Feature · Tutorial

Joining Binding and Diagonal Seams (A Tutorial)

One of my favorite parts of quilting is binding because it’s the last part that is needed to finish off the quilt!  I taught myself how to join the ends of my binding because I didn’t like the way the folded or tuck binding looked.  I also didn’t realize there was a huge market for all sorts of binding tools, so my method uses nothing but a marking tool and the knowledge on how to make a diagonal seam.

How do you calculate how much binding you need?

Add the length and width of the quilt together, then multiply 2 and add 10.  Take that number, divide by 40 (if using width of fabric (WOF)) and round UP.  For example, my quilt is 72×72.  So 72+72=144.  Multiply by 2 and add 10, 144*2+10=298. Then divide by 40 so 298/40=7.45.  And round up 7.45 => 8 strips of WOF needed.  The size of the strips is highly dependent on the quilter, some use 2 1/4″ width some use 2 1/2″.  Personally I have started using 2 1/4″ strips, but I began using 2 1/2″ and still write all my patterns to that size.

How to join binding: Continue reading “Joining Binding and Diagonal Seams (A Tutorial)”

Feature · Tutorial

Backstitch’s Back Alright!  (A Tutorial)

Pardon my ’90s parody title, but I couldn’t resist tying back to the Backstreet Boys. I also must preface this post that I do not regularly do any hand embroidery.  However if I do, it is a simple little backstitch to embellish my piece.  This may or may not a handy little technique that will be used later in the QAL I am currently hosting. (*hint hint)


In order to backstitch, here are some supplies you may find handy.

  • Embroidery Floss:  There are different types of floss out there, the floss that I can easily source near me is the DMC brand.  You can find it at the local big box stores, and it typically ranges from 35-50 cents per skein/color.  In my photo above, you’ll see I wind my floss onto little boards and label with the color ID number.  Floss is made up of 6 strands, and I typically use all 6 strands while doing embroidery.
  • A Needle:  Make sure the eye of the needle is large enough for all 6 strands of the embroidery floss.  If the pattern calls for less, it should state how many strands to use.
  • Marking tool:  I use a Frixon pen to mark my embroidery pattern on the fabric.  You can use an air erasable pen or even a pencil, whatever you normally use to mark will be fine.
  • Sandpaper (300 grit or finer): This is optional.  I use sandpaper at a very fine grit to help stabilize the fabric when I write. The sandpaper catches the fabric just enough so it doesn’t shift.

Now that you have your supplies, let’s start. Thread the needle with the embroidery floss, and tie a knot at the end of the thread tail.

I have marked up the line we will be backstitching on.  The numbers will help indicate the order of where the needle is going and the numbers are on the top of the piece.


Start by putting the needle through #1 and back down through #2, then up finally at #3.  This is how you’ll start any backstitch.


The backstitching part comes next, notice that #4 is the same location as #2.  Now you’ll stitch back to #4 position and back up to #5.


Repeat this backstitch for positions #6 and #7.


If I wanted to end the backstitch line, I’d put the needle through #8 and tie off the embroidery and you’re done!  This is how the back of the piece should look, I haven’t ended the backstitch just yet so there is no ending knot.


Easy peasy, right?! Well that’s how you embroider a simple backstitch.

Other helpful tips:

  • Stitch length:  This is going to be person dependent.  I try to have about 1/8″ stitch length on a straight line, but it’ll vary if I am backstitching on a curve.
  • Tension: Do not pull the floss too tight.  The fabric should not cinch up due to the floss being too tight.  The floss should be flush with the fabric both on the front and the back. 

Happy Stitching!

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Tutorial · weekly update

Barn Quilt Block Tutorial

I have no idea what this quilt block is called, but this is what I came up with for the #BCBarnQuiltSwap4 quilt for my partner.  It is made using Half Square Triangles (HST), a single Hourglass block, and no waste flying geese blocks.


Here’s how you make the 16″ finished block with the colors referencing the block above:
Cutting instructions:
Dark Blue:
Cut 1 – 3 3/4″ square
Cut 10 – 2 7/8″ squares

Cut 4 – 2 7/8″ squares
Cut 4 – 2 1/2″ squares

Cut 1 – 5 1/4″ square
Cut 4 – 2 7/8″ squares

Light Blue:
Cut 6 – 2 7/8″ squares
Cut 1 – 3 3/4″ square

Cut 2 – 5 1/4″ squares
Cut 8 – 2 1/2″ squares
Cut 12 – 2 7/8″ squares

HST Quadrant:


  1. Layout of all the squares cut.
  2. Draw a diagonal across 8 white 2 7/8″ squares and 4 pink 2 7/8″ squares.  Match up 4 white with 4 dark blue, 4 white with 4 light blue, and 4 pink with 4 dark blue.
  3. Sew a 1/4″ on either side of the drawn line and cut on the drawing line.  For the white/dark blue, press towards the dark blue; for the white/light blue, press towards the light blue; for the pink/dark blue, press towards the pink.
  4. Trim the HSTs to 2 1/2″ square* and lay out the 9 block quadrant with the 2 1/2″ squares.  There should be 4 total quadrants.
    *Please note there should be minimal trimming.  If you cannot accurately sew a 1/4″ seam, you may want to use 3″ squares rather than 2 7/8″ to give space for trimming.


