Category Archives: Tutorials & Tips

Sew Easy Star Block Quilt

Star Quilt Block

I love star quilt block quilts and this one is no exception. It comes together sew quickly. Make it with 2 colors or each star a different color. I was thinking of using Kona solids for a chromatic paint chip effect. This would be sew cozy in seasonal winter flannels, too. The possibilities are endless.

Here’s a cool online color selector that you can use. Heck, that would would with just about any quilt, especially the modern ones.

This is a free .pdf tutorial from the Fat Quarter Shop has instructions and materials list for…

  • Crib
  • Lap
  • Twin
  • Queen

Star Quilt Block

Video – How-To Make This Quilt Block

You Might Also Enjoy These Suggestions:

[amzn_product_inline asin=’1564772713′]

[amzn_product_inline asin=’B001IKIE4K’]

[amzn_product_inline asin=’1604682701′]


Embroidery Hoop Craft Project

Embroidery Hoop Craft from Polka Dot Chair

Any time of year is a good time to make seasonally themed craft projects, but this time of year is especially fun. School starts, autumn will soon be here with its colorful displays. Then comes Thanksgiving, winter snowflakes, and Christmas.

I used to hang up the same old fall-themed wall decoration year after year, as cute as it was, but I gave it to one of my daughters a few years ago so my grandson could enjoy it and make his own memories. Now I’m decoration-less.

I want to make some kind of winter/Christmas wall project and have all kinds of ideas, but nothing coalesces… until now.

Embroidery Hoop Craft from Polka Dot Chair

This morning Melissa Mortenson at Polka Dot Chair shared this cute embroidery hoop tutorial with a Winnie the Pooh/Back to School theme. So darling! Immediately my ideas started flowing. I love getting inspired when I see the talent of others.

Here are some ideas I have.

  • For the text-on-fabric background:
    • Winter theme: Christmas carol
    • Thanksgiving theme: A prayer or scripture
    • School spirit theme: The school’s fight song
    • Baby’s room: Nursery poem or lullaby
    • Halloween: Spooky story, heck, make one up!
    • Wedding: Vows, “Do you take…”
  • For the felt cut-outs and embellishments:
    • Blue and white snow flakes
    • Triangle pine trees
    • Creepy oak tree silhouette
    • Bats, ghosts, tombstones
    • Cornucopia with fruit spilling out
    • Soccer balls, footballs, basketballs
    • Colorful leaves
    • Springtime flowers
    • Wedding bells
    • Lace for a Victorian look
    • 1/8″ ribbon with glue-gunned trinkets on the end

Once one idea comes to mind, others will soon follow.

Now if I only had an ink-jet printer with ink. I need to buy some ink jet cartridges.  I always use my color laser printer and when I want to use the ink-jet, the ink is all dried up.

For All Your Printer Needs - 100% Guaranteed

Click here to visit Melissa’s tutorial for making this cute project.

Click here for more things you can do with embroidery hoops.


Sew Your Own Pants – ANY Pants

Learn to sew your own pants

I hate shopping for pants. Very rarely will I find a pair that fit me well. Take jeans, for instance. All the name brands I tried just don’t do it for me. Lee comes close. Kohl’s Croft and Barrow store brand are perfect for me. I have a pair of blue jeans that I could live it. So a few weeks ago I bought the same size in black. BZZZT! Too small. Yes, even different fabric fits differently. I don’t know, maybe they make them in a different location. I have to take them back. There’s sitting on the back seat of my car.

Therefore, I have GOT to force myself away from quilting to make some pants. I have no clue how to pattern fit. I find lots of patterns I’d like to make, but I don’t want to waste fabric picking the wrong size. I have a pair of crop pants I started making months ago. All I need to do is hem them and do the waist. Worrying about the finished fit prevents me from completing them. Mind games.

