Birds on a Wire Quilt Block

This Birds on a wire Quilt Block is such a fun two-color quilt block to play with! It is fairly simple to make, and the construction is designed so that the wire is pieced last, which makes for a straight wire. No tiny piecing to make sure parts of the wire line up!

You can use whatever colors you like to make your Birds on a Wire quilt block – a blue sky with black or brown birds would look great. I used yellow and purple for some fun contrast. The idea is that these birds on a wire make a fun silhouette.

If you’d like to make a full quilt with birds on a wire, you can make changes to the block. Piece them in a different order, add more of one bird or another, and you’ll get a random assortment of birds on your wire.

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If you’d like more fun bird-themed quilt blocks, check out all these options:

Birds on a Wire by Carolina Moore
Signs of Spring by Inquiring Quilter
Cute Bird by Powered By Quilting
Flamboyance by Becca Fenstermaker
Migration by Patti’s Patchwork
Peacock Quilt Block by Appliques Quilts and More
Blue Bird by by Mom and Me Quilting Co.
Chubby Chicken Block by Kaye Collins
Hummingbird Quilt Block by Julia of Inflorescence
Flying in Formation by QuiltFabrication
Birds Circling by Nancy Myers
Lorikeets by Sue Griffiths
Fly Away Home by Scrapdash
Puffin Head by Penny Spool Quilts
Birds in the Air by Perkins Dry Goods
There is always one
Budgie on a Branch by Blue Bear Quilts

Quilt Coat from Orphan Blocks

I made a quilt coat from orphan blocks, and have gotten many questions about which pattern I used, the process I used for making it, and other construction details. I’m going to detail all my quilt coat making details here so that I can use them for reference if I want to make another Quilt Coat in the future, and so you can consider them in the making of a quilt coat of your own if you like!

Quilt Coat on the back of a chair in the hotel cafe.

Here is a quick 360 view of my finished quilt coat. It was made using “orphan blocks” which is a quilter term meaning “leftover quilt blocks from past projects.” I used Art Gallery Fabrics Denim in “oatmeal” (which is a linen blend) for the background – it has some body to it, but is still a great neutral to go with the bright pinks and teals. You can watch the 360 video of the quilt coat here.

What is the best pattern for a quilt coat?

There are lots of amazing patterns for coats and quilt coats out there. The best pattern will depend on what your goals are for your quilt coat. Here is a checklist of items to consider:

  • What shape coat suits your body type?
  • Do you want a coat that is oversized, or more fitted?
  • Are you comfortable adjusting a pattern not designed for quilted fabric?
  • Are you able to print the pattern at home, and tape the pieces together?
  • What features do you want your coat to have (pockets, hood, lapel, pleats, darts, etc)?

For my quilt coat, I knew that I wanted a coat with a large hood. I’m not an expert garment sewist, but I’m comfortable sewing clothing and knew I could make adjustments “on the fly” as needed. And I really didn’t want to have to print and tape pattern pieces together. Both my printers were acting up, and the last time I printed a pattern I had to re-print it because I didn’t print it properly to scale the first time.

I went to my local JoAnn and browsed through their pattern catalogs. I wrote down the pattern numbers for multiple different coat patterns that had hoods, and then went to the pattern drawers to see which they had in stock. I ended up going with Burda 7700. This is a pattern that was designed for a knit fabric rather than a woven fabric. The biggest differences between knit and woven when sewing is that you don’t need to worry about knit fabric fraying, and that knit fabric will stretch so is much more forgiving in garments than woven fabric. Because I was using quilted woven fabrics, I made the jacket 2 sizes larger than my normal fit, and I purchased bias tape to finish off all the seams inside the quilt coat.

Messy hair, arriving at the airport in my quilt coat.

What quilt blocks to use in a quilt coat?

