Category Archives: tutorial

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/16/14

Happy belated National Quilting Day!  Did you get any quilting done?  I sewed some bibs then decided to enjoy the beautiful weather- maybe I’ll get some quilting done tomorrow during the expected snow!  Onto the weekly roundup!

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them!


Happy Garden by Kona Bay Fabrics

copyright Kona Bay Fabrics

Happy Garden Sunshine Quilt by Kona Bay Fabrics (Part Trip Around the World, part Irish Chain, it doesnt matter- I love this layout!  I think it would also be a great way to showcase a beautiful border print!)


Layer Cake QAL

copyright Material Girl Quilts

Layer Cake Sampler QAL by Material Girl Quilts (This is currently going on now- she’s up to block 8.  While she’s using 2 layer cakes, I could see this being a great scrap quilting project!)


Patchwork Bunny

copyright Lilac Lane Patterns

Lilac Lane Patchwork Bunny by Melissa Stramel (Another cute Easter pattern & I love the idea of making it scrappy!)


Seashell Bag

copyright Come Together Kids

Seashell Collecting Bag from Come Together Kids (I know it’s hard to believe, but summer will be here quickly & if you’re planning a trip to the beach, this might come in handy!)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/9/14

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Hexagon Tutorial by Art Quilt Maker (this is an excellent tutorial on how to easily cut large hexagons & how to piece them.)

DIY Dino Toy by Imagine Gnats (this is an adorable soft toy for children!  She uses fleece, but cotton would work fine as well.)

Easter Rabbit Basket by Oliver + S (Lent just started this week, but it’s not too early to start planning as Easter will be here before we realize!  You do have to buy the book, Zakka Sewing, for the fabric basket pattern, but Liesl provides the free template for the ears )

Poltam Skirt with lining from Widi Creations (If you’re interested in learning garment sewing, but don’t want to make the dowdy gathered skirt, check out this tutorial.  You have to click through a lot of links for the complete tutorial, but it’s worth the effort!)

Also, are you participating in Scientific Quilter’s March A Long?  I’m trying but there’s lots of baby stuff still to do & I’m finding my energy decreasing……

However it’s a great way to make progress on some UFOs & maybe you’ll be able to enter them in Very Lazy Daisy’s 2014 UFO Challenge!

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Weekend Roundup- Free Quilting & Sewing Patterns 3/2/14

Here’s this week’s collection of free quilting & sewing patterns that I found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Star Quilt Block of the Month by Piece N Quilt (this BOM is from 2011, but somehow I missed it then, or forgot about it, or something.  Either way the tutorials are excellent & still available.)

Spectrum Candy by Robert Kaufman (this is a great use for 1 1/2″ precut fabrics or scraps from your stash or even a large piece of striped fabric can give the same effect.)

Fabric Storage Boxes by Make it & Love It (I’ve seen lots of patterns & tutorials for fabric boxes & they were all far more involved than what I was willing to put forth- but their method is ingenious!  I can’t wait to make one or two of these!)

Frozen Fox Ice Packs from It’s Taylor Made (Cute, adorable & practical.  Even if you don’t have a child to make one of these for, you might be tempted to make one for yourself…)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Weekend Roundup- Free Patterns 2/23/14

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I wanted to start regularly posting a collection of free patterns (both quilting & sewing) that I’ve found during the week.  Some will be new, some will be older, but hopefully you’ll enjoy them all!

Bailey’s Crossroads from Swim, Bike, Quilt (my fellow Northern Virginia friends will understand this reference!)

Beach Ball Baby Quilt Tutorial from Moda Bake Shop (Cute quilt using 2 1/2″ strips!)

Reusable Swiffer Cover pattern from Berlin’s Whimsy (She suggests using terry cloth, but I’d use towels purchased at a resale shop, or old towels from around the house)

Double Tulip Pincushion (paper pieced) from Samelia’s Mum (because paper piecing is fun & we all have little scraps!)

I hope you enjoy!  And if you make any of these projects, I’d love to see them!

Tuesday Tip! 4-Patch Trick

Today’s Tip is a quick & easy way to make two 4-patch blocks from two squares!  This is a handy tip to have in your back pocket if you have a charm pack or layer cake laying around or just a lot of square scraps.

Start with two different squares of fabric the same size.  In this example I’m using 5″ squares:

Layer them with their right sides together:

Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance on right & left sides:

Cut the block in half (so I’ll cut it at 2 1/2″) but make sure your cutting line is parallel to your sewing lines!

