Tutorial – Make a Tablet Cover

Quilted Tablet Cover - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

This post is originally from November 2013. I updated it in July 2017 to add the quilted batik tablet cover I made for my iPad Pro.

The day before I left for Quilt Market I decided that a really efficient use of my time would be to make myself a tablet cover using some of my new patterns. 🙂

Here’s the result.

Tablet cover with dog applique pattern from Shiny Happy WorldI posted it on Facebook and I got a bunch of requests for a pattern.

How about a free tutorial instead?

First you’ll need to measure your tablet. Of course, they’re all just a little bit different.

Add one inch to each dimension – length and width. This is your cutting size. If your tablet is 8″ x 11″ your cutting size is 9″ x 12″.

Cut four pieces of fabric to your cutting size. Two are for the outside and two are for the lining.

Oh yes – it’s lined.

Applique whatever you like to the two outside pieces, using whatever applique method you prefer. You can find video tutorials for hand and machine methods here.

The puppy is Harold – one block in the Puppies quilt pattern.

Of course, you can use any applique pattern you like! Maybe one of the critters from the Safari Quilt? Or a Silly Sloth?

For those who don’t like applique – how about embellishing it with some stitching? I’ve got a bunch of easy embroidery patterns here.

Or just make it out of the most fabulous fabric you can find!

For the new iPad cover, I used a fabulous hand-dyed batik fabric from Malka Dubrawsky of Stitch in Dye and added Big Stitch quilting around all the circles.

Quilted Tablet Cover - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

These are the tablet cover front and back, all quilted, trimmed to size, and ready to assemble.

Shop for Malka’s fabulous fabric here.

Learn how to do Big Stitch quilting here.

Back the outside layers with some thin cotton batting and hold the layers together with some machine quilting (if you didn’t already quilt it as part of your embellishment). For the cat/dog cover, I just followed the line of the zigzags in the fabric. Easy peasy! Since the tablet is lined you don’t even need to back the batting.

So. You’ve cut your pieces, added any fanciness you like, and quilted in some padding. Time to start sewing it all together. This is super easy.

Sew your front to your back, right sides together, using 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

Do the same thing with your two lining pieces except leave a 3-4 inch opening in the bottom for turning the whole thing right side out later.

Turn both the outside and the lining right side out and press.

Make a tablet cover - free tutorial at Shiny Happy WorldI’ve got my turning stick poked through the opening I left in the lining. See how I pressed that too? That’ll make it a cinch to sew up when you’re done.

Now turn the outside inside out again. Leave the lining right side out.

Measure a strip of elastic 3 inches long. I used soft fold-over elastic in a pretty color (I get mine here) but you can really use any elastic in any size or color.

Fold the elastic in half and pin it to the center of the front of your cover. (Fold the cover in half to quickly find the center.)

Make a tablet cover - free tutorial at Shiny Happy WorldI like to leave a little extra hanging over the raw edge.

Slip the lining (right side out) inside the cover (inside out). Line up the side seams and pin or clip the layers together around the top. The elastic loop should be sandwiched between the two layers.

Make a tablet cover - free tutorial at Shiny Happy WorldYou can really see my quilting lines here on the batting.

Sew the outside to the lining all the way around the top using 1/4″ seam allowance.

Make a tablet cover - free tutorial at Shiny Happy WorldI go back and forth over the elastic a couple of extra times. It’s a stress spot and I like to reinforce it.

Now comes the fun part.

Pull the lining out of the bag. Then pull the whole thing through the opening in the bottom of the lining. Sew up the opening in the lining using either whipstitch or ladder stitch and tuck the lining down into the bag.

Flip down the elastic loop to see where you need to position your button and sew the button in place.

Done!

Tablet Cover with cat applique pattern from Shiny Happy World

Here’s the back of my cover. Of course I had to decorate the back too!

And here’s a full view of the batik cover.

Quilted Tablet Cover - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

It’s the same font and back. 🙂

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

 

Fast & Easy Placemats – a Free Tutorial

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I love seeing people make things besides quilts with their Shiny Happy World quilt patterns.

Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing your finished quilts!

But if you make quilts – it’s a great way to get extra use out of your patterns.

And if you’re new and a little nervous about making a whole quilt, it’s a great way to just give it a little try. 🙂

Over the next year I’ll be showing a bunch of things you can do with your quilt patterns – the ones designed by me and also other favorites in your pattern stash.

Today let’s talk placemats.

They’re so easy to make!

A typical placemat – one that easily fits a standard place setting – is anywhere from 12″ to 14″ tall and 18″ to 20″ wide.

(A fat quarter is typically 18″ x 20″ so any placemat in this size range will take two fat quarters and some batting.)

I cut my rectangles (a front, a back, and a batting) 13″ x 19″ – right smack in the middle of the normal range.

If you’re going to use Quilt As You Go and you like to quilt before you applique (that’s what I do) layer your placemat top with the batting (no backing yet!) and quilt however you like. Press it flat.

Next – add your applique character.

Almost all the characters in my quilts are designed to fit in a 10″ square, and I find they work really well on these placemats without any resizing. If you’re using another designer’s pattern, just enlarge or reduce the image to be 8-9 inches tall.

I like to position my image to one side or the other. If it’s centered it gets completely hidden by the plate, plus I like things to be asymmetrical. 🙂

Look at the way the image is framed/cropped. Maurice (my favorite cat from this Cats quilt pattern) is chopped off straight at the shoulders. I designed him to look like he was in a portrait. You’ll want to be sure to position that straight cut edge flush with the bottom edge of the placemat – like he’s popping into the frame and we just snapped a photo.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

(Fabrics used: Sketch Denim and Sketch Gold, both from Timeless Treasures)

This bird, on the other hand, isn’t cropped anywhere. Position complete images like this fairly close to the bottom edge of the placemat (that will anchor the image and keep her from looking like she’s floating in space) – but not so close that any part of her gets cut off when you sew up the edges.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

(Fabrics used: Sketch Dill, Pop Peony, Pop Pink, and Sketch Nectar, all from Timeless Treasures)

See the difference?

Applique your image in place using your favorite technique.

You can find all my applique tutorials here. I used applique with fusible adhesive and outlined with simple straight stitching in black thread.

Now comes the fast and easy part.

You can, of course, layer on the backing and bind the edges just like a quilt. I love binding and would choose this technique unless I was in a hurry.

But not everyone shares my love of hand-sewn binding. 🙂

For all of you – here’s a fast and easy finish.

Layer the placemat front and back right sides together. Pin or clip all the way around the edges.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Sew it up around the edges (I used a 1/4″ seam allowance, but you can fudge that a little) leaving a few inches open on one side for turning.

Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching!

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Clip the excess seam allowance off the corners – very close to your stitching. That will allow you to get nice crisp points.

Turn it right side out, smooth and straighten all the edges, gently poke out the corners, and press. Turn the seam allowance of the opening inside (so that folded edge lines up with the sewn edges) and press that too.

No need to sew up that opening by hand! Topstitch all the way around the edge of the placemat and that will close up the opening.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I like the topstitching around the edge of the placemat to be about the same distance from the edge as my topstitching on the applique pieces. That keeps everything looking neat and unified.

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

(Fabrics used: Pop Brown and Sketch Coral – both from Timeless Treasures. I also used a bit of Scallop Dot in Tangerine from Dear Stella for the snout and ears.)

Finished!

There are so many possibilities for this! You can use any applique pattern. (I used blocks from Cats, Chirp, and Noisy Farm.)

Add some lettering from this free alphabet applique pattern to personalize each placemat with someone’s name!

Oooh! Instead of a name, use the Paper Dolls quilt pattern to create images that look like the person the placemat is for. That would be so much fun!

Use some of my free applique patterns to make a set of holiday placemats. I have free Halloween, Easter and Christmas patterns. 🙂

Instead of applique, do some embroidery. The placemat size and construction method is exactly the same.

You can make traditionally pieced placemats too! Just start with your favorite pieced block, and add enough fabric around it to get it up to the standard placemat size. The method is just like this one for turning any quilt block into a pillow.

Have fun with it!

I can’t wait to see what you all make!

Fast & Easy Placemats - a free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Baby Bib Pattern – Adorable and Free

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Babies always need bibs.

That means the people who love babies need a go to, easy baby bib pattern.

This is it!

It’s a simple bib shape – very easy to make and customize with any appliquĂ© (or other fancification) you like. This pattern includes that sweet bear. 🙂

Make it out of regular quilting cotton for a basic bib. Back it with laminated fabric for heavy droolers. Make the whole thing out of laminate for those learning to eat solid foods. (The fabrics I used are from Timeless Treasures. The crosshatch is my beloved Sketch collection and the swirly fizzy dots are from the appropriately-named Pop collection.)

Here’s how to make it!

a href=”http://www.shinyhappyworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/baby-bib-stack.jpg”>Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Step 1

Download the baby bib pattern here.

Print it out at 100%.

Overlap the two bib pieces so that the hearts line up and tape them together into one bib piece. There’s a tutorial here showing how.

Cut two bib pieces (one front and one back) on the fold.

Step 2

Print or trace the bear appliqué pieces (the last page of the baby bib pattern PDF) onto fusible adhesive. This is the brand I use.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Roughly cut out each shape and fuse them to the back of the fabric, following the instructions for the brand you’re using.

Step 3

Cut out the pieces neatly.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Cut right on the solid lines. Leave a little extra seam allowance past the dotted lines. See the extra at the bottom of the ears? That bit will tuck behind the head.

Step 4

Hold the face up to the window so you can see the markings through the fabric and mark the position of the eyes.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

I just use a fine tip Sharpie – nothing fancy.

Do the same thing with the muzzle, marking the position of the nose and the key points of the mouth.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

You can also trace over the whole line of the mouth, if you prefer.

Step 5

Peel off the paper backings and layer the pieces together so that the ears tuck behind the head and the bottom of the bear body is lined up with the bottom of the bib.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Here you can see it a little closer.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Fuse the pieces down according to the instructions of whatever brand adhesive you’re using.

Step 6

Stitch around the edges of all the pieces.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

I like to use black thread and a simple straight stitch. You can use a zigzag or other decorative stitch if you prefer. If you want a little help knowing where to start and in what order to stitch the pieces, this post should help you out. And this one will help you with managing those tight curves. 🙂

Step 7

Embroider the eyes and mouth.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

I did it by hand using this stitch for the eyes, and following the instructions for the mouth in the free Warren the Charity Bear pattern. I used a single strand of this thread. That’s the equivalent of two strands of DMC floss, but I love using a single strand of thicker thread so I don’t have to worry about the strands separating on that long stitch connecting the nose to the mouth.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

You can also sew the face by machine. That’s what I did for this cat bib. You can find info about how I did the eyes here. The mouth and whiskers are just a simple straight stitch, going over all the lines twice to make them a little thicker. (For those I traced the whole line of the mouth and whiskers in Step 4, not just the endpoints.)

Step 8

Cut a 1-inch square of hook & loop tape (or use snaps or a button).

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Sew it to the bib as shown. Both bib pieces are shown right side up. I attached the loop side to the bib front and the hook side to the bib back, but it doesn’t really matter.

Step 9

Layer the bib front and the bib back right sides together.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Using 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew all the way around the edge. Leave a few inches open for a turning hole in the straight part of one of the sides.

Step 10

Clip the seam allowance in the concave curve around the neck.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

For more on the the how and why of clipping curves, watch this video.

Step 11

Turn the bib right side out. Smooth out all the curves and press it flat. Sew up the opening using ladder stitch. (There’s a video here showing how to ladder stitch.)

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

Finished!

But what about that cat?

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

That’s one of my favorite things about this pattern.

You can use just about any appliqué pattern to decorate it!

If you’re using my cats, dogs, monsters, birds, flowers, farm animals, safari animals, cars & trucks, or woodland critters, just print out the pattern page for the face you want at 75% and you’re ready to go. Anything else should be resized to a maximum of 6 inches wide or tall.

Baby Bib Pattern - adorable and free from Shiny Happy World

It would be fun to make a whole set of them with lots of different faces!

Have fun with this pattern! I’d love to see what you make – and I’d really love to see them on some adorable babies. 🙂 Post photos in the Shiny Happy People Facebook group so we can ooh and aah over them.

If you like this free baby bib pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News so you don’t miss anything else like it! You’ll also get special discounts, peeks behind the scenes, advance notice of all sales, and happiness. 🙂

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Free Christmas Stocking Pattern

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Use this simple stocking pattern with whatever embellishment you choose. Or none at all! The lined construction is easy enough for beginners, and it works with any quilt, appliqué or embroidery pattern.

Throughout most of the instructions I’m using this free Santa appliquĂ© pattern, but you can use any decoration you like. Here’s the exact same stocking made with three different cats from this quilt pattern.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Here’s how to make the stocking. . .

Step 1

Download the stocking pattern here. The pattern pieces print on two pages. Overlap them so that the heart and the edges of the stocking line up and tape them together. There’s more info on joining pattern pieces like this here.

Step 2

Cut two rectangles 9″ wide and 19″ tall from your main fabric, your lining fabric, and 100% cotton batting. My favorite batting is Warm & Natural.

Step 3

Layer one main fabric rectangle with one batting rectangle and quilt the layers together.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

I’m showing this from the back so you can really see the quilting. Any design will do – it just needs to hold the two layers together.

Repeat with the other main fabric and batting rectangles so you have two pieces.

Step 4

Layer the two quilted layers and the two lining layers right sides together and cut four stocking pieces – two main and two lining.

Step 5

Decorate the front of the stocking however you like. I used my favorite appliqué with fusible adhesive method. You can see how I do that in this video.

If you’re doing floating heads (like the cats) no adjustment is needed. Just print the pieces out at whatever size you like.

If you’re doing a head that’s cropped off at the bottom (like the Santa) you’ll need to make some adjustments because the bottom of the stocking slants.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

On the original Santa appliqué pattern, the beard is cropped off at the horizontal dotted line. For the stocking I left a lot of fusible adhesive below that dotted line and fused the whole thing to the fabric. That extra fabric will accommodate the slant at the bottom of the stocking.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Arrange the pieces on the front of the stocking. Let that extra beard fabric overhang the bottom edge of the stocking.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

When you’re happy with the arrangement, fuse it down, stitch around the edges, and then trim off the extra beard. You can use this same technique for any animal bodies that you want to use on the stocking from any of my quilt patterns.

Step 6

Now time to start putting the stocking together! Layer the lining pieces right sides together and sew around the edges using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Leave the stocking top open, and also a place on the back seam for turning. The turning hole needs to be big enough to fit your hand through it.

Step 7

Layer the main stocking pieces right sides together and sew them around the edge using 1/4 inch seam allowance – just like the lining. Leave the top open, but do NOT leave a turning opening.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Clip the seam allowance in the concave curve of both the main stocking and the lining. Watch this video for the how and why of curve clipping.

Step 8

Turn the lining right side out. Slip it inside the stocking (the stocking should still be inside out) and line up the side seams.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Sew the stocking to the lining all the way around the top edge using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Step 9

Turn the stocking right side out. This can be confusing if you’ve never turned a lined thing right side out before.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Start by pulling the lining out of the stocking. Then reach into the turning opening, grab the toe of the stocking, and pull the stocking right side out through that opening.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Keep pulling and the lining will start coming through too – right side out. Turn the lining completely right side out. Sew up the opening using ladder stitch, and tuck the lining down into the stocking.

Step 10

You have two options for the top edge. You can work the lining and the stocking so that the seam between them is right at the top edge of the stocking. You only see the lining if you peek inside. Press with lots of steam to set the fold.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

(If you want to add a hanging loop like on this cat stocking, cut a loop of ribbon and slip it between the stocking and lining layers before you sew them together in Step 8. Be sure to catch the ends of the ribbon in the stitching as you sew those layers together.)

If you want a little bit of the lining to peek out of the top, leave the batting inside standing up (don’t fold it down) and use that as a guide to fold the lining down over it. Press with plenty of steam.

