Fish quilt

Fish quilt

I thought that this fish quilt pattern would make a fun and different quilting project.  I can see it either as a table topper or a quilt for baby to lie on.  The focus of this particular quilt was to show you that your quilts don’t need to be regular shapes and also to show you how to sew the quilt binding on corners that face inwards rather than outwards.

I have used squares only, making it a very simple quilt.  Very approximately, it measures about 48″ at its longest and 36″ at its widest.  I have used 1/4 yard of green fabric and 1/2 yard each of red and white.  You would also need 10″ of binding fabric and 54″ by 40″ rectangles of wadding and backing fabric.


Cutting requirements

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty two green, thirty red, forty four white

four 2.1/2″ strips for the binding

Making the fish body for the quilt

Body of the fish quilt

Body of the fish quilt

The body of the fish quilt is made using squares laid out in nine rows of nine.  In the top left corner I have put a red square to denote the mouth of the fish.  Then across that first row the squares alternate white, green, white, red, white, green, white, red.

The second row begins with two white squares then alternates the colours to match the row above.  The third row begins with three green squares, the fourth with four white squares and so on until the final row is made using nine red squares.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows together to complete the body of the fish quilt.

Making the tail for the fish quilt

The tail of the fish quilt

The tail of the fish quilt

Sew the squares together across each row

Sew the squares together across each row

The tail is also made using squares only.  You will need one row of three squares:  white, greeen, white.  The remaining three rows are made using two white squares with one green and one red.  Lay them out so that the red squares form a line across the tail and sew the squares together across the rows.



Sew the first row to the fish body

Sew the first row to the fish body

Sew the rest of the tail to the body

Sew the rest of the tail to the body

Sew the first row (three squares) to the corner square of the fish body so that the row extends out to the right side of the red corner.  Sew the other three rows together to make a patchwork block.  Sew this block to the red corner and the three squares of the first row of the fish tail.  That completes the top of the fish quilt.



Layering the fish quilt

Layer the fish quilt

Layer the fish quilt

Trim the excess wadding and backing

Trim the excess wadding and backing

Press the rectangle of backing fabric well and lay it with right side down.  Lay the wadding on top and lay the patchwork fish on top with right side up.  Gently smooth each layer before you lay down the next layer, working from the middle outwards.  Baste to secure the three layers together.  I used quilting safety pins and placed them in the patterned squares only as I am going to quilt in the white squares.

Trim the wadding and backing to about an inch from the edge of the patchwork fish quilt.  This reduces the bulk but still allows some flexibility in case the layers shrink against each other during the quilting.  The final trim will take place before the quilt binding is added.

To see how I quilted the fish quilt, click on clamshell quilting.

To see how to bind the quilt corners click on binding inside corners.

Here’s the quilting video:


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  1. Hi Rose,
    Thanks for sharing your ideas and patterns.I am new to quilting .Would you have a Seminole pattern for a table runner?

  2. Rose thanks for sharing your new talents with us.

  3. Thank you Rose, I just love your ideas, absolutely adorable!

  4. Dear Rose,
    Another lovely idea, you amaze me Rose every time.

  5. Nancy of IN says:

    So cute. Without looking at the size, I thought it was a rug mug and pot holder. I was trying to see the fish as I was looking for fish fabric. Great idea.

  6. Thank you Rose, this pattern will make a brilliant bath mat. Really look forward to all your designs.

  7. Love this quilt. So different from just squares and half squares. If you did not want to cut the red and green fabric into squares, could you just cut 2 1/2″ strips? Would still have the same desired effect, maybe? I really look forward to your newsletter each week and the inspired designs you come up with. Your tutorials are so clear and easy to follow. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Shirley. Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, you could certainly use 3.1/2″ strips – it would be easy enough to work out the lengths for the strips.

  8. You never fail to inspire Rose thank you will try this

  9. Hi Rose, what a lovely fish topper quilt. As it’s so hot here in the UK, this fish pattern looks easy to make and using mainly 3.1/2 squares should be straight forward to make—well done Rose

    • Thanks, Jean. As you say, it’s too hot to do any major quilting: I thought that the fish quilt was small enough to be just plain fun.

  10. Michele says:

    I love your fish quilt! I don’t think of the excess fabric and wadding as waste. I think of them as leftovers, to be used in another project.

  11. Hot in UK and hot in parts of USA. 95˚ here in the northeast. Love your fish – very clever. Now about the backing. It looks as though you not only sewed 1/2 circles on the white fabric but on the other fabric as well. Question: Did you use a walking foot or did you use a darning foot? This is such an easy way of meandering if you’re a beginner. I’m going to try it. Great idea, Rose. Thanks.

    • Hi Claire. I agree that the back looks more quilted than the front – don’t quite know why. No, I really did only quilt the white fabric – I felt that there was already enough pattern on the red and green fabrics. I used a darning foot. It would probably be possible to use a walking foot, but you’d be constantly turning the fabric to achieve the curves.

  12. Thanks for the Great Fish loved the idea and pattern/instruction. Keep the quilts coming.

  13. Cynthia says:

    I LOVE this!! Thank you!!!

  14. Hi Rose, you have so many wonderful family patterns. I am totally in love with the fish. I have been piecing for years and at 71 I am finally getting the big picture of the satisfaction of finishing my projects. Thanks so much for the wonderful website you blog on. I look forward to your sharing. I will be looking at more Baby Quilts and projects as the little ones are coming along this year. Merci to you. OMI

    • Thanks so much. I’m glad you like the pattern. I am hoping to beef up the baby quilt section – there aren’t as many there to choose from as I would like.

  15. Gillian says:

    Thank you for giving the total amount of fabric required for the finished item. This makes it much easier to buy what you require, or just find the correct amount in your stash. this looks an interesting quilt, and not too ambitious for this hot weather.

  16. yvonne sharpe says:

    nice quilt pattern.

  17. Johnnie K. says:

    Like this pattern, fish quilt, wonder if this could be made into a bed quilt, or do you think it would be too much…….. Really like all your patterns, and your web site. Thanks for sharing, JohnnieK

    • I’m sure it could be made into a bed sized quilt, but I wonder if another option might be to make several smaller fish and put them together for a large quilt. Definitely worth thinking about.

  18. Rose, how I love finding your blog in my emails each week, they are always so helpful and you make things sound so much easier. I am only a beginner to quilting so your blogs are very welcome. Love this fish idea, a nice big one would make a cute picnic rug/beach mat. I’m thinking my granddaughter would love the tail as her special bit to sit on!

    • Hi Hilary – what a lovely idea. I would never have thought of making the tail a special area for a young one. Great thinking!

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