home decor, how to, mini quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

Classic Little Quilted Star Ornaments

Christmas is almost here but there’s still time to make these pretty ornaments! Whether you’re looking for last minute gifts or decor, they’re quick, fun and easy.

Last month I posted a tutorial on little quilted star ornaments I made using metallic fabrics.

After seeing these, my daughter wanted a few in traditional Christmas colors, red and white. I made her three using a rich red for the star in Moda’s Rustic Weave and a pure white background with wintry swirls from a Bee Sturgis Quilting Treasures holiday collection.

And I just love the contrast.

She wanted them quilted all the same, with straight line quilting in each corner section.

She also chose Kona Cotton White for the binding which really made the red stars pop.

Either traditional colors or modern, I think these ornaments are a great holiday addition.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas, home decor, mini quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

Little Quilted Star Ornament Tutorial

Lately I’ve been going through my fabric trying to find a good use for leftovers. So far I’ve made my colorful, controlled scrappy Five Squared Quilt and my Four Patch Charm quilt, made with a ray of lovely golden yellows.

Even with those two completed, I still have fabric left from other projects. Three years ago I made my son a tree skirt for Christmas using a mix of beautiful metallic fabrics by Marcus Brothers, RJR and Andover Fabrics. And…

while scrolling through Pinterest I found a great idea for using smaller scraps, little quilted star ornaments. Right away I knew these metallics would be a perfect choice for this project.

Since I only saw a photo and the dimensions weren’t given, I experimented until I had made one small enough without using exceptionally tiny pieces. I also decided to make a tutorial because other quilters may be looking for a fun way to use up little scraps, and just in time for the holidays. So here it is…

Materials needed to make one 4 ½” x 4 ½” star ornament:

For Star: Gold fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14 ½” strip
Subcut (1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square and (8) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares


For Star: White fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14″ strip
Subcut (4) 1 ¾” x 2 ½” rectangles and (4) 1 ¾” x 1 ¾” squares


For Backing: Gold fabric – (1) 5 ½” x 5 ½” square


For Interfacing: Pellon Fusible Fleece – (1) 4 ½” x 4 ½” square


For ¾” Bias tape binding: Gold fabric – (1) 1 ¼” x 20″ strip (approximate)


For Hanger: White ribbon – (1) 7″ piece (or material of your choice)


Once the fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the back of all the gold 1 ½” squares. As though making a flying geese unit, sew two 1 ½” x 1 ½” gold squares to the top corners of a 1 ¾” x 2 ½” white rectangle, attaching them to the 2 ½” side. Make 4.

Next, lay out squares and sewn units with the 2 ½” sides facing toward the center, as shown below. Sew together to make rows. Press the top and bottom row seams toward the outer squares. Press the middle row seam toward the center square.

Sew the rows together to complete the star; seams will nest. Press seams open. Trim block to 4 ½” x 4 ½” square making sure to leave a ¼” all the way around.

Trim any threads off the back to prevent them from showing through to the front. This is always a good rule to follow. 🙂 Next, adhering the interfacing. I used 987F Pellon fusible fleece because of the low loft, yet there’s enough to give some depth when quilted.

I always put a scrap piece of fabric over my projects to prevent any adhesive from getting on my iron.

Once the fusible fleece is adhered, sandwich the star unit to the backing. The backing square will be a bit bigger to allow for shifting when quilting.

With a hera marker, I marked the first two lines to be quilted then I used straight pins to hold the pieces together. After the first lines were finished, I removed the pins.

I chose a different quilting pattern for each one. I really like how they turned out!

Once your blocks are quilted, it’s time for binding. Since the ornaments are small, and to reduce bulk, I made bias tape using a ¾” bias tape maker. (If you don’t have one, they can be purchased at most sewing stores inexpensively or you can buy bias tape already made). You’ll need enough to go around all four sides including a few inches extra.

Once made, press the bias tape in half lengthwise before sewing it on; that’ll help to keep it even on each side. I sewed mine on by hand (each side, one at a time) which was easier than trying to line everything up and sew through all the layers at once.

One the binding is attached, the last thing to do is add a hanger. There are a lot of options here…you can use jute, ribbon, cording—whatever you like. I used a lovely white ribbon I had on hand. I looped it and tacked the ends together before stitching it on.

1/4″ double face satin ribbon

And done! Easy to make and fun, too, plus I think they’ll make great gifts!