I took the pattern home, cut out the pieces I needed, and then put them on the floor. I went through my box of orphan blocks and selected blocks that had a similar color story. I picked blocks that had pink/teal/aqua in them, which made the coat feel more cohesive while still being scrappy. I put the blocks on top of the cut pattern pieces to get a general idea of how the coat would look, and to see if I had enough blocks.

I knew I wanted a “statement” block on the back, and I had a large dresden-style block that was perfect for a statement piece on the back of the coat. I also had quite a few flying geese blocks. I decided these were perfect for the sleeves. A flying geese block looks like a chevron, which is a common motif on the sleeves of military uniforms. If you’ve read “The DaVinci Code” you know that the chevron makes both a “blade” and “chalice” shape, so I knew I’d piece the flying geese randomly to reflect both blade/chevron as well as chalice motifs on my sleeves.

The rest of the blocks were used for the front of the coat and the hood. You’ll see that in the finished coat design I put all the star blocks on one side of the hood, and pieced scrappy 1″ half-square-triangles to use on the other side of the hood with a different background fabric. This all still matches the color story of the coat, but adds to the scrappy flavor of the quilt coat.

Improv piecing a quilt coat

Once I had an idea of which blocks I wanted to use in which section, it was a matter of improv piecing the sections. I added background fabric to the quilt blocks, piecing the blocks and background fabric together until they were larger than the pattern piece for that section of the quilt coat. It is important to remember that quilting the fabric will shrink the finished size a bit – and more quilting can shrink it more significantly – so I wanted to make sure I gave myself at least an extra inch on all sides.

It is also important to remember that the front of the quilt coat has a right and left side – so one side was pieced to fit the pattern piece, then I flipped the pattern piece over to make the opposite side.

Quilting the Quilt Coat

After all the sections were pieced, I cut backing and batting pieces, basted them, and then quilted it all together. For the backing pieces, which would become the lining of the quilt coat, I used another Art Gallery Fabrics print. It had the same color story, and was just perfect. It was a directional print (with hearts), so I was careful to make sure that I paid attention to the direction of the print. I didn’t want any upside-down hearts on the inside of my quilt coat.

I used my Baby Lock Shashiko machine to do all the quilting. This gives a hand-quilted look on the outside of the quilt coat, without needing to take the time to hand quilt any of the pieces. I may add hand-accented quilting to the quilt coat at a later date as well. I followed some of the lines on the pieced blocks to determine my lines of stitching. But it wasn’t incredibly planned out – just lines of stitching to secure the layers together and add to the overall look.

After all the sections were quilted, I pinned the pattern pieces onto the quilted sections and cut them out. The pocket pieces were cut from leftover sections, I hadn’t planned those out.

Putting the Quilt Coat together

I read through the instructions twice before starting to piece the quilt coat. After sewing each seam, I trimmed down the seam, then stitched on the bias tape to finish the seam. I was a little frustrated with the seam that connected the hood to the coat. It is such a visible seam, and to have it covered with bias tape that would stick out wasn’t going to work for me. Instead of trying to hide it, which I didn’t have the skills to do, I decided to make it a feature.

I bought larger bias tape in a teal color (all the rest of the bias tape was pink). I trimmed down the seam allowance, then pressed it open. I then used school glue to carefully baste the bias tape over the seam allowance in a large, flat band. To secure it, I used the sashiko machine to make two rows of stitches on each side. This hid the seam while creating an accent stripe at the neckline – turning what would have been an ugly part of the coat into a fun bit of flair.

QuiltCon 2022 – yes, we all wore our masks.

Once all the pieces were put together, and the seams finished with bias tape (including the seams around the pockets), I cut bias binding from the same accent fabric I had used for the accent side of the hood, and I machine bound the coat. The final machine stitches were also done with the Sashiko machine, which kept that faux-hand-stitched-look throughout the garment.

The final thing that I added was securing the pockets to the inside of the coat. The pockets were designed to float freely in the coat, but by securing them to the inside of the coat along the bottom and sides (leaving the top open) I created inside pockets. Extra pockets are always a good thing, in my book!

Oh – and I washed my quilt coat. I’d used glue and basting spray in putting it together, and I wanted to wash out as much of it as possible before wearing it for the weekend. I also knew that washing and drying it would give it a more “worn” look, and that went right along with the scrappy, hand-quilted look I had going on with my quilt coat.

Final Quilt Coat Thoughts

That is how I put my quilt coat together. I absolutely loved making it, and while it wasn’t perfect, I’m thrilled with how it came out. I had originally planned to make it in a single weekend, but it took two weekends to make – even having all the quilt blocks made beforehand! I would love to make another quilt coat in the future, if I can find the time, and decide what kinds of quilt blocks I would want to use for the quilt coat. And while I loved the final shape this pattern gave the quilt coat, I would plan to use a different pattern for my next quilt coat, just to have a completely different look. It is a lot of work, so I’d want the next one to be just as unique as this one is, but in its own way.

Everything you want to know about Pre Cut Fabrics!

If you’re a quilter or have shopped for quilting fabrics, you’ve probably come across pre-cut fabrics. They are fabulous curated bundles of fabric that are so incredibly handy when quilting! Learn all about the most common pre-cut fabrics here.

Half yard bundles, Fat Quarters, 10″ squares, 5″ squares, and 2 1/2″ strips are the most commonly used pre-cut shapes. There are other shapes that some manufacturers cut (though they don’t generally cut these specialty shapes for all their lines). These include 1 1/2″ strips, 6″ hexagons, 2 1/2″ squares, and triangles. Not every fabric manufacturer cuts every shape for their fabric lines, so it can be handy to learn how to cut your own “pre-cut” fabrics. I show you how to cut the most common sizes in this video:

If you’d like to get my simple “cheat sheet” on standard pre-cut sizes, you can get the download link by subscribing to my newsletter here:

 
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In most fabric stores, you’ll find fabric sold as “yardage” off the bolt. You select your bolts of fabric, bring them to the counter, and have an employee cut off the amount of fabric you require. Many quilters have a preferred yardage amount for any fabric they are going to add to their fabric stash – usually somewhere between 1/2 yard and 3 yards, depending on the expected use of the fabric.

Fabric off the bolt measures at least 40″ from selvedge to selvedge. Different manufacturers have different WOF (Width of Fabric). A yard is 36″. Therefore, a yard of fabric off the bolt measures 36″ by at least 40″. And a half yard will measure 18 by at least 40″.

A fat quarter is a very common cut of fabric. A quarter yard is 9″ x at least 40″. A 9″ strip is not a very usable piece of fabric, because you can’t cut a 10″ or 12″ square from it, and you can only cut 8 5″ squares, leaving a large amount of scrap behind. That is why most quilters prefer a fat quarter. A fat quarter is a half yard of fabric that has been cut in half perpendicular to the width of fabric – generally on the fold in the middle. This results in a piece of fabric that is 18″ x 20″, and a much more usable cut of fabric. You can cut a 12″ square, two 10″ squares, or twelve 5″ squares from a fat quarter. It is called a “fat” quarter because it is wider than a quarter yard that is cut right off the bolt – therefore it is “fatter.” Some people mistakenly call a fat quarter a “flat quarter.” This is a fairly common mispronunciation. Likely because “fat” and “flat” sound so similar, but also because fat quarters are often folded into sixteenths, making a flat, square-ish piece of fabric.

Fat Quarters are often sold in curated bundles. Usually these bundles are all fabrics from the same manufacturer and the same line of fabric. But, some quilt shops curate their own custom Fat Quarter bundles. And many quilt shops sell individual fat quarters – a very cost-effective way for a quilter to add favorite fabrics to their collection.

10″ squares and 5″ squares are common pre-cuts. They generally are cut and packaged by the manufacturer, and include fabrics from a single line. 42 is a common number of fabrics in a 10″ or 5″ stack, but this is not an industry standard. Packs often have repeats of different fabrics, depending on the total number of fabrics in the line.

