Sesen - Blues and Yellows

Quilt Commission {Quilt Design}

A local friend reached out to me at the beginning of October enquiring if I would consider making a quilt on commission. Although it is pretty rare that I take on commission work, she gave me free reign on the design (with just enough input to make sure the recipient will love it) and I am really excited to get started making the quilt in the next few weeks. I thought I’d share a little bit about the design process today.

This quilt is a gift for a newlywed who loves wildflowers. Her favorite colors are blue and yellow, and her bridal bouquet was full of small blues, blush and peach/apricot flowers.



One of the most prevalent wildflowers in our Central California town are lupin. So when I thought of wildflowers, I thought of lupin. I started with a very literal interpretation just to get some ideas started. I often do this: many of my initial design concepts start out with sketches that seem very far away from the final design, but they are important to get me working through the process. And I have found over the years that starting with a literal interpretation can get my mind thinking about what elements of the literal interpretation work and how to make the concept more abstract.

Sesen - Purples

Sesen – Purples

From there I created a design that has more of a floral bouquet feeling. When my husband peeked over my shoulder at the screen, he thought the design had a bit of an Egyptian flair, so we opted to name the design Sesen: “A lotus flower. This is a symbol of the sun, of creation and rebirth.”

The design rolled seamlessly from the original lupin design to the purple Sesen design, but it did not take into account the recipients color preferences, so I next started working to refine the color palette.

Sesen - Green and Orange

Sesen – Green and Orange

I first went back to the original wildflower prompt. This time I thought of California poppies and tried to capture their feeling and colors. My first approach was to mix in green with the oranges.

Sesen - Orange and Peach

Sesen – Orange and Peach

The second iteration of the poppy inspired colors pulled in the peach tones mentioned as well.

Sesen - Blue, Yellow, Green

Sesen – Blue, Yellow, Green

Pivoting to think about the newlywed’s favorite colors, I started with a blue, yellow, and green option.

Sesen - Blues and Yellows

Sesen – Blues and Yellows

And finished with an all blue and yellow version. I was a little bit concerned about being able to find enough blue fabric (many Kona Cotton fabrics in blue have been in low quantities or completely sold out for months), so I worked to select colors that I could find available online.

Learning from earlier in the year, before sharing the design and options for consideration, I did break down the design to make sure I had a solid piecing plan for the quilt.

In the end, the final all blue and yellow option was selected. I was concerned about finding enough of the blue background (Kona Cotton Blueprint) but I actually had to work harder to find the dark yellow (Kona Canary) as the first location I placed an order with ran out before processing my order. But, fingers crossed, all the fabric for the quilt should be here this week, and I will also be making a text block of the center light blue to decide on the piecing method I want to use before cutting into the fabrics.

I’d love to know if you find that you have a common warmup process that you go through when doodling or designing.

11 thoughts on “Quilt Commission {Quilt Design}

  1. gsyanne63 says:

    Love the Sesen design will look beautiful in the chosen colours, the first design of the lupins i think is gorgeous too and it appealed to me. Look forward to seeing Sesen come together xx

  2. This was such an interesting post, Yvonne. I enjoy learning how others process a quilt design. I have EQ8 but have yet to learn it well enough to use, so I primarily do a sketch on graph paper. There’s just something that works for me doing the planning with pencil and paper. If I’m not sure about colors, I might copy the sketch and use colored pencils to play a bit. Many of my designs only get that far and never to fabric, but it’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m not sewing. I’m completely smitten with the orange/green version of your design!

  3. wandacarole says:

    Torn…..this Texas native loves the lupine because it looks so much like bluebonnets….and the Sesen colors of California poppy became dear to me when I lived in California for a number of years. I like the meaning of Sesen. You are on a roll and I am eager to see what is next. My designs seem to start with an idea which grows in my head for a while. It expands and solidifies as I mull it over, go through my stashes (which is exceptionally helpful in our days of COVID challenges), wake with an idea, think of who the quilt is for and what pleases my senses. Somehow it all eventually takes form. Then I sew as I go. :)

  4. Suzanne says:

    Your abstract design is clever. It really does suggest flowers. My favorite is the one in blue, yellows and green – it reads the most floral to me. If I were making it however, I’d like a somewhat warmer green better. But that’s just me and it’s immaterial.
    The blue and yellow choice will be splendid and prized by the recipient. It’s wonderful knowing that your work will be appreciated, isn’t it?

    I wonder why blue Kona and others are harder to find/selling out? H-m-m-m. I have more blues and greens fabric in my stash than any other colors. Perhaps many of us just love blue.

  5. patty says:

    Great design. You will be a curves expert extraordinaire after this one!

  6. Mrs. Plum says:

    My heart went pitter-patter when I saw the blue and yellow design. Though I generally do not like blue, there is something about blue and yellow together that is so satisfying. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your design process.

  7. Liz Wilson says:

    Wow! I must say I’m totally in love with Lupin … it looks like hyacinths. But I know the blue and yellow quilt will be beautiful too, I don’t think you’ve ever made a quilt that I didn’t think was stunning, and I look forward to seeing it.

  8. Suzette Harris says:

    All fabulous!

  9. I must admit to being partial to the lupin! They are gorgeous here in Maine too when they bloom but the season is short. I love the design process and it is fun to see where you start and where you wind up.

  10. Jasmine @ Quilt Kisses says:

    Fascinating. I always love seeing your design process.

  11. Anja @ Anja Quilts says:

    This is an amazing design. Good luck with piecing.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)