10 Year Anniversary Quilt

My sister and her husband recently celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary.  I have been wanting to make them a quilt for awhile now and this was a great occasion to commemorate.  They have three little ones, so I decided to make an oversized throw for one-to-five people to share on cold winter evenings (assuming three of those people are kiddles).

Front of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

Front of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

My sister is not a fan of traditional quilt blocks with uniform sizes, sashing, borders, etc., so I knew I wanted to do a quilt with an allover pattern.  I decided to use the Giggles pattern from Jaybird Quilts using the Super Sidekick Ruler I picked up at last year’s International Quilt Festival and Market.

I dove into my stash and pulled out fabrics with blue, navy, turquoise, and teal.  Here are the fabrics I picked:

Penny in Navy (Handcrafted, Alison Glass)
Grove in Blue (Sun Print Grove, Alison Glass)
Arrows in Indigo (Moonlit, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Cotton + Steel)
Netorius in Teal (Netorius, Cotton + Steel)
Static Dot in Indigo (Moonshine, Tula Pink)
Little Town in Blues (Emmy Grace, Bari J)
Tomahawk Stripe in Night (Arizona, April Rhodes)
Visionary in Winter (Shaman, Parson Gray)
Optical Origami in Shine (Urban Mod, AGF)
Nap Sak in Lake
(Modern Meadow, Joel Dewberry)
Aztec Ikat in Deepwater (Botanique, Joel Dewberry)
Squared Elements in Teal (Squared Elements, AGF)

I did a scrappy version of the Giggles pattern without a solid break.  A few great uses of the Giggles pattern can be found at Hawthorne Threads and Sara Lawson’s Sew Sweetness blog.  I used the 6″ diamond shape from the Super Sidekick Ruler and did five pairs of diamonds on the width and 12 diamonds down the height of the quilt.  I put together a scrappy back using some of the isosceles trapezoids that I had left over from cutting my diamonds.  .

Back of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

Back of 10-Year Anniversary Quilt

I also used a new quilt label I designed and purchased from Spoonflower, simple, but just what I needed.  I really like how it turned out and it was a great stash buster, except I love all those fabrics and will need to get more!

10-Year Anniversary Quilt featuring my new quilt label

10-Year Anniversary Quilt featuring my new quilt label

Dimensions: approximately 60″ x 80″
Batting: 100% Cotton
Binding: Navy Kona

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY


Pattern Review: Boxy Pouches FTW

I have a well documented (on Instagram) love of all things with zippers – pouches, cases, zippy bags, purses, etc.  One of the first pouches I made after I got back into sewing was the Boxy Pouch by Pink Stitches.  I first tried this pattern/tutorial for Christmas presents for family in late 2014.  I found it on Pinterest and it had been on my to-do list for a while.

I love this pattern and tutorial.  It is really easy to follow and has repeatable, lovely results. I would say it is best for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewist since some techniques will be easier if you have some experience with zipper insertion and other construction techniques.  I’ve used fusible fleece or ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable for the structure of the bag with great results.  The pattern is also easily scale-able if you have a particular size in mind.

I first made two medium and two large pouches for my aunts using Garden Bouquet by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller.  I used long-handled purse zippers from Zipit on Etsy.

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and large boxy pouch made in Garden Bouquet in Violet (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

Boxy Pouches in Garden Bouquet (Patty Sloniger)

Medium and Large boxy pouches in Garden Bouquet in Burgandy (Patty Sloniger, Michael Miller)

These pouches were well-received by their recipients, so I continued to make a few more for myself and other friends.  I made two for my gym bag using the two colorways of Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Gamaguchi print from Mochi (Cotton + Steel).  The fabric was perfect for my make-up, hair products, and other accouterments for early morning workouts.

Boxy Pouches in Gamaguchi (Rashida Coleman-Hale)

Medium and large boxy pouch for my gym bag

Definitely give this pattern and tutorial a try if you haven’t yet.  It’s easy to follow and an excellent project for an advanced beginner sewist.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Abstract Cityscape Quilt for my Brother

My mother, sister, nieces, and female friends are the main recipients of my sewn goods – bags, zippy pouches, clothes, etc.  My brother has been sadly left out until last Christmas.

For Christmas this past year (I know this post is dreadfully outdated), I wanted to make him something for his new house.  He likes black, gray, and red and I wanted to make a medium sized wall quilt for him.

I can’t pinpoint the exact inspiration, but I had talked with my brother earlier about abstract cityscapes in quits or wall art and landed on this idea.  I started with a fabric pull of solid black, grays, black prints, and reds.  I knew right away that a dark gray-to-black Ombre blender (Springs Creative) I had picked up at a previous Quilt Festival would be perfect to create some interest in the foreground of the quilt.