2 1/2″ strips are a very popular pre-cut. They are used in many pre-cut friendly quilts, and a single set of 2 1/2″ strips can be used to make a quick lap-sized quilt. These strips are 2 1/2″ wide, and the length is the entire length of the fabric. 2 1/2″ strips can also make great sashing, or binding for finished quilts.

Scrappy Placemat using Strips and Scrap Tape

Turn your scraps into a useful placemat with this quilt-as-you-go scrappy placemat! You can whip up this placemat in about an hour using the quilt-as-you-go method, and your scraps. And, you can use your scraps of batting as well! Placemats are so handy to have, and scrappy, quilted placemats like these are super fun. Make a whole stack to have handy, and just throw them in the washing machine when they get dirty. You’ll love seeing all your favorite quilting scraps in these scrappy placemats.

Scrappy Quilt as you go Placemat - Two placemats made of strips and scraps are on top of one another with a plate, knife, and fork on top. The Always Expect Moore Logo is in the bottom corner of the image.

You can make this table runner using just strips, but if you want to use your smaller scraps, you can convert them to strips using Scrap Tape. Scrap Tape is a new product that makes it so easy to turn small scraps into usable 2 1/2″ strips! The Scrap Tape is a water soluble interfacing that you can stitch your scraps to. It is sturdy enough to help control the bias in wonky scraps, and light enough to stitch through. When you’re done, you just wash it out with water! You can see how scrap tape works in this video here:

If you’d like to play with Scrap Tape, I sell it in my shop! You can get Scrap Tape here.

Once you’ve made your scrap tape and cut your strips, you can make your placemat. I have a free pattern download showing you how to make your scrappy placemat. Sign up for my newsletter below, and I’ll send the pattern link directly to your inbox:

 
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If you’d like to see what this Quilt-as-you-go technique looks like as you’re doing it, I made a quilt-as-you-go table runner. You can see how it goes together in this video:

I made this project as part of the Scrap Busting Blog Hop being hosted by my fabulous quilting friend Mel! Thanks mel for inviting me to join you on this scrappy journey! You can learn more about the scrap busting blog hop over at The Quilting Room with Mel, and check out her scrappy post from this week here.

And you can go check out last week’s scrappy projects, as well! I love this scrappy foundation paper pieced gnome that Marney made. I also love these scrappy numbers that Katie stitched up.

Spider Web Table Topper

If you’re looking for a fun and unique Halloween decor piece, look no further than this Spider Web Table Topper. While the lace-like technique used to put these pieces together is perfect for some spooky fun, it will work perfectly in seasonal decor of all kinds – just change out the thread color for a completely different look!

You can watch this short video below to see how it works. I’ve also included written instructions below to outline the steps.

Start by cutting 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ squares from Halloween fabrics. I used Spooky and Sweeter by Art Gallery Fabrics, and cut a total of 48 squares. You can cut more squares for a bigger table topper, and you can cut your squares bigger if you like. This project is completely customizable.

Pair up the squares, right-sides-together. Stitch around all 4 sides, leaving a 2″ gap on one side.

Clip the corners. Turn right side out. Use a turning tool to poke out the corners so that they are crisp.

Press flat. Top stitch all the way around the edge of the square, locking your stitches when you meet up with the beginning point.

Install the 5mm Bridging Plate onto your Baby Lock machine. It is as easy as removing the Bobbin Plate and replacing it with the Bridging Plate.

Thread your machine like you normally would. Select a decorative stitch (I chose 3-11) and set the width to 7mm so that it is wider than the 5mm Bridging Plate.

Switch to your N foot. Place one square on either side of the Bridging Plate, and carefully feed under the needle. Keep an eye on the spacing under the needle to make sure that it is catching both sides with each stitch.

Continue, making 8 rows of 3.

Stitch the rows together in the same manner to make the completed table topper. When you get to the gap, lift up your presser foot, advance the project forward under the presser foot, and then continue.

