Last week Suzanne commented that she’d like to know how I make an accordion door quilt (click here to read that post). I’ve been asked if I would ever teach a class on this technique and my answer is always “I don’t think anyone else is crazy enough to want to make three quilts to get one” 🤣. But I guess there are a few of us out there, so I decided to share the basics now. I did a bit of searching and discovered I had covered this technique briefly once before, but that was back in 2013 – so let’s do it again.
The first time I made an accordion door quilt was back in the late 1990’s. It was made for a contest with the theme “Reflections”. Making hand mirrors with the reflections of the women who were part of my quilting journey seemed like a good idea. These included my great, great grandmother Mary (lower left). She is the only quilter in my family tree. I never met her but I own, and treasure, 2 of her quilts. My mom is in the upper left mirror and she taught me how to sew when I was 7. She is still one of my biggest cheerleaders (Dad’s the other – praise the LORD!) My dear friend Sharon is in the mirror on the lower right. She taught me how to quilt when I was 40 and is still one of my closest friends. And the last mirror is of me. I included interlocking circles to represent the Trinity (since my faith is a huge part of my inspiration as an artist), and I connected them all with a twisting red thread.
This quilt was interesting, but it wasn’t interesting enough to enter into the contest, so I made a second quilt the exact same size. The design began in the lower left corner with log cabin blocks similar to those in one of my grandma Mary’s quilts. These blocks morphed into a variation of my Parallelisms quilts. I felt it represented my earliest quilt inspiration in one corner flowing into my passion at that time, art quilts, on the other.
As you can guess, I had to find a way to put them together and the accordian door quilt was born. I call it “Reflections of My Quilting Heritage”. The base quilt I made to hang the “accordion door” from measures 70″ x 50″ and contains small shisha mirrors which I hand embroidered in place to keep the reflections theme going. It was all put together through the magic of Velcro™.
A few years later I felt the urge to make another one, but smaller. It was inspired by a stack of vintage double wedding ring arcs a friend found at a rummage sale. She gave them to me and I gave one to each of the members of the Milwaukee Art Quilters and asked them to do something creative with it. I began by putting paper backed fusible on the back of my arc and cutting it into skinnier arcs. Then I fused them to a background fabric in a swirling design and quilted concentric circles. The blue lines are where the quilt will be cut.
I pieced and quilted a more traditional intersection of double wedding ring arcs for the second quilt (cutting lines marked here too).
Both quilts were cut on the blue lines and laid out in alternating strips which I zig-zag stitched together with invisible thread, and then bound the entire piece.
On the back I stitched a length of the hook portion of Velcro™ tape along both sides and down every other seam (the grandmothers flower garden on the back is a preprinted cheater fabric). I used white and black Velcro™ because that’s what I had on hand.
On the base quilt I sewed the loop Velcro™ strips.
The Velcro™ strips are then matched up and this is the finished quilt from the left and right:
How Beautiful – Liberty is the third and most recent in my series.
I’m not sure if/when I have another one in me, but if you decide to play around with this crazy technique please send me pictures!
PS If you’d like to see all the other Objet D’Arc quilts in the Milwaukee Art Quilter’s “double wedding ring arc” challenge click here.