1. Send them to school with memories from home 🎓

    Graduation day is behind us, and those grown-up kids ready for college, work, or their first move from home are preparing to strike out on their own.

    If you look back at that time in your own life, you might remember feeling excited—but also a little anxious—about starting life beyond home, sweet home. (Do I have pots and pans and soap and towels and plates and cups and, oh boy, what am I missing?) It takes time to make a new home, sweet home. If you have loved ones leaving the nest soon, there’s one way to give them a soft place to land: with a handmade quilt full of memories from you. And you can let a stack of their T-shirts become your muse!

    Terrific T-Shirt QuiltsWith Terrific T-Shirt Quilts, creating a cuddly memory quilt is an easy task. The book explains the ins and outs of working with knits, figuring out how to cut apart shirts for the best use of the fabric, and how to combine shirt parts with quilting cottons for sashing, alternate blocks, or borders. You’ll even find tips for using mesh fabrics, screen-printed and iron-on designs, sweatshirts, and baby clothes. Plus, you’ll find 10 step-by-step projects that you can use as is or modify to fit the shirts you want to use. Take a look at a few quilts from the book that you can use as a starting point:

    Go Zags t-shirt quilt
    Thrill them with a custom quilt that celebrates their team colors.

    Congrats Grad t-shirt quilt
    Pack years of memories into a quilt made with T-shirts saved from childhood, plus scraps from pillowcases, curtains, and even flannel pajamas. This quilt is extra-long to fit a college dorm bed.

    Tween Dreams t-shirt quilt
    Collect a pile of T-shirts that have been outgrown. No matter the size of the motifs,
    Terrific T-Shirt Quilts will teach you how to use strips and patchwork to make every T-shirt fit just right.

    Want to learn more about Terrific T-Shirt Quilts?

    What T-shirt quilt theme would be perfect for a loved one you know? Sports, music, extra-curricular activities, nature? Tell us in the comments!

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  2. Wish list day! Pat Sloan, precuts, and Civil War patchwork (+ giveaway!)

    Yay yay yay, it’s Wish List Day! We’re counting down to a new batch of beautiful Martingale books arriving in August—tell us which new release is your favorite and you could win it!

    Subscribe to our blog and you’ll always be first to see new Martingale quilt books, plus special sales, freebies, tutorials, and more.

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Make My First QuiltPat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt
    A How-To Book for All You Need to Know
    Pat Sloan



    Want to learn how to quilt—or help someone who wants to learn? Pat Sloan’s made quilting a lifelong passion for thousands of her students by showing them the ropes, and she’ll do the same for you (or your wanna-be quilter friends!). From essential tools, sewing-machine advice, and common quilting terms to rotary cutting, machine sewing, and quilt-top assembly, Pat’s included all the tips and tricks that her newbie students love. Learn to sew nine classic quilt blocks; then use those blocks in nine beautiful projects that you’ll be proud to show off. More than 140 photos make learning easy—and Pat’s you-can-do-it style of teaching makes it fun!

    From Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Make My First Quilt
    Beginner-friendly projects from
    Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt

    See more from Pat’s latest “Teach Me” book >


    Piece and Quilt with PrecutsPiece and Quilt with Precuts
    11 Quilts • 18 Machine Quilting Designs • Start-to-Finish Success!
    Christa Watson



    Stumped whenever you read “quilt as desired”? Be baffled no more! Christa Watson (author of the best sellers Machine Quilting with Style and coauthor of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting) has all you need to start—and finishevery striking quilt in her latest book. First, choose from 11 fresh quilt patterns that rely on speed-it-up precut fabrics. Then, let Christa walk you step-by-step through exactly how to quilt your quilt, using one of 18 quilting designs provided for walking-foot or free-motion quilting. Ready to make your own machine-quilting choices? Mix and match Christa’s quilt patterns (or any quilt pattern) with any of the machine-quilting motifs included. These quilts will never see the UFO pile—not when you’ve got Christa’s built-in finishing plans!

