BLOG: Quilting WIP

My Craftsy Class Is Almost Here! Enter to Win It for Free!

Craftsy Class - Fusible Appliqué Made Easy

You guys! It’s almost time for my Craftsy class to launch!

I shared a little while ago that it’s a quilting class, but now I can announce that it’s a fusible appliqué class. My favorite method and a brand new exclusive pattern! Woo hoo!

After the class officially launches I’ll be sharing more details about the specific lessons. Right now I’m just going to tell you that this is the class for everyone who’s ever sent me an email saying they wish I could come to their house and show them how to make a quilt. 🙂

I go over everything – how I choose fabrics, how I cut my background blocks, how I quilt them before appliqué using Quilt As You Go, how I use fusible and cut and layer the pieces, how I assemble the blocks, back the quilt, final quilting and binding. It’s EVERYTHING! And I even share a bunch of smaller projects using the same patterns – for those who don’t want to make a whole quilt. I can’t believe how much info is in this class – all with top-notch lighting and camera work. And me wearing make-up. 🙂

And, of course, you can ask questions along the way. The Craftsy platform even lets me see where in the video you were when you asked the question so I can really answer it well.

Update – Please be aware that Craftsy (now Bluprint) has added a subscription plan to their offerings, which changes the way instructor support happens. If you buy the class for your Forever Library, you get instructor support – which means your questions are dropped into a special instructor dashboard where I’ll see them, so I can answer them. If you watch the class as part of the streaming subscription, any questions you post go to the larger class community – not to me. I don’t even see them, so I can’t answer them.

I’m so excited!

I’ll be on vacation all next week, but every day that I’m gone I’ll be sharing a new sneak peek at a little bit of the project!

And when I come back on Monday 8/3 I’ll be announcing the winner of this giveaway.

(Did I forget to mention the giveaway?)

Yes – there’s a giveaway! One person will win free access to the class as soon as it launches. That could be you!

The giveaway closes on Sunday 8/2, so enter now. 🙂

The giveaway is closed now, but you can still sign up for the class here.

You can also get the PDF pattern here.

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
That's me at Craftsy!

Cars Quilt – A Peek at My Process

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

I’m doing something today that I hardly ever do. I’m sharing images from my sketchbook!

I’m telling you right now – this makes me very, very nervous.

I didn’t go to art school and have no real art training. I don’t think I draw very well, and I can’t believe that I have a career in which I spend entire days drawing! Every time I sit down to draw for a new project, I think, “There’s no way I can do this. This is going to be terrible.” And the first things I draw usually are terrible. I just have to push past those initial drawings, draw a LOT, and then choose the ones that actually work. 🙂 If I share my initial drawings I’m pretty sure everyone will know I’m a fraud, and that’s not a very happy feeling.

So why am I doing it?

It’s because of a comment on Facebook.

I posted this image of a finished car, one of the initial patterns for the quilt.

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

I usually don’t show any drawings at all because I think my drawings look WAY BETTER in fabric – so usually that’s all you see. But I liked this car, so I shared it. Here’s the first comment I got. . .

You make it look so easy! I look at that and I think, “well, I could have done that!.” I sit down and nothing comes out of my pencil!

I replied that it really wasn’t cool of me to just spring an almost-finished design out there like I just dashed it off, and I promised to share a bit of what led up to it.

So here goes.

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

I start with some really rough little doodles. Earlier I said that every time I start drawing for a new project, the voice in my head says, “This is going to be terrible.” Of course, the voice means, “This is going to be terrible. You’re a fraud. I can’t believe you think people will buy something that you drew.” But I do my best to turn that around to say, “This is going to be terrible. You know it’s always like that at the beginning. Just take a deep breath, draw some terrible stuff, and get past it. It’ll get better.”

Sometimes it takes a few days to get better, but it usually does. 🙂

So I start with some terrible doodles, and I’m asking my self a lot of questions.

Do I want to show someone driving the car? No – that will be some crazy fussy piecing. No fun to make.

How about just the steering wheel? They can embroider it. No – it doesn’t add to the cute.

Do I want to show cut out wheel wells? Or just lay the tires over the body of the car? I’m not sure – I’ll try it both ways for a while.

How curvy/blocky do I want these? I need to try a bunch a shapes.

