Free project ideas

12 Days of Ruby Star | Melissa’s iPhone Case


Today we’re excited to welcome Melissa of Your Handmade Home to the FQ blog with a wonderful tutorial in celebration of the 12 Days of Ruby Star.  Melissa is sharing her pattern for a unique iPhone case — one that is sure to be the envy of all of your friends. It’s also a great gift idea for the iPhone owners in your life.  We think it’s a particularly good item for those hard-to-shop-for teens on your list.

If you make one of Melissa’s iPhone cases, we’d love to see it!  Be sure to share it via the Fat Quarterly Flickr group.  And go visit Melissa on her blog and say a quick “hello”.  We’re sure she’d love to hear from you!

Fabric used: Ruby Star Spring & Ruby Star Shining by Melody Miller for Kokka

Materials needed:

  • Ruby Star Shining (Interior)- Two pieces at 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 14 cm (5 1/2”)
  • Ruby Star Shining (A) – Two pieces at 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 9 cm (3 1/2”)
  • Ruby Star Spring (B) – Two Pieces at 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 9 cm (3 1/2”)
  • Ruby Star Spring (Headphones pocket) – One 9 cm (3 1/2”) circle (I used the insect)
  • Fusible fleece – Medium loft – 2 pieces 9.5 cm (3 3/4”) x 14 cm (5 1/2”)
  • 5mm (1/4”) wide elastic 5 cm (2”)
  • One button to match fabric

Note: seam allowance used throughout is 1/4”

1) Place A and B right sides together and stitch – repeat with the other A and B pieces - then press seams.

2) Cut 2 cm (3/4”) from the top of the circle and stitch to one of the A pieces.
This will be the headphones pocket – so ensure you only stitch from A to B.


3) Iron on the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the pieces above.


4) Loop the elastic and pin in place at the top of the piece without the headphones pocket.


5) Place the fabric piece and one of the interior pieces right sides together and stitch at the top. Remove pin and press seams.

6) Repeat for the headphones piece and remaining interior piece. Press seams – be careful not to iron the elastic loop. You should now have two pieces as below.


7) Place these two pieces right sides together, matching up the seams and pin all the way around. Marking a 5 cm (2”) line on the back of the interior piece. This will be your opening for turning right side out.


8) Stitch all the way around the edge of the fabric – expect for the opening.

9) Clip excess and corners and over lock edges (I use a zig zag stitch)


10) Turn right side out and use a blunt object to push out the corners. I use a crochet hook. Then press – again making sure not to iron the elastic loop.


11) Tuck the interior into the case using the blunt object to push into the corners.

12) Mark the position of the button by folding over the elastic loop and marking the centre of the loop. Sew on the button.


13) Insert your phone and headphones and enjoy!!



12 Days of Ruby Star | Sarah’s Lapkin Tutorial

Fat Quarterly threw down the gauntlet for their 12 days of Ruby Star FQ Designer Challenge and I eagerly picked it up!

I’m Sarah and I blog over at Pings And Needles, and if you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big big Melody Miller fan.

So, the task was to make something easy and quick and possibly festive using Melody Miller‘s two latest lines, ruby star spring and ruby star shining.  I also added some linen and Melody’s first fabric line ruby star rising to the mix.

So, without further ado, I present to you:

… my “Load of Balls Lapkin” tutorial …

The red lightweight linen lapkin above measures 22″ x 17″ finished (there’s no hemming – yay!) Obviously you could just use a FQ of solid per lapkin (22″ x 18″)! but I lost an inch because this linen had a really thick selvedge on one end that I had to rip off to be able to fray …

I don’t think we love our napkins enough. I’m sorry, I can’t call them serviettes because (a) my mum said it was common – she was a terrible snob! and (b) these babies are too big to be anything-ette. They just sit on our laps or tucked into our chins taking everything we drop at em.  Not anymore …

These baubles are padded for extra lap stroky entertainment!

You will need:

fabricApplique: 2″, 3″ & 5″ circles – This is a great scrapbuster project because you could just as easily cut the smaller circles if your pieces are small. Lapkins: 1 FQ per lapkin of solid cotton or linen.

But, if you do use the 5″ circles you get to show off some of Melody’s lovely prints at their best – Don’t you just love the typewriter and clock from the new ruby star shining line?

batting/wadding offcuts - if you just want plain applique without the padding then just leave the batting out of the equation.  You will also need some solid in a grey or gold for the bauble tops.

thread – This was a great opportunity to use some of my old wooden spool cottons which I forage for like they’re truffles, in flea markets … I also used Gutermann topstitch thread, and Aurifil 12wt cotton (dreamy!) – Remember that you’ll need a topstitch needle!

applique fusible bonding – I used Heat’n'Bond lite … I find it stays in one piece better than others.

I really wanted to give my Go! Baby a bit of a workout with this project. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would never have thought this up if I hadn’t had something else doing the circle cutting for me. However, I know that there are enough of you out there who are perfectly capable (unlike me) of cutting things out with scissors, so I hope it appeals to both …

I used the machine to cut some old polyester wadding and my Heat n Bond into circles too … I can use the little strips that are left and I think you get a more lasting bond if you bond onto the circles and then onto your lapkin. But that’s just me.

If I were cutting out with scissors I’d probably just bond the fabric and then cut the circles…

I also like that you can still fussy cut with a machine!  It was one of the things I really worried about …

So, first of all you need to sew with your fancy topstitchy thread at least two and a half inches inside the edge all the way round … (see top picture)

Then you can start to fray your fabric!  This is such a great thing to do while watching a movie.  All you need is a pin and some patience!  Don’t get too carried away … stop at least 1″ before the stitching …

Then you are ready to start laying out your festive balls (you could turn these into hot air balloons or just leave them as circles if you want, this doesn’t have to be Christmassy …)

Now is the time to put your batting in under the 3″ and 5″ circles. I really wanted to use up my polyester wadding offcuts, (horrid stuff, you have to watch the iron heat when you applique or they it just turns into interfacing!)