    Squiggles quilt
    Try simple squiggle quilting on this charm-pack-friendly Squiggles quilt

    Spools quilt
    Use every last bit of your precuts to make this cool Spools quilt; then machine quilt it with a combination of motifs from the book

    See more of Christa’s start-to-finish quilts >


    The Big Book of Civil War QuiltsThe Big Book of Civil War Quilts
    58 Patterns for Reproduction-Fabric Lovers



    Fans of Civil War quilts, this is THE book you’ve been waiting for! Packed with 58 patterns from popular designers, The Big Book of Civil War Quilts will inspire you to cut into your reproduction fabrics again and again. Let Kim Diehl, Carol Hopkins, Country Threads, Jo Morton, and many more inspire a lifetime of quilts that capture the traditional, vintage look and feel of days gone by. From minis to bed quilts, it simply doesn’t get bigger or better than this for lovers of quilts from the Civil War era.

    From The Big Book of Civil War Quilts
    Just four of 58 quilts from The Big Book of Civil War Quilts

    See more from our latest BIG book >


    Which new book would make your August amazing? Tell us in the comments and you could win it when it’s released! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Betsy, who says:

    “Civil war quilts. I love anything with history attached to it.”

    We’ll email you about your prizes, Betsy—congratulations!

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  3. How to put a rainbow in a quilt? Add a little black and white (+ giveaway!)

    Multicolored printsWouldn’t it be fun to add all the colors you love to a single quilt, and not have to worry about whether it all “goes” together or not?

    Sounds impossible, right? Or maybe you’ve made a quilt of many colors and come away disappointed. But Splash of Color author Jackie Kunkel’s figured out how to include a spectrum of colors in a single quilt—and she’s made it easy for all of us to do too!

    How does Jackie do it? She balances those bright colors with black and white. Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Splash of Color to show you just how Jackie creates her multicolored magic. Read on for Jackie’s secret!


    Jackie KunkelDesigning a quilt using black-and-white prints brings a new level of enjoyment to choosing a color palette. What I like most is that black-and-white prints make all other colors shine. Whether you are choosing pinks, greens, blues, yellows, or browns, they all become the stars of the show.

    Prints with black backgrounds make any saturated colors pop. White background prints can do the same, with the added potential of giving a quilt a more modern look. Stay away from prints with cream backgrounds, which can give quilts a yellow cast when placed next to a white print or solid. And avoid gray prints and gray solids as well. Gray will dull the intensity of the other colors in the quilt.

    Black and white prints
    An array of black-and-white prints

    One of the things you’ll see throughout Splash of Color is that I use a variety of black-and-white prints in every quilt. This not only gives each quilt a scrappier look, it also makes the result more interesting. Paring back the number of black-and-white prints can give your quilt a more contemporary appeal, which is apparent in the alternate versions of “Proud Mary” and “Twirling.”

    Proud Mary quilt
    Proud Mary

    Twirling quilt
    Twirling

    The scale of black-and-white prints is also important to the design. In many of my quilts, I use small- to medium-scale motifs. The prints I choose are based on the size of the quilt block and the size of the pieces within the block. If the scale of the print is too large, you might not even see the design of the fabric. Reserve large-scale prints for quilt projects where you can feature them in a bigger area. The Crossroads quilt is a perfect example. Since the design includes large squares, I incorporated a mix of both large- and small-scale prints. For a totally different look, you could use only large-scale motifs.

    Crossroads quilt
    Crossroads

    When you start pairing colors with black-and-white prints, you’ll find that you can take different approaches depending on what appeals to you. For example, highly saturated colors, such as hot pink, will stand out vividly against black-and-white prints. If you want a slightly subdued effect (some quilters call this low-volume), choose less saturated colors, such as pale pink.