Enjoy your holiday sewing!

how to, quilt binding, quilting, Quilting 101, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Machine Bind Your Quilt

You’ve finished your quilt and it’s time to add the binding. If you’re new to quilting or just want to try a different way to machine bind, I’ve got you covered. This tutorial will take you through the whole process, step-by-step.

Since I tend to make several quilts a year, I’m left with the decision whether to bind them by hand or by machine. Typically, I base my decision on how the quilt is going to get used. For example, if I’m making a baby quilt and I know it’s going to get laundered a lot, I’ll machine bind it. If I’m making a quilt that’s not going to get used much, such as a holiday quilt, I’ll sew my binding on by hand. I do enjoy taking the time for hand sewing and I love a hand-stitched look.

But, if hand sewing’s not for you or you simply don’t have the time, this tutorial will show you what you need to know. I should mention that this is only one way to machine bind; there are other methods available.

The first step is to attach the binding to the front of the quilt once it’s trimmed. To begin, place the binding on the quilt top aligning the raw edges. Mark where you will begin sewing, leaving an 8-10″ tail.

I usually start at the center of the bottom edge. It doesn’t really matter what edge you begin with, but make sure you start near the middle to allow yourself enough room to work when finishing off the binding. TIP: Don’t start in a corner. 🙂

Since a 1/4″ seam allowance is required, I like to use my 1/4″ foot because of its consistency and accuracy. If you use a 1/4″ foot, make sure to set your needle to the correct seam allowance before starting. Other options are to use your favorite foot and follow a guide; it’s up to you.

Once you’re set up, begin sewing by taking a few stitches then backstitch to secure the binding in place.

Continue sewing until you reach approximately 1/4″ from the side’s end. Stop. Leaving your needle down, lift your foot and pivot the quilt corner so you can sew on an angle toward the point. Sew to the point, stop and cut the thread.

Next, fold a tuck in the binding, lining up the top edge flush with the quilt edge, also aligning the side.

Begin sewing at the tucked end and continue along the entire side. Stop 1/4″ away from the side’s end, as above, repeating the same process each time you get to a corner.

By doing this, you’ll have nicely mitered edges when your binding is finished. 🙂

When all three sides are complete and you are nearing the beginning tail, stop sewing about 8-10″ from the end. Cut the threads and take your quilt out of your machine. Place the beginning/ending area of the binding on a flat surface.

Stretch out the beginning tail, overlapping the end tail on top. This is where you’ll finish off the binding by joining the beginning and end.

It’s time to do some measuring. From the end of the beginning tail, measure 2 ½” onto the end tail. Mark a line. The rule of thumb is to measure the overlap as wide as your binding. For example, my binding is 2 ½” wide so I marked at 2 ½” on the end binding strip. If you made your binding 2 ¼” wide, then mark at 2 ¼”. It will look like this…

Cut on the marked line.

The next step is to sew the two ends together using the same method as making binding. First, flatten out both ends. Place the left hand end over the right hand end, forming a cross. Leave about 1/8″ overhang at each end.

On the top binding strip, draw a diagonal line from the TOP RIGHT corner to the LOWER LEFT corner, as shown below. Pin. Sew on the line.

Next, trim 1/4″ away from line and press the seam open (finger pressing works fine).

Flatten out the binding and it should fit perfectly!

To finish, start sewing where you left off and continue until you meet the beginning stitches. Congratulations, your binding is now attached!

To keep everything neat, trim the threads around the entire quilt. Once they’re trimmed, fold the binding over to the back and clip in place.

The last step is to sew down the binding…but before doing so I always run a single-thread basting stitch, removing the clips as I go.

Sure, it’s an extra step but I find it’s much easier to have the binding secured in place rather than trying to sew it down while removing clips. You can choose to skip this step, but it does give a nice, even finish that’s well worth the extra time. 🙂 TIP: Use inexpensive thread as it’s going to get discarded.

Once the binding is basted, it’s time to sew it down by machine. I use my ditch quilting foot, also known as a Stitch-in-the-Ditch foot, because I get accurate results and it works great!

Before sewing, you’ll have to decide on thread color first. This can be tricky; if the binding is a different color than the border, you have to chose thread to match either the border or the binding. Since the stitches will be seen on the front, I don’t want them the same color as the binding and vise versa. So, as unconventional as it may seem, I’ll use two different thread colors. Odd, right? But it does solve the problem! I’ll use one thread to match the border and the other (my bobbin) to match the binding. Once the thread’s decided, it’s time to sew.

