Friday, January 6, 2017

Sew-A-Long Part 1 Introduction

Welcome to our first Sew-A-Long--the Italian Shoo Fly:

Making this small and simple quilt will teach you:

   how to perfect your piecing
   how to work with two blocks in one quilt
   how to make an on-point setting quilt
   how to add borders that will make your quilt square and true
   the basics of simple quilting
   how to add a binding by machine for both hand and machine finishing

This will be a "teaching tutorial"--I want to help you learn the basics of good quiltmaking practices so you can improve all your quilts in the future. This finished quilt is just a bonus.

Instructions will be posted each Friday for 5 weeks:

  January 6  Introduction with Fabric Requirements
  January 13  The Shoo Fly Block--Tips and Tricks
  January 20  The Old Italian Block--Tips and Tricks
  January 27  On-Point Setting How-Tos
  February 3  Finishing:  Quilting and Binding
  February 10  A Link-Up Party--Share Your Progress and a Giveaway

The sample is approximately 32" x 40".  Changing border sizes allows you to make it the size you want.  More on changing the size will be presented in Part 4.

Today we talk about fabric selection/requirements.  You can be totally scrappy, using fabrics you have, make all the neutral backgrounds different OR you can use a limited set of fabrics for a more planned effect.  Here are approximate yardages for each style:

                                            Scrappy                                Planned
Neutrals for Blocks
     12   Shoo Fly:               24   3" squares                       1 Fat Quarter
                                           48  2.5" squares                     1 Fat Quarter
      6  Old Italian:               6   5.5" squares                     1 Fat Quarter

Colors for Blocks
     12  Shoo Fly:               24   3" squares                          1 or 2 Fat Quarters
                                          12   2.5" center squares    
       6 Old Italian               24   2" x 5" rectangles              1 Fat Quarter
                                            6   2" center squares

Perimeter Triangles:          1/3 Yard                                  1/3 Yard
  and Corners

NOTE:  If you want ALL your neutrals to be the same fabric, both in the blocks and in the perimeter triangles and corners, 1 Yard will be sufficient.  This will make your colors in the two blocks more prominent, as they will appear to "float" on the background.

For my Step-Out Photos I'll be making a second version, using fabrics from Stella's Splendid Sampler:

This will give you an idea of a scrappy look:

From the two shoe boxes I used to store the many fabrics used in Stella's Splendid Sampler, I selected a soft yellow for the perimeter triangles and corners.  Why?  Because I had 1/3 yard and that is what I needed.  Done.  I think the polka dots will be the neutral backgrounds, I may add one more that is similar.  The gold and orange are the "zingers", the deep red and darkest blue are the "deep darks". I think I need to add a darker green as well so I'll shop in my closet for that.  It may be the fabric for the X in the Old Italian Block.

TIPS for making a Scrappy Quilt look less "chaotic":

Select 3-4 color families, i.e. Red. Blue, Green, Yellow
Select 3-4 fabrics for each family: light, medium, dark
Add at least one "zinger" and one "deep dark" to add brightness and depth
Select 2-3 similar background prints, mix them up if you like. Keep the "tone" the same, like gray, tan, white, or cream--don't mix tones to keep things looking cohesive

I hope you'll join me on this journey as we make a small quilt together.  AND please tell your friends who may want to join us.   This will be like taking a class without leaving your home.

Let's Quilt!


Part 2 The Shoo Fly


  1. I'm not sure I 'll have time to sew along but will def be reading and learning. I'd love to piece as [perfectly as you do!

    lizzy at gone to the beach

  2. Can't wait to get started on this project!

  3. Me too. Going through my stash, as well as thinking of some new fabrics :)

  4. How nice of you to share your teaching talents and knowledge with us. I'm going to be sitting this project out; but, I will be reading EVERY word and cheering everyone on to the finish!

  5. I'm thinking about following along. What is the finished quilt size?