How to Squish Two Animals into One Block

Quilt block showing two appliqued meerkats side by side. Text reads - How to Squish Two Animals into One Block.

All of my applique quilt patterns (except the Paper Dolls) are built on a 10-inch grid, and I almost always design one animal for each block. But sometimes you may want to squish two animals into one block!

Maybe it’s a social animal like those meerkats in the first photo.

Maybe you want to add a baby animal, like these cats.

There’s a post here with more info about resizing any applique pattern to make a baby version.

Or maybe you want to use the Peekaboo Mouse pattern to have a little mouse photobomb one of your other blocks.

Or maybe you want to add something that will deliberately bust out of its 10 inch frame, like this frog flicking his tongue into a neighboring block.

It’s easy to play with your blocks like this – but you want to make sure it still fits in a 10-inch square, and since I advise you to start with an 11-inch block and then trim it down to 10 1/2 inches and sew it together so it finishes as 10 inch – you need to know where those 10-inch edges are.

I used to just use one of my square rulers to measure. I’d lay out the block, then check to make sure it all fits properly, then make adjustments (if needed) and measure again. It worked, but I wanted a way that let me see the edges AND move things around to adjust them at the same time.

So here’s what I do. I made a little tool that’s quick, easy, and free.

So there you go. How to squish two animals into one block – and know that they’re going to fit beautifully!

Have fun with this!

Here are links to all the posts showing how to applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method. It’s fast and easy and (with the right materials) it holds up beautifully to rough use and repeated washing.

Here are links to special posts about eyes.

Here are links to some extra fun things you can do with your applique.

Other Applique Methods

Finished with this topic?

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

Move on to the lessons about outline stitching.

How to Make a Quilt with an Alternate Grid

How to Assemble a Quilt that Uses an Alternate Grid - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

One of the easiest ways to make your quilt more dynamic is to use an alternate grid instead of a simple checkerboard.

And one of the easiest ways to make an alternate grid is to add half blocks!

It can be tricky to plan and assemble these quilts, but there are really only a few things to keep in mind – fabric requirements, block size, and how to sew those blocks together without any dang Y-seams.

The fabric yardage for my quilt patterns really doesn’t change – so that’s easy.

The size for half-blocks is also easy – once you remember to account for seam allowance. For my quilts (which are all based on a 10-inch grid) the half blocks will finish at 5 x 10 inches. That means you need to trim them (before sewing them together) to 5 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches. That means you need to cut your initial blocks 6 x 11 inches.

That leaves layout and assembly.

To make things extra easy for you, I’ve created basic templates you can use for six different quilt sizes. The samples all use the Woodland Critters quilt pattern, but you can use these layouts to add half-blocks to any of my patterns. Use the free alphabet pattern to add barks and yips and whines to the Lovable Mutts pattern, add snores to the Silly Sloths pattern, add a name and birth date to a baby quilt. You get the idea!

For each size below I tell you how many full blocks and how many half blocks to cut, give a template you can follow to assemble your blocks in a no-Y-seam layout, and explain in detail how to assemble the blocks. (It looks more complicated than it is – basically I’m just starting with the smallest units and adding to them with each step.)

Get more info about the different quilt sizes here, and get some tips for quilting an alternate block quilt here.

Itty Bitty Baby Size

Instead of cutting nine square blocks, cut 5 square blocks (11 x 11) and 8 half blocks (6 x 11).

Sew each “chunk” you see in the diagram, then assemble them as follows:

  • Sew D to E
  • Sew C to DE
  • Sew A to CDE
  • Sew B to ACDE

Crib Size

Instead of cutting 25 square blocks, cut 17 square blocks (11 x 11) and 16 half blocks (6 x 11).

Sew each “chunk” you see in the diagram, then assemble them as follows:

  • Sew F to H to J
  • Sew D to G to I
  • Sew E to FHJ
  • Sew A to EFHJ
  • Sew B to AEFHJ
  • Sew C to BAEFHJ
  • Sew K to CBAEFHJ
  • Sew DGI to KCBAEFHJ

Nap Size

Instead of cutting 30 square blocks, cut 21 square blocks (11 x 11) and 18 half blocks (6 x 11).

