Tips for Dark Eyes on Dark Softies

dark brown crochet cat with black eyes

Felix is a new crochet pattern and I love him. 🙂

For the pattern I stitched him up in yellow, because lighter (and solid) colors make it easier to see the individual stitches. But I also wanted to make him in this tweedy dark brown for more of a tortoiseshell cat look – just for fun.

The tricky part of using dark yarn – or dark fabric for a sewn softie – is getting the eyes to show up well. The eyes are the most important part of the face!

I’ve got two solutions for you today.

If you want to use a solid black craft eye (which is what I use for most of my softies) then it’s a big help to back those eyes with a circle of a lighter colored felt just a smidge bigger than the eye. That’s what I did with Milton Monkey. . .

Milton Monkey - a softie pattern from Shiny Happy World

. . . and with Brandon Beaver. . .

Brandon Beaver - a Cuddle Club pattern from Shiny Happy World

And that’s what I did with Felix. Here you can see those eyes a little closer.

I used a 1/2″ circle of sandstone felt with 9 mm eyes.

I use this tool to trace nice neat circles in lots of sizes.

circle template

I don’t remember where I got this exact template, but I’ve seen similar items at Office Max and Staples.

If you make a lot of softies and tend to use the same size eyes, you can also buy die-cut eyes which are perfectly perfect circles. When I make kits I buy felt circles at Woolhearts on Etsy. These are the circles I buy – you can choose the size and an assortment of up to six colors. It’s handy to keep a little stash of favorite colors.

Once you have the circles cut, there’s one more step. You need to punch a hole in the middle for the shank of the eye to go through! You can use an awl, or you can use a 1/8 inch hole punch for extra neat holes.

Use a hole punch for nice neat holes in felt

Perfect little backs to set off your eyes! I usually stick to a color that’s a lighter shade than the main color – but not too light! White in particular can make your softie look scared.

Another option is to use an eye with color already in it.

(When I do that I usually use a slightly larger eye than what the pattern calls for – like jumping from a 9 mm to a 12 mm eye.)

Look at Sharon’s cat (named Arnold). She also made a dark brown kitty, but she used awesome cat eyes for hers!

dark brown cat with yellow eyes

With those big eyes and no mouth he immediately reminded me of the cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service.

And now I need to make a black cat. 🙂

Here are handy links to all the posts about amigurumi eyes. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons for standing legs.

Happy stitching!

Free Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Need to whip up a super easy trick or treat bag for Halloween this year?

Then I have the pattern for you!

It’s fully lined (which actually makes construction easier), requires no hand sewing, can be made with any of my square quilt block patterns with no resizing – and you can make it in an hour or less. 🙂

This project will work with any of my square applique patterns. If you’re using someone else’s pattern, you may need to resize it to fit a 10 inch square.

I’m using two monsters from the Scary Squares monster quilt pattern.

If you have a witch who needs a black cat, you could use the free Spooky Cat applique pattern.

If you have a farmer who needs a few farm animals, you could use any of the blocks in the Noisy Farm pattern.

If you just want to customize it with a name or Halloween greeting, use a fun Halloween print fabric and this free alphabet applique pattern.

The sky is the limit!

What You’ll Need

  • 1/2 yard medium weight fabric for the main bag (I used black cotton twill)
  • 1/2 yard light weight fabric for the lining (I used a Halloween novelty print)
  • fusible adhesive (I recommend Heat & Bond Lite)
  • fabric for your applique (I used prints from the Rainbow Brights and Little Stripes fat quarter bundles – plus a bit of black and white solid)
  • black thread
  • applique pattern of your choice

Cutting Instructions

  • Cut two 11″ x 11″ squares from the main fabric.
  • Cut two 11″ x 11″ squares from the lining fabric.
  • Cut two 14″ x 4″ rectangle from the main fabric for the handles.

Put It All Together

Step 1

Applique the main fabric squares with the design of your choice. If it’s one of my portrait designs, make sure the cut edge of the body is lined up with the bottom edge of the square.

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World
Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

If you’ve never done applique with fusible adhesive, it’s super easy! You’ll find instructions with video links in any of my patterns, and there’s a general video tutorial here.

Step 2

Fold the rectangles for the handles into double-fold strips and press.

There’s a video here showing how to do that if it’s new for you.

Stitch through all the layers down each long edge.

