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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 theseย Fiskars Easy Action Tabletop Rag Quilt Snipย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

New Colors for the Noisy Farm

I get a lot of emails from people asking for advice choosing quilt colors. I always point them to the Shiny Happy People group where they can see many, many different quilts made with my patterns – usually using different colors than what I used in my samples. Really – seeing a finished quilt is the very best way to imagine it in different colors!

So I’ll be making more of an effort to show my quilt patterns in new color combinations – just to show as many options as possible. ๐Ÿ™‚

I recently remade the Noisy Farm quilt, using it as an example to how you can add sashing to any of my quilt patterns. While I was at it – I changed the colors too!

Here’s the original quilt in a crib size.

And here’s the new version.

In addition to adding the sashing – I used radically different colors!

I made the original sample before I had fabric bundles in my shop, so it’s not easy to say exactly what fabric packs they’d use now, but the Warm Neutrals would be the best choice for those natural-colored animals. The backgrounds are mostly greens and blues, so the closest match would be the Green Batiks and Blue Batiks.

The new version uses the Rainbow Sherbet bundle for the background blocks – pretty pale pastel solids. They really do look like soft sherbet colors. ๐Ÿ™‚ They’re from the Cotton Couture collection from Michael Miller fabrics.

For the animals I went totally UNnatural with all kinds of fun colors and a wobbly, hand-painted gingham print. Here’s a close-up view of a silly pink sheep with a little turquoise mouse popping into the frame.

I love it!

That fabulous gingham print is called Gingham Play from Michael Miller fabrics. I sell fat quarter bundles of my favorite Gingham Play colors here.

For the sashing I used Hash Dot in linen, also Michael Miller Fabrics. I liked how it has a slightly barn-ish feel while still balancing nicely with the soft pastel background fabrics. Sorry – I don’t sell that one in my shop, but you can search for Linen Hash Dot and lots of online sellers will pop up.

So there you go! New colors and a new layout for a totally new look for a favorite quilt pattern.

Want to know how to add that sashing? Here are the posts you’ll need for that.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Adding Sashing to (Almost) Any Shiny Happy World Quilt Pattern

I’ve had people ask me for years if you can add sashing to a Shiny Happy World quilt pattern.

That’s an easy question.

Yes!

You can always modify any pattern to add (or take away) sashing.

Sometimes they have another question. How does that change the yardage they need to buy for the quilt?

Well – that’s a whole other question that requires a much longer answer. ๐Ÿ™‚ And here it is!

First – let me clarify. I say almost any quilt pattern because these measurements will only work for square blocks. If you want to add sashing to a quilt with double blocks or half blocks – you’ll need to do a little extra math for that. But the measurements below work for any of my quilt patterns that have 10 inch square blocks – and that’s almost all of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m using the Noisy Farm quilt pattern for all the examples below, using only the square animal blocks and leaving off the half blocks with animal sounds.

For each of my standard quilt sizes I’ll show you a diagram of the quilt with sashing, the new dimensions of the quilt, new fabric requirements, and cutting instructions for the sashing.

Remember, there’s a general post about adding sashing or borders to Quilt As You Go quilts here.

So let’s jump in!

Crib Size

This is the smallest quilt size I make – a very generous crib size. With sashing it’s 53 inches square.

For the sashing fabric you’ll need 1 1/4 yards. Quilt that to the batting, then from that cut 12 strips 3 inches wide.

Sew those strips together (a straight seam is fine – it doesn’t need to be angled) and press the seams open.

From that looooong strip, cut the following rectangles (all 3 inches wide). . .

  • 12 strips 10 1/2 inches long
  • 5 strips 47 1/2 inches long
  • 2 strips 53 inches long

For the squares. . . you’ll only need 16 squares, so get 2 1/4 yards of fabric for the background blocks, and at least 4 fat quarters for the animals. (You may want more fat quarters for variety.)

The version with the sashing is only a tiny bit bigger than the version without, so you can just barely get away with the same amount of fabric for the backing and binding.ย If you’re shopping at a store that cuts things to the exact inch (I’m more generous with my cuts) you might want to get just a little extra for the backing fabric.

Nap Size

 

This is my favorite quilt size – perfect for curling up on the couch. With sashing it’s 53 inches wide x 65 1/2 inches tall.

For the sashing fabric you’ll need 1 1/2 yards. Quilt that to the batting, then from that cut 15 strips 3 inches wide.

Sew those strips together (a straight seam is fine – it doesn’t need to be angled) and press the seams open.

From that looooong strip, cut the following rectangles (all 3 inches wide). . .

