Hawaiian Quilt patterns Pacific Rim Quilt Company
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Questions & Answers

Purchasing Questions:

Pattern Questions:

Applique Questions:

Quilting Questions:

Thread Questions:

Finishing Questions:

Video Questions:

Purchasing Questions:

1. How do I order from your website?

Click here for ordering information.

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2. How much will I pay for postage?

If your order will be sent to an address in the United States $2.00 and will be added to your order at check-out.

If your order will be sent to an address outside the United States click here for details.

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3. Do you ship to addresses outside the United States?

Yes, for details about shipping outside the United States click here.

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4. Can shop owners purchase your patterns at wholesale?

Yes, just email us, Info@prqc.com, and we can provide shop owners the information needed to place a wholesale order. See also: Wholesale

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Pattern Questions:

5. What is the difference between a Hawaiian Quilt and your "2 Fabric Applique Quilts"?

Both styles of quilt use two contrasting fabrics and the needleturn applique stitching is identical for both.

Hawaiian Quilt designs are symmetrical so the applique fabric is folded in eighths and cut like a paper snowflake. The applique fabric is then unfolded onto the background fabric, basted in place, and needleturn appliqued.

2 Fabric Applique Quilts (2FAQ) are not symmetrical, they are asymmetrical so they cannot be cut like a Hawaiian Quilt. NOR are they cut like other styles of applique which use many pieces, each individually cut and placed in just the right position on the background fabric. With 2FAQ patterns you mark the entire design on the applique fabric, place that entire piece of fabric on the background fabric, baste the applique as one piece (following the pattern instructions and the markings on the pattern page), then cut on the cutting lines, and do your normal needleturn stitching. That is a very brief description of the process, each pattern includes detailed instructions and diagrams.

The most important thing you can do before starting either style of quilt is to READ the INSTRUCTIONS. If you feel the need for additional help, or would like to have Nancy walk you through each step of the process for either style of quilt then consider purchasing one of our two instructional videos. Click here for details about our videos.

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6. Are instructions included with the pattern?

Yes, patterns come with complete instructions leading you through each step of the process. It is assumed you know needleturn applique and standard quilting techniques. If you desire instructions on needleturn applique or hand quilting consider purchasing one of our videos.

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7. Will I need to enlarge the pattern to make a quilt the size specified on the pattern?

No, patterns are for the size indicated, no need to enlarge the pattern before beginning your quilt.

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8. What pattern do you suggest for a beginner?

We always suggest you buy the pattern you like the best! That is the pattern you want to finish so you will be motivated to work on it. All our patterns are equally easy to make...some will just take longer because of their size and the number of applique inches to complete the design.

A fast Hawaiian Quilt in the wall-hanging size is the Cyclamen, it has the fewest points and valleys with the gentlest curves. Some people like to start with a block pattern before committing to a larger project. But unless you want the block as a finished project, just work on it long enough to gain confidence then toss it out and get on to the project you really want to make!

As a beginner, if you want to make a Hawaiian Quilt you will benefit from our video: Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong. Read more about it below.

The fastest 2 Fabric Applique Quilts would be Kimono, Bird of Paradise, Calla Lilies...or any other for that matter. Remember, do the one you like the best. And the video that will help you the most with a 2 Fabric Applique Quilt is: 2 Fabric Applique Quilts with Nancy Lee Chong. Read more about it below.

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9. Can a small pattern be enlarged to make a large quilt?

It depends on how much larger you want the design to be. Here are some things to consider:

  • What will the LARGEST element in the design look like after it is enlarged? Will you like that look?
  • If there are four flower blossoms in the center to begin with there will just be four blossoms in the center after it is enlarged - they will just all be bigger. Is that the look you want?

Patterns are designed to be a specific size. When designing a quilt we fill the available space with motifs and elements which are proportioned to that size. For a large quilt we can fill the space with more flowers, leaves, or whatever the design elements are to create a pleasing arrangement which is typically more intricate than a smaller design.

What we really recommend is that you choose a pattern that you like for the size quilt you want. We believe you will be happier with the outcome.

Other options could be to use the smaller pattern for a center medallion and surround it with pieced or applique borders, or use four small patterns (one pattern four times, or four different patterns) for a larger quilt.

See examples in our Hawaiian Quilt Gallery and our
2 Fabric Applique Quilts Gallery.

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10. Can a large pattern be reduced to make a small quilt?