That’s it! The table topper looks upscale but it is easy enough for a beginner to make. The secret (as always) is having the right tools!

I stitched up this whole project on my Baby Lock Aria. If you’d like to learn more about the Baby Lock Aria or find a local dealer that carries the Baby Lock Aria, check out the Baby Lock website. You can also ask your dealer about getting bridging plates for your machine.

Tiger Tails Quilt

If you have always wanted to try a Dresden Plate block (or if you’ve made a bunch because you love them) then this quilt is for you! And if you’ve tried making Dresdens but they never turned out quite right then this is DOUBLY for you because the quilt uses half-dresdens which are more forgiving than full dresdens. Plus I have a video that shows you step-by-step how to make a dresden plate block using the Creative Grids 18 Degree Dresden Plate Ruler.

This post contains affiliate links.

If your local quilt shop doesn’t have this ruler, you can buy the Creative Grids 18 Degree Dresden Ruler at the Fat Quarter Shop, or you can get the ruler on Amazon. This ruler is so much fun because it makes a Dresden Plate block that has 20 points on it! That is a lot of points, and makes for such a fun block! Watch the video below to see how the Dresden Plate Quilt block is made:

If you’d like to get the Ruler of the Month Quilt pattern that I designed specifically to go with the 18 Degree Dresden Plate Ruler, you can click the button below to purchase it from my shop.

I just love how the Boscage fabrics by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics look in this quilt! The contrast is perfect, and I love that there is a leopard on a quilt called “Tiger Tails!” Being able to fussy-cut the prints for the centers of the Dresden blocks was so fun. And if you’re worried about the circles in this quilt – don’t be! There is no curved piecing at all, and I show you an easy way to make the applique circle centers in the video. So, be sure to watch it.

Drawstring Backpack

When we go from spring to summer, I want to ditch my everyday purse for a quick and simple option, like this drawstring backpack! You can whip one up with 3 half yard cuts of fabric and about 90 minutes. The perfect summer backpack to toss in your necessities all summer long!

This drawstring backpack is made using two purse clasps to hold the bottom of the straps in place. This makes it perfect for attaching to a fence or gate when you’re not wearing the backpack – great for keeping your things off of the ground. This summer backpack is a simple sewing project – you’ll find yourself making them for your family and friends as well!

The pattern is FREE to download – just join the mailing list here:

 

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And check out all these other fabulous summer sewing projects:

Ice Pop Holder from Chelsea at Sew Simple Home
Beach Towel Tote from Shelly at Coral + Co.
Cap-sleeve tee from Lisa at Cucicucicoo
Sunglasses Case from Heather at Heather Handmade
Bean Bag Game from Julie at Sum of their Stories
Bucket Hat from Anne at Orange Bettie
Summer Tote from Emily at Life Sew Savory

Sparkler Quilt

The Sparkler quilt pattern looks like an intense quilt to make, but is simple to make using the Starburst 30 Degree ruler by Creative Grids. Using two red prints and two blue prints in addition to a blue and white solid adds a lot of movement and interest to this quilt.

A small quilt that is perfect to use as a BBQ table topper or a simple picnic blanket, this will be your go-to quilt for summer festivities. And you’ll never tire of getting compliments on this quilt! Pick your favorite reds and blues to make a simple quilt that has a lot of style.

To make this quilt, you’ll need the Starburst 30 Degree ruler. (Affiliate Link) You can buy the Starburst 30 Degree Ruler here. This video shows you how easy it is to use:

Purchase the Sparkler quilt using the button below:

The Turned Up Quilt

Introducing the Turned Up quilt! This fun quilt is easy to make using the Perfect Rectangle Ruler by Creative Grids. What’s that you say? No rectangles in sight on this quilt? I know! But this ruler cuts those perfect half-rectangle-triangles to complete the Turned Up quilt.

