Sew and Tell Friday – Quilts from Precuts

This week for Sew and Tell Friday, I want to share with you an adorable charm quilt that my mom made, plus a another show-and-tell from our Jolly Jelly Roll do-it-yourself quilt-along.

My mom is a very prolific sewer. She taught me how to sew, and in turn, I introduced her to quilting many years ago. She recently made this adorable quilt top from a Twirl charm pack I gave her. (When you have a mom that sews, fabric always makes a great gift!)

Twirl Charm QuiltMom used a Split 9-Patch pattern variation which just calls for 1 charm pack plus 3/4 yard of border fabric and 1/2  yard of sashing fabric. You basically sew together four nine-patches (using 36 charm squares), cut them into fours, and insert a 1 1/2″ strip of sashing in between each block and around the edges to frame it.  The borders are cut 5 inches wide (4 1/2″ finished), so I think you could use 4 more charms in the border corners and then use a leftover charm on the back for your label! Cute, huh??

Hmm… this may have to be a future tutorial…..

Speaking of quilt  tutorials, Mom is also following along making her Jolly Jelly Roll quilt top, but she hasn’t sent me any pictures, yet (hint, hint, Mom!)… However, a bunch of you have. Here’s a picture from Amy S. who’s using the Summersville jelly roll for her quilt blocks.

Summersville Jelly Roll Quilt BlocksDon’t those look yummy? I love her methodology for how she’s going to sew together the blocks. She’s going to throw the strip pairs into a bag and randomly grab 2 blocks at a time to sew together, as long as they are different fabrics. I love it – it’s going to be scrap-a-licious!

Here’s a link to the supply list if you want to grab a jelly roll and start one of these quilts yourself.  I just barely finished sewing my quilt top yesterday in time to blog about it, so I’ll give everyone plenty of time to finish up their tops before we start to quilt them.

Christa’s Quilt Along 1.3 – Jelly Roll Quilt Top

This week’s do-it-yourself-quilt tutorial will be pretty long. We are finishing our Jelly Roll quilt tops and I’m including lots of steps with photos. You can click on last week’s post here.

Step 1 – Piecing the RowsBlock Pairs

Grab 100 of your sewn blocks and pair them up into sets of 2 like this. Notice the orientation. Sew them all together so that you have 50 block pairs.

Next, sort your pairs into five stacks of ten block pairs each. This will be for 10 rows you will sew.

5 Stacks of 10 Blocks

Sew the top two pairs together and then the bottom 3 pairs together. Of course, you can shuffle them around as desired and assembly line sew all the stacks to make it quicker.

Piecing the RowsJoin these two pieces together to complete a row from each stack. Repeat to make 10 rows of 10 blocks each. They will all look the same and you will flip every other row to create the pattern. Please take this into account if you are using any directional fabrics.

Step 2 – Sewing your “IQ” (Inner Quilt)

Lay out all 10 of your rows horizontally into a pleasing arrangement. Flip every other row to create a horizontal-vertical-horizontal pattern with the blocks.

Pieced Jelly Roll Strip Rows10 Rows of BlocksImplement the 3 P’s for pretty patchwork: Press, Pin, and be Precise!

Pin Your RowsSew the rows of blocks together into groups of two. I put each row up on my design wall to make sure I don’t have the same two fabrics touching. Join rows to complete the IQ.

Join the Rows

Step 3 – Adding The Inner Solid Border & Outer Pieced Border

Sew together 4 more rows of 10 blocks each. Keep the same horizontal-vertical-horizontal pattern going. These strips will be for each of your borders. From your solid fabric, cut 5 – 1.5″ strips. Measure each of your rows and trim 4 of these solid strips to that measurement. Add a strip to each pieced border row on the same side so that they all look the same.

Cut 5 - 1 1/2 Inch StripsAttaching Accent StripsThe rows should measure 40.5″ unfinished. However, my rows grew to 41.5″.

That’s ok as long as they are all consistent!

Sold Strip with Pieced BordersNext, set aside 4 extra pieced blocks for each of the corners. Add a strip of 1.5″ solid to two sides of each block so that it looks like an L. Be sure to sew as shown below to make sure they are positioned carefully. If your blocks measure 4.5″ unfinished, you can trim 4 solid side strips to 4.5″. Trim the other solid side strips to 5.5″.

Adding Corner StripsBorder CornersTwo of each block will be the same.

Now it is time to sew two of your pieced borders to the top and bottom of your quilt. Flip the border strip so that your vertical-horizontal-vertical block pattern continues in the borders.Sew Top and Bottom BordersTo make the rows line up properly, flip the border strip down so you can match up the seams. Use lots of pins to keep everything lined up straight.