Starting at the bottom (where you initially began), line up your guide with the binding seam or the ditch. The needle will be about a needle’s width away allowing the stitches to catch the binding on the back nice and close to the edge.

Sew all the way around until you come back to the beginning. And you’re done! Don’t forget to remove your basting stitches.

front of quilt binding
back of quilt binding

It looks great, doesn’t it? Now that all the work is done it’s time to enjoy your quilt!

quilt blocks, quilting, Quilting 101, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Sew Accurate Flying Geese

There’s no doubt flying geese are essential to quilting and they’re fun to experiment with. They give quilts an interesting perspective and can be addicting to make once you get started.

If you’re new to quilting or having trouble with your flying geese blocks, here’s an easy tutorial on how to sew an accurate flying geese unit that won’t need squaring up.

To get started, cut fabric to the required sizes. You’ll need a rectangular piece for the background and two squares for the sides. The flying geese I made in this tutorial are based on the measurements below.

Once your fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of both side squares. Place a marked square on the right hand side of the rectangle, as illustrated, lining up the outside edges. Pin together.

NOTE: You can choose to sew the first square on either the left or right hand side, there will be no difference in the outcome.

The next step is sewing the pinned pieces together. But before sewing, be sure to follow this important tip…instead of sewing directly on the drawn line, sew just along side of it.

And here’s why. By having sewn along side of the drawn line, it frees up about a thread’s width of space so when you press the fabric to the corner, the new piece will line up accurately. That small width might seem minor, but it can make all the difference in your finished unit.

Here’s how to set your foot and needle before sewing…

And this is what it looks like sewn just to the right of the line…

A rule of thumb to follow is to sew to the right of the drawn line for the right hand side of the flying geese unit and sew to the left of the line on the left hand side of the unit.

Once you’ve finished sewing, cut ¼” away from the sewn line. Press the square to the corner.

Your results will be a nicely aligned corner. 🙂

To finish your flying geese, repeat the same steps for the opposite side. Place the fabric with the drawn line as shown. Pin.

Sew just along side of the line.

Cut away the corner and press.

And done! A finished flying geese with no trimming required. 🙂

Simple, right?

I made my blocks for a Swoon quilt I have in the works. If you’re making several for a project, they can be chain pieced, one side at a time. It’s a great time-saver.

Now that you’ve added the traditional flying geese block to your quilting repertoire it’s time to experiment and have some fun!

quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make Half Square Triangles

Ahh, half square triangles…I couldn’t imagine the quilting world with out them. I think it would be a safe bet to say that the majority of quilt patterns include half square triangles. And I think most quilters would agree that we love of their versatility.

Learning how to make half square triangles (HSTs) with accurate results can make all the difference in your quilt. I remember my first quilt included HSTs, and I also remember that I had no idea what I was in for when it came time to make them! I didn’t know anything about trimming and the importance of accuracy which made putting the quilt top together a bigger challenge than I expected.

Half square triangles using Fig Tree & Co. and Kona Cotton fabrics

If you’re a new quilter, I have an tutorial on how to make half square triangles with ease. It’s a basic method where you make two at a time and bias edges are avoided. By using this method you’ll find there’s very little waste but it allows enough fabric for trimming, and it’s perfect for chain piecing.

For future reference, I’ve included a sizing chart that provides both the size of the cut of fabric needed and the size of the finished/trimmed HST. It’s really a great resource, I use it all the time. Click to download my Half Square Triangle Chart PDF.

To make Half Square Triangles (HSTs) – 2 at a time

To get started, cut (2) contrasting color fabrics to desired size. The lighter colored fabric will be referred to ‘A square’ and the darker fabric will be referred to as ‘B square.’

  • Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of A square
  • Place A square on B square, right sides together
  • Sew ¼” from the drawn line on both sides
  • Cut on the drawn line, press to B square
  • Trim HSTs to finished size
  • One sewn unit makes 2 HSTs

I made these HSTs for a pillow project using this method.

You can see that very little was trimmed away, but it does make a lot of difference when you piece your project together. I like to use a Bloc-Loc ruler for trimming my squares. Not only does it give great accuracy, it makes the trimming process go much faster than using a regular quilter’s ruler.

