How To Create a Bias Binding from ONE square of fabric and TWO seams.

When I have a few gorgeous scrap leftovers from projects, I usually CAN’T throw them away.  There’s a reason I bought ‘em in the first place.  I love the fabric!  So I cut 2 1/2″ strips from a lot of the leftovers, and keep that in a shoebox size tub.  Once that is full, there’s usually enough for a tote or a lap quilt.  (I can give you the scrap tote tutorial how – to later).  Other scraps are too small, so I cut 3″ squares, put them in a different shoebox size container, and wait for the day it’s full…Irish chain, here I come!  Needless to say, I have a few shoe boxes of various size floating around…true story.

When I get a nice, big slice of pretty – I like to use that for a bias binding.  There are just some projects that benefit nicely from a bias cut binding: any curves will easily and smoothly fall into place with the stretchy forgiveness of a bias.  Depending on the size, you can create binding for a myriad of projects with just one small square of fabric!

- 8″ square will yield about 24″ of 2 1/2″ bias binding

- 14″ square will yield about 78″ of 2 1/2″ bias binding.  (what I used to create TWO candy corn potholders and one mug rug- with leftovers)

- 20″ square will yield about 150″ of 2 1/2″ bias binding.

I give you these numbers, because this is what I have done so far.  Did I do the crazy math and arrive at my numbers?  NO.  (you need to sign up for my friend Patrice’s blog for that kind of effort).  These are simply squares I have cut, made and measured myself, so these are my actual numbers.

For supplies, you will need:

- a clear ruler


- pins

- one square of fabric

- sewing machine and iron

Let’s get to it! 

This tutorial uses a 14″ square of fabric.  Place your ruler corner to corner, and cut diagonally.  Match the two triangles right sides together as shown, and stitch with a 1/4″ seam.  Press open to reveal your newly formed parallelogram!
Practice telling this to all  your friends: “In Euclidean geometry, a parallelogram is a simple (non-self-intersecting) quadrilateral with two pairs of parallel sides. The opposite or facing sides of a parallelogram are of equal length and the opposite angles of a parallelogram are of equal measure.”

14″ square, cut diagonally

Ready to match up and stitch!

Match and pin the top edge. NOTE: the corners of the triangles go over the edge of the fabric on each side. When you stitch and press, this will disappear. Look at the photos closely to see!


closeup of the edge with overlapped points on each side.

The stitched edged, ready to press!

Press open your parallelogram. You are the boss.

I was taught to draw lines on the WRONG side of fabric, but it really does not matter as you will cut on the lines anyway: no one will see your lines!  However, old habits die hard, so it’s off to the cutting table to trace 2 1/2″ lines on my parallelogram.  (I just love saying parallelogram: makes me sound like such a geek).  I want a 2 1/2″ binding for my potholders, so I mark the LONG side of the parallelogram with 2 1/2″ lines.
Match the two edges, right sides together, to make a wonky tube that gives  you trouble.  (seriously).  If it matches perfectly, it will not cut correctly.  You want an open 2 1/2″ on EACH side, with NO MATCH, and the rest of the lines should match up at the seam line.  (not at the edge of fabric).

To achieve this, place a pin where you think you might sew, and check the other side where you pinned.  I pinned it wrong the first time to show you.  Look at the second time I pinned!  When you lay out your (wonky) tube, the lines match up perfectly!  Stitch.

Now, simply cut the line in one continuous circle until the binding is there before you!  Press all your seams and press in half along the long edge, wrong sides together.  READY TO BIND!!

THE PICTURES EXPLAIN ALL THIS!   Check out these photos:

Drawing a line every 2 1/2″ on the LONG side of your parallelogram. (W00t! Got to mention that again…)

The lines are in place, and I have trimmed off any excess.

If your two edges match perfectly, they will NOT work! Here is my bad example for you.

Pinning and checking my lines. You want the lines to match where you STITCH, not on the EDGE.


Look at that lineup! Score.

Pin and stitch.

Cut along the line for a continuous bias binding! Beautiful.

My pile ‘o binding from ONE 14″ square.

One 14″ square binds two potholders, a mug rug, and provides leftovers.
I think I want a candy corn coin purse. Scraps! Back to the drawing board!

 Would you like a kit for the potholder set?  $6.95, and it includes the pattern, all fabrics for top and backing…and of course, the binding!
Simply click on (most) any photo and you’ll travel to Holiday Town in my online shop.  Enjoy!


