Make Your Own Medallion: Centerpiece


Centerpiece quilt by house on hill road

photograph by Page and Pixel

Hey there! For those of you going to QuiltCon, I will have a book signing for Make Your Own Medallion at the Lucky Spool booth TOMORROW (Thursday, February 22nd) at 1:30 pm. Come by and say hello! I will be walking the floor on Thursday and Friday with Fatty (yes, he's coming, too!) so if you see me, please introduce yourself. I am excited to go - this will be my third QuiltCon. I am not taking any classes. The main reason I am going is to see my quilt, Centerpiece, hang in the show.


Centerpiece styled

photograph by Page and Pixel

Centerpiece was one of the first quilts I designed for Make Your Own Medallion. I wanted to show that while medallion quilts are mostly traditional, they can also be modern. To do that, I made sure to include a lot of negative space and solid fabrics. The flying geese and half square triangles nod to tradition, but make a strong graphic statement. Don't let all those pieces intimidate you! Most of the piecing is done in the center and one border and can be easily chain-pieced, making it come together faster than you'd think. That kind of sewing is meditative to me - I just put on a podcast or music and get in a groove. If that is not your thing, you can swap different blocks in and really make this your own.

I'm super excited to see Centerpiece hanging at QuiltCon. I'll be sure to post photos over on Instagram while we are there. But now, I need to finish packing for my flight that leaves in about 3 hours! If you will be at QuiltCon and are still waiting to get your own copy of Make Your Own Medallion, they will be for sale at the Lucky Spool booth. For those of you staying home, you can grab one in my shop or at Amazon (affiliate link).  If you make Centerpiece or any other project from the book, please use the hashtag #makeyourownmedallion and tag me so I can see YOUR medallions!


Make Your Own Medallion: Studio Window

Studio window quilt by erin burke harris

photograph by Page and Pixel

As I was thinking about what order to showcase the quilts from my new book, Make Your Own Medallion, it seemed fitting to start at the beginning. Studio Window started as a 12'' block that I drew with a pencil and ruler on a piece of copy paper. After I had finished it, I had the idea of making it into a center medallion and started searching for a book that would help me figure out the math needed to make a medallion. When I couldn't find a book that fit the bill, I decided to write that book.

My studio window2

It's hard to pick favorites when it comes to my own quilts, but this one will always be towards the top of the list. The color palette was inspired directly from the view I have out the window of my third floor sewing space. I don't think that it is a color combination that I would have chosen if I sat in front of my fabrics contemplating a new quilt. But one fall day when I looked up from what I was sewing, I saw our Japanese maple framed by the stained glass and aqua walls and immediately pulled every fabric in this quilt from my stash. That said, I can imagine this quilt sewn up with all different kinds of fabrics - solids, scraps, in rainbow order. It's a very versatile design!


photograph by Page and Pixel

Studio Window is a great quilt on its own or to use as a template of sorts to make your own medallion. I designed it on the fly, border by border, and you could do the same with blocks of your own choosing. The size of the medallion block is 12'' finished, which allows you to swap in any other 12'' block for it if you want. The borders are a combination of pieced blocks and single fabrics, all with cornerstones. There are myriad opportunities to switch out the blocks in each border, change up the cornerstones, replace the single fabric borders with pieced blocks and vice versa. And at 66" finished, it's large enough for a throw quilt, but not too large to be overwhelming to make. Want to make it bigger? Keep building it out, border by border! Smaller? Stop when it is the size you like.

I love seeing how you all are using the book to make your own medallions. Please tag your Instagram posts with the #makeyourownmedallion hastag. If you still need a copy, you can find autographed copies of Make Your Own Medallion in my shop or buy one without my signature from Amazon (affiliate link). They will also be for sale at QuiltCon at next weekend (February 22 - 25) in Pasadena. I'll be doing a signing at the Lucky Spool booth on Thursday, the 22nd at 1:30 pm - please come say hello!

Quick handmade gift idea: Neckties

Have I mentioned that I teach eighth graders to sew? I do! I go in once a week in the fall and the spring and, along with a friend, teach a group of 12 or so kids how to use a sewing machine. We start simple and work up to some more difficult projects. This fall, our group included three boys and my friend suggested a necktie as a final project. It was such a great idea, but the only pattern I had seen involved a lot of hand sewing and, honestly, the kids don't dig those kind of projects. With a little research, I found the Everyday Necktie pattern and accompanying video tutorial by Dana at Made Everyday. You guys! The eighth graders rocked it and I loved how their ties turned out. This is a great pattern and a great project that will make a great gift for any guy on your list!

