How to make a T-shirt quilt from start to finish

It has been a couple years since I filmed my how to make a t-shirt quilt series.

Time for an updated video! I got together with my friends at Prime Publishing to show you how to make a T-shirt quilt from start to finish.

 

To make your quilt, you’ll need a few supplies:

T-shirts
Press Cloth (an old dishtowel will do)
Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
Border Fabric
Rotary Cutter, Mat & Ruler
Iron and Ironing Board
Sewing Machine.

In the video I take you through all the steps of making your t-shirt quilt. Learn the best way to cut your shirts so that your whole design fits on your blocks, and tips for how to center your design. What do you do when you have different sized shirts to incorporate into your t-shirt quilt? Add borders, of course! I show you what bordered blocks look like.

Stitching together stretchy shirts can result in puckers and blocks that don’t line up correctly. Adding a light-weight interfacing to your quilt blocks (I love and use Thermoweb brand interfacings) keeps them from stretching while cutting, sewing, and quilting your quilt.

Quilting your quilt is easy using a walking foot, or you can send your t-shirt quilt to a professional long-arm quilter to quilt it for you.

To finish your quilt, add binding and a label!

 

 

 

Blithe Blog Tour

I’m so excited to be part of Katarina Roccella’s Blithe Blog Tour! I’ve been a long-time fan of her whimsical fabric designs, and I have been a fan of Art Gallery Fabrics even longer! Katarina’s new line, “Blithe” is in stores now… I know it is at my local shop Cozy Creative Center… check to see if your shop is carrying these fun fabrics!

Blithe Fabrics EPP Pillow

Katarina asked if I would be part of this fun blog tour, and of course I said YES! I already had a project in the works… which is a funny story.

I attended Houston Quiltmarket in October. It was my third time going, and I really enjoy seeing what is new in quilting. I went to sample spree, hoping to get my hands on Katarina’s next line, “In Blue”. They didn’t have yardage yet, so instead I bought some Blithe. Which is equally beautiful. Really. The gorgeous colors and nature prints are just so inviting. And Art Gallery Fabrics always feel so nice, they are a pleasure to sew with. I don’t know what kind of fairy dust they weave into their fabrics – but if you’ve never touched AGF, you’re in for a treat!

I flew home after market was over, and was at the airport waiting for my flight. I had supplies with me for English Paper Piecing because I always have EPP supplies with me (and I had taught an EPP class that morning and done EPP demos while at market). I pulled out my Blithe and started stitching. I didn’t know what it would become… but my hands like to stay busy.

EPP at the Airport

By the time I’d gotten home, I had a message from Katarina. We have chatted via Instagram in the past – I created a quilt sample for a past line of hers. She asked if I’d like to turn what I was making into a project for her lookbook.

Of course, yes. I had a project that might get finished eventually. But now, it had a deadline. I was off and running.

finishing up EPP

English Paper Piecing is my favorite. I don’t knit or crochet, so this is the handwork that I can tuck in my bag and take wherever I go. When waiting at the doctor’s office, when waiting to pick up kids from school, in the evening in front of the TV… I love to pick up my handwork.

If you’ve never tried EPP, here is a video of me at Quiltmarket, showing
how easy it is:

You’re hooked already, right? Grab some papers and a glue pen, pick up your needle and thread, and start stitching!

Of course, once you’re done stitching, you have to finish your project. Since this was going to be a pillow, I pulled out the papers, ironed on some of my favorite Thermoweb Fusible Fleece, and did some simple straight-line stitching with my walking foot.

quilting EPP

You’ll notice I stitched to the side, and not “in the ditch”. English Paper Piecing doesn’t have a “ditch” to stitch in – the seam allowances are essentially pressed open. So quilting has to be done across the surface of the fabric.

Yes, I would love to have hand-quilted this piece. But time.

I did manage to put together another quick project for the lookbook… a simple clutch.