Sew each row together and press seams in opposing directions as shown above.  I used the webbed piecing method to do this.


Sew the rows together and press the rows in the direction shown above.  Repeat to make 4 identical blocks.

No Waste Flying Geese

This method works to make 4 identical flying geese at a time.


  1. Draw diagonal lines on 4 red and 4 white 2 7/8″ squares.  Place 2 red 2 7/8″ squares on the white 5 1/4″ square as shown.  Repeat for the 2 white 2 7/8″ squares on the red 5 1/4″ square.
  2. Sew a 1/4″ on both sides of the diagonal line and cut the piece apart.  Press the half triangles open.
  3. Using another 2 7/8″ triangle, place it in the corner of the piece as shown.  Sew 1/4″ on both sides of the diagonal line.
  4. Cut on the diagonal line, and press the triangle open.  Make sure to trim the piece to 2 1/2″x 4 1/2″*

*Please note there should be minimal trimming.  If you cannot sew an accurate seam, this method may give you issues.

You should have 4 of each type of flying geese, 8 total so far.

No Waste Different Flying Geese (not sure what to call this)

Since the middle 4 flying geese have 2 of each color, you cannot use the above method. Instead you will cut each of the pieces and make the flying geese with parts.


  1. Cut the 5 1/4″ white square on the diagonals, so you have 4 triangles.
  2. Cut 2 of the light blue squares and 2 of the dark blue squares in half.
  3. The blue squares are the wings of the flying geese as shown.
  4. Sew the blue triangles to the white triangles.  Remember to trim your pieces to 2 1/2″x 4 1/2″*

*Please note there should be minimal trimming.

Combining the flying geese:


Sew the flying geese together so that the red makes an arrow and the white makes a square as shown above.  Press all the seams towards the tip of the red arrow as shown in the photo above.

Single Hourglass block


  1. With Right Sides Together of the 3 3/4″ light blue and dark blue squares, cut across the diagonal.
  2. Sew a 1/4″ seam on the outer edges of the square across from each other as shown.
  3. Press the triangles open with the seams to the dark blue.  Sew the two triangles together to create the hourglass block.
  4. Trim the block to 4 1/2″ square using the diagonal on the ruler.

Sewing the Block together


Layout the block as shown and sew the rows together.  I pressed seams away from the flying geese and towards the hourglass block as shown.


Sew the rows together to make the final block.  I pressed the seams away from the center row as shown above.

Ta Da!  There you have it!

The methods I’ve shown here on how to make the HSTs and the no waste flying geese are methods I also used on the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt I talked about in my last post.


In other news, I really am getting lazy with the Quilter’s Planner block since the requirement is only one block a month!  That is no way to keep me accountable, but my life is about to get really busy soon.  I finally decided to scrap my 103 pattern for a new one! The new and improved 103 pattern is in the works and hopefully will be done within a month!  I’m really excited I finally decided to make the decision to move on.

I am also participating in Christa Quilts‘ blog hop in August to celebrate her new book release! How cool is that!  I’m going to be showcasing her S.W.A.K. pattern.  You can pre-order her book from her website.  I am also allowed to share sneak peeks of my project too so once I get more than just a stack of fabric I’ll make sure to share!

Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop


6/27-7/4 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Friday PM, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (I love holidays!)

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
PBQ103 New

Goals for the Projects:
Quilters Planner Block: Complete this week’s Block
BCBarnQuilt:  Quilt the block
PBQ103 New: Pick fabric and start making some blocks!
S.W.A.K.: Using as my ender and leader project.

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Tutorial · weekly update

Moda Modern Building Blocks Quilt Tips and Tricks

I finally finished this quilt top! I have a very strong love/hate relationship with this quilt top for many reasons.  Before I started, I had already heard this quilt pattern wasn’t the easiest to follow and that it was wasn’t the easiest of quilts to make.  This blog post is dedicated to my assessment of the quilt, the quilt pattern, and any tips and tricks for assembly.  If you’ve made this quilt before and have things to add to my list, please comment below, and I’ll get this post edited for future readers!


So here it goes…

Skill Level:

  • Advanced Beginner/Intermediate


  • Each of the block patterns are shown with the finished block, semi-exploded diagram of the block to help show how the block is sewn together, and then cutting instructions.