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Set the handles aside.

Step 3

Layer the two lining pieces right sides together. Sew down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side using 1/4″ seam allowance.

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

I clipped the corners here out of habit, but you don’t need to do that. They’re about to get chopped off in the next step.

Repeat for the two main trick or treat bag pieces.

Step 4

Box the corners  of the lining so the bag is 1 inch deep

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

If you’ve never sewn boxed corners before, this video will show you how.

Repeat for the main bag.

Step 5

Fold the bag in half to find the center of the top edge.

Pin the handles to the bag so that the inside edge of the handle is 2 inches from the center pin, and the raw edge of the handle is lined up with the raw edge of the bag.

Pin the handles in place on both sides of the main bag. You can baste them in place if you like, but I usually just hold them with pins for the next step.

Step 6

Leave the main bag right side out, and the lining inside out.

Slide the lining over the main bag, so that the right side of the lining is facing the right side of the applique, and the handles are sandwiched between the two layers. Match the side seams and centers and pin the two bags together around the top edge.

Sew around the top edge of the bag using 1/4″ seam allowance and leaving an opening on one side between the inside edges of one of the handles.

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

This is easiest if you start sewing right at the inside edge of one handle. Sew through that handle, around the side seam, through both handles on the other side, around the second side seam, and through the last handle. Stop as soon as you sew over the last handle (remember to backstitch!) and you’ll have an opening about 4 inches wide.

Step 7

Turn the bag right side out. This step is a little mind-bendy if you’ve never done it before, but it’s actually really simple.

First pull the main bag out of the lining so that both parts are inside out.

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Now reach into the opening, grab the main bag and pull it through the opening so that it’s right side out. Keep pulling and the lining will follow – also right side out.

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Now just tuck the lining down inside the bag. 🙂

Step 8

Smooth and press the top edge of the bag.

Fold under the seam allowance from the turning opening and press that as well.

Edgestitch all the way around that top edge. This will finish your bag, sew up the turning opening, and reinforce the handles – all in one step. 🙂

Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World


Trick or Treat Bag - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

Now go out and fill your trick or treat bag with lots of yummy candy. 🙂

For a slightly smaller tote bag, made with the same method, head over here.

Here are several free patterns that work with my basic 10-inch applique squares – no resizing needed!

Here are several free patterns that work with just some simple resizing. This post about making coasters has info about resizing an applique pattern that can be applied to any of these projects.

Return to the main Let’s Make a Quilt Table of Contents.

Happy Halloween!

What size are my craft eyes?

Do you have some plastic craft eyes in a box somewhere… and you aren’t sure how to tell what size they are?

Umm… yup, me too. Don’t worry! Today, I’ll show you how easy it is to figure out what size they are!

All you need is a ruler with millimeter measurements. A craft eye is sized by its diameter in millimeters. So, to determine the size, place the ruler across the widest part of the eye.

Using a ruler to measure plastic safety eyes

You can see that this eye is a 24mm. Easy!

If you have a needle gauge and small eyes, I have an even easier way. Knitting needle measurements are determined by the diameter of the needle, so you can simply stick the eye in the gauge!

Measuring a craft eye with a needle gauge

This is an 8mm eye, and it fits fully in the 8mm slot (size 11 needle).

Here’s a look at the back view:

Note that the eye fits snugly in the hole, but does not go entirely through like a knitting needle would.

Now you can organize your craft eye stash!

How to Sew a Zippered Pillow Cover – a video tutorial

How to Add a Zipper to a Pillow Back - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I’m pretty picky about pillow covers.

I don’t like the envelope backs. They’re easy to sew, but they don’t cover the pillow as snugly as I like.

I like zippered covers, so they cover tightly and can be removed for washing – but I don’t like when the zipper is in one of the side seams. They never “sit” the same way as the other seams, so the finished pillow shape is always a little distorted.

I like the zipper to be somewhere in the pillow back (it doesn’t have to be the exact center) but I don’t like it to extend all the way to the edges, because the stiffness of the zipper again can distort the overall look of the pillow.

So here’s how I sew a pillow with a zipper in the back.

  1. I make the cover a little small. If the pillow is 18 inches square, I cut my fabric 18 inches square. When I sew the front to the back using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, the pillow cover ends up 17 inches square – perfect for the nice snug fit I like.
  2. I make the zipper a little short. Specifically – two inches shorter than the cut fabric. So for an 18 inch pillow, I buy a 16 inch zipper.

