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.

Harlequin Quilt

If you’re looking for a simple quilt pattern to use with novelty prints or large focal prints, then the Harlequin Quilt is perfect! It makes a nice long lap quilt, can be made in a day, and has large piecing that allows focal prints and novelty prints to really shine.

This post contains affiliate links. These provide a commission to this site at no extra cost to you.

The Harlequin Quilt uses the Folded Corner Clipper to make the stitch-and-flip corners a breeze! No need to draw lines on the back of every square, the Folded Corner Clipper by Creative Grids lets you trim up each corner to 1/4″, which essentially marks and trims the corner all at once! You can get the Folded Corner Clipper here in my shop. Or you can purchase the Folded Corner Clipper at the Fat Quarter Shop.

You can see how easy it is to use the Folded Corner Clipper to make Snowball blocks, Flying Geese, and Half-Square Triangles in this video:

Purchase the Harlequin Quilt pattern below:

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.

Scrappy Pumpkin Table Runner

When summer turns to fall, all the candles and pumpkins come out. If you’re ready to put out all the fall decor, add this Scrappy Pumpkin Table Runner to your fall decor this year! Fun to make using all of your harvest-toned scraps, this Scrappy Pumpkin Table Runner can be stitched up in a day. It is simple enough to quilt on your domestic machine, bind, and get on your table the same day you start!How to use the Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool

Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool

This Scrappy Pumpkin Table Runner is part of my Ruler of the Month series. Each month I pick a ruler, show you how to use it, and offer a free pattern so you can try out your new ruler skills! This month I’ve done something different. The ruler I chose is a ruler I have featured as the Ruler of the Month before – it is the Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool.

The Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool makes faux-curved blocks. You still do all straight cutting and piecing. But, because of the way that the pieces are stitched together, it makes a curved-looking design. A great way to make curved shapes without sewing any curved blocks. And, this is a fabulous way to use your favorite scraps to make a new project!

We’re using the 4″ Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool. If you don’t already own it, you can buy the Curvy Log Cabin Trim Tool in my shop – and I offer free shipping in the US on all orders!

If you’ve never seen the Creative Grids Curvy Log Cabin Ruler in action, you can watch this video to see how easy it is to make these “curvy” blocks that go together as easily as a Log Cabin block!

Scrappy Pumpkin Table Runner Pattern

This pattern is beginner-friendly. All the steps for making the pattern are broken down in this full-color pattern with lots of diagrams. If you prefer to read the text of a pattern, look at the images, or a combination of the two, you will enjoy the Scrappy Table Runner Pattern.

You can buy the scrappy pumpkin table runner pattern in my shop:

English Paper Piecing with Accuquilt

I’m so excited to share with you the newest Accuquilt Qube, which was designed specifically for English Paper Piecing. I got early access to these dies as I worked with Accuquilt to create patterns for the launch, and can’t wait to share all that I have been up to! If you’ve been around a while, you know that I love English Paper Piecing … so this project was an absolute joy for me to work on!

Throughout this post I’ll share links to products and projects. Most of these are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking one of these links I will get a small commission from the sale.

This EPP Qube is a set of dies designed for English Paper Piecing that are incredibly well thought out. The set includes 8 dies – four for cutting the papers, and four for cutting the the fabric. The four shapes are a triangle, diamond, half-hexagon, and (of course) a hexagon. All the pieces have 1″ finished sides (except for the half-hexagon which has a long side that is 2″), and all the fabric is cut with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Because all of the units have a 1″ finished size, they all fit together perfectly!

I did a full unboxing video to show you all about the Accuquilt GO! EPP Qube:

How the Accuquilt Works

If you’re not familiar with the Accuquilt system, it is designed for quilters to help us with cutting fabric quickly and accurately. Accuquilt has lots of different quilting shapes – from traditional shapes like squares and half square triangles, to applique shapes like hearts and umbrellas, to specialty shapes like the double wedding ring.

To use the dies, you need an Accuquilt GO! cutting machine. There are different sizes of the machine, to accommodate the different sizes of dies. You can use the smaller dies in the larger machines, but you can’t fit the larger dies in the smaller machines. The EPP Qubes are just 6 inches, so you can use any of the Accuquilt GO! machines with the EPP dies.

I have the Accuquilt GO! fabric cutter, but the Accuquilt GO! me is great for a beginner, and can be used with all of the 6″ dies that Accuquilt makes. In fact, Accuquilt put together a GO! me EPP Starter Set that includes everything you need!

To cut your pieces, layer your fabric on the die, place a cutting pad on top. This makes your “sandwich.” All you have to do then is run the die through the machine. The machine compresses the sandwich so that the blades in the die are exposed, and cut through the fabric. In the video below, I show you how easy it is to use. I also show you how to cut the English Paper Piecing papers, which you can cut out of cardstock, or using postcard promotional mailers that come in your mailbox.

Now you’ll want to save all of those promotional mailers that come in your inbox so you can use them for English Paper Piecing!

How to Sew English Paper Piecing

Once you’ve cut your pieces, you’ll need to baste your papers to your fabric, and then you sew them together. This video shows you how to baste and sew your English Paper Piecing shapes. I also go over how to baste the different shapes – not just the hexagons.

