Heliconia flower

With the rain forest quilt finished I felt ready to start on a new project and I decided I would do a flower design this time. Several years ago I made a small sample block of a heliconia, or bird of paradise flower, using a method called upside down applique where you stitch the pieces in postion from the wrong side of the fabric (hence the upside down) and then stitch on the right side using a free motion zig zag stitch. The method works well but for this design I didn’t like the obvious stitching round the outline and felt it was too clumsy for the delicate flower. 

I redrew the design in EQ6 so that I could make an applique pattern.The original design was square but because of the shape of the flower and the long stems and leaves I thought an elongated block would look better.

The next task was to choose the fabrics to make the flower and leaves. Origianlly I got out all my various orange fabrics, but I also had a  striped batik with shades of brown, orange and yellow and I was surprised to find this was the best match for the flower.

Choosing the fabrics for the leaves and background, a nice selection of greens.

When I first drew out the design I liked the idea of the flower against a dark background but because I chose a slightly dull shade of orange for the flower this didn’t look right. After spending a long time going through my various fabrics I came up with two possible combinations, either a graduated green or a bright blue green batik.

The blue has a nice contemporary feel, but I wondered if perhaps it was a little too bright.

I liked the green better, so decided to use this one for the background. The fabric was graduated from dark green at the bottom to a yellow green at the top. I didn’t want the bright yellow green but then because of the size of the background piece the lower part of the design was a bit dark and I felt that the leaves became lost. In the photograph above I have the graduation running across the fabric instead of up and down and I suppose I could have done that but I decided to look again for another fabric. I found a beautiful blue grey batik which I have had for quite a long time and I felt immediately that this one was right.

Here the design is just pinned in place but reading for stitching using invisible machine applique.

6 thoughts on “Heliconia flower

  1. Thank you, I have actually stitched it now and hope to quilt it in the next day or so and will post more pictures when it is done.

  2. I have just come across your blog and I am hooked.
    I lived in Brunei for 7 years, left in 1997 and it was there that I first discovered quilting, introduced to it by an Australian friend.
    I really love your Rain Forest quilt. It is the quilt I have always had in the back of my mind to make.
    I look forward to seeing more of your work.
    Deborah

  3. Thank you Maria Regina, and Deborah, lovely to hear from you. We would have been in Brunei at the same time because we came here in 1995. Were you in KB?

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