Tutorial Tuesday: Parlor Pillow / Crazy Quilting

Tutorial Tuesdays header

“Crazy” comes in many forms (note I didn’t say faces!) but one of the prettiest forms is that of Crazy Quilting.  I’m beginning a list of reasons why I love it.  Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

  1. It is SO Victorian
  2. It uses scrap fabric
  3. It shows a great variety in the embroidery stitching
  4. It is easy to hide your mistakes (with embellishments)
  5. It has no wrong way for the fabric grain
  6. It can be made to any size
  7. Your turn…



The basics are that you sew a piece to the base fabric and then just keep adding it on and on and on. But when I looked for a tutorial that actually showed it happening, I drew a blank.  Had the technique been fully explained?  Was it just too simple to post? I found the perfect set of instructions here.

Cindy's quilt for cover

Ok, so I cheated a little.  That is really our own pattern from the Mother’s Medallion line.  We used crazy quilting first in the corners of the center of the Mother’s Medallion quilt (You can get the E-book pattern HERE.)


and then it led to the Parlor Pillow.

for printing

Note the center of the larger one has an interchangeable hexagon.  The pattern includes a Trading Hearts plan for swapping embellishments and fabric. The REAL key to this is the Tips and Tricks that are included.  Don’t tell my sister I’m posting them here.

Tips & Tricks for Crazy Quilting:
Sew RST with a ¼” seam and then press toward outside edge.
Make sure your pieces are long enough to cover the last raw edge. You can trim to fit after it is sewn.
Do not start or sew completely to the ends of your fabric piece. (Makes it easier to trim and less likely to have gaps.)
Do not back-stitch beginnings or endings of seams.
Join smaller pieces together before adding to the base piece (especially for long seams).
For interest, sew pieces on to create diagonal lines or angles.
For corners, stitch the longest seam and use a press mark as a guide to cut off excess, then top-stitch the second edge. Cover with embellishment.
An occasional raw edge is fine, it can be covered with embellishment.
Use color placement to balance textures. (Audition a piece before sewing.)


Once your fabric is in place, it is time to really go crazy with the “extras”.  I found lots of info on the symbolism of the shapes found on crazy quilts.  A great site gave some of the following list.

  • owls were a symbol of wisdom
  • eagles resembled courage and a military career for a family member
  • lions represented royalty and nobility
photo 7

This is from a quilt, a gift from the Yale family, used courtesy of Norma Young.

  • butterflies symbolized the soul
  • frogs were a “sin”
  • a pansy, in the language of flowers, meant “think of me”
photo 21

This quilt, a gift from the Yale family, is used courtesy of Norma Young.

  • dogs were loyalty
  • peacocks, incorruptibility
  • spider webs were a symbol of luck
photo 1

Used courtesy of Norma Young.

  • clasped hands meant good bye or farewell
  • fans…the list is too long
photo 31

This quilt, a gift from the Yale family, is used courtesy of Norma Young.

A complete history is given on the caron collection. Make it your next read while you’re sorting scraps to begin a crazy quilted “something”.

photo 3

Used courtesy of Norma Young.


Used courtesy of Norma Young.

Categories: Mother's Medallion, Patterns and Projects, Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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