So this class is on my list. Kathy Ruddy: One Pattern, Many Looks (Sewing) – Pants.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to create a custom-fit pattern block from a pants pattern of your choice
  • How to adjust with darts, yokes and seam changes for figure fine-tuning
  • How to choose the best design details and fabrics for the look you want
  • How to make your own tummy-tuck jeans and expensive-looking yoga pants
  • Three waist finishes, leg silhouettes and pocket details
  • An easy rub-off method using a kitchen basic
  • Tricks for finishing seams without a serger

Sashed Block in Block Quilt

Block in block qquilt block with sashing

I love block in block (or square in square) quilts. It’s somewhat theraputic sitting in front of the TV watching back to back episodes of “House Hunters” while making the blocks. I’m excited about the the thin sashing strips because they add another layer of dimension, give the eyes a resting spot between fabric changes and look professionally finished like a well-tailored suit.

I’ve got a stash of Christmas fabric I’ve been saving. This technique would be perfect for this quilt block.

Join me in watching this new tutorial from Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt Co.


Don’t Cut That Large Scale Fabric

I have it in my stash and you prolly do to… uncut large scale yardage that’s too beautiful to chop up. Aside from knowing that I have it and I can look at it every now and then, it doesn’t do any good sitting on the shelf behind closed doors.

Drum roll, puleez… here’s a project that’s perfect for all that yardage. This gorgeous duvet displays those large scale cuts in all the glory they deserve. If you’re not up to making something this large, just reduce the width of the borders to make a quilt. I am definately going to put this project on the top of my sewing list.

The author (Noodlehead) has called it a Panel Quilt and it’s pure genious. Time to put those beautiful cuts to work.

Panel Quilt from Noodlehead

Disappearing 9-Patch Variation

Window Pane Disappearing 9-Patch Quilt Block

The Disappearing 9-Patch block is so much fun and super easy to make and that’s Sew Quickly, baby! It’s perfect for making a quick baby quilt or an attractive charity quilt. Using pre-cuts like charm packs makes it super fast to stitch together. Sew nine blocks together to make a 9-patch, cut vertically down the middle, then horizontally across the middle and you’ve instantly got four blocks that can be twisted and turned.

It’s a very versatile set of blocks because there are no rules for fabric selection. Just go crazy with it.

  • Keep it one theme by using charm packs or coordinated yardage.
  • Make I-Spy quilts for kids.
  • It’s the ultimate stash buster.
  • Stick with a limited color palette like whites, grays and blacks, but use red or yellow for the center block.
  • Florals, calicos, kids prints create traditional baby quilts.
  • While geometrics, solids, dots, stripes make modern versions.

I haven’t even begun to chip away the my list of ideas. Do you ever want to make them all and all at once? I can’t stop. I was looking around my sewing area one day and was commenting on how many UFOs I had. My 10 yr old grandson asked me what a UFO was. I told him it was an unfinished fabric object. Later on that day he caught me fiddling around with some fabric and had the nerve to ask me if I was making another UFO. So I grabbed him and gave him some “buscha-buschas” (hugs, kisses, tickling). Secretly, he likes it, but outwardly he pretends to hate it.

Ok, I’m getting off tangent. Jenny Doan from The Missouri Star Quilt Company has a new tutorial for a Window Paned Disappearing 9-Patch. WOW! The sashing between the blocks adds so much dimension. Using a calm color like in quilt on the wall in the video below makes the blocks float. This is one quilt design I will be using in the future for sure.

Thanks, Jenny, for yet another wonderful free quilting tutorial.

Too Much Quilting Wine? NOT!

So what happened? I closed the lid on the quesadilla maker, then glanced down at the plate to see I had left over parts. I had forgotten to put the second tortilla on top. I’ll spare you the language that was used when I opened the lid on this thing. Lesson learned? It’s ok to drink wine while quilting, but do not attempt to cook.

Quesadilla...nailed it.

Late night quesadilla making – Nailed it!