Christmas neckties

Yesterday I made the four ties above for my nephews. The blue ties on the side are the tween size (for the 5- and 7-year olds) and the ones in the middle are the adult size (for the 10- and 12-year olds). There is also a kids size, but it's tiny. Like really small. They come together quickly - only 5 passes through the sewing machine! My sister-in-law chose these cute Cotton & Steel Christmas fabrics and I lined them all with a white solid. The ties are cut in two pieces on the bias, so you do need about 3/4 of a yard for each tie. That said, I was able to cut the lining for all four from 1 1/2 yards of my white so you can definitely get a couple of ties out of one yard. My suggestion is just to print out the pattern and lay it out on your fabric before cutting. And because of the bias, it's a good idea to choose a fabric that looks good on the diagonal. It makes a difference. Some good contenders are checks, plaids, stripes, all over small floral prints and even direction prints that are laid out in a grid (like the navy gifts and red snow animals above). Large scale prints can work, but definitely audition them first.

I will definitely be making more ties. I'm thinking of getting fancy and using Liberty...can't you just see it? Do you have any quick handmade gifts you like to make? Let me know - I need some fresh ideas!

Cute christmas tie

Some of the quilts I made on my summer vacation

For the past few years, I have made and donated a quilt or three to our church and school's summer picnic. To win one of these quilts, you buy a chance on a wheel. When all of the chances on the wheel are sold, the wheel is spun and the winner gets to choose the quilt they want. It's a fun system and it's very easy to get a particular quilt if you really, really want it - you just buy the entire wheel.

Carnival quilts stacked

This year, I had promised two quilts, but ended up with three to donate. All were made from a kit or fabric from my stash. I love the challenge of pulling something together from what I have on hand and using up what I already own. It's so satisfying. I free-motion quilted all three in one day on the rental long arm at Quilted Joy despite some comical missteps (Too small backing! Twice!). If I didn't have the option to do them this way, they wouldn't have gotten finished. While I enjoy quilting on my domestic machine, the time it takes to do that, let alone baste the quilts, is prohibitive for charity work. Plus using the long arm is just plain fun!

Carnival peaks

First up is this Stack Quilt.  The pattern is by Nicole of Modern Handcraft and was fun to put together. I deviated from the pattern a little bit by adding one extra column of stacks and using a full width of fabric for the top portion. The prints at the bottom are an older Cotton and Steel line, Homebody, with some basics thrown in and the solid is Kona Snow. I went a little crazy with the quilting, trying out all kinds of different patterns on the long arm. I had fun making it.

Carnival star

Second was this giant star quilt. I used Jeni Baker's tutorial that she shares on her blog, In Color Order. As you can probably guess, with blocks this big, I was able to piece this quilt in no time whatsoever! I picked the prints from my stash (mostly Cotton and Steel plus a Japanese gingham) to coordinate with the cheery pink solid, Kona Punch. Quilted with loops (my favorite!) and bound in the same solid, I just adore how it turned out. I think there will be more quilts like this in my future. Easy, fast and fun!

Carnival tumblers

And the final quilt I donated is the Glass Half Full pattern by Lindsay Sews. I bought this as a kit from Craftsy a few years back (it is no longer available) and had cut most of it at least a year ago. I had forgotten about it until I happened upon it while cleaning up the studio in the spring. It's easy enough to make - the pattern is well written and accurate - but it has so many steps and a ton of cutting that I burned out before I got to the sewing. Once I picked it back up, I was able to get the top finished over the course of a week. It's twin sized so I quilted it with some wavy lines to make sure it would drape nicely when in use. I think it turned out sweet and I know that it is being loved and used in its new home.

Phew. Three quilts in one post. Never thought I would do that. There is more to come, including a list of what I read over the summer and so far this fall. See you soon.

Carnival tumblers 2




The Fussy Cut Sampler Week One


A few weeks ago, my copy of The Fussy Cut Sampler by Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo arrived on my doorstep. It is such a beautiful book with 48 great quilt blocks that made me want to cut up some fabric right away. Nichole and Elisabeth walk the reader through all the in's and out's of perfecting fussy cuts in quilts which is something I could use some help with. I have fussy cut before, but not to the extent these ladies do, and let me tell you, just reading through I was having all kinds of a-ha moments. They are so smart!

