Joan Brailsford – Blooming


The ‘Blooming’ theme made me think immediately of open beautiful flowers, and because I used trees as the them of my last series, I also thought of the magnolia blossoms. Now, when I think of magnolia blossom, I think of warm and sunny afternoons beneath the trees with a nice cup if tea and a good book. So my next decision was how to translate this thought into a design.

I created a mainly plain white background using vintage lace tray cloths and coasters, and added pages from an old book. For the blossoms I used my own dyed fine cotton, that I coloured with Inktense pencil. I added the petal shapes with contrast machine stitching. The leaves, stems and flowers were all bonded to the background and machine stitching used to secure the outlines. I used machine stitching in white and cream, to quilt the piece, and used leaf and blossom shapes for the quilting pattern. I added a few beads and French knots to detail the inside of the open blossom.

The main problem that I has with this piece was that because the background was ‘lumpy’ (because of the nature of the vintage lace), the plumpness of the blossoms was slightly lost when the piece was ironed, and the texture below  them made an impression. I’ll remember this in the future!

Close up views:



  1. Splendid magnolias!

  2. Interesting design and technique, love the final result.

  3. Very interesting the mix of vintage stuff and dyed cotton. A stunning stitch completed with the magnolia blossoms and book’s pages gives back the peaceful feeling of the sunny afternoon. Well done.

  4. I love your painted magnolia’s. The bookpages prevent your quilt to be too pale. Well done! Now enjoy your cup of tea.

  5. I love the composition and use of color. The background is perfect, and the bits of newspaper not only contain the images, they help tell the story as well. Your quilting motifs add to the charmof your quilt.

  6. Very nice and romantic piece ! I like the use of bookpages in your composition mixed with vintage fabrics. Beautiful.

  7. I love the way you have done this and the ‘lumpy’ bits aren’t obvious. Great use of materials.

  8. Beautiful blooms! They really do give a feeling of a peaceful, English spring day.

  9. Vintage feel to your piece is very effective. Peaceful and tranquil. You achieved your goal! Very nice work.

  10. Back in 1976, I was on the Ilse of Wight, drinking tea in the Appuldurcomp teagarden, don’t know if it exists any longer. Your quilt reminds me of that. The ancient lace and the old-fashioned magnolia flowers, together with the old book pages, what a story you tell in your quilt. Beautiful and well done Joan!

  11. You got such a wonderful precious colour with the inktense pencils on your handdyed coton. I love how you incorporated the pages of the old book. The quilting of the vintage lace is beautiful. Bravo!

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