Undersea 3..get creative!

So for the first quilt in this series, I used the coordinating center panel from Northcott. For the second quilt, I used a similarly themed fat quarter as my inspiration. For this quilt, I created my own center piece which is an embroidered applique.

Below is the finished center. If you continue reading, you will also be able to read about the process I used to create this finished piece.

Center piece background

I had a purchased gradient 5×5 packet I purchased at Yellowstone Fabrics a couple of years ago. The colors made a wonderful water quality for creating the water background.

  • I used 35 5″ x 5″ blocks
  • I laid them out so the piece is 5 blocks wide by 7 block long
  • To get the water affect, I auditioned my layout by creating on by worktable.
  • Once satisfied I carefully stacked and kept my order

The estimated finished measurements of my center, prior to embroidering, should be 23″ X 32″. Because I know that embroidering will lead to shrinkage, I will not cut the rest of my quilt until the center is finished.

Center piece appliques

I used the following Accuquilt Go dies to cut most of my pieces.

  • 55190 – Go! Sea Life for large seahorses, fish, starfish, and crabs
  • 55049 – Go! Arabesque #2 Ricky Tims for red plant life
  • 55050 – Go! Arabesque #3 Ricky Tims for green plant life
  • 55046 – Go! Aragesque #1 Ricky Tims for smaller yellow and orange at bottom of center and the large 2 part yellow toward the middle of my center piece.
  • 55331 – Go! Stems and Leaves for long background plants

The fabric I used for this applique are as follows:

  • 55190 seahorses – 2 pieces of red fabric 3″ x 8″ (cut mirrored)
  • 55049 plants – 2 pieces of red fabric 8″ x 8″ ( cut mirrored)
  • 55050 plants – 2 pieces of green fabric 9.5″ x 9.5″ (cut mirrored)
  • 55046 plants – 1 piece of orange and 2 pieces of yellow 8.5″ x 5″ (cut just the bottom piece on the die)
  • 55190 starfish – 2 pieces of coordinating orange 4″ x 4″ (cut mirrored)
  • 55190 fish- 4 pieces of orange and 2 pieces of yellow 3.5″ x 5″ (cut colors mirrored to each other)
  • 55331 stems and leaves – 6 full sets of turquoise 6″ x 11″ each. (Cut so have 2 sets of 3 mirrored to each other). Note: I didn’t cut mine mirrored but would the next time.
  • 55190 crabs – 2 pieces of a red fabric 3.5″ x 5″ (cut mirrored)
  • 55046 plants – 3 pieces of yellow cut 8″ x 8″ (cut just the top 2 designs on the die)

Note: To prepare my fabric, I spray with best press, then use heat-n-bond lite to back each piece. This is my process whether cutting with my accuquilt or my scan’ncut. When I say ‘mirrored’ it means to put the right sides facing each other when cutting on my Accuquilt.

To embroider these designs, I utilized the coordinating AccuQuilt design files for:

  • SeaLife – Large seahorses, crabs, fish, and starfish
  • Stems & leaves – All the turquoise plants
  • Arabesque 1, 2, and 3: Even though some of the files say ‘Studio’ cutter rather than Go! the designs were the same.


Note: I tested the designs before sewing on my project. I simply had my machine stitch the outline on stabilizer then laid my cut pieces in the placement line to make sure they fit.

I also used my Lunchbox Quilts “Ocean Odyssey” Machine embroidery for raw edge applique.

  • Double jellyfish (red)
  • Octopus (green)
  • Small seahorses (red)

Assembling The Center

The trickiest part of art applique is deciding what gets stitched first. It is a layering process – fortunately I have a drop-down design wall. I am able to audition until the piece looks like my vision in my head.

For this quilt, I took pictures as I added each design to the quilt. below is the order I chose:

  1. Add all the stems & leaves
  2. Add the lower yellow plant corners
  3. Add the green plants
  4. Add the 2 part yellow plants
  5. Add the red plants
  6. Add the small lower orange plant to center
  7. Add the two starfish (I added a second one at the end – see number 14 below – because I felt it needed an extra)
  8. Add the two large seahorses
  9. Add the two small jellyfish (Lunchbox Quilts)
  10. Add the octopus (Lunchbox Quilts)
  11. Add the 2 yellow fish
  12. Add the 4 orange fish
  13. Add the 2 small seahorses and 2 mirrored jellyfish (Lunchbox Quilts)
  14. Added the second starfish
  15. On yellow fish, I changed the eyes to ‘black’

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