To top things off, there is a sew-along happening right now for the book. It started this past week and continues through the summer with the goal of four blocks each week. You can get all the details on Nichole and Elisabeth's blog. (There are some amazing prizes!!!) I really tried to resist, but it was useless. I had to jump in.


Here are my first four blocks. I am working only from my stash and only in blue and white. The constraints are making me really stretch myself and that is good. It's kind of crazy just how much fabric I have that fits those parameters! I am going to try and stay on track with the sew-along, but no promises. It's summer, my kids need me more, we are traveling some and I am still working behind the scenes on my book. All good stuff. Sewing, included.

This post contains an affiliate link.

Five Tops in One Week: Matcha Top, Willow Tank Dress and Gemma Tank

Thank you for the kind comments here on the blog and on Instagram about my new book, Make Your Own Medallion! I am so excited to share more about it with you over the next few months. I'm even more excited to have it out in the world and see what you all make with it.

Because my focus has been on sewing quilts and blocks for the last several months, I have been itching to sew some clothes. Does that happen to anyone else? It's kind of like a palette cleanser, I guess. I am also trying to work through my stash and using up two yard cuts of apparel fabric is making a noticeable dent. I took a long look at my closet and realized that, although I love making and wearing dresses, making some shirts and skirts would have more utility for me day in and day out.

Matcha 1

I started with the Match Top pattern by Meg at Sew Liberated. I made a muslin out of a Leah Duncan voile in a size 12. Based on the size chart (body measurements), I fit in the 14. I was bummed to find that there are not finished measurements included with the pattern because I find it so helpful to compare the body measurements to finished measurements to choose my size and see if I need to add length for my long torso. So, I made a guess and went with the 12 after searching for photos on Instagram and seeing how loosely it fit people. The muslin is wearable and fits, but I knew that I would prefer less fabric and more length so I tweaked it quite a bit for my Liberty one.

Matcha 2

For the Liberty version, I started with a size 10, but kept the length of the arm hole at size 12. I lowered the neckline notch two inches so that it was between the two notches given on the pattern. I also added 2 1/2'' to the length - 1 1/2'' for my torso and an extra 1'' so I could make a deeper hem. When I sewed it up, I centered all the back gathering instead of spreading it out over the entire collar. Likewise, for the front gathers, I left less towards the shoulder than towards the front. I cut the collar at a size 8 to further emphasize that opening. The fit is better, although slightly tight under the arms. It looks really cute with jeans and I will wear it, but I don't think it is the best style for me. Maybe as a dress? I may experiment with that.

Willow (1)

Next up, I made a Grainline Willow Tank Dress Tank in a Liberty print I bought last summer. I went up to a size 14 after my experience making the lawn one last summer. If I were making it out of a loosely woven fabric such as double gauze or linen, I would still make a 12, for what it is worth. Just like the ones last year, I added 2'' of length and that was the only adjustment. I love it and was able to get it out of a 1 1/2 yards. #winning!

Gemma 1

Then I finally got around to making the Gemma Tank by Made by Rae. I don't know what took me so long to get to this because Rae's patterns are so well done and the fit is spot on. I made a L, C/D cup, with the scoop neck out of a Cotton and Steel double gauze. I had 2 yards of this pattern and was/am hoping to squeeze a pair of pj shorts out of what is left so I used a light pink voile from my stash for the bias tape on the neck and armholes. Rae's pattern calls for the bias to be sewn on the exterior so it is visible, but I went ahead and folded it to the inside because that is my preference. What I neglected to think about was that this would make the neck 1/2'' wider and the armholes a 1/4'' wider as well as making the straps 1/2'' narrower. Rae does mention this in the sewing instructions, but I just didn't take note. Still...I love it. It fits like a dream and I didn't have to add any length! The hem was a little fiddly, mostly because of the double gauze. I ended up serging the raw edge before hemming and that helped some.

Gemma 2

And then I made another Gemma Tank because I could! I added the extra 1/4'' seam allowance to the neck and armholes so the tank would maintain the original design lines. For the hem, I serged the bottom edge and just turned that up 1/2'' which worked well with this mystery embroidered white cotton fabric. I know I am going to wear the heck out of this one. It's a great addition to my closet. But, I might like the thinner straps of the first Gemma more. Hmm.

Ok...I think that is it. Questions? Hit me. I'll respond in the comments so other can benefit from the answers, too.