    Star Bright quilts
    The primarily white background in Star Bright (left) gives the quilt a very different look and feel than the black background in the alternate version (right).

    Considering print scale is just as crucial to choosing colored prints as it is to selecting black-and-white prints. When choosing colored fabrics, consider the overall look and feel you’re going for. Solid fabrics read differently than prints.

    Climbing Mountains quilts
    Using solids in the alternate version of Climbing Mountains (right), instead of the mottled and printed batiks in the main version (left), changes the look of the quilt substantially.

    In Lava Lamps and Dreaming of Pyramids, I used multicolored prints with black or white backgrounds. I was very selective when choosing the prints; they were mostly small in scale with some type of dot, and they all incorporated the full rainbow spectrum of colors, not just one color. Choosing multicolored prints adds a huge amount of interest to a quilt.

    Lava Lamps quilt
    Lava Lamps

    Dreaming of Pyramids quilt
    Dreaming of Pyramids

    One of the best things about quilting is that we get to play with fabric. Here is your chance to experiment and see what appeals to you the most. Scrappy, modern, bold, subdued, a traditional twist—you name it, the sky is the limit! So reach for the sky and give your inner designer a chance to play.


    We’ve got a special goody to give away today: an Aurifil thread collection curated by Jackie Kunkel herself!

    Martingale + Aurifil giveaway!

    To enter to win the Splash of Color thread box plus a copy of the Splash of Color book, tell us:

    How many colors do you typically use in your quilts?

    a) I usually make quilts with just a few colors and prints.

    b) I make quilts with just a few colors, but lots of prints.

    c) Lots of colors, lots of prints—true rainbow quilts!

    Tell us your answer in the comments!

    Ready to select a rainbow of colors from your stash and try adding a little black and white? Order your copy of Splash of Color now and instantly download the eBook for free.

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Laurie, who says:

    “A- I used to use just 3-4 colors/prints, but lately have been getting into scrap quilts – so much more variety of colors, prints and some solids.”

    We’ll email you about your prizes, Laurie—congratulations!

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  4. ⏰ Flash sale! Strippy surprises for your scrap basket

    Jelly Rolls, yardage, scraps, you name it—Kim Brackett will help you make a spectacular strip quilt from it! Her debut book, Scrap-Basket Surprises, reveals her one-of-a-kind approach to strip quilting that’s turned all her books into best sellers. Think triangle-free piecing, smart shortcuts, and scrap-happy color palettes. They’ll inspire you, and so will today’s flash sale: download Scrap-Basket Surprises this weekend for only $6.00!

    Scrap-Basket Surprises flash sale!

    Kim will show you how to use your strips in fast, fun ways. In your eBook, you’ll discover spinning strips . . .

    Christmas Ribbons quilt
    Christmas Ribbons

    Scrappy strips . . .

    Market Baskets quilt
    Market Baskets

    Even star-studded strips!

    Bali Sea Star quilt
    Bali Sea Star

    These are just a few strip quilts from Scrap-Basket Surprisesclick here to see all 18 quilt designs up close.

    More quilts from Scrap-Basket Surprises
    More from
    Scrap-Basket Surprises

    Check out all of Kim’s best-selling books:

    Scrap-Basket Strips and Squares Scrap-Basket Sensations Scrap-Basket Beauties

    Your precuts, yardage, or scraps: which pile are you ready to start stripping? Tell us in the comments!

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  5. Fill your home with handmade quilts – the Cotton Way (+ fabric giveaway!)

    We’re so excited that Cotton Way Classics is finally here! Bonnie Olaveson shares classic, large (read: easy to piece) blocks in her happy color palette. If you’re like us, her cheerful style just makes you smile.

    Cotton Way Classics

    Bonnie has a knack for breathing new life into traditional quilt-block designs with bright, fun fabrics from her popular Bonnie & Camille line with Moda Fabrics, along with her signature pops of red. In this beautiful book—her first!—devoted to the modern-vintage style, Bonnie’s chosen her all-time favorite patterns to share with you.