Free Christmas stocking pattern from Shiny Happy World.

Finished!

Here’s a quick list of links to all the patterns I used. . .

The free Santa appliqué pattern is here. I printed it at 60% to fit on the stocking.

The Cats quilt pattern is here. I printed the three cats I used at 80%.

The free alphabet pattern is here. I printed it at 90%. You might need to go much smaller for a significantly longer name, or arrange the letters the long way.

You could make the stocking even simpler by just using a really fun Christmas fabric – no fancification needed! Try embroidering a design instead of using appliquĂ©. Or use a couple of leftover pieced quilt blocks for the main fabric.

Oh – and the fabric. I know you want to know about the fabric. 🙂 It’s all from Timeless Treasures. That swirly print I used for Santa’s beard and the background of the cats is their Jazz basics collection; the groovy tone-on-tone polkadots on Santa’s hat and the letters are from the Pop basics collection; and all those cats are made with my favorite Sketch basics. In fact – they’re all colors from the Rich Neutrals fat quarter bundle.

Play around with this pattern! It’s completely open-ended so you can do just about anything with it!

If you like this free stocking pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News! You’ll get a weekly email full of links to sewing patterns and tutorials, sneak peeks at what I’m working on, special discounts and happiness. 🙂 Sign up here.

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

How to Turn a Quilt Block into a Pillow

How to Turn Any Quilt Block into a PIllow

So. Let’s say you really like one of my quilt patterns, but you’ve never made a quilt before and you’re kind of freaked out about making the whole thing.

Start with one block. You can make one single block, right? Of course you can! And you can turn it into a fun pillow. Here’s how.

Make a quilt block.

Any block from any pattern.

Step 1 - make the block
Hey! Are you trying to frame me?

You could always enlarge the pattern so it fits on the pillow form you want to cover – but I think it’s more fun to add some framing, so I made the block exactly as the pattern specified. It’s a 10 1/2 inch square. Almost all of my applique quilt patterns are 10 1/2″ squares.

Add frames

My pillow form is 18″ square. That means I need the pillow front to be 18 1/2″ square. (The extra 1/2″ gives me 1/4″ seam allowance on all sides.)

My block is 10 1/2″ square. That means it will finish at 10″ square when I take up the seam allowances. So I need to add 4 inches on each side of the block.

I could add 4″ frames all the way around, but I want a narrow frame inside a slightly wider frame. So I’m going to add a 1″ frame all the way around, and then a 3″ frame all the way around that. That will add up to the 4″ frame all around.

Step 2 - add side strips
Start with the sides.

Cut strips 1 1/2″ wide. (Remember – if you want a 1″ frame you need to cut your strips 1 1/2″ so seam allowance is included.) Sew a strip to each side of your block. Press them flat.

Step 3 - finish the inner frame
Add strips to the top and bottom.

Sew strips to the top and bottom. Press them flat.

The inner frame is done.

Step 4 - repeat for the outer frame
Repeat for the outer frame

Do the same thing for the outer frame, but use 3 1/2″ strips for a 3″ frame.

Make the pillow back

I like using zippers on my pillow covers so I can take them off for washing. You can add the zipper to the side seam where the front is sewn to the back, but I think that sometimes distorts the look of the pillow. I prefer to add it to the middle of the pillow back.

Make the pillow back.
You don’t have to use two different fabrics. I just ran out of the green jellybeans. 🙂

Sew two pieces of fabric together to make an 18 1/2″ square. The seam doesn’t have to go exactly in the middle. Just middle-ish. Use at least 1/2″ seam allowance so you have enough fabric to reach under the zipper when you stitch it in place.

Insert a zipper into the seam using this tutorial.

Unzip the zipper at least part way. Don’t forget to do this or you’ll be very sad!  Sew the pillow front to the pillow back, right sides together, using 1/4″ seam allowance.

Turn it right side out through the zipper opening. (See why you left it unzipped a bit?) Slip your pillow form into the cover. Zip it up and toss it onto a chair.

Finished!

finished monster pillow
I knew you could do it!

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi