Archive of ‘Sewing’ category

Farmer’s Wife Block 47 – Joy

By Melissa LeRay


Hello and welcome to my stop on the Fat Quarter Shop + Gnomeangel Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along! Today I’m going to walk you through block #47, Joy.  Can you believe we’re already in our 4th month? For this block I used the From Marti Michell templates (specifically set D for this block) for the first time, and I’m kicking myself for waiting as long as I did to try them out.  If you are anything like me, you might have thought “do I really have a need for yet another quilting gadget?” as you look around your sewing space, taking note of all the unitaskers that are collecting dust. I learned that the very thing that I assumed was simply more work is the very thing that makes these templates invaluable.  Those corners.  The beauty of the engineered corners doesn’t show up when you’re piecing simple squares together. But when you are constructing blocks with triangles, parallelograms, etc, the brilliance comes out.  If you’ve been on the fence about buying out these templates, I urge you to try them out.  Aside from not needing to print out each template (hello Macbook users), the usefulness in having far more accurately pieced blocks is worth the cost alone! If you don’t have these templates on hand, you can still follow the templates provided by the book and simply hand cut or rotary cut those pieces and continue on with this tutorial.

If you are using the Marti Michelle templates to construct block 47: Joy, see here for the conversion chart.

I’ll refer to these pieces by their color/shape going forward for simplicity of following along.


(These are just *my* methods – none of these are essential/required for you) I starch all my fabrics using Soak : Flatter, and “press” more than I “iron”.  I use a straight stitch machine, with a very scant 1/4″ seam.  I sew with Aurifil 50 wt thread and a size 80 universal needle.


Starting with all of your pieces cut per the book template or the FMM templates, organize them into their final layout.

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We’re going to begin by tackling the green parallelogram + striped triangles first.  It’s easiest if we break these into left and right sections, and work through all 4 edges this way.  Make sure you note that there are long and short sides to the parallelogram, and place them with the long sides facing upwards toward the edges of the block.

JPEG image-402DA3FF0A28-1Starting with the left side first, add the triangle on the right to the long side of the green piece.  See how perfectly those corners match up?  No more ripping out seams until you get your triangles to line up just perfectly.

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Sew along that long edge, and then press the seam open.

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Then add the left triangle to the short end, sew together and press open.

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You’ll repeat these same steps for the right group:

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IMG_5071     IMG_5072

Now you’ll join the left and right sections together, and then repeat for the other three edges.

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Next we’ll focus on joining the squares (but save the center most square for last) and then adding what will become the four corner triangles to those.  Make sure you keep in mind the original orientation:

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Here are all your pieces up to this point:


And now we’ll finish off the block.  Laying everything back into its final orientation, we have this:


We’re going to focus on the middle row of squares first, and then join the rest of the components:


Starting with the upper section, you’ll lay the square pieced section on RST to the left triangular block.  Again you can see how nicely these pieces line up because of those engineered corners! {amazing!} Then lay the right triangular section RST to what you just pieced, and your entire upper section will be joined.  Repeat for the lower half.

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IMG_5101     IMG_5102

Now you’re left with the last two seams! So close to completion!


With RST, lay the center square-pieced section on top of one of the large triangular sections and sew.  Follow up with the other side.  I found pinning helped to ensure that my seams lined up:

IMG_5104     IMG_5105


After a good pressing and trimming to 6.5″ square, you are left with your final, beautiful block!


I hope you found this tutorial helpful.  I thoroughly enjoyed putting this block together, and I can’t wait to catch up on the {cough} few I’m behind on!

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.



The page with all the Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) in relation to the sew-along can be found by clicking here.


The hashtag for this sew-along is #FQS1930FarmersWife and for this block its #fw47joy

Facebook Groups

The Facebook Group can be found by clicking here.

If you have a problem accessing either of these please let me know.


The Flickr Group can be found by clicking here.

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Monkey Business!

By Melissa LeRay



Fat Quarter Shop has created another adorable mini as part of their Sew Solid Series, and this one is called Monkey Business. This super cute quilt comes together quickly, and is a great size to use as a mini quilt on a wall, or even as a stroller {or carrier} quilt for a new baby, or even as a changing mat.