    Ever wanted to tackle curved piecing or Double Wedding Ring blocks? Bonnie’s supersized designs make for easy construction.

    Quilts from Cotton Way Classics
    Left: sew gentle, easy curves as you create the Poppies quilt. Right: learn Bonnie’s way of simplifying Double Wedding Ring blocks (she starts by blowing up the block size to 12″—each ring is 24″ square).

    With Bonnie’s smart sewing tips throughout, you’ll create dazzling quilts that will make jaws drop in delight. Got a stash of Bonnie & Camille fabrics? You’ve just found them a home sweet home. Here’s Bonnie to tell us more about her new book!

    But first: speaking of Bonnie & Camille fabrics . . .


    FABRIC GIVEAWAY! The good people at Moda Fabrics sent along a bundle of Bonnie & Camille’s latest fabric line, The Good Life, to give away to one lucky winner!

    Martingale + Moda giveaway!

    Learn how you could win the bundle plus a copy of Cotton Way Classics at the end of this post.


    Bonnie OlavesonThere are two things at the top of my list of the best things in life: my family, and creating with beautiful fabric. I can’t imagine life without either. If I started telling you about my family you would most likely get more pictures than you ever wanted to see and details about why I love each one of them, because that’s just me. But today I will stick to telling you a few things about my love of fabric and quilting, and of course my new book, Cotton Way Classics.

    My mom taught me to sew when I was just six, so I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t cutting up fabric and sewing it back together. It makes me so happy! I’ve been designing patterns for 27 years, and you can imagine my excitement—almost 10 years ago—when Moda asked me and my daughter, Camille (of Thimble Blossoms), to design a mother/daughter fabric line. It was a phone call I’ll never forget. We’re now working on our 18th fabric line as Bonnie & Camille, and we’re so excited when we see each collection go from a brainstorming idea to actual fabric on bolts.

    Lazy Days quilt
    Lazy Days quilt from
    Cotton Way Classics

    When Jennifer from Martingale asked me about publishing a book and what ideas might be fun, it seemed like a natural thing to put together some of my favorite quilts made with some of my favorite fabric lines. Most of the projects in my book are scrappy, and they’re all made with Bonnie & Camille fabrics. Some are made with yardage and are very traditional, like Kate’s Big Day:

    Kate's Big Day quilt
    Kate’s Big Day quilt

    Others are made from precuts and are quick and easy, like Sweet Talk:

    Sweet Talk quilt
    Sweet Talk quilt

    There’s a combination of both scrappiness and precuts in the cover quilt, Modern Vintage.

    Modern Vintage quilt
    Modern Vintage quilt

    As you can see if you glance through Cotton Way Classics, I love red. There is red in every single quilt.

    Quilts from Cotton Way Classics

    There are lots of tips and tricks and colorful illustrations to guide you as you make the projects. So, whether you’re making quilts for you and your family to snuggle in or for giving them away to someone you love, I hope you’ll enjoy making the quilts in my book, Cotton Way Classics.

    Happy quilting!


    Cotton Way ClassicsBonnie, thanks for sharing all the things you love with us!

    What color always pops up in your quilts? Tell us in the comments and you could win The Good Life bundle from Moda plus a copy of Cotton Way Classics! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck!

    And remember, when you order your copy of the book, you’ll be able to instantly download the eBook for free.

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  6. Meet the Patchwork Divas and their fantastic Feathered Star quilts 😍

    19th-Century Patchwork Divas' Treasury of QuiltsA common love of antique quilts and reproduction fabrics brought them together. Now, 20 years after the 19th-Century Patchwork Divas block-exchange group was formed, their book The 19th-Century Patchwork Divas’ Treasury of Quilts shares the fun and friendship that’s part of a block exchange.

