Those Baptist Fans

I’m so sorry.  I couple weeks ago I wrote to you and gave a link to PDF that was suppose to show you how to free hand Baptist Fans.  The link was no longer available.  Sorry.  I didn’t check the link.

I’ve often thought of doing a post myself and showing how to do them but didn’t because there is no reason to reinvent the wheel AND I wanted to respect and send blog traffic to the person who taught me.

Being the link no longer works, I felt comfortable writing about it.  First off…for any who doesn’t know, Baptist Fans are an old quilting motif.  They were originally done by hand and were a quite common motif.  I always loved them but never dreamed I could free hand them on a quilt.

As  you can see from the quilt below, I did learn.

Most every quilt that I machine quilt that is made from Civil War Reproduction fabric, I do Baptist Fans on.


Here are some things you need to know before starting:
This isn’t a motif that can be worked from any direction.  It MUST be worked from left to right.  The key for it to look good is to keep the distance between the arches the same.  Also in this version try to keep the number of arches in each unit the same.

Here is unit number one.  I started in the upper left hand corner.  I am making 3 arches in each unit.

Notice how unit two is attached to unit number one.  

Keep adding units until all the way across the top of the quilt.

Once to the right hand side of the quilt, stop.  Cut the threads and take the machine back to the left hand side of the quilt.

Can you see that I started the second row of units the same way I started the first?  Now I have to be aware of the first row I did stopping and curving to match the first row.

Like learning any new quilting motif, it takes a bit to build some muscle memory.  Once that muscle memory is in place, this motif isn’t hard at all.

After doing a few quilts with the standard Baptist Fans, I expanded my horizons and did a topsy turvy variation.

This version is much more casual.  It’s not so important to have the exact same number of arches in each unit in fact, it’s impossible.  Often times more or less arches have to be used so that I can reposition or fill in an area.  In the end, it still looks just fine.

The real key is to keep the space between the arches consistent.  Below is my Spoolin’ Around quilt (Bonnie Hunter pattern).  This one has the non-traditional fans.

Sorry about the bad link.  I’m hoping this makes up for it.

Please don’t be afraid to give this a try.  It is totally do-able.  If anyone needs a charity quilt top to practice on, I just got a new batch in and would love the help.  You practice…I get help.  That sounds like a match made in heaven to me!!

8 thoughts on “Those Baptist Fans”

  1. I really like the Baptist fan design and I have it done on most of my civil war quilts. Thanks for the encouragement to give it a try on my own.

  2. Thank you for the additional information! Baptist Fans are on my list of things to try. When you longarm Baptist Fans, do you load your quilt bottom to top (instead of the normal top to bottom)?

  3. THANK YOU JO! I’m going to try it! (Even though I’ve only ever quilted from the middle to the outside before. I hope I don’t get wrinkles!) :)
    -Jean <3

  4. Pingback: Ask Jo This and That…. | Jo's Country Junction

  5. Hi there. love reading your posts. Just saw the Baptist fan one. I rec’d a template a while back ,with a magazine I subscribe to. They included a little booklet with it. I am going to try it out soon. Will let you know how I like it-or not ,lol

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top