I chose to use some of my favorite Fog City Kitty by Pam Kitty Morning and Moda Tiny Dottie in Magenta, along with some brown and tan polka dots I had on hand.


I thought it would be fun to accent the monkey with some hand quilting, and I’m so happy with how it turned out!  I used size 8 perle cotton in brown.

For the free pattern, click here.

Monkey Business -

For the video to walk you through it, click here.

Lastly, here’s a kit that Fat Quarter Shop has put together so you can jump right in!  How do you plan to use yours?

Be sure to check out the other talented ladies in our blog hop:

Jane of Quilt Jane
Afton of Quilting Mod
Anorina of Samelia’s Mum
Gerri of Planted Seed Designs
Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl

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Great Granny Twist : A modified OHSZippedCase!

By Melissa LeRay


Fat Quarter Shop is at it again, and this time they’re hosting a blog tour to show off ways we can adapt the blocks in Great Granny Squared by Lori Holt (@beeinmybonnet on IG) in different, unexpected ways.  I’m super excited to show you mine! With a little bit of Bonnie + Camille Vintage Picnic in my hands, I knew exactly what I wanted to make – a modified OHSZippedCase!  This one was made selfishly for ME! Can you believe that after the many I’ve made, I’ve yet to keep one for myself?


How is this modified?  I made two vinyl zipped pouches instead of the original one, and to incorporate a full great granny square block (made from 2.5″ squares) I increased the size of the pouch.  To view my original tutorial, click here, or keep reading to see how I modified it to create the one shown here.


Let’s get started.

You’ll need a mini charm pack or 16 2.5″ squares
A half yard of your background/lining fabric of choice
A fat eighth of accent fabric (to go around inner zippers and under thread holders)
70″ bias binding
13″ x 18″ piece of Pellon Flex Foam 2-sided fusible, or Annie’s Soft and Stable (this is unfusible, fyi)
Two 10.5″ zippers (You can use 12″ zippers, and cut down to 11″ if needed)
One 30″ zipper
3 pieces of 1/4″ elastic, each cut to 2″ long
5″ x WOF SF 101 or other light/mid weight fusible interfacing
Two pieces of vinyl, each cut to 8″ x 12″

All seams are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated.

Finished Dimensions: open – 12″ x 18″; closed – 12″ x 8.5″


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Crossroads Quilt Along with Fat Quarter Shop

By Melissa LeRay


In 2016, Fat Quarter Shop will be hosting another charity quilt-along, this time benefitting the March of Dimes – an incredible non-profit organization that focuses on helping and preventing premature births.  Their work is vast, and has included funding research to create a Polio vaccine, improved prenatal diagnosis of diseases such as sickle cell anemia, discovery of gene mutations of various syndromes, surfactant therapy to treat the tiny lungs of very premature infants (helping babies survive birth as early as 23 weeks gestation!), just to name a few.  Their work is profound, far reaching, and generous and I’m so excited to participate in a quilt-along designed to raise money and bring awareness to their incredible work.


The theme of this quilt-along is “Crossroads”, and by definition, that means “a point at which a crucial decision must be made that will have far-reaching consequences.” I often like to think about how a crossroad dramatically impacts our lives, similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books I’d read as a kid – do you remember those?

A particular crossroad in my life was when I decided to leave my job as an engineer and pursue a career in medicine.  I was working as a new grad for a major aeronautics company, and I was bored out of my mind.  I sat alone in a cubicle all day, reviewing and typing up technical documents.  There was nothing inspiring going on, no windows to the outside world, no excitement, and it was clear that no of my peers were in love with their work.  It seemed like a vacuum where people both began and ended their career, and no one seemed particularly happy to be there.  I also didn’t feel like I was contributing much to those around me, or to society as a whole.  Many people justified staying there because of the great benefits, flexible workweek, etc, but I knew that those reasons weren’t enough to keep me at a job/career 40+hrs a week that I wasn’t in love with. Its a long work day that is spent counting down the hours until you leave. Somehow, by a few chance conversations, I learned about being an anesthetist. And it just fit.  I took the few courses needed to complete the application requirements, and when I received my acceptance letter, I gave my notice.  I never looked back.  The fascination and joy I got from helping people in such an intimate way, at such a vulnerable time, was so perfectly suited to my interests.  Anesthesia is both science and art, ever-changing with no single correct answer.  And for someone with a terribly short attention span, I loved that I never had to take my work home and there was endless variety – everything from pediatrics to geriatrics, open heart to colonoscopies.  I’m certain that my engineering background helped me to be a better anesthetist, but I’m so happy I chose to pursue something more fulfilling when I knew that what I was doing wasn’t enough.


