Tag Archives: tutorial

Sampler Quilt: Broken Herringbone Block Tutorial


Go over and check out Spoonflower’s blog today, as the 2nd block tutorial for my sample quilt has been posted. It covers methods for Half Square Triangles and pressing seam tips.Broken_Chevron_Block

Tutorial: Phased circle block

I have been having fun with my new design “Phased Circles” of late. I will at some stage release the pattern for the whole quilt seen here. In the meantime, thought it would be fun to share with everyone, how I made up the individual blocks.

You will need the following materials.

  • Circle Rotary Cutter (cuts at least a 8.5″ circle)

Inner Circle

  • 1  5.5″ white cotton square
  • 1 1.5″ strip of white cotton and a colored solid of your choice (I used Kona skinny strips so I did not need to cut)
  • 1 5.5″ x 10.5″ printed fabric (dark/saturated print)


  • 1 6.5″ square of four low-volume prints in monotone colors (as in my quilt) or four prints in a complementary color (as seen in this block) to the inner circle fabric selection.
  1. Let’s start with the inner circle.
    Sew your white and colored strips together for approximately 12″.  Cut excess and press seam open. From this strip, cut 2 5.5″ pieces and cut an additional 5.5″ single piece from the colored skinny strip. Sew these 3 pieces together to form a striped 5.5″ square – as in top right square below. Layout your pieces, the 5.5″ striped square, 5.5″ white square and 5.5″ x 10.5″ printed fabric. Fabric Pieced Parts
  2. Sew the striped square to the white square (as seen on the right) and press seam open. Then sew the this rectangle to the 5.5 x 10.5″ printed fabric to form a 10.5″ square as shown below.
    Pieced Circle Fabric
  3. Use a circle rotary cutter (I use Olfa Circle Rotary cutter which is available online and in stores) to cut a 8.5″ circle using the intersecting point in the center as the middle.Circle Cut
  4. Now for the background of the block.Layout the four square prints. Think about where the white fabric will be placed as you want the darker colors to be where the white is present in the circle you just cut. In my block that is on the right. This provides the best contrast.Background Pieces
  5. Sew each side together (i.e left side/right side). Press seams open. Then sew each of these two pieces together to form a 12.5″ square.Pieced Background
  6. Using the circle rotary cutter cut a circle that is 7.5″ circle.Cut Background Circle
  7. Overlay the background square on the inner circle. Match up the intersecting lines (there are 3 of them in this block). Pin them in place, add more pins if desired to hold fabric in place.Pinned circle background
  8. Sew a basting stitch at 1/4″ from the edge of the circle of the background fabric.
    TIPS: I use my 1/4″ foot and use the inside edge as a guide. My stitch length is set at 3 on my Janome. I sew at the slowest speed setting, on my machine, so I can turn the fabric.
    IMPORTANT: Make sure you stop and lift and realign frequently for best results. Basting Stitch
  9. At this stage, it is time to use a technique called Needle turn appliqué. The fabrics are in reverse, where the background is on top of the main fabric (inner circle in this case); normally the background is what you would be appliqué for pieces onto.
    • Start at one of the seams of the background square.
    • First off, select a matching thread to the background fabric….For this block use coral or off white thread.
    • Knot your thread.
    • Use your needle to fold the top under, towards the basting stitch. You are folding under here about 1/8″.
    • From the bottom (so knot is on the bottom), push needle through all layers and do a little hold stitch .
    • Now, sweep the edge under another 1/2 – 1 inch or so towards the basting stitch (again 1/8inch). Use your fingers to press and smooth out the line. Use an appliqué stitch to sew along the folded each.
    • Continue along about 1/2 -1 inch at a time.
    • Make sure you make a little hold stitch at the end and beginning of each fabric piece

    Here is what it will look like: NeedleTurnApplique

  10. Continue until the whole circle has been appliquéd. Finished Needle Turn Applique
    Here is a close-up of the finished appliquéd parts. Closeup Needle Turn Applique Complete
  11. Remove the basting stitch and you are all done. Square up your finished block – unfinished size for this test block is 12.5″ .

