The Birth of a Stained Glass Quilt, or “how the heck I made this!”



I’ve been asked by many people just exactly how I made this quilt.  What pattern did I use? Where can you buy the pattern? How long did it take?

Basically, you can’t buy the pattern, because there isn’t one. I made it up as I went along. And it took me over 83 hours from start to finish.





Here’s how I did it.  I took a whole bunch of muslin, sharpie pens, a ladder and some blue tape and went to my church on a really sunny day.  It also happened to be about 90 degrees and the air wasn’t on in the sanctuary that day, but that doesn’t really matter.  Just a random fact.

I taped the muslin to the window and traced every line I saw, and felt. I also took really good photos from every angle.


Once I was finished with this process, I went fabric shopping.  Since the majority of the window was done in the purplish/blue color (a very technical color term), I decided that would be the foundation fabric for the whole project. I found this particular fabric at Millers Dry Goods in Charm, Ohio I got 6 yards to make sure I had enough! Since I live in Virginia, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy trip back to the store if I ran out. (Lesson learned long ago.)  For the rest of the fabrics I was fortunate to be able to go to the brick and mortar store in Purcellville, Virginia, not far from my home. Check them out at



My next step was to take the muslin I had traced and clean up the lines so everything matched nice and trace the design onto white tracing paper. The best way to do this is with a light box.  Fortunately I was able to use nature’s light box, otherwise known as my sliding glass door on a sunny day. Using markers, rulers, and the photos I had taken, I made a “clean” drawing of the window from top to bottom.





I divided the window drawing into sections, and carefully traced all the lines onto the purple fabric. Whew! That took about a week. Fortunately for me, I have a television in my studio and the Summer Olympics were on! Got to watch a lot of it!






Once the lines were all traced, I began the process of making the middle medallion. Once again referring to my photos, I was able to recreate this by tracing the design onto fusible web, laying the pieces where they needed to go, and using by embroidery machine to sew them into place.



Next I worked on all the surrounding window colors. I didn’t want to cut and sew a bunch of tiny pieces, so I decided to use a “cutaway” technique. I placed the corresponding color under it’s place on the purple fabric and stitched on the solid line around the shape. Then I pulled the two fabrics away from each other. Taking my time with this process, I cut away the purple to show the other fabric underneath. I knew the stitching line would eventually be covered up by ¼” black bias tape for the stain glass affect.





I continued this process through the entire window.







When I got to the bottom, I again used my embroidery machine to “Welcome” everyone to my church and incorporated that piece into the design.





By now, the Olympics were over and it was on to the Little League World Series (another one of my favorite sporting events). It was also now time to take the 50 yards of ¼” fusible bias tape I had purchased, and begin what I called the “leading” process. I fused one line at a time with my iron, and then stitched it in place with my 4.0 double needle. I would eventually also stitch each line as I quilted the entire quilt.



ipad-pictures-115Once all the leading was completed, I sewed the surrounding fabric and borders on. I freehand drew a trellis design around the outside of the window (kind of like looking into a garden), and decided to stitch scallops around the borders.

ipad-pictures-103Once the quilting and binding were done, I attached a hanging sleeve on the back, the quilt was ready for it’s closeup!

I enjoyed this process so much, I’m ready to do more, just not on such a grand scale! Oh, and I’m for hire!

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