Quilt Motif Monthly – Filler Flowers

Welcome to month two of Quilt Motif Monthly. This week we learn about what I call, Filler Flowers. These beauties work in all sorts of spaces and at all sorts of sizes. This motif is one of my favorites because it gives your quilting a puffy organic fill, especially after the quilt is washed. Make them small for corners, make only one row of clam shell petals instead of three or four…get stuck in a corner…just make another row of petals. This flower will allow you to move all around without feeling stuck.

When practicing on a scrap quilt sandwich with no piecing, you may want to tape or mark off some shapes. Practice filling these shapes with the switchbacks.


Follow the simple arrow directions on the image to practice. Quilt a little loop that doesn’t close. Working back over the loop without touching it, make little clam shell, half circle, “boops” that look like overlapping flower petals. When you arrive at the end of that original loop, turn and make the clam shells back in the opposite direction. It is best for the design not to allow the rows of clam shells to touch each other. If they do, or if one little clam shell touches, don’t sweat it. In the large scheme of a quilt, no one will notice. Move back and forth in this manner making a flower that allows you to end up on the side of the flower you want. You may need to make one row or four rows. I usually shoot for three rows to keep some consistency, but it never works out that way on ever flower. Practice this on paper first so you can get a feel for how the design moves and flows.

Tips & Tricks

  • Make your clams larger as you move away from the original loop.
  • If you need to pause, try to pause in the point of a clam shell or at the end of a row.
  • If you get backed into a corner, just make more clam shells back in the other direction to get you where you need to be to start again. You may need to continue over more than one flower to travel exactly where you want to be.
  • Flowers can have as many rows of petals necessary to fill a corner or edge space. One or five. However, try to do three rows of clam shells on a consistent basis to give the quilting a cohesive feel.
  • The points of the clam shells should not touch the curve on the clam shell under it. Leave a little space and try to be consistent with that space.


Click the button below for a FREE Printable Download that includes the direction image and the Tips and Tricks.  Print it on 8.5″ by 11″ paper. If you are a super organized person, you may want to start a folder or binder for all future images.

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 About Quilt Motif Monthly

It has become increasingly more important to me to help our quilting community improve their confidence and skills. A new book – Free Motion Quilting – Improve Your Practice, helps quilters breakdown their own actions and process them in a way that leads to more fluid free motion quilting. For twelve months, I am committed to offering Quilt Motif Monthly as a free resource for learning new quilt motifs to build confidence and skills in your quilting.


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