Posts Written On March 2016

Pillowcase Dresses for Peru

Yesterday I made five dresses. Lori at Humble Quilts is making another mission trip — this time to Peru — and asked for more pillowcase dresses. She said only 50 this time (after lugging about a gazillion dresses to Bolivia last year), so I was happy I responded in time to get on the list.

These little dresses are such fun to sew, and remind me of making aprons. It’s just a simple pattern, but you have free reign to embellish or change it up however you want. Last year I made 8 dresses — mostly from juvenile print scraps my sister gave me. For this group, I used some colorful Waverly prints I remembered seeing at Walmart.  I bought 3/4 yard cuts at $3 each, added some contrasting fabric to the two longer dresses because I like a deep hem, and used scraps for the pockets. You may have noticed I am also a big fan of rick-rack.


McCall’s Monday — Scottie Motifs

In my catalog the illustrations at the top of the page with two scotties is not as detailed and the single illustration below, so I decided to scan the larger image and use Photoshop to try and duplicate the cape and pipe scottie.  I hope they are clear enough to print and trace a pattern (click images to enlarge).





Free Pattern Friday — 3-Patch Quilt Design #7133

Okay, it’s actually Free Pattern Saturday, since I forgot all about posting yesterday. I need to get with the program!

There isn’t much information on this pattern sheet — not even a name. I did find a 1957 newspaper ad for the pattern, which refers to it as a “3-Patch Design.” The pattern sheet actually contains 4 patches, but one is for the zig-zag border. The unusual 2″ border is applied with its own separate batting and, although I’m not sure if I would do this, it might be interesting to try. Have you ever attached a border that way?

Remember, if you are going to attempt this pattern, the yardage requirements listed are for 36″ wide fabric.

Because this pattern is about 17″ x 27″, it will need to be tile printed. Clicking on the pattern image below will open a full-sized pdf file. Scroll to the bottom of that image, and click on the download button. Open the downloaded file in Acrobat Reader, and select “poster” in the print dialog box. This will allow you to tile print the original pattern size on multiple sheets of letter or legal sized paper, which you can then trim and tape or glue together.




WIP Wednesday — Humble Quilts 2016 Doll Quilt Swap

Every other project had to be put on hold so I could start my doll quilt for Lori’s annual swap, which is something I look forward to every year. I copied the “Old Italian Block” pattern from an antique quilt sold on ebay last year, and I have since realized this is a pretty popular pattern, with lots of examples and instructions online for various methods of construction.

For my miniature version, I used the more old-fashioned technique of drawing my design on grid paper, making plastic templates, then tracing and cutting the pieces with scissors. Quilt making with templates doesn’t seem to be popular anymore, but I find that rotary cutting and strip piecing techniques just don’t work that well when you’re using small pieces from a scrap bag, which is how I usually make my quilts. On this little quilt, I had a lot of fun using my clear templates to fussy cut some of the pieces.

The top is 16″ x 19″ right now, and I’m thinking of just leaving it like this without a border. Now I just have to work out a design for the hand quilting. You’ll want to check out Lori’s blog when all the doll quilts are displayed — they are amazing!
Click image to enlarge.



Free Pattern Friday — Four Rose Appliqué Blocks

These traditional rose patterns appeared in the Aug/Sept, 1987 issue of Lady’s Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine. The original pages were only one-quarter of each 16″ block, but I have photoshopped them so you can see the whole design. Clicking on the images below will open a pdf version of the original one-quarter pattern, which you can download, print, and use to trace your templates. To make the guide for placing your templates, print 4 copies of the pattern, then trim and tape the four quarters together.

Ohio Rose


Mexican Rose


Rose Spray


Rose Cross



WIP Wednesday — Nearing the End of the Appliquéd Squares

Thank you to everyone who helped me come up with ideas for these squares. There are quite a few designs in this batch that were suggested by readers, and there is just one more group left to stitch. My husband is relieved that the design part is over, because I might have been driving him a little crazy.

Oops, I just noticed I forgot to stitch the inside of the sleigh. This happens a fair amount — I don’t see the mistake until I look at the photo.


