Think BIG! Fun and Easy Giant Applique Class

Fox applique fabric pieces (unassembled) and blue scissors

Think BIG is here!

It’s a brand new class covering everything you need to know to do GIANT applique.

  • How to enlarge any applique pattern to any size you like – including an easy formula
  • How to work with that giant pattern
  • What to do when the pattern pieces are bigger than the biggest fusible adhesive you can buy
  • What to do when your applique is way bigger than your ironing board

You’ll get general information that you can use for any applique of any size for any project – but you’ll also get all the pattern pieces and instructions to make four fun projects.

Make a BIG poster.

large blue applique cat on pink background with words Don't forget to have Fun!

You’ll get the giant cat pattern, the alphabet, and the instructions to make a big poster.

I made this reminder to hang in my new studio – but you can make anything you like! This would be a great project for a new baby. Make a baby quilt, then enlarge your favorite block from the quilt to make a matching poster with baby’s name and birth date!

Make a BIG pillow.

Giant applique Fox pillow from the Think BIG Giant Applique Class from Shiny Happy World

You’ll get the giant fox pattern plus all the instructions to make a big pillow. Mine is 26 inches square – but the class includes instructions to enlarge to any size you like. Make a big floor pillow to match one of the blocks in your favorite applique quilt!

Make a BIG bunny baby quilt.

Big Bunny applique Baby Quilt from the Think BIG Applique Class from Shiny Happy World

This bunny quilt is fast and easy. You can make it in a day! The corner bunnies are “normal” 10 inch blocks and the center medallion is a whopping 30 inches square. The class includes instructions for easy peasy Quilt As You Go construction. You could easily adapt the pattern to work with any applique design in your stash, to match any nursery theme – but you’ll get the bunny pattern in both sizes.

Make a BIG napping quilt.

Big Lap Quilt with giant yellow applique dog from the Think BIG Applique Class from Shiny Happy World

Whoa! Look at that giant version of my Augie Dog! It’s way WAY bigger than the original. 🙂

You’ll get the full-sized puppy pattern plus complete instructions to make a 50 x 60 inch napping-size quilt – my favorite size for curling up on the couch. Using Quilt As You Go doesn’t make much sense for a quilt made of one HUGE block, so I include a video with tips for quilting it.

Of course, the class includes instructions to enlarge any block to size for a quilt like this. I’ve already had one reader suggest a quilt with a single “doll” from the Paper Dolls quilt, enlarged to be the same size as your child or grandchild. What a brilliant idea!

By the end of the class you’ll be able to adapt ANY applique design to ANY size you like – and add huge fun to all your favorite patterns. 🙂

Sign up for the class here.

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

The New Craftsy Class Includes QAYG Sashing!

I’ve had so many requests for more info about using sashing with Quilt As You Go Quilts!

I don’t usually use sashing in my quilts, so I had to put on my thinking cap for this one to come up with a method that was easy and didn’t involve any hand sewing.

I came up with two methods!

A sneak peek at a QAYG quilt with traditional-style sashing added.

One the table in front of me you can see a little peek at a quilt with traditional-style sashing. It’s super easy to do and I love the black and white stripes with the colorful monsters. 🙂

But then I started thinking about making the sashing a little more wonky – fun and even easier to do.

wonky faux sashing on a QAYG block - so easy and fun!

Black and white stripes again – but a totally different look. I love it!

The technique for the wonky sashing really lends itself to a scrappy look.

Oooh! Scrappy QAYG pieced block with applique and scrappy faux sashing.

Scrappy QAYG pieced background with applique and a scrappy faux sashing! My scraps are in need of busting – and this is a super fun way to do it.

But wait! There’s one more and I saved the best for last!

Like I said – I don’t usually do sashing. I decided as long as I was going to add sashing – could I do something even MORE with it?

Maybe make the monsters look like they’re busting out of their frames?

Monster quilt blocks busting out of their sashing frames! So much fun!I love, love, LOVE these blocks!

You’ll learn all these techniques in my new Craftsy class!

Happy quilting!

Best,
WendiWendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Tips for Quilting a Cuddle Fleece Back – video tutorial

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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!


I love using cuddle fleece for my quilt backs.

When I made the first cat quilt for my daughter Jo, she asked for cuddle fleece on the back. Until then I had only used it for stuffed animals, but she thought it would make an exceptionally cuddly quilt.

She was right.