Sew each “chunk” you see in the diagram, then assemble them as follows:

  • Sew F to H to J
  • Sew D to G to I
  • Sew E to FHJ
  • Sew A to EFHJ
  • Sew B to AEFHJ
  • Sew C to BAEFHJ
  • Sew K to CBAEFHJ
  • Sew L to KCBAEFHJ
  • Sew DGI to LKCBAEFHJ

Twin Size

Instead of cutting 63 square blocks, cut 45 square blocks (11 x 11) and 36 half blocks (6 x 11).

Sew each “chunk” you see in the diagram, then assemble them as follows:

  • Sew F to H to L
  • Sew E to FHL
  • Sew A to EFHL
  • Sew B to AEFHL
  • Sew C to BAEFHL
  • Sew M to CBAEFHL
  • Sew O to MCBAEFHL
  • Sew S to V
  • Sew T to SV
  • Sew W to TSV
  • Sew U to WTSV
  • Sew UWTSV to OMCBAEFHL
  • Sew J to K
  • Sew N to JK
  • Sew I to NJK
  • Sew G to INJK
  • Sew D to GINJK
  • Sew P to Q
  • Sew R to PQ
  • Sew RPQ to DGINJK
  • Sew UWTSVOMCBAEFHL to RPQDGINJK

Queen Size

Instead of cutting 80 square blocks, cut 57 square blocks (11 x 11) and 46 half blocks (6 x 11).

Sew each “chunk” you see in the diagram, then assemble them as follows:

  • Sew F to H to N
  • Sew E to FHN
  • Sew A to EFHN
  • Sew B to AEFHN
  • Sew C to BAEFHN
  • Sew O to CBAEFHN
  • Sew S to OCBAEFHN
  • Sew U to X
  • Sew V to UX
  • Sew Z to VUX
  • Sew c to ZVUX
  • Sew W to cZVUX
  • Sew WcZVUX to SOCBAEFHN
  • Sew D to G
  • Sew J to R
  • Sew T to JR
  • Sew I to TJR
  • Sew K to L
  • Sew M to KL
  • Sew P to Q
  • Sew a to b
  • Sew Y to ab
  • Sew Yab to PQ
  • Sew MKL to YabPQ
  • Sew MKLYabPQ to ITJR
  • Sew DG to MKLYabPQITJR
  • Sew DGMKLYabPQITJR to WcZVUXSOCBAEFHN

King Size

Instead of cutting 100 square blocks, cut 72 square blocks (11 x 11) and 56 half blocks (6 x 11).

Sew each “chunk” you see in the diagram, then assemble them as follows:

  • Sew H to I
  • Sew A to HI
  • Sew B to AHI
  • Sew C to BAHI
  • Sew R to CBAHI
  • Sew V to RCBAHI
  • Sew a to g
  • Sew b to ag
  • Sew j to bag
  • Sew k to jbag
  • Sew c to kjbag
  • Sew ckjbag to VRCBAHI
  • Sew D to J
  • Sew M to DJ
  • Sew d to MDJ
  • Sew dMDJ to ckjbagVRCBAHI
  • Sew N to O
  • Sew P to NO
  • Sew L to PNO
  • Sew T to U
  • Sew TU to LPNO
  • Sew f to TULPNO
  • Sew h to fTULPNO
  • Sew l to m
  • Sew lm to hfTULPNO
  • Sew K to S
  • Sew X to KS
  • Sew e to XKS
  • Sew eXKS to lmhfTULPNO
  • Sew E to eXKSlmhfTULPNO
  • Sew EeXKSlmhfTULPNO to dMDJckjbagVRCBAHI
  • Sew F to G
  • Sew Q to FG
  • Sew W to QFG
  • Sew Y to Z
  • Sew YZ to WQFG
  • Sew n to o
  • Sew i to no
  • Sew ino to YZWQFG
  • Sew inoYZWQFG to EeXKSlmhfTULPNOdMDJckjbagVRCBAHI

Whew! That King size looks a little crazy – but it’s the same principle as the smaller alternate grids. Just start with the smallest units and build up into larger chunks. There’s a video here walking you though the reasoning and process – especially helpful if you want to create your own alternate grid design and don’t want to end up with Y-seams. Maybe you want to incorporate a quote into a quilt, like I did in this version of the Wild Flowers pattern?

