Friday, May 7, 2021

Good Day Sunshine Tutorial / Beauties Pageant 128

Five years ago, I posted a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew for my Good Day Sunshine Quilt. A lot has changed in those five years—most notably, Sew Mama Sew shut down, taking with it tons of information and inspiration—but other things haven’t, and this project, born from my abundance of scraps and love for modern chevrons, is as versatile and relevant today as it was back then. I post it here because I think it’s too good not to. : )

Organizing Your Scraps

Before we delve into the super-simple tutorial, however, let’s talk scraps. I’ve mentioned before that I like scrappy projects with a clear palette and structure. I know that’s not true for everyone, but I thought I’d walk you through how I approach organizing my scraps and pulling a project from them ...

The only hard-and-fast rule I have to scrap organization is that I don’t keep anything smaller than a 2-inch square. (That may pain some of you. I used to keep only pieces that were 2.5-inch squares or larger, so I’ve loosen up over time!) Some scraps—usually the ones that are on the small side or are weird shapes—get cut into 2-inch squares or 2.5-inch squares and get stored in plastic bins based on size. All my larger pieces get sorted by color and neatly arranged in a single dresser drawer. (For real. See a pic here.) I tend to keep Art Gallery scraps, Alison Glass scraps, and other bits I deem extra special in their own Ziploc bag. 

Determining Your Palette

Those beautiful fabrics on the left of the picture below, from Josephine Kimberling’s Turkish Delight line and the foundation for one of my Sew Together Bags, established the palette for Good Day Sunshine’s pixelated chevrons in true blue, grassy green, gold, gray and navy. Since I was using white as a background color, I tried to use it sparingly in the chevrons to achieve good contrast between them and the background.

When I had culled through my scraps in search of those five colors and had cut all the 2.5-inch squares I could, I had 284 squares—less than half of what I needed! So I went back to my scraps and found the gray floral (bottom left in the picture below). It featured some of the colors I was already using and incorporated orange, which expanded my chevron palette to six colors. I took a second pass through my scraps with my revised plan and found almost all of the 580 squares this quilt calls for.

Cutting From Yardage

Like I said earlier, developing a cohesive palette is key for me when sewing a scrappy quilt, but even my overflowing scrap bin has its limits. I decided to trim a few 2.5-inch strips from yardage so I could better balance the colors for this quilt. A width-of-fabric strip yields 16 squares, adding good variety to the quilt while still leaving a chunk of yardage in the stash for future projects. 


Sewing Good Day Sunshine




580 patterned 2½" squares for the chevrons (just over 2½ yards of fabric)
2 yards of solid fabric or 25 solid jelly roll strips for the background
½ yard of fabric for the binding*
3½ yards of fabric for the backing*
64" x 76" piece of batting (this provides approximately 3" of overhang on each side)

Finished size: approximately 58" x 70". All seams are ¼".

* If you like wiggle room to account for a miscut or two, buy a bit more binding and backing fabric.



Note: Cutting instructions presume 42" of usable fabric after selvages are removed.

If you’re using yardage for the background, cut (25) 2½" width-of-fabric (WOF) strips. Then subcut those 25 strips or your 25 solid jelly roll strips into rectangles:

    • Cut (19) 2½" x WOF solid strips into (95) 8" x 2½" rectangles.
    • Cut (2) 2½" x WOF solid strips into (14) 6" x 2½" rectangles.
    • Cut (2) 2½" x WOF solid strips into (14) 4" x 2½" rectangles.
    • Cut (1) 2½" x WOF solid strip into (14) 2" x 2½" rectangles.


    Sewing the Base Strips

    Sew the 580 patterned squares into strips of five, for a total of 116 scrappy 10½" x 2½" strips. There’s no need to overthink the fabrics you use in a particular strip, but try to distribute colors evenly.  

    If you like to press your seams open, iron now. Otherwise, you can wait until later and press to one side so that your seams nest nicely.

    Sew 87 of the 95 solid 8" x 2½" rectangles with the 116 scrappy 10½" x 2½" strips to create 29 strips that look like the picture below.


    Laying Out and Completing the Strips

    Determine the order in which you want to lay out these strips, trying to distribute the colors evenly throughout the quilt top. Sew the remaining rectangles as illustrated below.

    A: 8" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; none on the bottom

    B: 6" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; 2" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    C: 4" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; 4" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    D: 2" x 2½" solid rectangle on the top; 6" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    E: none on the top; 8" x 2½" solid rectangle on the bottom

    If you are sewing your seams to one side, iron now, alternating the direction between columns.

    Sew the completed columns together. It’s important to note, however, that the bottom of each A column and the top of each E column are ½" longer than the other columns. Wait until you’ve matched seams and sewn the columns together before trimming off that excess.

    Finishing the Quilt

    To make the backing, cut your 3½ yards of backing fabric into two rectangles: 63" x WOF. Sew them along the long side. Quilt and bind your project.


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    • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
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    Friday, April 30, 2021

    My Favorite Fabric and Notion Sources / Beauties Pageant 127

    Last call for the Love Boldly Quilt-Along, starting May 3. Learn more here!