You now have two separate blocks:

Press the new blocks open.  I pressed both to the green fabric which was my dark:

This is what they look like on the right side, lay them in front of your so that the center seam is horizontal with the dark fabric on top:

Now take the block on the right side & rotate it so that the light fabric is on top:

Take the block on the right side & flip it over so that it is on top of the left block, with the right sides together:

You’ll notice that the fabrics are now layered opposite each other & the center seam should nest:

Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance on the right & left sides again.  Your new stitching line should pass through the center seam:

Now cut the block in half again (I’m going to cut at 2 1/2″):

And you’ll have two separate blocks:

Press the seams using the spinning seams trick you now have 2, 4-patches!  If you used 5″ squares like I did, your squares will be 4 1/2″:

I hope you find this tutorial helpful- it’s a great way to use up scraps!

Tuesday Tip: String Quilts, Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of the String Quilt Tutorial!  (Part 1 is over here.) Do you have your blocks ready to be trimmed?

We are going to trim the 7″ blocks down to 6 1/2″ & the 13″ down to 12 1/2″.  That way you can combine the blocks for a great scrappy quilt!

The example I will show you here is for the 7″ blocks- but the same theory will hold for the 13″ blocks.

Start with turning your string block upside down, with the strings going from the top right corner to the bottom left corner (that is if you’re right handed):

Now we are going to setup our ruler for trimming.  Right handed quilters will want to first trim the square on the right side & top.  Place a square ruler (my favorite is the 9 1/2″ square by either Omnigrid or Creative Grids), on top of the muslin foundation with the numbers starting a 0 in the top right corner.  Make sure the muslin base extends far enough to the left & bottom to pass the 6 1/2″ mark:

Go ahead & with your rotary cutter, cut the right side & top.  Remember to always cut away from yourself.  Your block should now look like this:

Next you will take the ruler off so you can rotate your block to trim the other two sides.  Take the newly trimmed corner & place it so that it is now in the bottom left corner.  Place your ruler on top of the block & now you will align the 6 1/2″ markings to the left & bottom sides.  You should have muslin extending from the top & right of the ruler:

Now go ahead & now trim the right & top sides:

Congratulations!  You have a completed string block!

To get an idea of what they look like together, here’s a pic of a string quilt I quilted last year for Quilts from the Bluffs.  I love the scrappy goodness:

Lastly, please consider making some of these blocks for Quilts from the Bluffs: Children’s Square String Block Collection.  These blocks will be made into quilts that children will given immediately upon entering their new temporary home at Children’s Square.  Our members have seen firsthand what receiving a quilt can do to these children’s spirits- join Quilts from the Bluffs as we work to help enwrap these children in love.

Tuesday Tip! What to do with those Leftover Strips, Part 1

Because you all have been so wonderful & patient with me missing the last two Tuesday Tips- the next two weeks are special ones!   A quilt block tutorial on how to use those random leftover strips!

String Quilt Tutorial

You know those strips you have leftover after finishing a project?  Where the directions told you to cut a 2 1/2″ strip to subcut for only 5, 2 1/2″ squares?  And you needed to do that for all five fabrics in the quilt?  This is a great way to use those strips & thereby creating a “free” quilt top!

First start with pre-washed muslin as your foundation base.  Cut this into either 7″ or 13″ squares. (I’ll explain why these measurements later):

String Quilt Tutorial

Now take your first strip & lay it right side UP across the middle diagonal of the block.  The strip should be long enough to cover both points.  Note that this is the ONLY time you will place the strip right side UP:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now take your next string & place it right side DOWN on top of the first strip, making sure the long edges of the strip match.  Notice that the second strip is long enough to over the muslin:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now sew that with a 1/4″ seam allowance and press open.  Next you are going to lay a strip on the other side of the center strip:

String Quilt Tutorial

Sew that strip down & this is what your block should look like:

String Quilt Tutorial

Pick a side to continue building upon.  I chose the “left” side:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now what do you do if your strip is a little long, like this one:

String Quilt Tutorial

Very easy!  Just give the strip a little trim to make it the size you need!  But don’t throw away that excess, you may be able to use it in the end:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now continue along, adding strips to both sides of the block as shown in these photos:

String Quilt TutorialString Quilt Tutorial
String Quilt Tutorial

And ta-da!  You have a string block!

