Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Baptist Fans

I had a couple emails asking to show how I did the Baptist Fans, so, I will attempt to show you... 
Now, If you all could just come over, I could really SHOW you.  LOL!

Free motion fans were new to me.  I could easily do them with a walking foot, but found them so tedious, that I had decided to just go for it, with my free motion foot.

Basically, I started in the lower right hand corner of my quilt.  My quilt was pin basted, and I found that as I went along, taking out a few pins and hand smoothing it as I went, worked perfectly. No puckers...

Left to right, up, right to left, up, and so on about 5-6 fan lines.

Then I'd start the next fan.

ON the next set, I did have to TRACE over and existing line, so my fans butted up to each other.  PATIENCE is key. 
Go Slow.  You can manage this, if not at first, you will do it well by the end of your quilt!

Practice, practice!

The red lines are where I had to trace over an existing stitch line.

You can sort of follow the arrows here, to see my direction, and see where I had to trace my existing lines...

Ever five/six lines or so, I tried to keep them consistent, but once in a while I had four lines or six lines, depending on where I could "LOOK AHEAD" to see where I'd start the next fan.

Practice drawing them out on paper first. If you can DRAW it, You can QUILT it. You need to have your MOTION figured out before you start, or you'll be ripping out your stitches... 
Be patient.  
your first few lines may be wonky or uneven, but as you go, you will find your rhythm, and also get a better grasp of how to move the quilt.  I can also tell you, you won't notice the first few shaky ones after you've washed your quilt.

It actually quilted up very quickly, once I got a good hang of it.    I tried to stay about a 3/4" off my last line, to have some consistency in my lines... Sometimes it worked better then other times... 

It's OK to make mistakes...

That means you are learning!

Good Luck!


  1. Thanks so much for the visuals. That's very helpful. I've done them freehand in hand quilting, but now I have the courage to try them with fmq.

  2. Wow! You explained that REALLY WELL! I was wondering myself...

    I love the way the fans contrast and soften the edges of the angular piecing...EXCELLENT choice of pattern for this quilt!

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

  3. Totally agree with Teresa, the fans provide a nice soft contrast to the piecing. Will definitely add this to my 'must do' list of quilting patterns! FMQ certainly does get easier the more one practices!!!! Great tute!!! Thanks, D

  4. I adore the look of Baptist Fans quilting, and it is probably the pattern I've used most in my hand quilting. Thanks for sharing how to do it on the machine.

  5. I'm working up to this :0)
    Like all our quilting skills it just takes practice.....and I'm gonna try this any day now. You do make it look pretty easy, but then I've sewn with you, you make it all look easy!
    I know better :0)!

    Happy Sewing, I hope the migraines have left you.

  6. i didn't ask how, but i wanted to. i've done freemotion baptist fans my way,(by the seat of my pants) so i was happy to see yours. it does go quickly and the results look amazing. thank you!!

  7. I've been doing babptist fans with feathers on too! :) Yours are perfect for that quilt - another stunner!

  8. Your explanation was perfect. I've never tried this before, but I will!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Your drawings are great....I am going to try this one day on a smallish quilt... you make me think with a lot of PATIENCE I can do it !

  10. Thank you. I have a little quilt I have been waiting to try this on. I really don't like to fuss with marking things, so this will be perfect for me.

  11. I'm coming! I wish...thanks for showing this. I've got to try it soon.

  12. I'm going to give this a try--all I have is a Featherweight, si I wil use my walking foot and do this on a small quilt. Thanks for showing how it's done!

  13. Thanks for the visuals I will try this on a small quilt first.

  14. Great demo, thanks! I'm definitely going to try this. Any pattern I can do by "winging it" gets a thumbs up. Isn't it great how a trip through the washer/dryer makes those little quilting oopsies seem to disappear?

  15. Thank you for all the diagrams and explanations! I haven't tried Baptist Fans before.

  16. I can't remember -- are these free motion or with the walking foot? I love them - I may also have to try these on a small piece. I've been doing freehand fans by hand recently, but generally don't do much quilting by machine.

  17. Thanks for sharing how you did this. My current goal is to work on my quilting. This is so helpful.

  18. Thanks for sharing. I quilted BF by making a cardboard guide with about 6 lines, cut them apart and I would lay them down on the quilt and use the hera marker. It was pretty tedious. I think next time I will use your method.


Hi! Thanks for leaving me a comment!
I appreciate your taking the time to say hi!
Have a fabulous day!