Free Pattern Friday — Star Patterns and a Story

This cute story about a little boy who makes a simple star quilt appeared as part of a series titled “Daddy’s Bedtime Stories” which was published in the Salina Evening Journal (Salina, Kansas) from 1913 to 1916.

Below the story are pieced diagrams for 3 star quilts — two very simple (like the boy in the story might have made) and one more complex. Clicking on the images will open a pdf file of that quilt’s templates for printing.

The Little Boy Who Could Sew Nicely

There is no doubt that small boys have not much taste for sewing. “Though once when I was a small boy,” daddy told Jack and Evelyn, “I knew a boy who could sew very nicely. His mother said that he should learn to use the needle when he was young, and then if he grew up and became an old bachelor, he would be able to patch his own clothes and sew on buttons.
“And, let me tell you, he could sew very nicely. He had no sisters, and the evenings were sometimes dull.
“One night, as they gathered around the evening lamp, Georgie — that was his name — watched his mother take out her workbasket and begin stitching.
” ‘Mother, could I have a needle and thread?’ he asked.
” ‘Certainly, his mother replied. ‘What are you going to make?’
” ‘I’d like to make something useful,’ Georgie answered
” ‘I’ll tell you what you can make,’ she answered. I’ll cut out some patches, and you can make a quilt for your own bed.’
“Georgie was pleased with the idea, and when his mother cut out the gay patches to form a star pattern, he went to work with a will.
“Every evening when they sat down at the table Georgie sewed more patches. Soon he had quite a pile of them done.
“When the patches were sewed, his mother showed him how to put them together.
“Then she lined the quilt with cotton and tacked a plain piece of material on for a back. When she had bound the edges together, Georgie had a handsome cover for his bed, and he was very proud of it.
“When this little quilt was done, he set to work and made a larger and handsomer one for his mother. He seemed to have a knack in matching the colors, and his relatives saved ‘patches’ for Georgie’s quilts.
“Every year a county fair was given by the people of that part of the state. The farmers sent their finest cattle and fattest pigs to be shown. The farmers’ wives sent jars of their best preserves, their choicest butter and finest hens.
“Besides this, there were all sorts of pretty and useful things made with the needle, and prizes were given for the nicest and best things of each kind.
“A dear old lady who admired Georgie’s quilts told his mother he ought to send one to the fair to show.
“So a quilt did go off to the fair, and the judges were to tickled over the idea of a little boy having made a quilt that they voted to give him a handsome bicycle as a prize, and I’m afraid after that, Georgie did not make many quilts.”

Evening Star – 6″ BlockEvening-Star-Quilt-scaled-piecing-diagram

Variable Star – 12″ BlockVariable-Star-Quilt-scaled-piecing-diagram

South Carolina Star – 15″ BlockSouth-Carolina-Star-Quilt-scaled-piecing-diagram

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WIP Wednesday — Crazy Courthouse Steps Vintage Quilt Top

I hope those of you who were fans of the original quilt top will not be disappointed that I ended up changing it a bit. In the process of pressing the top to prep for quilting, I realized it was never going to be flat enough to stitch. I also discovered, upon closer inspection, that the top did contain some dubious fabrics — a few had rust stains and there were a couple of thick flannel pieces.

When I began unpicking the blocks, it was easy to see why the quilt was so lumpy. The pictures below are representative, although each block was oddly shaped in its own unique way. Some were square-ish, most were sort of rectangle-ish, and the length of the crooked sides varied from 9″ to 11″.

I trimmed all the blocks to the lowest common denominator (9″), and attempted to straighten them a little if I could. The suspect fabrics were replaced with pieces reused from the top, whenever possible. Although I kept the blocks in their original positions, I worried (because of the trimming) that I was going to ruin what Kathleen, in her comment, called the “step-back view” of the top. I’m pretty happy with the result, though, and now it’s nice and flat, and also a little smaller.


Since the top has about a gazillion seams, I knew I wanted a simple quilting pattern with a bigger stitch and thicker thread. I auditioned several different colors and types of thread, and decided on 3 strands of good old, versatile 6-strand embroidery floss in black, and a simple diagonal pattern. The floss kind of hugs into the fabric instead of sitting on top, and I happen to have a ton of DMC #310.


Now I’m excited to start quilting, because I’m going to enjoy marveling at every single crazy print she added to this top.