After sleeping under it the first night she came to me and very seriously said, “Mommy. You should never use anything else on the back of your quilts.”

She was right again. 🙂

Wonderfully – I’ve found that it’s no harder to work with than a woven fabric on the back!

A lot of people have asked me whether they have to do anything special to use cuddle fleece on the back of their quilts.

  • Do they need to use a special needle?
  • Do they needle to use a particular thread?
  • Do they have to use a walking foot?
  • Can I show actually doing some of the quilting?
  • Can I show what it looks like from the back?

I can show you all of that!

I’ve made a bunch of these now and I’ve found that I don’t really need to treat it any different from using a woven fabric background. In fact – I think it’s even less likely to get tiny folds or puckers in it. 🙂

A note about the fluff. . .

By the time I get to the backing/quilting/binding step of a project I’m always super excited to finish – and I don’t take the time to tumble the backing in the dryer to get rid of the fluff on those cut edges. 😛 If you’re more patient than me. . .

  • Cut the backing to size
  • Toss it in the dryer on air dry for 15-20 minutes. That will pull almost all of the fuzz off the edges and catch it in the lint trap.
  • Proceed as normal – baste, quilt and bind wearing whatever you want and not worrying about getting too messy. 🙂

Cuddle fleece makes an extra cuddly quilt with (in my opinion) the perfect weight. And it washes and wears beautifully!

Other helpful links. . .

Have you got any other questions? Just ask! I may make another video to answer it. 🙂

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

How to Join Quilt As You Go Blocks – video tutorial

How to Join Quilt As You Go Blocks - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

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!


I get a lot of questions about how to join Quilt As You Go blocks. . .

  • Do I have to use a special needle?
  • Do I have to use a special thread?
  • Do I have to trim the batting out of the seam allowance?
  • How do I press the seams?
  • Aren’t the seams super bulky?

The answers to all of these questions is NOPE.

Seriously. You don’t have to do anything special. Basically, just pretend like the batting isn’t even there. Watch. . .

See? Nothing fancy. No special skills or tools.

If you’re bummed that I didn’t show exactly how to press that seam open or show an entire quilt back, bum no more! This video shows how I press the seams open, and this one shows a big section of quilt back before I attach the backing.

I think a lot of the questions come from people who just can’t believe how easy it is. Like, there’s this nagging feeling that they must be missing an important, fussy step. For example – trimming the excess batting out of all the seam allowances. I can’t imagine anything more tedious or less fun and I’ve had several people ask if they have to do that. *shudders at the thought*

It really is dead simple and super easy. Have fun with it!

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

How to Trim Quilt Blocks – video tutorial

How to Square and Trim Finished Quilt Blocks

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!

I usually follow these steps to make any of my Quilt As You Go applique quilts. . .

  1. cut quilt blocks (and batting) 11 inches square
  2. quilt the blocks
  3. applique the blocks
  4. outline stitch the applique
  5. trim quilt blocks 10 1/2 inches square
  6. sew the quilt blocks together
  7. press seams open
  8. baste to backing
  9. quilt
  10. bind

I’ve had several requests for more information about step 5 – specifically a video showing how to square and trim quilt blocks. It’s actually really easy – if you have the right tools.

Here’s how. . .

I don’t have very many rotary cutting rulers – but this is one that I really can’t imagine doing without. I highly recommend it if you do any quilting at all. This is the exact ruler that I use to trim quilt blocks* – the one you see in the video. It’s not inexpensive, but Joann’s always seems to have a good coupon and that can make a big difference. 🙂

Handy links:

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

*Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. That means I earn a tiny commission if you click through and buy. 🙂

Quilt As You Go – Everything You Need to Know

Quilt As You Go - everything you need to know in one handy place

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!


The Quilt As You Go lessons, videos and patterns are the most popular pages here at Shiny Happy World. That makes sense! It’s a super easy and fun way of quilting, and I don’t know of anyone else who does it quite the way I do.

Over time I’ve added a bunch of tutorials to answer questions, demonstrate specific steps, and make things as easy as possible. It’s time for one page to corral all those Quilt As You Go instructions!

If you want to work through these lessons in a systematic way – sign up for Let’s Make a Quilt!

Let's Make a Quilt! - a free video class from Shiny Happy World teaching you everything you need to make a quilt using Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive

It’s free, and you can use any pattern to practice all your new skills!

