New This Month


Bird-Embroidered Quilt

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2003


This quilt fits a full-size bed and measures 72 1/2 by 82 1/2 inches. The finished quilt is made of 30 embroidered squares plus 26 plain squares that are incorporated to form a border.


  • 5 1/3 yards of 60-inch-wide white linen fabric

  • 5 yards of 60-inch-wide linen fabric in a contrasting color for back and border

  • Embroidery thread (chose any color you like)

  • Transfer paper

  • Embroidery hoop

  • 12 1/2-inch square quilting ruler

  • Rotary cutter

  • 2 full-size sheets of cotton batting (90 inches by 96 inches)


  1. Cut out thirty 14-inch squares of fabric. Use a photocopier to enlarge the bird pattern of your choice so each is 7 to 8 inches tall (for 30, you will have to use one bird twice). Place a linen square right side up, and top with a sheet of dark transfer paper. Place bird pattern on top; trace the lines of the bird pattern with a ballpoint pen. The pressure will transfer the paper's ink onto the fabric.

  2. Embroider each square: We used the chain stitch for all of our designs. Secure linen square in the embroidery hoop. Thread needle with one strand of embroidery floss. Follow instructions for the chain stitch included in our printable file

  3. After you've finished stitching, place the square quilting ruler over an embroidered square, and use the grid to center the embroidered bird. With a rotary cutter, trim each of the edges to a length of 12 1/2 inches. Repeat with remaining squares. For border, cut out 26 plain 12 1/2-inch square pieces. Lay out quilt, 8 rows long by 7 columns wide, arranging the birds as you desire (in the center 6 rows and 5 columns) with a white border around the entire perimeter.

  4. Sew squares together to make vertical strips (you will have 7 strips of 8 when done), right sides facing, with a 1 1/4-inch seam allowance; press open seams. Then sew strips to one another: Begin by sewing 2 adjacent strips together, first pinning at points where horizontal seams meet to align the squares' corners exactly. Sew together two sets of 2 strips and one set of 3. Sew the 2 sets of 2 to each other, and then sew that piece to the set of 3. Press open all seams.

  5. Cut the 5 yards of green fabric in half across the width. Sew long sides together with right sides facing, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance, to make a piece about 90 inches by 120 inches; iron seam flat. Lay out the quilt parts, starting with green fabric wrong side up. Top with two layers of batting and the embroidered squares, right side up. Pin a safety pin just inside each side of each square, piercing through the quilt, batting, and green-cloth backing.

  6. Trim batting to size of front piece. Stitch along each of the square's seams through all of the layers; remove pins. Trim green cloth to extend 2 inches beyond sewn squares. To create quilt's green border, fold green cloth 1/2 inch all around; iron. Fold over remaining 1 1/2 inches; iron. Top-stitch all around.

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