I created a cityscape with various fabric strips from 1″ to 6″ (finished) with varying heights, offset with a solid black sky/background.  I tried to place the “buildings” randomly to create an even look.  I used the gradient solid on the foreground / ground to add some interest.

Abstract Cityscape Quilt

Abstract Cityscape Quilt – Front

I used straight line walking foot quilting with a variety of thread colors (black, red, gray, metallic silver) and geometric designs on each of the larger buildings. The backing is scrappy pieced to used some of the left over pieces from the buildings.

Abstract Cityscape Quilt

Abstract Cityscape Quilt – Back with quilting detail visible

I think he liked it and hopefully it found a cozy spot in his new home!

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

For a swap at the Houston Modern Quilt Guild last year, I made a purple and gray mini quilt using a circle of geese foundation paper piecing pattern. The FPP templates I used were from Piece by Number’s website (Colorwheel Geese).  This is a pretty straightforward, four-piece, 12.5″ unfinished block.

I made this a bit ago when my stash wasn’t as extensive.  I stuck with my mainstay colors of gray and a gradient of purple.  I made the block and added some quick borders.  I’m usually not a huge fan of borders, but in this case I wanted the mini to be a bit more substantial.

I added some quilting to accentuate the circular layout of the geese and a purple border.

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

Gray and Purple Circle of Geese Mini

The swap was fun and I received a lovely mini from Amy at House of Bad Cats.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Where Elsa and Anna can lay their heads…

… On Frozen pillowcases!

Were all aware of the phenomena that is Disney’s Frozen. My wonderful little nieces introduced me to the film awhile ago and sang so loud I couldn’t hear the clever songs.

I was lucky enough to happen upon some Frozen cotton fabric at Jo-Ann and knew my nieces needed something made from it.  I decided on pillowcases for each of them and my mom introduced me to the easy one-seam pillowcase tutorials. There are many out there, but I used this tutorial that included an accent stripe.

I used my stash to supply the accent fabrics. I made one in the colors of Anna (purple with gray) and Elsa (ice blue).

Frozen Pillow Cases

Frozen Pillow Cases

My nieces liked them and the construction was really quick and easy once I chose my fabrics. The Frozen fabric is frequently sold out at local fabric stores, but I know more will be coming out with Frozen 2 in a few years.

This is an exceptionally easy way to make quick pillowcases that you can donate to American Patchwork and Quilting’s (APQ) Million Pillowcase Challenge in your local community.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Tutorial: Sewing and Quilting Design Wall

It’s well documented here that I have a great, although small, sewing room. Adding a design wall has been on my list for a while and I was inspired to get it done after seeing my friend Mona’s modular design tiles.

She sent me to The Quilting Edge’s tutorial on her design wall which I used as my starting point. This tutorial is great and I only made af we modifications.


1. Gather materials and plan. I planned my design wall to maximize a small section of wall I had available. Mine was 34″ wide x 70″ tall. I wanted one continuous piece so I started with a 4′ x 8′ piece of foam insulation. You can cut multiple pieces from this for your space or use the precut foam insulation squares. When you decide your finished dimensions, you’ll need both kinds of batting with that dimension, plus at least 4″ on each side.

2. Cut out foam board. Using a metal straight edge, tape measure, and box cutter, I cut out a 34″ x 70″ piece of foam insulation. The best approach was to first score the foam with the box cutter down 1/8″ to 1/4″ into the foam using the straightedge. When the piece was fully marked, I went back and gently sawed through the whole thickness of foam with the box cutter.  It isn’t as hard as it looks, the foam is pretty forgiving and remember that if it isn’t totally straight, we’re going to have layers of batting wrapped around each edge that will smooth everything out.

3. Attach the high loft batting. This is where I deviates from The Quilted Edges’ tutorial. I wanted a bit more loft in my wall since I was using thin Warm and Natural on top so I added a layer of high loft poly batting. I used The Quilted Edges’ method of cutting a piece to size, attaching to the foam with spray adhesive, and then using duct tape to secure the batting to the back. This worked very well and I had a secure high loft batting layer.

4. Attach the top batting layer. Next, I attached the top batting layer using the same method. I used the spray adhesive on the low loft batting and glued the top batting right to that layer. I secured the back with duct tape.

Design Wall 02

After using spray adhesive on the front surface, duct tape easily secures the edges of the batting on the back.

5. Hang up your design board and start sewing!  As recommended in the tutorial, I used Command Medium Picture Hanging Sawtooth hooks to hold up my design wall.  The wall has very little weight and I used 4 hooks, 1 in each corner.