    I love a good quilt shop and continue to shop in person when I can. But with the dwindling number of such establishments in my area and the restrictions Covid has placed on life in general, I treasure the online resources Ive found over the years. Each one is a little different and serves its purpose in my quest for the best quilting fabric and notions. Heres my take on six of my favorites ...

    Crosscut Sewing Co. is part sewing studio and part online retailer. I go there when Im looking for cute fabric (the shop stocks tons of Riley Blakes beauties in particular) or substrates other than quilting cotton. Waxed canvas, linen blends, and garment fabric are always available for purchase, as are necessary bag-making notions.

    Ive been shopping at Lark Cottons for years. What I like about it is its offering of new fabric collections alongside past favorites. I might go to the Lark Cottons site for the latest from Carolyn Friedlander, Heather Ross, or Ruby Star Society but know that I may be able to score something unexpected, like vintage Denyse Schmidt or an awesome OOP panel.

    Sew Lux Fabric stocks the wares from a wide range of manufacturers—including Windham, Free Spirit, and Robert Kaufman—but I can sum up my motivation for shopping there in one word: Moda! Im a Moda girl at heart, and the selection I find at Sew Lux Fabric is vast. The site also has a great sale section that I use to stock up on yardage for quilt backs.

    Shabby Fabrics unique niche among online fabric retailers is its wide offering of kits. In addition to selling quilt designs in kit form, Shabby Fabrics also offers kits for everything from tote bags to jelly-roll rugs. (SF has kitted my Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt multiple times, and each iteration has been just beautiful!) If youre a fan of video tutorials, Shabby Fabrics also offers an extensive library on YouTube.

    Stash Fabrics is another fabric site Ive been using for years. I return time after time because I know Stashs selection of must-have basics is thorough. My beloved Kona is stocked, as is bolt upon bolt of Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids. And whenever I contact the support team with a question of which background I should pick for the project at hand, they supplement my online-shopping experience with advice from a real person or two!


    Quilt Pattern Mart is dedicated to selling PDF quilt patterns. What makes it special is the number of independent designers who list their patterns with QPM (including me!). So I might visit QPM to find a pattern from someone in particular but end up being introduced to names and designs that are new to me.

    Love Boldly Quilt-Along Sponsors

    I think giveaways add an extra dose of fun to quilt-alongs. I approached each of these sites about sponsoring my upcoming Love Boldly Quilt-Along with a prize, and Im happy to say that they are all on board! 

    There will be giveaways on Instagram throughout the quilt-along. Ill post a prompt each week to my Instagram feed with a specific hashtag. To be eligible for that weeks prize, you need to be sewing the Love Boldly pattern along with us and post an in-progress shot to your Instagram feed using the same hashtag. 

    Please note: You don’t need to keep up with the schedule to win—this is supposed to be fun, so sew at a pace that works for you. However, your account has to be public during the quilt-along to be eligible for prizes.

    If you want to sign up for the QAL, we start cutting and sewing on May 3. Sign up today!

    Follow Me On ...

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    The pageant rules are simple:
    • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
    • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
    • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

    You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

    Click here to enter

    Friday, April 23, 2021

    How to Assemble a Plaid-ish Pull / Beauties Pageant 126

    Last spring, I participated in a big scrap overhaul hosted by FeelGood Fibers. I decided it would be easier to organize a smaller, less-daunting pile of fabric, so I started the process by pulling bits for a project or two.

    One of those projects was Plaid-ish, a free pattern from Erica Jackman (Kitchen Table Quilting) that has been made by thousands of quilters. I highly recommend this pattern. Because Plaid-ish uses no background fabric, its a super-duper scrap buster!

    I like to rein in my scrap quilts with a concrete palette, and I started my Plaid-ish pull with orphan charm and layer-cake squares in shades of salmon, periwinkle, and grassy green. (Kate Spain fans may notice bits of Canyon and Aria in the picture below; those prints set the stage here.) Then I found those same colors in different values. I added aquas but not teals, navies and grays but not blacks. 

    Overall, the quilt is built around low, medium, and high values. Each of my palette colors appear in at least two of those categories. I also made sure everything was on the modern end of the spectrum; none of my more vintage-like scraps, such as those from Denyse Schmidt, made it into the pull.

    I cant tell you how much fun this process was for me. I loved discovering bits in my bags and bags of scraps to include in this pull, and when I exhausted the possibilities in my scrap bin, I moved on to my stash. A few fat quarters that were hard to use in other projects worked well here. I like when some prints appear throughout a scrap quilt—I think it adds unity to the project—so those fat quarters served an important purpose.

    Im looking forward to quilting this beauty. Shes low on the priority list, though, so Im not sure when that will happen. Youll be the first to know when it does, though!

    After I assembled this fabric pull, I did overhaul my scrap storage entirely. I cut a lot of pieces into 2.5-inch squares for future scrap quilts. Believe it or not, what remained fit nicely and neatly in one drawer! The time and effort that I devoted to this project were well spent. (However, I could have done without the mild case of tendonitis I got from using my rotary blade so much. Ha!)

    If youve made a Plaid-ish quilt, Id love to see it. Please upload it to this weeks linky along with any recent finishes. Thanks! And have a great weekend, everyone!

    Follow Me On ...

    * * *

    The pageant rules are simple:
    • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
    • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
    • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

    You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

    Click here to enter