Stupid Simple Clutch

This is my “Stupid Simple Clutch” pattern that I’m still working on writing up. I’m hoping to release it this spring. Fingers crossed!

Those are the simple projects I created for the Lookbook, and for the Blog Tour… I hope you’re getting inspired to play with some Blithe yourself! Drop me a comment below and tell me what you’re planning to make!

 

 

Glory: Scrappy Flag Quilt Pattern

Happy 4th of July! A couple weeks ago, I had an idea for a Scrappy Flag Quilt. I went to my fabric stash and pulled assorted reds, then pulled out my Tumbler English Paper Piecing shapes. I had plenty of both, and a long car trip perfect for some hand-stitching time, so I got to work!

This quilt is part hand work (the red stripes are hand-stitched using English Paper Piecing), and part machine-stitched (the background is stitched together by machine, and the EPP is machine appliqued and machine quilted). All the beauty of handwork, without being crazy time consuming!

You can buy the pattern on Craftsy here.

Glory: Scrappy Flag Quilt Pattern. Uses English Paper Piecing and traditional piecing techniques.

Tumblers aren’t the most popular shape for English Paper Piecing, Hexagons are the most popular, followed by Diamonds. Both of these shapes have angles that can be tricky to piece, making paper piecing a great choice. Tumblers can be fairly easily machine pieced – but they are so satisfying for hand sewing! The edges line up nicely, and you can get this great zig-zag effect from alternating the directions of the tumblers.

Scrappy flag quilt - simple to make, easy to follow pattern with EPP instructions

The quilt makes a great wall hanging for any room. You can use it as a table topper. You can hang it outdoors for a picnic – or use it on a picnic table or picnic display table.

fun and scrappy flag quilt pattern

I had lots of fun quilting this one… I think my favorite part is the quilted stars in the 13 white tumblers!

close up of Glory scrappy flag quilt

Buy the Digital Download pattern here.

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R2D2 Quilt

My kids are crazy for Star Wars, and their favorite droid is R2D2. Which is why I made them this fun R2D2 quilt to hang on their wall. It is very simple to make – no curved piecing, no fancy quilting – just straight stitching and quilting using a walking foot.

Star Wars R2D2 Mini Quilt - easy to make in an afternoon!

To make this mini quilt you’ll need:

Fat Quarter Grey Fabric
Fat Quarter White Fabric
1/2 yard backing fabric
Thermoweb DecoFoil Hot Melt Adhesive
Thermoweb Decofoil in Blue, Red, Black, and Pewter
Fairfield Cotton Batting
Thermoweb Basting Spray
Iron and Ironing Board
Sewing Machine with Walking foot and grey thread
Rotary Cutter and Ruler
Needle to Bury Threads

Cut your fabric. You’ll need a 12×12″ piece of the white fabric and a 12×10″ piece of the grey fabric. Put the rest of the fabric aside for the backing and binding.

Sew the two pieces of fabric together along the 12″ side.

Press seam towards the dark side (see what I did there? The “Dark Side”? hahaha!)

Measure 6″ in on the seam, and 1.5″ up. Mark this point. Use this as the center to mark a half-circle along the top. supplies for R2D2 mini quilt

Cut the Hotmelt adhesive. You’ll need:
2 – 1″x2″
2 – 3/4″x2″
2 – 1″x1″
1 – 1″x6″
2 – 1″x4.5″
1 – 2″x4″ with 1.5″ boxes cut out of the middle
1 – 2″x3″
1 – 3″x4″ cut into a trapezoid
1 – 2″ circle

Place the HotMelt pieces onto the fabric according to the photo. Fuse in place. Allow to cool, then remove the paper backing.

If you’d like your R2D2 Quilt fully quilted, base the mini, and quilt around all the hotmelt adhesive now, before adding the foil. This will ensure that the foil isn’t scratched by the walking foot later. I skipped this step, because a wall hanging doesn’t need a lot of quilting.