If you give this tutorial a try, I hope your triangles are stellar. 🙂 Let’s go have some fun creating!

Note: I am not endorsed by any products I have mentioned or photographed in this post; they are just items I like, use and wanted to share information on.

fall decor, halloween, mini quilts, quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Pumpkin & Stars Mini Quilt Tutorial

It’s not too late to make a Halloween themed project! This one came to be because I wanted to combine a cute pumpkin with colorful friendship stars (making it the third project this year where I’ve incorporated these stars)…anyway, my latest mini quilt, Pumpkin & Stars, goes together relatively quick and will definitely show off your festive spirit! The pumpkin in this project is pretty basic, made with scrappy strips; I’m sure you’ve seen it used in several other projects. For mine, all I did was make the easy strippy pumpkin and add stars all the way around, in the traditional black and orange Halloween colors.

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After finishing, I thought another variation could be to give it a general autumnal look, leaning away from Halloween by replacing the black with gold, green, tan or taupe…any fall-like colors would work well. It also finishes to a toss pillow size.

This was a really fun project, I recommend it! If you’d like to give it a try, here’s what to do:

PUMPKIN & STARS MINI QUILT

MATERIALS
Variety of 2″ strips of orange and black fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square of brown fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle of green fabric
(1) Fat quarter for background
(1) Fat quarter for backing
(1) Fat quarter for binding
20″ x 20″ quilt batting

GENERAL GUIDELINES
RST = Right Sides Together
HST = Half Square Triangle
WOF = Width Of Fabric
Use ¼” seam allowance throughout.
Press seams open unless otherwise indicated.

To make PUMPKIN:
Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” brown square
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ green rectangle
(6) 1 ½” x 5 ½” orange strips

Cut background fabric:
(6) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle
(2) 1 ½” x 6 ½” rectangles
(2) 1 ½” x 8 ½” rectangles

RST, sew (6) orange strips together lengthwise. Press.

Place (1) background square on each corner of the strip unit. Sew on diagonal line. Trim ¼” from sewn line. Press toward corner. Finished unit illustrated below.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 8.56.35 PM.png

RST, place (2) background squares on the green strip so that the diagonal lines start on the lower left and end on the upper right. Sew on diagonal lines. Trim ¼” from sewn lines. Press toward corners. Finished unit illustrated below.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 7.57.46 PM

To make STEM/LEAF UNIT:

Place the 1 ½” x 3″ background strip on the left, the brown square in the middle and the green leaf unit on the right. Sew the background strip onto the left edge of the brown square and the leaf unit onto the right edge. Press.

Sew the stem/leaf unit to the top of the pumpkin strip set. Press.

Your finished pumpkin block will look like this:

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 9.16.06 PM

To attach BORDERS:
Sew (1) 1 ½” x 6 ½” background strip to each edge of the pumpkin block. Press toward the border strips.

Sew (1) 1 ½” x 8 ½” background strip to the top and bottom edge of the pumpkin block. Press.

Unfinished size: 8 ½” x 8 ½”

To make FRIENDSHIP STAR:

Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

Cut background fabric:
(4) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

To make HSTs:
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of (2) background 2″ x 2″ squares. Place a marked square on a 2″ x 2″ print square. Sew ¼” from the drawn line on both sides. Cut on the drawn line, press open. Trim HSTs to 1 ½” square. One sewn unit makes 2 HSTs.

Place 1 ½” HSTs and 1 ½” background squares in order as shown below. Sew into rows. Press. Sew rows together, as illustrated.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 7.54.00 PM

Make (4) orange friendship stars and (4) black friendship stars.

Unfinished block size: 3 ½” x 3 ½”

To make the SIDES:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to the top and bottom edge of a black friendship star, as illustrated below. Make 2.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 10.20.08 PM

To attach SIDES:
Fold the pumpkin unit in half lengthwise and place a mark in the center along both edges. Repeat for both friendship star side unit inside edges. Match up a pumpkin center/side unit mark and pin on a side unit, RST. Sew. Press sides toward the pumpkin unit border. Repeat for opposite side. Trim if necessary.

To make TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares**

**NOTE: The background fabric cut at 3″ in width may vary due to differences in ¼” seam allowances. For example, mine needed to be a bit less than 3″ wide—more like 2 ⅞”—as my seam allowances always measure slightly larger than ¼”. You may have to adjust accordingly.