Match the SeamsUse lots of Pins

Corner Detail

Add corner blocks to either side of the remaining two pieced borders trips. Again, watch the rotation of your blocks.

You will notice I changed the design slightly from my original drawing.

I like the look of the solid border extending out into the edges of the blocks. I also liked continuing the alternating block pattern into the pieced borders.

Join the side rows to complete the top!

Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt TopCongratulations! You’ve now finished your Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Top! Please email  pictures of your completed top to christa@christaquilts.com and tell me which Jelly Roll or set of fabrics you used. I’ll share your pictures before next week’s tutorial.

Next week we will prepare the backing and baste so it’s ready to quilt! You’ll need backing fabric (3.5 yards), batting (at least 60″ square), and basting pins. Here is the supply list.

I used one Vintage Modern jelly roll by Bonnie and Camille with 1 yard of Kona Cotton Solids in flesh pink for my quilt top. I will pick out my backing fabric later this week and will use the remaining blocks to add a little interest to the back of my quilt.


Here is the complete Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt-Along Schedule:

Week 1 – Supply ListJolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Week 3 – Completing the Top

Week 4 – Backing and Basting

Week 5 – Machine Quilting

Week 6 – Machine Binding to Finish

Sew and Tell – Do it Yourself Quilts Update

Today’s Sew and Tell is a little different. Instead of featuring a finished project made by one of my customers, I’m excited to share with you some finished jelly roll blocks from one of my quilt- along followers. Scroll down to  the end of this post if you want to join the fun!

These pictures come from Diane in Canada and she finished up this week’s homework in a jiffy!  She had an older strip bundle lying around that she put to good use.

Jelly Roll StripsDiane’s fabric is Greenfield Hill by Denise Schmidt for Westminster. Instead of randomly sewing the strips together, she matched up the pretty jewel tones into coordinating pairs.

Jelly Roll Blocks“Sew” far, “sew” good, Diane! I think your use of color will be striking if you sew each row in a different color, “strippy” style, or if you have the colors cascade across the quilt in an orderly fashion (like green, red, blue, black, etc.)

For those of you eager beavers out there like Diane that are ready to move on, I’ll give a sneak peek of what we’ll be working on for next week’s lesson. If you select 100 of your blocks and sew them together into 50 pairs like this you’ll be one step ahead.

Jelly Roll Block Pairs

Next week’s post will include complete directions on how to finish the quilt top, so make sure you grab your one yard of tone on tone or solid coordinate to go with your jelly roll.  I’m going to use Ruby Red Kona Solid to go along with my Vintage Modern jelly roll shown above.

In case you are just joining us, you can click the links below to catch up and follow along with this tutorial in it’s entirety. My main reason for starting this tutorial is to teach you that  yes, you can, make a complete quilt from start to finish, all by yourself!

DIY Quilts #1.1 – The Jolly Jellyroll Quilt Supply List

DIY Quilts #1.2 – Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Blocks

Christa’s Quilt Along 1.2 – Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Blocks

Welcome to week 2 of my Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Tutorial. You can link back to week 1 here for the supply list. This week we will sew up all of our jelly roll strips into blocks.

Step 1 – First, find yourself a nice relaxing sewing spot.  Next, lay out all of your pretty strips (40 total) and cut each of them in half along the fold so that you have a total of 80 half strips, each measuring 2 1/2 inches wide by approximately 21 inches long. This will give you a better variety to work with. Smaller strips are also easier to handle and sew together.

Relaxing Sewing SpotLay out Your StripsI sewed my strips together with my  Singer Feather-weight last week while  on vacation at the beach. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Step 2 – Group your half-strips into pairs. You’ll be using the same fabric twice each time, so try to mix them up so they are all different. Or you can sew them together totally randomly. Lay your whole stack next to your sewing machine, with pairs rights sides together and sew them together along the length. Try to keep a consistent quarter-inch seam allowance while sewing.

Stack of StripsSewn Strip Pairs

Seams Pressed OpenStep 3 – Press your seams open. I find that the strips lie much flatter, and are much easier to stack and cut when the seams are pressed open. As we will find in a couple of weeks, they are also much easier to machine quilt though.

Make sure there is at least 20″ of useable fabric per strip set, not including selvedges.

You can click on any of the pictures shown to see a larger, detailed view.

Step 4 – Square up the end and cut each strip segment into 4 – 4 1/2″ blocks. There is little waste and with careful cutting, you can get a bonus 2 1/2″ piece at the end of each segment. Save those for now and I’ll figure out something fun to do with them later.Cut into 4 1/2" SegmentsStep 5 – Cut all of your strip sets into blocks exactly the same way. You should be able to cut a total of 160 blocks. You only need 145 blocks for the quilt (if I counted correctly!) Save the leftovers in case of mistakes. I will use some of them on the backside of my quilt.