Cut a 2″ circle from the black Decofoil and a 1″ circle from the red DecoFoil. Place on top of the HotMelt. DO NOT FUSE YET. This is my layered foil technique.

Cut a square large enough to cover the 2″ circle out of the Pewter, and put in place. Cut the blue DecoFoil to cover all the other pieces.

cover with foil
Fuse the DecoFoil in place according to the instructions on the package.

Allow the adhesive to cool COMPLETELY before peeling off the DecoFoil, removing early or not fusing completely will result in incomplete coverage.

Baste the batting, backing, and top together with the basting spray, or your preferred method of basting.

Using the chalk marking pencil, draw the additional un-foiled panels on R2D2, using the placement of the foil pieces as your guides.

With your walking foot, stitch around the additional side panels to define them. Tie off the threads, and bury them.

Trim the curve along the top with scissors.

Bind, using two-colored binding if you prefer. Make sure to use bias-cut binding along the curve.

My boys were absolutely thrilled with their mini R2D2 Quilt, and couldn’t wait to hang it in their room! It goes great with the BB8 Pouf that I made for them as well. You can whip up this R2D2 quilt in an afternoon – the Star Wars fan in your life will love you for it!

this R2D2 Quilt really shines - and is super easy to make!

DecoFoil Projects

I’m on the Thermoweb design team, which means I get paid to work with the fun products that Thermoweb carries, and create all kinds of stuff… and hopefully inspire some of you with my creations! I’ve been working on quite a few things, and though I’ve shared some of them on Instagram, I don’t think I’ve shared many here… so I thought I’d share some of them…

 

The coloring book craze is alive and well! This quilt was made with Coloring Book fabric that I used Decofoil liquid adhesive, and foils on. I quilted with black thread on the lines in the foiled squares, and did free-motion quilting in the white space with white thread. Quilting this one was a LOT of work, but had a fun effect!

tow-coloring-book-quilt

This quilt was made for QuiltMarket, and was the showpiece in the Thermoweb booth at fall market. It is about 4’x5′, and was a labor of love. So much time went into this (and more than a few tears). It was a technique that nobody had tried before, so I jumped in with two feet (is there any other way to jump in?), and did my best. I’m really, really proud of the finished result! The pattern is based on “Modern America” by Indygo Junction, and you can make it using traditional applique if you don’t want to do foil.

tow-foil-USA

If you love the foil look, and want a fun project, but these big quilts intimidate you… check out these foiled birthday seals. I have a printable and all the instructions over on my 30 Minute Crafts site.

finished seals

Quilt Coloring Pages

I’m heading off to QuiltCon in Pasadena next weekend. If you can’t go, or are inspired by quilts but aren’t ready to take the plunge into actual quilting, I’ve got a treat for you! I made these fun Quilt coloring pages!

FREE Quilt ColoringPages

I’ve made lots of different designs for you to play with… but the best part is that you get to completely customize them yourself. You could print the same sheet dozens of times… and get dozens of different looking quilts by using different colors, or repeating the colors in different areas. It is such a fun way to play with color and intensity!

colored quilt from quilt coloring book pages

You can even change the colors as you go along… it is completely up to you… you can make a very pattern-focused design, or go completely scrappy!

coloring quilts on FREE quilt coloring pages

Crayons, markers, colored pencils, or all of the above – pick your poison as you dive down the rabbit hole of coloring quilts!

Bling
Braided Diamonds
Diamond Star
Diamond Weave
Diamonds and Crosses
Double Double
Millions of Melons
Plaid Braid
Starry Diamonds
Stars Out
Traditional Stars
Woven Diamonds

free downloads of quilt coloring pages

That one time I got to Mingle with Midge and Madge!

I spent the weekend with friends, both new and seasoned, up in Denver, Colorado at the Create – Make – Celebrate Retreat hosted by the fabulous and talented Laura Kelly Walters. I got to learn some new crafting techniques, brush up on some that I’ve played with in the past, and even teach one of my favorites… English Paper Piecing!