I put a little bit of fusible onto the wadding and stuck that down onto the lapkin first … then I placed the circle on top and bonded the whole thing …

I also experimented by cutting concentric rough circles out of soft bamboo batting and building up more dimension.  This has a much more strokable curve to it.  But takes a little more time.

padded batting_800x457

You will need to cut some little bauble tops out of some pre-bonded fabric and iron them on too:

Then just stitch down, using any thread you like … I used a blanket stitch on my machine, but if this were a slow project I would have hand appliqued with perle cotton.

Next, setting my stitch length to 5.0,
I stitched up from the centre of the bauble top to just within the stitched top border for the hanging thread…

When you have appliqued all your baubles, take the time to pull all the ends through to the back, tie off and trim.

If you use a contrasting colour in your bobbin then you’ll have a double sided napkin!

I think these would be really nice as a quick embroidery project too, leaving out the fabric!

But in this case … using Melody’s fabrics just makes the experience all the lovelier ….

I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did … It’s always a joy to play with Melody’s fabrics … thank you FQ!

Thanks, Sarah!  We absolutely love your Load of Balls … errr, that didn’t sound right.  In any case, this is a great gift idea to whip up in no time!  (In fact, Sarah shared that it took her longer to type out the instructions than it did to make the items.)

You can learn more about Sarah and see her beautiful work on her blog, Pings & Needles.  Be sure to click over and say “hello”!

12 Days of Ruby Star | Kristy’s Round Pincushion

Hi Everyone!  My name’s Kristy Daum and I blog over at St. Louis Folk Victorian.  I’ll be showing you today how to make a Round Pincushion.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have a use for another pincushion, these also make great children’s toys or can even add a small pop of color throughout your home.

I was inspired by this pincushion over at Lily’s Quilts, and when I made one as part of my St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild’s pincushion swap, it was a big hit.

This ball is much like a soccer ball in that it is made from both hexagons (6-sides) and pentagons (5-sides).  When you mix both of these, they come together in a round shape.  If you are not familiar with paper piecing, I would encourage you to Google it as there are several techniques and you’ll find one that works best for you.  I’m not going to show you that process here; but rather what to do with the shapes themselves.

I’ve created a handy template of all the pieces you’ll need to create a ball that measures a little under 4” in diameter.  I do encourage you to print this template off on cardstock.  You can of course pick up these shapes at several online shops as well.  You will need 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons to make one Round Pincushion.

Photo 1: Hexagons & Pentagons


Once you have cut out your shapes, find some fabric scraps that are about a ½” wider on all sides.  I have found that this will make your job a lot easier in the long run and don’t worry about cutting them to match the shape you are covering…squares work wonderfully.

Photo 2: Template & Fabric


Once you have selected all your fabrics, go ahead and start covering those paper shapes using whichever method of Paper Piecing you desire.  Remember, if you are new to Paper Piecing, just put that keyword into Google and you’ll soon have hundreds of tutorials/videos showing you how.

Photo 3: Hexagons Done


I really enjoyed fussy-cutting into Melody Miller’s fabrics.  Don’t you just love that clock face above?

Photo 4: Pentagons Done


I decided to go with plain natural linen for my pentagons to complement; but not distract from the fussy-cutting that I had done with the hexagons.  Before you start hand-sewing the shapes together, it’s a good idea to “set” the shapes gently with an iron.  This will help keep your folds crisp and makes sewing them together a little easier.

Photo 5: Always make a flower


The key to this shape is always remembering that you are trying to make a flower.  1 pentagon surrounded by 5 hexagons.  Now go ahead and start hand-sewing the flower together.  When you are done, it should look like the photo below.

Photo 6: First Flower


You’ll quickly notice that your ball is beginning to take shape, and looks somewhat bowl-like now.  Let’s add some more pentagons and hexagons; paying special attention that your pentagons are always surrounded by 5 hexagons…and yes, your “flowers” will share sides as seen in the photo below.

Photo 7: Taking Shape


When you have all but the last few shapes sewn, you can start removing some of your basting stitches, in order to take out the paper piecing templates.  Before you remove them, just make sure that all 5 or 6 sides (depending on the shape) have been stitched to other shapes.

Being careful not to stretch your ball out of shape, gently turn it right side out and stuff it full of your favorite stuffing.

Photo 8: Nearly Done


I choose to leave the paper inside my last 3 shapes, as it was easier for me to sew the ball closed; but it is entirely up to you.  If you decide to remove the last of the paper pieces, just make sure that the fabric doesn’t lose its shape.  As you can see, these last few seams can be a little tricky; but with practice it will become easier and you’ll learn how to hide your stitches.

Photo 9: Celebrate


The time has now come to clip that last thread and admire your Pincushion/Toy/Home Décor wha-cha-ma-call-it.  I hope you had fun!

Thanks to the team at Fat Quarterly for letting me be a part of this event.

Thanks for kicking us off with such a great tutorial, Kristy!  You can find Kristy at her blog, St. Louis Folk Victorian, where she shares her love of both quilting and old homes.

Be Our Guest: Aubrey’s Grinch Advent Calendar

There’s simply no denying it anymore — we have officially entered the holiday season.  You know what that means: days filled with Muppet Christmas carols, Starbucks Peppermint Mochas, and HOLIDAY SEWING!  Oh wait, is that just me?  Well, even if you’re not into the Muppets or whipped cream-topped hot beverages, I hope that many of you can agree with that last part.  Holiday projects are something many sewists look forward to all year, so to kick off the 2012 season, we’re excited to bring you a fun, free project courtesy of Fat Quarterly contributor Aubrey Schwartz.

Aubrey is an avid sewist, pattern designer, and mommy who blogs at, and her blog is a veritable treasure trove of information and project ideas. We also recommend that you check out Aubrey’s shop, where you can find some wonderfully original and creative sewing patterns (our favorites include the Presta Pouch, Rosie’s Circle Twirl Skirts, and the Teardrops Heart Quilt).

We hope you enjoy Aubrey’s Grinch mini quilt and advent calendar project!

When I was a little girl we had an advent calender with a plush mouse that you moved from pocket to pocket each day until you got to Christmas.  It was one of my absolute FAVORITE Christmas decorations!  At some point my mom disposed of it and I have missed it for nearly 20 years.

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 5

When I saw Robert Kaufman’s, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, fabric line the wheels in my head started to turn and I just knew that this year we were going to have a Grinch advent calender!  One that would bring back all those special memories of Christmas when I was a kid.

