Tagged: tutorial

Apr 05

Safe and Sound Paper Piecing Pattern

People have been asking me a lot recently about how to make certain quilts.  This is a quilt I made a while back.  I would love to share with you how to make it.

capeannbaby quiltI decided to name this quilt block “safe and sound” since the smaller scrappy squares are safely gathered in by the blue diamonds.  (Am I getting better at naming quilts?)

In making this design, I had available a handful of 2.5 inch squares of Cape Ann fabric, and a bunch of paper to draw out my own templates.  But, lucky for you guys, I put together a printable template that you can use here.

Screen shot 2014-04-05 at 1.51.47 PM

Fabric cutting for baby quilt (40 inches by 50 inches)

Print off 80 “Safe and Sound” quilt block templates.  First print one template and make sure that the block measures 5.5 inches square.

For positions 1, 2, 3, and 4, you will need:

320–2.5 inch x 2.5 inch squares

For positions 5 and 6, you will need:

160–1.75 inch x 6.5 inch strips (blue) (you could get away with only using 1.5 inch by 6.5 inch, but I like to give myself some wiggle room with paper piecing.)

For positions 7 and 8, you will need:

160–3.25 inch triangles (white). (I would make these triangles in this way:  First, I would starch my fabric.  Since I will be cutting and sewing on the biased edge of the triangle, having the starch there helps to keep it from stretching.  Then, I would cut 3.25 inch squares from the starched fabric.  I would cut those squares from one corner to it’s opposite corner, making two 3.25 inch triangles.)

scrappy lattice baby quilt

Now we piece the fabric to the paper piecing foundation.  I have found a video tutorial that is good if this is your first time paper piecing.  I also found a written tutorial with great pictures to show you step by step how to paper piece.  My instructions above have already pre-cut your fabric for you, so you won’t need to do the trimming that she does on the tutorial.  I think it also eliminates a lot of paper piecing waste.

1)  Remember to shorten your stitch length to make the paper easier to tear in the end (1.5 stitch length)  .

2) Use a glue stick to glue the first square of fabric to the back of the paper, behind position 1.

3) When adding fabric, make sure that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.  Otherwise, you’ll have to unpick it, and unpicking a paper piecing project is not fun.

4)  On my block, the dotted line shows what the final quilt block will look like (will end up being a 5 inch square block).  The solid lines show where you should cut your paper and your fabric to make the 5.5 inch square block.

At this point, some people remove the paper from their blocks, but I don’t.  I first assemble the blocks together with 10 rows, 8 blocks in a row (remember to use a 1.5 stitch length).  Then, I remove the paper, press my seams, and sew the 10 rows together, making the resulting 40 x 50 inch quilt top.

Cape Ann Baby Quitl

I hope you enjoyed using this tutorial.   As a favor to me, if you use this tutorial, will you please credit this blog post when you show or use social media to display your quilts?  That will allow others to be able to find and use this free tutorial as well.

Thank you for visiting!



Nov 15

Baby Quilts Using Your Minky Scraps! (129, 130, 131)

Lately, I have been making a lot of quilts using minky (plush cuddle fabric–polyester), and so I have found myself with a lot of large panels of minky scraps.  My children wanted to have them to string through the trees, wrap around their bodies, and otherwise litter the neighborhood, but something inside me said, “You can use these later.  Save them.”  So I did.


The thought of using minky as a scrap project was daunting.  Minky stretches.  The edges curl under.  It doesn’t keep it’s shape.  It is slippery.  The only thing that has allowed me to use it as a backing is SPRAY BASTE and pin basting on top of that spray basting.  But, how was I to do that when I was just sewing two slabs of Minky together (or squares, because I was considering making a patchwork quilt with it)?


So, I decided to go for it, using slabs of minky and sewing them onto a pre-basted fabric/batting combo.  Here are the results:


scrap minky quilts

The overall process was pretty easy.  I’ll show you how I made mine, and then give you some tips on what might work better.  😉

I first secured the cotton fabric to the ground so that I could baste it to the batting.  Honestly, perhaps securing the batting to the ground and then basting the cotton print to the batting is probably better, but that is just so you can avoid that large crease down the center of the fabric.  But, either way.  This fabric is 1 1/2 yards of fabric, and it is the whole width of the fabric.  I chose a large print to give variety to the quilt, since on the side it would have large lines of color.

Here is an easy tutorial on how to make a scrap minky quilt


The next step involves spray baste.  Basically, you spray baste the batting to the wrong side of the fabric (or baste the fabric to the batting), and then set your batting/fabric panel aside.  I always spray baste outside, even in 40 degree weather.   Look at your spray baste directions for further instructions and warning.