Block Cutting Tips:

  • The cutting instructions are such that you *shouldn’t* need to trim the blocks if you have an accurate and consistent 1/4″ scant seam.  If you would like to trim blocks, make sure to add 1/8″ to each of the squares that require a single diagonal cut.
  • Square up all the flying geese and Half Square Triangles (HST) before assembling each block. Because I was lazy (at least I admit it), I used the exact cutting instructions thinking I could get away without squaring the block.  Nope, I’m not that consistent with my seams, and it was very apparent on blocks with lots of seams.
  • There is a google doc sheet that shows the full cutting instructions for the block from Liz Harbour.  However, there are a few minor mistakes in the sheet from typos so be on the look out for those.
  • Always cut the largest blocks first.  If you don’t, you may not have enough fabric left.  If you bought the kit and cut the largest blocks first, you’ll end up with a nice stack of Bella Solids to use as scraps in the end.

Sewing Tips:

  • Instead of cutting all the HSTs apart before sewing them back together, look at which HSTs can be made with the method of sewing 1/4″ on both sides of the diagonal line, then cutting the HST apart.
  • For some of the blocks, the flying geese can be made with the no waste method.  So there is no need to cut the different sized triangles in the cutting instructions.  This is if there are 4 flying geese that are identical and have the same colors of corner triangles in the block.
  • Nesting seams takes some extra planning ahead.  Make sure to mark which directions the seams should go for easier assembly.  If you do not want to think, press the seams open to avoid them being bulky.

Pattern Corrections:

  • Block 7: This block is overall TOO small.  If you sew it with the cutting instructions, your block will end up about 18″ square, rather than 18″ finished (18 1/2″ square).  You can fix this by cutting the E pieces 5 1/2″ squares rather than 4 3/4″ and the F pieces 5″ squares rather than 4 3/8″.  After the block is finished, trim the block to size.
  • Block 8: the A piece is too small.  Piece A should be 4 3/4″ rather than 4 5/8″

**There may be other corrections, but those were the ones that were obvious or really off that needed correcting!

Did I miss anything?  Comment below!  Thanks!


Here are some of the assembly photos of the quilt.  I really do love how this quilt turned out, and it’s the largest quilt top that I’ve made finishing at 84″x96″.


So I didn’t work on anything this week other than finishing up this quilt top.  I also realized not having to post a Quilter’s Planner block each week has give me validation that I can skip blocks for which I’m just not feeling it.  Maybe I’ll do this week’s block, but we’ll have to see!

6/20-6/27 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Friday PM, Saturday AM, and Sunday afternoon

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
Designing for PBQ

Goals for the Projects:
Quilters Planner Block: Complete this week’s Block
BCBarnQuilt:  Complete the quilt top/block
Designing for PBQ: Work on new block designs, making a design a day.

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Tutorial · weekly update

Fusible Grid Madness aka Tutorial

I finished the Mario Quilt this week!  I used fusible grid to make this process really quick and painless:


Fusible grid is a thin piece of interfacing that has iron-on adhesive on one side and grid lines printed on the other.  There are different brands of fusible grid, and it comes in different grid sizes.  For this quilt, I used a 2″ fusible grid from Quiltsmart.  The 2 inches denotes where the grid lines are printed so my squares will end up being 1.5″ finished.  The Quiltsmart grids are sold in panels so for Mario I needed a top and a bottom half.  For larger quilts, you would just use more panels and sew them together after each panel is created.


First, I cut up my 2″ squares of colored fabric and laid them on the grid with the adhesive side UP.  For the white background, I cut up a variety of 2″ squares or 2″ strips of fabric to cover the area.  For larger sections, you don’t need individual pieces if the layout desired doesn’t require it.  Once you stitch everything, it’ll look like you cut smaller square due to the stitch lines.


Now it’s time to iron the fabric to the grid.  Make sure you protect the iron, so cover the spot you are ironing with parchment paper or an applique pressing sheet.  Tip: I used parchment paper because it’s a cheaper option, and I already had some in the kitchen for baking.  I also flipped my piece so I could iron on the back.  If you do this, make sure to put the parchment paper between the fusible/fabric side and the ironing board to prevent the adhesive transferring to the board.


Once you have everything ironed on, fold the first section on the line and sew the 1/4″ seam.  It doesn’t really matter which direction you start with, but you’ll want to do all vertical or all horizontal before changing directions.  Tip: Make sure that the seam catches both fabrics.  Sometimes the fold will crease the fabric on the inside and not make the seam.


Once you have the seam sewn, you will want to trim just the edge (less than 1/8″) of the seam.  Tip: Do this after each seam.  It’s easier than waiting until after all the vertical/horizontal rows are done.  Once trimmed, iron and press all the seams in the same direction.


Before moving on to the other seams, you will need to snip the intersection points.  Tip: Snip as close to the seam line as possible without snipping the seam line.


The seam directions for every other row will now need to be flipped so the seams nest.  Tip: Fold on the dotted line so that the iron only touches the row that needs to be flipped.  Repeat this for every other row.