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 3

Now that it is all finished, I cannot wait to watch my little guy enjoy it!  I am also super excited to share it with you.  Here is a step by step tutorial so you can make your very own!

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 7

  • 6 Grinch fabric fat quarters of your choice: 1 for the bottom front , 2 for the back, 1 for the hanging sleeve & binding, 1 for the pockets, and 1 for extra scraps & appliqué.
  • 2 rectangles from the Grinch Book Panel or a 12″ x 19″ Fussy cut of your favorite Grinch print, for the front top.
  • Small scrap of the Holiday Grinch fabric print , 4″ x 5″ minimum, with at least one Grinch in the center.
  • 2, 4″ x 5″ pieces of lightweight fusible interfacing.
  • 4 strips of 2 1/4″ x 18 1/2″ fusible fleece.
  • 1 strip of 2 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ fusible fleece.
  • 21″ – 24″ wooden dowel with holes one each end (or other hanging device).
  • 3/4 yard of ribbon for hanging


1. Fuse the interfacing to the back of the Holiday Grinch Fabric print and an equal sized piece of scrap fabric.

2 - Grinch Advent Calender

3 - Grinch Advent Calender

2. Place pieces with right sides together keeping the main Grinch centered.

4 - Grinch Advent Calender

3. Sew around the center Grinch with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 1/2″ gap on one edge for turning.

5 - Grinch Advent Calender

4. Trim around the Grinch leaving at least 1/4″ between the stitching and the cut line. Clip round edges and tight corners.

6 - Grinch Advent Calender

5. Turn Grinch right side out.

7 - Grinch Advent Calender

6. Stuff through the turning gap, making your Grinch three dimensional.  Slip stitch opening closed.

8 - Grinch Advent Calender

7. Set aside the Grinch until you are done.

Caution** This tiny stuff Grinch is sooo cute that you must watch out for little hands!  They like to steal stuffed Grinches, so you may want to make a few extra.

9 - Grinch Advent Calender

8. If you are using a fussy cut piece for the top then jump ahead to step 10. Otherwise, cut out two of your favorite pictures from the book panel, they should measure around 11 1/4″ long.  Sew a strip of 2″ x 11 1/4″ scrap of fabric in between the two panel pictures.

10 - Grinch Advent Calender

11 - Grinch Advent Calender

9. Measure the width of your set.  It needs to be 19″ long.  If it is less than 19″ then add scrap pieces to each end to make it measure 19″.

12 - Grinch Advent Calender

13 - Grinch Advent Calender

14- Grinch Advent Calender

10. Cut down the bottom front fat quarter to measure 12″ x 19″.  Sew it to the bottom of the top panel you just created along the 19″ edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

15 - Grinch Advent Calender

11. Sew the two fat quarters for the back together, then quilt the whole piece in the design of your choice.  Baste around all four edges.  Trim off the excess batting and backing. Set quilted panel aside.

16- Grinch Advent Calender

12. Take the fat quarter that is for the pockets and cut it into 4 strips that measure 5″ x 19″ each.

17 - Grinch Advent Calender

13. Fold one of the pocket strips in half lengthwise, right sides together and press.

18 - Grinch Advent Calender

14. Center one of the 2 1/4″ x 18 1/2″ strips of fusible fleece to one side of the pocket strip between the shorter edges, while lining up the longer edge of the fleece with the folded edge.  Fuse in place.

19 - Grinch Advent Calender

15. Sew the long edge closed with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

20 - Grinch Advent Calender

16. Turn strip right side out and press.

21 - Grinch Advent Calender

17. Edge stitch along the folded edge of the strip.

18. To draw the date pockets, measure 1/4″ in from the shorter edge.  Using a fabric safe marking tool, draw a line perpendicular to the lengthwise edge.  Measure 3″ from the line just drawn and draw a line parallel to it.  Keep drawing parallel lines 3″ from the previous line until you get to the end of the strip.  The last line will be 1/4″ from the end of the strip.

19. Repeat steps 13 – 18 for each pocket strip.

22 - Grinch Advent Calender

20. Now for the dates.  Each pocket is one date.  Dates should count up from bottom right to the bottom left:
Top Row:  24  /  23 /  22  /  21  /  20  /  19
Next Row:  18  /  17  /  16  /  15  /  14  /  13
Next Row:  12  /  11  /  10  /  9  /  8  /  7
Bottom Row:  6  /  5  /  4  /  3  /  2  /  1

If you want to appliqué or screen print your dates, do that now.  If you want to embroider your dates, then mark the numbers now and embroider them after step 21.

23 - Grinch Advent Calender

24 - Grinch Advent Calender

21. Place the bottom of the bottom pocket strip 1″ up from the bottom of the quilted panel.  Lay the bottom of each following pocket strip 1/2″ up from the top of the previous pocket strip.  Sew ONLY the sides and bottoms of each pocket to the panel using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

25 - Grinch Advent Calender

If you have chosen to embroider your dates, do that now.

26 - Grinch Advent Calender

22. Now sew the pockets.  Starting at the bottom of each pocket strip, sew to the top of each pocket strip along the lines you drew in step 18.

27 - Grinch Advent Calender

28 - Grinch Advent Calender

29 - Grinch Advent Calender

23. Take some fat quarter scraps and cut out a 5″ square for the day 25 pocket.

30 - Grinch Advent Calender

24. Fold in half, right sides together.  Lay the 2 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ piece of fusible fleece along the fold line and in between the shorter sides of the pocket piece and fuse.

31 - Grinch Advent Calender

25. Sew along all 3 open edges, leaving a 1″ turning gap along the bottom.  Trim the corners to remove bulk.

32 - Grinch Advent Calender

26. Turn pocket right side out through the turning gap.  Edge stitch along the folded edge.

33 - Grinch Advent Calender

27. Create a small pleat by folding the pocket over itself about 1″ in from each edge.

34 - Grinch Advent Calender

28. Edge stitch the pleat in place along the bottom seam.  If you are going to appliqué or screen print your numbers do it now.

35 - Grinch Advent Calender

29. Find a place on the top panel to put the pocket.  Make it kind of special since it is the, “YAY! It’s Christmas Day!” pocket.  Sew the pocket to the panel along the sides and bottom of the pocket with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

36 - Grinch Advent Calender

If you have chosen to embroider your numbers, do it now.