The needle turn appliqué technique was shown to me by Carolyn Friedlander. I loved it, by the way this was my first time trying it. I actually took the project outside and relaxed while doing the hand sewing as it was portable. It meant, I did not have to be inside by my machine. So if you need something while the kids are playing sports/swimming, or need a travel project these would be great (once basted).

There are several versions of this technique, one version is shown in the Craftsy class by Sarah Fielke “Big Techniques from Small Scraps”. The reason to reference this class, is that this will show you the needle turn appliqué basics and appliqué/hold stitch basics. Differences to the above tutorial include; the focus on sewing the pieces to the background, glue basting instead of stitch basting and uses a 1/4 inch seam folds.

If you do not want to do this via needle turn appliqué, you could use a inset circle technique (uses the sewing machine instead of hand sewing). The Craftsy class by Cheryl Arkison “Inset and Appliqué Circles by Machine” is a good class for this technique.

There we go that is my finished test block and tutorial for “Phased Circles”. Let me know if you have any questions. Linking up with Amanda Jean @ crazy mom quilts for Finish it up Friday.

Scrappy Window Block Tutorial

This block tutorial comes from this quilt I designed “Through the shattered Looking-glass”. It uses a collection of scrappy improv blocks.

A single block can be any size but is made up of scraps that are sewn together with 1/4″ sashing, like so.


Here are the steps I used to build a block.

  1. Depending on the size of your block, use painters tape to mark out the edges of your block on a design wall (in this picture I just used a piece of batting). This is a technique I learnt from Nicole @ Mama Love Quilts.
  2. Take scraps that are between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 inches of various sizes, and shades/values of the color you chose and start laying them out within your marked area. Overlap your edges of your scraps to take into account for the 1/4 inch seams.
  3. Take a photo of the layout to use while you sew.laypout_block_pieces
  4. When laying your pieces out try to take into consideration the construction of the block, you want areas that can act as straight lines.
  5. Cut some white 3/4 inch sashing strips (Kona White). Based on your smaller quadrants you, take one blue piece and sew some sashing on one side. Trim. Take the next neighboring blue piece and sew to the other side of the sashing. Add sashing along your next side. Here are 3 quadrants (A, B, C) and the numbers represent the order in which I added the piece/sashing. Please Press your seams open as you go (this helps with the bulk of the seams).
  6. Repeat, until block is at the size you want and trim to square the block.

That’s it, the block is done. Let me know if you have any questions.

Tutorial: iPhone/iPad Stand

As promised here is the Tutorial to make a iPhone/iPad (or other electronic device) stand I posted last week.

iPhone Stand


  • Fabric 12″ x 9″
  • Cotton
  • 2-3 cups of rice
  • Pellon Ultra Firm 1 1/4″ x 5 3/4″
  • Polyester Fill
  1. Start with a piece of fabric that is 12″ x 9″. Fold in 1/2 and press (6″ x 9″  size once folded)Tutorial_Size
  2. Sew a 1/4 inch seam at the top, with a 1 – 1 1/2 ” gap, and the side of the folded fabric (refer to black lines).
  3. Fold the fabric so that the side seam is now in the middle at the back. The top will form triangles. I press the seam open for a flat appearance later.Sew along the bottom to form a 1/4 inch seam leaving a 1 – 11/2 inch gap (refer to black lines).
  4. Through one of the holes, feed the fabric through to invert fabric to show right side. Use a chop stick (or other device to ensure the corners are turned completely.
  5. Measure 3 inches from the bottom seam. Mark with chalk on each side (refer to where the chop stick is pointing). This will be the mark you will use to place the Pellon Ultra Firm Strip.
  6. Feed the Pellon Ultra Firm through the whole at the bottom.
  7. Move The Ultra Firm Strip into position with the top aligned with the chalk marks. Pin strip. Sew a border around the strip to ensure it remains in place (refer to black lines).
  8. Through the hole at the bottom, stuff with polyester filling until fill.
  9. Hand sew the bottom hole closed. I use a slip stitch to close my openings.
  10. For the main pillow, fill with rice. I use a Wilson piping bag to aid in adding the rice through the hole. NOTE: The rice will add a nice weight to the stand to make sure it will support the relevant electronic device.
  11. Fill as far as you can, approx. 3/4, or more, fill. You will have room at the top.
  12. Fill the rest of the space with the polyester filling.
  13. Hand stitch top opening close.  You now have a complete electronic stand.