How to make a scrap minky baby quilt



The next step is to prep your minky.  I straightened the edges of the minky using my rotary cutter, mat, and ruler.  I suggest cutting the selvage from the minky since it looks and lays differently than the rest of the minky.  I hid some of my selvages in the seams of my first one, but if I were to do it again, I would have cut off all of the selvages.


I wanted the nap of my minky to all be in the same direction.  So, I sorted by the direction of the nap.  The nap runs the same direction as the selvage, so depending on how the scrap was cut (cut parallel to the selvage or from selvage to selvage), the nap will be different.  Below is a picture of the minky when I rubbed my hand against the nap.  So the dark pink and the light pink have the nap going in the same direction.


minky how to tutorial scrap quilt


Spray baste your first minky panel to the batting side of your batting/fabric panel.  Try to get this piece as straight as you can.  Also, make sure to pull it taut, so that it is stretched out a little.  Minky tends to stretch when it is sewn, so this will make sure the stretch is consistent throughout the minky and reduces the “baggy look” after you wash it.  Next, pin the adjacent fabric panels to the center panel.   I did not pin the panels to the baby girl quilt, but I did pin the panels to the boy quilt, and I think it makes a big difference.

scrappy minky girl quilt

Here is the back of the quilt that I did not pin the minky panels before sewing.

minky scrappy boy quilt

Here is the quilt where I did pin the minky panels before sewing.


Now, it is time to sew.  I recommend at least a 1/2 inch seam as you sew the minky down.  Remember that you are quilting through the fabric/batting panel as you sew the minky to it, so be conscious of your thread choice for your bobbin.  You want it to match your cotton print.


hints tutorial scrap minky quilt baby


When the next minky panels (flanking the center panel) are sewn into place, I recommend spray basting them to the batting.  Then, find two more panels to add to either side, pin, sew, baste, and repeat until the batting/fabric panel is covered with minky strips.  Remember to read your batting’s quilting instructions to make sure your panel distance is adequate enough for the batting’s quilting requirements.


scrap minky quilt how to


The quilt above is the one I did without pinning (and I tried to hide the selvages in the seams).  Even with all of mistakes, it still didn’t look too bad.  I did a much better job on the other two.

From here, square off the edges of the fabric, and add binding.  I machine bound mine, so I sew the binding (2 1/2 inches folded double) to the minky side first, then top stitch the folded edge to the cotton print side.

minky scrap boy quilt


And now you have a soft, lightly quilted, very cuddly baby quilt that can be finished in about 1 1/2 hours.


scrappy minky quilts

scrap minky quilts

Enjoy working with your minky scraps!  These quilts are about 36 by 48 inches.  Thanks for stopping by!



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Jun 04

EZ Dresden Challenge Tutorial

Welcome to yet another wonderful stop on the EZ Dresden Challenge blog hop!


The Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild has paired up with Simplicity to celebrate Darlene Zimmerman’s 20th anniversary with EZ Quilting by hosting and sponsoring the EZ Dresden Challenge.   To see more details about this challenge, and to see the list of prizes, be sure the visit the EZ Dresden Challenge page of the SLMQG Blog.  They will be donated by these awesome sponsors!



My name is Tanya, and I am going to show you a fun way to use the EZ Dresden Ruler for this paper pieced quilt.


I’ve seen this quilt design, or some variation of it, floating around blog land, and I LOVE IT.  But, I am not a big fan of using up a lot of paper printing off templates. I have been trying to figure out how to make this quilt without having to use up a lot of fresh paper, and then Darlene Zimmerman’s EZ Dresden Ruler fell into my lap.  This was my ticket to making my own template using scrap paper.

After making many paper pieced quilts with scrap paper, I have found that some printer or photocopy ink melts under the heat of the iron.  Also, hot irons and scrap paper with crayon don’t mix.  Or rather, they do mix, in a bad way.   And, while I do find that newspapers and phone books provide plenty of paper and are easy to rip, I’ve had problems with the paper being too weak, and the ink rubbing off onto my fingers and fabric.  Recently, though, I have found a source of scrap paper that I love to use.  Do you receive the Money Mailer envelopes in your mailbox with a ton of advertisements (5.5 inches by 8.5 inches), and just toss them?  Well, let me show you what you can do with them.

Preparing your template squares:

First, throw out the small advertisements and glossy advertisements.  Then, cut your 5.5 x 8.5 inch advertisements into 5.5 x 5.5 inch squares.  If you don’t have the mailers, then regular 8.5 x 11 inch paper can give you two squares, 12 x 12 inch paper can give you four squares.


For a baby quilt (40 inches x 50 inches), you will want 80 template squares

For a twin quilt (70 inches x 90 inches) you will want 252 template squares.

Preparing your EZ Dresden Ruler:

  Grab a strip of tape as long or longer than your dresden ruler.