    We caught up with queen Divas (and coauthors) Betsy Chutchian and Carol Staehle at Quilt Market, and they were kind enough to walk with us through the special exhibit based on their book. Over the next several weeks we’ll be sharing videos about the classic quilt blocks that the Divas share in each chapter—and we’re starting with one of the pinnacles of patchwork: the Feathered Star block.

    Delectable Feathered Star quilt
    Delectable Feathered Star by Diva Sue Troyan

    Here’s how the book by the Divas works: each chapter is dedicated to a time-honored quilt block. Members of the Patchwork Divas exchanged blocks, and then they made quilts from their blocks. You get to see how members transformed their piles of patchwork into absolutely stunning quilts, each more spectacular than the last.

    We’ll let Betsy and Carol tell you more about their Feathered Star exchange in this video:


    Viewing this post in email? Click here to view the video.

    It’s fascinating how many different ideas the Divas came up with for their blocks! Let’s take a look at the antique quilt that inspired the Feathered Star exchange:

    Antique Feathered Star quilt

    Incredible.

    Here are all the traditional blocks that the Divas exchanged and share in their book:

    Divas' quilt-block exchanges

    In The 19th-Century Patchwork Divas’ Treasury of Quilts, you also get the Divas’ advice on how to start a successful block exchange with your quilting and sewing friends. (And the Divas should know how!) With these amazing quilts from the Divas, your group will never run short of inspiration.

    Which quilt block would you choose for a block exchange? Tell us in the comments!

    You might also like: A Divas’ guide to antique quilt-block patterns

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  7. Memories of making a memory quilt (get the tissues)

    PaperGirlIn March, PaperGirl (aka Mary Fons) put out a challenge to her followers: write about the last quilt you made. Our director of marketing (aka Karen Johnson) was up for the challenge.

    You see, Karen was in the midst of making a very special quilt. A quilt for her parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. A quilt that was going to capture her parents’ history—their family, their loves, their life. And when you’re creating a quilt like that, you want to share the story of its making. And so Karen did.

    After blessings from her parents and from PaperGirl—and from Karen, of course!—we’re sharing Karen’s story with you today. (And because her quilt is now stitched, signed, and delivered, we get to show you lots of photos of it, too!) Perhaps Karen’s story about her quilt will inspire you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and share the stories behind your quilts too.


    Karen JohnsonOne night in February, I woke from a sound sleep and sat straight up in bed. I have to make a quilt for my parents, I thought.

    You see, my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary is fast approaching. Their milestone is coming more quickly than I’d expected, especially for preparing a suitable gift. But now I had the perfect idea. I began planning a quilt in my head.

    It would be a memory quilt, with photos.

    I suddenly had an immense amount of work to do, and a very tight deadline. Since I work full time, it all needed to be done during weekends and evenings. It took three weekends just to gather all the photos. Many came from my brother and were already digital, but many more were safely tucked away in my storage unit, and they needed to be sorted, selected, and scanned.

    I scanned and printed the photos onto fabric-transfer sheets (I used these)—and then I read the instructions. Apparently, printing colorfast photos on fabric is a two-step process. Over two weeknights, every available surface in my small apartment was covered with fabric-transfer sheets. All needed to be heat-set, cooled, and then rinsed, dabbed, and heat-set again.

    I’ve always loved these photos, but making the quilt brought me even closer to them, and of course, to the people in them. I handpicked each photo for its meaning to my parents and to our family. I carefully ironed and washed each fabric-transferred photo, and then ironed them again. Each fabric photo was cut by hand, ensuring no one’s ears were chopped off by my rotary blade.

    Finally, I began to piece the quilt together, planning the layout as I went. First was my parents’ wedding photo: front and center. I surrounded the beautiful old photograph with strips of fabric and pressed the seams away from their smiling faces. Then, I added their baby pictures. My baby pictures. My brother’s baby pictures. My daughter’s baby pictures. As the quilt grew, so did my memories of every stage of my life, through my parents’ eyes and through the pictures.