Here’s how I assemble the zipper back.

See how easy that is?

(Do you like that super fun, slightly wobbly gingham print? It’s part of the Gingham Play collection from Michael Miller Fabrics and I have fat quarter bundles in a rainbow of pretty colors.)

I make a LOT of these pillow covers.

My daughter doesn’t like using regular rectangular bed pillows. Instead she has an enormous pile of square pillows – mostly with quilted and applique designs on them. 🙂 She doesn’t like the inexpensive “hard” pillow forms. She likes these Fairfield brand Home Elegance pillows. They feel like down pillows, but they’re a LOT less expensive and they’re machine washable. Win!

You can use any quilt block pattern to make a pillow cover.

How to Turn Any Quilt Block into a PIllow

There are basic instructions here, and the Think BIG class has instructions for making giant floor pillows!

Happy sewing!


How to Use Safety Eyes

Craft eyes. Plastic eyes. Safety eyes. Animal eyes. They’re called lots of different things!

You can use them for both sewn and crocheted softies. I’ve even used them in applique wall hangings. I just use a pair of wire cutters to snip off the post that sticks out after you attach the washers.

colored craft eyes or safety eyes fro making stuffed animals

I’ve made a video (below) that shows you how to install them. In the video I’m demonstrating on a crocheted stuffed animal, but you can use these eyes in sewn softies as well. You just need to poke a hole! I like to use a ball point awl. It creates a hole by stretching the fibers around the opening instead of by cutting any of the threads. If you cut a hole in stretchy knit fabric, that hole can run over time, just like a ladder in your stockings.

I prefer eyes with ridged shanks and plastic washers. I feel like they hold the best BUT they’re harder to use with smaller size eyes. It’s just really hard to hold such tiny pieces straight while you push the very tight washer on! So for the smallest eyes (4.5 mm) you’ll get smooth shanks and metal washers instead. They’re still small, fussy pieces, but they’re not nearly as hard to work with. Also – 4.5 mm eyes are so small that I really only use them for small felt softies – the kind of softies that stand on a shelf instead of being played with a lot. 

Speaking of safety – just because they’re called “safety eyes” doesn’t make them safe for babies. The eyes themselves will never come apart (here’s a video showing how to remove safety eyes – you’ll see how hard it is to do). But babies can chew through the fabric around the eye, which then frees the eye (along with the still-attached washer) which is a choking hazard. So only use these on toys for kids over three, or toys that will be played with under supervision.

Below the video I’ve also included a quickie photo tutorial for those of you who want to get ‘straight to the point’ as well as some other links you might like!

Video Tutorial for Craft Eyes

This is a little 5 minute video. Enjoy!

How to install craft eyes

Do you see those little points?

plastic washer on a safety eye

Those little ‘barbs’ dig into the fabric and keep the eye from rotating. Which isn’t a big deal if you’re just using a black craft eye, but is crucial if you’re using a comic eye. You don’t want them twisting and giving you googly eyes!

The ridges on the posts of craft eyes help the washer click on (and stay on!) securely. I love hearing the ‘click’ as I press the washer on! The ridges also help to make sure the washer presses on evenly.

how to attach a craft eye 2

So, let me show you how to install a craft eye with a plastic washer.

First, insert the post of the craft eye between the stitches on your piece where you want it to go. For sewn softies, use a ball-point awl or a small knitting needle to poke a hole. I recommend that you place the eyes first, before pressing on the washers, just to see if you like the look.

monkey with heart eyes

Once your eyes are positioned how you’d like, press the flat side of the washer (that’s the one with the tiny barbs!) onto the post.

Here’s a photo of how it will look (but without the fabric getting in the way… obviously, your piece doesn’t really look like this!):

how to attach a safety eye or craft eye for making stuffed animals

I don’t want you to stress too much about this, because if you try to put the washer on backwards, it just won’t go.

Now, push! You’ll hear that click, and it’s on!

A note about smaller eyes

Most 6 mm craft eyes, because they are SO tiny, have smaller plastic washers without the ‘barbs’. And most 4.5 mm eyes (as mentioned above) have metal washers. But don’t worry, the same rule applies: flat side towards the fabric. 

