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

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

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

Bears in the Hills

The Bears in the Hills are here!

I’ve been working on this for a while now and it’s finally to a place where you all can join in!

Sign up for the workshop here.

It’s the same price as a pattern, but it’s set up as a video workshop on Teachable, where I host all my free introductory workshops.

If you sign up right now you’ll find the pattern pieces, an overview of the tools and supplies needed, and instructions for cutting, prepping, and layering all the pieces.

I’ll be adding videos showing how I do the stitching on the hills as we go along – probably at a rate of something like one new video every week. You won’t need to do anything special to access the new videos – they’ll just pop up in your classroom as soon as I load them up. Easy peasy!

The first video to come will show how to give your bears their faces. I want to see them all smiling at me while I work!

Sign up for the workshop here.

I can’t wait to see all your bears!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Monster Pattern Sale – 20% Off

October is Monster Month (of course) so we’re having a Monster Craft-Along and a Monster Pattern Sale!

Stacey and I both LOVE monsters, so you’ve got a lot of patterns to choose from. 🙂 Those images up there are just a tiny sample.

Shop all the patterns here.

Use the discount code SILLY for 20% off.

Sale ends Monday 10/7 at midnight eastern time.

Stacey and I both have really terrific monster classes on Craftsy. The Shiny Happy World sale code doesn’t work on them, but Craftsy has sales all the time and if you use these links you’ll get the current sale price.

Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster Craftsy Class

Stacey’s Design Your Own Monster class is fantastic – my favorite of all her classes. Get that class here.

Cute Quilt-As-You-Go Applique Monsters - a new Craftsy class with Wendi Gratz of Shiny Happy World

My Cute Quilt-As-You-Go Applique Monsters class includes my Mix & Match Monsters pattern. It’s so much fun to make! Get that class here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Peekaboo Mouse Pattern

A lot of people have pulled the little mouse from the Noisy Farm quilt pattern to use in other quilts – but not everyone wants to buy a pattern with twelve different farm animals just for the little mouse!

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately for the mouse as his own little pattern.

He’s finally here!

You can use it on its own – that mouse would be adorable peeking out of a pocket. Or you can use it combined with other quilt patterns, as shown in the image above.

Important note – the pattern only includes the mouse – not the cat. The cat is just there to show the two ways you can use the mouse pattern in your quilt blocks.

I didn’t just write up the pattern – I also recorded some new video tutorials especially for this little guy!

This is the first pattern I’ve ever done where I also include a link to download an SVG file of the pattern pieces – for those who have cutting machines like Cricut and Silhouette.

This video shows what to do with that file (for a Cricut Maker) once you’ve downloaded it. Heads up – it’s a long one.

If you don’t use a cutting machine, that’s fine. The pattern includes the regular pattern pieces for printing or tracing and cutting by hand.

Once you’ve got all your pieces cut, here’s how to assemble the little guy. I show how to put him on the edge of the block, and also how to make him peek out from behind another applique critter.

Finally – there’s the outlining. I know a lot of people will see that face and think NO WAY. I don’t like hand-stitching and that’s too small to do on the machine.

Not so!

Of course you can stitch the face by hand, but you can do every bit of it on the machine – no fancy embroidery features needed. Here’s how I do it on mine, just using regular straight stitch.

That’s it!

Get the pattern here and start adding adorable little mice to all your projects. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Sea Creatures Quilt Pattern Is Here!

The Sea Creatures quilt pattern is here!

Folks have been waiting a long time for this one – I promised it way back when I designed the Fish quilt pattern, knowing that I wanted to make the two of them work together so you can make an ocean quilt full of colorful fish AND all the other critters that live under the sea.

It’s finally here!

You get patterns for eleven different sea creatures plus three different seaweed shapes. 🙂

Like all Shiny Happy World patterns, it comes with complete instructions for three different sizes, and it’s packed with links to videos teaching all the skills you’ll need.

Get the Fish quilt pattern here and get the Sea Creatures pattern here.

I can’t wait to see what you make!

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi

Make a Wall Hanging! Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

If you’re like most quilters – you have a LOT of patterns. 🙂

It’s always great to come up with another use for one of your favorites – especially if you can make an accessory to go WITH one of your best quilts.

You can always turn a single block into a wall hanging and hang it just as it is. But it’s extra fun to give that block a special frame to really set it off and make it into a piece of art. 🙂

And it’s even more fun if that frame uses a wonky version of a traditional quilt pattern.

For this wall hanging I used one of my favorite blocks from the Cuddly Cats quilt pattern – no resizing. So it’s a 10 inch block in the center, with a wonky churn dash frame around it. The entire wall hanging is 16 inches square.

Here’s what you need. . .

  • 18 inch square piece of batting (I use Warm & Natural cotton batting.)
  • 10 1/2 inch square background block
  • scraps (less than 1/4 yard of each color) for the cat applique, the churn dash frame, and the second background around the frame
  • fat quarter for back of wall hanging

Here’s how to make it using Quilt As You Go. . .

Step 1

Press your batting square. Center your background block in the center of the batting.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Quilt the square to the batting.

I used double wavy stripes on mine. You can find a tutorial for that here.

(That fabric is Sketch in Smoke from Timeless Treasures, available here.)

