Meet Sanford Squirrel

It’s the 15th! That means it’s New Pattern Day in the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club!

Meet Sanford! He’s just a little bit grumpy.

He’s even grumpy at a party! Here he is wearing a party hat from the Fancy Doodads pattern. 🙂

There’s already a squirrel block in the Woodland Critters quilt pattern – but I’ve never been entirely happy with it. He just doesn’t have a ton of personality. 🙁

But this guy! This guy definitely has personality. 🙂

Here’s how to make him. . .

See how easy that is?

Here are those links I promised. . .

Click here for the tutorial showing how to outline with thicker thread.

Click here for the tutorial showing how to frame any block in a Polaroid frame.

If you’re already in the Funny Faces club, you can access the clubhouse with this link. Grab the new pattern!

If you’re not in the club yet, you can use this link to join.

I can’t wait to see your squirrels!

Happy stitching!

Meet Russell Rat – the Newest Funny Faces Block

It’s the 15th! That means it’s New Pattern Day in the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club!

We just celebrated Chinese New Year last month and it’s now the year of the rat – so I made a cute rat block!

Want to see how easy it is to assemble? Watch this video. . .

See how easy that is?

If you’re already in the club, you can access the clubhouse with this link. Grab the new pattern!

If you’re not in the club yet, you can use this link to join.

I can’t wait to see your adorable rats! Not a sentence I’ve ever said before. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Serena Seal – the new Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club Pattern

The new Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month pattern is out! Here’s the video showing how to put it all together. If you’re not a member yet – see how easy it is!

Here are all the links I mentioned in the video. . .

Happy stitching!


Kevin Koala Applique Pattern

There’s a new Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club pattern.

Meet Kevin Koala!

I made a pink-on-pink-on-pink version, too. 😄

If you’re already in the club, pop over to the clubhouse to download your new pattern.

If you’re not in the club yet, you can join here.

This cutie is super easy to make. Here’s a video showing how to assemble the block.

Here are all the links I promised. . .

Happy stitching!


North Pole Quilt-Along

Ready for a fun project? We’re having a Quilt-Along through the end of the year!

Build a house! Or two. Or a whole neighborhood. 🙂

I’m going to make a quilt – but you can make anything you like. Here are a bunch of free patterns that would work great with these houses.

Get the Shiny Happy Houses quilt pattern here.

Get the free signs to make North Pole buildings here.

If you want to use that shimmery white fabric I used for the snowy ground, you can get that here.

I’m also going to add sashing strips between my rows of houses, to make an extra snowy landscape. ☃️

Tag your photos #WinterCAL2019 and post them to the Shiny Happy People group. The Winter Craft-Along is a larger craft-along for projects that use any Shiny Happy World or FreshStitches winter or holiday pattern. There will be lots of prizes in lots of different categories – including a prize just for North Pole projects.

Happy stitching! I can’t wait to see your houses!


How to Make a Polaroid Quilt

I’ve been working on this for quite a while now and it’s finally here.

Instructions to make a Polaroid frame for any of my square applique patterns!

Not only that – I’m including instructions (and yardage requirements) for making a whole Polaroid quilt!

Let’s jump in!

Note – the instructions that follow are for my Quilt As You Go method and applique with fusible adhesive. There’s a free workshop teaching both methods here.

Step 1

Choose any of my square applique patterns. They’re all designed to finish at 10 inches, so they’ll all fit in the Polaroid frame dimensions we’ll be working with here.

If you don’t have any of my quilt patterns, you can buy one here, or choose one of the free patterns available here.

Step 2

Prep your materials. For a single block (good for a pillow cover) you’ll need. . .

  • 1 piece of cotton batting cut 18 inches square (or a little larger)
  • 1 piece of fabric for the background of the “photo” cut 10 1/2″ square
  • scraps of white fabric (I like using white on white prints for a tiny bit of texture) cut into the following strips
    • two strips 1 1/4″ x 10 1/2″
    • 1 strip 1 1/4″ x 12″
    • 1 strip 3 3/4″ x 12″
  • 1/3 yard background fabric (the part around the Polaroid frame) – for best results, use a fabric that is a random scattered pattern that works in all directions. I love the speckly polkadots I used and I’ve got them on order in a bunch of great colors for the shop.
    • two 5″ strips cut the full width of the fabric
  • scraps of fabric for the applique
  • fusible adhesive (I use Heat & Bond Lite for all my quilts)

Step 3

Press your batting square (with steam) and let it cool before you move it.