My friends are loving these, so I hope your friends do to (or whoever you are gifting it to). If you have any questions or feedback let me know, leave a comment.

Update: I have had several people ask if they can use this also for an iPad. As mentioned in the title, we do use it for an iPad, which is usually used for Netflix/Videos. This means we typically have it in a horizontal position.
I would agree that this size stand would not work for an iPad if you were wanting to use vertically. I have not provided the measurements, if this is what you would like it for.

This tutorial is for personal use only.

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

Lessons Learned in Paper-Piecing

One of my favorite activities, that I have learned over the last year, is paper-piecing. I have thoroughly enjoyed this craft and thought this was the best time to pass on some of my tips.


1. Finished Kiwi Cushion – Front, 2. Royal-X-Plus Block, 3. Kea paper pieced block, 4. YellowEyedPenguin_FullBlock, 5. Kiwi – Paper Piecing, 6. Blooming Hot Paper Pieced Block


  • My number one tool, unfortunately, is my small quick ‘n’ pick (seam ripper).
  • For paper, I just use printer paper, I don’t use freezer paper…its just easier to get straight to the piecing.
  • Sunlight or light is extremely important so you can place/alignment at the right place. I usually lift the piece and the adding fabric to the light and see through the paper and fabrics.
  • My iron for pressing all those seams, essential.
  • A ruler and rotary cutter for trimming 1/4 inch edges.

My main tips are mostly what I have learned to help avoid those silly mistakes:

  • If you are making too many mistakes, take a break and come back to it. It really helps.
  • After all the trimming etc., it can get a little messy. So, to help organize and clean as you go, I use two bins; a small scrap bin to put small reusable scraps into, and a bowl for rubbish/trash.
  • I use a reduced stitch size (1.2 on my brother sewing machine) so that it is easy to tear the paper away at the end.
  • Make sure your fabric is big enough and aligned correctly, to take into the consideration the angle of the seam (quick ‘n’ pick reason #1).
  • Make sure your fabric is right side to right side (you won’t believe the number of times I go to check and its the wrong side up, quick ‘n’ pick reason #2).
  • Make sure your fabric does not fold over when you sew, otherwise you will need to unstitch (hence the quick ‘n’ pick reason #3).
  • Position needle and align the foot, sew seams from the inside to outside.
  • Always trim seams with 1/4 inch.
  • Always press each seam.

I thought I would now step through a tutorial for how I create a piece and join those pieces. I am using a block that was designed by Esther @ I patch and quilt – Blooming Hot (available on Craftsy).

  1. If the first piece is large, I usually pin it to hold it in place.PaperPiecing_FirstPiece
  2. Place and align the next piece of fabric so right sides are facing. Line up the needle point with the tip of the line you are sewing, sew from inner points to the outer points.PaperPiecing_FirstStitches
  3. Sew through a 1/4 inch seam markings to the edge of the paper. Here is an example of two seams (pieces 1 and 2).PaperPiecing_SewedSeams
  4. After each seam, before pressing, measure and trim 1/4 inch from the seam to remove excess fabric. This keeps the piecing neat but also stops any dark fabrics from showing through.
    PaperPiecing_TrimmingSeamEdge PaperPiecing_TrimmedEdges
  5. Turn piece over and press the fabric pieces back, all right sides are facing up.PaperPiecing_PressedSeams2Pieces
  6. Continue until all seams/pieces are sewed and pressed. Now, it is time to trim the piece.
  7. Use a ruler and measure a 1/4 inch seam from where the joining line/piecing line will be. You can’t always just use the print out as you may have decreased or increased scale. You need this to take into account the need for a 1/4 inch seam.PaperPiecing_FinalEdgeTrimming
  8. Continue until all edges are trimmed.
  9. For joining pieces, I think this varies depending on the designer and the pattern. Sometimes I can just line up the two ends and sew 1/4 inch in and the pieces line up well.For this particular block, I wanted to ensure the green pieces are aligned correctly. I measured  a 1/4 inch from the edge and marked with chalk.
    PaperPiecing_SeamMatchingRuler PaperPiecing_SeamMatchingMarks
  10. I repeated this step with the second piece as well. I then matched up the white lines and pinned/held them in place, as I aligned the top and bottom of the edge as well. Sew a 1/4 inch seam and press. I tend to press seams apart when paper piecing to reduce the bulk.