6mm safety eyes

This post about sources for my favorite tools and supplies has links to places where you can buy safety eyes.

Here are handy links to all the posts about amigurumi eyes. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons for standing legs.

Happy stitching!

Tutorial – Make a Tablet Cover

blue quilted tablet cover with circles

This post is originally from November 2013. I updated it in July 2017 to add the quilted batik tablet cover I made for my iPad Pro.

The day before I left for Quilt Market I decided that a really efficient use of my time would be to make myself a tablet cover using some of my new patterns. 😛

Here’s the result.

pink tablet cover with green applique dog

I posted it on Facebook and I got a bunch of requests for a pattern.

How about a free tutorial instead?

First you’ll need to measure your tablet. Of course, they’re all just a little bit different.

Add one inch to each dimension – length and width. This is your cutting size. If your tablet is 8″ x 11″ your cutting size is 9″ x 12″.

Cut four pieces of fabric to your cutting size. Two are for the outside and two are for the lining.

Oh yes – it’s lined.

Applique whatever you like to the two outside pieces, using whatever applique method you prefer. Click here for a free workshop teaching Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method.

The puppy is Harold – one block in the Playful Puppies quilt pattern.

Of course, you can use any applique pattern you like! Maybe one of the critters from the Safari Quilt? Or a Silly Sloth?

For those who don’t like applique – how about embellishing it with some stitching? I’ve got a bunch of easy embroidery patterns here.

Or just make it out of the most fabulous fabric you can find!

For the new iPad cover, I used a fabulous hand-dyed batik fabric from Malka Dubrawsky of Stitch in Dye and added Big Stitch quilting around all the circles.

quilted circles on blue fabric

These are the tablet cover front and back, all quilted, trimmed to size, and ready to assemble.

Shop for Malka’s fabulous fabric here.

Learn how to do Big Stitch quilting here.

Back the outside layers with some thin cotton batting and hold the layers together with some machine quilting (if you didn’t already quilt it as part of your embellishment). For the cat/dog cover, I just followed the line of the zigzags in the fabric. Easy peasy! Since the tablet is lined you don’t even need to back the batting.

So. You’ve cut your pieces, added any fanciness you like, and quilted in some padding. Time to start sewing it all together. This is super easy.

Sew your front to your back, right sides together, using 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

Do the same thing with your two lining pieces except leave a 3-4 inch opening in the bottom for turning the whole thing right side out later.

Turn both the outside and the lining right side out and press.

pink fabric with a pocket

I’ve got my turning stick poked through the opening I left in the lining. See how I pressed that too? That’ll make it a cinch to sew up when you’re done.

Now turn the outside inside out again. Leave the lining right side out.

Measure a strip of elastic 3 inches long. I used soft fold-over elastic in a pretty color (you can buy it here) but you can really use any elastic in any size or color.

Fold the elastic in half and pin it to the center of the front of your cover. (Fold the cover in half to quickly find the center.)

loop of pink elastic pinned to a work in progress

I like to leave a little extra hanging over the raw edge.

Slip the lining (right side out) inside the cover (inside out). Line up the side seams and pin or clip the layers together around the top. The elastic loop should be sandwiched between the two layers.

layers of batting and fabric clipped together

You can really see my quilting lines here on the batting.

Sew the outside to the lining all the way around the top using 1/4″ seam allowance.

stitching detail in white batting

I go back and forth over the elastic a couple of extra times. It’s a stress spot and I like to reinforce it.

Now comes the fun part.

Pull the lining out of the bag. Then pull the whole thing through the opening in the bottom of the lining. Sew up the opening in the lining using either whipstitch or ladder stitch and tuck the lining down into the bag.

Flip down the elastic loop to see where you need to position your button and sew the button in place.


pink quilted tablet cover with a blue applique cat

Here’s the back of my cover. Of course I had to decorate the back too!

And here’s a full view of the batik cover.

blue quilted tablet cover with batik and quilted circles

It’s the same font and back. 🙂

Here are several free patterns that work with my basic 10-inch applique squares – no resizing needed!

Here are several free patterns that work with just some simple resizing. This post about making coasters has info about resizing an applique pattern that can be applied to any of these projects.

Return to the main Let’s Make a Quilt Table of Contents.

Happy sewing!