Layer your “photo” background at a slight angle (you’ll want to vary the angle a bit in each block of your quilt) and quilt it to the batting.

There’s a post here showing some of my favorite no-marking straight line quilting patterns here, and wavy quilting patterns here.

Press the block again and let it cool.

Step 4

Layer, fuse, and outline your applique.

Making sure that the raw edges at the bottom of the shoulders are lined up with the raw edge at the bottom of your background block.

Note – I’m zoomed in now to the “photo” that will be inside your Polaroid, just to get you the closest view possible. Your “photo” will be surrounded by bare batting – for now.

Let’s start building the frame!

Step 5

Using your 1 1/4″ x 10 1/2″ white strips and 1/4″ seam allowance, sew a strip to each side of your block.

Flip both strips out and press.

If you want to see this “stitch and flip” method of adding strips to a QAYG block in action, you can watch this video.

Step 6

Sew the 1 1/4″ x 12″ strip to the top of your block, opening and pressing the strip like the side strips.

Step 7

Complete the Polaroid frame by adding the 3 3/4″ x 12″ strip to the bottom of the photo.

See how the raw edges at the bottom of your applique are all hidden now? It looks just like a photo!

Now it’s time to cover up the rest of the batting.

Step 8

Pick any side of your Polaroid and sew on a strip of the background fabric, using the same “stitch & flip” method.

The rest of the photos will be zoomed out like this one so that you can see the whole block. The background fabric should completely cover the batting and there will be some overhang.

Step 9

Continue adding strips to cover the batting. I moved on to the right side next.

And then the top.

And finally the last side.

You can go in any order you like – just continue until the batting is covered.

Oops! I still have a little sliver exposed!

I’m not going to worry about it. I know I cut my batting square on the big side, and my next step is going to be to trim the block down to size. I’ll keep an eye on that sliver. If it doesn’t get trimmed away, I’ll use a scrap of the same fabric to add one more strip to cover it.

Step 10

Trim the block to 17 1/2″ square. That way when you sew it together with other blocks to make a quilt, it will finish at 17″ square.

My first step in trimming is always to flip the block over and trim away the excess background fabric from the batting edges. That way I know exactly where the batting ends.

I just use my rotary cutting tools to cut away those red triangles showing around the batting square.

Then flip your block back over and trim to size. make sure you leave at least 1/4″ of background fabric around each corner of your Polaroid frame. You don’t want those corners to get buried when you sew your blocks together!


I was careful to trim away that uncovered sliver of batting.

There’s a video here showing how I trim and square my blocks. I invested in a special 20 1/2″ square ruler especially for these big blocks – the biggest square ruler I could find – but you can use regular rotary cutting tools.

Make a Quilt

Here’s a little mockup showing just four blocks together. If you use the same fabric for all the backgrounds, it looks like a page in an album with a bunch of Polaroids scattered on it!

Here are some dimensions and yardage requirements for all three of my standard quilt sizes.

Crib Quilt

My crib quilts are usually 50″ x 50″ but for the Polaroid version it will be 51″ square. Make 9 blocks total, arranged 3 x 3.

  • 1 1/4 yard total of fabrics for the “photo” backgrounds
  • 3/4 yard white fabric
  • 2 3/4 yards background fabric
  • at least 3 fat quarters for applique, though you’ll probably want more for variety

Napping Quilt

My napping quilts are usually 50″ x 60″ but for the Polaroid version it will be 51″ x 68″. Make 12 blocks total, arranged 3 x 4.