I'm not done sewing clothes...skirts are on the agenda next.

Color Crush

I have a major crush on a color combination. I cannot get it out of my mind and find myself thinking of all the quilts I could make with fabrics in these hues. Are you ready?

Fabric pile

Fabric pile 2

Orange, caramel, lilac, berry-red, plum and cream.

As a die-hard lover of the color green and a huge fan of all shades of blue and cool toned colors overall, I have surprised myself. Again. And really, I shouldn't be so shocked. Every single one of these fabrics are from my stash and, by the looks of it, these colors have appealed to me in fabric form for a good long while. The combination of them together, though, is a little far-out for me. I don't think I have ever made something with so many warm toned fabrics.

Fabric pile 3

What's a girl to do? Start cutting, of course.

What color combos are you into these days? I'd love to know. Your favorites might have me looking at my stash through different eyes and I would really like that. I have put myself on a fabric-buying hiatus until I can finish some WIPs and/or bust through some of my stash. That probably includes de-stashing a good chunk of what I have that I won't likely use. I'm not sure when that will happen, or where (here? on Instagram?), but I will keep you posted.

Have a great weekend, my friends.

Violet's Quilt

Violet's quilt

I made one gift this past Christmas - a quilt for my niece Violet. She was born in July and I really can't think of a better gift for a baby than a quilt.

Violets quilt 4

I stumbled upon this darling print by Kim Kight from her Penny Arcade line for Cotton + Steel. I just love the little animals and children and balloons. I also love the colors - they are bright and fun, but not too baby-ish. I used this as the jumping off point for the color palette and the rest of my prints. I pulled reds, purples, pinks and blues and made sure all of the prints were fun to look at. There is popcorn and birds and flowers and telephones and apples as well as graphic prints. Everything came from my stash except for the background fabric which is Crosshatch in Blue by Carolyn Friedlander. This fabric, in any color, is among my favorites. It plays well with others and works great when you'd like a solid with more texture. I love it.

Violet's quilt 2

The pattern is Friendship Pinwheel by Missouri Star Quilting Company and uses layer cakes. I didn't have pre-cuts so I just cut my yardage to the required sizes. It was easy, fast and fun to sew up. Once I had the cutting complete, the piecing took a couple of hours. Also: big blocks! 18" finished. You know I love that.

Violet's quilt 3

I quilted this on the long arm rental at Quilted Joy. I chose big loops instead of a denser pattern so the quilt would be soft with some drape. Violet's name is quilted in, too. I did the same for her sister so I couldn't not do it for her, too! The batting is cotton which gives it a lovely crinkle and it should get softer with use. The binding is one of my very favorite florals and was completely sewn on the machine. Its finished measurements is 54'' square - small enough for throwing on the floor, but big enough to be used beyond the baby years.

Free Christmas Quilt Tutorial

Super sized ohio star christmas quilt by house on hill road

I've been wanting to make a Christmas quilt for awhile and last week, I decided that it was about time. In a matter of a couple of days, I had cut all the pieces for this Super-Sized Ohio Star quilt and pieced the entire top! Then, I decided to make a second one. It truly is fast and easy! And to prove it, I wrote up a tutorial for the block to share with you all.

Get the FREE tutorial for this Super Sized Ohio Star Christmas Quilt right here.

A couple of notes:

- The tutorial is entirely hand written and hand illustrated so, needless to say, the drawings aren't to scale. I am pretty sure that I spelled everything correctly, but I just went for it using a black sharpie so please excuse any grammar/spelling mistakes.

- This super-sized block finishes at 18". I used 16 of them for a 72" x 72" square quilt. You could definitely go smaller. In fact, I love making nine 21" finished blocks for a 63" x 63" quilt and I give you the cutting instructions for those as well.

- In the tutorial, I say that you need 16 fat quarters or 16 quarter yards of the prints. You can get away with fat eighths if you have those, but an 1/8 of a yard will not cut it.

- I didn't specify a seam allowance so use your standard 1/4" for quilts.

- If you decide to print out the PDF, you may want to reduce it to 95% or the like. I used the entire sheet of paper because I was writing and drawing. If you print it at 100%, some information might get cut off.

- Let me know if you make one! You can tag me on instagram ( @houseonhillroad ) or use the hashtag #houseonhillroad.

- Questions? Ask them in the comment section of this post and I will do my best to answer them here so others can benefit from the information.


Now go sew. Seriously. Go. Sew.


Kona Color of the Year Mini Quilt

KCOTYmq_Erin Burke Harris

A little while back, the great people at Robert Kaufman asked me to make a 20" mini quilt celebrating Highlight, the Kona Cotton Color of the Year. They sent me a curated stack of gorgeous Kona solids and minimum direction - 20" square, make Highlight the star, create something "me."

While the stack of fabrics included a rainbow of colors, it was the warm tones that really spoke to me. And because I didn't have a lot of time to make this mini, I didn't have much time to spend thinking about it either. I chose a favorite technique - improv piecing - and a favorite shape - Dresden/wedge - and jumped in. I am so pleased with how it came together and I had a ton of fun making it.

This mini is hanging in Houston at the Quilt Festival along with 59 other designers' highlight minis. The festival is open to the public if you are in the Houston are and interested in going.

A big thank you to Robert Kaufman for including me in this exhibit. I felt honored to be asked.


Patchwork Pumpkin Mini Quilt

Patchwork pumpkin 12

Happy fall! I have a tutorial over on the AccuQuilt blog that tells you how to make this cute pumpkin mini quilt. It comes together quickly and easily and I love that it is holiday decor I can can leave up into November if I so desire. It is also a great way to use up scraps. I was amazed at how many oranges were in my scrap bucket. I must use it more than I think!

While I do enjoy the accuracy and speed of my GO! Cutter, this project is easily achieved using a rotary cutter and ruler, too. The individual squares finish at 2 1/4'' and the pumpkin is 11 1/4'' x 18''. I added a 1'' finished border before quilting it.

And...after I made this mini and submitted the content to AccuQuilt, I became aware of a similar looking quilt over on Cluck Cluck Sew. Great minds think alike! While my tutorial shows just this one pumpkin, Allison's pattern has many pumpkin variations of different sizes and is completely adorable. Please, go check it out. It's a quilt that I might want to make myself! It's tricky when similar ideas come to different people, but it does happen and I want to be transparent about it.

While I am being transparent, I will add that AccuQuilt provided me with the dies for this project, but the idea and opinions about their products are 100% mine.

Accuquilt Eight-Pointed Star

Supersize 8 point star 12

I have a new tutorial over on the Accuquilt blog for this eight-pointed star. It is a fun one without any y-seams! Yay! The block finishes at 18" so a handful of blocks would make a sweet baby quilt. Or make a bunch for a larger throw or bed sized quilt. I added some borders to my block to make it into a pillow. It would make a cute mini quilt, too.

I had a lot of fun quilting this one. I practiced doing some free-motion ribbons in the star points and, while far from perfect, I like them! The rest was done with my walking foot. I didn't mark the lines on the block, but rather used the seams and the edge of the foot as my guides. I love making small projects like this to experiment with quilting. It's much easier to commit to trying something new on a pillow or a mini instead of a full-sized quilt.

I enjoy using my GO! Cutter and it certainly saves me loads of time. But it is also important to me to point out that almost all of the projects I design with the cutting system in mind, can be achieved using a rotary cutter and ruler. If you make something using one of my tutorials, please let me know. I would love to see your work!

As always, Accuquilt provided the dies for this project. The design and any opinions are mine.

XOXO Quilt

Xoxo 5


One of my finishes this summer was this throw quilt. The pattern is XOXO by Green Bee Patterns and the fabric (Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel along with a few other prints from my stash) was purchased as a kit sometime in 2015 from Craftsy. It's a fun pattern with a variety of sizes and very fat quarter friendly. I love the color palette of the fabrics. I don't think it is something that I would have put together on my own as I tend towards bright, saturated prints. But, man, those peachy pinks, greens and golds are so pretty together! I love the background fabric - it is a great low-volume print on unbleached cotton. It gives the quilt some interest without being overpowering.

The piecing is all squares and half square triangles. I chose to make my triangle blocks larger than called for so I could trim them down to the exact measurement. I highly recommend doing that - it just gives you more precise pieces. I also highly recommend the Bloc Loc ruler for doing this. I'm not one to buy expensive extra gadgets and tools, but this is worth it. Total game changer!

Xoxo 2

I rented time on the long arm at Quilted Joy to quilt this one. Having the option to long arm my quilts without owning a long arm has allowed me to get so many more quilts finished this year. Yippee! I chose to do a free-motion orange peel that I think suits the quilt well. It is far from perfect, but the overall feel is there and because I had the blocks to guide me, it was a fast finish. Also...perfection is over-rated. Am I right?!?

Xoxo 4

Xoxo 3

The back and the binding are from the same fabric line as the majority of the prints. I chose to machine bind this quilt as it was slated for donation and I always think in situations like that, durability is called for. Plus, it is just plain faster. The finished size was 64" square before washing. I used 100% cotton batting so I am certain it shrunk although I did not measure it after it came out of the dryer. Gotta love that crinkle! I donated it to the quilt booth at our church carnival in July. It was a hard one to let go, but I cannot keep them all. Plus, the pattern is so fun, I can make it again!

Back...with a bag hack!


I know I disappeared. What can I say? Oh yes, SUMMER. That is it. I feel like I could go on about what we have been doing (a whole lot of just living) and where we have been (Vancouver! Alaska! New York City!), but I am just going to jump in with a finished project with plans of more finished projects to come. Sound good?

Puffy tote by hosue on hill road

Back in June, my sister-in-law, Georgia, sent me the link to Purl Soho's Puffy Tote in Nani Iro Quilted Double Gauze with a little hinting about maybe making one of those. I am pretty certain that she wasn't looking for that exact fabric, but just a puffy tote. Knowing how dreamy, light and soft the double gauze is, I decided to try Purl's version first. And by try it it, I mean that I ordered the fabric in 7 different prints. Ha!

When the fabric arrived, I read the tutorial and knew that if I was going to make this bag happen, the bias tape it calls for would not. That seemed like too much fussiness for me. I cut the fabric in the size as indicated EXCEPT I made sure that the quilting lines were evenly spaced at the top and bottom so that the quilting would match up on the side seams. I am particular this way - if I can match a pattern, I do. Next, I ran top and bottom edges of the fabric through my serger and then sewed the side seams using the serger. This finished all the raw edges and made the need for the bias tape obsolete. (You could do this with a zig zag or overlock stitch on your regular sewing machine if you don't have a serger!) I followed Purl's tutorial for making the gusset, just sewing those with my regular sewing machine. For the top edge, I folded the fabric along the top quilting line towards the inside and pinned in place. Then, on the outside of the bag, I sewed in the ditch of the next quilting line. (You can see this in the photo of the pocket below). Finally, I sewed some 25" leather handles on and called it good.

Bag pocket by house on hill road

The first bag (yellow and gray above) made didn't have a pocket. The next one does! This one I made in the same way, except that before I sewed down the top edge, I slid a zippered pocket under it and then sewed it all down together. The pocket is one piece of fabric with a zipper inserted in it so it becomes a tube. I then pressed it flat so the zipper was towards the top of the pocket and finished the sides with some binding. Fairly easy, all done by machine, including the binding. I think it makes for a much more functional bag.

Puffy tote bag by house on hill road

The pocketed one was gifted to my friend Marcia for her birthday. It just screams summer to me! I still have to put the finishing touches on the remaining five, but I hope to finish those up in the next week or so. Or maybe after the Olympics...I love a good excuse to watch TV and knit or do some hand work.

Willow Tank, versions 1 and 2


A couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed to sew some clothing right away. This happens to me when I have been dealing with fiddly quilt blocks or need a palette refresher. It seems so satisfying in those moments to cut up large pieces of fabric and sew them back together. Anyhow, I had purchased the Willow Tank Dress pattern by Grainline Studios in the hopes that it would help fill a tank top sized hole in my summer wardrobe. Spoiler alert: it did.

The pattern consists of four pieces - a front, a back and bias strips for the neck and armholes. The sewing is very easy - the directions are clear and concise, plus if you are in any doubt of what to do, there is a sew-along for the pattern that includes bust adjustments and lengthening/shortening instructions. I jumped in without making a muslin because I felt comfortable that I would be a size 12 with the only modification being adding length (2" to be exact).

This worked and then it didn't. My first version (on the left above) was made out of a piece of Nani Iro double gauze that I purchased while in Minneapolis/St. Paul years ago. (The print has been reissued - you can snag it at Miss Matatabi!) I've had it in my stash, waiting for the right pattern as it wasn't big enough to make a skirt or something with sleeves. It's really a miracle that I hadn't cut it up and made a quilt. But back to business...that willow tank fits me pretty well. I didn't make a bust adjustment and I am a C or D cup depending on the bra. The added 2" of length put the hem at the perfect spot and it just skims my hips. The double gauze is soft and floaty and has a little bit of give to it. The second version was sewn the same way - size 12, 2" added for length - but it is a little tight in the bust. I think the difference in fit is down to the fabric choice. The blue floral is a Robert Kaufman lawn and it was a dream to sew up. I love the drape and the weight, but it is a tightly woven fabric that doesn't have the give that double gauze does. I could have gone up a size or done a bust adjustment and had a better fit, but oh well. I will still wear it with the one bra in my drawer that makes it passable.

Willow tank 2

As I tend to do when I find a pattern I like, I have visions of more, more, more Willow Tanks in my closet. There is even a dress version that I am anxious to try. You can probably guess where this is going...I have ordered more of that delightful Nani Iro double gauze and am hoping to whip a few more of these up as soon as I have two hours to spare.

Also, props to Jane for the photo. I am finally getting the hand of these modeled shots - she gives good direction. ;)

Super-sized Churn Dash with Accuquilt

Super sized churn dash

I have a new tutorial over on the Accuquilt blog for making a super-sized churn dash block. I really love making large-scale blocks. They pack a huge visual punch. You can have a quilt top in no time. This block finishes at 18" - these four make a nice baby quilt at 36" square! Big blocks also work great with large or small scale prints. The blue and white floral I used here was leftover from another project I made last week. I am always happy to use what is on hand and using scraps is a bonus! Pop on over to the Accuquilt blog for complete instructions. If you don't have a GO! Cutter, you can make this happen with just a little math. It's easy. I promise.

Super size churn dash finished

And for the fine print: I was given the cutter and the dies by Accuquilt, but the fabric, the project idea and opinions are all my own.

Accuquilt Spring Bunting

Bunting 8

I have a new tutorial on the Accuquilt blog showing how to make this adorable spring bunting. It's super easy and uses just two dies and very little fabric. Everything I used was taken from the scrap pile! There are just so many options of how to customize this to suit any occasion. Graduation parties, baby and bridal showers, birthdays, get the drift. You can also customize it to make it longer or by using different size and shaped flags for variety. So many options! For the complete how-to, hop on over to Accuquilt and check it out.

This time in Liberty

I knew it wouldn't be long before I made a second Ryan Top. Four days since I finished the final hem stitches on my first version, I was wearing my second.

Ryan top 2c

I followed the same process for making this one as I did the first. It's a size L and I omitted the neck facings and used a bias tape instead. I did cut my bias strips at 1 1/4" instead of 1 1/2" and I think this was a better choice. It's a much better and proportionate fit. The fabric I used was two separate pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn that I bought back in 2010 when we took a family trip to London. The pattern pieces *just* fit. One of my fabric pieces was slightly longer than the other so I used that for the bodice pieces, but it was still too short for the pattern as designed. To make it work, I shortened the torso by 3 1/2" at the bottom edge and folded the selvedges in towards the center of the fabric to give me 2 folded edges. For the front and back yokes, I folded the fabric in the same manner. It took some serious arranging and the fabric pattern on the back yoke may be upside down (who's looking?), but I made it work. Take that, Tim Gunn.

Ryan top 2b

It's still a little snug under the arms and if I had had a more generous cut of fabric, I would have tried adding a smidge of width - maybe a 1/2" or so? Alas, it was not to be and the resulting top is still totally wearable. I love the length on this shorter version just as much as I like the long length on the original one - it's just a different look. This one worked great with my boyfriend jeans and will be equally as cute with shorts. Yay!

This week is a busy one and I wasn't holding out high hope to get much sewing accomplished. This top is so damn quick to come together - I think my total time cutting and sewing was just at 2 hours - that I couldn't resist jumping in. I do love a fast sew! I also managed to work a tiny bit on one of the quilts I have under construction in a spare hour on Monday and am wishing for a small chunk of time to put the finishing touches on the last blocks. Sometimes I get so discouraged when my time is limited. To that end, I have spent hours and hours each week at physical therapy for two minor, yet painful and annoying injuries over the last two months. It has really eaten into my creative time and that is has started to wear on me. I miss the making. I realize that I just need to change my lens when it comes to how I approach making at the moment. There ARE more minutes available to me than I think. I just have to find them. Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? (I LOVED it! And I would highly recommend it and, yes, that is an affiliate link.) There's this part when she suggests having an affair with your creative work. Get sneaky. Steal the time to create. Revel in the process. Do the work. Don't tell anyone what you are doing. Just keep it a secret. That is the notion fueling me right now.