The quilt is made using seven half-yard cuts of fabric and finishes at 45″ x 45″ – making a perfect baby quilt or focal wall hanging. Use a gradient of your two favorite colors to put together this quilt that has a whole lot of interest! You’ll also get to play with partial seams when making this quilt. A super simple technique that will make you feel like a quilting rock star when you say “I made a quilt with partial seams” to someone who has no idea what that is. Because partial seams are actually super, super easy.

To learn how to use the perfect rectangle ruler used to make this quilt, watch this video:

Use this affiliate link to purchase the Perfect Rectangle Ruler. If you’d like to purchase this quilt pattern, you can shop below:

This is such a fun quilt to stitch up as a baby quilt or wall hanging.

Learn to Foundation Paper Piece

If you’ve heard of Foundation Paper Piecing and want to know what the fuss is all about, or if you’ve never heard of Foundation Paper Piecing and now you’re curious, I can’t wait to tell you all about this really cool quilting technique! And, I created a free quilt block – the North Star Quilt Block – that you can download to practice your Foundation Paper Piecing skills. You can watch the video below where I show you how it all works.

North Star Quilt Block - Free Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern

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What is Foundation Paper Piecing?

Foundation Paper Piecing is a quilting technique. You print or draw a pattern onto paper, which becomes the foundation for your block. You then add fabric, using the lines on your paper as the guide. When you’re done, you remove the paper, and leave just the fabric and stitching.

When do you use Foundation Paper Piecing?

Foundation paper piecing can be used for many different kinds of blocks. Almost any pattern can be converted to foundation paper piecing – though some are better suited for it than others. Blocks that have points on them (such as an American Beauty Quilt Block) are often done with Foundation Paper Piecing. Also, quilt blocks with odd-shaped pieces are great for Foundation Paper piecing.

What is the difference between Foundation Piecing and English Paper Piecing?

Foundation Paper Piecing (also known as “paper piecing” or “foundation piecing”) is a much different technique than English Paper Piecing (also known as EPP). Foundation Piecing uses a pattern printed onto the back of lightweight papers, which are then stitched using a sewing machine. And it is great for irregular patchwork. EPP is hand sewing that is basted to heavy cardstock paper. Pieces are often very regular (hexagons and diamonds are the most common), although irregular shapes can be used with EPP.

What paper is best for Foundation Paper Piecing?

Foundation paper piecing can be done with regular copy paper, though it is not recommended. When foundation paper piecing, you reduce your stitch length to help perforate the paper more, and to provide more stability when you rip out the papers after finishing your piecing. Regular copy paper is more robust than what is preferred for paper piecing. There are several different types of papers specifically designed for foundation piecing. I like the Thermoweb Stitch n Sew papers. The June Tailor Perfect Piecing papers are very similar. The Carol Doak foundation papers are also very popular – they are a little harder to see through, but are the easiest to tear away when finished.

What supplies do I need for Foundation Paper Piecing?

For foundation piecing, the most important supply is the paper that you print the pattern on. You can see my recommendations above. All of these papers will print on your home printer. You’ll also need regular quilting supplies such as your sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat. I also recommend the add-a-quarter ruler, and a good quality iron.

How does Foundation Paper Piecing Work?

I filmed a video where I show you step-by-step how to foundation paper piece. Below you’ll find instructions to download the free North Star Quilt Block pattern. This is the pattern I show in the video.

To get your North Star Quilt Block pattern (both the 6″ and 12″ versions of the block), fill out the form below. I’ll send you a link to download the pattern. If you don’t see the email in your inbox within 5 minutes, please check your spam and junk folders. If you’re still having issues, you can email me at carolina@carolinamoore.com. I’m not on my email constantly, but when I see your message, I’ll make sure the pattern gets sent to you.

 

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I hope you enjoy learning how to foundation paper piece. This is a fabulous technique to have in your quilty toolbox. While foundation piecing isn’t the best approach for every quilt block, it is an essential skill for some of the more advanced quilt blocks.