Jolly the Elf – a Free Christmas Applique Pattern

Want to learn how to make a quilt with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Let’s Make a Quilt here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make a quilt from start to finish using Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.

It’s the easiest, most fun way to make an applique quilt. You can do it!

There’s a new free applique pattern for you! Merry Christmas! 🙂

This adorable elf pattern is the same size and style as the other free Christmas applique patterns (10 inch finished blocks). There are five now! (You’ll find links to all of them at the bottom of this post.)

Here’s how to make it. (This video shows all the steps for working with fusible adhesive – if you’ve never done it before you’ll find it helpful.)

Step 1

Download the template pieces here.

Step 2

Trace or print the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible adhesive.

I use this printable fusible adhesive so I just printed out the page. No tracing!

The image has already been reversed, so just trace or print. If you’re tracing, be sure to trace the facial features too. You’ll need those for Step 4.

Step 2

Rough cut around each shape and fuse it to the back of your fabric.

Leave a little bit extra all the way around ­- a little extra extra (at least 1/4 inch) where there’s a dotted line, like the top of the shoulders and the base of the ears.

Step 3

Cut around each piece neatly. Cut directly on the solid lines.

Leave a little seam allowance on the dotted lines ­- those are the seam allowances that will tuck behind other pieces.

Step 4

Remember when I told you to make sure you traced the facial features in Step 1? Now you’re going to use that. Hold the face up to a window so the light shines through it. You’ll be able to see the eyes, nose and mouth, and the adhesive will stabilize the fabric so you can trace on it without it crinkling up.

I traced just inside the eyes, and directly on the nose and mouth.

Here you can see all the tracing I did – without the light shining through.

Step 5

If you’re doing Quilt As You Go (I did) then you can quilt your block before adding the applique. So easy!

Cut your background fabric and a piece of 100% cotton batting 11 inches square.

Layer the block with a piece of 100% cotton batting. Quilt any pattern you like!

Find all the Quilt As You Go tutorials here.

If you’ll do the quilting later, simply skip this step.

Step 6

Peel off the paper backing and arrange the pieces on a background block.

Remember -­ all the dotted lines indicate where pieces tuck behind other pieces.

Tuck the ears and the shoulders behind the head. Tuck the head and the top of the hat behind the hat brim.

Fuse the pieces in place.

Step 7

Outline all the pieces with black thread and a simple straight stitch – or choose your favorite decorative stitch.

This video has some tips for outlining those tight curves.

I used 12 wt. thread for all my outlining to get a slightly thicker line. There’s more info about using thicker thread here.

Done!

If you’re making a one-block project, go ahead and finish it up!

If you’re making a bunch of elf blocks to join into a quilt -­ have fun!

What can you do with just one block pattern? Tons of things!

Check out this page I’ve been slowly building – 100 Things to Do with an Applique Pattern. There are links to a bunch of free patterns you can use with your applique pattern to make bibs, pillow covers, tote bags, and more! 🙂

Here are all the free Christmas applique patterns so far.

If you’re looking for a different fun Christmas quilt pattern check out this post. It has a bunch of free patterns for little signs that you can add to a Shiny Happy Houses quilt to turn it into a North Pole quilt. 🙂

Do you like the fabrics I used?

The skin is the cream fabric from the People Colors fabric bundle, and the two fun stripe prints are from the Little Stripes fat quarter bundle.

Have fun! And share a photo of what you make! You can share it in the Shiny Happy People group or tag it with #shinyhappyworld on Instagram.

If you like this free pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News! Subscribers get a weekly newsletter full of sewing tips and tricks, free patterns, special discounts, and other things to make you smile. 🙂

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi

Ho Ho Ho Holiday Accessories – free crochet Christmas tree and Santa hat pattern

Milo Mouse is all decked out for Christmas!

I’ve got free patterns below for both the tree and the hat – plus some extra fancification ideas for both at the bottom of the post. Have fun with these!

Milo Mouse is the Ami Club pattern for December. Sign up here and you’ll get instant access to the pattern – plus other member benefits. 🙂

You can use these patterns for any holiday decorations – the repeat pattern is easy to follow to make them larger if you need. Or just use thicker yarn!