How to Create the Kaffe Fassett Dahlia Quilt

The quilt is perfect with a deep drop on my queen bed.

Loving the Kaffe Fassett Dahlia Quilt!  Fits perfectly with a deep drop on my queen size bed.

This quilt is easy to create, with NO Y seams whatsoever!  Machine pieced, it stitches up in a flash.  With a few simple tricks to build your stitching skills, you can easily achieve this lovely look for a throw quilt (72″ square) or a generous queen size as shown.  The first step is careful cutting.  We have a Block of the month club that sends a few fabrics with templates each month to accomplish that process, so you can take your time and fussy cut to your hearts delight.  The fabrics are carefully curated with vintage Kaffe Fassett prints in lights and darks to achieve the dahlia effect.  YOU can do this at home, simply by using a ruby beholder.   (I use both the red and green colored to truly remove color from every fabric)  A color evaluator removes color and leaves you with VALUE, and lights and darks become easy to play with.  We do sell color evaluators at the shop.  This set comes in both red and green, and sells for $9. Find them at your local quilt shop, or click on the photo to find them in my online store!

I used the kit from our Block of the Month Club, to be sure everyone would have success with the quilt.  There was PLENTY of fabric for fussy cutting and directional prints.  I am creating two shams with the leftovers, and will post a blog with a free how-to pattern when they are finished.

The first step in stitching the quilt was creating the center, a tiny dahlia with a yo-yo center.  I chain stitched everything, starting with this tiny center flower.  To save the sorrows of “the bird nest start” (you know what I mean here), I started halfway down the first seam, chain stitched away, then returned to the first seam and finished it off.

Strip piece everything to save time and remain sane.

Turn out the points using a chopstick or even a cuticle pusher!  Press with care. DO NOT move the iron.  Just PRESS.

Turn out the points using a chopstick or even a cuticle pusher! Press with care. DO NOT move the iron. Just PRESS.













When you are finished pressing, change the iron to steam and really whack it flat.

after strip piecing the center in sets of two, I pressed again, then stitched sets of four, pressed, then created a perfect center!

After strip piecing the center in sets of two, I pressed again, then stitched sets of four, pressed, then created a perfect center! Want to create a perfect circle? It’s really all in the careful pressing.


There is nothing so magical as a perfect centerpiece, and it’s easy to create with careful pressing.  By pressing, I mean holding the iron above the item, placing the iron on the item, waiting 10 seconds, and lifting the iron.  DO NOT MOVE THE IRON ON THE PROJECT.  Because so many of the curved seams are cut on the bias, moving the iron causes distortion.  PRESS everything, follow with steam if you wish and voila!  The perfect circle is yours.

Strip piecing the alternate blocks of the dahlia center together.

Strip piecing the alternate blocks of the dahlia center together.

The next step to finish the center and get started on the giant dahlia was creating a yo-yo center.  YOU might prefer a smaller yo yo, I love Kaffe Fassett’s millefiore prints, so of course I fussy cut one whole circle and created my yo yo from that.  We sell yo yo makers in every size at the shop, and I can’t tell you how easy they are to use.  Just snap your fabric in there, stitch all around the guide, pop it out and PULL.  Done.

Yo yos come in every size! I used a 60mm yo yo maker for this Kaffe Fassett Millefiore print, because I JUST COULDN’T CUT IT. Truth told.

Loving my Millefiore Yo-Yo

Now on to the quilt! (and yes, I fussy cut that center).  Lay out your fabrics with the pattern on top, so you can easily see how each piece fits into the quilt.  It’s no use trying to figure this out with piles of all the tiddly bits…just keep them as you cut them with the templates and put them right out so you can easily grab them in sets.   This makes me a nicer person when I am finished.  Trust me.

Each piece is cut in TWO colors. I lay out the papers with the fabrics below to minimize confusion and avoid the DREADED SEAM RIPPER….

Separate the fabrics in two rows, making sure the lights and darks are in their correct place.










The first row is stitched! Press seams towards outer edge. I pressed the next rows seams to the inner edge for ease in stitching.











Now it’s time to add the last little touch to each row, and I highly recommend not skipping any step!  The first part is easy: sew a SCANT 1/4″ seam along the outer edge of each piece.  I included some closeups here, as I played with this a bit and found you need to be somewhere between a 1/8″ and 1/4″.  The foot on my machine is a perfect 1/4″, so you can see how I placed the fabric as I stitched.  Even though I did strip stitch these pieces, to say I went slowly is an understatement!  Stitched at a crawl, I’d say.  Meh.  Not the most exciting part of this quilt, let’s just put it that way.