It depends on how much smaller you want the design to be. Here are some things to consider:

  • What will the SMALLEST element in the design look like after it is reduced? Will you be able to needleturn the smallest elements successfully?
  • The original design included 3/16 inch for a turn-under allowance. When you reduce the pattern it will naturally reduce the turn-under allowance. To keep the design elements in proportion you will need to reduce the amount you turn under when appliqueing. Can you do that? Or will you be OK with a 3/16 inch turn-under that is now proportionately larger than the pattern elements?
  • If there are eight flower blossoms in the center to begin with there will still be eight blossoms in the center after it is reduced - they will just all be smaller. Is that the look you want? Will you loose detail that is important to the overall design?

Patterns are designed to be a specific size. When designing a quilt we fill the available space with motifs and elements which are proportioned to that size. For a small quilt we fill the space with fewer flowers, leaves, or whatever the design elements are to create a pleasing arrangement which is typically simpler than a larger design.

What we really recommend is that you choose a pattern that you like for the size quilt you want. We believe you will be happier with the outcome.

Another option could be to use just the center medallion without the border from a larger pattern.

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11. I want to make a Hawaiian Quilt for a relative (or friend), what should I consider when selecting a pattern?

A traditional element of Hawaiian Quilts was that the design had special meaning to the quiltmaker or quilt owner. For that reason you may want to select a pattern which will have special meaning to the person you plan to give the quilt to. Secret meanings are frequently part of a Hawaiian Quilt's story, so if you share a special occasion, or want to convey a message you can embed the meaning in the name of the quilt, no matter the design.

The most obvious consideration would be the person's favorite flower or interest (i.e. Bluegrass Band for a musician, Victorian Gingerbread for an architect or person who lives in a Victorian-era town, Banana Tree for a person whose childhood nickname was Monkey).

Perhaps a birth month flower and colors can guide your choice:

Month Flower Color
January Carnation or Snowdrop Black, Dark Blue or Red
February Violet or Primrose Violet, Sky Blue or Yellow
March Daffodil or Jonquil White or Light Blue
April Daisy or Sweet Pea Yellow, Red and Colorless
May Lily of the Valley or Hawthorn Yellow, Red and Green
June Rose or Honeysuckle Light Blue, White and Cream
July Water Lily Green, Russet and Red
August Gladiolas or Poppy Orange, Red and Light Green
September Aster or Morning Glory Brown, Deep Blue
October Calendula or Cosmos White, Yellow and Varied
November Chrysanthemum Dark Blue, Red and Yellow
December Narcissus or Holly Indigo, Green, Greenish-Blue

Each island has a nickname, color and flower. If they are from Hawaii, live in Hawaii, or have a favorite island let this information inspire your selection:

Island Nick Name Color Flower
Oahu The Gathering Place Yellow 'Ilima
Maui The Valley Isle Pink Loke (Rose)
Hawai'i The Orchid Isle Red Lehua
Kaua'i The Garden Isle Purple Mokihana
Moloka'i The Friendly Isle Green Kukui
Lana'i The Pineapple Isle Orange Kauna'oa
Ni'ihau The Forbidden Isle White Pupu shells
Kaho'olawe   Silver-gray Hinahina

Either our Aloha Album or Tropical Splendor patterns may be a wonderful alternative for a special person with strong ties to the Hawaiian Islands. These patterns incorporate flowers and motifs from all of the islands.

Of course, we do not have patterns for all these flowers; when we do, we have provided a link to the pattern. You  may also want to Design Your Personal Hawaiian Quilt using our book and DVD set. It is easier than you think, and the result will be a quilt that is as unique as you are! 

You can also visit other designers' websites, we have several listed on our Links page.

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Applique Questions:

12. Which applique technique works best?

We recommend needleturn applique for both the Hawaiian Quilts and our 2 Fabric Applique Quilts. Other applique techniques (i.e. freezer paper method) only complicate an otherwise very simple process.

Machine applique can be used for the Hawaiian Quilt block patterns with good success. If you choose this method, be sure to trim off the 3/16 in seam allowance which is included on the pattern for needleturn.

Our 2 Fabric Applique Quilts patterns also include instructions for machine applique with fusible web, and raw-edge applique by machine.

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13. Do the patterns include a turn-under, or seam allowance?

Yes, the patterns include an approximate 3/16 inch turn-under allowance.

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14. Is this reverse applique?

No. There really is no such thing as 'reverse applique' for you, the quiltmaker. You are always cutting on the cutting line of the top fabric, turning under the raw edge and stitching the top fabric to a background fabric. All applique is done exactly this way.

The notion of 'reverse applique' comes from the visual perception of the design. When the pattern is being designed the turn-under allowance needs to be added to the correct side of the cutting line by the pattern designer. But once the pattern is drawn, the process for the appliquer is exactly the same. It is not a change in applique techniques.

We believe we would all do well to eliminate the term reverse applique from the quilters' dictionary. It is confusing and provides many with the idea that it is somehow different or more difficult than normal applique...neither of which is true. You will never find us using the term reverse applique.

