Here's how I turned a beautiful rangoli design into a quilt. Free applique cut files included!
Of all the major festive seasons in Malaysia, nothing is more colourful than the Deepavali. I love colours, and I have been itching to make a vibrant and colourful art quilt with this collection of fabrics that I have in an awesome array of colours. The Deepavali is the perfect occasion for it, and the rangoli is the perfect source of inspiration because they (1) are inherently beautiful, (2) are usually very colourful, and (3) are two-dimensional which means they can be easily adapted into an applique quilt!
Now, I am not nearly artistic enough to design my own rangoli. All credits go to the artist who designed this beautiful peacock rangoli! It is featured in this mesmerising YouTube video by Rangoli by jyoti Rathod, where you can watch the rangoli takes form right before your eyes.
DESIGN & DIMENSION
Rangoli Design Credits to Rangoli by jyoti Rathod
From a still-image of the YouTube video, I traced the rangoli in my Brother Canvas Workspace (the software used to create cut files for the Brother ScanNCut) to create cut files of the applique pieces.
For the benefit of readers with or without the ScanNCut, I have prepared SVG files of the applique pieces in the download link below:
The overall finished dimensions of my peacock rangoli applique is about 61 cm x 61 cm. The cut files in the above download link are in the exact sizes I used. However, your overall finished dimension may differ from mine depending on your placement of the applique pieces. I did mine entirely by eyeballing.
My finished quilt including borders is about 90cm x 90 cm.
I used these pin-dot cotton fabrics that I have in this vibrant collection of colours. Most of them are Japanese cotton. This being raw-edge applique, all my applique pieces were applied with fusible web.
Pin-Dot Japanese Cotton Fabrics
The background fabric is this grey quilting cotton with very subtle linen print. For the binding and backing, I used one of the block-printed cotton fabrics I purchased from Kolkata, India during my trip there in March 2019.
Block-Print Cotton Fabric from India
For this project, I used cotton-poly blend batting.
The process is quite straightforward, really. I started by applying fusible web on all the fabrics from which I was going to cut out my applique pieces. Then, I used my Brother ScanNCut to cut out all the applique pieces (except for the peacock's beak and the swirly vine at the end of the leaves - I drew and cut these out manually).
I assembled the applique pieces on baking papers first, before peeling off the baking papers and transferring the fully assembled applique onto the background fabric.
Some Applique Pieces Fused on Baking Paper
Applique Pieces Assembly in Progress
Rangoli Applique Fully Assembled (Baking Paper Peeled Off)
Rangoli Applique Fused to Background Fabric
Then, I sewed applique stitches along all raw edges of every applique pieces using matching threads. I used the blanket stitch with stitch width between 2.5 mm and 3.0 mm, and stitch lengths between 1.6mm and 2mm, depending on how small the applique pieces were.
Blanket Stitches Along All Raw Edges
Then, I hand-basted the quilt-top to my batting and backing fabric using black waxed threads.
Quilt Sandwich Hand-Basted with Waxed Thread
Now, for the quilting, I wanted to make the applique pop. So, I used matching threads to free-motion quilt along the outlines of almost every applique piece (this involved lots of changing thread colours!). Then, using a 2B pencil, I sketched some intricate quilting designs in the form of leaves, feathers and vines on the background fabric around the applique, and I quilted along those sketched lines. I do this because there is no way I could "free-hand" quilt those intricate designs.
Finally, I filled the inner circle and the rest of the outer background with crosshatch quilting.
Intricate Background Quilting Around Applique and Crosshatch Quilting on the Remaining Background
Crosshatch Quilting on Inner Background
Lastly, I squared up the quilt sandwich and bound the quilt. Although I intended for the binding to be in the same fabric as the backing, I did not do self-binding because the backing fabric was too flimsy and stretched so much that it rippled all around the edges. So, I made binding strips out of the backing fabric and bound the quilt the regular way.
And the quilt was finished!