Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt Patterns

Grandmothers Flower Garden

Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt Patterns it is one of the most beloved quilt patterns from the 1920’s. It is a one patch pattern that uses the hexagon shape to formGrandmother's Flower Garden Quilt Patterns rosettes, which in turn are joined to make the quilt top. These rosettes are often made with scraps in prints and solid colors, then surrounded by green hexagons that resemble “paths” in a garden. It is a scrap bag quilt pattern, since little fabric is needed to cut the hexagons needed to make a rosette. Traditionally, the center hexagon is yellow, and it is surrounded by concentric rows of hexagons, from one to five.
Hexagons are found in ancient mosaic tiles, and that is likely the inspiration for this quilt pattern

The hexagon shape had been used in quilts since the eighteenth century in Europe and America. These early quilts were often times medallion style, and the fabrics were “fussy cut” to center a printed motif inside the hexagons. Coverlets were made that combined both appliqued shapes and the hexagons. The pattern lost popularity during the nineteenth century, but at the beginning of the twentieth century, it saw a revival. It was printed in many periodicals and books of the time with different names, such as Grandmother’s Rose Garden (The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America, Hall and Kretsinger, 1935), or French Bouquet as published by the Kansas City Star newspaper in 1931. Under any of its names, it became the most popular quilt pattern after 1925. Earlier quilts tend to use smaller hexagons, while quilts made later often times are made with larger hexagons. If the hexagons are sewn into a diamond shape rather than a rosette, the pattern’s name changes to Diamond Field, Field of Diamonds or Rainbow Tiles. These antique quilts from the late twenties and early thirties are still easy to find for purchase. They don’t realize high prices because of the large number of them that was made.

It is a pattern best suited to hand piecing. Although it takes a while to complete a rosette, it is a portable project, once the hexagons are cut, since all it is needed to sew them together is needle, thread and a pair of small scissors.Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt Patterns

There are several ways to prepare the hexagons to make the rosettes. One of the most popular is the so-called “English paper piecing” method. This method involves cutting shapes out of light card stock, then basting the fabric to them, leaving a seam allowance between one fourth and one eight inch all around the hexagon. Once the fabric is basted, the pieces are joined together by whip stitching the fabric at the edges with right sides together, without catching the cardboard inside, using thread that matches the color of the fabric. After the rosette is formed, the basting stitches are removed and the cardboard shapes taken out carefully, since they can be reused, once the pieces are totally surrounded with other row of pieces with card stock inside. Precision cut paper shapes in different sizes are available for sale at quilt shops. They can also be printed from free printable sheets available online in different sizes.

There is another method that is somewhat faster than the English paper piecing method. It involves cutting strips of the desired size hexagon plus ½ inch for seam allowances. Then, using a 60-degree triangle ruler, cutting tumblers and Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt Patternscutting the tumblers again to make hexagons that include a seam allowance of ¼ inch all around them. To sew them by hand, the sewing line needs to be drawn lightly with pencil on the wrong side of the fabric. Then, they can be very easily hand sewn just as any other geometrical shape with a matching thread and a running stitch. Another advantage to this technique is that seams can be pressed to avoid bulk by spreading the fabric open in the intersections.
Larger hexagons could also be machine sewn without marking seam lines, but dots do need to be marked at the intersections of the sewing lines, so as to known when to stop sewing the seam and backstitch or pivot. It is easier to machine sew vertical rows of hexagons and join long rows Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt Patternstogether than to attempt to sew rosettes.

Most Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts are quilted with lines a quarter inch away from the seams to avoid the bulk. The larger the hexagon, the easier it is to add quilting to this quilt pattern.

The hardest thing to accomplish when making a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt is to apply binding if the rosettes are left uncut on the outside edges. A bias binding, as narrow as possible needs to be applied. It is a slow process as there is a lot of stopping and pivoting following the sides of the hexagons. If the rosettes placed on the edges are cut straight, then cross grain binding can be used instead of bias binding.

Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt image used with permission of Jeri Holt, quiltmaker.

For more information on making a quilting block click here!

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