Ryan top 2a

Made in a day - the Ryan Top

Often, after working on a quilt with a lot of math and small pieces, I feel like I need a good, easy, but still interesting project to work on. A palette cleanser of sorts. I've been in the mood to sew some clothes, but I am not ready to undertake my big clothing project of 2016 just yet. (Spoiler alert: The big project is JEANS! You all, I'm saying it here: I am going to make my own jeans!) While scrolling through Instagram, I saw something that lead me to the Ryan Top by Whitney Deal. It's a sweet, cute, simple top and I knew it was just the kind of project I needed.

Ryan top

I purchased, download and assembled the pattern Wednesday morning in a spare hour at home while washing the fabric at the same time. Skills, I tell you! I cut it out early in the afternoon and set it aside for after school sewing. And by four o'clock, I was stitching away. With a small hiatus to cook and eat dinner, I had the entire thing finished by bedtime. Man, did it ever feel good to start and finish something in one day!

I pulled the fabric out my stash - it's a lightweight cotton yarn dye that I picked up in Nashville last summer. It is lightweight with a nice drape and beautiful hand. I love it. The pattern contains five pieces - a front yoke, back yoke, front facing, back facing and the bodice (you cut two of this one piece). The pattern is well-written and is geared towards beginners. My only issue was that some of the seam allowances were 1/4" and some were 1/2" so I really had to pay attention to exactly what each step called for. Not a big deal - just something to note.

Ryan top neck

Instead of using the front and back facings on the neckline, I decided to finish it with a bias binding. This all personal preference. I don't care for the way facings feel on my neck while I am wearing a blouse. First I cut a 1 1/2" bias strip from some Liberty scraps. (This was a little too big - I could have done it with a 1" strip). Before sewing the shoulder seams, I stay-stitched both necklines at 1/8". After the shoulder seams were completed, I sewed the bias tape on with the 1/4" seam called for when attaching the facings. There's a good tutorial for this method over on Grainline if you don't know what I am talking about. I followed the pattern as written for everything else.

Ryan top front

My bust measurement put me right in the middle of a size L so I felt confident making this without a muslin. I do think the pattern runs a little small - I feel like I could use a tiny bit more easy under the arms. I'm a C/D cup for what that is worth. I think if you are much bustier than that, you would have to make some adjustments. If you are on the high side of the measurement range for your size, I'd say go ahead and make that muslin. I know. Boring, but better safe than sorry. Even though I feel I could use a tad bit more room, I will still wear this a lot as it is. It's comfortable and cute - a perfect summer shirt.

Ryan top back

Note: this top is long! Almost tunic length, I think, although Jane told me that it is too short to be a tunic. What do I know? Regardless, I like the extra length as I am long in the torso and normally have to add a couple of inches to compensate. Not this time. It's perfect as is for wearing with skinny jeans or leggings. I could make a darling dress if you lengthened the bodice piece or be a super cute top with even five or six inches less length. I can envision many different iterations of this pattern in my closet. I'm thinking about a shorter one in a sweet Liberty floral to wear with shorts this summer or even a two-fabric version, one for the yoke and one for the body. I could go on and on - you get the drift. Bottom line: I recommend this pattern.

Unrelated: something prompted me to go back and read some of my archives last night. What a trip down memory lane! It's hard to believe that I have been writing in this space for almost 10 years (RIGHT?!?). It made me realize just how much I miss sharing some of my process and daily thoughts. I am on Instagram daily, but I don't think that is the same. I feel there is just not the space to write about some of the things swirling in my mind on that platform. I'm not promising anything, but I am wondering if you may just see more of me around here with small bits to share instead of just finished projects.

Happy Friday, friends! Enjoy the weekend.

Accuquilt Lap/Baby Quilt

Lap quilt cover - full

I whipped up this sweet little lap/baby quilt a couple of weeks ago. I used my GO! Cutter and I'm sharing the tutorial over on the Accuquilt blog. It's a very fast make with two different blocks finishing at 6". I made this quilt specifically for donation to a local hospice organization. They ask for quilts that are between 36" and 48" and this design is perfect for that. It also would make a sweet play mat for baby and can be easily sized up into a throw or bed quilt. While I chose decidedly feminine fabrics from my stash (Amy Butler's Gypsy Caravan), I think this would be stunning in solids or as a scrappy quilt.

For more details, check out the tutorial over at Accuquilt.


Lap quilt back