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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BB8 Pouf

Is your family Star Wars Crazy? With a house full of boys, you can bet mine is! My 3 and 7 year old boys love Star Wars. And the adorable Droids in it. R2D2, Chopper, and BB8 are their favorite! So, when Fairfield offered to send me a foam Pouf to design with, I knew what I would make with it! It HAD to become a BB8 Pouf!!

DIY BB8 Pouf

Adorable, right? And really simple to make – I whipped this out in an evening – from sewing the cover to painting it. When my kiddos woke up in the morning, this BB8 was waiting for them!

You’ll need:
Fairfield 6″ tall foam Pouf (leave the plastic packaging on)
Pencil
Fabric – I used 1.5 yards of Robert Kaufman Outback Canvas
24″ white zipper
DecoArt Multisurface paint in Dolphin and Orange Sherbet
Paintbrush
Sewing Machine and thread

If you read that supply list and the word “zipper” scared you, don’t be afraid! Zippers are not hard, and I’m going to show you a very basic way to insert the zipper that doesn’t take crazy sewing skills. Also, you’ll be glad you have the zipper because white fabric in a boys’ room is going to need to be washed fairly often!

Start by cutting your fabric. Trace the pouf onto a double layer of the fabric with a pencil.

Then cut two strips of fabric – one 4″ and one 6.5″, both the entire Width of the Fabric.

cut strips

Cut the 4″ strip in half. Lay one on top of the zipper, and with your zipper foot on, stitch all the way down the zipper. If the zipper pull gets in the way, stop with your needle down, move the zipper pull, then keep stitching.

stitch on zipper

Flip the fabric over to expose the zipper, then top-stitch down to secure.

top stitch zipper

Repeat with the other side, then trim the fabric to the length of the usable portion of the zipper, plus 1/4″ on each side for seam allowance.

Trim the width to 6.5″

trim up

Stitch the two strips together on the short ends, to make one long strip.

attach side to zipper

Pin the side to one of the circles, then stitch on using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

attach sides to bottom

Stop stitching about 2″ from the end. Match up the two ends, trim, and stitch closed.

stitch closed side

Lay the top circle on the bottom, and draw registration points to line up.

draw points for matching

Use these registration points as guides to pin the circle to the edge of the side. This will prevent puckers.

pin top to sides

OPEN THE ZIPPER. Don’t forget to do this!! You’ll want to open the zipper partway before you continue, so you can turn it right side out in the next step. Then, stitch all the way around the circle.

Turn the cover right-side-out, and insert the Pouf with the plastic packaging still on.

insert foam pouf

Using a dinner plate, draw circles onto your pouf lightly, with a pencil.

draw circles

Paint them in. I looked up images of BB8, then free-handed the design based on what I saw, but you can use a ruler and pencil to sketch in your designs before painting.

paint circles

Allow the paint to dry. After it is completely dry, you can pull out the pouf, remove the plastic, and re-insert it. You’ll see that the plastic protected the foam from any paint that seeped through the fabric.

colors of paint

Your kids (of any age) will be so excited!

stitched-pouf-cover-painted

finished-pouf

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

Pin Cushion Dish

I grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books. I’m so excited that Andover has come out with a line of fabric celebrating this fun series of books. They sent me some of their fabric to play with, so I made this fun Pin Cushion Dish. The dish is nice and deep so that not only can you hold pins and needles in the pin cushion, but the dish will also keep scissors, thimbles, and more corralled.

make this simple English Paper Pieced pincushion dish to hold your sewing notions

You’ll need:
Ramekin (these were 2 for $3 at Target)
LHOTP Fabric (at least 4 designs)
1.5″ Dritz English Paper Piecing Shapes
Fabric glue stick
Needle & Thread
Sewing Machine
Crushed Walnut Shells
Polyfil

supplies for pin cushion

Cut your fabrics with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

cut fabric

Baste the fabric onto the hexagons. I like to glue baste.

glue baste edges

Stitch the hexagons together.

stitch hexagons together

You’ll want to make a flower shape with 7 hexagons.

finished flower

Press well, front and back.

press-back

press-the-hexies

Remove the papers.

peel out papers

Press again, so seams are flat. Place onto a background fabric, and topstitch the two layers together. This is like quilting, but with no batting between the layers.

place-on-backing-fabricstitch-to-quilt

Draw a circle, and trim.

draw-circle

cut-into-circle

Trace the ramekin on spare fabric, and cut.

trace-ramekin

Pin the two together. ease the excess seam evenly all around.

pin-in-sections

pinned-pieces

Stitch down, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

cut-hole-in-bottom

Fill with crushed walnut shells. Then add a little bit of Polyfil to vover the hole.This helps to have less walnut shells fall out.

stuff-with-polyfil

Stitch the hole closed, then tuck into the ramekin.