37 - Grinch Advent Calender

30. Now you can bind your mini quilt advent calendar!

If you need help with binding, there is a seven part series on my blog, click here and scroll down to Quilt Binding.

38 - Grinch Advent Calender

31. Create and attach a hanging sleeve to the top back of the calendar!

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 2

And tada! You are all set!  I wish the camera could capture how sweet this calendar is, I just love it!

I hope you make some of your own and have a lot of fun!  Come share some pictures with me if you do, I would love to see them!

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 11

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 6

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 4

Finished Grinch Advent Calender - 9

Week 4 | MLCQ Apron-along

Hello, readers!  We hope you’re having a great week (and enjoying Issue 6 of Fat Quarterly!)  We’re back with Susan Beal today, author of Modern Log Cabin Quilting, for the final installment of our apron-along.  Judging from the lack of photos of aprons-in-progress in our Flickr pool and the Modern Log Cabin Quilting pool, we can only assume that the busy-ness of this time of year has unfortunately prevented many of you from sewing along.  That’s OK, because these posts aren’t going anywhere!!  We hope you’ll come back and re-visit the apron-along when you have some more time to sew.  As we mentioned from the start, these quick and easy-to-make aprons would make GREAT holiday gifts.  Just sayin’.

In case you missed them, here are the links for Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 of the apron-along.  And even if you’re not taking part, please read through to the end of this post for a fun announcement from Susan herself!

And now, for the final few steps in completing your apron, here’s Susan …

Today we finish the apron up with a few last steps. I’m making the Vintage version, which has a softly gathered waist, but if you prefer a Modern version with a flat front, you get to skip this next bit!

The downloadable pattern has more detail on evenly gathering the waist, but for this brightly patterned print, as I mentioned last time, I kind of let the pillowcase fabric tell me what to do. It seemed like a shame to cinch those vibrant diamonds and change their shape, so I did less gathering and pleating on this apron than my white-and-blue one from the book. I basted just one row of stitches (on the 6 setting on my sewing machine – remember, you do NOT need to backstitch at the beginning or end when you baste) and just brought the sides in smoothly, leaving most of the middle section pretty open. I felt like that let the pattern breathe a little more and didn’t hide it away or distort it in overly ruffled folds. Here’s what it looked like overall.

Now you’ll open up your package of 2” wide bias tape (mine was labeled quilt binding), and press the folds out. If you have the flat/hem facing version, you’ll need to fold it in half lengthwise and press it, too. I like an apron sash that’s about 2.5 yards long and this new package was 3 yards, so I cut 18 inches off and set it aside for a Charming Camera Case project-to-be.

Mark the center of your apron and the center of your tape with pins or a washable fabric marker and match them. Then tuck the top of the apron body right into the bias tape sash, pinning every few inches, until the apron is pinned side to side, with any gathers captured neatly inside the sash.

Fold and press the raw edges under at each end of the bias tape sash, and continue pinning the tape between the apron body and ends so it’s secured. You’ll topstitch the apron sash along both the top and bottom edges – I started at the left side, stitched the bottom (raw) edge of the tape together all the way across, stitched the right end, and then stitched back across the top (fold) edge and finished by backstitching at the left end again. Sew it however feels easiest, but I think it gives the overall apron strength and stability to sew the sash along both top and bottom.

You have an apron!! Hooray! Here’s mine out on the clothesline – I love how cheerful and summery it is. It’s such a contrast to the two I made for the book – the serene blue and white cross-stitched and scalloped version, and the crisp green and orange squared one. There are so many other embellishments or details you can add… the sky is the limit with this one since it’s so customizable!

We’d love to see your aprons in the Fat Quarterly and MLCQ flickr pools, please add yours if you’ve stitched one up!

Thanks again, Susan, for your time, your energy, and your inspiration!  And now, before we wrap-up the apron-along, two quick items …

  • The winner of Susan’s extra pillowcase (to make an apron of your own!), is Ellen Ban, who said:  “Too busy at work to sew along right now, but plan to make one of these. Love the pillowcase – I had this very print when I was little! Wish I’d kept it!“  Congrats, Ellen!  Please email us at with your mailing information, and we’ll be sure your pillowcase gets sent out to you ASAP!
  • Due to the popularity of the Modern Crosses quilt pattern, the cover girl of the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book, Susan has set up a special new Flickr group called the Modern Crosses Get-Together.  If you love this quilt pattern as much as we do, be sure to jump over and join the group.  Susan will be sharing submitted photos of Modern Crosses quilts, providing tips and tricks to people just starting to make their own … and who knows, you might even see some swaps and other surprises popping up over there, too.  Don’t miss out on the fun!  To whet your appetite, here are a few Modern Crosses quilts already submitted to the group:

Modern Crosses Quilt

Cover photo of Modern Log Cabin Quilting book

Progess, Quilt for Japan

Photo courtesy of Little Bluebell

PMQG in Sisters

Photo courtesy of oregonsurfers

Modern Log Cabin Quilting

Photo courtesy of bettycrockerass

Modern Crosses Quilt from Modern Log Cabin Quilting

Photo courtesy of iknitandtell

Crossing Hope Valley

Photo courtesy of staarlight

Week 3 | MLCQ Apron-along

We took a week off from our apron-along last week, but we’re back today for the second half of the Modern Log Cabin Quilting Block Pocket Apron-a-long with Susan Beal!  Is anyone out there sewing along with us?  We haven’t yet seen any photos of aprons-in-progress in our Fat Quarterly Flickr group or the official Modern Log Cabin Quilting Flickr group, and we’d love to show off your stuff … so if you have any photos of your aprons, please add them to the groups and we’ll share them in a future post.

Also, we’ve received lots of love for the pillowcase that Susan’s using in her tutorial.  If you’re one of the vintage pillowcase lovers, read through to the end of the post for some exciting giveaway news!

And now, for the third week in our apron-along, heeeeeeere’s Susan!