Draw a straight line from end to end.  This line does not need to be in the center of your tape.


Place your dresden ruler on your cutting mat and find the center.  Place your tape line on top of the center line.

Here is your ruler with a midline.


Drawing your Template:

Place your ruler above the template squares, making sure the bottom of the ruler rests on the bottom corner, and the midline goes from corner to opposite corner.


Draw on either side of the EZ Dresden ruler.  You now how your template drawn.  These lines are not the lines you will use to sew.  Rather, they are fabric placement lines.


Preparing your fabric:

Cutting the wedges are pretty easy.  Cut strips of fabric 8 inches tall and at least 3.5 inches wide.  Then, using the dresden wedge, cut along either side of ruler.  If you use really long strips of fabric, you can just flip your dresden ruler and cut your next wedge going the opposite direction.

I will be using Kona Snow for my background fabric.  For every template square you plan on using, cut out one 4.5 x 6.5 inch rectangle.  I made 80 squares, so I will need to prepare 80 rectangles of background fabric.

Since this is a solid with no marked front side or back side, I can cut these rectangles into triangles all in the same direction.  If you are planning on using a patterned fabric for the background, plan on cutting half of your rectangles into triangles with the cut going from top right to bottom left, and the other half with the cut going from top left to bottom right.  See image below.

Constructing your blocks:

Grab a handy glue stick, and glue the dresden wedge on each template square within the fabric placement lines.

Place one of the background triangles, right sides together, on to one edge of the wedge.  Before you sew, make sure the long side (hypotenuse) is the one aligned with the side of wedge, the thicker side of the triangle is up by the fat end of the wedge, and the smaller angle of the triangle is down by the skinny edge of the wedge.

Set your sewing machine to a stitch length to about 1.5.  The smaller the stitch length, the easier the paper will be to tear away.  Sew 1/4 inch away from the edge of the fabric.

With the first background triangle flipped out of the way, align the next background triangle on top of the other side of the wedge, right sides of the fabric together.  Sew 1/4 inch away from fabric edge.

Now, press the triangles to either side.

Trim the edges, using the paper template as your guide.  Now, your block should be 5.5 inches square.

Your blocks are complete!  Arrange them as you want, and sew them into rows.  I personally like to sew my squares into rows first, and then remove the paper.  However, you can remove the paper first and then sew the squares into rows.  Press the seams however you want them (I pressed mine open) and then sew the rows together.  Press with the iron again, and you are done!  You have a crisp looking paper pieced quilt, and you only used paper that was on its way to the garbage anyway!

Here is the finished quilt.

I quilted my quilt with a free motion loopy design, and then I bound it with Kona Raffia.  But, in honor of the challenge itself, I had to add one more thing to this quilt.

It needed a traditional dresden plate for the back.  Hand applique and all.

*Edited to add*

I have since made two more quilts using this tutorial.  You can see them here and here.

Would you like to win a free ruler to begin your own Dresden Quilt?  Leave me a comment on this post telling me your summer vacation quilting plans.  I’m in the process of making orange peel templates in hopes to make my first hand appliqued quilt.  I’d love to hear what  you are up to this summer.  Comments will be open until Friday, June 8 MST, and then I will announce a winner on Friday, June 9th.  Good luck everyone!  Remember to link up your final projects in September on the SLMQG.com blog.  I can’t wait to see them!

Be sure to visit other blogs during the EZ Dresden Ruler Blog Hop.

June 1
Salt Lake MQG: Kick Off www.slmqg.com/

June 2
Lee: freshlypieced.blogspot.com/

June 3
Kati www.fromthebluechair.com/

June 4
Victoria: bumblebeansinc.blogspot.com/
Tanya: www.squaresandtriangles.com

June 5
Val: howaboutpinkplease.blogspot.com/
Leigh: leedledeedlequilts.blogspot.com/

June 6
Amy: amyscreativeside.com/
Elisa www.stitchoutsidetheditch.com/

June 7
Katie: www.swimbikequilt.com/
Emily: emsscrapbag.blogspot.com/

June 8
Melissa: happyquiltingmelissa.blogspot.com/
Brooke: pitterputterstitch.blogspot.com/

June 9
Nicole: mamalovequilts.blogspot.com/
Amy sukie.mt-wudan.com/

June 10
Elizabeth: www.dontcallmebetsy.com/
Colleen: www.thebusybean.com/

June 11
Faith: www.freshlemonsquilts.com/
Deonn: quiltscapesquilting.blogspot.com/

June 12
Angela: angelaflicker.com/
Barbie: thequiltingmill.blogspot.com

June 13
Amy: www.diaryofaquilter.com/

June 14
Jessica: sewcraftyjess.blogspot.com/

June 15
Salt Lake MQG: Wrap-up www.slmqg.com/



Nov 17

Scrappy Staircase Quilt (77)

steps quilt scrappy

I am really really liking working with scraps.  I had a bunch of strings that were no more than 2.25 inches wide, which wasn’t wide enough to add to my “scrap vomit” quilt, so I put them all in one large grocery bag and waited.  I knew I wanted to make a string quilt of sorts, and debated between spider web quilt and string-X quilts.  Neither won, but I still plan on making one of each in the future.