Stacks of Finished BlocksNext week we will finish the quilt top. We will continue on with basting, easy machine quilting, and binding in subsequent weeks. I like to go at an easy pace so everyone can keep up! Feel free to work ahead if you like and email me pictures of your progress. I’ll feature as many of them as I can during my sew and tell on Fridays!

Also, please post any questions you have about this project and I’ll answer them in the comments section of my blog. Thanks for sewing-along!


Here is the complete Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt-Along Schedule:

Week 1 – Supply ListJolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Week 3 – Completing the Top

Week 4 – Backing and Basting

Week 5 – Machine Quilting

Week 6 – Machine Binding to Finish

Christa’s Quilt Along 1.1 – The Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt Supply List

Join My Quilt AlonG

New to my blog? Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to join my next quilt along where I show you how to make a complete quilt from start to finish!

Geo Pop Update!!

This design would look fabulous using one strip roll from any of my fabric lines. I’ve recolored it below using Geo Pop!

Jolly Jellyroll quilt in Geo Pop by Christa Watson

The Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Do you love precuts but have no idea what to do with them? Are you tired of quilting by check and want to make your own quilts from start to finish? Do basting and binding a quilt scare you? Then come join me for a quilting adventure and I’ll show you how to finish your own quilts yourself, and hopefully help you build the confidence to do so!

With my Quilt Along series I will post step-by-step tutorials showing you exactly how to make a quilt from beginning to end. My first project is this super simple Jolly Jelly Roll quilt.

Scroll to the end of this post for the schedule. You can also share it on Instagram with the tag #christaquiltsqal.

Sugar Sweet Jolly Jelly Roll QuiltI designed this quilt in EQ7 using fabric swatches Bonnie and Camille’s Vintage Modern collection. However, it will work great with any jelly roll!

Vintage Modern Fabric Swatch Vintage Modern Jelly RollLet’s get started! Below, I’ve posted a supply list as well as the quilt’s vital statistics and a few notes.


Suggested Supply List

  • 1 jelly roll, or 40 fabric strips measuring 2 1/2″ x WOF (width of fabric – usually 42″)
  • 1 yard of coordinating solid or tone-on-tone fabric for the inner border and binding
  • 3 1/2 yards of fabric for backing, or a pieced backing measuring approximately 60″ square
  • 60″ x 60″ piece of batting (Warm-N-Natural cotton and Legacy wool are my favorites.)
  • 100% Cotton neutral thread for piecing (I like Superior Threads Masterpiece)
  • 50 weight 100% Cotton or 30-60 wt soft polyester thread for quilting in a blending color
  • Quality sewing needles for piecing and quilting (I use Superior Titanium Needles)
  • General sewing supplies: sewing machine, rotary cutting equipment, pins, seam ripper, etc.
  • Optional: Machingers quilting gloves, basting pins, walking foot

Quilt Vital Statistics

  • Size: Approximately 51″ x 51″
  • Finished Block Size: 4″
  • Number of Blocks in Quilt: 100 (set 10 x 10)
  • Number of Blocks in Border: 45

Go gather up your supplies and follow the links below for some fun sewing!

Additional Notes About This Quilt

1. Fabric selection is easy: just choose a jelly roll that you like and pair it with a nice solid fabric, or a tone-on-tone print that “reads” as solid. This will help break up the busy-ness of the quilt design. The same fabric will also be used for the binding.

2. Do not be afraid to machine quilt this quilt yourself. For this pattern, I will be quilting using a walking foot only and leaving my feed dogs engaged as normal. I will not do any free-motion quilting on this quilt; instead I will show you how much lovely texture can be created with either straight stitching or using a decorative stitch on your sewing machine.

3. I am very generous when figuring out yardage for my quilts. For example, you can probably get away with only 3/4 yard of fabric for the inner border and binding. And, with extremely careful measuring or basting, you may be able to get by with just 3 yards for the backing. However, I always round up just in case of fabric shrinkage or mis-cuts. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Besides, anything leftover is like “free fabric” for your next quilt!


Week 1 – Supply ListJolly Jelly Roll Quilt

Week 2 – Sewing the Blocks

Week 3 – Completing the Top

Week 4 – Backing and Basting

Week 5 – Machine Quilting

Week 6 – Machine Binding to Finish


Sharing is Caring

I’d love to see your version! Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂

Bungle Jungle Week 3 – Layer Cake Back Art and Basting

This week I marked and basted my Bungle Jungle charm pack quilt. I will start quilting it next week. You can read about last week’s progress here.

