Design Process: Making of the Lily Lotus Quilt

The Lily Lotus Quilt is one first products we designed in the Indian Ocean Collection.

Design Inspiration 

The Indian Ocean Collection tells the story of our travels to Mauritius, a vibrant island in the Indian Ocean. When we started planning our trip to Mauritius, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens in Pamplemousses were high on our list of places to visit. The gardens are famous for its long pond of Victoria Amazonica giant water lilies, but the lotus ponds, brimming with lush green leaves and flowers, also caught our imagination. We thought they’d make beautiful prints.

Design Process

Sarah started to illustrate what we’d seen and think about how the design would translate into textiles for the home. She played with the scale of the water lily pads, choosing to not depict them as large as they actually are so they didn’t dominate other elements in the design. We were looking to capture a joyful feeling of being out in nature and the tropics, and the vibrancy of the colours of the lilies and lotuses. Victoria Amazonica’s flowers bloom at night and begin white before turning lilac, so our colour palette became shades of purple and green, with pops of yellow.

We thought it would be lovely to create a border of lotuses at the bottom of the quilt to give the design a sense of growth and energy, as though they were emerging from the base of the bed. This meant designing the Lily Pad print in such a way so the fabric could be cut and joined to the Lotus print seamlessly, and making sure the pattern repeat was a size that would work for all quilt sizes with as little wastage as possible.

Sampling the Design

Once all the designs were ready, we separated the colours in each design and made them into different screens, one for each colour. We tested the screens to make sure they were printing properly and mixed the inks, making changes until the colours were working together in the best combination possible. The Lily Pad design took quite a few attempts to get it right. We tweaked the tone of both greens, and for the lilac/purple shades both their tone and relative lightness and darkness, so the details in the design stood out rather than blending in together.

Hand screen printing the fabric run

Next it was time to hand screen print the full run of fabric. Teams of two artisans worked up and down 30 metre long tables, printing one colour at a time to slowly print the full design. Once printed the fabric was hung up to dry before being put through a heated machine dryer to ‘cure’ and set the design.For the Lotus print as well as the quilt border we adapted the design to make new screens for a running fabric, as we thought it would work really well for curtains and drapes.

Stitching the Lily Lotus Quilt

Back in the Safomasi studio in Chirag Delhi our team, lead by Masterji, carefully cut and joined the fabric to make the front and back pieces for each quilt. Cotton wadding was sandwiched in between them and marked with the design for quilting using a stencil and washable ink. We usually keep the quilting fairly simple so as not to distract from our patterns, so the Lily Lotus quilt was quilted by hand with a small diamond pattern. After hand quilting the edge of the quilt is sewn up and excess cotton cut off to prepare it for the next stage – washing! Each quilt is washed to pre-shrink it and remove the quilting ink. Finally, the edging is sewn on and the last stage is to check for any threads and give it the once over with a link roller before packing it into our beautiful embroidered quilt bags.

The Lily Lotus Quilt

The Lily Lotus Quilt is available in Double, Single and Baby sizes, but can also be customised. 

Choose from the Lotus Stem or Victoria Lily pillowcases to complete the look!