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to each side edge of (1) black friendship star. Sew (1) orange friendship star to each edge of the black friendship star/background square unit. Make 2.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 10.40.18 PM

To attach TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:

Use the same method as ‘To attach SIDES’ above.

To make BINDING:
Cut (4) 2 ½” x WOF from fat quarter. Sew strips end-to-end, press in half. Attach binding using preferred method.

Lastly, sandwich backing sized 20″ x 20″, batting and quilt top, baste. Quilt as desired.

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Finished size: 14 ½” x 14 ½”, although mine measured 14 ¼” square!

I quilted mine with fun, wavy lines using Aurifil thread 2000, and I love it.

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I always make my mini quilts with sewn in corners on the back so I can hang them on my sewing room door, but I think this one would look great on a table, too. And I definitely will be quilting those wavy lines on an upcoming quilt…

I hope you enjoy making this project and Happy Halloween!

quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Quilting on a Whim (A Granny Square Quilt)

I admit, this is the first time I’ve ever made a quilt on impulse. It happened while scrolling Instagram and granny square posts kept showing up from the Moda Bake Shop. Almost instantly it clicked—I knew I wanted to make a granny square quilt and I had the perfect fabric for it. And since I recently finished a rather challenging and labor intensive queen size quilt, I needed something easy!

A while back I ordered a fat quarter bundle of Moda’s Chestnut Street for a fall quilt. While I cut what was needed for the pattern, I never made the quilt because I couldn’t decide on a background fabric. Since I had plenty of Chestnut Street left over, along with additional fabrics from other Fig Tree collections, I knew I had enough fabric and variety (plus I added two Dear Stella Mini Dots). I’d also been intent on stashing down, so it was definitely a go! I stopped what I was working on and started pulling fabric. And let me tell you, it was FUN. 🙂

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There were so many things about making this quilt that made it fun…for example, I had no plan, it was literally on a whim. I randomly mixed and matched fabric, whatever I felt went together got put together. I was using what I had, and of all cuts – an older charm pack, scraps, fat quarters, yardage…including the background fabric, Kona Cotton Snow. I truly enjoyed the entire process.

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Once I finished 28 squares, I figured it was time for a plan. I decided on a throw quilt with six blocks per row, seven rows (42 squares total), 2″ sashing and a background border.

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Because it came out so lovely, I had it professionally quilted with the digital pattern Daisy Delight.

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I did have to purchase binding fabric, luckily I found what I wanted from the Chestnut Street line. I also had to purchase the backing. Since the quilt has a lot of orange in it, I wanted to incorporate it onto the back as well. I decided on Tule Quietude in Sunset by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. I loved how this print blended nicely with the colors on the front.

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My Granny Square quilt finished at 64 ½” x 74 ½”. And I just love it!

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I mentioned that the granny squares popped up on IG from the Moda Bake Shop, so I visited their site for block instructions. Because I wanted to use scraps that I had already cut into 2 ½” squares, I had to do some recalculating for a more petite block. Also, this size block is great because it can be easily made with precuts, including 2 ½” strips, 5″ squares and 10″ squares.

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Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a granny square block with the dimensions I used. My blocks finished at roughly 8 3/8″ square.

FROM COLOR/PRINT FABRIC, CUT:

(1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square (center square)

(4) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (inner squares)

(8) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (outer squares)

FROM BACKGROUND FABRIC, CUT:

(2) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares

*subcut diagonal once

(2) 4 ¼” x 4 ¼” squares

*subcut diagonal twice

Lay out fabric as illustrated below:

IMGP8576.jpg

Sew pieces together into rows using ¼” seam allowance. I recommend pinning! Be sure to trim away dog ears. Pressed rows will look like this:

IMGP8577.jpg

Because sewn pieces are relatively small, I pressed all my seams open to reduce bulk. It definitely helps the blocks to lay nice and flat.

Next, turn the block sideways, as shown. Place the remaining triangle pieces in the four corners. Sew and press.

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The final step, trimming your block (and the remaining dog ears). Line up your ruler with the ¼” mark placed at the corners of the outer squares, as shown. Trim.

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Give your block one last press and you have a beautiful granny square!

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I know it’s common for quilters to finish a quilt and say it’s their new favorite, but this one really is for me. It’s different from most of the quilts I’ve made, mainly because of the fabrics, many were soft and feminine floral prints.

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I think every quilter needs to make a granny square quilt, well, just because…don’t you agree?