Chelle's Quilts

Sharing my quilts and other creations

Sew Together Bag

As I mentioned here, I joined the Sew Together Bag craze (by Sew Demented). I’ve been seeing more and more pictures of this bag pop up online and I couldn’t resist. You can buy the pattern here if you want to make one too.


 Here are is my outer shell. I decided to use the quilt-as-you-go method that I learned from this Craftsy class (Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags by Tara Rebman).


I got got this far and had to put it down for a couple days. You know, Easter and all….

I finished the final touches last night. Ta-da!

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There are definitely some flaws in my bag, but I love it! Rather than buying what I needed, I used what I had on hand. My interfacing should have been lightweight but I used a pretty heavy one. I like the extra rigidity in the bag, but it became super thick to sew together, making it tough to finish the binding. Now that I’ve made one, I know what I need to do to improve the next one. And the one after. I joked with a friend that it was such a pain to put together that I was Never. Making. Another! But to be honest, I will definitely be making more. I know someone turning 40 soon. She might need one of these since she’s starting to sew a little.

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If you were to ask me 5 years ago what my least favorite color was, I would have quickly and enthusiastically insisted it was orange. I can’t even explain to you why. Maybe it was the orange-ish poofy 8th grade graduation dress I wore in 1990 that scarred me. I wish I had a picture to share. You’d totally be on my side. Imagine one poofy sleeve and layered ruffles. It was hideous!

But somewhere in my sewing world, the color orange started to grow on me. It started creeping into my projects in small doses. First it was a more muted version, let’s call it coral. I like coral! It’s pretty and on the pink-ish scale.


Fandango by Kate Spain for Moda was where I started to dig on corals.

But then, it’s more funky sister, Halloween orange (I’m talking bright, slap you in the eyeballs, orange) made its way into my fabric stash.

This was a recent purchase from Marmalade Fabrics. That have great fabric of the month clubs for the color wheel. How fitting that April's color is birthday month!

This was a recent purchase from Marmalade Fabrics. They have great fabric of the month clubs for the color wheel. How fitting that April’s color is orange…my birthday month!

Now I find myself looking for reasons to use orange. I just love the pop of excitement it adds to a quilt. It’s really becoming a favorite. Is it a trend? Who knows. But I’m loving it at the time and can’t get enough of it.


I made this pillow just to have some orange in my room


WIP from a year ago. Pulling this out made me fall in love with the fabrics again (Heirloom by Joel Dewberry). I really need to get working on this. 

I was playing with Anna Maria Horner’s Feather Bed pattern last night. I started making it with the gray background and I just wasn’t feeling it. In fact, I considered ditching the project altogether because I wasn’t all that excited about it. But I decided to try it against the orange background and I love it! It’s amazing what a pop of color will do to a project.

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I never intended to make the full quilt, but I think I’ll add a couple more feathers and make it a pillow.

The newest color on my dislike list….purple. Looking at my stash, I have no purple. I don’t hate it as enthusiastically as I thought I hated orange. But I’m curious if that will change soon too. Quilting has definitely changed how I look at color.

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Checkers anyone?

One of my cousins is moving overseas with her young family (husband and 3 young sons). These days when I think of gift giving, I automatically think “What can I make?” I quickly remembered this book.

imageI really love everything Sweetwater creates. They are a mother and 2 daughter team that design fabric for Moda, design quilts, bags, pillows, kitchen towels…..I can’t even list it all, but there’s a ton of great stuff they do. And I love it ALL! If you haven’t heard of them, shame on you! Kidding but you should check them out. Their blog can be found Here. One of my favorite things that they make are labels. I subscribe to their label crew monthly subscription and LOVE all the fun things they come up with every month. I could go on and on about these awesome ladies but I’m getting off track. This is not a sponsored post, I just love them that much!


So back to my cousin moving….