Do I want to show puffs of exhaust? It’s cute, but the blocks will need to be rectangles and I want squares.

It goes on like that for a while.

But then I see something I like – the tiny tall car right in the middle of the top of this image. I like the way the window is framed inside the top of the car. I like the way the bottom edge of the window is lined up with the top edge of the front and back of the car. It looks neat. And it will be simple to piece.

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

So I play around a little bit more with that idea and I try it with some other shapes. I try just one window and front and back windows.

I’m liking it! But they’re looking a little uniform. I try some weirder, less realistic shapes.

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

Ooh! I really like a couple of these! Oh – but it’s all cars. I need some trucks too.

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

Then I had to use Google Images to look up big rigs and dump trucks because I don’t really know what they look like. I used my Ed Emberley skills to simplify them down to some really basic shapes, and before I know it I have pages and pages of little cars and trucks.

At that point I draw nicer versions of the ones I like best. I make sure that they look like a unified group. If you look, you’ll notice that all the cars have small grey hubcaps on black wheels, the bottoms of all the windows line up with the tops of all the car bodies, and they all use the same color fabric for the windows. These “rules” help those individual blocks look like they belong to a cohesive group.

These sketches are where I was when I posted that image on Facebook. My finished quilts all have twelve patterns, so I try and do nice sketches of at least 15. Then I lay those out and see what works. For this quilt I wanted a balance between boxy cars, rounded cars, long cars, and trucks. I also needed a balance of cars facing left and cars facing right. 🙂

I ended up not using the one I posted on Facebook because I had a couple of other round-top cars I liked better, like this one.

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

After I finally narrow things down to my favorite dozen, I finally get to make them in fabric. I see them in fabric the whole time I’m working on them, but it’s still really fun to choose the colors and prints and see that it really works. 🙂

Cars Quilt - a Peek at My Process

After all of that, I finally get here. A finished pattern!

Beep! Beep! Cars quilt pattern

When I see them all in fabric – with the bright colors and prints – I love them and I forget how terrible those initial sketches looked.

And then it all starts over again with the next project. 🙂

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Craft Hope Quilt Update

Craft Hope Quilt in progress

Today is kit-shipping day for the Cuddle Club, so I’m just popping in quickly with an update on the Craft Hope Quilt. Four colors done, just two left to go. This week I’ll tackle my green and orange scrap baskets. 🙂

These blocks are super easy and fun to make – you can see how here.

Happy Monday!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Block 12 in the Controlled Chaos Scrappy Quilt-Along

Block 12 in the Controlled Chaos Scrappy Quilt-Along

Here’s block #12 in the Controlled Chaos Quilt!

What You’ll Need

  • 64  two-inch squares in color A (shown in red)
  • 36 two-inch squares in color B (shown in yellow)

Instructions

Use 1/4″ seam allowances for all sewing.

Press all the seams. I’m pressing mine open for this quilt. I think it will make things simpler in the end.

Arrange your squares according to the diagram below.

Block 12 in the Controlled Chaos Scrappy Quilt-Along

For this block I sewed things up in chunks in order to keep the edges of each color perfectly straight, even if my seams weren’t lined up perfectly.

We’re going to sew the whole thing into three fat columns, but we’re going to sew some parts of those columns into chunks first.

1. Sew up four yellow 3×3 squares.

2. Sew up two red 3×4 rectangles and one red 4×10 rectangle.

Arrange those chunks as you see below.

Block 12 in the Controlled Chaos Scrappy Quilt-Along

Now sew all those chunks into columns.

Block 12 in the Controlled Chaos Scrappy Quilt-Along

Finally – sew those three columns into one fabulous block. 🙂

Here’s what my twelve blocks look like so far. Just eight more to go!

Controlled Chaos scrappy quilt-in-progress

Click here for all the Controlled Chaos posts.

Happy piecing!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Craft Hope Quilt-in-Progress – Halfway There

Craft Hope Quilt-in-Progress

I just wanted to take a moment to share the Craft Hope quilt – so far. I’m halfway done (there are two more yellow blocks not shown here) and I’ve had a chance to play around a bit with the arrangement. I’ve definitely settled on grouping the blocks by color – probably in rainbow order. 🙂

I don’t know yet if those groups will be horizontal, vertical or diagonal stripes, but I can’t wait to pull out my basket of blue scraps today.

