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Episode 434: Tips for Sewing Mini Quilts

Make it mini with these tips for making small quilts. Plus, hear an interview with Christopher Thompson of The Tattooed Quilter.

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Listen to the show in the player at the end of this post.

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Tips for Sewing Mini Quilts

Jody Sanders, the editor of American Patchwork & Quilting, and the Master of Minis in the office shares her best tips for making mini quilts and working with small pieces.

1. When making mini quilts choose fabrics that are tone-on-tone or smaller in scale. If you use a multicolor print with a lot of color changes, once that is cut into small pieces the print gets lost. Your carefully pieced blocks become muddled and lack defintion.

2. Scale down your tools. Most people use a 6x12" or 6x24" ruler to cut fabrics. Jody's favorite ruler for mini quilts is a 4-1/2" square. Most of her blocks finish at 4" or smaller, so the 4-1/2" ruler can be used to square up blocks, as well as cut small pieces. Most people have a 24x36" mat, for minis Jody uses a 6x8" or 8x11" mat. The small mat easily turns on a table, so as you are cutting, you can rotate everything and there is less moving of fabric. The final tool to scale down is your rotary cutter. For minis, Jody uses a 28mm size.

3. Simple quilting designs enhance the pieced portions. Cables, cross-hatching, and echo quilting all work well. A feather wreath is probably less desirable design on a mini quilt. The proportion is wrong and you probably won’t see the design. Josy machine-quilts most of her mini quilts, but mini quilts are the perfect place to give hand-quilting a try.

4. Consider using flannel or low-loft cotton batting.

5. Use a single-fold binding (cutting 1-1/4"-wide strips) instead of double-fold binding. The single-fold is less bulky, so the corners of the binding are eaiser to miter for a small quilt.

See our favorite free mini quilt patterns here.


Behind-the-Scenes From the Crafts Lab

Jody and Linday tackle this segment, where we share a behind-the-scenes look at what's happening in the office. Our One Million Pillowcase Challenge is nearing its end. In this challenge, quilters sew a pillowcase to donate in their local communities -- these benefit hospitals, women's shelters, and more. New to the Challenge this year: Send us your pillowcase(s) and you'll be entered to win a prize package worth more than $200! We'll distribute the donated pillowcases to charities around the country. For more info about how to get involved, visit here.

Also, the Fall/Winter 2019 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine is officially on sale! Grab one at the newsstand to see beautiful photos and stories from each of the 10 shops. To see behind-the-scenes videos of the featured shops, visit here.


Getting Sewcial with Jess

On today's show, Jess Zeigler of Threaded Quilting Studio chats with Christopher Thompson of The Tattooed Quilter. He's a New York City fashion professional, fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs, and modern quilter. He talks about how he got his start quilting (he bought his first machine from the Home Shopping Network), how his designs have changed over the years, why he loves making mini quilts, and great tips for taking photos of your quilts. Christopher is teaching at the Garden of Quilts in September, so check out more information here.

Follow him on Instagram here.


Back to Basics with Joanna

Joanna Burgarino, the editor of Quilts & More, share tips and tricks about a sewing tool or technique. This week, she conquers acrylic rulers. She shares why you should use the same ruler to do all the measuring and cutting for one project, as well as how to use washi tape to mark lines on your ruler for easier cutting.

If you have a topic you’d like Joanna to explore, please reach out to us by email at APQPodcast@meredith.com.


Quilting Changes Everything with Alison

On this segment, where we share stories of quilters making a difference in their communities, Alison tells the story of a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and who has since launched a campaign to provide ‘dignity bags’ to patients who have just had a mastectomy. The comfort cushions can be placed under the arm to take the pressure off the area of surgery and can also be placed across the chest under a seatbelt. (Read the original story here.) Alison also shares about Barbara Bell, a woman who just started quilting in 2004 and has made over 500 quilts for charity. Quilts for adults go to Tennessee Oncology in Murfreesboro, while children’s quilts go to the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center. (Read the original story here.)