Sew a 1/4″ seam on the rest of the piece, trim the seam, and press all the seams to one direction to finish the panel.

Other tips: The “Quiltsmart” printing that is not the dotted line WILL show through white fabric.  I had to pick that off before I quilted Mario.


This week’s Quilter’s Planner Block was Nautical Compass By Tish Stemple of Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland.  I really like this block, but I wish it was larger than 12″ due to the TINY little half square triangles (HST).  I have yet to really use HST paper on a large scale, but I think it would be easier than trimming all these 1.5″ HSTs used in this block.



I finished the Modern Heritage BOM quilt top.  This BOM was hosted by Serendipity Woods and I had so much fun I think I’m going to be joining her next one, Long Time Gone, too.  Here are the month 8 and 9 blocks and the final quilt top.



Last but not least this week, I created a Show and Tell Bag by CrazyMomQuilts.  I used Sunnyside fabric from Kate Spain to make it extra cheery!  The tote is rather large, but it’s perfect for transporting quilts or to use at the beach.


I can’t wait to make more of these cute totes!


6/6-6/13 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Thursday PM, Saturday AM, and Sunday afternoon

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block

Goals for the Projects:
Quilters Planner Block: Complete this week’s Block
BCBarnQuilt:  Create the design and complete the quilt top/block
Thunderstruck: Finish this quilt top

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Tutorial · weekly update

Paper Piecing Tutorial

Today, I was going to talk about the design process for this Diamonds quilt I made for the Maker’s Birthday Bash swap.  However, I realized it might be better to talk about how to paper piece first before going into designing a paper piecing pattern!


I’ll discuss the design process of this quilt in 2 weeks after it’s in the mail to my partner!  It’s my finish #5 of the year and has been updated on the Completed Quilts page.


The example I’m using for paper piecing is the Month 5 block of the Modern Heritage Block of the Month, which is the Mingle block from Amy Ellis’ book Modern Heritage Quilts.


Items that you will need to make a block:

  • 8 background pieces and 8 color pieces (sizes are listed in the pattern of the book)
  • Ruler and Rotary Cutter
  • Scissors or an Add-A-Quarter Ruler
  • 4 copies of the A and B blocks copied at 100% from the book.
  • Paper scissors

The first step to any paper piecing pattern is to rough cut the paper pattern with your paper scissors. For this block, I laid out the pieces so I am looking at final layout of the block.  The key is to remember: this is the BACK of the block.  I’ll say that again, the printed side of the paper is the BACK of the block.


So as you lay fabric out onto the block, remember this will be mirrored when you are finished.  The left photo is fabric right side up, the right photo (the correct way to do it) is the fabric right-side down to simulate the back of the block.

One key point to note specifically about this block pattern, the As and the Bs don’t really matter.  The number is what signifies the order in which the fabric is added to the block.  The correction I would make to the pattern is to swap the A1 and A2 locations.  When I was making this block for the tutorial I also swapped B1 and B2; this is WRONG, do not do that.  Swap ONLY the A1 and A2 locations.  This will help your seams nest better when you sew the block together in the end.

For the A blocks, the background fabric is the first fabric you will add onto.  Place the paper pattern over the background fabric making sure the seam allowances are within the inside of the fabric.  Remember to include seam allowance for the side that is going to be sewn to the next piece.  It doesn’t matter if there is more than 1/4″ of seam allowance, just don’t have less. Once you’ve checked the seam allowances have fabric underneath, pin the paper to the fabric.


Next, flip the piece upside down so the paper is on the bottom.  Fold on the seam line so the paper for next piece to be added is on top.


Now open the folded paper and add the next piece of fabric Right Sides Together (RST) to the bottom fabric.  The bulk of the piece should be over the fabric of the piece that was pinned, not over the paper.  Refold the paper to crease the fabric to simulate your seam line.  Check the seam allowance on the outer sections to make sure there is enough fabric to cover that piece once the seam is sewn.  Then open the fold and check the inside seam allowance.  Is there at least a 1/4″ seam?  If not, adjust the fabric so there is a 1/4″ sewn seam and the outer edges of the piece will fit within the seam allowance.  The last step once you get the fabric adjusted is to pin.  (*I don’t pin this part, I just hold it while I sew.  However, for beginners it would be best to pin.)


Shorten the stitch length on your machine to approximately 1.5mm.  This will help perforate the paper to remove later.  Sew on the line.  Make sure to start before the line and end after the line.  This will create the sewn seam allowance like you would normally have piecing fabric. This will be important when you have more than one seam line. Once you’ve sewn on the line you can remove your pins. Take the A2 section and fold on the seam line to the A1 side as shown in the photo.  The fabric and both sides of the paper should be to one side of the seam.  The only part left is the seam allowance.  Now you have several options to trim down to the 1/4″ seam.  You can use an Add-a-quarter ruler or a plain ruler that has a 1/4″ marking.  The other option on smaller seams is to just use your scissors to cut the seam by hand.  (This is my preferred method as long as the seam isn’t longer than 2-3 inches.)