I had an idea a while back to use money mailers as the foundation for paper piecing string blocks.   After I look through them and pull out the ones that I’ll use, I save the others.  They measure 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches.  And, with a little bit of inspiration here and here (different varieties of stair quilts), this is how this quilt began.


I am going to show with pictures how to assemble these blocks.  Feel free to scroll down to the end to see more pictures of the finished quilt :).

Using glue stick, glue first strip to paper. Be sure the fabric covers across the entire width of paper. It should be at least 5.5 inches long.


Add a strip on top of the original, aligning the right sides together. Sew 1/4 inch from right edge of fabric, sewing through paper and fabric.


Press strips open at seams with iron. This image shows my original strip with additional strips on both sides.


Continue adding strips to either side. Use iron to press fabric open.

Continue adding strips to either side. Use iron to press fabric open.


Here is the block once it is covered completely with fabric.

Here is the block once it is covered completely with fabric.


A view of the rough block from the back

A view of the rough block from the back


Using a rotary blade and ruler, cut along the edge of paper to remove excess fabric.


Remove excess fabric from all sides.


Completed block. Using this block, you can add to it to make a variety of different quilt designs.


I added a 3.5 inch by 8.5 inch white strip of fabric to the block. Make sure to sew with fabric down instead of paper down, or the feed dogs will slip under the fabric.


Here is the final block.


Using 99 of these blocks, I made this staircase pattern with 11 rows of 9 blocks.  Here was my layout.

staircase quilt

I used a typical free motion meandering to quilt it all together.  Here are some close ups.

steps quilt

I used a fun house fabric I found from Ikea for the backing.  I’ll be honest, every time I see this fabric, I want to grab some markers and color in those houses.

I have donated this quilt to our local PTA to be auctioned.  It measures 68 inches by 84 inches (71 x 87 before washing).

So that is it!  Thanks for coming!

steps quilt


Jan 26

Butterfly quilt complete! (50)

I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do for the back of my butterfly quilt.  BUTTERFLIES OF COURSE!  But, I’m not too into applique and since the front was done in a improvisational fashion, I thought it would be cool to do similar butterflies in the back.

Quilting is always the hardest part for me.  Not the actual quilting, but deciding which quilt pattern to use.  I love how the overall patterns unify the quilt and seem to make the quilt look more like a picture rather than separate pieces put together.  I was very close to doing concentric squares in this quilt, but I wanted to make this quilt seem lighter, and concentric squares seems very rigid.  So, I chose curly loops.

I also had a hard time choosing a binding.  I could have chosen white, maize, plum, or green.  I chose the plum, even though there isn’t really any plum colors in the quilt.  I thought it was a perfect frame and wasn’t too “matchy matchy.”

I love how the front and back look together!

This quilt measured 45.5 in x 45.5 inches before washing, but ended up being 43.5 x 43,5 inches after washing.

Want to know how I made the butterflies for the back?

For each butterfly, you need two squares of background fabric (I’m using two white 5×5 inch squares) and four pieces of scrap fabric (best if larger than 2×2)

Place two scraps of similar color over opposite corners.  Tilt them at an angle so that the resulting white triangle has one side (the bottom edges of the square on point) longer than the other.  This will be your bottom wings.  Sew along the scrap fabric leaving a 1/4 inch seam.

Turn your square over and make sure your colored fabric covers the entire white triangle.

(That one was close!)

Press seams.  I pressed mine open, but you can also press it away from the white.

Remove the white triangle, leaving a 1/4 inch seam.

Turn the squares right side up and place the scraps for the top wings over the corners, right sides together.  This time, the fabric will be sewn with the top edges of the square on point.

Sew.  Press open.

Cut off excess fabric, leaving 1/4 inch.

Square up your fabric.

Turn your square over and prepare for the fun part.

Place the other white square directly over your butterfly block, right sides together.  Sew together on two sides, opposite sides.

Cut in half from corner to corner, making sure not to cut through the colored fabric.

Open and press seams open

Rearrange triangles so that the four corners come together.

Sew and press seams.

And there it is…your butterfly!

And if you have more time and scraps….

You can make more and more and more!  These resulting squares are 6.5 x 6.5 inches.  You can change the size of your background fabric to meet your needs.  From here, you can fussy cut and make these butterflies go any direction!