This light-hearted and whimsical design has been itching at my brain for over a year, and only now am I finally scratching that itch. My high school art teacher always emphasized the importance of an artist's "layering of experiences." I think about that all the time when tracing back the inception of a design.
With the Bohemian Garden design only in hindsight do I see all of the layers that worked together as inspiration – a chance meeting with one of my textile heroes, Natalie Chanin, while filming at Craftsy; new bold prints making their way into everyday fashion; and notably, the iconic paper cut-outs created by Henri Matisse.
When I was writing this pattern, I kept worrying that the knits were going to be off-putting, the appliqué too time-intensive... and maybe the pattern was just a little weird. But I didn't want to play it safe and only make patterns that I thought would "sell well." That's sounded like such a bore! 😉
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My challenge to you...
So here's my challenge to you.
If you've never tried appliqué. Try it.
If you've never sewn with knit. Try it.
You don't have to make this pattern. You don't even have to make a pattern at all! But I'm guessing, you won't regret trying something new.
Before diving into the nuts and bolts of the Bohemian Garden quilt pattern, check out this video series I created to show you step-by-step how to make a quilt using knits. This video shows you how to make a whole-cloth, but the same principles can be applied to all knit variations!
Part 1 of 3: Intro, Supplies & Fabric, Basting
Part 2 of 3: Cutting, Arranging, Appliquéing
Part 3 of 3: Finishing with Binding
A Variety of Options – the pattern includes 3 variations!
Use Regular Quilting Cotton
I originally made the first version of Bohemian Garden using all knits, but you know what's just as cute? Using your classic quilt-weight cotton that you already have on hand. The pattern includes instructions and illustrations on how to quickly and easily recreate this design using raw-edge appliqué.
Don't believe raw-edge appliqué is easy peezy? Check out this tutorial!
Make the Havana Boho Garden Quilt!
2 Tools you may need to get...
1. Fusible Web
There are different ways to appliqué, so choose the technique that is right for you. The pattern includes instructions on making this quilt using raw-edge appliqué. The only bit of extra supplies you need is fusible web. I use Pellon 805 Wonder-Under. It's inexpensive and easy to use. I've also heard that Heat-n-Bond Thermoweb works well, but can't speak from experience.
I like the Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen because it glides easily over all kinds of fabric. You can choose the light blue color or dark purple based on which one is easier to see on your fabric.
Get the Fabric!
All of the fabric used to make this version is 100% organic Birch Fabrics poplin. A question I get sometimes is, "Is poplin the same as cotton? Can I use it to quilt?"
In this case, the answer is Yes and Yes! This poplin is a light-weight solid cotton fabric that is great for piecing and quilting. Read more about sewing with poplin here!
Make the Softest Quilt in the World with Knits!
Did you know that knits don't fray? Well of course you did because you avidly read this blog and remember when we went on our quilty adventure through jersey....right?? 😉
Knits, unlike our classic quilt-weight cotton, are not woven with vertical and horizontal threads. You can see in the image below the difference between the looping knit stitches and woven stitches. Woven fabrics unravel easily. Knits, however, do not, so the edges can actually be left raw without any trouble.
Photo cred: Threads Magazine
Did you hear that? RAW. Can you think of what would be soooo fun and easy if fraying didn't happen and all edges could be left raw?
I snapped the above shot while I was having the loveliest moment hand sewing as the sun set. I've been hand quilting for a couple years now, and believe it's a great way to connect with the process of making, meditate, and slow down from the speed and urgency life imposes on us. I'm smitten, you could say.
So member 10 seconds ago when we jumped up and down cause we were so excited about appliquéing all the things with knit because it doesn't fray? Well that's not the only thing we should be excited about. Because of the no-fray factor, we can also shortcut our binding by folding over the backing and sewing that to the front.
Voilà! How pretty is that?
Sidenote: I know you're wondering about the knot ties. You're thinking, "Did she do that on purpose?" And the answer is, "Yeppers!" When hand quilting I usually pop my knots so they are invisible, however this time I thought, let's try it and see what happens!
I posted this to IG and the results were pretty divisive. Some of you hated it and some thought it was groovy. At the end of the day, whatevs! It's fun trying new things!
Get the Fabric!
In this Bohemian Garden knit quilt I used 100% organic Birch Fabrics knit. You can find most of them at fabricworm. I have one knit tip for you – try to use 100% or close to 100% cotton. If you stray into the spandex or rayon blends, your fabric will get thinner and stretchier, and I don't think you'll enjoy working with it as much.
To make my knit quilt extra squishy and cuddly, I used Quilter's Dream wool batting. It's like wrapping up in a marshmallow, only sweeter.
Don't have a sewing machine? Don't count yourself out!
Because knits don't fray (do I sound like a broken record?), you don't need to worry about finishing edges with a sewing machine. If you want a portable project or maybe you're not ready to invest in a sewing machine yet, this light-weight blanket-type quilt is perfect! Supplies are very affordable and limited:
Bohemian Garden Whole-Cloth Knit Quilt Supplies
- 1 1/2 yd. of two colors of jersey knit. In this example, Lais used Icy Mint and Lime.
- Knit scraps. She used scraps left over from my Bohemian Garden quilt, so they are Birch Fabrics Teal, Forest, Cream, and Mineral. But this is where some fun experimentation can come into play. Do you have an old top you don't wear? Or maybe a collection of T-shirts piled high in the back of your closet? Use those!
- Water soluble marker
- Sharp Scissors – Two pairs, a large and a small, are actually helpful. The small scissors are nice for cutting away the reverse appliqué
- Safety Pins
- Masking Tape
- Tape Measure (you prob already have one at home)
- Thimble (optional)
Grab the Bohemian Garden quilt pattern, watch the video series, and you're all set!
Bohemian Quilts in the Wild
Shannon of Shannon Fraser Designs used quilt-weight cotton for your vibrant Boho quilt. If you're wondering why there is a seam allowance drawn on her appliqué pieces, it's because she is using needle-turn appliqué. Read this post for a tutorial!
Christine made this elegant high-contrast whole-cloth quilt with quilt-weight cotton. She quilted the three layers together first, and then appliquéd on top.
Jessica made super soft and cuddly knit pillow using only reverse appliqué!