  • 1 1/2 yards total of fabrics for the “photo” backgrounds
  • 1 yard white fabric
  • 3 1/2 yards background fabric
  • at least 3 fat quarters for applique, though you’ll probably want more for variety

Twin Quilt

My twin quilts are usually 70″ x 90″ but for the Polaroid version it will be 68″ x 85″. Make 20 blocks total, arranged 4 x 5.

  • 2 1/4 yards total of fabrics for the “photo” backgrounds
  • 1 1/2 yards white fabric
  • 5 3/4 yards background fabric
  • at least 5 fat quarters for applique, though you’ll probably want more for variety

You can get a lot of the fabrics you need in my shop.

The fat quarter bundles are all shown in the shop as a stack of fat quarters and are ideal for the appliques.

Fabric bundles (shown in the shop as color-coordinated strips of fabric) are all precut 12″ strips perfect for the “photo” backgrounds. The bundle sizes are all based on my normal quilt layouts. For Polaroid quilts a crib-sized bundle is enough to make all the photo backgrounds in a twin-sized quilt.

For the white fabric, I really like using white-on-white prints. The White Architextures print I have in the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundles is perfect, and I have some leftovers available. You can get that here.

Finally – I’m adding some great fabrics for the backgrounds to the shop. I’ve got that terrific scattered speckly polkadot print like I used in my sample coming in in lots of great colors. They’ll be available by the half yard.

I can’t wait to see your Polaroid blocks!

Find links to all the posts about pattern size and layouts here.

Quilt Sizes and Supplies Needed

Play with Your Layouts – Multiple Possibilities for One Quilt Pattern


How to Make Applique Bust Out of Its Frame

Alternate or Broken Grid layouts (adding half and double blocks)

How to Make an Applique Rag Quilt

How to Make a Polaroid Quilt

How to Make a Wonky Churn Dash Frame for Any Block

Finished with this topic?

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

Move on to the lessons about choosing your fabric.

Fergal the Fox – applique pattern

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a survey asking readers which block from each of my quilt patterns you’d like to see as an individual pattern. Your responses were awesome! I’ll be working over the next several weeks to release the patterns you chose – and I’m starting with the one that was most clearly a favorite.

The fox!

Of all the blocks in the Woodland Critters quilt pattern, the fox got a whopping 48.6% of the vote!

I’d say that’s a pretty clear favorite. 😄

So here it is!

You can get the new Fergal Fox applique pattern here.

And here’s the video showing how to assemble him.

Those whiskery cheeks make him a little trickier to put together than most of my other patterns, but he’s still easy enough for beginners.

Want to see a giant fox pillow I made with this pattern?

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

(I show how to make this project in the Think BIG! giant applique class.)

Have fun with the fox pattern! I can’t wait to see what you all make!

Coming next, your favorite fish from this pattern.


Happy stitching!

Make a Fancy Felt Frame – free tutorial

I had so much fun with the Bears in the Hills project that I immediately needed another way to play with felt applique and embroidery. I had been having glimmers of an idea about using traditional quilt patterns as felt applique and I thought it would be fun to do that as a frame around one of my applique patterns.

It was so much fun to make that I decided to put together a tutorial showing how to make the frame. I want you to be able to use it in combination with any of my applique patterns you already have. I’m always looking for ways you can get more use out of your library of patterns. 😄

So here we go!

This layout works for two different possibilities. If you want the full rectangle, use a double-sized sheet of felt (I carry them now in the shop in some colors) and a 12″ x 18″ frame. That’s a standard size I know for sure you can get at Michaels because I checked over the weekend. 😄

If you want just a square frame around your square image, ignore the blue striped parts of the image and use a 12″ x 12″ frame – also a standard size.

What You’ll Need

One 12″ x 18″ sheet of felt for the background. I highly recommend wool-rayon blend or bamboo felt. Don’t use acrylic felt – it will pill and look grubby before you even finish making it. This is the felt I use in all my projects.

Assorted felt colors for the other parts. I used the following colors. . .

  • ruby red slippers (background)
  • grape jelly (purple triangles)
  • blue snow (blue stripes)
  • sandstone (cat)
  • Tahitian sunset (cat stripes)
  • black (cat nose)
  • shocking pink (polkadots)

Thread to match all the applique pieces. (I use this Invisafil 100 wt. thread.)