Layer Cake Back ArtWhen I finished marking the top, I couldn’t decide on the backing. Then it hit me – why not use a Bungle Jungle layer cake and make back art for my modern quilt?

(The back is probably even more modern than the front since I threw the blocks together totally randomly!)

Each layer cake square is precut to 10 inches, so when you sew them together into 7 rows of 6 blocks each, the finished size is 57″ x 66.5″. My quilt top measures approximately 52″ x 60″ so that was perfect! It took me less than 2 hours to stitch all the backing squares together, including pinning and pressing the seams open.

Marking with Water Soluble PenUsing a stencil, I drew little hands in the white spaces randomly over the surface of the quilt.  This is going to be cute!

I marked all the hands before basting, using an inexpensive water soluble blue pen. I’m going to join the hands with loopy quilting so I can quilt them continuously.

I still haven’t decided what I’m going to quilt in the charm squares, so I left those unmarked for now. Any ideas??

Finally, I basted the quilt using about 150 Pinmoors. This is the 3rd quilt I’ve basted using Pinmoors and I’ve decided they are awesome! It’s a little spendy to buy enough of them for a big quilt, but they are totally worth it. It made basting a breeze and they are super easy to take out when quilting. I don’t even worry about pinning over my marked lines. The rule of thumb is to baste about a hand-width apart. That was easy for this quilt!

Basting With Pinmoors I’ve been following quilting blogs like The Free-Motion Quilting Project, WIP Wednesdays, Moda’s Bakeshop and the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge for quite some time. I have so thoroughly enjoyed these projects that I have now been inspired to start my own sew along called Do-It-Yourself-Quilts!

I want to share step-by-step tutorials on how easy and fun it is to make your own quilts completely, including piecing and quilting. Then you can truly say you made it yourself!

Be sure to follow my blog for the official announcement about that on Thursday, July 19th, along with a sneak peak of my first project and a supply list if you’d like to join in!

Li’l Rascals Charm Pack Quilt #4 – Blocking and Binding

I’m finishing up my Li’l Rascals charm pack quilt this week and it has been such fun to make!

Week #1 was the free pattern and cutting instructions to make the top.

Week #2 was machine quilting the large nine-patch blocks.

Week #3 was using a stencil to mark and quilt the sashing and borders.

I will finish the quilt this week by blocking and binding it. I’ve enjoyed putting together this tutorial so much that I may make this a regular blog feature. Let me know what you think!

Li'l Rascals Charm Pack QuiltThe first step in blocking the quilt (whether you do this before or after binding) is to get the quilt completely wet. You can soak it in a tub, or in your washing machine on the hand-wash cycle. It will start out as a wet lump, but that’s ok, because you’ll smooth it all out.

Wet QuiltSmooth the Quilt

I have 2 large tables set up in my sewing space that I use for basting and blocking. I laid the quilt out on the corner of the table and began blocking it into place.

I use several acrylic rulers to help me block it into place. I overlap them and measure some of the areas of the quilt to make sure they are nice and square. Using the numbers on the rulers I can tug and pull the quilt into place.

Acrylic Rulers for BlockingQuilt BlockingIt  takes about 1-2 days to dry nice and flat.

Once I’m happy with how the quilt looks, I use large square rulers to trim the corners and long rulers to trim the sides. The long lines help me make nice straight trimming cuts.

Trim the Quilt

Now it’s ready to bind! Here are two binding tutorials I’ve put together from previous posts. I bind most of my baby quilts using these methods. Now, onto the next quilt!

Binding Blog Post #1

Binding Blog Post #2

By the way, if you are interested in making this same quilt, it requires just one charm pack of your choice and 1 yard of coordinated fabric for the sashing. I used Lil Rascals by Chloe’s Closet for Moda with Funky Monkey Sock Texture in dark brown.

Little Rascals Quilt Part 3 – Stencil Quilting

This week I finished quilting the brown sashing on this adorable Li’l Rascals baby quilt. You can learn how I free-motion quilted the blocks in last week’s blog post.

Li'l Rascals Baby QuiltFirst, I selected a cute Scottie Dog quilt stencil. I lucked out because each dog motif was about the size of one of my charm squares, so I didn’t have to adjust the size of the design. I love collecting all sizes and styles of quilting stencils. I probably have over 100!

Scottie Dog StencilSewline Marking Pencil

To mark the design, I used a Sewline mechanical pencil with white ceramic leads. It made a nice clear line to follow.