Since this pillowcase has gotten so much nostalgic love from everyone (including me!), I wanted to post a photo of the tag, hopefully making it a bit easier to track down if you’re looking for one. It’s from a Sears-Roebuck percale sheet set, and I’ve even heard from two friends, one who had matching wallpaper on her closet door, and one who had a bedside lamp in the same pattern (oh, how I would love to find that at a thrift store or a yard sale). I’m hoping to find the Sears Wishbook page with this set in its full glory and am gladly accepting leads on a year or a scanned or clipped image!

This is also a good time to mention that while sewing with well-loved 50/50 vintage sheets is a lot of fun, it’s a little different than crisp, modern quilting cottons. You’ll see that my pocket corners are a bit softer, for one thing – the fabric has lovely drape and a soft, appealing texture, but doesn’t hold a perfect 90-degree corner-angle like the Lizzy House quilting cottons I made my Modern apron pocket with, for example. I also let the fabric and cheater-print pattern “talk” to me about a few of the other little placement and detail choices that went into the apron design, so you’ll see those variations coming up.

Okay, on to the sewing! Now we’ll take the pillowcase rectangle you cut last time, and turn it into the body of your apron. Just fold and press ½” to the wrong side of the fabric on both short sides of the pre-hemmed rectangle, then fold and press again, and pin the double-fold down.

Then stitch both seams securely and press again. The apron body is all set for adding a pocket!

Now you’ll make the little block you pieced last week into a simple lined pocket and stitch it on. This is a pretty quick step. Just pin your block to the facing fabric, right sides together, and then stitch around 3 sides (leaving the top open) as shown.

Now clip the corners and turn the pocket right sides out. For the Vintage version (shown here) you’ll fold and press the raw edges of the top inside and pin them securely. (For the Modern version, you’ll pin your handmade binding tape over the raw edge without folding, then stitch it down – see the downloadable pattern for more detailed instructions.)

Topstitch that pinned edge, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam. Then pin it to the right side of your apron body. I chose to place mine symmetrically over a big diamond in the apron body’s pattern, rather than
measuring in to place it in a certain spot. I liked how it worked with the print there. The downloadable pattern includes more precise directions for pocket placement, if you’re working with a solid or quieter print, but the beauty of a pillowcase apron is that you can really personalize it as much as you’d like to.

Stitch the pocket down, following the directions for making reinforced corners in the downloadable pattern.

Now your apron is ready for its bias-tape sash – we’ll add that next week and then you’re all set for cooking or cocktails!

Thanks again, Susan!  Please join us next week for the wrap-up of our apron-along along with some exciting news from Susan herself.

Oh, and you probably want to know more about the giveaway that I mentioned!  Like I said earlier, we’ve gotten lots of love for the vintage pillowcase that Susan’s been using throughout the apron-along.  Here’s a fun fact: a flat sheet featuring the fun print seen on the pillowcase was also used as sashing in Susan’s Vintage Linens quilt, seen in the Modern Log Cabin Quilting book.

Guess what?  It just so happens that Susan had a pair of the beloved pillowcases, and she’s willing to send her spare to a lucky FQ reader!  For your chance to win, simply leave us a comment on this post letting us know if you’re sewing along with us or not.  Here’s the kicker: if you add a photo of your apron (or apron-in-progress) from our apron-along to the Modern Log Cabin Quilting and Fat Quarterly Flickr groups, leave a link to your photo in your comment and you’ll receive 10 extra entries.  Yee-haw!  We’ll announce our winner in next week’s apron-along post.

Good luck, and happy sewing!

Issue 6 Bonus Pattern – Virginia Reel Pillow

We’re thrilled to welcome Amanda of Amanda Murphy Design as a contributor to Fat Quarterly Issue 6. Her latest line of fabric, Veranda, with Robert Kaufman (shipping August) is bright, elegant and perfect for Summer. Just look how those fresh pinks, aquas and green pop next to the white background.

Not only has she designed a pattern for the stunning Virginia Reel quilt pictured below (in issue 6 of Fat Quarterly, available for purchase 6/27), Amanda has also designed this delightful pillow which is available as a bonus pattern, with our compliments, to everyone. You can locate the PDF for download by clicking HERE.

And that’s not all, folks! Head on over to Amanda’s blog where she’s giving you the chance to win a VERY special prize!

Don’t forget: if you make a Virginia Reel quilt or pillow we’d love to see! You can share your projects in our Flickr group.

Week 2 | MLCQ Apron-along

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 2 of our Modern Log Cabin Quilting apron-along with Susan Beal!  Have you found your pillowcase and selected your fabrics yet?  If so, we’d love to see them.  Please add them to the Fat Quarterly Flickr group as well as the Modern Log Cabin Quilting Flickr group.  Starting next week we’ll be showcasing your photos, so add ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!

For week 2 we’ll be focusing on cutting all of our fabrics and assembling our log cabin pockets. But enough from me … take it away, Susan!

Here we go, it’s time to cut everything for the Block Pocket Apron project! You’ll also decide if you want to make your apron a Vintage version (a slightly wider apron body with a softly gathered waistband at the sash and a top-stitched pocket, shown on the right below) or a Modern version (a flat waistband and an binding-tape-edged pocket, shown on the left). Since I’m using a vintage pillowcase, I decided to make this one a Vintage apron!

First, you’ll do your cutting for the log cabin block – which is exactly the same for either version.

To begin, you’ll cut a 3.5” x 4.5” center for your pocket block. I use the spotlighting centers method (which is explained in more detail in the downloadable pattern). Here I’ve pinned my 3.5” x 4.5” piece of pattern paper to my Fabric A (a piece of the same vintage sheet as my pillowcase) and used it to highlight part of the print I really liked. Cut this out with scissors, or use a rotary cutter and transparent quilting ruler.

Next you’ll use a rotary cutter and quilting ruler to cut a 1.5” x 21” strip of Fabric B and a 1.5” x 30” strip of Fabric A (the same one you used for the center). Press all three pieces of fabric.

Now you’ll join the first tier of logs (1, 2, 3, and 4, all in Fabric B) to the center in a clockwise direction, trimming them as you go. I made a simple video that shows my method for building a log cabin block, in the “picture frames” style – so that the center square is framed by concentric tiers of logs in the same fabrics. I think this is the easiest way to do it, but if you have a favorite method, use that one instead!

When you finish joining the fourth log, press your block back and front.