As an anesthetist, I have cared for the very preemies that the March of Dimes helps to protect.  My smallest patient weighed a single pound.  He was born at 23 weeks.  At the time, I was 28 weeks pregnant with my oldest and it was an incredibly surreal feeling to be holding a baby that was smaller than the one growing within me.  I am so grateful for the work that March of Dimes does – so that hopefully these tiny babies get an ever longer stay where they are safest, until they are healthier to conquer the world on their own.

The back!

With each block that is released from Fat Quarter Shop, we hope that you will choose to make a $5 donation to the March of Dimes to help further their work for the use of each free pattern.


So now let’s talk about this quilt-along!  Joanna Figueroa of Figtree Quilts has designed a gorgeous quilt, finishing at 66.5″ x 84.5″. Each block finishes at 7.5″. The block and finishing patterns will be available to download for free on the Fat Quarter Shop blog the 15th of each month from February 2016 to August 2016. The schedule is as follows:

February 2016 – House Blocks
March 2016 – Diamond Blocks
April 2016 – Flying Geese Blocks
May 2016 – Weathervane Blocks
June 2016 – Cross & Crown Blocks
July 2016 – Crossroads Blocks
August 2016 – Finishing
September 2016 – Backing

For my fabric picks, I’ll be using the almost-released Bonnie and Camille Vintage Picnic.  I can’t wait to see this come together!


There are quilt kits available for preorder here, using Figtree Quilt’s much anticipated release of Strawberry Fields Revisted!  The coordinated quilt backing kits available here.

I’m so excited to get started, and really hope you’ll join us in creating this beautiful quilt benefitting a most deserving charity.

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Sundance Dresden Pillow

By Melissa LeRay



Hi friends!  I’m excited to show you the fun pillow I just finished.  Fat Quarter Shop has a great PDF pattern for the Sundance Dresden Pillow, and its a breeze to whip up.  The whole pillow came together in an afternoon – super quick for a pillow with this much detail!  The pillow finishes right at 16″ and is a nice sweet-spot size to go on a couch or bed.


I used some of my favorite Leah Duncan Meadow by Art Gallery. Using the specialty Dresden 18 degree ruler with pieced together rectangles has your individual Dresden units created in minutes.  Once the Dresden pieces are sewn together, this is appliqued down (by machine or hand) and then quilted!  SUPER FAST!


I chose to do a grid quilting pattern, and love the final result!

For the pillow back, I chose to insert an invisible zipper at the bottom (this method also eliminates the need for binding – which is always a plus in my book) and a single piece of Leah Duncan Meadow fabric for the back.


If you want to create one yourself, Fat Quarter Shop already has kits available here.  They’ve also created a very helpful video to walk you through each step as well, and you can view it here.  I hope you’ll make one of these as well – I’m always looking for super quick projects, and this would be fun to use fussy cut prints as well, or customize for the seasons.


Be sure to search the #sundancedresden tag to see all the gorgeous pillows!

Fat Quarter Baby Blog Hop!

By Melissa LeRay

Welcome to my stop on the Fat Quarter Baby blog hop! We’re celebrating the release of Fat Quarter Shop‘s new book “Fat Quarter Baby“! Twenty of us were lucky enough to sew up one of the baby quilts in the book to show off these amazing patterns.  I love that they have 10 girl styles and 10 boy styles.  I am always looking for cute and original baby quilt patterns and I was blown away by all the adorable designs in this book.  I was paired with the ‘Claire’ quilt, and it’s classic style is so precious with the sweetest baby rattles!


The book calls for the 8 rattles to be constructed from four fat quarters, two of each design.  I used 8 fat eighths to vary it up a little.  I love the little bow on the handle of the rattle.  Once everything was cut, I was really surprised at how quickly each block came together.