Teaching Kids to Sew

Teaching Kids to Sew - a video lesson from Shiny Happy World

The summer holidays are just starting here in the northern hemisphere, which means it’s time for me to start getting a lot more questions about teaching kids to sew. 🙂

Summer vacation is a great time for some sewing lessons!

Teaching Kids to Sew - a video lesson from Shiny Happy World

Kids love to learn from other kids – so I’m rerunning here a video my daughter made with me a few years ago. (She was 11 at the time.) In it she shows how the machine works, how to sew wavy, straight, and parallel lines, how to use decorative stitches, how to turn corners, and more.

It’s a no-pressure way for kids to get a feel for how the machine pulls the fabric through on its own, how (and how much) they need to steer, how fast and slow they can make it go and more. And they’re not just practicing on random scraps of fabric that they’ll throw out! They’ll use these fancy fabric strips to sew up a horde of slithery snakes!

Every time I teach a group of kids – those snakes are the #1 favorite project. They make so many of them!

If you have a kid just starting out on the machine this is a great way to practice some basic skills. It’s also a good (sneaky) way to see if they’re ready for a book like Creature Camp! Set them loose with this project. It uses a lot of the same skills they’ll learn in the very first project in the book, so if they can handle these snakes they can jump into the book!

Here’s the video. . .

Jo used the same color thread for all her stitching just to keep the pace of the video going. But encourage your kids to change threads as often as they like! It’s a great way to practice re-threading the machine. 🙂

Teaching Kids to Sew - a video lesson from Shiny Happy World

Making those snakes is easy!

Get the Snake Charmers pattern here. It’s a free pattern that’s usually made with regular fabric – but follow the special instructions below to use your practice pieces to make your snakes extra special.

  1. Cut strips of fabric 3 inches wide and 10 inches long. That’s a little bigger than what the instructions call for. All the stitching on the fabric can make it shrink up a bit, so the extra is good. It also can be hard for kids to sew right up to the edges, so this gives them some extra room.
  2. Stitch all over the fabric in any design and colors you like. There’s no right or wrong way to do it so this is a totally no-pressure way to practice. Have fun!
  3. When you’re happy with the stitching, press the fabric nice and flat.
  4. Using the Snake Charmers instructions, trim the pieces to size and sew up some snakes.
  5. Make some more!

Teaching Kids to Sew - a video lesson from Shiny Happy World

You can see all my posts about sewing with kids here. These Ten Tips for Sewing with Kids are especially helpful.

Happy sewing!

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Turn a Witch Hat into a Princess Hat – Easy Peasy

Turn a Witch hat into a Princess Hat - an easy peasy tutorial from Shiny Happy World

One of my favorite Dress Up Bunch patterns is this one for a witch costume.

Dress Up Bunch doll Halloween witch costume

As I was making it, I kept thinking that it could easily be converted to a princess costume – just change to a sparkly princess fabric and make a tiny change to the hat.

Here’s exactly what I mean by “a tiny change to the hat pattern.”

The witch hat is a simple cone with a brim added. For the princess hat (a hennin) you just leave off the brim and add a pretty little fall of fabric to the top.

Turn a Witch hat into a Princess Hat - an easy peasy tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Take a look at the scraps you have left over after you make the dress. I had a long strip 6 inches wide. From that I cut 3 pieces, each 6 inches wide and 12 inches long. You could use a couple of 12 x 12 squares, or several skinnier strips, or make them longer than my 12 inches, or add some pretty ribbons. Just play around and see what you like the look of.

Grab your fabrics at one corner, bunch them up as small as possible, and sew them into the top of the cone when you sew the hat seam.

Turn a Witch hat into a Princess Hat - an easy peasy tutorial from Shiny Happy World

See the little bunch sticking out from the top of the cone? The rest of the fabric will be inside the cone (as shown) while it’s inside out.

Turn a Witch hat into a Princess Hat - an easy peasy tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Make sure you go over that little bunch a couple of times with your stitching. I backstitched over mine a few times. Princess fabric tends to be fragile and you want it to be securely attached. 🙂

Turn the hat right side out and. . .

Turn a Witch hat into a Princess Hat - an easy peasy tutorial from Shiny Happy World


Turn a Witch hat into a Princess Hat - an easy peasy tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Mollie approves. 🙂

Get the witch pattern here. It will fit any of the dolls in the Dress Up Bunch.

Happy sewing!