Now you iron the seam.  Placing the paper side DOWN on the ironing board, iron the seam then open the piece.  Always have the seams going to the piece that was ADDED.  One of the key points here, do NOT iron the paper side.  If you printed with a laser jet printer, you will get ink all over your hot iron and it’s messy.  (Guess how I know?!)  If you iron the paper, you are doing it wrong.  You will only be ironing on the fabric side.

To trim the piece, it is good practice to always use your ruler.  Measure 1/4″ off the edge of the piece to trim away the excess after the seam allowance.  Do not blindly trim the printed seam allowance line. Getting into the habit of trimming with the ruler will allow for you to increase and decrease the block size from the copier while maintaining a 1/4″ seam on the piece.

Do not rip off the paper yet.  Now repeat the above steps for the rest of the pieces for the block. For the B blocks, the color side is the first piece and you are adding the background.  For other patterns, if you have more than just 2 pieces, repeat starting with the folding of the seam line to add the additional pieces.

Once all the pieces were completed and trimmed, I laid out the block.  Notice how this is the mirror of what was originally laid out above.


For this block, I sewed the triangles together to make the 4 squares in the block.  Again please note, you should NOT switch B1 and B2. I figured that out when I sewed the squares together.


I open the triangles to make sure my seams are aligned.  Since I did switch the B1 and B2, all my seams were to one side and it did not nest well.


Now to rip out the paper.  I typically only sew two pieces together that are paper pieced and no more.  After two are sewn together, the paper gets pretty hard to remove.  So here are my tips on removing the paper.  Always remove the paper from the inside to the outside (outside referring to an edge of the block).  So for this case I start on the inner most seam and rip that apart.


With that part of the paper ripped, I fold the shorter seam allowance in and then rip the paper.  Once that is removed the A2 triangle only has one side that is still attached.  I fold and rip to take that out.  Followed by A1, and lastly by the seam allowance next to A1.  For all of the pieces I start ripping from the inside to the edge.  Repeat this for the B side on the back and then for all the other pieces.


With all the paper removed, line up the blocks so they are oriented the same way. Because this is a square and will form a pinwheel, you will want to press the seams all in the same direction.  Once you have pressed the blocks into squares.  Change the stitch length back to normal on your machine. Sew the top two blocks together first, then sew the bottom two blocks together.  Press seams in alternate directions and sew the top to the bottom.  I pressed the center seam open to get rid of the bulky center for this particular block.


Ta Da!

Common FAQ for paper piecing:
What is the difference between Foundation Paper and Copy Paper?

  • Foundation paper is thinner and more like newspaper.  It is easier to remove, but it’s more costly than normal paper.  I actually prefer to use Copy Paper because it’s readily available.  There are also other methods to help remove paper from paper piecing that I’ll go over another day for more complicated blocks.

Is an Add-A-Quarter ruler necessary?

  • No, it is not necessary.  Some people swear by them.  I got one in a kit that had paper piecing in it, but honestly, I don’t use it much.  Like I mentioned above, I actually use scissors to hand trim short seams because it’s faster.  For longer seams, a ruler does just fine.

Oh no, I messed up and I need to rip out a seam.  How do I do that so I don’t rip the paper?

  • Always rip the seam BETWEEN the two layers of fabric.  If you happen to tear the paper, use a small piece of scotch tape to tape the tear.  The paper should still be able to be ripped out later.

Anything else you want to know, comment below!


Short recap on the week because this is a crazy long post:

Here’s the Quilter’s Planner Block from last week, Sunrise Stars By Chelsea Huckins of Patch the Giraffe.  This one was pretty quick to do.  I’m not the biggest fan of the flying geese with HST combo because I kept getting confused which direction things were going.  However, in the end I realized it didn’t really matter!


Lots of design work going on, but I seem to be running out of time to actually get those design into quilts.  Definitely more to come in the future!  Here’s what I have done so far for the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) Fabric Challenge:


3/28-4/4 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Wednesday PM, Thursday PM, Saturday and Sunday afternoon

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
Powered By Quilting PBQ103
MQG Fabric Challenge
Blossom Project

Goals for the Projects:
Quilter’s Planner Block: Complete this week’s block
PBQ103: Make more blocks… or block pieces!
MQG Fabric Challenge: Finish the design for the text and start applique
Blossom Project: Finish quilting my project for the blog hop next week!