LHOTP-pin-cushion

Your pin cushion is complete!

finished-pin-cushion-dish

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

 

Laura Kelly Mini Quilt

As a quilter, I love giving quilts as gifts. It gives me a great excuse to make something lovely, and I get to share it with someone special. Earlier this year, I went to the Snap conference. It is held in Utah, and is a conference for creative online folks – mostly bloggers, but there are some vloggers, designers, and other creatives in the mix as well. This was my third year attending. Last year, I participated in their secret sister program. Kind of like a 3-day-long secret santa. It was awesome! The secret sister who had been given my name was the amazing, talented, and oh-so-generous Laura Kelly. She is such a sweet and lovely person, and gifted the most perfect little gifts each day of the conference. Since that time, I’ve gotten to know her even better, and am lucky enough to count her among my friends.

This year, I wanted to give her a little “thank you” for being such an amazing secret sister last year, and for being such a great friend. So, I made her a little quilt. A very special little quilt. Laura Kelly is an artist and designer, you may be familiar with her “Me and my Peeps” lines. I saw the cutest photo on Instagram, and decided to re-create it. I was about halfway through making the quilt, when she re-posted the old photo. Clearly, our minds were in synch… it was awesome.

Laura Kelly Quilt

The quilt is a super-simplified version of the image, but I tried to keep it very much her style… or, well, my interpretation of her style. I used black thread throughout, including quilting a “frame” around the outside. But on the background I used a variegated yellow thread, and a loopy stipple… but not every loop was a normal loop. Some were hearts. Some were stars… and some were letters! I took the words from her original image, and quilted them into the background. Along with her word of the year (grace), and my word of the year (thrive). Just a fun little Easter Egg for anyone who bothers looking closely at the quilting.

Laura Kelly Quilt Back

On the quilt label, I added the original inspiration image.

Though this quilt isn’t really my “style”, I absolutely love it, and it was rough giving it up. Really rough. If Laura weren’t such a super sweet person… it probably would have stayed here with me!

 

When a Butterfly flaps its wings…

I shared the back of this mini quilt on Instagram several months ago, and wanted to share the whole thing with you here, along with the story behind it.

back of butterfly quilt

Shortly after moving here, I checked out a couple of my local quilt shops. I got on the e-mail list for one, and opened their e-mails every time they came in. I was busy getting the house unpacked, and really wanted to find a place to fit in here in my new community. And one of the most welcoming sub-communities is quilters.

In their e-mails, the shop announced a contest. Make a small quilt featuring a butterfly, either one of the suggested designs, or any butterfly, and bring it in. The project was to be no smaller than 6×6 and no larger than 12×12. I thought about making one, but wasn’t sure if I would have time.

The night before the project was due, I decided I needed to create some “me” time. I needed to MAKE something! This project called out to me. I downloaded the butterfly file, cut it out on my Silhouette, and used it as a reverse applique on a 11×12″ block. Then I quilted. And quilted. And quilted.

Mini Butterfly quilt

My free-motion quilting felt really rusty. Ugh. But it felt great to be quilting again! It made me happy to create! I stayed up until almost 4am quilting. And it was exhausting in all the best ways.

close up of butterfly quilt

I brought the mini to the shop the next day. No makeup, hair unwashed and in a mom bun. I was going to drop off the quilt then go home to take a nap.

It turned out that the owner was in. I’d been wanting to meet her to chat about teaching at the shop, but she hadn’t been in the other times I’d stopped by. Of course, on those occasions, my hair was done and I’d paid some attention to my outfit. Despite not looking my best, I got to meet her, chat with her, and discuss the possibility of teaching at the shop.

I’ve chatted with her since, and am scheduled to start teaching. And one of the things that I’ll be teaching is how I made this fun butterfly! I’ll show how to use the Silhouette to cut it out, how I fused it together, and how to get it quilted up! I have some ideas for additional class samples… and can’t wait to get quilting on them!

In case you were wondering, I did win the contest… but only by default. There were no other entries. Which speaks to the power of showing up. I felt rusty, and didn’t feel this was my best work… but I turned it in regardless… and ended up winning both a prize, and a teaching gig!