Category Archives: free form quilt

Stacked strips block video tutorial

Stacked strips block video tutorial

This tutorial is for two modern blocks that are the mirror of each other.

It’s a very quick and simple block and uses fabric scraps to add some interest to the block.

You can make this block any size really. Just adjust the left and right side pieces and even the improv strip.

How to make 2 stacked strips quilt blocks

Learn in just over 2 minutes.

Get more suggestions on how to use this block

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2 minute video tutorial: Scrap quilt with strips

Video tutorial: Scrap quilt with strips

Look how easy it is to make a full quilt using fabric scraps. Use any number of  strips of different widths and lengths. Anything goes really. Such a fun block!

How to make a scrap quilt with strip quilt blocks

Learn in less than 2 minutes.

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Have you made any of my quilts or tutorials?

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Sweet Christmas embroidery tray cover

Sweet Christmas embroidery tray cover tutorial

This is a tutorial for a pot holder or tray cover.


  • White linen fabric
  • Variegated embroidery floss for the lettering
  • Embroidery floss in pastel colours
  • Bias tape. Mine is homemade and is 1 7/8 in wide

Embroidery pattern

I used one of the 300 embroidery motifs in the last Aimee Ray’s last book: Doodle Stitching: The holiday motif collection. The words Sweet Christmas (pdf) are mine.
Embroidery stitch: stem stitch (watch video).

Measure your tray
All the measurements are for my tray. Yours will likely be different so you will have to measure it in the following way.
First measure the inside width and length.

The measurements of my tray are 12 1/4 x 16 1/4 inches for the base.

Cut a 13 in x 17 in rectangle from the linen fabric.

Trace the embroidery on the fabric.

Stitch using stem stitch and back stitch.

Trim the rectangle to the size of your tray base + 1/4 in.

Now cut the backing fabric using the embroidery piece as a measure and add 1 inch all around.

Use the backing piece to cut the batting roughly.

Pin the three pieces together and with the help of something round such as a bowl or a glass draw around each corner.

Quilt as desired. I used stipple quilting.

Then cut the round corners.

I made my own bias tape but you can use store bought bias tape. Make sure you measure all around your piece and cut enough tape to cover all sides plus 2 extra inches.

I will be stitching the bias tape by machine on both sides so I’ll start by pinning the bias tape on the backing side of the quilted piece.

You will need to use lots of pins for the corners.

Stitch all around and turn over.

Now pin the binding to the right side.

Use your machine to finish.


This binding method can look very neat.

Sweet Christmas embroidery tray cover tutorial

Sweet Christmas embroidery tray cover tutorial

Père-Noël zigzag quilt tutorial part three: improv patchwork for the quilt back and machine binding with mitered corners

In this third and last tutorial I will make an improv design for the back of the quilt using some left over fabrics from the top of my Père-Noël zigzag Christmas quilt top.

See also:

Part one: quilt top assembly

Part two: embroidery embellishments

Improv back of quilt

There are no patterns for this one, just a visual progression of the improv patchwork being put together.

I used the charm squares trimmings and some matching reds, green and white solids.

The patchwork is made by sewing the trimmings in between rectangles of solid colours.

I started with the middle strip. The white rectangles are 2 1/2 in wide down but they decrease in width and end in a triangle. The most obvious way to achieve this is to cut a long strip 2 1/2 wide which ends in a pointy end. Then slice the strip into bits.

The length of the strip depends on how long you want it to be. I wanted it to be almost as long as the quilt.

This is what the strip looks like.

After sewing the white strip I cut the trimmings again.

And did the same with both red solids. Some of the trimmings had to be stitched together.

To sew both strips together, place both strips side by side right side facing up. Overlap both edges well and then pin. Use the overlapping line to cut through the bottom strip.

Now pin together well and sew.

Do the same with each strip.

I continued until I finished all trimmings more or less.

This is the resulting improv patchwork that I will be the back of the zigzag Christmas quilt.

Now you need to square the improv patchwork into a panel that will be making the back of the quilt.

Use the same technique as before when sewing two pieces with uneven edges. Place the piece on top of a muslin or calico piece of fabric and pin. Then cut along the overlapping edge. Pin together and sew.

Do the same for both edges.

The back of the quilt is finished.

Assemble the quilt sandwich and quilt.

I used a variety of free motion quilting patterns for this quilt. The patterns follow the zig zag in the quilt.

Trim off the quilt backing and batting.

Machine binding

I have been machine binding my quilts lately. It takes a small fraction of time as compared to slip stitching them at the back and the finish is just as good in my opinion.

To machine bind a quilt, you need to place the binding on the back of the quilt, aligned to the edge of the quilt, as opposed to stitching it to the front first.

For small lap quilts I don’t use binding cut on the bias but just cut straight from across the grain of the fabric.

To start, cut a strip about 225 in x 2 1/2 in. You’ll need to cut several strips and piece them together to obtain this length.

Fold the strip in half and iron well.

Take the quilt on the back and place the raw edge of the strip aligned with the quilt edge.

Mitered corners

Stitch all the way to the corner stopping at 1/4 in from the edge.

Now fold the strip up in a 45 degree angle as per picture.

Then fold the strip back aligning the fold with the top edge as per picture. Pin.

Now stitch all the way to the end again, stopping at 1/4 from the corner and do the same again for the next corner.

Once you have done the stitching your top will look like this.

Now fold the strip back over the top of the quilt. The binding will cover the raw edge all the way to covering the stitching line.

When you reach a corner, with your finger fold the mitred corner as per picture.  First fold in a 90 degree angle the binding at the corner.

And then fold back again as per picture making sure you align both corners.

Pin the whole quilt binding this way.

And now top stitch as close to the edge as possible.

The binding is done.

And this is the quilt, back and front.

Ready for Christmas!

Revisiting improv patchwork tutorials

A series of blocks and mini quilts made using improvisation techniques.

The techniques do not belong to any book. I just use my scissors and a vague idea in my mind of what I want to achieve which does not always correspond with what the final block looks like, but that’s where the fun is. I try to use 1/4 inch seams but sometimes the seams turn out slightly wider or narrower. I tend to press to the side the seam goes naturally though I also press open where there is a lot of bulk.

The process to create the blocks are demonstrated using lots of pictures.

  1. Free form, free motion patchwork
  2. Free form patchwork mini quilt – visual creative process
  3. improv / free form quilt block number 1
  4. Improv / free form quilt block number 2
  5. Improv / free form quilt block number 3
  6. Improv / free form quilt block number 4
  7. Improv / free form quilt block number 5
  8. Improv / free form quilt block number 6
  9. Improv / free form patchwork headboard cover
  10. Reversible tray cover