String Quilt Tutorial

Here is a 13″ block complete:

String Quilt Tutorial

And here is a block that uses strips at random.  It may look odd here, but in a quilt full of these, it has a great scrappy look!

String Quilt Tutorial

So go make lots of string blocks!  Also consider making some for Quilts from the Bluffs Children’s Square Project!

Next week I’ll show you how to square up the blocks & I’ll hopefully have some pictures of completed string quilts!  Enjoy!

Here are other other String Quilt posts:
String Quilt Tutorial Part 2
Quilting for Good: String Quilts for Children’s Square

Linking up with:

Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Tuesday Tip- Seam Ripping!

Ever have those days where you feel you’re ripping out stitching twice as much as you’re actually stitching?I hate those days.

But since those days are inevitable (sadly), here’s a tip for successful ripping.

Lay your piecing out in front of you with the stitching facing you & put your seam ripper under a stitch to snip it apart.  Repeat cross every 3 or so stitches & use your seam ripper to help pull those small threads up.

Your seam ripper should look something like this: (I apologize for the sideways photo.  I’ve uploaded this several times & no matter what the actual orientation is, Blogger thinks it should be this way.  Yeesh.)


What I don’t recommend doing is holding your two pieces of fabric apart to rip the seams.  Like this: (And yet Blogger doesn’t mess with this pic’s orientation.  I give up.)

Now I’m not saying this is the “wrong” way to rip out, just be aware that by pulling those two pieces of fabric apart to get at the seam, you have the potential to stretch the fabric, especially if it’s been cut on the bias- for example a triangle unit.

I hope that little tip helps & I hope you don’t have to rip out this week as well!

See you next Tuesday!

Tuesday Tip!: The Stay Stitch


This cute little quilt top was a mystery I did with Stitchin’ Tree Quilts in Harlan, Iowa at a retreat back in January.  It’s a great scrap quilt & a fun play with color value.  Since my neutral was more of a medium color, I chose dark scraps for my piecing- but what, this isn’t a post about color theory- let me get onto the Tuesday Tip!

See how the outside border is pieced with all the different squares? Here’s a close up:

Notice how those seams that piece the border together run off the quilt? This can lead the stitching on the outside edge to become loose:

See how loose those seams are? And that’s just from folding & unfolding the quilt top! To keep those seams secure, we can sew a “stay stitch” around the outside edge of the quilt to keep them in place.

This is how I do it:  I simply sew around the edge of the quilt, 1/8″ from the outside edge.  Here it is in more detail:

I first get my “regular sewing foot.” This is the foot I use when constructing clothes or appliqueing. Basically it’s the foot I use when I’m not piecing a quilt. Now my foot has an 1/8″ marking on it. See where my needle is? Look just to the right of that- see that red line? That’s my 1/8″ line. I line up my fabric to that guide & start sewing as normal.

Now for thread, I don’t usually care what color I use for this technique- I just use whatever because since I’m stitching at 1/8″ from the edge & I usually sew my binding on at 1/4″ or 3/8″, it will be hidden in the binding. Here’s I’ve used a dark blue thread. So I continue sewing down the edge of the quilt side, until I get to the end, here I just stitch of the quilt:

Then I turn the quilt top & start the next side from the top:

My corner ends up looking nice & crisp like this:

You may be wondering why I bother sewing to the end, cutting my thread & rotating the quilt & starting again on each side- I do this because I get a crisper corner with my sewing machine. I found if I turned the corner, the corner ended up smaller & not as nice & even something crooked with my sewing machine. So in the end do what works for you- for me, I like the method that may take a little longer & use a little more thread, but I prefer it for the nicer finish. Thank you for joining me again for the Tuesday Tip! The stay stitch makes for a much nicer top to give your longarmer when you have a pieced border or a quilt that has curved edges (like in a Double Wedding Ring.) I hope to see you next week!

Tuesday Tip! Spinning Seams

I’m very excited to let you know that I’ll be starting a “Tuesday Tip” series on the blog! These will cover a variety of topics to help you make your quilts flatter and smoother before sending them to a longarmer. They will be in a variety of formats: photos, videos, etc- until I find out what works best for me.

Today’s tip is actually a video (please be patient! This is my first video!) on how to spin seams. I received an email from a student this weekend about the best ways to press their seams & I wanted to share with them how to “spin their seams” so I decided to take the opportunity to share it with everyone!

Enjoy & please let me know your thoughts & if you have any questions you’d like answered about prepping a quilt for a longarmer. Linking up with Small Blog Meet