We are celebrating Memorial Day here at Suzy Quilts by showing you six different examples of red, white, and blue quilt patterns and why they work so well in this color scheme. Lilo Whitener-Fey, one of the founders of Modern Service Quilts, and owner of Trace Creek Quilting, has made three of the beautiful quilts seen here.
For our readers outside of The United States, Memorial Day is a holiday about remembering and honoring those who bravely served in the armed forces, protecting our freedoms and ensuring our safety. Even though Memorial Day can come with a lot of emotions, especially for the families who have lost loved ones, it also marks the unofficial start of summer. Many people take advantage of the long holiday weekend by coming together, firing up the grill, playing games, and enjoying the great outdoors.
As you can see, my two kids like to celebrate this time of year with popsicles, bare feet, and many hours playing with the hose while running around the backyard. If squirting friends with water isn't your thing, a great way for quilters to celebrate Memorial Day is by making red, white, and blue quilt patterns!
These six different quilts are all made using shades of red, white, and blue as well as shades of beige. You can use all solids or even all printed fabric, just as long as you stick to the main color scheme of red, white, and blue. I like to suggest you maintain a 50/50 ratio of solids or "blenders" to prints so there is adequate negative space. Negative space helps a quilt composition feel balanced.
If you are new to the term "blender" prints, they are fabrics with very subtle designs printed on them, and appear to be solid or almost solid from about 6 ft. away. But before we jump into our quilt patterns and fabrics, I think it would be nice to review a bit of quilt history and honor the long tradition of quilters that came before us.
American Quilting Throughout History
We've talked a lot about quilt history on the Suzy Quilts blog. From Sunbonnet Sue to the invention of the sewing machine, we know that the more we understand where quilting has been, the better we can appreciate where its going!
The roots of American quilting can be traced back to the early settlers who brought with them the European quilting traditions. Quilts initially served a practical purpose, providing warmth and comfort during harsh winters. However, over time, quilting became more than just a functional necessity; it became an art form that allowed women to express their creativity and connect with their communities!
During the 19th century, quilting became deeply embedded in the fabric of American culture. Quilting bees, where women gathered to sew together, fostered social bonds and provided a platform for storytelling and sharing knowledge. These gatherings were not only a means of passing down quilting techniques, but also served as spaces for women to discuss important social issues of the time.
Storytelling and Symbolism in Quilt Patterns
One of the remarkable aspects of American quilting is its ability to tell stories and convey messages through the use of fabric, colors, and motifs. Quilt patterns have often held symbolic meanings, portrayed emotions, and showcased important values of the quilters.
Red, White, and Blue Quilt Patterns
Starling is essentially a sawtooth star with a twist. The twist is that in each vertical row fanning out from the center, the stars lose a part of themselves, giving the appearance of sliding off the sides of the quilt.
This pattern lends itself beautifully to the red, white, and blue color scheme because it looks very much like a flag rippling in the wind. Using this Ombré Starling Quilt Pattern Variation post, you can make this quilt exactly like it's seen here.
Fabric: Moda Bellas: Navy, Nautical Blue, Cobalt, Blue, Stone, Strawberry, Cherry, Country Red, Kansas Red, Off-White; Backing: Speckled from Ruby Star
Starling Extras on the Blog
Garland is a party quilt! The scrappy strips symbolize a festive garland one might make for a birthday or special occasion. Not only does Garland look great in red, white, and blue, the small scraps used make it perfect as a memory quilt too! This pattern is scrap-friendly and precut-friendly with instructions on using fat quarters, fat eighths, layer cakes or jelly rolls!
Fabric: Moda Bellas: Kansas Red, Christmas Red, Admiral Blue, Etchings Stone, Riley Blake Confetti Cotton: Riley Navy; Backing: Microfiber blanket
Garland Extras on the Blog
Butterfly Garden is a quintessential summer quilt. It uses classic quilt blocks (four patches and half square triangles) to harken traditional quilting, while making it modern through minimalism and negative space. This pattern is brand new to the Suzy Quilts family, but it's already making a splash! Be sure to check out all the beautiful examples of this quilt in this blog post.
Lilo of Trace Creek Quilting made this quilt using the panto String Theory from the Longarm League. To make the butterflies stand out, she picked a sandy beige background fabric — giving this quilt a lovely vintage look. For a limited time you can get a kit of this red, white, and blue Butterfly Garden quilt here!
Fabric: Moda Bellas: Country Red, Strawberry, Stone, White, Nautical Blue, Riley Blake Confetti Cotton: Riley Navy; Backing: Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel
Butterfly Garden Extras on the Blog
Maypole is the most popular Suzy Quilts pattern of all time for a reason. Not only is it an exciting, bold design, it also uses wide strips of fabric — making it perfect for large prints. How good does this striped fabric look?
This quilt pattern is based on a traditional maypole where people would weave ribbons around a pole by dancing around it as a group. Sarah Holst made this quilt and used to sell kits. If you reach out to her, she would probably make you a similar one 😉
Maypole Extras on the Blog
Hexie Stripe is perfect for the limited color palette of red, white, and blue. The pattern requires a 1/2 yd of 9 different fabrics. Even slightly larger prints work well because the strips are 2" wide when finished. This quilt was made years ago, so unfortunately I don't know any of the specific fabrics.
Hexie Stripe Extras on the Blog
Kris Kross is an early Suzy Quilts pattern that has still remained a fan favorite. The pattern includes a tutorial video that makes trimming and sewing these blocks easy peasy! I made this red, white, and blue Kris Kross quilt many years ago, so many of the fabrics are hard to find.
Fabrics: White and Navy Mariner Cloth by Alison Glass, AGF PURE Aurora Red, Robert Kaufman Indigo Chambray Dot, Leah Duncan print (that is out of print)
Kris Kross Extras on the Blog
So, as you plan your Memorial Day activities, remember to take a moment to reflect and express gratitude for the courageous people who served our country. But then go ahead and seize the day, soak up the sunshine, indulge in some tasty treats, and create wonderful memories with your loved ones.
After all, that's what Memorial Day is all about—honoring heroes, celebrating life, and making quilts, of course!