in the pieced border was inspired by a ribbon I bought years ago.

Coming up with a quilting design for the pieced border was difficult.  I worked hard to make sure that the borders were directional when the quilt is hanging on a bed.  I wanted to incorporate love-hearts into the design but it was difficult to come up with a repetitive, princess type design that was directional and did not overpower the prints.  Yes, I think a LOT about every aspect of the quilt LOL  I’m super pleased with the design I came up with in the end and Aurifil 2452 in 50wt was a perfect fit!

I have not always had great results using different top and bottom thread when quilting but I didn’t want to use super light threads on the back.  I paired Aurifil 2510 (a light lavender) with white and used a lot of the dusty pink (Aurifil 2452) in the bobbin.  This worked well because the colours were similar enough not to cause any tension issues and I got the look I wanted on both the front and back.

Quilting detail on back

I know I’ve already said it, but I LOVE this quilt.  It even fits on my bed, but seeing as I quilted my daughter’s name onto it I figure she should keep it ;)

Princess Quilt (very large and very hard to photograph well!)


This quilt was designed, pieced and quilted by me on my Bernina 440QE using Aurifil threads.  I used 100% wool batting, flannel back and an array of quilting cottons (including bella solids) for the top.  It measures 87″ by 62″ and was deemed fit by my little princess ;)  We’re hoping to find a pea under her mattress which we can then remove to solve all of our sleep problems ;)

Whilst I love, love, loved making this quilt (which I think took about two weeks, funny how speedy I can be with a deadline!) I am happy to be back to more saturated projects :)  Next up is a mini for Mr Husband for father’s day <3  Do you tend to work with the same palette over and over or do you mix it up?  Do you feel a bit funny when working with a palette outside of your comfort zone?  What do you do to make it work or check that you’re on the right track?  I’d love to hear about your process :)

I’m linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday at Better Off Thread and Anything Goes Mondays at Stitch by Stitch :)

22 Comments on Princess Quilt

  1. Alyce {Blossom Heart Quilts}
    August 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm (4 months ago)

    Oh Gemma, it’s just beautiful!! It’s really interesting how you slowly grow into quilting, and finding your own niches of passion. For me, it’s the physical designing of quilts that I LOVE, and would love to make a career of somehow. Tell you what – I’ll design and piece, and you quilt, and we shall become the Australian Tula Pink/Angela Walters team ;)

  2. Sarah from mila+cuatro
    August 27, 2013 at 7:11 pm (4 months ago)

    This is such an inspiring quilt, I love everything about it and will one day try improv piecing for the sole reason that this quilt looks so fantastic.

  3. Ms Midge
    August 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm (4 months ago)

    Stunning! You know I know that you know you’re a quilting freak! xx

  4. Kristy @ Quiet Play
    August 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm (4 months ago)

    Just beautiful! It’s such a stunning quilt Gem! Your FMQ is just fantastic!

  5. Sue
    August 27, 2013 at 11:37 pm (4 months ago)

    I love it! Being the mother of two (now grown) boys princesses are way out of my comfort zone but your princess quilt rocks! I’m with you on quilting, I love it too and really enjoy turning a flat piece of fabric into something with texture. Your feathers look great. Haven’t tackled them yet myself but I’ve been practicing drawing them on paper and I think their time is near! Great quilt!

  6. Jess @ Quilty Habit
    August 28, 2013 at 12:43 am (4 months ago)

    This is a beautiful, beautiful quilt :D I feel your pain about hard-to-photograph quilts, especially for up-close photos, though you did a great job! I can tell you have such a passion for quilting!

  7. Vera
    August 28, 2013 at 4:21 am (4 months ago)

    Well done! All those quilts looks so good together. Three little bears must be happy in their beds :-)

  8. Marelize
    August 28, 2013 at 6:34 am (4 months ago)

    You have every reason to be proud, it is STUNNING! Your dream WILL come true one day, never give up on your dreams!!

    • Marelize
      August 28, 2013 at 6:36 am (4 months ago)

      …oh, I would love if you shared this quilt on my linky party.

  9. Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation
    August 28, 2013 at 9:10 am (4 months ago)

    I love this quilt, and the three quilts together look so neat! Improv piecing is so much fun, and I love the random look it gives.

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  10. Renee
    August 28, 2013 at 9:34 am (4 months ago)

    Love, love love this quilt! Gorgeous little story boxes, quilting and curvy border (must learn how to do that someday!). And I love that photo showing all three beds and quilts, how sweet! Quilting is my favorite part too, so I really enjoyed seeing all the details you put into the quilt.

  11. Elise
    August 28, 2013 at 10:18 am (4 months ago)

    This is absolutely stunning. Love the way you pieced this all together and then quilted it! I love how it coordinates with all your other kids’ quilts too!

  12. Laura C
    August 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm (4 months ago)

    GORGEOUS. The quilting on this is masterful. I love the handstitching details within the blocks. I think the colors are so perfect for a little girl. An amazing finish! Love those three sweet quilts in your kids’ bedroom. What a feeling that must be, to have done that for your kiddos!

  13. Melissa
    August 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm (4 months ago)

    I do love this quilt! And I love the way you quilted it. :) I hope you become famous one day, too. You deserve it! I’m surprised you’re not over-run with calls for quilting already. You’ve really got a gift. :)

  14. Rachel
    August 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm (4 months ago)

    It’s so fun reading about your thought process! I can’t believe how quickly you put this together and finished it! Amazing! And how fun that all 3 quilts look so good together!

  15. Regina DeMatteo
    August 29, 2013 at 1:21 am (4 months ago)

    Can’t believe your little one is a duplicate of my Great-Granddaughter. She just turned three and had a Princess themed birthday party. She was dressed as Ariel with fins and crown and all. She got two more Princess dresses as gifts and is in seventh heaven. Your little princess will have happy dreams in such a wonderful quilt!

  16. Jenny
    August 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm (4 months ago)

    Beautiful quilting! You are definitely living up to your dream.

  17. Angela Walters
    August 31, 2013 at 7:03 am (4 months ago)

    What a stunningly beautiful quilt for your daughter!! The piecing and quilting were done with such love, with all of the sweet details. Your feathers are just perfect on this quilt! What a treasure for your daughter to grow with!!

  18. Janice
    September 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm (4 months ago)

    It is SO beautiful, Gemma! Your daughter will never grow tired of looking at all the beautiful pictures and quilting on this quilt! Such a treasure for her to always have. Oh and my daughter calls her dolly’s “Dolly 1″ and “Dolly 2″, so she is just about as original:)

  19. shirley tener
    September 4, 2013 at 12:40 am (4 months ago)

    very lovely, I have alot of these fabrics out for a backing for a quilt for my granddaughter, I have been staring at it for several days, You have given me inspiration..

  20. Kimberly
    September 4, 2013 at 4:06 am (4 months ago)

    Wow!!! This is stunning! Great job!

  21. Sarah
    September 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm (3 months ago)

    It’s beautiful Gemma. A real heirloom for your daughter. I like similar but not matchy matchy quilts too. I find it difficult to work with colour I don’t love, but I have done it. And the end product was a gorgeous orange, black and green quilt. I knew it would work coz the fabrics did look great together when I chose them, but just so not what I like for my own home. It was a wedding gift quilt. My own colour palette preferences do chop and change over time.


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