Now join the second tier of logs (5, 6, 7, and 8, all in Fabric A to match the center) the same way as the first. You’ll start on the side with your shortest log (1) to add log 5, and work clockwise again to add 6, 7, and 8. Press your block, front and back, again.

Now you’ll cut your pillowcase (as shown in more detail in the downloadable pattern). Cut along the short seam at the top and then the long seam down the back (or exactly opposite any design you want to use for your apron’s front, like my Vintage apron’s cross-stitched flowers) so you have a large piece of fabric with a hem or edging all along one edge – this will be the already finished bottom of your apron. Handy!

Now decide how long you want your apron to be (measuring up from the hemmed edge). Aprons I’ve made have measured between 17” and 24” long – it’s really up to you! You might want to measure an apron you already have and like to choose your length. Mark and cut the case to that length (no seam allowance necessary). Set the extra pillowcase fabric aside.

Now trim your case on either side, this time deciding how wide you’d like your apron to be. Remember, you will do some soft gathering at the waist for the Vintage version, so you may want to cut it slightly wider than a flat-front Modern version. (The ones I made for the book measured 30” across for Modern and 32” for Vintage when I cut them.) For this step, be sure to add 2” of seam allowance total to the width (for this apron, I wanted it to measure 30” across finished, so I trimmed it to 32” across at this point). Set the extra fabric aside for the moment and press your apron body. Here’s mine, with the pre-hemmed edge at the bottom – it measures 20” long and 32” across.

For a final step, square up your log cabin block (trim the sides so they’re straight and symmetrical) and pin it to the extra pillowcase fabric you set aside. Cut out a rectangle the same size as your block. This will be the lining for your pocket.

Optional step, for the Modern version only: cut one more 1.5” x 9” strip of Fabric B and make it into binding tape using a ¾” binding tape maker. The full instructions are in included in the downloadable pattern. Press it and set it aside for now.

See you next week to finish up the pocket and make the apron body!

1001 Peeps Summer Camp | Peeps Flag!

Peeps Flag

Greetings, campers!  I hope you’re ready for another fun-filled free sewing pattern, courtesy of Lizzy House’s 1001 Peeps Summer Camp.  We here at FQHQ were extremely excited to be asked to serve as counselors this year, and I knew immediately what I wanted to make with Lizzy’s amazing new 1001 Peeps fabric.

Peeps Flag

I designed a patchwork peeps flag on a grand scale to help bring Lizzy’s designs to life.  The fabric helped me to imagine these large flags blowing in the wind as merchants peddled their wares in the ancient markets frequented by the peeps.  This flag would be a great addition to your sewing space and is also perfect for little boys’ rooms.  Pssst … want to be let in on a little secret?  I’ve even added a secret pouch on the back of the flag, perfect for keeping the genie’s treasure hidden from would-be thieves.

Peeps Flag

Special thanks go out to Melanie of Above All Fabric, who collaborated with me in helping bring this project to life.  Melanie’s a great source for all of your 1001 Peeps needs — she has all of the prints in stock (and even sells fat quarter bundles of the line), ships super fast, believes in superior customer service, and offers great prices.  Plus, she’s a fantastic supporter of Fat Quarterly.  We encourage you to visit our sponsor shops, who make it possible for us to bring all of our fresh content to you.

Today’s also a very special day because it marks the release of Lizzy’s brand new book, 1001 Peeps: Five Magical Projects.  We saw a sneak preview of this book at Quilt Market, and trust us when we tell you that it’s fabulous.  Guess what?  One of you will win a copy of this book hot off the presses, straight from Lizzy herself!  She’s even willing to throw in some 1001 Peeps fabric to sweeten the pot.  Want to win?  Simply follow the directions at the end of this post.

So let’s get on with the arts & crafts portion of our day.  Ready, campers?  Let your peeps flag fly!


Materials needed:

As assortment of your favorite 1001 Peeps fabric prints.  Here’s what I used for this project:

Other materials needed:

  • 1.5 yards of a backing fabric (I used a coordinating Moda Cross-weave in blue)
  • An approximately 60″ x 40″ piece of batting
  • A 36″ wooden dowel
  • 5 yards of a pom-pom fringe
  • 1 yard of a rope or twine for hanging.
  • Jewel-inspired embellishments (like beads, buttons, ribbon, etc.)
  • Optional: you may choose to use some interfacing to add some stability to your flag.  I didn’t, but it might help it to hang straighter.

Peeps flag construction:

Peeps Flag | Step 1

1. We’re going to start by making the flag front, row by row.  For the first row, cut a 2.5″ x 32.5″ strip of the Illuminate print.  While you’re at it, cut 3 – 2.5″ x 44″ strips of Royal City and 3 – 2.5″ x 44″ strips of Jewels.  You will use these to create rows 2, 3 and 4.

Peeps Flag | Step 2

2. Pair each Royal City print with a Jewels print and sew the pairs together.  Press your seams (I pressed mine open).


3. Cut 9 – 4.5″ squares from each pieced strip for a total of 27 squares (you will only use 24).

Peeps Flag | Step 4

4. Piece together 3 rows of 8 squares each.  The first row should be laid out as shown above.  The next row will be the same, except that the placement of the blocks will be reversed to create a stair-step effect.  Continue with that pattern for the final row of this section of the flag.  Press your seams in alternating directions.

You now have rows 1-4 of your flag.  Go ahead and sew them together.

5.  Cut a 2.5″ x 32.5″ strip of Pearl Bracelet in green.  This is row 5, and you can add it to your flag-in-process.

Peeps Flag | Step 5

6. Next, we’re going to add a nice wide strip of the Towers print as row 6.  Center the print and fussy cut 2 – 6.5″ x 24″ strips.  (Note: because this print runs perpendicular to the width of the fabric, you will need to cut 2 strips running lengthwise from your cut of fabric and piece them together.)

Peeps Flag | Step 5.1

Sew these two strips together along the 6.5″ edge.  If you’re careful, you can piece your two strips together in a way that the seam is not too noticeable.  I think I did an OK job!  Trim your pieced strip down to 6.5″ x 32.5″.  Add it to the bottom of the flag.

7.  Row 7 of your flag will simply be a 2.5″ x 32.5″ strip of the Illusion print.  Go ahead and cut that strip and sew it below your Towers strip as the next strip of your flag.