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Tutorial · weekly update

Web Piecing Tutorial

I am participating in a blog hop in a few weeks with some very awesome ladies in the Stitching Stars Blog Hop next month.  The grand prize giveaway is going to be a quilt made from blocks from the participants.  Such a great giveaway prize, I can’t wait to have everyone see the finished product.  Here is a sneak peak of the blocks I made for the quilt!  The strips on the side are my contribution for the binding.  The whole quilt will have a scrappy style with so many different contributors!


I used the large star to demonstrate how to do Web Piecing.  This technique is what I used for my Mega Man quilt top last week with all 744, 1.5″ squares.  You can definitely use this method to make blocks rather than an entire quilt too.  So after I completed the half square triangles (HST), I laid out my block into the 16 square grid.  Also, notice how I labeled the columns.


When you start sewing the blocks together you will sew block B onto the block As.


Chain piece all the squares and do NOT cut them apart after you are finished.


Next, you will continue to add block Cs to the strips of A and B.  Chain piecing in order of the rows and again do NOT cut the strips apart.


Continue with each column adding to the strips and chain piece in order.  In this case, I only had one more column to do.

Once you are finished, you will have webbed strips.  If you hold it on one corner, you will be picking up the entire piece.


Now, you will iron each of the seams on the strips, alternating the direction of the seams on the strips.  So the top strip, press the seams to the left.  The next strip, press the seams to the right.  So on and so forth.

Taking the strips and pinning the seams, sew the rows together.  *I forgot to take photos of the pinning portion on the first row, so the photos are of the second horizontal seam.

Repeat this process for all the rows until you finish the block/quilt.

Then press all the horizontal seams to the bottom of the block (or according to the pattern).


When you have very small pieces like I did with the Mega Man quilt, I had a hard time ironing my seams since they were so small.  A tip is to have the rows you didn’t want to iron sitting off the edge of the ironing board so you will only iron the row you are working on.  Comment below if that doesn’t make sense, and I’ll try to get another photo.


I should also mention that I’m absolutely horrible at keeping secrets I’m excited about so it’s very difficult for me to be keeping my next pattern secret.  I am so excited about it that I’m already planning on submitting it to the State Fair and Quilt Con for next year (and any other event I can think of!).  Since I personally make the entire quilt myself (sometimes multiple times) prior to releasing a pattern, I’m not quite sure when the pattern will be completed.  Anyway, follow along here on my blog or on my Instagram to catch some sneak peaks!  The featured image on today’s post is the sneak peak of the colors I’m using for the quilt.

I finished the Quilter’s Planner block this week called Flying Kisses by Josie Heron of Avocado Quilts.  She uses the no-waste flying geese tutorial for the block.  I’ve used this method before, but I still don’t think I like it all that much.  The definite benefit is the reduction in waste, but I don’t think I get the same accuracy as I do with the traditional square in the corner and sew on the diagonal.  I should note that the same accuracy is relative because I know it’s a user error sort of a problem!


Anyway I hope everyone is adjusting to the Spring Forward!

3/14-3/21 Weekly Goal:

Available time for quilting:
Wednesday PM, Saturday and Sunday

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
Modern Building Blocks
Powered By Quilting PBQ103
Chic Country

Goals for the Projects:
Quilter’s Planner Block: Complete this week’s block
Modern Building Blocks: Complete 8 blocks (I’ll eventually get back to this)
PBQ103: Make more blocks… or block pieces!
Chic Country: Finish piecing the top (I need my design wall space for PBQ103!)

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Tutorial · weekly update

Starch Baby, Starch

I do not usually starch my fabrics. I just never really started and didn’t work with a lot of bias pieces…therefore I didn’t really ever find the need to.  However this week while I was testing out my new pattern, I was getting frustrated with myself that I didn’t get my fabric starched.  Therefore this week’s tip:  Starch!

First, I should explain what starch does and what it’s used for.  Fabric has different types of grains:  straight grain and cross grain.  Straight grain is the direction of the fabric that is parallel with the selvage.  The cross grain is the direction that is perpendicular to the selvage.  Bias is referred to pretty much everything else sometimes stated 45 degrees off the grain of the fabric.  Bias is also what makes the fabric really stretchy and can cause puckers.  Everything that is not a square has some sort of bias stretch, for example diagonals, curves, etc..


Starch is used to control the bias of the fabric.  There are a lot of products out on the market for starch and starch alternatives.  The starch products will say that they are starch on the label and you can find cans of spray starch (Faultless is one example) in places like Target, not just at the local quilt shop.


Photo from Amazon

For starch alternative products, Best Press is what a lot of quilters seem to find useful and can be bought at most local quilt shops.  Best Press also touts no white reside not flakes from ordinary spray starch.  However there are natural starches in Best Press just at a lower amount.  I use both of these products, and I can see value in both.


Photo from Amazon

In my opinion, Faultless gives me a firmer starch feeling like less stretchy fabric than the Best Press.  However, this may be that I’m not spraying enough Best Press to get the same result.  Getting Best Press from Amazon seems to be the best deal since you can purchase a gallon of it as long as you already own a spray bottle.