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15. Do you recommend cutting away the background fabric behind the applique?

No, we do not. The background fabric provides the stability required to maintain the integrity of the applique. Cutting away the background fabric weakens the quilt, putting undue stress on the applique stitches.

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Quilting Questions:

16. How do I know where to place the echo quilt lines on a Hawaiian Quilt?

In most cases, suggested quilting lines are included on the pattern page. Generally speaking echo quilt lines are spaced 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch apart, echoing the shape of the applique.

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17. How do you suggest quilting your "2 Fabric Applique Quilts"?

We always quilt in the ditch around the applique as a beginning. Then consider these options:

  • Echo quilt in the background areas, add details to the applique images - veins in the leaves, seeds in the sunflowers, etc.
  • Let any design motif in your fabrics guide your quilting. For example, if your applique fabric has sunflowers printed on it, then outline stitch the sunflowers.
  • Meandering horizontal lines suggest water or clouds which work well in the background areas.
  • Use the applique pattern to trace additional images to use as quilt lines. For example, with the "Two Mums" pattern mark additional mum blossoms and leaves to be quilted in the background and overlapping the outside frame.
  • Quilt additional shapes suggested by the pattern itself. For example, quilt snowflakes on the Penguin Family, quilt stars on the Bears Aloft, quilt additional bugs on the Dragonflies in Flight.

You can see that the possibilities are limitless. Go for it! Whatever you do will be perfect for your quilt. For more ideas and to see pictures visit our How-to and Ideas page.

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18. What is "quilt in the ditch"?

Quilt in the ditch is a single row of quilting on the background fabric which snuggles up as close to the applique as possible. The row of stitching right next to the applique helps to pop the applique off the background. It can also pull the edge of the applique down into the quilting contours to help hide some of those less-than-perfect applique stitches--an added bonus!

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19. Do you ever machine quilt your quilts?

Yes, we sure do! We much prefer hand quilting our Hawaiian Quilts, but life is short and there are many, many quilts to be made. So when we have a deadline to meet, or just to get through the backlog of applique tops we have accumulated we do machine quilt. For the Hawaiian Quilts we still prefer to quilt in a traditional echo-style, even when using the machine.

The 2 Fabric Applique Quilts are intended to be quick wall hanging projects and so we seldom hand quilt these.

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20. What batting do you recommend?

Hawaiian Quilts: We use 5 ounce 100% polyester. This is a thick batt. You want the extra loft to really show off the echo quilting. Do not use cotton, it compresses and looks flat after being quilted. You will put a lot of effort into hand quilting your Hawaiian Quilt - you want your echo quilting rows to show.

Packaged battings which work well are Hobbs Cloud Loft/High Loft batting, or The Warm Company's Soft-Soft High-Loft batting (1/2" loft).
Click here to purchase Hobbs Cloud Loft batting.

If you have never worked with a high loft batting for hand quilting you may want to make a small sandwich with two pieces of fabric and your chosen batting to practice on before starting your quilt. The first few stitches are always the most difficult, but once you get started the batting begins to compress a bit and you will find it easy to needle the thick polyester batting.

2 Fabric Applique Quilts: We use standard low loft battings, usually cotton or cotton/poly blends. Generally we are not wanting the quilting to distract from the graphic nature of the applique on these quilts. We also want the quilts to be easily machine quilted. Cotton batting naturally holds the layers of the quilt top and backing to the batting when machine quilting.

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21. Do you use a hoop or quilt frame?

When we quilt our Hawaiian Quilts by hand we use a lap hoop -- yes, even on the queen and king sized quilts. With a hoop, when echo quilting, you can sit comfortably and turn the hoop to stitch in all the different directions you need to. If the quilt were mounted on a stationary floor frame you would have to twist and turn your body, arms and wrists to accomplish the echo quilting. The lap hoop is a wiser ergonomic choice.

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21a. Where can I purchase a quilt hoop?

The quilt hoops we like best for lap quilting are made by Frank A Edmunds Company, and are available from their website. These hoops are made from solid hardwood, have a sturdy block closure and 4" tension bolt. The minimum size to consider is the 14" round hoop. For bed-sized quilts we use the 16" x 27" oval. Size is really up to you--the size project you are working on, and what you are comfortable with.

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22. Do you have any suggestions for removing the washout chalk marks from my fabric?

First, you should always test your marking tools on the actual fabric you will be using to make sure the marks come out. The Clover Water-soluble Pencils we sell do not contain wax and we find that they come easily off of most fabrics.

