reader challenge

12 Days of Ruby Star | Heather’s Patchwork Scarf

Hi everyone! I’m Heather Jones and I blog over at olive and ollie. I’m thrilled to be a part of the 12 Days of Ruby here at Fat Quarterly! Today, I’m sharing with you a tutorial for an easy patchwork scarf. My little girl is modeling the scarf for me in this photo, but this pattern is for an adult sized scarf; to make a child’s size, you can easily modify the pattern by shortening the finished length. These goodies whip up very quickly and they make a great gift for everyone on your holiday list, or as a special treat for yourself. Let’s get started!

finished scarf

yummy fabrics + velveteen

{ materials }

  • a variety of assorted cotton fabrics, all at least 6” wide { I used three gorgeous prints from Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Spring and Ruby Star Shining }
  • 6” x 72” piece of velveteen
  • thread
  • sewing supplies and notions of your choice

{ directions –please use a ¼” seam allowance throughout }

fussy cut, leave room for seam allowance

1. Cut fabrics for the patchwork front of the scarf. Make sure all of the pieces measure 6” wide; they can be any length you’d like. You can make it as scrappy as you’d like by making lots of different cuts of fabrics in a variety of lengths. Feel free to incorporate areas that are fussy cut and even the selvedge of your fabric. If you fussy cut the fabric, be sure to leave room for the seam allowances so that your image remains how you’d like it.

fold 2 yards of velveteen and cut along lenght

2. From a two-yard length of cotton velveteen, cut a piece that is 6” wide. You can make this cut easily by folding the fabric in half, and in half again, being sure to keep the selvege lined up as neatly as possible. Use a rotary cutter and straight edge to cut through all four layers. This will become the back of the scarf.

layout patchwork pieces to come up with a good layout

3. Lay out the patchwork pieces for the front of the scarf, in any design that you like. As you’re laying out the fabric, keep in mind that the finished length of the scarf is approximately 72” so you’ll need to line up enough pieces to create a strip that is that long out of the fabric.

sew the pieces together, right sides together

4. Sew the patchwork pieces, right sides together, to create the front of the scarf.

press seams open

Press seams open with an iron.

Note: depending on the orientation of the print on your fabrics, you may want to align half of them in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction, so they’ll face the correct way when the scarf is worn.

Voila! The front of your patchwork scarf is done!

add label if you'd like

5. If you’d like to add a tag to the back of the scarf, sew it to the velveteen now. You can find the center of the fabric by folding it in half and pressing it with your finger. Center the tag on the velveteen and sew it on, making sure to backstitch to lock the seam.

sew right sides together

6. Sew the front of the scarf and velveteen, right sides together.

use lots of pins and keep 3-4 inches open for tunring

Be sure to use a lot of pins! The plush texture of the velveteen can be a little tricky to work with, so it’s a good idea to use plenty of pins in this step to keep your fabrics from sliding apart while sewing.

sew together

Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam to lock the threads together. Leave 3-4 inches on one side open for turning the scarf right side out.

clip corners near seam allowances

7. Remove pins. Trim the four corners of the scarf very close to the seam line, being careful to not cut your stitches. This will give the ends of your scarf nice, square edges.

opening to turn

8. Use the opening to pull the scarf through and turn it right side out.

chop sticks make great turning tools

You can use a turning stick (a chopstick works really well too) to help get the corners nice and even.


9. Tuck in the seam allowances of the opening, being careful to line them up along the edge of the scarf.

press with hot iron

Press scarf with an iron.

top stitch

9. Top stitch along the entire perimeter of the scarf, about 1/8″ from the edge. Backstitch at the end of your sewing to lock the stitches.

finished scarf

You’re done! Now you have a super cute and warm patchwork scarf to keep for yourself, or to give as a handmade gift. If you make one, I’d love to see photos of your finished scarf!


Wow, we love that scarf — and we know several people who would love receiving one this Christmas!  Thanks for the great idea, Heather.

Heather Jones is a designer, seamstress, and modern quilter from Ohio who, quite impressively, has won 3 of the first 4 Modern Quilt Guild Project Modern challenges.  Learn more about Heather, her family, and her creative pursuits on her blog, olive & ollie.

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.

The 12 Days of Ruby Star

It’s no secret that we have mad love for Melody Miller here at FQHQ.  Not only is she an unbelievably sweet & genuine person, but she is an amazingly talented surface designer whose fabric collections for Kokka Fabrics have been the buzz of the modern quilting community for the past several seasons.  From the ingenious viewfinder reels and cameos of her debut collection, Ruby Star Rising, to the oversized bees and cross-stitching motifs of Ruby Star Spring, to the typewriters and captivating florals of her newest collection, Ruby Star Shining, we’ve fallen in love with the deep, rich colors and eclectic vintage-modern-funky-urban-retro-whimsical style of her designs.  And it’s all printed on an absolutely gorgeous heavyweight linen-line fabric that is truly versatile — whether it’s a quilt, a bag, or some home decor items, Melody’s fabrics make items that you will literally love to touch and hold.

This holiday season, we’re thrilled to collaborate with Melody on a Designer’s Challenge that we’re calling The 12 Days of Ruby Star.  In the spirit of the season, we wanted to showcase the versatility of Melody’s fabrics  by sending little bits of her 3 collections to a handful of Fat Quarterly readers and challenging them to make a small item that would also make a perfect gift idea.  So it’s a win all around for you — not only will you be inspired by the creations made from Melody’s fabric, but you will also have access to over a dozen free patterns and project ideas from some of our community’s most creative and prolific crafters.

For the next 12 days — from now until Christmas — we’ll be posting free project ideas from a wide variety of Fat Quarterly community members.  There will be some familiar faces but, in the spirit of Fat Quarterly, we’re also excited to introduce some new names and faces of sewists whose work you might not yet be familiar with.

It’s not too late to whip up some hand-crafted gifts for your friends and loved ones, so we hope we can provide you with some fresh, new ideas.  Of course, if you make anything from our guests’ tutorials, please be sure to add them to the Fat Quarterly Flickr group.

We can’t wait to see what you make!  We hope you enjoy the 12 Days of Ruby Star!