Peeps Flag | Step 7

8. Now we’re going to add 2 rows of large flying geese units (rows 8 & 9 of the flag front).  The flying geese units will measure 4.5″ x 8.5″ each, and we’ll be using the Peeps and Illusion prints.  From each of these two prints, cut 4 – 4.5″ x 8.5″ rectangles and 8 – 4.5″ squares.  Lay a 4.5″ square of the Peeps atop a 4.5″ x 8.5″ Illusion rectangle, and be sure your print is facing the right way (see above).  Sew a seam from the top left corner of your Peeps square to the bottom left corner.  Trim away the excess corner fabric 1/4″ away from the seam, and press open.  Repeat on the other side.

Make a total of 4 flying geese units that pair the Illusion rectangles with the Peeps squares, and 4 units that pair the Peeps rectangles with the Illusion squares.

Peeps Flag | Step 8

Piece together your two rows with the geese flying downward.  The row where you used the large Illusion rectangles will be row 8, and the row with the large Peeps rectangles will be row 9.  Sew these two rows together — you’ll see that when you do, they creates a zig-zag effect.  Now add this section to your flag.

Peeps Flag | Step 9

9. You’re done with the top unit of your flag front. Trim it down to be 32.5″ square.  If you need to square it up to a smaller size, like 32″ or 31.5″, that’s OK too.  The actual size isn’t important, as long as you square it up.

Peeps Flag | Step 10

10. Now let’s make the bottom (pointy) section of the flag front.  Cut and piece together the following strips in this order:

  • 2.5″ x 32.5″ strip of Illusion (Note: for all strips in the section, adjust the length of the strip to whatever measurement you squared your top section to in the step above.)
  • 4.5″ x 32.5″ strip of Pearl Bracelet
  • 8.5″ x 32.5″ strip of Peeps
  • 3.5″ x 32.5″ strip of Scheherazade
  • 6.5″ x 32.5″ strip of Illuminate
  • 6.5″ x 32.5″ strip of Royal City

Peeps Flag | Step 11

11. Fold your pieced bottom section in half along the 32.5″ side and press gently to give a nice crease running vertically down the middle of your section.  This will mark the center point of this section.  With your rotary cutter and ruler, make a cut from the top right corner to the center point on the bottom.  Repeat by making another cut from the top left corner to the center point on the bottom.  Sew the top (long) edge of this section to the bottom of your first section, and you now have your completed flag front!

Put it aside while we take care of a few other items …

Peeps Flag | Step 12

12. It’s time to make some hanging tabs. Start by cutting three 8″ squares from your Pearl Bracelet fabric.

Peeps Flag | Step 13

Fold each square in half and finger press the crease, giving you a nice center guideline on your square.  Fold one side of the square so that the unfinished edge aligns with that center crease.  Press well.  Repeat on the opposite side of the square.

Peeps Flag | Step 14

Topstitch a seam along each side of the tab.  This will ensure that raw edges are not exposed.  Repeat for all 3 Pearl Bracelet squares.

Peeps Flag | Step 14

Fold your three tabs in half and press well.  Put these aside.

Peeps Flag | Step 15

13. Want to add a secret pocket to store all of your treasures?  Using the bottom (pointy) part of your flag as a guide, cut 2 pieces from the Illusion fabric the same size and shape as the flag’s bottom portion.  With one piece, fold the top (long) edge down 1/4″ to the wrong side and press, and then fold down another 1/4″ and press again.  Repeat with the other piece.  With wrong sides together, sew the two pieces together along the (now folded) top edge.  I actually ran two seams along this piece, both for stability and because I liked the look of it.  All other edges can stay raw, since they’ll be sewn into the seam allowance of your final flag.

14.  Using your entire flag front as a template, cut a back for your flag from the backing fabric.  Mine came up just a bit short on the pointy end, so I just took a scrap from the side and added it to the bottom.  It doesn’t matter if it’s pieced — first off, because it’s the back, but secondly because the seam will also be hidden by your secret pocket.

Peeps Flag | Step 16

15. Now it’s time to put it all together!  Layer your pieces in this order (note: order is important!):

  • Quilt batting goes on the bottom.
  • Next, position your backing fabric on top of the batting.  Trim away excess batting.  (Note: if not using a solid, be sure it’s laid down with right side up.)
  • Lay your pocket on top of the backing, aligning the bottom point and ensure the finished (sewn) edge runs across the top.
  • Position your three hanging tabs along the time, aligning the raw (unfinished) edge of your tabs with the top of the flag.  Note positioning in the photo above.  The folded edge should be facing the interior of the flag.
  • Align your pom-pom fringe along the edges, with the pom-poms facing the interior of the flag.

Peeps Flag | Step 17

16. Carefully lay your flag top as the uppermost layer, right side down.  Basically, we’ve just made a quilt sandwich, but this sandwich has a lot of ingredients!  Pin around all of the edges, being careful to catch ALL layers at each section of the flag (backing, batting, pocket, hanging tabs, and pom-pom fringe).  Pin, pin, and pin some more.

Sew around the entire flag, leaving about a 6″ opening for turning.  I left the space between the center hanging tab and one of the side tabs open.  Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam for stability.

Turn this mutha’ out!  Pull the entire flag through the opening at the top, ensuring that all of your layers are where they’re supposed to me.  Push out all of the corners.  Close your top opening  I ran a short topstitched seam along the opening with my machine, though you could also close it by hand for a more seamless look.

(Note: you can choose to quilt your flag at this point, though I didn’t.)

17. Finally, add your accessories, peeps! Embellish your flag with beads, buttons, ribbons, or any other wares.  Slip the dowel through the hanging tabs and tie your hanging twine to both sides.

My peeps!
Hey, how did those peeps get in there?!

We hope you enjoy making some Peeps Flags!  Just think of the many different variations you can make to this pattern — the possibilities are endless!  If you make a Peeps Flag, we’d LOVE to see it.  Please add it to our Flickr group, and let your peeps flag fly!

Peeps Flag

Thanks for checking out our 1001 Peeps Summer Camp project.  Lizzy House has generously offered up a giveaway prize — including her brand new book, 1001 Peeps: Five Magical Projects, as well as a 1001 Peeps fabric bundle — to a lucky Fat Quarterly reader.  Simply leave a comment on this post and we’ll announce our winner before camp wraps up for the summer.

