The Downton Abbey Garden Party quilt.

The Downton Abbey Garden Party quilt, named for the fabric line and the quilt pattern by Laura Heine. You’ve seen the pattern, the one made of bright colors in a 20+ inch quilt block? I bought this pattern about a year ago, started choosing bright color fabrics and set it aside when a few other projects took precedent.

The pattern:

Fast forward to June of this year. I’m not terribly fond of purple fabrics. Sometimes for a break in vintage quilting I actually piece a quilt top. Often times I try and use a fabric color I don’t like just to understand the color and how it reacts with others. That’s what happened here. The Downton Abbey fabrics are all in purple colors-colors that kind of gave me hives…

So what’s up with the laundry hanging in my doorway? I decided to do all the quilt block applique in white eyelet and where best to find a good variety of white eyelet than the many thrift/second hand stores in and round northwest Houston.

I bought 9 different eyelets in either clothing and/or pillow shams and bed skirts. As soon as I got home, everything went straight into the washing machine with a very generous amount of Clorox.


Once washed, sanatized and dried, I spent some time with my scissors and seam ripper taking everything apart.

Now’s a good time to tell you about that 20″ block of Laura’s: I took the pattern it FedEx/Kinkos and using one of their “big machines” reduced the 20″ to a 6″ block:


But how did I get all the pattern pieces drawn on the Heat ‘n Bond Lite? I used blue painters tape to attach a piece of the fusible onto card stock. I then laid out all the reduced pattern pieces on my printer/scanner. I copied the pattern pieces directly onto the Heat ‘n Bond Lite by using my ink/jet printer.  Key word in that last sentence: ink/jet! This technique will not work no how no way with a laser printer!!! Can’t stress that enough! Laser printers work with high heat!


This was a HUGE time saver! Using a medium/high temp on my iron, I pressed all the Heat ‘n Bond Lite printed sheets to pre-cut pieces of bleached muslin. Why bleached muslin and not directly onto the eyelet? I needed a visual barrier between the eyelet and the purple fabrics. Without the muslin, the intense purple fabrics shadowed behind the eyelet.


So… how to hold the eyelet onto the bleached muslin without adding another layer of fusible? Behold the adhesive spray! I googled this brand of spray and it is easily available at several online retailers. Why did I choose this particular one? Because it can easily be stitched thru with my domestic sewing machine with little to no sticky buildup on my needle.


But this spray should only be used with good ventilation! This deep cardboard provided just the right setting for an outdoors successful spray operation. Before I began, I did a short/quick shot of spray on the inside bottom of the box. This shot of spray then allowed me to “stick” my fabric piece to the box and thus keeping the piece positioned to receive the more thorough and uniform blast of adhesive. Don’t leave out this step, it’s important!


Once the muslin side has been sprayed lightly with the adhesive, I carefully played the eyelet fabric on the sticky/tacky side and gently patted the fabric into place.

At this point I’m ready to cut out all the applique pieces.

You’ll note that I don’t have to cut out each flower petal separately, I can leave them attached at the very bottom. This helps tremendously when it’s time to lay them out on the purple fabric.

Peel away the Heat ‘n Bond Lite paper backing and position the flowers and butterfly on the fabric. Once I was happy with the placement I ironed/pressed the eyelet applique motifs into permanent position and began to raw edge machine applique using Glide white thread in my needle. I’m using my Bernina 1630 and my applique stitch is set at  default.

If you look closely you can see that the design/patterns of the eyelet fabric flow nicely when the petals are cut as one unit rather than separately.


Why am I using a design board with a chartruse fabric? Well, it was handy. Don’t worry, this green will not make its way into the final project.

So what would I use for sashings? I auditioned this white trim below. I liked the look but found I didn’t have nearly enough.

With all my second hand eyelet garments, I found I had plenty of one particular kind and that solved my problem. And yes, it order to have some consistency, I backed all the sashing eyelet pieces with bleached muslin.

You might remember from a past blog or two that I’m a huge fan of Elmer’s White School Glue. Just a tiny dab and a hit with a hot iron works wonders when matching seams is very important! The nice thing about this particular Elmer’s is that is washes out completely. Just remember to buy the white School Glue if you want to give it a try.

You can’t go wrong by paying close attention to how you press your seams. Consistency is key!

I’m strip piecing my sashings and cornerstones:

And sewing my rows together:

But… some of the purple fabric is very ravelly! And from experience I know that stray dark color threads can show through quilt tops! Again, Elmer’s to the rescue.

I draw a fine line along the problematic fabric and then with my index finger, smear the glue along the cut fabric edge.

To dry the smeared glue I lay my teflon pressing sheet on top of the fabric edge and quickly press until dry.

Some close up shots of the finished quilt top:

The back:

And finally the front! This quilt top measures 37×44″. The sashings are 1″ finished and the borders will measure 4″ when complete.

All of the block background fabrics are Downton Abbey. The cornerstone and border fabric is something found at Hobby Lobby.


I’m looking forward to the time when I can load this on my longarm and get it quilted. Of course I’m sure it will be full of quilted feathers 🙂

As a wrap up, you’ll find:

A Laura Heine quilt pattern, Andover Fabric, the Downton Abbey line, second hand eyelet garments and bedding, Hobby Lobby fabric, Heat ‘n Bond Lite and Glide thread in this project!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post! Let me know if you have questions and of course, Happy quilting!


And… I just found out last evening that this quilt took a ribbon at the MQX Springfield! I’ll find out where it placed later this evening!!

IMG_4386 (Edited)