I chose to use Lecien‘s newest Flower Sugar collection (due in stores Spring 2016) and I love how these cool colors and feminine prints create the sweetest girly baby quilt!

For the backing I used Riley Blake’s Le Creme Swiss Dots in Aqua, and the binding was pieced from two of the Flower Sugar prints.  I machine bind almost all my quilts – have you tried that time saver?

One of my favorite elements of this quilt is the floating block placement.  I realize that my habit is to just lay things out in a completely linear way, and I love the reminder that staggering them can create such a pleasing visual effect, and it’s also very forgiving if your blocks vary in size.

I loved watching this quilt come together. My dear friend Jennifer is due with her first baby in April, and I can’t wait to gift her this beautiful blanket!  Be sure to check out each of the other quilts revealed today:

Anne – Caroline of Sew Can She
Elizabeth – Pam of Pam Kitty Morning
Emma – Melissa of Happy Quilting
Hannah – Sherri of A Quilting Life
Gerri Robinson of Planted Seed Designs


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A Gooseberry Baby Quilt!

By Melissa LeRay

…for my almost three year old.

As is the case with many subsequent children, Juliet still doesn’t have a baby quilt made just for her by me.  I kept letting other projects sneak in and distract me, but fortunately, her time has come!

Fat Quarter Shop has released a super sweet {and super speedy!!} free tutorial for the Bloom and Bliss receiving blanket, and took very little effort to convert it to the baby quilt that Juliet so deserved.  I love half square triangles, but never considered making them from layer cakes. This is genius! These HST’s were trimmed, and the top pieced AND quilted within one nap time! I also love the flexibility of being able to organize the HST’s in any order to create a different appearance. I chose to make mine in a pinwheel style, and I love that the added 5th row throws off the normal pinwheel look, giving this an altogether different feel.

For this quilt, I used the newly released Gooseberry collection from Lella Boutique.  I love love love this entire range! The colors and florals are really gorgeous and fresh – I love how the pink is more of a coral/salmon and the light blue isn’t quite the same aqua I already have too much of – it’s a nice, welcomed change, and I loved adding the variety to my stash.

Another first for me is the rounded corner. I have plenty of plates and circular objects around the house, but this ruler has grid lines so that all of my rounded corners are constructed on the same angle.  And why did no one tell me this meant no mitered corners AND the ability to sew the binding down in one continuous step?!  Glee!!

For the quilting, I just did simple lines about 1/4″ away from each side of all the seams.

Lastly, for the backing, I used a Cotton and Steel Dining Car that blended well, as  I don’t yet have any Gooseberry yardage but that will change very soon!  For the binding, one of my favorites, Moda Tiny Dottie in Royal Blue.

I see so many of these in my future. I love that making a baby blanket, or even a throw, doesn’t have to take such a big hit on my free time.

Fat Quarter Shop currently has both Gooseberry and the rounded corner ruler in stock.

If you’d like to just hit the ground running, FQS has created a quilt kit that you can buy.

The {free!} Fat Quarter Shop tutorial can be found here, and the accompanying video to walk you through it is here.

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Let’s kick off the 2105 Tag-A-Long!

By Melissa LeRay


Do you recall the tag-a-longs that Amy of NanaCompany and Kristyne of Pretty By Hand did for a few years? They created tutorials and examples for some really stunning tags, and Faith and I thought it would be fun to host a tag-a-long on Instagram inspired by all that they created.  Hopefully you’ll join us in making some beautiful tags {or ornaments in my case!} and have a lot of fun in the process.  We’re kicking off on Wednesday, 10/14, and we’ll have four weeks of fun sewing together! If you’re joining us on Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag #2015tagalong so we can all see what you’re creating! You can find me @Ohhowsweetco, Faith @Faithessenburg, Amy @Amysinibaldi, and Kristyne @PrettyByHand!

To make it easy to find all the tutorials and examples, we’ve gathered all the links that will take you directly to their post on their blog.  For even more inspiration, feel free to check out the Flickr pool that they used:

Here’s a ton of great info and inspiration to get you started!



–ehow tutorial and further idea links–


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