I can’t wait to see what you create with alternate grids!

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

Sashing

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.

Happy stitching!

How to Use a Light Box to Layer Applique

In my never-ending quest to to make applique as easy as possible, I recently bought a light box.

Wow!

My mind is blown!

No more tracing those placement markings to the right side of the fabric. (***ahem*** I may have mentioned here how much I hate to trace.)

This makes layering applique SO EASY and SO ACCURATE!

How did I not get one of these sooner?

Somehow I had it in my head that this was going to be a Very Expensive Purchase.

The one I bought is 15.5 inches x 11.8 inches and cost $26.99. I’m going to use it a kajillion times just in the next year, so that is well worth it to me.

The silicone mat was $14.33.

Those are both affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy something using them, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you – but if you have a local store that sells these things, please support them!

Want to see how awesome it is in action? You’re going to love this!

Wow!

I’m going to say it again – wow!

This makes the process so easy! Especially for folks who are using cutting machines and have had a bit more of a laborious process to transfer those placement markings in the past.

I know some of you have been using a light box forever and can’t believe I didn’t know already how awesome they are.

I’m usually really slow to use new gadgets. I just don’t want a studio full of tools I’ll rarely use.

I’ve used a light box exactly once before – in a Craftsy class I taught several years ago. It was really huge and cumbersome and not something I had space for in my studio. I had no idea how slim and lightweight and inexpensive they are now!

Moving forward, all of my patterns will have numbers on the reference images and corresponding numbers on the template pieces.

I’m in the process of a year-long project to update all my quilt patterns. That update will include adding SVG files for use with cutting machines, and these numbered templates.

I’ll continue to include the placement markings for those who don’t want to get a light box. You can find a tutorial showing how to do that method here.

For those of you about to get a new light box – enjoy!!!

Here are links to all the posts showing how to applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method. It’s fast and easy and (with the right materials) it holds up beautifully to rough use and repeated washing.

Here are links to special posts about eyes.

Here are links to some extra fun things you can do with your applique.

Other Applique Methods

Finished with this topic?

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

Move on to the lessons about outline stitching.

Sewing Machine Feet

photo showing a close-up of a clear plastic applique sewing machine foot. text reads: Sewing Machine Feet

I get a lot of questions about sewing machine feet. Mostly people want to know one of two things. What kind of specialty feet should they buy for their machine? And do they really need to have a walking foot?

Well – it all depends on what you want to sew!

There are so many specialty feet out there! I have a few I’ve bought for specific projects – a ruffling foot when my daughter was little and liked ruffles and gathered skirts, a piping foot for I-don’t-even-remember-what. You get the idea.

But there are a few feet that I use ALL THE TIME – and they’re what I want to talk about here.

Zipper Foot

I don’t sew much clothing, but I do like to make little zippered pouches and pillows with zippered backs. A zipper foot is pretty essential if you’re going to sew zippers. I guess technically you can do without it – but I wouldn’t want to. 🙂 The good news is that most machines come with a zipper foot, and if yours doesn’t, there are lots of inexpensive universals available.

A zipper foot is also really handy for sewing piping or other fancy trims where you want to sew right up against a chunky bit.

Handy links. . .

Walking Foot

If you like to machine quilt, a walking foot is essential. Basically, what a walking foot does is give you feed dogs that sit on top of your fabric, pulling it through at the same rate as the feed dogs built into your machine below the throat plate. This keeps the top and bottom layers feeding evenly through the machine. Genius!

A lot of fancier machines now have a built-in walking foot, but there are universals available for every brand and some of them are pretty inexpensive. I highly recommend getting one!

Handy links. . .

Quarter Inch Foot

This isn’t one of the essential sewing machine feet, but I really love it for when I want to be super precise in my seam allowance.