Step 2

Applique the design to the block – being sure to line the lower edge of the applique up with the lower edge of the background block.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Add a backing to your wall hanging (I used spray adhesive to baste it to the batting) and outline your applique. Here’s a closer look at the placement and the outlining.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

You can find a complete video showing how I applique with fusible adhesive here.

Set that block aside while we make the pieces for the frame.

(That adorable fabric I used for the cat is Hash Dot in Lime from Michael Miller Fabrics, available here.)

Step 3

Cut four background corner pieces each 5 inches square. I used dark grey for mine.

Cut four right triangles with the legs (not the hypotenuse) anywhere between 4 and 5 inches long. The triangles should all be a little different.

Lay one triangle face down over the corner of one square, so that the points of the triangle (at each end of the hypotenuse) just hang over the edges of the square, as shown.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Sew the triangle to the square. Your seam allowance doesn’t need to be exactly 1/4 inch.

(I used yellow Little Stripes for the frame, and Cotton Couture in Charcoal for the background. Both are from Michael Miller Fabrics and you get get fat quarter bundles of those Little Stripes here.)

Step 4

Trim away the excess fabric from the corner.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Fold the triangle out and press.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Step 5

Trim the triangle down to a 3 inch square. (There’s a tutorial here showing how to use a square ruler for easy trimming.)

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Make sure there is more than 1/4 inch between the points of the triangle and the edge of the background fabric square. That will make it impossible to accidentally chop off the points when you assemble the whole frame. 🙂 Yay for foolproof tricks!

Repeat for the other three squares, so you have the four corners of your churn dash block. The sizes and angles of the triangle should all be a little different.

Set them aside.

Step 6

Cut four background strips 12 inches x 3 inches.

Cut four frame strips 12 inches x 2 1/2 inches.

Sew the frame strips to the background strips and then trim those rectangles down to 10 1/2 inches x 3 inches. Make the seam between the two strips go at a slight angle – and make all the angles a little different to make your finished block more interesting.

You can see my finished rectangles in the next step. See how some are wider than others? And they all slant a bit?

Step 7

Lay out all the components as shown.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Play around with the placement of the frame pieces until you’re happy with how things look.

Step 8

Sew the side pieces of the frame to the sides of the block, sewing through the batting and backing too. For this and the rest of the project it’s important to use an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Press the side pieces open.

Step 9

Sew together the corners and strips for the top and bottom rows of the frame.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Press your seams in toward the strips – away from the corner triangles.

Step 10

Sew the top and bottom rows to the center of the block, being careful to line up the seams.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Press the whole block flat.

Step 11

Quilt the frame if you want to. (It doesn’t need it structurally, so just do it for looks if you like.) I stitched in the ditch around the outside edge of the frame and that’s it.

Trim away the excess batting around the edges and bind your mini quilt.

Make a Wall Hanging - How to Add a Wonky Churn Dash Frame to Your Favorite Quilt Block - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

This video shows my favorite binding method.

If you like, there’s a tutorial here showing how to add a hanging sleeve to the back.

Finished!

Hang it on the wall and enjoy!

You can use the same method to make a fancy framed pillow cover. 🙂

Want to see more ideas for things you can do with a quilt pattern? Check out this round-up.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Penelope Panda – a free applique pattern

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern 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!

The Bunches of Bears quilt pattern has thirteen different bears in it.

But you can never have enough bears! And it didn’t have a panda so I decided to make one more block – and make it free. 🙂

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.

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

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.

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

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.

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Leave a little seam allowance on the dotted lines ­- the top of the shoulders and the base of the ears will tuck behind the head.

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 eye, and the adhesive will stabilize the fabric so you can trace on it without it crinkling up.

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

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

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

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

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!

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

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. Tuck the ears and the shoulders behind the head.

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

Do NOT fuse down the black eyes yet.

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Fuse the pieces in place.

Step 7

Stitch around the grey eye backings using matching thread and just a simple straight stitch.

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

This video has some tips for outlining those tight curves.

Step 8

NOW position the black eyes and fuse in place.

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Step 9

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

Penelope Panda - a free applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Done!

Want a handy dandy PDF of this entire post – with all the instructions and all the links to additional tutorials? Sign up for the Shiny Happy News here and you’ll get the PDF in an instant email. If you already get the newsletter, you can still enter your email address to get the PDF. The newsletter system is smart and won’t sign you up twice. 🙂

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

If you’re making a bunch of panda 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. 🙂

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

Bunches of Bears – a new quilt pattern

Bunches of Bears - easy applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

Did you see the new quilt pattern?

It’s called Bunches of Bears and it includes patterns for, well, bunches of bears!

Thirteen bears, to be exact.

(My patterns usually include twelve block designs, but I always start by drawing way more than that and then narrow it down. This time I just couldn’t narrow things down any more. I loved all of them too much!)

The pattern cover shows one of each of the twelve blocks. Here’s what they’d look like in a crib-sized quilt.

Bunches of Bears crib size quilt

Click over to the listing in the shop to see sample layouts in nap and twin size.

And click here to watch a video where I share a bunch of different layouts you can do with the same pattern. Here’s one that includes some accessories from the Fancy Doodads pattern, some half-blocks using the free abc applique pattern, and an alternate grid layout.

Bunches of Bears - easy applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

Get the Bunches of Bears pattern here. And have fun with it!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi