Overlapping designs

Get a little creative!

What can you do with two motifs and some circles? Today you’ll see how to make a simple overlapping design and change out the motifs to create different look.  If you want to see more information on overlapping designs, check out my book The design master plan

Here’s the two motifs I’ve been working with lately.

Palm fronds and a love heart design.


And now for the overlapping design. Start by overlapping the grey circles like so, then make a copy of them and rotate that new group 45° (shown in red). I chose to place a little gap between the intersections of the red and grey circles that might not be clear in this image. I feel that gap emphasizes the overlapping effect. If you want more of a gap, make the inner circles larger so the coloured parts become thinner.


You’ll be using the centre part as shown below. It’s only a quarter of each circle.


Here’s what that area looks like. Decide on the direction you want the overlapping to go. The overlapping below looks like it’s going to the right to me so I’ve eliminated the lines crossed out with the red marks.

Now to scale the motifs that will be on the ends. I look at the design on both angles so here the palm fronds are at the top. You may want one motif to be larger than the other so it’s the main event.

The circle template is placed over the design as reference guides so the lines can look like they continue under those rounded rectangular bands that separate the motifs from the overlapping area.

Reference guides make sure everything lines up (if they need to).


The finished result. Place a design in the centre if you wish to. My other option was to place a curved octagon in there.  To add emphasis to the overlapping areas, put some shading in the appropriate area with paint, quilting or fabric markers. This would look fantastic with trapunto too.

And now for some alternatives…

There are so many ways to arrange a couple of motifs…it’s time to explore them all!

Happy quilting,


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