The wonderful folks at Prym-Dritz sent kits for me to share so that I could teach the class. I was so excited to be able to share my passion with all these awesome creative gals!

Learning to English Paper Piece

Some of the gals tried it, and it wasn’t for them. But others… others really took to it! I saw ladies doing EPP in our group pow-wows throughout the weekend, and it warmed my EPP-loving heart!

epp-in-the-laura-kelly-stud

epp-at-retreat

playing-with-hexies

Two of the amazing ladies at the retreat – Midge and Madge – have a crafty YouTube series, and invited me to be a guest (WHAT!?). I had a blast chatting with them… please watch the video below!

In case you’re wondering, the quilt shown in the video is “25 Hexies” and the pattern is available for purchase on Craftsy.

25 hexies image small
And I did take a quick photo of Madge’s flappy EPP before she fixed it. This is too cute!
the-epp-faux-pas

Stardust Quilt (Free Pattern)

This stardust quilt was made using Fat Quarters of Art Gallery Fabrics’ line “Playing Pop”, which can be found in stores now. I used the lighter prints as low(er) volume background prints, and the darker prints in to make the stars.

Free Quilt Pattern - "Stardust"Stardust Quilt: finishes 48″x48″

It makes for a fun, scrappy background quilt that looks a little more fun and planned!

For this quilt, you’ll need:

4 FQs dark or med/dark prints (stars)
5-7 FQs med/light prints
8-10 FQs light prints
Backing, Batting & Binding

Cut:
From *each* of the dark or med/dark prints:
8 – 4 7/8″ squares (cut in half diagonally)
1 – 4 1/2″ square

From the med/light prints (total from all):
45 – 4 7/8″ squares (cut in half diagonally)
14 – 4 1/2″ squares

From the light prints:
18 – 6 3/16″ squares
36 – 2.5″ x 8.5″ rectangles
36 – 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

You can lay out the fabrics to make your design:

stardust quilt layout

There are 2 alternating blocks that make up the design. A diamond-in-a-square and a square-in-a-square. Stitch these units together, then stitch them all together to make the quilt.

If you want your quilt to look very intentionally scrappy, you can make the four square-in-square blocks using the dark fabrics for the center, then the 14 diamond-in-a-square blocks using 2 of the dark triangles on each, then make the remaining blocks using the remaining fabrics, and then stitch it together. Depending on what kind of quilter you are (and how much design wall space you have available), you can make this quilt using whichever method you like!

unquilted stardust quilt

Quilt as desired.

stardust quilt front

I pieced my back from the scraps and leftover Fat Quarters in the bundle. You can also see my quilting here. I used my walking foot to stitch-in-the-ditch around the stars, then did dense swirls in the space around them.

back of stardust quilt

Such a fun quilt to whip together!

photo of Stardust quilt

That one time I became an Award Winning Quilter

One of the most interesting and frustrating things I learned when working at a quilt shop is that quilters collect fears from other quilters. One quilter will look at a pattern and exclaim that it is “too hard” because of the inset seams or curves, and the other quilters within earshot will nod… and those originally contemplating the pattern will shy away.

I was determined that I wouldn’t take on the fears of other quilters – but then I did. Shortly after starting at the quilt shop, I attended the local quilt show there in Las Vegas. I asked a friend if she had any quilts hanging. She told me “Oh no! If you have more than one stitch in the corner of your binding, they mark you down!”

Wow. That sounded scary. So I didn’t enter my quilts. I took on a fear of quilt shows.

Ellipsis Quilt(If you’re interested, you can buy the Ellipsis Quilt here.)

After moving to San Diego, I decided to enter the quilt show here. For a small extra fee, I could get feedback on the quilt entered. I wasn’t looking for a ribbon – I was looking for honesty. As a quilter, I think my work is pretty good. But I’m not the best – and I can always use some constructive feedback from an expert. So I chose two quilts to enter. Including an unfinished quilt I (coincidentally) started about the same time I collected my fear of entering quilt shows. I would get these quilts finished, and I’d learn how to get better at my craft. That was winning.

