In Praise of Simple Shapes

Simple shapes make this star pattern.

Many classic quilt patterns are based on the simplest shapes. The square can be combined into numerous striking patterns. The rectangle is the basis for the classic log cabin quilt. Triangles are also popular and can be used to make the Lone Star quilt and other famous designs.

Squares make this simple, but beautiful design.

This technique is called patchwork; patches of fabric are used to make the design. The fabric shapes are sewn together along their edges, either by hand or by machine.

Coordinating colors and prints is one of the delightful challenges of this sewing art form. Even when the same quilt pattern is used, the effect varies strikingly from one quilt to the next, depending on the fabrics and colors that have been combined.

An assortment of Amy Butler prints

Any type of cotton print can be used for patchwork; calico prints have traditionally been used. Today, striking prints such as Amy Butler fabrics, which are art in themselves, are popular with quilt makers.


High quality Kona Broadcloth is excellent to use for patchwork when a solid color is wanted. This soft, sturdy broadcloth is available in numerous beautiful shades, such as Ocean Blue, Chartreuse Green, and Chinese Red. Gingham and other cotton prints are also great for patchwork.  You can even use textured fabrics such corduroy or velvet if you want a different look.