If you do find that the marks are not coming out as easily as you had hoped here are a few things to try:

  1. Rub with a fabric eraser.
  2. Wash the fabric or quilt, you may need to rub a bit if the marks are stubborn.
  3. If the fabric was ironed while marked a few of our students have had success washing the fabric with OxyClean.

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Thread Questions:

23. Is there a significance to the spool colors for Aurifil thread?

Yes, the color spool tells you the weight of the fabric. These are the spool colors for Aurifil's Cotton Mako thread:

Spool color Thread weight Suggested uses
Orange 50 weight, 2 ply Hand applique, machine piecing, machine embroidery, machine quilting
Green 40 weight, 2 ply General purpose sewing, long arm quilting
Grey 28 weight, 2 ply Hand quilting
Red 12 weight, 2 ply Redwork, embroidery

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24. Do you use cotton or silk thread?

Cotton. We especially love Aurifil's 50 weight thread for hand applique, machine piecing, machine quilting and general sewing. It is a fine, smooth thread that comes in over 200 solid colors. It is easy to work with and looks beautiful.

We find silk thread difficult to work with. Our primary criteria for all our quilting is to "first make it fun and stressfree". Silk thread is difficult to work with, so no matter what it looks like we are just not going to use it.

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25. Do I match the color of applique thread to the applique fabric or the background fabric?

Match to the applique fabric. When matching thread, if you can, lay a single strand of thread on your fabric to find the best match. If you cannot find a perfect match and your background fabric is lighter than your applique fabric go with a thread which is a bit lighter; if your background fabric is darker then choose a thread that is a shade darker - but only if you cannot get a near-perfect match.

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Finishing Questions:

26. How do I make and attach a quilt sleeve?

This topic is included in both our videos Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong and 2 Fabric Applique Quilts with Nancy Lee Chong.

For instructions from McCall's Quilting: click here

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27. How do I make a quilt label?

This topic is included in our video Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong

For a link to online instructions visit Lost Quilt Come Home.

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28. How should I wash my quilt?

Here are links to two articles which describe approved procedures for washing quilts. While the focus of these articles is on antique quilts, the same process applies to newer quilts as well.

Wet Cleaning Quilts at Home (from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, HI)

Quilt History: Cleaning

We suggest that you wash all the fabrics before beginning to make a quilt. This will eliminate shrinkage and dye migration problems later on. If excessive dye comes out of any fabrics when you pre-wash we suggest using Synthrapol to help remove the excess dye. Then, because you pre-washed your fabrics you will be able to wash your quilt in the same fashion and be reasonably sure it will not shrink nor will the colors run.

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Video Questions:

29. What is the difference between your videos and book?

DVD: Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee ChongHawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong (DVD) teaches you everything you need to know to make a Hawaiian quilt, from beginning to end. Needleturn applique and hand quilting are both included. Hawaiian quilt designs are symmetrical, so the fabric is folded and cut before basting to the background (similar to how a paper snowflake is cut). Step-by-step details are shown in the video. If you want to make a Hawaiian quilt, purchase this video (click the picture).

Book & DVD: Design Your Personal Hawaiian QuiltDesign Your Personal Hawaiian Quilt (book and DVD set) teaches you how to design a Hawaiian quilt. Once you have a design (either your personal design, or a purchased pattern) you would need the DVD Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong, above, to learn to make the quilt from your pattern. If you want to design your own Hawaiian quilt, purchase this book/DVD set (click the picture).

DVD: 2 Fabric Applique Quilts with Nancy Lee Chong2 Fabric Applique Quilts with Nancy Lee Chong (DVD) teaches you how to make a 2 Fabric Applique Quilt (2FAQ) using needleturn applique. It will not teach you how to quilt. 2FAQ quilts are not symmetrical designs, so the pattern is marked on the fabric first, then basted to the background, before being cut. Step-by-step details are shown in the video. If you want to make a 2 Fabric Applique Quilt, purchase this video (click the picture).

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30. Which video should I buy?

These two videos provide excellent needleturn applique instructions:

If you want to make a 2 Fabric Applique Quilt, or you want to learn needleturn applique, or improve your needleturn skills, then the 2 Fabric Applique Quilts with Nancy Lee Chong video will give you everything you need at a lower cost.

On the other hand, if what you really want is to make a Hawaiian Quilt then the video you should buy is Hawaiian Quilting with Nancy Lee Chong. This video will also teach you hand quilting.

The book/DVD set Design Your Personal Hawaiian Quilt will teach you how to design a Hawaiian quilt, not make one.

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31. Do you provide lessons via the internet?

Yes, Nancy teaches Hawaiian Quilting and other applique and hand quilting classes on the internet at Academy of Quilting. Her classes are offered on-demand, so whenever you want a class it is there for you! Feedback from students on this method of learning has been very positive. Sign-up today!

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