These blocks are super easy and fun to make – you can see how here.

Happy Monday!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Making a T-shirt Quilt – Part 4

Today I’m going to share a bit of problem-solving with you for your T-shirt quilts.

Most T-shirt designes are pretty well centered, with some room all the way around.

But sometimes the design of a T-shirt goes right up to the armhole, making it difficult to cut a square corner and get all the important bits.

Take, for example, this Fraggle design.

Making a T-shirt quilt

I cut this out as close to the arm seam as possible, but Mokey Fraggle is right up against the cut. The sleeve fabric was kind of yucky and worn there – so I definitely wanted to cut it away – but I didn’t want to lose Mokey!

I made the cut and did the interfacing as though there was fabric there. (I didn’t press that loose corner of interfacing – that would have fused it to the ironing board. I just left it unpressed while I fused the rest down.) Then I cut out the image – again pretending that there was fabric in that corner.

Of course, the next step is to sew in some real fabric to replace the pretend stuff. 🙂

Making a T-shirt quilt

I cut a strip of fabric big enough to cover the missing corner, laid it along the edge of the armhole cut, and sewed it in place with a straight seam.

Making a T-shirt quilt

Then I flipped the strip over the corner and pressed the seam flat (from the back so I didn’t smear the image).

Making a T-shirt quilt

Trim the corner to square up the block.

Making a T-shirt quilt

Then frame it out just like all the other blocks.

Problem solved!

I ran into the same issue with the Nyan Cat T-shirt.

Making a T-shirt quilt

And solved it the same way. 🙂

Here’s what the blocks look like so far.

Making a T-shirt quilt

I’m hoping to finish all the blocks this week, so next week will be joining, basting, quilting and binding. In my dreams I’m handsewing the binding while I watch Diane Gilleland’s T-shirt Quilt class and learn all the things I could have done better. (It looks amazing and it’s free! Sign up here and watch with me!) In reality I’ll probably be doing it in the car on the way to drop Jo off at school. 😛

Read all the posts about my T-shirt quilt here.

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

Making a T-shirt Quilt – Part 3

Making a T-shirt quilt

Here’s where things stand right now on Jo’s T-shirt quilt. I’ve fused the interfacing and cut images from all the T-shirts in the stack, and I’ve got finished, framed blocks for eight of them.

I wrote about the tools and supplies I’m using for this quilt here.

And I wrote about the hows and whys of the interfacing here.

Today I’ll show you how I’m framing the images to make uniform blocks.

The shirts I’m using in this quilt range from children’s XS to men’s XL. That, my friends, is a big range of sizes.

There are some amazingly complex T-shirt quilts out there that fit all those sizes together like a jigsaw puzzle. You can see some of them in this Pinterest board I’ve been building.

Frankly – the thought of planning that out made my head hurt. And then the cutting and piecing would have to be really precise and I would be quickly getting far away from the kind of quilts I like to make.

(One of the things I’m most eager to hear in Diane Gilleland’s class about T-shirt quilts is how she plans the layouts. Her T-shirt quilts have a lovely harmony and simplicity to them, and I can’t figure out how she does it just by seeing the finished quilts. I can’t wait to learn more about her approach! RSVP for the free video workshop happening on August 21 and 22 and take the class with me!)

Until I learn Diane’s magic secret – I decided to keep things simple.

1. I already own a 15 inch square ruler – so all the blocks will be 15 inch square blocks. Easy.

2. I cut the T-shirt images whatever size works best for the image. Then I add fabric around the image until it’s bigger than 15 inches. Then I use that handy-dandy ruler to trim it to the exact right size.

Today I’m going to show how I do that framing.

Here’s where we left off in the interfacing post.

Making a T-shirt quilt

The T-shirt has interfacing fused to the back and it’s trimmed where I like it.

I hit my stash and pulled some blue that very closely matched the blue of the T-shirt.

My original plan was to use contrasting fabric for the frame – like pulling out the green of her tail or the orange of her hair – but in the end I decided that would be too busy. I want the focus to be on the T-shirt images, so my frames add a bit of extra texture (none of them are solids) without adding additional color.

I added strips all the way around the image until the block was bigger than 15 inches. I added strips to the top and bottom first, then pressed it and added strips to the two sides and pressed again.

You can add to the sides first and then the top and bottom. Or you can work your way around the block log-cabin-style. It doesn’t really matter – just get fabric on all four sides.

Press all your seams away from the T-shirt center. And press everything from the back so you don’t smear your image!

Making a T-shirt quilt

Here’s the framed block with my 15 inch ruler set on top so you can see the extra all the way around.

Now – position that ruler where you want it and cut around all four sides. I wanted my blocks off center – but straight – so I lined one of the ruler lines up with a seam between the T-shirt image and the frame so everything stays nice and straight. If you look closely (click on the image to zoom in) you can see that the one-inch line on the ruler is lined up with the seam on the right side of the block.

I think it would be fun to have the images at interesting angles in the quilt, but Jo wanted them straight. 🙂

Making a T-shirt quilt

And here’s the finished block!

You can see I added wider strips to some sides, and narrower to others. I don’t want the image centered in the block, so unevenness is good. Also – then I don’t have to measure anything. 🙂 The effect is even more noticeable in some of the blocks with smaller images. Scroll back up to the top of the post to see the rest of the blocks so far.

Tony the Tiger was the only image big enough to cut 15″ square with no framing – so he’s in there just just from the T-shirt. Everything else is getting at least some framing.

Next week I’ll be back with a post about handling T-shirts whose images go right up to the armholes.

See all the T-shirt quilt posts here.

Happy quilting! Have a great weekend!

Best,
Wendi
Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

 

Making a T-Shirt Quilt – Part 2

How to Make a T-shirt quilt

Yesterday I wrote a bit about the tools and materials I’ll be using to make Jo’s new T-shirt quilt.

Today I’m actually getting started!

As I mentioned yesterday – the main challenge in making a T-shirt quilt is that T-shirts are stretchy. Stretchy fabric is usually the LAST thing you would choose to make a quilt. It stretches – which makes precise measuring hard. And the edges curl when they’re cut which is really annoying.

So the first step is to make your stretchy T-shirts no longer stretchy.

For that I used interfacing.

Specifically – Pellon 906F. It’s the lightest weight interfacing I could find.

Here’s how the interfacing works. . .

The Pellon 906F is a fisuble interfacing. That means you iron it to the back of your fabric and it creates a permanent bond. You’re basically gluing a non-stretchy fabric to the back of a stretchy fabric – which makes the stretchy fabric no longer stretchy.

Clever!

I chose the lightest weight interfacing I could find because I didn’t want to make my fabric overly heavy or stiff. With the 906F it still drapes nicely – so that’s good!

Here’s the step-by-step. . .

Step 1 – Cut away the front of the shirt

How to Make a T-shirt quilt

I cut right up the side seams and across the shoulder seams, as close as I could get to the seams without being too crazy fussy about the whole thing.

Step 2 – Add interfacing

How to Make a T-shirt quilt

See the interfacing peeking out where the armholes were? That gives you a sense of how big I cut the piece of interfacing. From the back it’s just a big square of white fabric stuck to some blue fabric – not the most useful image.

Cut a piece of interfacing larger than the image on the front of your shirt.

Lay the shirt front face down on your ironing board.

Iron the interfacing to the back of the image. Follow the package instructions as best you can.

This involves slowly counting to ten over and over and over and over again. It’s very boring – but it’s not hard and it’s what makes the whole thing work. Just listen to some music or a podcast or watch TV while you do it. 🙂

Important note – the instructions for the Pellon 906F say to flip the fabric over after the initial fuse and iron again with steam from the front.

Don’t do that!

A lot of the inks and image transfers used on T-shirts will melt and smear if you iron directly on them. Instead I lightly spritzed the back all over with water and pressed the whole thing again until it was dry.

Step 3 – Cut the image however you like

How to Make a T-shirt quilt

I’m cutting all the images for this quilt with square corners. That’s easy if you use clear rulers and rotary cutting tools. You don’t have to do it – but it will make for easy framing.

For the technique I’m using I’m not measuring at all. Easy peasy! I’m just cutting around the image in a way that looks good to me for that image.