One of my favorite projects I made for this launch was the Butterfly Tote Bag. The butterfly uses all 4 shapes in the EPP Qube, and the tote is made using the 2 1/2″ strip die. The butterfly tote pattern is free on the Accuquilt website and is also included in the booklet that comes with the EPP Qube. All the fabrics used in this tote are Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids.

Another project I created for the launch was this zippered pouch pattern. Great for storing all of your little pieces, these pouches are fun to make. And all the dies used to make them will fit through your 6″ EPP Qube!

One of my favorite things about this set is how easy it is to cut up my scraps to use for English Paper Piecing! I wanted to create a design that was simple to piece into units that I can turn into a scrap quilt. That is how I came up with the Radiant Block. I wrote up a full pattern for this block that you can use to start making a planned scrappy quilt, which is available in my pattern shop. And if you just want to try your hand at EPP without investing in the Accuquilt GO! dies yet, I do include printable paper template pieces in the pattern.

I also stitched up a fun Halloween pillow. This Jack O’ Lantern has a great grin, and is perfect out of scrappy fabrics or your favorite orange print. The Hexie Halloween Pillow pattern was designed to use the Accuquilt GO! Qube, but includes printable templates as well. You can get the Halloween Hexie Pillow Pattern in my pattern shop.

English Paper Piecing Books

To go along with the launch of the new EPP Qube, Accuquilt launched a new EPP book! I share a peek into that book as well as my own English Paper Piecing book, and some of my other favorite books for EPP inspiration in this video.

Here are the affiliate links to the books in the video:
English Paper Piecing Made Easy
Learn How to English Paper Piece
All Points Patchwork Book
The New Hexagon
The New Hexagon 2 Book
The New Hexagon Calendar
Hexa Go Go

You can purchase your Accuquilt GO! EPP Qube on Accuquilt’s website.

Find Balance Quilt

I’m so excited to share with you my newest quilt – the Find Balance Quilt!

This quilt is super fun and modern. I can’t wait to free motion quilt all the fabulous negative space in the Finding Balance Quilt. It is made using traditional piecing, fussy-cutting of the bottom units, and the Creative Grids Square on Square 6″ Trim Tool for making the Square in a Square blocks. If you’ve never used this ruler, I have a video that shows you exactly how it works!

I encourage you to purchase your ruler and other quilting supplies at your local quilt shop. However, if you need to purchase online, here are affiliate links which give me a small commission when you make purchases by clicking these affiliate links. You can purchase the Square on Square 6″ Trim Tool at Fat Quarter shop or you can buy your Square on Square 6″ Trim Tool on Amazon.

I also show my Spot on Dot in the video. Fat Quarter Shop Sells the Spot on Dot here.

You can purchase the Find Balance Quilt here:

Cards from Fabric Scraps

Squaring up blocks is a necessary evil, when it comes to quilting. It is absolutely necessary to get points to line up and quilt tops to lie flat. But it is tedious and boring. And I’ll never love it. Though it is satisfying to see a pile of trimmings get larger on the side of my cutting mat.

Recently, I had a very pretty set of trimmings, and decided I needed to make something out of them. That same week, I dug through my stash of cards to discover I didn’t have any nice cards to send out. I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and make some pretty cards with my scraps!

Making these cards is super simple. You need blank cards, your scraps, a glue stick (regular school glue stick is fine but you can use a fancy sewing glue stick), and your sewing machine.

Swipe a line of glue across the front of the card. Then start placing your tiny strips. Don’t worry about the length, that will all get trimmed down later.

Place strips all the way across.

Before you stitch across, make your stitch length longer. We just need to tack the strips down, we don’t need to perforate the paper.

Stitch all the way across. You can have straight lines, angled lines, curved lines, whatever you like. This is a great opportunity to use up old bobbin thread and spools that are almost empty.

Stitch multiple times for more interest and texture. I went with five times.

Trim off the ends. Different lengths adds more interest.

That’s it! Make a whole stack so that you have fun cards handy when you want to send a little note to someone.

Oh, and you can see that I made a second type as well. Same basic process, just overlapping some extra fabric squares and stitching over them. You can do all different kinds of fun designs, depending on what your scraps look like.

Make sure to pin this project to make later!

Cards from fabric scraps

Introducing the Spot on Dot

Several months ago, I had an idea. Why can’t we magnify right on our quilting rulers? I don’t know about you, but my eyesight certainly hasn’t gotten any better the older I’ve gotten, and my eye doctor say I should expect it to continue to get worse.

Since more accurate cuts lead to more precise piecing and perfect points, I wanted to find a way to get the most accurate cuts possible. Which is how the Spot on Dot was born!

Watch the video here to get all the details on how the Spot on Dot makes accurate cutting so much easier!

I’m so excited to be able to share this product with you! It is currently available for order by retailers – so let your local quilt shop know they need to put in their orders for the Spot on Dot! We’re expecting it will be on your store’s shelves by February 1st of 2020.

The Spot on Dot comes with its own case, and the adhesive rings are easy to clean with mild soap and water. A gentle cleaning will remove any lint that has built up on the adhesive, and your Spot on Dot will start sticking like it was new again!

You’re going to wonder how you managed quilting without your Spot on Dot!