The first night of the show, I went to see all the quilts. I was thrilled to see some beginner quilts hanging – they didn’t take on a fear of quilt shows! Good for them! I wanted to see which quilts had ribbons so I could see what I should aspire to – but none did. Yet.

After chatting with a few friends, the organizers started announcing the awards. When they came to the modern category, they announced my name as the second place winner. WHAT!? I wanted to shriek! But I knew almost none of the ladies there, so I stayed silent as I did a happy dance on the inside. I WON! What had I been afraid of this whole time? How many potentially award-winning quilts have I made, and not entered? Maybe none… but I will never know. Because I accepted my friend’s quilting fear as my own.

I’m so glad that I overcame my fear, and entered the quilt. I only wish I’d done so sooner!

Later that week, I picked up my quilt, my red ribbon, and a check. I also was given an envelope with feedback from the judge. Which told me I need to work on my binding. Maybe my friend was right about quilt shows – but that didn’t mean they were something to be afraid of.

Ellipsis close-up

If you’d like to make this quilt (it is SUPER simple to make, and uses 2.5″ mini charms and a jelly roll), you can buy the pattern in my pattern shop.

Clouds are for Cuddles Quilt

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw me working on this fun quilt. I was in love with these fabrics the moment they arrived… Shannon cuddle fabrics are so super soft! Both my boys had cuddle-backed blankets as babies, and still love snuggling with them. When I saw the greys and purples for this project, I knew that my moment had arrived! Finally a Shannon Cuddle quilt for ME! But, I knew I’d be sharing with the kiddos… so I made a quilt big enough for us all to cuddle under!

Quilt made entirely from Shannon Cuddle Fabrics

This quilt is cuddle from start-to finish, with Fairfield batting between. I started off with some great Shannon Cuddle fabrics. I was supposed to pick fabrics for my project, but was in the middle of my move at the time, so asked Nikki to just pick something for me… I’d figure it out. She did a great job picking fabrics for me! From the yards of awesome printed cuddle she selected, I knew I needed to make a quilt! Here’s what I used:

1 cuddle cake “Sterling Silver”
1 yard print one
4 yards print two (includes backing – use 1 yard print 2, and 3 yards backing if you want a different backing)

Cuddle yardage is nice and wide, perfect for making bigger quilts without having to worry about pieced backs! This quilt is 57″x76″, without having to piece the back! I quilted it on my regular domestic sewing machine, so I didn’t need a lot of extra on the sides for quilting – if you plan on taking this to a long-armer, you might need to stitch a strip of fabric to each side to attach to the longarm.

Making the quilt was pretty straightforward.

1. From each fabric, cut two strips, one 10×57.5″, one 15×57.5″

2. Stitch together three rows of cuddle cake squares, each 6 squares long.

3. Alternate the rows of fabric as follows:
10″ strip fabric A
cuddle cake squares
15″ strip fabric B
cuddle cake squares
15″ strip fabric A
cuddle cake squares
10″ strip fabric B

Then quilt and bind it! I used cuddle for both the backing and the binding. This was my first time both free-motion quilting on cuddle, and binding with cuddle… and I don’t know why I waited so long!

Quilting on cuddle was simple, and really forgiving. I spray basted the front and backing to my Fairfield batting. To secure it a little more before free motion quilting, I used my walking foot to stitch-in-the-ditch between the rows. Then I had fun quilting!

Quilted Shannon Cuddle

 

I free-motion quilted the squares in different ways, but added some walking-foot quilting on some of the rows, because I had no idea how I wanted to quilt this fabric… so I just went with simple!

quilted lines on shannon cuddle

 

Oh so snuggly!

Cuddled up with Cuddle