Thick black thread to embroider the eyes and mouth. (I use this.)

Other thick thread for fancy embellishment. (I used this Razzle rayon thread. I love how the shine looks against the wool felt.)

Glue stick to hold the applique pieces in place. (This is my favorite.)

Optional – I like to use a Q-snap frame for this kind of handwork, so I bought a couple of extenders for my 17-inch frame so it could go all the way to 20 inches. I also used some cheap muslin as a base for my felt so I didn’t need to catch the felt in the clamps.

That’s it!

Prep the Pieces

You’ll need to cut some strips, triangles and circles from your felt.

For the triangles, cut four strips of felt 1″ wide and 12″ long. From each strip, cut 1″ squares. You need a total of 40. Cut each square in half on the diagonal to get 80 triangles.

For the blue stripes, cut 8 strips 1/4″ wide and 12″ long.

For the pink polkadots, cut nineteen 1/2″ circles. (I buy mine pre-cut from Woolhearts on Etsy.)

Choose your pattern for inside the frame and print it at 80% size. I used one of the cats from the Cuddly Cats quilt pattern, but changed his eyes to happy sleeping eyes. There are also a bunch of free patterns available here. Cut out all the pieces. (I like to print mine on freezer paper to make it easier to cut out the pieces accurately.)

Put It All Together

I started by gluing my large background sheet of felt to some cheap muslin so I could easily hoop it without covering up any of the stitch area. Here you can see my piece in its hoop.

I used a couple of batting scraps under the clamps to give them more to grab onto, since the muslin was pretty thin.

Next I started to arrange the cut pieces onto the background felt. Here’s the plan. . .

Each square in the grid is 1/4 inch. I don’t like to mark on felt, so I used a ruler as a guide to position my pieces.

Here you can see that I’ve laid the ruler across the bottom of the background piece so that the top edge of the ruler is exactly 3 inches up from the bottom edge of the felt. That’s where I lay down the purple triangles in a pinwheel arrangement. I originally positioned one triangle in each inch of the background felt, but I photographed this after I finished all the stitching – which draws up the width a little bit. (You can see that the finished width is now a smidge less than 12 inches, which throws off the alignment of the triangles a bit – but you get the idea.)

Once you get the bottom row of triangles in place, it’s easy to build out the rest of the pinwheel frame. When you’re happy with how it’s all laid out, glue each piece in place with a swipe of glue stick.

Use the ruler as a guide to position all the skinny blue stripes as shown in the diagram and glue in place.

Position your face. I shifted mine a bit to the right, just to make things more interesting.

Sprinkle some polkadots in the background and glue them down too.

Once the glue is dry – hoop it up and start whipstitching all the pieces in place. This video shows how I whipstitch applique felt.

Once you get all the pieces whipstitched in place, it’s time to have fun with the embellishment.

I used backstitch to embroider the cat’s eyes and mouth.

I used darker blue straight stitches to stripe the stripes.

I used three lazy daisy stitches in each triangle.

I used simple running stitches in the pink negative-space triangles in the pinwheels and also in the spaces between the blue stripes.

I used straight stitches arranged like spokes in each polkadot, and French knots scattered around the polkadots.

Here you can see all the different types of embellishment stitching I used, in one close-up shot.

I’m definitely not a member of The Back Is As Neat As The Front Club – though this isn’t bad at all for me.

And that’s it!

You can frame your finished piece, make it into a wall hanging, a pillow cover, a tote bag, or more. Have fun with it!

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 stitching!

Meet Darius Dragon!

Darius is the new Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club pattern – just released today! (Darius means “maintains possessions well” which I think is the perfect name for a dragon.)

If you’re in the Funny Faces club, use this link to go straight to the clubhouse to download the new pattern – and see the other sample blocks I made.

If you’re not in the club, click here to join. You’ll get instant access to the Darius pattern, plus all the other lessons and patterns in the clubhouse.

Want to see how to assemble that block? It’s easy!

Happy stitching!