And that’s it! The T-shirt is no longer stretchy. The cut edges don’t curl. And I have a nice, easy shape to frame out for the final block. Tomorrow I’ll show you that step – how I frame the images to get blocks that are all the same size. With no measuring!

Disclaimer – This is my first T-shirt quilt ever. I’ve made a lot of quilts and I’ve worked with knit fabrics – so I’m not starting from nowhere. But I am in no way an expert! If you want to learn from an expert, sign up for Diane Gilleland’s class here. She makes some BEE-YOO-TEE-FUL T-shirt quilts and I’m definitely taking the class myself. It’s free if you RSVP for the live version!

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

Making a T-Shirt Quilt – Part 1

 

We’re a T-shirt-wearing family. All three of us wear T-shirts all the time – the geekier the better. (Our favorite source for great designs is Tee Fury. They have a new design every day – available for only a day. Fun!)

Jo has been saving her outgrown T-shirts for years, with the thought that someday I would make her a T-shirt quilt with them.

Someday is suddenly NOW. She’s going away to school in a couple of weeks and has requested a T-shirt quilt for her bed.

I have never made a T-shirt quilt.

A couple of months ago I saw that Diane Gilleland is offering a video class showing how to make T-shirt quilts. Awesome!

Diane is a terrific teacher and the author of the wonderful book Quilting Happiness. You can read my review here.

And her T-shirt quilt class is FREE if you watch it live. Even more awesome!

Get all the details and get signed up here.

Seriously! Do it! I’m doing it!

But first I’m going to muddle through one on my own because Diane’s class is happening the last two days before Jo heads off to school and I know I’m setting myself up for major stress if I try to actually make the entire quilt in two days.

And guess what?

I’m going to share the muddling through part with all of you! I always get such nice emails when I share my mistakes publicly and this has the potential for some truly spectacular failures. 🙂

I’ve done a little bit of research about T-shirt quilts, but mostly I’m winging it. I figure I’ll learn all the good stuff in Diane’s class. 🙂 But here are a couple of key things I’ll be doing/tools I’ll be using. . .

Interfacing

T-shirts are stretchy. Stretch is bad when you’re trying to do precise piecing and end up with nice, straight lines. Plus the cut edges will curl up and make me crazy when I’m trying to sew them together.

So the first thing I’m going to do is make my stretchy fabric not stretchy anymore. For that I’m using fusible interfacing.

I don’t sew clothes or structured bags much, so I’m no interfacing expert. I decided to use Pellon 906F – a very lightweight fusible interfacing. I took a totally wildly random guess and bought 6 yards for my quilt. I’ll let you know later if that was enough. 🙂

I’ll write a post showing what I do with the interfacing.

Totally Random Sizes

The pile of shirts ranges from children’s XS to men’s XL (she added a couple of Alan’s old shirts to the stash too). We want to keep the images on the front of the shirts as intact as possible, so I decided to frame each image with scraps of regular fabric. I’m a little worried about mixing wovens with knits, but it’s what Jo asked for and I’m willing to give it a try. I’ll let you know how that works.

The finished blocks will all be 15 inches square. Why? Because I already have a 15 inch square ruler and I’m going to use it to make trimming the blocks to their final size quick and easy.

I’ll share how I standardize the sizes of the blocks in its own post.

Jo wants a twin-sized quilt, so I’ll be making 30 blocks. I think she has 28 T-shirts so I’ll fill in the last couple of blocks with fabric of Jo’s choice.

Tune in tomorrow for the post about the interfacing!

And remember to sign up for Diane’s class if you want to learn from someone who has actually DONE THIS already and done it very well. No – I’m not an affiliate or anything. I’m just really confident that the class is going to be awesome and I want you to get in on it. 🙂

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

Birds Quilt in Progress

Birds Applique Quilt in ProgressI’ve finished about half of the blocks for the bird quilt so far – and I’m so excited about how it’s turning out that I had to share. Look at the pretty colors on that dappled green background!

I’ve done all the left-facing and right-facing birds. Next up are all the front-facing guys, and then I have a few double-wide and double-tall blocks to make. I want to break up the grid a bit on this one. 🙂

My plan is to have the pattern ready by April 4, so we’re moving right along!

Update – you can get the finished bird quilt pattern here.

Happy Thursday!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!