Some tips on applying starch:

  • Always starch BEFORE cutting your fabric.  Starch will shrink the fabric, so if you cut before starching your dimensions will be wrong.
  • After you spray the starch/starch alternative on the fabric, wait for the fabric dry before pressing.
  • Good practice is to also spray on the front and press on the back to get a good bond between the starch and the fabric.
  • Using a hot iron is great.  However, if you start scorching your fabric, use less starch or turn down the iron a bit.

So what is Flatter, and how does that fit with the starch topic?  Flatter is a product made by the Soak company that is a starch free smoothing spray.  Its purpose is to relax wrinkles and freshen fabrics.  It does not control bias since there is no starch in the product.  I also own this product, and it’s really nice for scenting the fabrics as well as getting them flatter, but again, I do not use it to control bias.


Photo from Soak


As I eluded to before, I was working on my next pattern PBQ103 that will have lots of bias to work with.  However, I did not work on my list of quilting to-dos this week due to the creative process of figuring out how this next pattern is going to work.  It is not a straight-forward math calculation unless we have hundreds of tiny squares to sew together which is not ideal for a pattern to sell.  I’m hoping I can get the measurement correct so I can start making this quilt soon!  So look for some spoilers or teasers in the coming weeks.

The only thing on my list of to-dos I managed to complete was the Quilter’s Planner block this month.  This block is called Double Edged Star by 13 Spools aka Amy Garro.  It was a great tutorial to follow for a fast and easy block.


Speaking of hundreds of little pieces to sew together, I decided this week was a great week to make the Mega Man pixel quilt my husband was asking for.  He’s a speed runner for Mega Man, so he wanted a quilt of Mega Man.  I’m hoping to have it up behind him when he’s streaming his Mega Man runs on Twitch.  This quilt was 744 pieces in total.  All of the white background were individual pieces not strips.  Each square was 1.5″ so it would be a 1″ finished block.  I used a technique called web or webbed piecing.  Check back next week for a tutorial on how to use this method.  There is another method called fusible grid that I have yet to try for blocks like this as well.


Mega Man turned out so cute I almost wanted to keep him for myself.


Maybe this week I’ll be more aligned with my to-do list, but who knows.  Creativity strikes where it wants.

3/7-3/14 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Thursday PM, Saturday and Sunday

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
Modern Building Blocks
Powered By Quilting PBQ103
Blog Hop Quilt

Goals for the Projects:
Quilter’s Planner Block: Complete this week’s block
Modern Building Blocks: Complete 8 blocks
PBQ103: Starch fabrics and make test blocks
Blog Hop Quilt: Complete 3 blocks and mail.  (Oh yeah, the next blog hop I’m doing has a quilt made by the bloggers for the grand prize! WHAT?!)

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A Partial Seam Tutorial


What is a Y-seam? A Y-seam is when there are 3 fabrics that come together and form a shape of a “Y.”  Typically you’ll see these with diamonds, hexagons, and other shapes that are not square!  In addition, there is a special Y seam that is created with the block below.  Notice the corner of the center square meets with two other fabrics at each corner.  You can create this block using a traditional Y-seam method or using a method called the Partial Seams.


Here’s how you do it:

The block is made up of 4 rectangles that are 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and a center 2 1/2″ square.


Step 1:  With the center square and one of the side pieces, stitch from the center of the square to the end of the piece.  This allows the second rectangle to be added smoothly to the original block.  Press the seam outward or to the direction called out in the pattern.

Step 2:  Add the next rectangle to the block.  Press the seam outward or to the direction called out in the pattern.

Step 3:  Add the third rectangle to the block.  Press the seam outward or to the direction called out in the pattern.

Step 4:  Add the last rectangle to the block.  Press the seam outward or to the direction called out in the pattern. Notice how you have a partially open seam from when you started.

Step 5:  Stitch the final seam shut! Press the seam outward or to the direction called out in the pattern.

Ta Da! Easy Peasy!

This method can also be used to make borders that are the same size around a piece rather than top/bottom and side borders being different lengths.

You can use this method of partial seams or Y-seams in my pattern of Spinning Vectors.  All the blocks have this as its center block.  I’m so happy to be able to share a technique on how to make this block!



This past week I’ve finished off my 14th quilt of the year, the Treehouse Quilt.  However, with the freezing temperatures this last weekend and the sun setting so quickly these days, I haven’t been able to get a good photograph just yet.  I realized that I’m not a fan of quilting and I was doing almost anything to procrastinate. I’m glad however that it was a goal to push me to complete the quilt.  The reason why I dislike quilting is that I fight my quilts when quilting, and my free motion quilting skills aren’t great.  I’m taking several free motion quilting classes during Quilt Con, so hopefully I will become more confident in my skills!