Getting Started with Quilt As You Go

If you’re just getting started and want to know what the heck QAYG is, start with this video – What Is Quilt As You Go and How Do You Do It? Then jump to this video – How to Assemble and Finish Your QAYG Quilt.

Those two videos will give you a basic overview of the process. You’ll find lots more videos in the sections below.

You MUST use 100% cotton batting. I use Warm & Natural* and I love it (here’s why).

Cutting the Fabric

I’m currently rewriting all of my patterns to these cutting instructions. . .

Cut the blocks and batting 11 inches square (or even a smidge bigger – it doesn’t have to be exact). This will give you a little wiggle room and I like wiggle room.

After you quilt and applique the block, then trim the block to 10 1/2″ square. (There’s a video demonstrating this here.)

Sew the blocks together using 1/4″ seam allowance so that the finished block size is 10 inches. (Watch How to Join Quilt As You Go Blocks here.)

For half blocks (like adding words to your quilt) cut the initial blocks 11 x 6 inches. After quilting and applique, trim to 10 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. Finished blocks will be 10 x 5 inches – exactly half the size of a full block.

Quilting Patterns

I get a lot of questions about how I quilt my blocks. Here are some specific answers. . .

  • I don’t baste the batting to the block. I find that the cotton fabric clings just fine to the cotton batting and I don’t have problems with shifting.
  • I don’t mark any of my quilting patterns – I just jump in and start doodling on the machine and it’s lots of fun.
  • I don’t use a special needle or thread – just a universal 80/12 needle and regular all-purpose thread.
  • I do set my stitch length a little longer – a 3 on my machine. I like the look of the bigger stitches and it makes the quilting go faster. 🙂
  • I do use a walking foot. All the quilting patterns I currently use work fine with the feed dogs and walking foot engaged – through I think this method would also work very well for people learning free motion quilting. That will be me next year. 🙂

You can watch how I do it and see a gallery of quilting pattern ideas in the following videos. . .

Piecing or Applique?

You can use QAYG for piecing or applique – but I especially love it for applique. I quilt all my blocks first, and then I applique over the quilting.

A lot of people ask – don’t the quilting lines show through your applique when you do the quilting first?

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with that and I’ve gotten to a place where that almost never ever happens. Here’s what to do. . .

  1. Use 100% cotton fabric. The worst show through I’ve had is when I’ve accidentally used a piece of mystery fabric that turned out to have synthetic content. 🙁
  2. Iron your quilted block nice and smooth and let it cool without moving before adding your applique. It’s an extra step, but it only takes a few seconds and it makes a big difference.

If you’re really worried about it, you can do the quilting after you applique. I give tips on that for lots of different patterns in these videos.

If you’re thinking about using Quilt As You Go for a pieced quilt – take a look at this gorgeous scrap quilt.

More About Applique

This is the applique technique I use for all my quilts. When combined with Quilt As You Go it’s a super fun, easy and fast technique – great for beginners of all ages and still fun for experienced sewists.

Outline Stitching

I usually outline all my pieces with all-purpose black thread and a simple straight stitch. I love the slightly cartoony look and I think it works well with the style of my applique designs.

I get a LOT of questions from people worried about the durablity of just outline stitching. They don’t want to satin stitch, but they think they have to in order to keep the edges from fraying. I’ve never had problems with that with the materials I use – click here to read more and see some photos of a quilt that’s been washed a kajillion times.

Of course, you can use any decorative stitching you choose if that’s the look you want! I’m more likely to stick with the straight stitch and use a thicker thread if I want a heavier line. Read more about playing with different thread weights here.

This post has more information to help you plan out the order of your outline stitching.

This post has tips for outlining small pieces like eyes and noses.

Final Assembly and Quilting

After trimming, I sew my blocks together just like any quilt. Just sew through the top and the batting – pretend the batting isn’t there. Watch me sew QAYG blocks together in this video.

I press my seams open to eliminate bulk. You do NOT need to trim the batting out of the seam allowance. That would very quickly turn this into a not-fun technique. 😛

You don’t need to stick with the layout suggested in the pattern. This post has a bunch of fun variations to try. Here are just a few. . .

Baste your finished quilt top to your back using whatever method you like. I have had nightmare experiences with spray basting, so I stick to pins. You can see how I baste a quilt here.

Quilt the top to the backing just along the major seam lines. Sometimes I stitch in the ditch using a straight stitch, sometimes I stitch 1/4″ to each side of my major seams. Sometimes I use a zigzag or decorative stitch to quilt those seams. All of those options work equally well.