Here’s what mine looks like.

close-up photo of a quarter inch sewing machine foot for a Bernina

That weird piece sitting beside the foot actually screws into the machine and becomes a wall that you butt your fabric against, to help you get an exact 1/4-inch seam allowance (or whatever depth you set it to). This is perfect for joining quilt blocks – especially for quilts with half blocks and double blocks where the seam allowance needs to be really accurate.

For some machines, the quarter-inch foot has the “wall” built right into the foot, but those aren’t adjustable. They ONLY do a quarter inch seam allowance.

Handy links. . .

Clear Applique Foot

I saved my very favorite sewing machine foot for last – a clear applique foot.

If you do ANY machine applique (or any topstitching or edgestitching) this foot is absolutely necessary.

Here’s what a typical sewing machine foot looks like.

It’s metal and it might have a small opening like this one – but you can’t see much. And there’s very little visibility where the needle is actually going in – that smaller slot behind the main “toes.” It’s REALLY hard to see where you’re stitching with this foot.

Here’s a clear applique foot.

Close up photo of a clear applique foot - one of my favorite sewing machine feet.

Look at that! The base of the foot is made entirely of clear plastic – giving you total visibility as you stitch. That ability to see what I’m doing is what allows me to outline applique shapes like this so neatly.

cute applique chameleon made with striped green fabric and the Carter Chameleon - easy applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Handy links. . .

So there you are – the four sewing machine feet I use most often.

Here are handy links to all the posts about quilting tools and supplies.

Sewing Machine

Iron

Rotary Cutting Tools

Scissors

Other General Sewing Room Supplies

One More Hugely Popular Post that Seems to Fit Here Better than Anywhere Else

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

Move on to the posts about choosing your quilt pattern.

Happy stitching!

Quilt Block Sizes for Alternate Grid Layouts

I use standard quilt block sizes for almost all of my quilts – a simple 10-inch square grid.

Parliament of Owls quilt pattern - grid of applique owls in lots of fun colors.

That makes it super easy to mix and match blocks between my patterns.

Want to combine the Playful Puppies with the Cuddly Cats patterns? No problem.

Want to add the Benjamin Badger block to the Woodland Critters pattern? No problem.

When I say 10-inch square – that means that’s the FINISHED quilt block size. After you sew it all together, then the block is ten inches square.

To get those finished 10-inch squares, I like to cut my blocks 11 inches square. That way I have a little wiggle room – and I LIKE wiggle room. I quilt my block, then applique it, and then trim it down to 10 1/2 inches square so that when I sew the blocks together using a quarter inch seam allowance, my finished blocks are ten inches.

Easy peasy. Cut all blocks 11 inches square.

But what about half blocks? And double blocks?

Varying quilt block sizes is a great way to break up that straightforward grid.

Here’s the Noisy Farm quilt pattern with lots of fun half blocks.

Noisy Farm quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World - applique farm animals with varied quilt blocks sizes and animal sounds.

And here’s the Sea Creatures quilt pattern with some fun double blocks.

Sea Creatures quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World. Applique sea creatures on varied quilt block sizes to create a broken grid.

See how that breaks up the grid?

You can do that with any of my quilt patterns! Half blacks are an especially easy way to add words to the layout using this free alphabet applique pattern.

Here’s the basic Bunches of Bears quilt pattern in the standard grid layout the pattern calls for.

Bunches of Bears quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World - grid of applique bear faces.

And here it is with added “noisy” half blocks.

Bunches of Bears - easy applique quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World with sounds added using a free alphabet applique pattern and varied quilt block sizes.

Add lots of woofs, barks, snuffles, and howls to the Playful Puppies!

Add a bunch of zzzzzzs to the Silly Sloths.

Add a name and birth date to a baby quilt.

It’s easy! This post has tips for sewing up those alternate grids, and this one has tips for quilting.

There’s also a tiny little trick to cutting these different quilt block sizes.

If you cut the square blocks 11 inches square, you might think you just cut that in half for a half block – but you have to remember to allow for a seam allowance!

To do that we need to start with the finished block size.

So. . .

Your half block will finish at 10 inches x 5 inches.

Cut your starting block 11 inches x 6 inches.

After you do your applique and quilting, trim to 10 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches.

All set!

Do the same thing for double blocks.

Your finished size will be 10 inches x 20 inches.

Cut your starting block 11 inches x 21 inches.

After you do your applique and quilting, trim to 10 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches.

Done!

Now that you’ve got some different quilt block sizes you can use to play with – try breaking up the grid on any of your standard quilt patterns!

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

Sashing

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.

How to Add a Baby to Any Block – video tutorial

Mama and baby cats appliqued on a grey fabric background. Text reads: How to Add a Baby to Any Block

Want to add a baby to any block in my quilt patterns?

It’s easy!

You just need to print the baby at a reduced size!

There’s a post here with more info. (scroll down to the section called “Print at 100% Size – No Scaling”)

In a nutshell – tell your printer you DON’T want to print at 100%.

Here’s an example of my print screen. The exact layout and terminology will be different for every printer and operating system, but they all have the same basic info.

Print digital patterns at 100% for the correct size.

In order to print patterns at the “correct” size you make sure the scale is set at 100% – but really you can set it at anything you like!

How do you know what size to use? Well, that takes a little trial and error and I recommend doing some test printouts on inexpensive paper before you print on your fusible adhesive. Here are some samples I tried for my cats. In all the samples below, the mama is printed at 100% size – I just changed the size of the baby.

Mama cat printed at 100% size, baby cat at 90%.

Here’s a mama at 100% and a baby at 90%. Too close. It looks more like a mama and papa – which would also be fun!

mama cat printed at 100% size, baby at 80%

Here’s the mama at 100% with the baby at 80%. Maybe the baby is a teenager?

mama cat printed at 100%, baby at 70%

Here the mama cat is 100% and the baby is at 70%. This is getting closer to what I was imagining.

mama cat printed at 100%, baby at 60%

Here the baby is printed at 60% size. This might be perfect! But I’m going to go down one more step just to see. The eyes might be too small to work with if I go smaller.

mama cat printed at 100%, baby at 50%

This is it! The baby is printed at 50% to make a tiny little kitten. The eyes are JUST big enough that I can still applique them, and I love the look.

So – here’s the video showing how I did it!

See? Easy peasy – and so sweet!

Here’s the link I promised to the post about all the different alternatives to applique eyes.

And here’s the link to the Cuddly Cats quilt pattern where this cutie is just one of the fourteen cats included. But you can do this with any blocks from any of my applique patterns. Just play around with the sizes until you’re happy with the look you get!

Here are links to all the posts showing how to applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method. It’s fast and easy and (with the right materials) it holds up beautifully to rough use and repeated washing.

Here are links to special posts about eyes.

Here are links to some extra fun things you can do with your applique.

Other Applique Methods

Finished with this topic?

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

Move on to the lessons about outline stitching.

Happy stitching!

Fusible Applique the Easy Way

blue gingham applique chameleon on a blue background - text says Fusible Applique the Easy Way

Fusible applique is my favorite applique method. It’s fast and easy and it really lets me play with my designs.

I’ve been using this method for some time now, and I’ve refined the method I use. The most recent big change was adding SVG files to my patterns for use with electric cutting machines like Cricut and Silhouette – and that meant a change in how I design some of my template pieces.

Time for a new tutorial! This video shows all the steps for how I do fusible applique. It’s on the long side, and I mention several other tutorials, so scroll past the video for a list of topics at each timestamp, and all the links I mention in the video.

Introduction – Fusible Applique Made Easy

Quilt As You Go (2:29)

I give a quick nutshell view of my method. Visit this post for much more detailed info – Quilt As You Go: Everything You Need to Know. I also mentioned the following tutorials.

Printing or Tracing the Pattern onto Fusible Adhesive (5:33)

I use Heat & Bond Lite for all my quilts. You can get it at most big box fabric stores, either in a roll, by the yard, or in printable sheets. All of my applique patterns are formatted to work with the printable sheets.

Rough Cutting and Clean Cutting the Applique Pieces (7:15)

I show what I mean by rough cut and clean cut in my patterns, and explain why rough cutting, then fusing, then clean cutting gives you the best results.