Design Wall 01

New design wall in action

Possible modifications and improvements
– Run your batting through the dryer to loosen up any creases or bumps.  I didn’t do that and wish I had.
– Consider using black batting for a different look for your sewing room.

Since making my design board I helped my mom make one for her renovated sewing room.  The great part about this tutorial and using the 4′ x 8′ piece of foam insulation, you can cut it down to fit any area of wall you have.  In my case, it was tall and skinny while my mom needed a wide, short board.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Pink baby quilt for Winslow

Front of Quilt

Front of quilt with pink checkerboard

A colleague had a lovely baby girl named Winslow recently and I made her a baby quilt to celebrate.  I pulled out pink and purple fabrics from my stash and set to work.  I chose a purple flannel for the backing that would be soft and cozy for the new little bundle of joy.  For the front, I combined a pink, plaid flannel with eight pink cotton prints.  I chose a simple checkerboard design with the plaid flannel dispersed throughout.

As with all my baby quilts, I machine bound the edges.  I always feel this is more secure and up to the task of many washes and tougher use.  I used a decorative leaf stitch with variegated pink thread.

Baby quilt

Baby quilt for Winslow with solid purple back ground and pink checkerboard front

Binding detail

Binding detail with leaf stitch

Dimensions: 42″ (l) x 42″ (w), approximately
: Pink plaid and purple marbled flannel from Jo-ann’s, assorted pink quilting cottons, Aurifil pink variegated thread for binding.
Assembly: Pieced, quilted, and bound on home machine

– Stephanie , HoustonDIY


Rainbow Bright Pillow Covers

The Houston Modern Quilt Guild, which I am a proud member of, has regular swaps at our monthly meetings. In March of last year we exchanged small items with a closure and I made a yellow and black ID wallet. In April of last year, we exchanged pillow covers. The only rules were that it needed to be 16″ x 16″, 18″ x 18″, or 20″ x 20″ to fit a standard pillow form and be modern fabrics/designs.

I wanted to make something colorful so I made up a drew up a pattern after thinking about easy to assemble rectangles and giving them a modern, slightly wonky feel. I decided on a 20″ x 20″ pillow and drew out a design on graph paper.

Sketch of my design

Sketch of my design

Since I’m trying to practice free motion quilting (and quilting in general), I cut out pieces enough for 4 pillows. I use two different shades of gray for the background with the same set of 20 bright fabrics from my stash. This would be a great project to use up scraps since the cut pieces range from 1.5″ to 6.5″ x 2.5″.

After piecing all four pillows, I tried a few different techniques for the quilting – 1/4″ spaced parallel lines (pillow A), modified chevron with straight lines (pillow B), and pebbles filling in the background grays (pillows C and D). I assembled them all in the same way using a bright color zipper and scraps to cover the zipper. I followed a tutorial I found on Pinterst for a covered zipper on the backs.

Completed rainbow bright pillows with varying quilting techniques

Completed rainbow bright pillows with varying quilting techniques

I decided to keep pillows C and D for myself as a matching set, gave pillow A to the guild swap (hopefully Tammy likes it), and gifted the other to a friend. All in all, it was a fun project that was a good opportunity to be creative by designing a block, practice my quilting techniques, and practice my zipper insertion techniques.

-Stephanie, HoustonDIY

Gathered Teal and Coral Baby Quilt

Front of quilt

Front of gathered teal and coral baby quilt

A very good friend was expecting her second child – first daughter – and I wanted to make a special quilt for this little one.  The mother-to-be told be early on she was thinking of a white and gold themed nursery with some other color accents to be determined.

At the Houston Quilt show last November I was immediately drawn to a half-quarter bundle of Violet Craft’s (@violetcraft) newer color ways of Brambleberry Ridge.  My friend had made an awesome dress from the Shimmer Reflection in Teal print so I had my eye out for something like this.  The bundle I bought from Modern Quilter at the quilt show included the Coral Palette and some selections from the Lilac Palette.  I was drawn to the coral and teal fabrics with white and gold accents.

Awhile ago I saw a Crinkle Quilt pattern from the Moda Bake Shop by Palak of Make it Handmade that I’ve had in the back of my mind for awhile.  I thought this would be a fun way to showcase Violet’s beautiful fabric while give the quilt some texture for the new bundle of joy.  I adapted the pattern to make a larger quilt with more rows of gathered fabric.

Detail of quilt

Detail of gathering and quilting

Back of Quilt

Front of gathered teal and coral baby quilt

A tip if you’re interested in gathering strips like this: use a serger with differential feed capabilities.  This allowed me to simply feed the assembled strip of fabric to be gathered and the serger took care of the gathering for me.  My inexpensive serger had this feature, so it should be fairly easy to find.

