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Kelly's Beautiful Botanics Appliqué

I was lucky enough to attend a Savor Each Stitch retreat a few years back hosted by Carolyn Friedlander in which we learned needle turn appliqué techniques for her Bulls-Eye pattern. I had always been intimidated by hand-sewn appliqué, but I quickly fell in love with how easy it was. When I had the opportunity to try out her Botanics pattern (and update my living room pillows in the process!) I knew this project was the one for me.

Carolyn Friedlander Botanics

Pattern: Carolyn Friedlander Botanics Quilt Pattern
Materials: 1.25 yards of Green Wall in Surf,
.25 yard each: Cattle Print in Wasabi and Sage, Shirting in Yarrow, and Tree Stripe in Iron
Size Made: 18” sham

Modifications: none

Hand-Sewn Appliqué Detail

When I first learned how to sew, much of the focus was on finishing techniques and couture hand sewing. I was always interested in trying out hand appliqué, but it had always looked time consuming and overwhelming. After attending the retreat I learned not to rush my sewing but to enjoy the time spent on the project. The pattern gives you freedom to create any design and I enjoyed deciding how I wanted to lay out the templates. Basting down the pieces helps bring the look of the project together and the thread lines make the needle turn applique smooth and easy. I made sure to use fray check on corners and curves before clipping into the fabric in order to keep the pieces from unraveling. Perfection isn’t needed on this pattern, either. No two appliqued pieces come out exactly the same and that allowed me to relax and not overthink my sewing.

Appliqué in process pictures


I love the color palette for Friedlander. Bold warm colors blend over to bright blues in both geometric and organic patterns and the most difficult part of this project for me was picking out the fabrics! I knew I wanted to start with Green Wall in Surf for the pillow because the blue is so striking and bright that it would be the perfect background to showcase the appliqué pieces. From there I edited down the line to a handful of different, lighter colors. I cut out multiple versions of the templates in different options so I could try out many several patterns on the pillow. Luckily I had a scrap of Liberty of London to use for the piping that matched all the colors incorporated in the pillow. While it would have been easier to make the piping out of bias cut fabric, the tana lawn turned the corners easily and with minimal problems. Once I was happy with the layout, I got started on basting down and appliqueing the pieces.

Friedlander fabrics by Carolyn Friedlander

Friedlander has a beautiful range of colors that allowed me to blend bright bold colors with neutral outline prints. For my project, I used different tones and prints but the sham could also be done with less and still come out looking lovely.

Botanics Pillow Sham

While this color palette stayed within my color-comfort-zone, I did try something new with the template patterns. I’m used to straight lines and attempting perfect corners and points when machine quilting, so hand sewing gave each piece an organic look with each unique point and circle. I’m looking forward to my next hand sewn project from Carolyn’s other patterns and fabrics!

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Comments on this post (1)

  • Apr 14, 2017

    What a unique design! You are very talented
    I look forward to seeing your future projects.

    — Debbie McGoun

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