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World


The Dress Up Bunch is a collection of cute and cuddly rag dolls. Get patterns for the dolls, plus all their fun outfits and accessories!

Best Practices for Working with Digital Patterns

Best Practices for Working with Digital Patterns

I love digital patterns!

I love instant delivery. I love being able to print directly onto specialty papers like Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy, freezer paper, and fusible adhesive. And I love being able to click through to additional resources and tutorials.

But they’re new territory for a lot of people!

I get a lot of questions about digital patterns and have heard some heartbreaking stories that could have been avoided if people had known just a few good practices when working with this kind of file.

So here are some simple suggestions for you.

When you download your digital pattern file, make sure to save it where you know you can find it.

Most computers have a factory-created folder called downloads and all downloaded files are automatically saved there. You can change your computer settings to save downloads to your desktop or another folder, or you can just open the downloads folder after you download your pattern, and then move it to where you want it to live permanently. I suggest a folder called Shiny Happy World Patterns. 🙂

Save a backup!

I can’t count the number of heartbreaking emails I’ve gotten from people whose computers crashed and they’re trying to replace all their digital patterns because they didn’t have a backup. 🙁

If you have a free Google account, you have a HUGE amount of free storage space on Google Drive. You can also save a backup to an external hard drive, another cloud service, or even a flash drive. I know a couple of people who store a backup of all their digital patterns on a flash drive – which makes it super easy to take to a copy shop for printing if you don’t have a printer.

Saving the email with the download link is NOT a safe way to back up your files.

  • A lot of shopping cart services have an expiration date on those links – some as short as a week.
  • Many shopping cart services have a limit to the number of times you can download a pattern – a few limit it to a single download!
  • Digital delivery services change and companies go out of business. Download links don’t remian functional forever. A pattern actually saved to your computer (and backed up) is yours forever.

Only print the pages you need

As a designer, one of the things I love about digital patterns is that I can include loads of additional information and photos – way more than I could possibly justify if I had to think about the printing costs associated with books and paper patterns. And I can include links to video tutorials going into more detail teaching every single skill used in the project.

The only pages you really need to print out are the pattern pages – the actual templates that you’ll be cutting out or tracing. And many times you don’t even need to print all of those. All of my applique patterns, for example, include a regular version of the image which you can use for needle-turn applique and as a placement guide for other techniques, plus a whole separate set of templates with all the pieces reversed and exploded and ready to print on fusible adhesive or freezer paper. You don’t need both sets! Choose your technique and then print only the pages you need.

Some people print all the instruction pages and keep them in a binder, but a lot of people skip that step too. You can set your computer, phone or tablet next to your sewing machine and work directly from the screen if you like.

Print at 100% size – no scaling

The exact look and wording of the printing dialog will vary depending on your computer and your printer, but it will look something like this.

Print digital patterns at 100% for the correct size.

I drew a big pink arrow pointing to the stuff you need to look for – language about size or scaling. Unless the instructions state otherwise, you want to print at 100%.

You can play with this setting to enlarge or reduce patterns that don’t have seam allowances (applique and embroidery patterns, for example) but not for things like stuffed animals and clothing. This blog post has tips for enlarging and reducing patterns with seam allowances.

My Pattern Won’t Print

Sometimes a PDF won’t print. It’s usually a problem with needing an update – either your browser, your version of Adobe Reader or your printer driver. It’s hard for me to help with that because the problem is usually specific to the software on your computer. I can tell you that there are no “protections” of any kind on my PDF patterns – if you can download the pattern you should be able to print it. One workaround that can help is to print it as an image. There are instructions here for how to do that, as well as some more troubleshooting tips for weird printer problems.

Updating your browser can fix a whole host of weird problems. It’s the “Have you tried changing your sewing machine needle?” fix of the tech world. Any time I run into tech difficulties on ANY site, my first stop is always to visit It will tell you if there’s an update available for your browser. Running that update has helped solve really weird problems more times than I can count.

Those tips address the most common questions and problems people run into with digital patterns. If you have any more tips or suggestions for people – please include them in the comments!

Having trouble downloading a pattern? Want to know how you can work with digital patterns if you don’t have a printer? You’ll find answers to lots of tech questions on the FAQ page.

Here’s a list of links all about choosing a quilt pattern – and even designing your own!

Return to the Let’s Make a Quilt main Table of Contents.