I remembered my Sweetwater Simple Home book. In it is a pattern for a checkerboard set. Going away gift idea! She can fold it up and stuff it in her carry-on. Great game to play in the airport waiting around. Then after their move, it can be the distraction game she throws in her bag for outings. I quickly pulled from my stash, trying to find fabrics that aren’t overly girly. I have 3 sons, but somehow I never have enough boyish fabric. This is what I came up with.


I ended up swapping out the darker aqua for another because I realized I still needed that aqua for a WIP that is buried somewhere. Hmmm where is that? See, easily distracted. Now where was I? Oh yes, checkers.


I did make a slight modification to the pattern. I made my checkerboard squares 1/2″ smaller out of necessity (not enough fabric) and changed up the border. Here is my version.


You can’t really tell from that picture, but the inner border is a navy, matching the navy in the outer border. I’m still making 40 checker pieces, like this.


I originally planned to use the yellow from my fabric pull photo to make the second checker color. Now that the board is done I’m thinking a navy polka dot would be better. Only 39 more pieces to go!


Herringbone Quilt Tutorial

Welcome to my very first tutorial! I have a lot of non-quilty friends and family that ask me if I can teach them how to make a quilt. I’d love to personally teach every single one of them, but somehow we never seem to be able to carve out enough time for lessons. I initially intended to write this tutorial as though I was teaching someone who has never made a quilt before, but quickly realized this would turn into a book, with all the details about quarter inch seams, etc. Instead I’m writing this as a tutorial for those who know the basics of quilt making. At the very least it will familiarize my other friends and family the steps for making a quilt so that when we finally sit down for a lesson, it’s not completely foreign to them.


For this quilt, I used 3 charm packs (5″ squares) of Sunnyside by Kate Spain for Moda and for my neutral background fabric I used Kona Cotton in Ivory. If you go the charm pack route, be sure to check the number of fabric squares you get per pack. They vary anywhere from 25-42, depending on the company that makes them. Feel free to use a variety of fat quarters or cut from your yardage. Better yet, dig out your scraps.


3 Charm Packs of your choice (You’ll need 120 – 5″ squares of print fabric, my charm packs contained 42 squares each so I omitted 2 squares from each pack)

1 1/2 yards of neutral fabric

3 3/4 yards backing fabric

5/8 yard binding fabric

twin size batting



From your neutral fabric, cut 15 strips – 5″ x width of fabric (WOF)

Subcut your strips to 5″ squares (you’ll get 8 squares per strip)

From your binding fabric, cut 7 strips  – 2 1/2″ x WOF (set aside for later)


After you’ve cut your squares, mark your neutral fabric diagonally. I used a pencil but find a ball point pen to work well if you’re using darker fabric as your neutral. You will later be cutting on that line, so it won’t show in your quilt top.

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Note:  The best part about pre-cuts (like a charm pack) is you can practically jump right into sewing. The part I’ve found most awkward when I first started using pre-cuts are the pinked edges. I never knew if I should measure my quarter inch from the peak or valley of the pinked edge. Thankfully for this pattern you won’t need to worry too much about the pinked edges because it will all be trimmed anyway (if you look closely in the photo on the right you can see the pinked edge peaking out from under the neutral fabric).

After you’ve marked all of your neutral fabrics. take your stacks to the sewing machine and let’s get sewing!


Grab a marked neutral and stack it on one of your prints. You will be sewing a quarter inch on each side of your marked line.


I’m using a 1/4 inch foot so it’s easy for me to use that as a guide as I sew on each side of the line. But I learned an even better trick from a YouTube video Camille Roskelley put out for one of her Craftsy classes. You can find the video here. She uses Frog tape (or painter’s tape) as a guide.

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It’s easier for my eyes to line the corner along the edge of the tape, rather than watching the presser foot. Use whichever method works best for you. I’ve learned there are so many different methods in quilting and we all have our preferences.


I chain pieced along the left side of 1 whole charm pack at a time, flipped my chain around and sewed along the opposite side.

Then take your stack of sewn sets and cut down that center line.

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I prefer pressing my HST seams open but press to one side if you prefer.


You’ll have 120 sets (240) half square triangles (HST’s).

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Once you’ve pressed all of your HST’s, trim them down to 4 1/2″.


Line the diagonal marking on your square ruler along the diagonal of your block. Trim 2 sides, flip over and trim the other 2 sides.

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a perfect 4 1/2″ HST

I love making my HST’s slightly larger and trimming down because it perfects my imperfect piecing skills.

From each set of HST that you cut apart, you will be making a block like this.

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Join the 2 HST’s with a 1/4″ seam allowance, making a rectangular block.

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I have a great tool to help me line up my 1/4″ seams, but painters tape will work great too. Before I had this newer machine, that’s how I marked my 1/4″.

You will be making 49 blocks facing the direction of the blue block and 64 blocks facing the direction of the yellow block in the photo below.


You will also need to pull aside 7 sets (14 HST’s) that you will not be joining.


The bottom row shows the 7 sets of HST’s you won’t be joining.

Here is the fun part (and the hardest to photograph). Now you get to play with the layout. My makeshift design wall is the fuzzy backside of a plastic table cloth. It was not big enough for this project so I had to play with the layout on my king size bed. I was not able to squeeze it all in 1 photo.

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I think my next big project will be figuring out how to make a design wall that I can put up and take down easily.

My cheesy illustration on the above left photo shows you the alternating columns. You will make 8 columns like the one on the left and 7 columns like the one on the right. I really wanted a scrappy and random look so I didn’t play too much with the layout. I did try not to have similar prints next to each other and wanted the few dark blocks spread out, but other than that it was a pretty random layout. Once I had a layout I liked, I  marked my columns before gathering them for sewing.


Like my fancy markers?

I stacked my columns and put them on 2 trays to be taken to the dining table where my machine is set up.

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I bought these baking trays 2 years ago for actual baking. I didn’t realize till I got home that they were too big for my tiny 1970′s oven (yeah, it was that small!). I’ve since moved and have a bigger oven but these had already been turned into a useful quilting tool. I love that I can pick up and move my blocks when it’s time for clean-up.

Sew your columns together using a 1/4″ seam and press the seams so that each row they are going in opposite directions (of course I forgot to take pictures of this step). Joining columns together will be much easier when you can lock the seams together (photos below).

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I generally don’t pin much until it’s time to join rows.


Join columns 2 at a time, then keep joining the sections (pressing as you go) until your top is complete.


Use your favorite basting method for your quilt sandwich. I like to use safety pins.

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Quilt as desired. I used straight  line stitching in a chevron pattern, following the lines of my blocks.

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It’s a simple design, but something I’m most comfortable with on a quilt this size.

Use your favorite binding method and done!

Now for probably too many pictures….

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Back of the Quilt

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The Home Stretch

I’ve been quilting up a storm the past couple days. Binding is attached and ready to be hand sewn the rest of the way.



There is something so satisfying about this step for me. Binding seems to be one of those polarizing subjects for quilters. You either love or hate this step. I love it. I think it’s because I know my quilt is almost done. But mostly it’s because I can sit back on the couch, kick my feet up and hand sew while watching TV with my family. Sitting at the sewing machine is not as fun (not to mention hard on my back). If it’s cold outside, sewing on the binding is even better because you get to snuggle under the quilt at the same time. Unfortunately it’s not so cold out today. That’s ok, still my favorite part of quilt making.

Time to continue my lazy Saturday, kick up my feet and do some hand sewing. I’m pretty sure one of the kids will watch Frozen with me again for the umpteenth time.


Spring Break!

I received this little package sometime last week and have been itching to make something with it.


