Hawaiian Marriage Quilt Work in Progress

In my last post I told you about my friends Meg and Bill who got married this past weekend. Meg is a Marine Biologist and lived in Hawaii for many years. Her love for animals and the Hawaiian culture inspired their wedding quilt. When I did some research into Hawaiian quilts I learned the motifs you cut out of the fabric are to represent the people you are giving it to. It’s a very personalized quilt.

I searched online to see other’s Hawaiian quilts to get an idea of how the motifs work together. Then I began sketching out my own design. The hard part is you are drawing out a 1/8th portion of the whole quilt. You know those paper snowflakes you made in school as a kid? It’s basically the same concept. You fold the fabric into eights and cut out your design. Then you open it up and you basically have a fabric snowflake.

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I didn’t want to risk it looking ugly so I scanned in my drawing to see all 8 sections together. Below is a digital image I mocked up beforehand to see if I liked the pattern I created. I also scanned in the fabric I wanted to use to see if I liked them together.

Hawaiian (Medium)

Traditionally you use two solid colors but that is no fun. I decided to use two prints. The green is a batik fabric I’ve had on hand for awhile and the coral is a Tula Pink Prince Charming print I found on sale. The print has giant turtles all over it. I thought it would be great with the Hawaiian theme.

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I was nervous about cutting into the fabric. The most difficult part was cutting though all eight layers. You need really sharp scissors. I ended up getting a blister on the inside of my thumb from cutting so much.

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When you cut it all out you lay it out and baste it to the backing fabric. Pin basting doesn’t hold up, you have to thread baste. Ask me how I know. Above is a picture just after I laid the top fabric to the back.

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Now to the tedious part. Hawaiian quilts are traditionally hand appliqued. I decided to go traditional because it just wouldn’t have the same effect. Hand applique basically means you tuck under about 1/8-1/16 of an inch of fabric around all the edges and sew tiny invisible stiches by hand to keep it from fraying. I’m about a quarter of the way done now. I have to take many breaks because my fingers get pretty worn and my eyes exhausted.

I actually presented their quilt at their rehearsal dinner unfinished. I knew there was no way it was going to be done by their wedding and I wanted to be able to work on it when they are over at my place. Their family enjoyed seeing it. It’s a small quilt about 45”x45”.

I’ll keep you updated with work in progress shots and finished images.

Cheers,

Kyle