One of the lessons learned this week: nothing causes me more anxiety than having things on my to do list that I don’t feel like doing.  I am going to try to have a more balanced to do list in the future because not only did I drag my feet to quilt the Treehouse Quilt, I was also ornament-ed out.  I only completed one of the four ornaments this past week on my goals list.   My goals list needs to be a balance of things I want to do and things I need to do. Quilting, after all is still a hobby and not my day job (yet).

When I refer to what I want to do, this past week my passion for getting stuff done led me to pick up the Steampunk quilt again and start cutting fabric to applique the centers.  Hopefully I will be able to make some great progress on this quilt this week.  I reached out on Instagram on how other quilters cut circles because I was so inefficient!   Using a rotary cutter with the circle template seemed like a good idea, but it was awful.  I resorted to tracing the circle with a Frixion pen and cutting each one out by hand.  Thankfully, there are only 41.


12/20-12/27 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Thursday, Friday, Monday

Projects I want to work on:
PBQ102 – free pattern!
Steampunk Quilt

Goals for the Projects:
PBQ102:  Start sewing the second jelly roll and cut the blocks
Steampunk Quilt: Finish all the blocks with appliqued centers and start sewing the sashing on the quilt

Last but not least, I hope everyone has a happy holidays and a very Merry Christmas!

Tutorial · weekly update

Break out the Christmas Décor

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Holiday!  I definitely had a lot of fun traveling back home to Dallas to visit my parents and have a mini family reunion for the holiday.  Airports don’t seem to understand that it’s perfectly normal to travel with a sewing machine and a carry-on full of fabric… at least it is for quilter.  But I got everything there and back home without too much fuss.

So this Christmas stocking that I made with cathedral window was fairly epic.  I used the technique on the Missouri Star Quilt Co. website, however I did not use the 5 inch charm squares.  I thought for a stocking, the fabric variety should be smaller.  I used 2 1/2″ squares for the stockings.  Half way through making the stocking, I realized I that I could provide a cheat sheet for those that want to make something similar.

Cathedral Window Stocking
1 Fat Quarter for the lining
1 Fat Eighth for the cuff and loop
3 mini charm packs or 1 charm pack of Christmas Print
3 mini charm packs or 1 charm pack of white fabric (I used Bella Solids White)

If you are not using mini charm packs, cut the charms into 2 1/2″ squares.  There are 106 print squares needed and 112 white squares needed.  Iron all of the white squares’ opposite corners together to form a triangle.

Now you will need to layout the printed fabric as shown in the photo below.  This is really to cover the part that is going to be cut for the stocking size.  Make sure that you make one that has a MIRRORED layout to get both sides of the stocking.  The layout must be mirrored or else your stocking will have 2 of the same side!


I decided that I wanted to glue baste the white triangles, so they did not move while being sewn together. I ended up not glue basting the squares together, just the triangles to the squares.  I did attempt to glue baste the pieces completely together, but it caused too much bulk.  If you have never glue basted, you can use Elmer’s washable glue with a micro fine tip or something similar to help get a small line of glue.  Then you use your iron to heat set the pieces together.  If you made a mistake, no worries just pull the fabric apart and re-glue.  I used a walking foot to piece the squares together due to the bulk of fabric.


Once the pieces are sewn together, pick prints to go in the windows of the stocking.  When making a cathedral window with 5 inch squares, you don’t need to cut the pieces down.  However, we are using the mini charm size, and the pieces will be too big for the window.  The mini charms for the windows only will need to be trimmed to 2 1/4″ square to fit.  Once you trim them down, you can lay it out to show how the stocking will look.  I glue basted the white edges down on the print square so it would be easier to sew together.


Once they are all glue basted, I used my walking foot to sew on the white edges to secure all the fabric in place.

I used Sew Like My Mom’s free stocking pattern as my template to trace on the cathedral window fabric for my stocking outline.  I sewed on the line around the stocking so when I cut the stocking out, the fabric would not unravel in some places.  You can use her tutorial for how to assemble the rest of the stocking together here.


I love how this stocking turned out!  It was so much fun to make, and it looks so good.

I also found this really neat No-Sew “Quilted” Christmas Ornament YouTube video by Shabby Fabric that I can’t wait to make.  I ordered some fabric and got supplies to make the ornaments later this month.  It looks like a great project for some scraps left over from a Christmas quilt.

I think this upcoming year I’ll have more time to plan quilt gifts for friends and family.  I don’t really have any quilt Christmas gifts planned this year so sorry to everyone that was hoping to get one!

11/29-12/6 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Wednesday and Friday Night, and Saturday and Sunday afternoon

Projects I want to work on:
Powered by Quilting Patterns
Treehouse Quilt

Goals for the Projects:
Powered by Quilting Patterns:  Cut fabric for Pattern #102, start sewing
Steampunk:  Complete 10 Blocks
Treehouse Quilt: Machine quilt and bind.