Simple patterns are often the most beloved ones, and are definitely the most beginner-friendly. As you phase out of “Beginner” status and into “Confident Beginner”, or even, lucky you, “Intermediate” quilter, the patterns become more complex and can seem daunting.
Take heart, quilt friends. And learn to simplify. Even the most advanced patterns can be visually broken down into simple units. Paper Pieces has a free pattern called “Dogwoods” that’s a perfect example of this. The overall finish seems complicated— how do the leaves go into the sashing? But with a deeper look, you realize it’s just a series of twelve blocks sewn together. Before you even get into the pattern, you can dissect it visually and you’ll realize that you absolutely can sew it!
Dogwood Block by Paper Pieces®
“Dogwoods” uses eight different shapes; two shapes get reversed. While some of the colors differ across the blocks, the layout of each block is the same. Inside the floral block (disregard the sashing for now), you have a repeating pattern with two white petals connected by a triangle, then a green triangle for the leaf. This pattern repeats four times to form a circular shape, and finishes with a center square. The sashing/border for each block is simply made up of squares, sashing pieces, and a triangle to finish the leaf.
You can do this visually before you even buy the pattern- and you’ll find even the most complicated looking finishes are truly simple at the root. It’s fun to play quilt detective and figure out how a designer came up with their pattern. Taking it a step further, you can use geometry rules to figure out the angles of each shape, but that might be a little TOO nerdy for today. :)
Sometimes you can find comfort in a pattern that is technically a "beginner" pattern, but finishes so elegantly, everyone swears its much more advanced. I'm currently loving our Wild Garden pattern. It has a bit of appliqué, the look of which truly elevates it beyond a beginner pattern. It's also our first pattern to be featured in 6 different colorways, so you can visualize exactly how it will look before you sew the first stitch.
Wild Garden Blocks by Paper Pieces®
What's your at home trick for Keeping It Simple and Sewing?