I’m joining in on the “Sew Together Bag” craze. If you haven’t seen this adorable bag you can find the pattern here. There are loads photos of adorable versions of this bag online and I decided to buy enough zippers to make 10. Yes you read that right. 10! I know this is going to be an addicting project. I’m pretty sure everyone in my family are getting one and maybe a couple friends. I think this would make such a cute little gift. If you haven’t been to the little Etsy shop, Zipit you should go check them out. You’ll see why I had to buy so many zippers. (Not a sponsored ad, by the way. I just love sharing places I like to shop.)

But it’s Spring Break around here. Instead of a lot of sewing, there’s a lot of this going on….

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A little of this….

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And some of this…

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Don’t worry, I’ve managed to squeeze in some time working on my tutorial quilt. Here is a sneak peek. It’s all ready to be quilted.


But it’s going to be another scorcher today so we’re heading out for some more swimming with cousins. I’d say so far this has been the best spring break in a long time!



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Mine! Mine! MINE!

Like the seagulls in the movie Finding Nemo say….Mine! Mine! MINE!

I love being able to tick another project off my WIP list. I started this one for myself in October of last year. I’ve made and given away so many quilts and don’t have one to curl up under myself. I like to borrow my kids’ quilts, but inevitably they come into the room and snag them back. Now I have my very own TV watching quilt.


I saw this pattern in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue of Quilty magazine (you can take a look at that quilt here). It’s called Suburban by Art Gallery Fabric’s design team. The only thing I changed was adding another row, making it 66″ square. I like that it’s simple and has large blocks. I think the larger blocks make it feel more modern. I finished the top in a few days, but it sat waiting to be quilted for 6 months. I had to focus on my Christmas projects, so of course my quilt was put on the back burner.

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I bought a small fat quarter bundle of Michael Miller’s Just My Type from my local quilt shop (which sadly just closed last month). That was the quickest I purchased a bundle and cut into it. I have a tendency to squirrel away fabric bundles because they’re just so pretty stacked and tied.


I made a 2014 resolution to finish more WIP’s than I start. So basically I just gave myself another excuse to go buy more fabric.

I’m close to completing the quilt top for my tutorial. As promised it will be up by April 15th, but probably sooner. I hope you come back to check it out.




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Fresh Sewing Day & Small Blog Meet

I’m trying something new today. I’m a very new blogger with no followers (unless you count my husband who I kinda forced to follow me). So far I’m blogging for fun and learning as I go. Why not meet some new bloggers, find some new blogs to follow and maybe get a follower or two? Sounds like fun. I’m linking up with Lily’s Quilts for her fresh sewing day and small blog meet.

Lily's Quilts             Lily's Quilts

First, here are a few things I’ve finished for the month of March (in no particular order)…


A fun little mini quilt to hang on my art board.


A scrappy pillow for my bed (had a great time picking fabrics).


Gave my daughter a sewing/quilting lesson. This one was so much fun!


Finished a cross stitch project (tried something new).


Made a quilt for my son with some fabric I’d been hoarding.

Wow! Until I looked back, I didn’t realize I finished so much this month. I’m feeling pretty good now.

For the month of April I’m working on my very first tutorial for a lap quilt. I’m in the very beginning stages, but here are a couple pictures so far. Come back and check it out. I’m hoping to have it up by April 15th. Not sure what to call it yet. Any thoughts?

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Don’t laugh here’s my pattern sketch (ok you can laugh) and my first 2 blocks finished.

Thanks for stopping by!





Sometimes a girl just needs to make a quick project to get her sewing fix in. I made this cute little mini quilt from some Ruby (by Bonnie and Camille for Moda) charm pack leftovers I had. IMG_2928

I couldn’t decide if it should be a small pillow or a mini wall hanging quilt. It’s only 14″x14″. I’m happy with it hanging on my art board. It adds a little color to my corner. I usually hang the kids’ artwork here but they haven’t brought a lot of artwork home from school this year. I wonder if the teachers are hanging on to their work till the end of the year? Oh well, I suppose this is my art.


     I still have a few other projects in the works, but it was nice to start and finish something pretty quickly.

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