Abbreviations

  • ch: chain
  • sc: single crochet
  • sc2tog: single crochet 2 stitches together
  • st(s): stitch(es)

The tree and the hat both start the same way. . .

Ch 2 (I like to start with a sloppy slip knot. This video shows how. And this video shows how to chain.)

Round 1 sc 4 in 2nd ch from hook (4) This post will help you find that second chain from the hook.

Round 2 sc twice in next st, sc in next 3 sts (5) This video will help you if you find it tricky to start the second round.

Round 3 sc twice in next st, sc in next 4 sts (6)

Round 4 sc twice in next st, sc in next 5 sts (7)

Round 5 sc twice in next st, sc in next 6 sts (8)

Round 6 sc twice in next st, sc in next 7 sts (9)

Round 7 sc twice in next st, sc in next 8 sts (10)

Round 8 sc twice in next st, sc in next 9 sts (11)

Round 9 sc twice in next st, sc in next 10 sts (12)

Round 10 sc twice in next st, sc in next 11 sts (13)

Round 11 sc twice in next st, sc in next 12 sts. (14)

Round 12 sc twice in next st, sc in next 13 sts. (15)

Round 13 sc twice in next st, sc in next 14 sts (16)

Round 14 sc twice in next st, sc in next 15 sts (17)

Round 15 sc twice in next st, sc in next 16 sts (18)

Round 16 sc twice in next st, sc in next 17 sts (19)

This is where the pattern changes, depending on whether you’re making the tree or the hat.

For the Santa Hat. . .

Round 17-20 Change to white yarn and sc in each stitch (19, 4 rounds) This video shows how to change colors cleanly.

Fasten off and weave in the tail.

Make a small white pompom and tie it to the end of the hat. There’s a video showing how to make a pompom here. I wrapped mine around the times of a fork for a nice small puffball. 🙂

Finished!

If you’re making a hat for a larger softie, just follow this pattern of increasing one stitch per round until the hat is big enough to fit, then stitch at least four rounds of straight single crochet for the contrasting band. You may need to add more rounds of contrast to feel like it’s in the right proportion with the hat, depending on how much bigger you make it. Trust your judgement. 🙂

For the tree. . .

Picking up after round 16 above.

Round 17 sc twice in next st, sc in next 18 sts (20)

Round 18 sc twice in next st, sc in next 19 sts (21)

Round 19 sc twice in next st, sc in next 20 sts (22)

Round 20 sc twice in next st, sc in next 21 sts (23)

Round 21 sc twice in next st, sc in next 22 sts (24)

Stuff the tree and slip a large washer across the stuffing at the base of the tree. This will give your tree a nice flat base and the washer adds a nice weight.

Round 22 [sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts] 6 times (18)

Here’s what it looks like after that first decrease round wraps around the edge of the washer.

If you don’t have a metal washer, you can cut a circle of cardboard. It will give you the flatness without the weight.

Round 23 [sc2tog, sc in next st] 6 times (12)

Round 24 [sc2tog] 6 times (6)

Slipstitch across the top and fasten off. Here’s a video showing how to slipstitch, and here’s one showing how to fasten off.

Finished!

If you want to make your tree bigger, keep following the same increase pattern after round 21. To make your decrease rounds easier to calculate, make sure to make your last increase round one whose stitch count is evenly divided into 6.

I dressed up my tree with some simple white-headed pins – but there are tons of possibilities to dress up both the tree and the hat!

For the tree. . .

  • Use multicolored instead of white pins.
  • Wrap it in tiny fairy lights.
  • Sew (or pin) on buttons.
  • Add beads as you crochet! That link goes to a video showing how.
  • Use sparkly or glitter or eyelash yarn.
  • Pin on garland from the trim section of the fabric store – braid or cord or rickrack.

For the hat. . .

  • Sew on a bell or tassel instead of making a pompom.
  • Surface crochet the contrasting band on the hat with eyelash yarn. Yep – that’s another video link. 🙂
  • If your hat is kind of stiff and you want it to flop down like the one in the photo, you can drop a metal nut into the tip of the hat. The weight will keep it dipping down. I use a surprising amount of hardware store items in my softies. 🙂

If you decide to give a holiday Milo Mouse as a gift, I suggest pairing it with these books.