    This quilt is filled with meaning. Joy, laughter, and sadness for those who are no longer with us. Graduations, weddings, and other milestone moments. There’s one photo where my dad has his hand on my mom’s shoulder in a quiet moment, when they didn’t know a camera was near. Love shining through. The forced smiles in many of the posed shots—everyone hating something about their face. More smiling babies, messy toddlers, a first missing tooth, bad haircuts, old friends. Life. My family’s life.

     

    I don’t often spend time with these photos. They’re usually tucked away and aren’t regularly appreciated. A quilt will change that.

    The quilt will soon be off to a long-arm quilter and I won’t be carefully ironing my brother’s smiling face any more. In a few short weeks it will be in my parents’ hands, and likely hang on a wall in their living room (though I’d prefer they snuggle under it). We’ll all admire it, but never again will I feel so close to those photos. So involved with them.

    It’s a special thing we quilters do when we make a quilt for someone we love. But toss in precious photos and it becomes something else entirely. More than a photo album, more than a quilt. A family. A memory. A quilt.

    As I snap myself out of my reverie, I realize I will be with many real-life family members as we gather to celebrate my parents’ 60th anniversary. And we’ll take more photos.


    Which quilt might you write about?

    • One that you made and gave away
    • One that you’re making right now
    • One that’s still a twinkle in your eye

    Tell us in the comments—and Karen, thanks for sharing your story.

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  8. 🏡 A house quilt-block pattern for every home (must see, sew cute) + giveaway!

    Do you love House blocks? We love House blocks so much, we put one in our logo! That’s why we want you to make yourself at home as we introduce the fourth book in our "Block-Buster Quilts" series: I Love House Blocks!

    Block-Buster Quilts: I Love House Blocks

    Create quaint cottages, smart schoolhouses, trendy townhouses, big barns, and even houses in the ’burbs—and you know it wouldn’t be home sweet home for quilters without a Log Cabin. Whatever your vision of the perfect home is, you’ll find a design to inspire your construction here!

    House quilt block pattern
    A town full of house blocks to choose from!

    With I Love House Blocks, you’ll stitch home-grown designs from Carrie Nelson, Corey Yoder, Sherri McConnell, Melissa Corry, and more. You’ll even find instructions for making two simple House blocks that you can resize and remodel to create the house of your dreams, all with your favorite building materials—fabric!

    Here’s a peek at the some of the house quilts you can create:

    Sherbet Town quilt
    Make a Sherbet Town quilt in solids with Corey Yoder.

    Block Party quilt
    Throw a Block Party with Sherri Falls.

    Tiny Town quilt
    Stitch a Tiny Town with Carrie Nelson (finished quilt: 22″ × 25¾").

    Neighborhood quilt
    Sew an ode to your Neighborhood with Sherri McConnell!

    Click here to see more fun house quilts you can create in I Love House Blocks.


    Block-Buster Quilts: I Love House BlocksGIVEAWAY! We’ve got an eBook copy of I Love House Blocks to give as a housewarming gift 🙂 to one lucky winner today! To enter yourself in the drawing, tell us in the comments:

    What kind of houses would you build in fabric first?

    • Houses in the city: that’s where all the fun is!
    • Houses in the country: I prefer the relaxed pace.
    • A version of my neighborhood, using the customizable blocks in the book.

    We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win. Good luck! And remember, when you purchase I Love House Blocks at ShopMartingale.com, you’ll get to instantly download the eBook version for free.

    Explore more books in our "Block-Buster Quilts" series:

    I Love Log Cabins I Love Nine Patches I Love Churn Dashes

    Comments are closed for this post.

    Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Patricia, who says:

    “I would make blocks representing all of the houses on the street where I grew up.  What memories!!”

    We’ll email you about your prizes, Patricia—congratulations!

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  9. Anything but pointless: how to keep triangle points pointy 🔺🔻🔺

    If you struggle with keeping the points of your triangles pointy when sewing them into your quilt blocks, Pat Sloan has a simple solution for you—and it works for any type of triangle piecing.

    Union Square quilt
    Union Square quilt from
    Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Sew Triangles

    All you need are two pins and Pat’s triangle tips below to get pointy points that won’t get lost in your seams. Follow along and you’ll never be pointless again!


    Pat SloanPreserving the Points
    Excerpt from Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Sew Triangles

    After taking the time to sew crisp and consistent triangles, it would be a shame to lose your points in the seams of your blocks. By following a few helpful hints, you can easily maintain sharp points when sewing the units together.

    1. Begin with units that have been sewn and trimmed to the correct dimensions. If one or more of the units is not the correct size from the start, the problem will only multiply when you sew them together. Using a clear gridded ruler (not the grid on the cutting mat), measure each unit to be sure it’s the correct size.

    2. Place the two units to be joined right sides together. Whenever possible, arrange the units with the intersection facing up so you can see it as you stitch. After lining up the units, place a pin directly before and after the intersection rather than directly at the intersection. This secures the layers and makes it easy to remove the pins without disturbing the precise alignment point.

    Triangle quilt tips

    3. Begin stitching the units, but note that an exact 1/4″ seam-allowance width will actually guide the needle directly into the triangle point. To keep a sharp triangle point, it’s important to account for the bulk of the fabric fold along the seamline, also known as “turn of cloth.”

    Triangle quilt tips

    If the seam allowance is too wide, the point will be chopped off when you press open the units. Save the point by sewing slightly outside of the intersection, just a thread or two into the ¼" seam allowance.

    Triangle quilt tips

    4. Press the units flat before unfolding them to warm the fabric and set the stitches. Open the units and press the seam allowances away from the triangle point to reduce the bulk underneath it. Notice how the point lines up with the seamline without getting lost within it.

    Triangle quilt tips


    Get tons more triangle tips from Pat in her book Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Sew Triangles—13 triangle techniques and 12 terrific triangle quilt patterns await you! Get Pat’s trio of “Teach Me” books and expand your quilting skills, which will also (we promise!) expand your quilting fun.

    Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Machine Quilt Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Sew Triangles Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Applique

    Do you insist on pointy points, or are you a “done is better than perfect” kind of quilter who can live will flat-top triangles here and there? Tell us in the comments!

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  10. Know before you sew: best fusible interfacing for bags

    There are SO many bags we want to sew—do you feel the same?


    Bags from
    Big-City Bags, Windy City Bags, and Style and Swing

    With the right pattern, you can sew anything from backpacks and suitcases to purses, clutches, and handbags that rival designer bags from department stores. (And better still, you can sew them with your favorite quilting fabrics!) But there’s one thing you’ll need before you sew: a little know-how. So today we’re shedding light on what some might see as a bag-making mystery: how to choose the best fusible interfacing for bags.

    Author Sara Lawson is a rock-star in the sew-your-own-bags world—she’s passionate about her craft and she’s worked hard to make it easy for you to sew beautiful bags with body and structure, with all the retail details the bags from your favorite shops have. Today we’re sharing an excerpt from her latest book, Windy City Bags, that will introduce you to which fusible interfacings do what, and why they’re Sara’s favorites.

    Save 40% when you order any of these three bag-making books today (and as always, earn free shipping to the US and Canada when you spend $40 or more):

    Save 40% on select bag books

    Create bags that will turn heads and invite the question: where did you get that bag? Won’t they be surprised when you tell them you made it yourself!


    Sara LawsonOne of my favorite topics is interfacing; you really can’t make a bag without it. Interfacing makes up 25% of my fabric stash . . . no lie! It’s one of those things that you just need to have on hand at all times, because you’ll use it in almost every project.

    Most of my favorite interfacings are fusible. When fusing interfacing to your fabric, always use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric from excessive heat and keep the adhesive off your iron. Always place the bumpy or tacky side of the interfacing against the wrong side of the fabric.

    FUSIBLE THERMOLAM PLUS (PELLON TP971F)

    I absolutely love Thermolam Plus, a needled fleece that is denser and flatter than generic fusible fleece. When I’m making a bag or other accessory, I like it to have body; even for a simple tote bag, just two layers of fabric is too thin for me. This is a matter of personal preference, but I want my bags to have some substance and to be able to carry 20 pounds without tearing at the bottom. I use Thermolam Plus fused to the bag’s exterior fabric, sometimes in combination with either Shape-Flex or fusible fleece fused to the bag’s lining fabric.

    Thermolam Plus, once fused, leaves the fabric looking nice and smooth. Test a small piece on your exterior fabric. Depending on your iron, you may need to apply heat longer than the manufacturer recommends, but be careful not to damage the fabric. Sometimes I leave the iron in place up to double the recommended time.

    Festival Bag
    Festival Bag from
    Windy City Bags

    SHAPE-FLEX (PELLON SF101)

    I use Shape-Flex, a fusible woven interfacing, in all of my bags. It’s the most important interfacing in my stash, and I rely on it for a variety of uses. I fuse woven interfacing to every pocket I make, and I use it to reinforce the area around a zipper.

    Once fused, Shape-Flex gives quilting-weight cotton the sturdy feel of a home-decor or canvas-weight fabric. Place the rough, tacky side against the fabric’s wrong side for fusing. Shape-Flex is perfect as a stand-alone interfacing in a pouch or other small project, or you can combine it with other interfacings.

    Trendy Hipster Bag
    Trendy Hipster Bag from
    Style and Swing

    PELTEX SEW-IN (PELLON 70)

    This stiff interfacing is good for adding firm body without too much thickness. Because it’s a sew-in interfacing, it won’t fuse to your fabric. You can baste the interfacing to the fabric ⅛" inside the seam allowance, but I prefer this alternate method: Cut one piece each of Shape-Flex and Peltex Sew-In the same size as the pattern piece. Trim ½" from the edges of the Peltex Sew-In. Center the Peltex Sew-In on the wrong side of the fabric and then place the Shape-Flex on top with its fusible side down. When you fuse the Shape-Flex, it will seal the Peltex Sew-In to the fabric along the ½" edges. Using a smaller piece of Peltex Sew-In also reduces the bulk of the seam allowance.

    Wonderland bag
    Wonderland Bag from
    Big-City Bags

    DÉCOR BOND (PELLON 809)

    When there are bag panels or handles that need to look stiff without crinkling at folds and creases, this is the interfacing to use. My favorite application is to use this interfacing in two layers. First, I fuse a layer of Shape-Flex against the wrong side of my fabric, and then I add two layers of Décor Bond, cutting the Décor Bond ½" smaller on all its edges to keep bulk out of the seam allowances. One or two layers of Décor Bond will help a bag stand up by itself, but without quite as much stiffness as you’ll get with Peltex Sew-In.

    Jump-Start Duffel Bag
    Jump-Start Duffel from
    Windy City Bags

    There are no hard-and-fast rules for using interfacing. I suggest that the best way to learn more about interfacing is to use it in all of your projects. Tweak your interfacing choice based on your personal preference: what kind of shape are you interested in, how much stiffness, what kind of body? There are unlimited possibilities!


    Find all the bag-making know-how you need (along with Sara’s favorite interfacing of all) in Sara’s books. And take advantage of these three books on sale today—it’s the perfect time to start stitching a special bag for summer fun!

    Windy City Bags Style and Swing Big-City Bags

    What kind of a bag maker are you?

    • I’m a beginner and excited to try.
    • I’ve sewn a few and I want to sew more.
    • It’s an obsession—you can never have too many bags!

    Tell us in the comments!

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