Edited to add: Comments are now closed.  Thanks for playing along!

Be sure not to miss a single 1001 Peeps Summer Camp project.  Visit all of the counselors via the links below:

June 17: Sew Mama Sew <— Now live!

June 24: Alexia Abegg <— Now live!

July 1: Lemon Cadet <— Now live!

July 8: Fat Quarterly <— (you are here!)

July 15: Quilt Asylum

July 22:  Ms McPorkchop Quilts

July 29: Flax and Twine

August 5: Heather from House of a la Mode

August 12:  Make Something

August 19: Whipstitch

August 26: Happy Zombie

Announcing … the Modern Log Cabin Quilting Apron-along!

We’re thrilled to be kicking off a brand new sew-along here on the Fat Quarterly blog today, not only because these activities are always a fun way for our community to work together on a common project, but also because it gave us the opportunity to collaborate with the lovely and supremely talented Susan Beal.  Susan is the author of one of our favorite quilting books of the year, Modern Log Cabin Quilting.  We’re such big fans of Susan’s and of the book that we asked her if she would be interested in co-hosting a summer sew-along activity together with us … and imagine our delight when she agreed!

Modern Log Cabin Quilting

For those unfamiliar with the book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting is a wonderful book showcasing the versatility of the classic log cabin block via 24 original sewing patterns, including 10 quilt patterns.  Susan and her team at Potter Craft graciously offered to make one of the book’s patterns available for the Fat Quarterly sew-along.  We agreed that the Block Pocket Apron pattern would be a great choice — it’s a relatively quick and easy-to-sew project, it’s fun and original with its use of a pillowcase alongside traditional quilting fabrics, and — let’s face it — we’ve never heard of anyone hosting an apron-along before!

We hope you’ll join us and whip up a few aprons — one for yourself, and maybe some others for your friends and loved ones.  Hey, it’s never too early to start stockpiling holiday gifts!  Interested?  Just download your pattern here and read on to take part in Susan’s apron-along.  Be sure to add photos of your aprons — both in-process and completed — to both the Fat Quarterly Flickr group and Susan’s Modern Log Cabin Quilting Flickr group.

Without further ado, let’s turn it over to Susan …

Hi, I’m so excited to share my Block Pocket Apron pattern from Modern Log Cabin Quilting for the Fat Quarterly summer sew-along this summer! Thank you so much to Potter Craft for sharing the pattern, and to FQ for graciously hosting the crafty party over here. Every week we’ll focus on a different part of the project, from picking out the perfect pillowcase to stitching on the sash.

The “Modern” version of the apron

You can see lots of projects from the book people have made, including the apron, over here at my MLCQ Flickr pool. Please add yours if you’d like to, too – I’d really love to see your aprons! This is a very simple project that uses just a pillowcase, two small bits of coordinating fabrics, and wide bias tape (sometimes labeled “hem facing” or quilt binding”) to create a fun apron with a pretty log cabin block pocket in the “picture frames” style, so you spotlight a favorite part of your fabric as the center of the block. You can make a Vintage version of the apron with a delicately gathered waistband, or a streamlined Modern version with a flat waistband and a neatly edged pocket – it’s up to you (and your pillowcase!).

The “Vintage” version of the apron

One important note: there were two typos in this project in the first edition of the book, which are corrected in this downloadable version of the pattern! You’ll use a 3.5” x 4.5” (not 3” x 4” as it’s mentioned once) piece of pattern paper for spotlighting centers, and for the first tier of logs (fabric B) you’ll cut a 1.5” x 21” (not 1.5” x 18” as it’s mentioned in the Cutting Key) strip of Fabric B. I apologize for the confusion, and I’m so glad to have the chance to share the corrections here and on my book website.

For this project you’ll need:

  • 1 standard pillowcase
  • Scraps of 2 coordinating fabrics for the block pocket
  • 2½ yards purchased 2”-wide binding tape
  • 4½” x 3½” piece of pattern paper
  • Thread that matches your pillowcase, binding, and fabric

And for the Modern version only:

  • 9” x 1½” strip of fabric for binding and ¾” finished binding-tape maker, if making your own

Choose a standard pillowcase in a solid or pattern you like (remember, the case will be cut down the side seam, so any pattern should look good vertically as well as horizontally) for the apron’s body. Then pick out two fabrics, A and B, you like that harmonize with it to piece your pocket. For my new apron, I chose a bright, colorful cheater print pillowcase and decided to also use the remnants of that for my A fabric – the pocket’s center and second tier of logs – instead of a contrast print or solid. For my B fabric, I went with a solid pink. Then you’ll just need coordinating thread for the sash and your B fabric, if you make a Modern version.

For cutting your center, you may want to use a 3.5” x 4.5” piece of pattern paper for spotlighting any design you like best. I like the semi-opaque kind with inches marked with a grid or dots, so I can move it around and then choose the section of the print I want to highlight in the pocket.

For the waistband sash, choose a package of wide hem facing or quilt binding bias tape that measures approximately 2” across flat. You can also make your own sash with a 2” bias tape maker (not pictured, but Clover sells a great one)… if you go the handmade route, you can match your sash to your pocket, apron, or anything else you like! If you do make your own, you can cut straight strips of fabric instead of diagonal, since this won’t need to curve or stretch – a much more efficient way to cut.

Optional, if you make the Modern version, is a ¾” bias tape maker (again, mine is Clover) for edging the top of the pocket with your first-tier log fabric (B). Next week we’ll do all the cutting, and build the log cabin block for the pocket – it pieces up quickly and I love the “picture frames” effect. See you next Wednesday right here on the lovely Fat Quarterly blog!

Thanks a bunch, Susan!  To give you a sense of the schedule for the apron-along, we’ve written a rough outline of what we’ll cover over the coming weeks:

Week 2 (July 13):

  • All cutting
  • Building the block
  • Tips & tricks from Susan

Week 3 (July 20):

  • Making the apron
  • Assembling the block pocket
  • Tips & tricks from Susan

Week 4 (July 27):

  • Finishing the apron
  • Gallery of aprons from participants
  • Introduction of the Modern Crosses Get-Together … coming soon!