Oh, but wait, there’s more. After cruising through the living room this morning, I found the plate on the floor next to my Lazy Boy. WTF is all that red stuff? Now that one really stumped me. I thought I had the left over spaghetti, but no, that didn’t make sense because I had it in a pasta bowl, not a plate. *LIGHT BULB MOMENT* I remembered. I slathered it in Sriracha and devoured that evil spawn.

Sriracha'd quesadilla plate

When used without quilting wine, these quesadilla makers are the bees knees. Love them.

  • Plug it it and wait for the light to turn green. That means is now hot enough.
  • Lay the bottom tortilla, centered in the middle, evenly spread the cheese, ADD THE TOP TORTILLA, sheesh.
  • Close and latch the lid. The light will turn red.
  • When the light turns green again, unplug the unit and remove a perfect quesadilla.
  • Boom! Bob’s your uncle.

[amzn_product_inline asin=’B003NTKFA0′]

Easy House Quilt – No Paper Piecing

Easy House Quilt Video Tutorial

I just love house quilts, but can’t stand paper piecing. Jennie Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company has a new video for Natalie’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor house quilt. It uses two layer cakes and a charm pack. Of course, you can always cut 10″ and 5″ squares from yardage or your stash.

There is NO paper piecing. One layer cake makes the house. A half layer cake makes the roof. Another half makes the space between the house and another half makes the space between the roofs. A charm pack makes the windows and door that are Heat and Bonded on, then stitched around the edges. Do that stitching before you join the houses. The roof lines get sewn in a strip, as do the houses. Then sew them all together. Now that’s sew quickly. BOOM!

If you don’t have a 1/2 hexie ruler like Jennie does, just cut a 60 degree corner off each side of the folded 10″ block. That’s 3.5″ in from each edge. And this is where the rotating cutting mat comes in handy. I just love mine.

[amzn_product_inline asin=’B0010ERKZ8′]

[amzn_product_inline asin=’1571200746′]

Peas in a Pod – Free Quilt Pattern

Peas in a Pod - Free Quilt Pattern Download

McCall’s has released a new free quilt pattern called Peas in a Pod. Do you see them? Each rectangular block is the pod and the strip of blocks in the middle are the peas. Too cute! The free pattern makes a lap or twin quilt. I can absolutely see this quilt on a child’s bed, whether using bright colors or themed prints.

My eye was drawn to the pea pods, but then, “Oh, look at the striped borders.” and even further, “Oh wow! 16-patch blocks in each corner of the border!” So much going on, but in such an orderly fashion.

After looking at the pattern, I see where it can be adapted for a baby quilt by using only two rows of blocks

CLICK HERE to download this pattern.

Quick-Cut Square On Point Quilt Block

Anita Grossman Solomon's square on point block quilt

I just love the optical illusion that the square on point quilt block makes. If you look at the center square, it’s a 1/4 turned square within another square. But, if you look at the setting triangles, it looks like an hour glass block. And each time you shift your eyes, the blocks seem to move with the color shifts.

Traditionally, after doing a bunch of math, you’d cut a center square and four setting triangles for the corners of the outside “block”. They have to be exact or your points won’t match.

Anita Grossman Solomon square on point block

A couple of weeks ago I took Anita Grossman Solomon’s Craftsy class Traditional Blocks Made Simple and I just LOVE her quick rotary cutting techniques. I knew she had a method for quickly cutting square on point blocks, but I don’t have any of her quilting books. But ah-HA! Thanks to the interwebs, I found a video on Simple Quilts that shows exactly how she cuts them. And the best part? There is NO math. You can make them out of any two square pieces of fabric that are the same size.

Enjoy. Be patient, because it takes a while for the video to actually appear on the web page. I’ve noticed that about HGTV.

Click here to watch the video tutorial.

Tutorial - Square On Point Block - Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson and Anita Grossman Solomon

Quilting Books by Anita Grossman Solomon

[amzn_product_inline asin=’1571208291′]

[amzn_product_inline asin=’1571202781′]

[amzn_product_inline asin=’1571202226′]

Enhanced by Zemanta