Staff Blog - Part 2

Perfect Your Skills: Curved Piecing

Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to sew perfect curved seams. It’s the perfect way to add motion to your quilt!


1. Joining pieces with curved edges presents challenges. Cutting a small notch in the center of a curved edge makes it easier.



2. With right sides together, match the center notches of curved edges. Pin together at the center point, at seam ends, and liberally in between, gently easing the edges as needed to align.


3. Sew together the curved edges. Clip into the seam allowance of the edge that curves in (concave) as needed, but do not cut into or beyond the seam lines. Do not clip the convex edge.


TIP: Some quilters prefer not to clip curved seams. Instead they use a longer stitch length and sew slowly, which helps ease the fabric layers together (the center notch is still necessary).


4. Press the seam allowance toward the piece that has the inner (concave) curve.

Make It Tonight: Baby Toys

Fabric: Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Project design: Erica Jackman


Quick-to-sew soft little critters make perfect playmates for baby. These two softies (along with six others) are easy to make from a fabric panel. This project is courtesy of our sewing blog, Visit daily for new sewing projects and easy home decor.

Here’s the whole panel. It’s about 22×44″.

The materials given are for eight animal softies. Instructions are for making one.



  • One panel (makes 8 animal softies)
  • 8—9″ squares assorted prints or 2–18×22″ pieces (fat quarters) for backing
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Water-soluble marking pen
  • Chopstick (optional)

Finished hippo: about 8×4″

Measurements include 1/4″ seam allowances.
Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.




Assemble the Softie:

1. Cut out animal print along printed border. With a water-soluble marking pen, draw a line around animal shape about 1/2″ from outer edges.


2. With wrong sides together, layer and pin marked animal print and 9″ backing square. Cut out layers on marked line.


3. Pin cut shapes with right sides together (printed sides). Using a water-soluble marker, mark a 2″ opening along one edge of animal shape.



4. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around shape, leaving marked opening free.


5. Turn right side out. Stuff hippo shape with fiberfill, using a chopstick to pack filling into small areas.

TIP: Using small “tufts” of polyester makes a smoother finished stuffed softie.


6. Fold unstitched seam allowances to inside; pin in place. Using a needle and thread, stitch opening closed to complete animal softie.

(See how to sew a seam closed with invisible stitches here.)

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2014 Quilting To-Do List: Update 7

I had a surprisingly productive month! And although I put two projects aside, I did cross some things off my to-do list that I was dragging my feed on (buying supplies, finishing binding). I’m at the point where I’m nearing the end of a few of my projects. I’m happy to permanently get them off my list and on the wall or bed they belong on! (Find out more about my goals this year in my resolutions blog – read it here.) Four more months this year to finish the five projects I chose. Since the holidays get busy in the magazine world, I’m hoping for one more very productive month so I’m not panicking by the time Christmas hits!


On my to-do list this year:


I finished the last 20 of my Tula blocks! Now time to choose a sashing color that will match brown, blue, teal, and green! See all my blocks here.



Nine of the blocks for the Globetrotting Block of the Month are done. The quilt is almost done! I love all blocks equally in this and love the fabric line. I hope I have enough time before the end of the year to quilt and bind it.


Finally got the binding done and all the layers ready to quilt. This is the first quilt I started (and obviously one that I put on hold for awhile). I’m ready to get it off my design wall and hanging in my house.


In a burst of energy over Labor Day weekend I almost got the Quilts and More Fall Welcome Home wall hanging done. A little bit of binding left to sew on and some embellishments to make, but I’ll be ready for cooler temps when they come!


I have some tips for jumpstarting your creativity. (See my tips for making your list here.)

1. Take time off. While it’s important to be creative every day to keep the juices flowing, it’s also alright to take some time off from your to-do list. I took time this month to be creative while reading, gardening, and baking. And while I did do some quilting, it was a gift that was not on my to-do list. Taking a break gives you the energy and motivation to move ahead on your projects.

2. Do what you feel. With nicer weather this month, I didn’t want to be cooped inside at my sewing machine. I, instead, opted for a lot of cutting. I liked being on my feet with some music playing. And touching the pretty fabric was a nice stress reliever after a long day. I still made progress on a quilt, but it wasn’t something that was time-consuming or felt like work

3. Let your mind wander. We always say in the office that sitting at your desk and thinking counts as work. While it may seem silly to let your mind wander while you’re working on a quilt, sometimes the best ideas or creative spark come from just sitting. If you’re not feeling the creative process, look at some quilting magazines, browse some websites for inspiration, or go to a store to look at fabric. You’ll be surprised how this can jumpstart your motivation!


Happy quilting in 2014! Share your own quilting to-do list in the comments and make sure to check back to  see my progress.


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Trend Talk: Type Prints

Every month, we highlight a trend in quilting and show you how you can add this hip style to your projects!

This month, we’re all about fabric with words! We’re writers, so we’ve obviously always loved the look of printed text on fabric. But we’re starting to see a lot of word fabric on the market now, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! From standout prints to tone-on-tones, word fabric can take on a lot of different looks!



Type fabric for your shopping list (in order going clockwise):

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We Heart It, It’s Free

Once a month, we highlight our favorite free quilt and sewing patterns around the web!




Sea Glass Table Runner by Karin Jordan for Sizzix

We love solids. And blues. And that interesting piecing. Basically, we love this quilt! Use your Sizzix die cutting machine or try some freeform cutting. This is the perfect end-of-summer project!

Click here to get the free pattern.




Sliced Citrus Party Tags by Camelot Fabrics

These cute felt tags make us want to throw a citrus party right now! They’re so simple and will really add a special touch to drinks or gifts.

Click here to get the free pattern.




Gemstone Paper Pieced Pillow by Jennifer Sampou

This pillow looks like beautiful stained glass! And it’s the perfect way to clean out some of your scraps.

Click here to get the free pattern.

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