  • The Night Before Christmas – I had the line “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” in my head as I designed Milo. There are so many beautiful editions of this story available – the link goes to one with very traditional illustrations.
  • Mr Willoughby’s Christmas Tree – I just love this story about the tippy top of a Christmas tree. 🙂

Have fun with these patterns!

Best,
Wendi

 

Happy December! Free Wallpaper

Happy December!

For this month’s wallpaper I decided to pull together all of my free holiday applique patterns – so far. There’s a new one coming this month. 🙂

Here are the links to those patterns if you want to make your own.

Make them into wall hangings, table runners, pillowsgift bags, placemats, bibs, coastersstockings and more.

All those links go to free patterns. 🙂

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without the December calendar.

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Want to see what’s happening this month at Shiny Happy World? I’ll tell you!

Have a great month! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Happy November! Free Calendar Wallpaper

Happy November!

I don’t know why owls make me think of fall, but they do – so the November wallpaper includes a few of my favorites from the Parliament of Owls quilt pattern. 🙂

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without the November calendar.

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Want to see what’s happening this month at Shiny Happy World? I’ll tell you!

Have a great month! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Squishy Monster – a free amigurumi pattern

These squishy monsters are fast and easy to make – and super fun to play with. 🙂

The skills you’ll need for just about any amigurumi are. . .

This project uses just one fancy skill – stitching one row below to get that mouth. Don’t worry – there’s a link in the pattern to a video showing how, right at the spot where you’ll need it.

You can go through all those posts now, or just hop to them as you get to those points in the pattern – whatever works best for you!

Yarn

This pattern can be used with any weight yarn. The samples are crocheted with Big Stitch worsted weight yarn, and all yardage/hook recommendations are calculated based on the sample. If you use a different weight yarn you may need to adjust how many plastic pellets you use to fill it.

Materials

Gauge Notes

This pattern doesn’t specify a gauge. It’s a stuffed toy, and you don’t need to be too picky about exact sizing. The most important thing is that you use a hook size that creates a nice looking fabric for your yarn. If you use the recommended hook size, and your fabric looks very loose (so that stuffing would show through), then you will want to use a smaller hook. Other than that, no measuring required!

Stitch into the Back

All stitches in this pattern (that are worked in the round) are worked through the back loop only, unless otherwise directed. Look at this picture.

Stitching in the Back Loop

See how one loop is highlighted in black? This is the back loop, and it’s what you’ll stitch into. Stitching into the back loop creates ridges on the right side of the piece.

Want to see crocheting through the back loop in action? Check out this blog post. It talks all about why Stacey crochets through the back loop and even has a handy dandy video showing how to find that loop. 🙂

Abbreviations

  • ch: chain
  • sc: single crochet
  • sc2tog: single crochet 2 stitches together
  • st(s): stitch(es)

Ready? Let’s jump in!

Ch 2 (I like to start with a sloppy slip knot. This video shows how. And this video shows how to chain.)

Round 1 sc 6 in 2nd ch from hook (6) This post will help you find that second chain from the hook.

Round 2 sc twice in next st (12) This video will help you if you find it tricky to start the second round.

Round 3 [sc twice in next st, sc in next st.] 6 times (18)

Round 4 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 2 sts.] 6 times (24)

Round 5-6 sc in each st. (24, 2 rounds)

Round 7 sc in next 7 sts. Sc in next 10 sts, one row below. Sc in last 7 sts. (24) This video will help with stitching one row below.

Round 8 sc in next 7 sts. Sc in next 10 sts, back in the original (inner) round of stitching. Sc in last 7 sts. (24)

Round 9 [sc twice in next st, sc in next 3 sts.] 6 times (30)

Round 10-11 sc in each st. (30, 2 rounds)

Insert the eyes in round 4, centered on the lip, with 3 stitches between them.

Round 12 [sc2tog, sc in next 3 sts.] 6 times (24)

Round 13 [sc2tog, sc in next 2 sts.] 6 times (18)

Fill a section of nylon knee high with 1/2 cup plastic pellets. Tie the end closed in a knot.

Stacey has a post here about using plastic pellets in amigurumi.

Stuff the bag of pellets into the monster body. It will be a very tight fit.

