Tips | Staff Blog


3 posts.

Perfect Your Skills: Hand Piecing

Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished!


Hand piecing is a relaxing and sometimes more accurate way to piece blocks. See step-by-step photos for hand piecing below (we used a diamond star shape as an example!).


Lay out diamonds. Pick up diamond Nos. 1 and 2; layer them with right sides together.


Pin diamonds together with a pin exiting exactly at each pair of matching points. Sew from right-hand side to left-hand side (see picture above for starting and stopping points). Take tiny backstitch at the last stitch. Do not cut thread.


Open pieces and finger-press seam allowances to right.


Position diamond No. 3 on diamond No. 2 with right sides together and edges aligned. Pin at left-hand side.


Push thumbnail against seam allowance at the star center. Without catching the seam allowances in stitching, bring up needle at dot, right around thumbnail.


Take a tiny backstitch at starting point, then sew seam from the star center to the left-hand side, stopping at pin (see placement above).


Open pieces and finger-press seams away from center diamond, completing a half star.


In same manner, join diamond Nos. 4, 5, and 6 to make second star half. Pin star halves together with pins.


Sew from right-hand side toward star center. Pull seam allowances to the left. Stitch together and take a tiny backstitch. Do not clip thread.


Bring needle through to base of seam line. Push seam allowances to the right, take a tony backstitch, and continue stitching seam.


Stitch seam to outside to complete a six-pointed star. Finger-press seams.

Perfect Your Skills: Points

Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished!


Are your points not lining up perfectly? Try this!

After sewing together two block units, stab a pin through the point where the block units come together.


Leaving that pin in place, pin pieces together on either side of the seam line.


Leave the pins in place just until you are about to sew over them. The result will be perfectly aligned points in your block.


Printable Ornament Template

Ever wondered how to turn a quilt into a greeting card?


Using a tip from reader Jenedel Wilcox of Frankfort, Michigan, we used an ornament template to trim a photo of a quilt into a shape for this holiday greeting card. To re-create this look, follow these steps.

1. Take a photo of your quilt. It helps to have someone hold up your quilt or lay it on a flat surface while you’re taking the picture so the quilt looks relatively flat and not wavy or rippled.

2. Print a 4×6″ photo of the quilt.

3. Download and print the ornament template PDF at our sister site, 

4. Cut out the ornament base, top, front loop, and back loop pieces from the pattern sheet.

5. Using a pencil, trace and cut out the ornament base from the photo.

6. Trace the ornament top, front loop, and back loop pieces onto colored cardstock. (We used the same color of cardstock for the front loop piece as we used for the card foundation.)

7. Fold a 10-1/2″x7-1/4″ piece of cardstock in half to create a card foundation.

8. Adhere the cut-out shapes onto the front of card foundation. (We mounted the ornament base onto a red scalloped circle cut slightly larger than the base to make it pop.)

9. Embellish the card with rickrack, ribbon, scalloped cardstock strips, and stitching. Add a sticker or printed greeting.

Using these same general instructions, you can use any template to make a greeting card. Click here for more holiday-theme templates or  visit for more free templates for other themes. See the December 2011 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine for more Tips from Readers.