Jalur Gemilang Quilt

Jalur Gemilang reimagined - A Malaysia National Day HST Quilt featuring batiks from the beautiful coastal state of Terengganu.


The Jalur Gemilang is the name of Malaysia's national flag in its national language - Bahasa Malaysia. It directly translates to "glorious stripes".

The "Jalur Gemilang", the national flag of Malaysia. Source: Wikipedia.


For a very brief history of Malaysia's national day, see my earlier post "Malaysian National Costumes for the Toddlers".


DESIGN & DIMENSION


If you have seen my previous quilts, you will see that I tend to use many different hues in my quilts. Designing a quilt with the limited hues of red, white, yellow and blue proved somewhat challenging to me, only because it was not a combination I am familiar with or particularly fond of. Nonetheless, with an open mind and by adding varied tones, I produced the following conceptual design in Microsoft Powerpoint:

Malaysia national flag jalur gemilang artistic design

Every finished HST ("half-square triangle") block in the quilt is 10cm x 10cm, and the border is 1cm wide. The resulting finished quilt measured 122 cm x 182 cm - not exactly a standard quilt size, and I didn't intend for it to be, as I was instead trying to mimic the proportions of the actual flag.


MATERIALS & PREPARATIONS


For the quilt top, I used these handmade cotton batiks from Terengganu, a state located at the eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The photos below show my collection of said batiks. Obviously, I didn't use all of them in this quilt. I only used 7 of them (yellow, dark blue, medium blue, light blue, dark red, medium red, and pink).

Colourful Terengganu batik
Colourful Terengganu batik
Colourful Terengganu batik

Now, I haven't made that many HST quilts, and I was quite concerned about accuracy as HST quilts do demand certain levels of it. Furthermore, these cotton batiks, while well-made, are thinner than quilting-grade cotton. Thus, to help with accuracy, I starched my fabrics before cutting - a decision I felt made so much difference in my finished product.


Colourful Terengganu batik fabrics hung to dry starched

Starched fabrics hung to dry.



For the batting, I used cotton-polyester batting - thin, like all my other quilts, to suit the Malaysian tropical climate. As for the backing, I used some twill cotton fabric I purchased from China via a local online shopping platform.


CONSTRUCTION


Here is a list of HST blocks and their required quantities:

HST

I watched this very comprehensive video by my favourite quilting Youtuber Karen Brown of Just Get It Done Quilts on 10 ways to make HST blocks. My personal choice for this project, after watching Karen's video, was to use the 8-at-a-time and the 2-at-a-time methods, depending on how many blocks of the same pair of colours I needed.


I pieced the HST blocks row-by-row, and then sewed the rows together to form the quilt top. Then, I appliqued the crescent and the star onto the quilt top by first ironing them on with fusible web, and then stitching their edges down with satin stitches in matching yellow threads.


batik HST quilt piecing  in progress red and white

My star applique piece was cut out using the Brother ScanNCut machine.

I hand-cut the crescent piece using scissors.



Then, I hand-basted the quilt top, batting and backing together with black waxed thread before quilting. I chose to quilt in horizontal parallel lines about 1.1mm apart. It's not visible from the photos, but I did use muted blue threads for the upper 1/3 of the quilt, and muted pink threads for the lower 2/3.


Notice the black waxed thread I used for basting.


Parallel Line Quilting.



Finally, I bound the quilt with the same dark blue and dark red batiks used in the HST blocks. I used dark blue binding for the upper 1/3 of the quilt. and dark red binding for the lower 2/3.


And the quilt was complete!

Malaysia national flag quilt