Completed: Rower mini quilt

all the gifts in an advent calendar

This year I participated in the dutch MQG Christmas swap. We made an advent calendar with 7 gifts, of which at least 3 had to be handmade. I had to make something for Monika, someone I have known for a very long time through rowing. She still coaches, so I thought it would be fun to make one of her gifts rowing-inspired. I looked around but rowing quilting patterns appear to be very rare as I could not find anything suitable. In the end it was easier to create my own FPP pattern to make a rower mini quilt. It shows a rower in a single scull, which is a one-person rowing boat.  

completed quilt top showing a rower in a single skull

When I started sewing, I doubted whether I would be able to pull this design off. To give the rower some shape I had to include a lot of teeny tiny bits. It was definitely fiddly, but with an add-an-eight ruler instead of an add-a-quarter ruler it turned out to be doable. I loved seeing it come together and I now know that this small is possible.

top of a finger next to a foundation paper pieced head to show how tiny the fabric pieces are

Colour choices

The rower wears the light and dark blue club colours and the white and blue of the blade of the oar also match the oars of the rowing club. The boat is yellow, the colour used by Empacher, a well-known rowing boats manufacturer. I thought this would look best against the background fabric of the water and sky. The water and sky were made from a single fabric with a blue-gray colour gradation. I think it was the “ice” colour of McKenna Ryan’s ombre Natural Instincts collection for Hoffman fabrics. Since this quarter’s theme for the dutch MQG was ombre it means I can count this make double. Always a win. On the back of the quilt, I recreated the orange and dark blue stripes on the light blue club shirt. That was definitely too fiddly to incorporate on the front, though I did consider it.

part of foundation paper pieced pattern showing the selvedge of the ombre background Hoffman fabric that was used.

Batting and quilting

I used Insul-bright heat resistant batting with the idea that the quilt can be used as a table mat. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the instructions properly and only found out that you’re supposed to combine it with a cotton batting after I had already started attaching the binding. If you are a regular reader of this blog you’ll know my opinion on unpicking and will not be surprised that I did not remove all my quilting stitches. So, this quilt is probably not entirely heat resistant but can still be used for other purposes. Lesson learned, won’t make this mistake next time.

back of a mini quilt showing an orange and dark blue stripe in a light blue fabric

In the water I created waves with walking foot quilting. In the sky I tried to create the illusion of wind with some free motion quilted swirls. It was a challenge to quilt over the rower because overlapping seam allowances created a lot of bulk despite using the add-an-eight ruler. I can only imagine how bad it would’ve been with a larger seam allowance! The binding was also made from the ombre background fabric.

rower mini quilt showing a rower in a single scull boat

I am very pleased with how this rower mini quilt turned out. I’ve definitely pushed some boundaries on how small I can go with FPP and it was fun to make and gift.

wrapped gifts for a Christmas advent calendar

December 28, 2022

Emmely Treffers

About Emmely

I am a sewing enthusiast from the Netherlands. I live in the Leiden area with my husband and two daughters and I am currently working as a senior researcher in molecular virology. With my quilting patterns and sewing blog I want to infect as many people as possible with my love for sewing.

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  1. tierneycreates

    Wow E, that little quilt is amazing! I love where you have been taking your sewing craft! Lots of fun and super creative stuff!

    • Emmely

      Thank you! Designing and creating stuff just makes me happy and I think that shows in what I make.

    • Mariss Stevens

      Wow Emmely. You have certainly pulled off a remarkable feat in not only designing the rower mini, but also in stitching those tiny tiny bits. I am so impressed.

      • Emmely

        Thank you, this was a lot of fun!

  2. Lynn

    My son is a rower, and I would love to make this block for him. It’s perfect! Do you share/sell your design?

    • Emmely

      Thank you! I suppose I could turn it into a pattern but I think I’ll have to tweak some things first because a couple of the pieces were really tiny and that wasn’t ideal to sew. So maybe I’ll have to adjust those a bit or size the whole thing up to make it a good pattern for other people to use.

  3. Lynn

    Let me know if/when it’s ready to share/buy. There’s nothing else like it that is available. Thanks!

    • Emmely

      I will! There certainly is a lack of rowing-related patterns. I’ll see what I can do with my pattern during my Christmas break.


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