Bind your finished quilt just like any other quilt using your favorite method. This video shows my favorite quilt binding method.

Whew! That’s a lot of information! Please email me if you have any questions that aren’t covered here. I’m always adding new info as needed!

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World
*Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. That means I earn a tiny commission if you click through and buy. 🙂

Quilt As You Go – Wavy Stripes and Grids

QAYG wavy stripes and grids - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

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!


In my first batch of Quilt As You Go videos I showed the lines I was stitching on paper. I did this so you could get a bird’s-eye overview of the whole block, and also so you could see how to quilt around the applique, in case you choose to do things in that order. (I like to do my quilting first, then applique over it – but you can do it either way.)

But I’ve had several people ask for a video showing exactly how I sew these patterns at the machine. They want to know. . .

  • What kind of needle are you using?
  • How are you basting the block? Pins? Spray baste?
  • Are you using special thread?
  • What stitch length are you using?
  • What are you using to mark the lines?

So here’s a video with all those answers! This one shows how I do Quilt As You Go with wavy lines – all the wavy stripes and grids that I love so much.

You can see the video about straight stripes and grids here.

In the video I promised to show a gallery of quilt as you go designs – a menu of sorts that you can refer to when you’re looking for ideas. Here that is. If you click on any image you can see it a little bigger.

I almost always quilt my blocks before I applique. Some of these blocks are shown after the applique is added, but I did the quilting first. You can do it in any order you like, but if you quilt after you applique you have to go around the shapes.

Ready? Jump in and have fun! Quilt as you go makes your quilting super fun and easy.

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Quilt As you Go – Stripes and Grids

QAYG stripes and grids - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

In my first batch of Quilt As You Go videos I showed the lines I was stitching on paper. I did this so you could get a bird’s-eye overview of the whole block instead of seeing it at an angle as it is in the machine. (You can see the video on straight line stripes here.)

But I’ve had several people ask for a video showing exactly how I sew these patterns at the machine. They want to know. . .

  • What kind of needle are you using?
  • How are you basting the block? Pins? Spray baste?
  • Are you using special thread?
  • What stitch length are you using?
  • What are you using to mark the lines?

So here’s a video with all those answers! This one shows how I do Quilt As You Go with straight lines – all the basic stripes and grids that I love so much.

There’s another video here that’s all about wavy lines.

In the video I promised to show a gallery of quilt as you go designs – a menu of sorts that you can refer to when you’re looking for ideas. Here that is. If you click on any image you can see it a little bigger.

I almost always quilt my blocks before I applique. Some of these blocks are shown after the applique is added, but I did the quilting first. You can do it in any order you like, but if you quilt after you applique you have to go around the shapes. I show more about how to do that in my first round of QAYG videos.

Ready? Jump in and have fun! Quilt as you go makes your quilting super fun and easy.

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Quilt As You Go #11 – Triangles – a video tutorial

QAYG Triangles - video tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldHere’s #11 in the Quilt As You Go series. This one shows one of my very favorite patterns – interlocking triangles.

Like the interlocking boxes, this one takes a little thinking as you go. Don’t be afraid to stop after each triangle to plan your next move!

Take a look at these sample blocks. You can click on any of them to see more detail (especially the ones with the mottled backgrounds).

Now that you’ve seen some samples, here’s the video showing how.

See? Not too hard. :-)

As always – you can do this quilting before you do your applique – no matter what applique method you’re using. FusibleFreezer paperNeedle-turn? It’s all good!

Handy dandy links. . .

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi

Quilt As You Go #10 – How to Quilt Interlocking Boxes (video)

QAYG boxes - video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

We’re up to #10 in the Quilt As You Go series. In this video I show you how to quilt interlocking boxes. I love the mosaic-ish kind of look of this pattern!

It breaks out of the row formation we’ve seen in previous patterns, and that means it take a little more thinking as you go – but it’s not hard. Just give yourself permission to slow down or stop whenever you need to in order to plan your next step.

Take a look at this sample block. You can click on it to see it bigger for more detail.

Quilt As You Go #10 - How to Quilt Interlocking Boxes - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Now that you’re seen a sample – here’s the video showing how.

See? Easy peasy. 🙂

As always – you can do this quilting before you do your applique – no matter what applique method you’re using. Fusible? Freezer paper? Needle-turn? It’s all good!

Handy dandy links. . .

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!