Round 14 [sc2tog, sc in next st.] 6 times (12)

Round 15 [sc2tog] 6 times (12)

Slipstitch across the top and fasten off. Here’s a video showing how to slipstitch, and here’s one showing how to fasten off.

Bury the tail.

Congratulations! You have squishy little beanbag monster. Make some more! They’re so much fun to play with!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Make an Easy Applique Rag Quilt – tutorial

Several years ago my mother-in-law made us a fantastic flannel rag quilt. We use it all the time, and every time I look at it I think that it would be super easy to add applique to that style of quilt.

I finally did it!

And it was just as fun and easy as I thought. 🙂

I made mine using the Bunches of Bears quilt pattern, but you could use any quilt pattern you like. All the square quilt blocks in my own patterns are already sized for 10 inch blocks. If you’re using someone else’s pattern you may need to enlarge or reduce the images.

So let’s go!

My quilt is nap sized – 50 x 60 inches – perfect for using on the couch. It’s 5 blocks wide and 6 blocks tall and the blocks all finish at 10 inches.

You can resize the pattern by changing the size of the blocks or by changing the number of blocks. 🙂

I used ten flannel colors (one of each color in the Dash Plaid collection from Dear Stella Fabrics) and bought one yard of each.

I prewashed my flannel. I think people don’t usually do that for rag quilts, but flannel is notorious for shrinking a lot and I didn’t want the shrinking to distort the applique. Don’t use fabric softener in the wash – it can resist the fusible adhesive. Dryer sheets are fine.

Each block is three layers of flannel, so you’ll need to cut 90 blocks, each 11 inches square. You can get nine from one yard of fabric.

Sneaky tip – if you have some ugly flannel that you can’t figure out how it got into your stash, cut 30 of the squares out of that and hide it in the middle of your layers. 🙂

Applique 30 of the squares using any method you like. I used my favorite fusible adhesive method. There’s a video tutorial here. I use these Heat & Bond Lite printable fusible adhesive sheets and all my fabrics are from the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle. You could use flannel here too if you like, but I love my Warm Neutrals. 🙂

When you position your faces, line up the bottom edge 3/8 inch up from the bottom edge of the block. That way, when you sew the blocks together using 1/2 inch seam allowance, you’ll catch the bottom edge of the applique in the stitching and it will be nice and secure.

Fuse the face into place.

Layer a second square of flannel behind the one with the applique (both facing right side up).

Stitch down all the edges on your applique. Outlining through both layers of flannel adds just a little bit of poof and dimension to your block – not as much as quilting with batting, but similar.

I used the “scribbly” method of going around each bit three times with regular weight black thread and a simple straight stitch. There’s a post here with more detail about that, and one here with more info about using a heavier weight thread if you prefer that.

This post has tips for stitching the tight curves around the eyes, and also for stitching the mouths. And this one has tips for making dark eyes show up on dark faces, like this cutie.

After you get all 30 blocks appliqued, it’s time to sew them together. This was actually the hardest part, because it’s backwards from any other kind of sewing you’ll do normally.

Add a third layer of flannel to each block, this time with the right side facing the back of the quilt. (It’s going to be come your quilt back.)

Using 1/2″ seam allowance, sew two blocks wrong sides together so that the seam allowance is on the right side of the quilt.

Here’s what it looks like from the back.

See? That last layer of flannel makes a nice quilt back, and you have a nice clean seam.

I joined all of my blocks into rows of five, then sewed those rows together for the finished quilt.

The intersections can get very bulky, so I snipped into the seam allowance 1/2″ from each edge and sewed my crossing seam through that slit so I wasn’t stitching the seam allowance down.

And look – my seam secures the bottom edge of each bear, just like I planned. 🙂

I found it helpful to use my quarter inch foot, but adjust it out to 1/2 inch for sewing all those layers together.

I also lengthened my stitch to 3.0 and reduced the pressure on my presser foot to keep the layers from creeping. If you can’t make that adjustment on your machine, just use a lot of pins or clips, as if you were sewing napped fabrics together.

Once all the blocks are sewn together, sew all the way around the outside edge of the quilt, one half inch in from the raw edge.

Now it’s time to snip all those seams.

Snip 1/2 inch apart all along all the seam allowances, almost up to the stitching line. Be very careful not to cut into your stitching. If you slip and snip it, repair it now by sewing over the snipped seam.