The final block looked like this:
Block designed by Esther @ I patch and quilt – “Blooming Hot”

Linking up with Kristy over @ Quiet Play for her paper piecing party.

Finish it up Friday – Spoonflower Bolster Cushion

The winner of my 100th post give away, after using a random number generator, is:

ClumsyKristel @ http://wipgirl.wordpress.com/

Please can you send me an email letting me know:

  • which pot holder set you would like and in which color (if you don’t want one of the two that are pre-made)
  • and your postal address so I can send them to you.

Now for Finish it up Friday (linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts); on Wednesday, I posted the Bolster cushion that I was making it using a tutorial and fabric (by Holli Zollinger Diamond Circles and Grey Diamond Linen) from Spoonflower.

I managed to finish the cushion….here is the finished product 🙂


Close up of the fabric:
My 2nd invisible zipper and it turned out great 🙂

Tutorial: Gift card pockets

This is my first go at writing a tutorial. This is how to make gift card pockets. It’s a cute and easy project if you are starting to sew, it would make a great project for kids. You can use some of your scraps as well.


  • 1 x Backing fabric piece 5 x 7.5 inches
  • 1 x Front piece 5x 7.5 inches (in the tutorial I use 6 different scrap pieces each between 1-1.5 inches)
  • 1 x Low loft batting 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Coordinated binding, you will need 10.5 inches (I use shop bought binding but you can make your own)
  • 1 x coordinated button
  • 1 x coordinated hair tie
  • Cotton


  • Sewing Machine
  • Chalk pencil
  • Needle
  • Rotary cutting tool, Ruler, Cutting board

1. Cut all your fabric pieces out, iron pieces if necessary (I always do).IMG_0764

2. If using scraps, stitch the pieces together with a 1/4 in. seam. Once sewn, press the seams down (this is a great tutorial on techniques for pressing seams by SewMamaSew).IMG_0766

3. Put the back piece, batting and front piece together. Press with the iron.IMG_0777

4. Trim the edges to create a straight block of 5 x 7.5 inches.


5. On one of the short edges of the block (5 inch side), stitch the binding onto the back of the block.IMG_0783

6. Once the binding has been stitched onto the back, cut the binding to the edge of the block. Turn the block over, fold the binding over the top of the block and stitch the front of the binding along the bottom edge.IMG_0785

7. Repeat on the other short edge of the block. Press the block.IMG_0787

8. Fold the block in half, right sides together. Press again. Sew along both edges. I start at the bottom and stitch towards the top as the bottom is thinner and easier place to start. Sew three stitches and then back-stitch, continue to the end, back-stitch 3-5 stitches.IMG_0789

9. Turn in the right way. Press again.IMG_0793 IMG_0795

10. Measure the pocket at the top to find the center (~2.25 in.) and mark with a chalk pencil – the width is now 4.5 inches (for the button position). Repeat the measurement on the binding on the back inside binding (for the hair tie placement). IMG_0797

11. Stitch the hair tie into the inside of the pocket. Stitch a few stitches on the top and bottom of the binding.IMG_0799

12. Hand-sew the button in place. This will complete the gift card pocket.IMG_0801 IMG_0803

Have fun with your color combinations – see these posts for ideas (Making gift cards a little more personal, Customer Order). Additionally, instead of binding you can use a zip.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.