Transferring the Placement Markings (9:28)

I show all my favorite tools for marking placement lines when I applique

If you want to skip the placement markings, there’s a tutorial here showing how to get perfect placement without them.

Layering and Positioning the Fusible Applique Pieces (14:43)

I show how I layer all the pieces together – with extra info about how to mark your fusible adhesive to help you get a directional pattern to run in different directions to help create contrast between overlapping pieces. (Look at the legs on the chameleon block at the top of this post to see what I’m talking about here.)

Outlining the Pieces (20:47)

You have to outline the pieces after fusing to get a permanent hold. I use a simple straight stitch. A lot of people ask if that’s durable enough with withstand washing and drying. It is! I show a quilt here after many trips through the washer and dryer.

Whew! That is a LOT of info!

I do love fusible applique – and I hope this helps you love it too. 🙂

Here are links to all the posts showing how to applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method. It’s fast and easy and (with the right materials) it holds up beautifully to rough use and repeated washing.

Here are links to special posts about eyes.

Here are links to some extra fun things you can do with your applique.

Other Applique Methods

Finished with this topic?

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

Move on to the lessons about outline stitching.

Happy stitching!

Quilt Sizes and Supplies Needed

Quilt sizes and supplies needed - I did all the math - photo showing a calculator and math notes on an aqua cutting mat

All of my quilt patterns are really just starting places. I design everything based on a 10-inch square grid, so that you can mix and match individual block patterns however you like.

Even if you buy one of my multi-block patterns or bundles, the layout I use for my samples is just one way to put your block together. I may show the Lovable Mutts laid out in a simple grid, but you might want to add half blocks full of barks and yips and howls and woofs. Go for it!

If you purchase your own collection of individual block patterns, or decide to use a different layout than the sample I made for a pattern, you lose the handy materials list, cutting instructions, and assembly guide for all the different quilt sizes I show in my samples.

That’s where these guides come in!

There’s no reason for every individual to have to calculate all the math for all the different quilt sizes and layouts. I can do that once and then share it for everyone!

Each of the guides below is a downloadable PDF for one layout style. It includes all the following information for six different quilt sizes, from Itty Bitty Baby to King size.

  • fabric requirements
  • cutting instructions for background blocks, backing, and binding
  • quilt assembly diagram
  • backing assembly diagram (where any piecing is needed)
  • links to tutorials for quilt assembly and finishing

All fabric requirements are based on 40-inch wide fabric.

Pick Your Layout

If you need more info about what the different layouts look like, you can see lots of examples of each layout style in this post – Play with Your Layouts.

Choose your layout and click on the link below to download your PDF.

  • Simple Grid
  • Checkerboard Grid
  • Grid with Sashing and Borders
  • Stripes with Sashing (coming soon)
  • Wide Stripes (coming soon)
  • Wonky Faux Sashing (coming soon)
  • Polaroid Blocks (coming soon)
  • Alternate Grid with Double Blocks (coming soon)
  • Alternate Grid with Half Blocks (detailed assembly instructions are here, but a PDF with all the other info is coming soon)

If you’re just getting started, you’ll find a very simple How to Make a Quilt guide here.

Have fun!

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

Sashing

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.

Happy stitching!

How to Give Your Monster an Underbite – video tutorial

If you have the Mix & Match Monsters applique quilt pattern, you may have wondered about a mysterious dotted line that runs through some of the pattern pieces.

Wonder no more!

In this video I show you how you can use that line to give your monsters underbites and overbites and add teeth and tongues.

Here are a bunch of the samples you see at the end of the video. You can click on the images to see them closer.

Here are links to all the posts showing how to applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method. It’s fast and easy and (with the right materials) it holds up beautifully to rough use and repeated washing.

Here are links to special posts about eyes.

Here are links to some extra fun things you can do with your applique.

Other Applique Methods

Finished with this topic?

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

Move on to the lessons about outline stitching.

Happy stitching!

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!

Done!

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

Sashing

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

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Move on to the lessons about choosing your fabric.