Here goes my scant 1/4″ seam excitement! Woo hoo!



The lineup of edges. The end of the stay stitching drama saga.

PRESS each seam, favoring the stitch line to the back.













Stitch the final edges to the end of each dahlia strip, then begin stitching the strips together in sets of two, then four.  I stitched the quarters together to create two halves, and the halves easily stitched up to a circle…and truly this was amazing because it is just lovely, and all the prep work became WORTH IT.  Don’t you love that feeling?

Pressing the dahlia one section at a time before adding seam tape.


I used steam a seam tape to hold things in place as I stitched for no "ripple effect".

I used steam a seam tape to hold things in place as I stitched for no “ripple effect”. I love this stuff, and keep a hugely unnecessary supply at all times.

For tiny projects, pull off the paper and use the sticky stuff like a piece of tape.

When you have a loose edge peeking through, it’s easy to peel and reposition. When you are happy, PRESS it on!! Then stitch in place, with your design secure.

I placed a pressing sheed UNDER the project first, before I pressed the center dahlia on. NO sticky mess! Yes, we do have these at the shop if you can’t find them at your local.

When using the seam tape on a LARGE project, I leave the paper on and press it in place before peeling, basically to avoid heartache.

Position the quilt on the background, snagging any stray threads and pressing ripples as I go. Work 1/4 sections of the quilt at a time, and using tape means the other side is secure as i work on this one. Nice.

After stitching the dahlia in place, I added borders. Now to quilt!

Putting out a whole buncha photos because I am just loving my quilt!!

…and just look at that side drop. I love the fact we can roll up snuggy in this quilt, and no one gets the blanket stolen. Just saying.

full view of the top out on the lawn.


Art Therapy: $10 per session!

…And Dr. Lucy is IN!  Coloring books are good…Lucy Boston is better.  Just saying.  If you have never tried English Paper Piecing, this is a great club to start in: you will be working with color and design all summer long, creating one of a kind, spectacular polychromatic prisms with LUCY BOSTON!  We have worked for days curating a special assortment of florals, Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass, Paperweight,  Millefiore, and low volume prints for this lovely summer quilt. Each kit features one Kaffe Fassett CLASSIC Roman Glass, Paperweight, or Millefiore print in a variety of color combos for a truly spectacular summer tribute!  Think of it as a dazzling fireworks display for your couch. You’ll have to wait until June 5 for the first wondrous summer block to appear!  We reveal a breathtaking new block every week.

The Good News: Each kit creates 1 – 2 blocks, so they are mini versions of our regular size kits, and VERY quick to cut and assemble!

The Better News: This set is a series of 12 blocks, PLUS A SETTING KIT, so you will have everything you need to create your own Lucy Boston sampler…

Best News Yet: $10 per week, delivered to your door starting June 4.  That’s right, shipping included.  We’re taking sign ups now, because when they’re gone, they’re GONE.  Why the short supply,  you ask?  (drumroll please)  because the Spectacular News is, we are including one Tina Givens Afternoon Playground block at the end of the series!!   This block will not be sold a la cart.  (the afternoon playground fabric is out of print, and sells for $25 per fat quarter on Etsy: check it out).   I just happened to have some in the shop, and it just happens to be PERFECT for Lucy Boston blocks, and the rest is history.

Lucy Boston afternoon playground block

Tina Givens beautiful bees in the last block of our summer series!

The last of the winter Lucy Boston Blocks, and it shouts, “Hello Spring!”  Next week, I start on the Lucy Boston Butterfly Garden quilt…but for now, I am enjoying this wrap up to a VERY colorful winter series.  Thought you might enjoy some photos of the process we go through deciding color and placement before we do the final stitching!  I use ALL my papers, and create the framework for the blocks by fussy cutting colors and designs from each fat quarter: then, it’s puzzle time!  We spent an hour or so, ‘stealing’ from each other’s blocks and laying out designs – I still have quite a few honeycombs to stitch before I’m ready to lay them all out and make my final decisions.  For now, I hope you enjoy this sneak peek at block 14!

As I add stitched and lined honeycombs to the pile, matching and creating the blocks is irresistible!