Dimensions: 64″ (l) x  40″ (w), approximately
Fabrics on Front: Violet Craft’s Brambleberry Ridge Coral Palette (12 fabrics), Art Gallery Solid Elements in Snow.
Fabrics on Back: Violet Craft’s Brambleberry Ridge Coral Palette (12 fabrics), an older Riley Blake print.
Assembly: pieced, quilted, and bound on home sewing machine and serger

– Stephanie, Houston DIY

Tutorial: Easy Sewn Paper Party Bunting (Garland)

King of the Jungle Bunting for the baby shower

King of the Jungle bunting for a jungle themed baby shower

Who isn’t looking for an inexpensive but modern way to decorate for a baby shower, bridal shower, birthday party, or any celebration? I recently helped a friend decorate for our friend’s baby shower. Instead of store-bought decorations I suggested making bunting. The shower theme was jungle animals so we decided on one string of bunting that said “King of the Jungle” and a few other strings of colorful flags.

Now, there is some debate as to what this bunting is really called. I think bunting is the UK term but garland, flags, or any other moniker means the same thing to me: cute, customizable, and personal decorations for your get-together. I did these out of paper but you could easily make the same type of bunting out of fabric stay stitched around the triangles for the flags.

In this project I used one of my favorite techniques, sewing on paper.  This isn’t as scary as it sounds and I have a few helpful hints on this technique at the end of the post.

Supplies needed:
5 to 10 sheets of 12″ x 12″ or 8.5″ x 11″ scrapbook paper (this project is great to get rid of paper scraps!)
Double fold binding tape – 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch finished width
2″ tall alphabet or number stickers, if desired (a Silhouette or Cricut works even better)
Clover Wonderclips (Optional) – really helpful for keeping the flags in place without creating puncture marks
Sewing machine and accessories – needles, scissors, matching thread

1. Cut out Triangles. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out larger triangles for my “King of the Jungle” bunting and smaller triangles for the colorful buntings I had planned. I choose the size biased on wanting to get at least 4 flags out of a 12″ x 12″ sheet of scrapbook paper. My large triangles were about 5″ tall and 4″ wide at the top. For the smaller triangles, I made them about 3″ tall and 2″ wide at the top. You’ll have to play with the sizes for your particular party theme, phrase, and decorating requirements.

2. (Optional) Cut out letters or numbers. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out my phrase “King of the Jungle” in solid navy in letters about 2″ tall.  You could also use store-bought stickers to add your phrase of choice.

3. (Optional) Attach letters or numbers to flags. I attached my letters using double-sided tape, centering each letter 1″ down from top edge of triangle.

4. Sew flags into binding tape. Lay out your flags along the 3 or 4 yards of binding tape. You’ll want to leave at least 12″ on each end to allow for hanging. Trim binding if needed for a shorter string of bunting. Starting at one end of binding tape, stitch along tape about 75% toward the open end, keeping in mind that there will not be flags for the first 12″. When you reach 12″, place the first flag inside the binding tape, making sure the tape is on both sides of the paper triangle and continue stitching. Make sure the triangle is all the way inside the binding and that your stitching is grabbing the flag by at least 1/8 inch (more for wider bindings). Continue stitching across the top of all of the triangle using the spacing you like.

Assembly of the bunting

Sewing in my triangles. Clips work great for keeping things in place without the holes left my pins in paper.

5. Pay attention to spacing.  Make sure to leave spaces between words. On the “King” bunting, I made sure to reduce the spacing between the letters of a single word and increase the space between words so the phrase was readable rather than one long word.  Once you sew on all the triangles in a single seam, your ready to party!

Colorful flags to match the baby shower theme

Colorful flags to match the baby shower theme

Recommendations for customization:
– Try making a phrase like “Happy Birthday”, “Congratulations”, or “Happy Anniversary” that you can reuse for various gatherings
– Buy a few sheets of glitter or sparkle paper to add pizzazz to your bunting
– Try making oversized bunting with large triangles and more than one package of bias tape for a bold decoration

Sewing on paper:
If you have never sewed on paper, let me assure you it is very easy and the results looks amazingly professional. There are two important things to keep in mind when sewing paper:
1. It will dull your needle very quickly. You’ll want a thinner needle – a 10 or 12. I have a dedicated sewing machine needle just for paper. If you don’t already, you’ll have one after your first paper project since you will not want to use that needle for fabric again.
2. Use larger stitch sizes. I find a 3.0 or 3.5 works very well. Remember, we are tying to do the opposite of paper piecing where small stitches are used to make sure the paper is perforated and easy to remove. We want ours staying put, so use a larger stitch length ensures you don’t create easy to tear perforations.

– Stephanie, HoustonDIY