  • 15 strips 10 1/2 inches long
  • 6 strips 47 1/2 inches long
  • 2 strips 65 1/2 inches long

For the squares. . . you’ll only need 20 squares, so get 2 1/2 yards of fabric for the background blocks, and at least 5 fat quarters for the animals. (You may want more fat quarters for variety.)

The version with the sashing is only a tiny bit bigger than the version without, so you can just barely get away with the same amount of fabric for the backing and binding.

Twin Size

 

This fits a twin bed with some overhang on all sides. With sashing it’s 78 inches wide x 90 1/2 inches tall.

For the sashing fabric you’ll need 2 3/4 yards. Quilt that to the batting, then from that cut 29 strips 3 inches wide.

Sew those strips together (a straight seam is fine – it doesn’t need to be angled) and press the seams open.

From that looooong strip, cut the following rectangles (all 3 inches wide). . .

  • 35 strips 10 1/2 inches long
  • 8 strips 72 1/2 inches long
  • 2 strips 90 1/2 inches long

For the squares. . . you’ll only need 42 squares, so get 4 7/8 yards of fabric for the background blocks, and at least 11 fat quarters for the animals. (You may want more fat quarters for variety.)

The version with the sashing is a little bit bigger than the version without. You should be able to just barely get away with the same amount of fabric for the backing, but you’ll need 3/4 yard for the binding.

That’s it!

Other than that the instructions are pretty much the same. When it comes time to sew all the blocks together, I like to do the following order. . .

  • Sew the blocks into rows with a sashing strip between each block. (Start and finish each row with a block, not a sashing strip.)
  • Sew the rows together with a sashing strip between each row.
  • Sew a sashing strip to the top and the bottom of your quilt.
  • Sew a sashing strip to each side of your strip.

Press all the seams open – just like a normal QAYG quilt.

These tutorials will be helpful. . .

And one more reminder – all of these measurements only work if you have an accurate 1/4 inch seam. If you don’t have a quarter inch foot on your machine, I strongly recommend getting one. It will make your life sooooooo much easier. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi

Divide and Conquer – How to Pin Long Seams

I’m moving right along on my version of the Noisy Farm quilt with sashing added, and I realized this is the perfect time to share a little tip with you about pinning long seams.

I’m not very bossy about pinning most of the time. Some people pin, some don’t, and I’m mostly a live and let live kind of person. ๐Ÿ™‚

But when it comes to long seams (like the ones attaching those looong sashing strips to rows) you’ll find that pinning – and actually pinning in a very particular way – will save you a lot of headaches.

Here’s the problem. If you just slap a long strip on your strip of blocks and just start sewing without pinning – there’s a really good chance that when you get to the end of the long seam, one of those pieces is going to be significantly longer than the other. This happens even if you use a walking foot and even if you’re really careful about keeping your tension even. It just happens.

You know what keeps it from happening?

Pins. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve got a specific method I use to pin longs seams. I call it Divide and Conquer.

Here’s a seam I just pinned. (Actually clipped. When I pin already-quilted layers together I prefer to use these clips. They distort the fabric less.)

I loaded up a really large image size here so you can click on it to see it even bigger on your screen.

Those numbers show you the order in which I placed those clips.

First I start by clipping the ends – 1 and 2. That way I know that my ends are going to be perfectly lined up.

Next I want to divide that space in half (Divide and Conquer) and I place the clip right in the middle. That’s #3.

That leaves me with two large spaces – the one between 1 and 3 and the one between 3 and 2. I divide those spaces in half by adding clips 4 and 5.

Finally, I divide all the remaining spaces in half by placing clips 6, 7, 8 and 9.

It’s always the same – I start by securing the ends, then just keep dividing the remaining spaces in half over and over again until my clips are close enough together to take it to the machine.

Divide and conquer. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope this is helpful!

The post with all the information about adding sashing will be up tomorrow!

Best,
Wendi

A New Version of the Noisy Farm Quilt!

Noisy Farm Quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately asking for suggestions for the background colors of the Noisy Farm quilt pattern.

The cover sample you see above is from before I had fabric bundles in my shop, and most of the fabrics I used are no longer available.

One of the things I love about the way I do fabric bundles now is that you can use any bundle for any quilt. Here’s an example of three quilts that all use the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle for the animals – but different bundles for the background colors.

Here are the Playful Puppies made with Solid Rainbow for the background blocks.

 

And here are the Cuddly Cats with the slightly-more-grownup-but-still-colorful Box of Crayons for the background blocks.

And here is the Bunches of Bears pattern made with the Rainbow Sherbet bundle for the background blocks.

See what a difference?

Changing just the background colors really changes the whole feel of the quilt – and I love them all!

So when people ask for suggestions for background colors for the Noisy Farm pattern – I want to tell them they can use anything! Go totally bright with the Solid Rainbow! Go a little more subdued with Box of Crayons! Go baby sweet with Rainbow Sherbet! Go natural with Green Batiks! Want even more suggestions? Take a look at the Shiny Happy People group! We’ve shared a bunch of Show & Tell versions of the Noisy Farm quilt lately – all with different color schemes and ALL FABULOUS!

For my new version of the Noisy Farm quilt I’m using Rainbow Sherbet for the background blocks. And I’m going totally wild with the animals and using the Gingham Play fat quarter bundle. Gingham always says “farm” to me and I can’t wait to make the animals in fantasy colors.

One more change – I’m making this one a silent farm. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m leaving off the half-blocks with animal sounds and adding sashing. I get a lot of requests about adding sashing, so I’ll be writing up a tutorial showing how you can reset (almost) any of my quilt patterns with added sashing. I’ll do the math for you for all the sizes. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’ve made any of my quilt patternsย using a different color scheme – please share! Seeing all the different versions of my patterns makes me Muppet-arms-flailing happy – and it’s a great resource for your fellow makers out there to see different options. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Quilt a Quilt with a Broken Grid Layout – video tutorial

Some of my quilts have what I call a “broken grid” layout. You’ll also see it called an “alternate grid.”

Both of these terms refer to quilt layouts that aren’t the standard checkerboard-style grid, with all the seams running in straight, uninterrupted lines from edge to edge.

I’ve got a video here that shows how to assemble those quilts – how to group the blocks into chunks that eventually do connect with straight, edge to edge seams.

But I get a lot of questions about how, exactly, I quilt these quilts. Do I quilt around each square individually? Do I turn the corner to go around a block that’s interrupting my straight line?

Nope and nope. ๐Ÿ™‚

At this point in the process I have my entire quilt sewn together and I want to do everything possible to avoid turning any corners while I’m quilting, because that means turning the entire mass of the quilt, and that is not fun.

So what do I do?

I hop over the block that’s blocking my way.

This video shows what I mean by that.

See?

Just hop right over those pesky blocks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do be sure to backstitch or knot – whatever technique you use to secure your threads – any time you have to stop or start quilting.

Get the Fish quilt pattern here.

Get the Sea Creatures quilt pattern here.

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to a Quilt Block

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

That house doesn’t look very special – right?

Look closer!

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Peekaboo!

The door opens!

Here’s how to do it.

I’m using an example of one block from the Shiny Happy Houses quilt pattern, but you could adapt this idea in all kind of ways! I list a few possibilities at the end of the tutorial.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldStep 1

Trace or print all your pattern pieces as usual. You’re going to do three things with your door piece.

  1. Print or trace your door onto the fusible adhesive – just like normal.
  2. Also trace your door onto a piece of freezer paper.
  3. Also trace your door onto the fusible adhesive house piece – right where you want it to go.

Step 2

We’ll start with making the door itself.

Cut the door piece out of the freezer paper a little bit bigger all the way around. Do this neatly – it’s just to make the door a smidge bigger than the door opening. Mine is a little bit more than an extra 1/8″ all the way around.

Layer two pieces of door fabric right sides together and fuse the freezer paper door piece to the wrong side of the top layer.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldUse the edge of the freezer paper as a guide and stitch almost all the way around the door, leaving a little bit open for turning on the side where the “hinges” would be. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

Step 3

Trim around the door, leaving a small seam allowance.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Clip away the excess completely at the corners.

Step 4

Turn the door right side out through the opening. Smooth your curves, poke out your corners, and tuck the seam allowance at the opening inside and press the whole thing nice and flat.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I’ve got my turning stick going into the opening here so you can see where it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now set the door aside for a bit.

Step 5

Fuse the house piece and the “behind the door” piece to the back of their fabrics.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldCut out the house piece right on the line – including cutting away the door that you traced.

Cut the “behind the door” piece right on the line at the bottom of the door. Leave a little extra fabric at the top and sides.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Here they are from the front after cutting them out. It’s fun to fussy cut something cute for the “behind the door” piece. ๐Ÿ™‚

Step 6

Peel off the paper backings, layer all the pieces together, and fuse.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

The “behind the door” piece should be tucked behind the door opening so that it peeks out.

Step 7

Outline all the pieces as usual.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

You’ll only need to stitch around the door opening on the house piece – that stitching also secures the unicorn piece behind it.

Step 8

Sew the door in place by stitching down the side with the turning opening.

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

No hand sewing needed!

Finished!

How to Add a Door (that opens!) to your quilt block - a tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldAdd a button doorknob if you like. ๐Ÿ™‚

You can play with this idea in so many ways! Add shutters to the windows! Make a camouflaged “door” in a treetop (using the same fabric as the rest of the treetop) and hide a little bird or squirrel in there! I know someone out there has used the Shiny Happy Houses pattern to make a castle. Add a functioning drawbridge!

The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to see what you all make!

Happy stitching!

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Scribbly Outlining Your Applique Pieces

Scribbly Outlining Applique Pieces - tips 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 Quiltย 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 are SO MANY different ways to outline applique pieces.

A lot of people applique with satin stitch or decorative stitching like blanket stitch. I demonstrate how to use decorative stitches in one of the lessons in my Fusible Applique Made Easy Class on Craftsy. Here’s an example of some of that stitching.

Owl block from parliament of Owls quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

There’s blanket stitch around the bottom of the eyes, another stitch around the belly patch, and straight stitching everywhere else.

Fancy stitching can be fun, but I usually outline with a simple straight stitch and black thread. I love the cartoony look it gives and I think it really suits my applique designs. Plus it’s super easy!

(A lot of people worry that their fabric will fray if they just do a straight stitch outline. I posted a photo of one of my daughter’s quilts after over a year of constant use and many trips through the washer and dryer. Click here to see how it holds up.)

Sometimes, if I want a thicker line, I use a thicker thread. I like using 12 wt. thread from Sulky Petites and I’ve got a post here where I talk about what you need to do to work with thicker thread – what needle to use, what to use in the bobbin, etc.

Sometimes when I want a thicker line but I’m too lazy to change my needle (like maybe just on cat whiskers) I’ll use regular thread and go over the stitching two to three times, being careful to stitch right over the previous stitching so it looks like one solid, thicker line. You can see that in this cat.

Maurice block from the Cuddly Cats quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

I did most of the outlining with regular thread, but you can see the line is thicker on the whiskers and the mouth. That’s where I went over it a few times.

Lately I’ve been wanting to play around a bit – make the outlining more scribbly, more like the lines in my sketchbook.

So I tried it! It took me a few blocks to get just the look I was trying for.

Scribbly Outlining Applique Pieces - tips from Shiny Happy World

It took three rounds of stitching to get this look. Two just looked like a mistake – three looked intentional.

It’s kind of hard to deliberately go off the line! I’ve made hundreds of these blocks and by now it’s kind of automatic to follow the line as closely as possible. ๐Ÿ™‚ I found it helped to deliberately ignore the line on pass two, to just pretend it wasn’t there and outline again as if it was a blank piece. Then on round three, if the first twoย lines were still too much on top of each other, I would deliberately veer off line. Make sure you cross over the line when you veer – you don’t want another line consistently inside or outside your original line. You want to cross over so sometimes it’s inside and sometimes it’s outside. That gives the best sketchy look.

Bonus! Four lines of stitching looks pretty much exactly like three. That means there’s no real benefit to doing four trips around the whole thing, but you can use that extra trip in some places to avoid having to start and stop to go around pieces like ears and muzzles and necks. For that snippet you see above, there are three rows of stitching around everything except the bit of the head that overlaps the ear. I went over that bit four times so I could stitch the ear without ever having to stop and tie a knot.

Handy Dandy Links

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Add an Embroidered Label to Your Quilt

How to Make a Quilt Label - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

It’s easy to add a label to your quilt – and it’s fun to make it coordinate with the designs on the front of the quilt.

I like my labels to be about 4 inches wide. To resize any block design to fit in that size you print it at 40% of the original size. Easy peasy!

Cut a piece of fabric big enough for the full four inch square to fit flat in a hoop. A seven inch square of fabric should work just fine.

Stitch the design. I used 4 strands of thread and two simple stitches – backstitch for all the lines, and satin stitch for the solid eyes and nose.

If you want to add a date – or maybe a name – there’s a free alphabet embroidery pattern here – with letters that are relatively simple to stitch, with no serifs, curlicues, or extra-tight curves. ๐Ÿ™‚

When you finish stitching, trim the fabric so there’s about an extra inch all the way around the part you want to show as the label. Fold about 1/2 inch under on each side and press.

Position the label where you want it (I always put mine in the lower right corner) and pin or glue it in place to hold it secure while you stitch it.

Stitch the label to the quilt back all the way around the edge, being sure to only stitch through the quilt backing. Don’t let your stitches go through to the front of the quilt. I like to use ladder stitch.

That’s it!

It doesn’t take long and it’s a really nice finishing touch. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi