Inspiration for Stained Glass Quilting Designs

Inspiration for Stained Glass Quilting Designs

Posted by Allie Aller on Dec 2nd 2016

(Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Allie Aller's Stained Glass Quilts Reimagined.)

Where do you look for inspiration?

If you think of stained glass quilting as ''outlined'' art, any design based on simple line drawings or shapes can be transformed into a pattern.

Appliqué patterns and old embroider transfers from the 1930s lend themselves to the outline technique used for stained glass quilts. And what a wealth of design inspiration there is in the appliqué world, to be sure!

Stained Glass Poppies, an interpretation of the cover quilt of Nancy Pearson's Floral Appliqué: Original Designs and Techniques for Medallion Quilts, EZ Quilting by Wright's, 2000. 32 1/2'' x 32 1/2'', 2000.

Blackwork and redwork design can be easily adapted for our use in stained glass quilting. If you do an Internet image search on ''blackwork''or ''redwork,'' you will be amazed at what comes up. This is a great source of inspiration and design.

Blackwork designs by Mary Corbett.

The original redwork turkey block.

Turkey in the Corn, 16 1/2'' x 19 1/2''.

If you are looking for shapes to arrange into your own pattern, as I was for Modern Rose Window, try using disassembled silk or fabric flowers, pressed flat, as flower templates. You can find all shapes of flowers at crafts stores. You can also use flowers made with any die-cut system you may have.

Modern Rose Window, 39 1/2'' x 39 1/2''.

One more source worth noting is the free Antique Pattern Library online ( This site provides an unending supply of scanned antique design books from every field of creative craft endeavor from decades and even centuries past.

Henri's Window is based on a design from Dessins de Vitrerie by Henri Carot, 1886. The people who run the nonprofit Antique Pattern Library kindly gave me fair use permission to use this printed screenshot from their website.

Henri's Window, 22 1/2'' x 26 3/4'’.

Print-out of the design from the Antique Pattern Library website.

What could be more directly translatable into a stained glass pattern than a coloring book image? Dover Publications has a series of clip-art books with copyright-free imagery. C&T Publishing also has a series of coloring books with many designs adaptable to quilts.

Silk Rose Window, 22'' x 22'', is based on one of the illustrations from Playful Designs by Patty Young, C&T Publishing, 2014.

Or you can do image searches on the internet (try Pinterest, too) for stained glass windows. The Attendant is based on Tiffany's work, as is Tiffany’s Peacock.

What do you love? Go find it and be inspired. Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look for it.

The Attendant, 60'' x 66''. Photo by Bill Bachhuber.

Tiffany’s Peacock, 20'' x 20''.

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