Friday, May 19, 2023

My Secrets to a Fast Finish / Beauties Pageant 216

I am perfectly capable of sewing complicated quilt patterns (anyone remember my Gypsy Wife?!), but there is a special place in my heart for the fast finish. Sometimes the thrill of a particular project is in the challenge of learning a new technique or pushing myself out of my comfort zone. More often than not, however, I find joy in the initial fabric pull. And the more fast finishes I have, the more projects I can sew, and the more fabric pulls I need, right?

My own Irish Twist pattern has become one of my go-to designs when I’m seeking a fast finish. In essence, this pattern is an Irish chain quilt, but thoughtful fabric placement, a whole-composition design, and accommodations for directional fabric bring this beauty into the 21st century.

I made the quilt-making process speedier by sending the project to a longarmer. At 63 inches by 78 inches, this quilt top was bigger than what I like to tackle with my domestic. Plus, the piecing is all squares, and the swirly pantograph I selected softens those lines. (I especially like how the swaths of solid fabric accentuate the quilting design.) And then I machine-finished the binding, because it’s faster than finishing by hand! (Click here for my technique for binding quilts.)

The majority of this quilt top—and every inch of the back—is Heirloom, an old collection by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit. The back, in particular, was a triumph in using up yardage and scraps. My approach to piecing backs is cut and insert: First, I squared up what remained of that large-scale floral and cut it length-wise. Then I inserted the paisley fabric. The resulting back wasn’t long enough, so I cut it horizontally and inserted that row of squares. (For more on my standard recipe for quilt backs, click here.)

I really enjoyed sewing with Heirloom after all these years of admiring it from afar. And often, that’s enough for me. I got to play with those vibrant colors and transform them into a practical item; I don’t need to keep this quilt for myself. In fact, it’s being donated as part of my guild’s charity efforts. : )

Psst ... A Free Pattern

Meet my Double-Sided Diamond Quilt, a beauty that debuted on Moda Bake Shop forever ago. From one layer cake (and some background and accent fabric), I sewed the big diamonds on the front and the cascade of diamonds on the back.

A newly designed PDF pattern of the Double-Sided Diamond Quilt will go out free to newsletter subscribers later this month. Want to join in? Sign up here. 

If you’re not into newsletters, no worries! The pattern will become part of the Almost Free For Charity series in my Etsy shop. That means you’ll be able to buy it for a too-good-to-be-true price, with proceeds going to charity. No newsletter subscription necessary.

Linking up to Favorite Finish at Meadow Mist Designs ...

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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


  1. Sometimes you need a fast finish, sometimes you want to take your time. I think the fabric tells you what to do, right? Pretty and colorful finish!

  2. That Joel Dewberry fabric is stunning. Does he still design? I don't know but I did buy a few of his prints a while back and loved them. Your quilt makes great use of them. Fun pattern, lovely quilt!

  3. It looks great. I love a quick finish. Sometimes you need an easy quick project.

  4. That is a lovely finish. I love the pattern you are sharing with your newsletter readers, too. Fast finishes are awesome!

  5. Great way to make a pieced back. Thanks for sharing. I love a fast finish too.

  6. I love a fast finish too. I love how you make your pieced back. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Love fast finishes, especially for baby quilts & your Irish Twist is a beauty. I must have a look at some of those linked up above, as I'm still having tech problems & have come across from Cheryl's blog. Am I still on your mailing list? Take care & hugs from down under.


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