The lines came off easily with a Sewline eraser stick after quilting. The left picture below shows 2 marked and quilted motifs. The right picture is after I erased the right motif. You can clearly see the quilting, but not the lines!

Sewline Fabric EraserRight Motif Erased After Quilting

After I quilted the dogs with a matching brown thread, I decided I wanted to see them a little better, so I quilted them again, going over my previous lines, but this time with metallic thread. (To avoid problems using specialty threads I use titanium-coated top-stitch needles from Superior Threads.)

The design still wasn’t quite finished, so I added another line of quilting, echoing the shape of the dogs. Then I was happy with the quilting. Echo Quilting with Metallic ThreadNext time I think I would try a much darker or lighter thread so that I can see the design even better. I’ve been quilting for so many years with matching thread to hide my mistakes. But now that I’m getting better with my free motion quilting I want my stitches to show!

Next week, I will finish this quilt by showing how to block it and bind it.

If you’d like to make a similar quilt like mine, it requires just one charm pack and 1 yard of coordinating fabric for sashing.

Bungle Jungle Modern Quilt – Week 1

Before I’ve even finished my current project, the Little Rascals baby quilt, I’ve already started on my next charm pack design! I was inspired by Leah Day’s modern quilt on her free-motion quilting blog.  However,  I’m making mine a little more uniform and less wonky.

I started with one charm pack of Bungle Jungle – a set of 42 precut squares that measure Bungle Jungle with Solid White5 inches. That means the finished size of each square is4 1/2″. I wanted to surround the squares with lots of open space for quilting, so I grabbed 2 yards of  of Kona Cotton Solids in white.

I cut  fifteen 4″ wide strips of white and sub-cut them into 42 pieces that measure 4″ x 5″ for the short side of the blocks and and 42 pieces of 4″ x 8 1/2″ for the long side of the blocks.

I stacked the pieces up next to my sewing machine in order so they were all ready to sew. Some of the prints are directional, but I won’t worry about that as I sew this quilt together. That will add to the “charm!”

Stacked and Ready to Sew

Bungle Jungle Block

To help with quilting later, I pressed all of the seams open. This helps reduce bulk and prevents shadowing of the seams. I will sew a total of 42 blocks, one for every charm square.

This week I will work on arranging the blocks into a pleasing setting. I’m loving it already!

Bungle Jungle Blocks LayoutThe Modern Quilt aesthetic really appeals to me with lots of negative space and clean lines. One of the hallmarks of this design style is to use lots of solid fabric and crisp, clear colors.

If you’d like to follow along, grab 1 charm pack of your choice and 2 yards of background fabric, then sew a total of 42 blocks like those shown above. (I’ve only finished 12 blocks so far.) I’ll continue to blog about this project until it’s done, including quilting and binding.

Lil Rascals Charm Pack Quilt Part 2 – Machine Quilting

Last Thursday I posted instructions on how Lil Rascals Charm Pack Quiltto make this cute Li’l Rascals quilt top from just one charm pack and a yard of coordinating fabric.

If you are following along, feel free to post comments or ask questions about the project and I’ll do my best to answer!

This week I am working on machine quilting the 9 patch blocks with a free-motion wavy plaid design. Next Thursday, I’ll blog about marking and quilting the borders and sashing with a stencil.

I was really excited about doing something different with this quilt. I have stippled myself silly over the last 4-5 years and I’m ready to move on to new textures and designs.

Wavy Plaid PracticeI was inspired by Leah Day’s Loose Weave quilting from her  Daisy to Paisley book of free motion fillers. I stitched out a practice sample on scrap fabric, then set to work on my quilt.

The long wiggly lines were easy to quilt without marking. My design is called “Wavy Plaid.”

First, I quilted long slightly wavy lines down the length of each 9-patch block. I used a thin polyester thread that seemed to blend in with most of the fabrics. I wanted the texture to show, not the thread! I quilted 4 sets of double rows per block and kept them sort of even.

Vertical Lines Quilting

Next, I quilted the same type of wavy lines going across the width of the blocks. I did have to rotate my quilt so that I was quilting either up or down the quilt the entire time. When I tried to quilt from side to side, my thread kept breaking.

Wavy Plaid Quilting I love the freedom this design gave me. Nothing had to be perfect and the quilting added lots of gorgeous texture!

Echo LinesTo create the double lines, I quilted an echo outline with my free-motion foot, using the edge as my guide.

I dropped the feed dogs on my machine, used a Supreme Slider underneath the quilt to help it slide around smoothly, and stitched while wearing Machingers Quilting Gloves. The right tools make all the difference!

By the way, in case in case you need it, here are links to my mini-tutorials on pin basting, and sewing a pieced backing.