If you’re trying to snip with regular scissors, you’ll need to take a LOT of breaks. They’re really not designed for this kind of work.

If you can afford to buy a special set of snips just for this kind of work, it is absolutely worth it. I tried several brands and these Fiskars Easy Action Tabletop Rag Quilt Snip were by far my favorite. I liked them so much that I’m going to add them to the shop. They have a spring action, so their default setting is open, which saves a surprising amount of strain on your wrist. They’re super sharp, and the blades are slightly serrated, so they really grip the fabric well, helping them cut right up to the tips of the blades without “pushing” the fabric out at all.

Even with the fancy snips I took a break between snipping the horizontal and vertical seams. It took about two hours total.

Don’t forget to snip around the outside edges too.

When you’re done snipping, throw it in the wash and tumble dry.

Ta daa!

All those snipped edges fray in the wash and you get a really soft, fluffy ridge between each block. This blanket is just begging for someone to snuggle under it.

If you make an applique flannel rag quilt, we’d love to see it! Post a photo in the Shiny Happy People group so we can all oooh and aaah. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Happy October! Free calendar and wallpaper

Happy October!

October is Monster Month at Shiny Happy World – so meet Maxwell! I loved the new Ami Club pattern this month so much that I had to use it on the calendar. That smile! I’m going to be smiling back at it all month long. 🙂

Want to see what’s coming this month at Shiny Happy World?

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without an October calendar.

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Have a great month! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Free Beaver Pencil Case Pattern

I’m participating in the Back to School Sewing Series with Sulky. You can make this fun pencil case!

That beaver can’t wait to chomp on all those colored pencils. 🙂

See a little sneak peek of that beaver design here – including a look at all the beaver designs I didn’t use. 🙂

Materials

Step 1

Download the embroidery pattern here.

Step 2

Print or trace the pattern out onto a sheet of Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy at 100% size. The rectangle should be 4 x 9 inches.

Step 3

Peel off the paper backing and stick the pattern onto the fabric. Make sure you position it so that the whole image will fit in the hoop, with fabric all the way around.

Step 4

Choose your threads!

So many pretty colors. 🙂

Step 5

Embroider the design using two strands of Sulky 12 wt. thread. Stitch right through the stabilizer and the fabric.

I used backstitch for all the lines. Learn how to backstitch here.

I used satin stitch for the pencil leads. This video shows how I satin stitch pointy shapes.

Look closer!

I decided partway through stitching that I wanted a little more color on the barrels of the pencils – so I added some stripes running down them.

Your pattern has the added stripes. 🙂

That nose!

I wanted the nose to be solid, but instead of satin stitching I decided to applique it with a tiny scrap of black felt for a velvety soft texture.

At this point I just left it unstitched.

Step 6

Trim the fabric down to 1/2 inch outside the rectangle.

Make sure you do that now – once you soak away the stabilizer that handy line will disappear. 🙂

Step 7

Soak the piece in cold water for an hour or longer. I often leave mine to soak overnight with no problem. Rinse it in clean water, gently squeeze out the extra water, and iron it dry face down on a fluffy towel. This video shows how I iron my embroidery dry without smooshing the stitches.

Step 8

Whipstitch the nose in place using matching thread.

For a small piece like this I like to use a glue stick to hold the piece in place while I stitch it down.

Step 9

Stitching done!

The front piece for your pencil case is all fancied up. Now it’s time to sew it up into a pouch.

Cut a back piece from the main fabric 10 x 5 inches.

Cut two lining pieces, also 10 x 5 inches.

Step 10

Follow the instructions in this post to sew up your fancy lined zipper pouch. 🙂

Finished!

Now – go check out the rest of the series! It’s a fun group of free projects!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Free September Wallpaper

Happy September!

September is Woodland Critters Month at Shiny Happy World, so I used one of my favorite blocks from the Woodland Critters quilt pattern to make this month’s wallpaper. I love that fox! 🙂

Want to see what’s coming this month at Shiny Happy World?

Download your wallpaper below – there are options both with and without a September calendar.

Click here to download the one for computers/tablets.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Click here to download the one for phones.

Click here to download the same image with no calendar.

Have a great month! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi