Introduction: Chinese Lantern Quilt

This quilt was made for my son to use at college on an extra long twin bed. The Chinese Lantern pattern was done using the Bargello technique/pattern noted a book (sorry, I couldn’t find the book name).


• Top: Fabric in 3 colors for top
• Backing: Fabric in 1 color for bottom (I used a top sheet.)
• Center layer: polyester batting (used in this quilt), “Warm and Natural” cotton batting, or a blanket that is larger than the top,
• Thread for piecing blocks
• “Invisible” (clear) thread
• Rotary cutter and mat
• Rulers
• Pins and needles
• Scissors
• Computer with spreadsheet or Graph paper and colored

1. Decide the size of quilt you want to make.
2. Plan the finished quilt width to be evenly divisible by 9.
3. Choose 3 colors that work well together; generally a light, bright and dark fabric with strong contrast.
4. Make a graph of the quilt on computer using a spreadsheet program, 3 blocks for each 3.5” long strip, 2 blocks for 6.5” strips, 4 blocks for 12.5” strips, 6 blocks for 18.5” strips. Count the number of 3.5”, 6.5”, 12.5 and 12.5” blocks needed for each color and note this at the bottom of your graph.
5. Wash, partially dry and iron the fabrics.

6. Using a rotary cutter, mat, and long well marked ruler, cut fabric into 3 ½” wide strips as long as each piece of fabric.
7. Using a rotary cutter cut the long strips into the appropriate number of shorter lengths needed for each color.

8. Notice that the 12.5” strips are sewn together in the same repeating order but that the color and length which you start and end with varies.
a. To save time ripping out stitching to remove blocks make stacks of the 12.5” blocks for each column plus the shorter beginning and ending blocks
b. Sew together each column of blocks marking the column number in the seam allowance on the top of the column block.
c. Press all the seams
9. For the 6.5” and 18.5” blocks follow the graph, making a pile of the blocks to be sewn together for each column.
a. Sew together each column of blocks marking the column number in the seam allowance on the top of the column block.
b. Press all the seams.

10. Lay out all of the strips on several long tables in the numbered order to check that the pattern is correct.
11. In order, pin the strips together, sew, press, trim and remove loose threads. The quilt top is finished.

12. Sandwich the backing (outside down), filling, quilt top on a large table. Pin the 3 layers together starting in the center and working evenly outward in all directions.

13. Quilt the 3 sandwiched layers together using a “stitch in the ditch” technique with “invisible”/clear thread and making sure no wrinkles develop in the bottom layer.
a. Quilt to within a ½” of each edge.
b. This quilt was hand stitched along lengthwise lines only due to time and equipment constraints. Another quilting option would be to quilt down the middle of each lantern for stability then around the edges of each lantern for interest.

14. Turn the quilt top and bottom/backing under ¼” on all edges, pin and press.
15. Stitch the top and bottom together.

16. Make a label with: your name, date quilt was finished, name of quilt pattern: Chinese lanterns – Bargello technique. Affix fabric label to backing. This information may be embroidered directly onto the quilt backing.