New Designs · Pieced Designs

All Aboard the Circus Train!

Hi Quilting Friends,

Are you old enough to remember when the circus would come to town?  The “Shriner’s Circus” visited our little Montana town every couple of years, and it was such wondrous fun to go to the show and see the performers and their animals.  My favorite act was usually the elephants, or maybe the clowns with their little bitty car.

I’m not sure how the circus arrived in our town when I was a kid.  They probably loaded everyone and everything into a caravan of semi-trucks and trailers, and then drove on down the highway.  But some of you might remember the colorful circus trains!  All aboard!

And now for my version of a colorful, quilted, circus train:

Every train needs an engine, to provide power!  This engine is strong enough to pull the whole train.

Steam Engine Car Paper Pieced Pattern by Ms P Designs USA

And every train engine needs fuel.  This steam engine needs lots of coal to keep it puffing along, so the coal hopper must be completely filled!

Coal Tender Car Paper Pieced Pattern by Ms P Designs USA

Now here come the animals!  Who would ride in this colorful carriage?  Oh look!  It is filled with trained monkeys.

Train Car A Trains by Ms P Designs USA

This car is really adorable with its heart and swirls!  The pretty prancing ponies and the zebra feel right at home in this beautiful carriage.

Train Car B Trains by Ms P Designs USA

Just look at this one!  It is simple and elegant.  There’s a good chance that the big cats are lurking here.  I’m SO excited to watch the lion tamer at work, aren’t you!

Train Car C by Ms P Designs USA

This car carries the star of the show!  Let’s get right in front of the crowd so we don’t miss the elephant.  He’ll be busy helping to set up the bigtop tent after the train has unloaded.

Train Car D by Ms P Designs USA

And how about a boxcar to store the costumes & props for the acts, the hay for the animals’ bedding, and the delicious animal food?  (We really don’t want those lions to be hungry, now do we?)

Box Car Paper Pieced Pattern by Ms P Designs USA

You don’t actually think that the performers would ride in the cars with the animals, do you?  This roomy passenger car will carry them in comfort, with plenty of room for the clowns’ over-sized shoes.

Passenger ar Paper Pieced Pattern by Ms P Designs USA

And there’s a little red caboose at the end of the train.  Please wave at the crowd who has gathered to watch us arrive in town!  They’re SO excited to see the circus!

Caboose Car Paper Pieced Pattern by Ms P Designs USA

All of the circus train cars are made with a combination of foundation paper piecing and applique.  I had lots of fun with choosing colors and adding my own creative touches to the train car blocks.  I considered adding animals to my train cars, but decided against it.  It would have been really cute, but I like to encourage imagination & creativity!  

Wouldn’t these fun circus train cars make a great quilt for your engineer-to-be?  If you’d like to make your own circus train quilt, the patterns are available to purchase in Ms P’s Pattern Shop

We’re SO happy that you decided to visit us today.  Do you have fond memories of going to the circus?  What was your favorite act?

Happy quilting,



6 thoughts on “All Aboard the Circus Train!

  1. How cute is that? Very Cute! About 20+ years ago, I was doing a workshop for teachers in South Bend, IN, and I decided to head for Shipshewanna after one day. I was held up on a little two lane road by a circus train! It was really wonderful, but before I had a digital camera, so I couldn’t get any pictures. Boohoo. When I was little, our town was very small (it’s a huge city now!), and the circus did come in trucks, and there was a parade in town to entice us all to come out … as if just the sight of the trucks didn’t do it! A wonderful pattern, and thank you for the memories.


  2. I love this train! It would be a perfect addition to a child’s quilt. I have been to the circus a few times, and the trapeze artists are my favorites.


  3. My husband grew up on the east side of Toledo, about a mile from the tracks that the circus train used every year.
    Every year, it was unloaded. The elephants walked, the ponies walked, the lions and tigers in cages were wheeled down the streets to where the circus would perform.
    I lived out in the country, and he took me to watch one year, after I told him I didn’t believe him. It was 40 years ago and I’m glad I saw it. A new venue was built, they don’t do that anymore.

    This quilt is adorable, brought back some memories that I haven’t thought of in years.


    1. Thanks Vickie! That must have been such fun to watch the train unload and then the parade of animals as they moved to the venue! I’ve only seen it in the movies, so you were so lucky to watch in person. Thanks for visiting.


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