Try creating a Lucy Boston block, I think  you’ll love it!  Use the link on each photo and visit the shop for papers and templates: all you need to begin your Lucy Boston adventure.  Of course, we’d love it if you purchased our kits, but you can get started on your own if you like with the fabrics you already have…and what a way to use up scraps in your stash.  :)   I’m adding some patterns for household things we use every day: potholders, tea cosys, pillow covers and more.  Stay tuned for creative ideas to use up your Lucy Boston creations!  (or you could make a fabulous, scrappy quilt – that’s where the bulk of my blocks are going).

Creating The Lucy Boston Project Tote!

I started out with the thought that 2″ Lucy Boston honeycombs would be SO EASY to create! I have been educated.  It was a blast to create this tote, and I learned so much on the way!  I’ll show you:

Creating the bag to hold my growing Lucy Boston project was truly smile inducing. Not lying here.

Start by creating a pile of honeycombs to play with.

Finally! Found the pattern I loved best.





Cutting out the 2″ Lucy honeycombs using a template with a 3/8″ hem allowance is preferred. PERFECT Lucys!

                                                                                    While the 2″ honeycombs open the door to some fabulous large prints, it’s a good idea to start with 1″ Lucy Boston blocks to know and understand construction techniques FIRST.
That being said, I put my Lucy craze to the test and came up with this great project tote: and discovered a technique you should hear about that will help you with all your Lucy Boston adventures!
Using applique to secure the blocks to a background is nothing new, but have you tried that technique using steam a seam TAPE? Wonders!
The first thing to do is PRESS YOUR BLOCK WITH THE FOUNDATION HONEYCOMB PAPERS IN PLACE. Remove all honeycomb papers. Now you are ready to go!

Applying Seam Tape to the outside edges

Apply the seam tape to the outside edges, pressing at each corner. Tear the strip and work the next edge.

After the entire design is taped on the edge, press, using NO STEAM.

Peel off the paper all the way around.

Line a 19″ X 23″ or larger (for 2″ honeycombs) piece of cotton with batting.
Lay the Lucy Boston block on the background, centering the sides and leaving 1″ at the top.
PRESS. Do not iron! Ironing is movement that causes trouble.
Pressing is holding your iron in one spot, lifting it, holding it in another. Ask me how I know.

Press! Don’t iron. Lift the iron every time you wish to change position.

Stitch the Lucy Boston block to the background fabric, using a blanket stitch if your machine has one…if not, a zig zag is lovely!
I used a walking foot to accomplish this, as there is bulk in the layer of batting, and I did not want the top of my design to shift.

Stitch down the edges, and quilt as desired.

Now for pockets!  These are easy.  PRESS the honeycombs while they are still folded on the foundation paper.  remove the paper.  Add the tape all around the honeycomb.  PRESS.  Peel off tape.   Place another honeycomb (with paper removed) wrong sides together and PRESS!    Stitch all the way around.  Voila!  a perfect project pocket for scissors, needles, threads, pens…all things Lucy!  I added my pockets to the OUTSIDE of my project bag, for ease of use when I’m out and about.

Taping the pocket front.

A pressed pocket, ready to stitch!

Pressing pockets.


And here is a photo of the finished bag:

Loving my new Lucy Project tote! Ready for adventure…


Lucy Boston on the GO!

Fussy Cutting for English Paper Piecing

Using templates to paper piece is a new joy over here…I love all the different variations on a theme for these graphic and gorgeous Denyse Schmidt Lucy Boston Blocks!

Six Lucy Boston Blocks from 4 Fats…at midnight, because I am crazy addicted.

It’s easy to achieve stunning results if you spend time with the first step – tracing the honeycomb.  I used a 1″ finished classic honeycomb template, which you can find at  I like the templates with the 3/8″ seam for paper piecing, they are just easier to manage when you are basting the honeycombs.  (you can also use fabric glue to “baste”).   Check out a few block ideas with these graphic prints:


Using the template like a little window into LucyWorld, I skimmed over each fat quarter, (RIGHT SIDE UP) first, just to see what combinations would work in each block.   The above blocks are the result of careful planning and cutting…then my daughter Charlotte and I got creative, and created some “tilted kilt” blocks!!

To create a block using a plaid like this one, you will need two rows of four designs each.  (easier in a graphic, as opposed to floral, fat quarter).  Place the template on the fabric, following the design from one point to another, along any straight line.  (who said you’d never use that geometry class again?)  This will give you a precise, straight line in your Lucy Boston block.  (see below)   Try tilting the template just a bit!  TRACE.  CUT.  Now, using your honeycomb or the template, cut out 3 more exactly like the first.  To mirror your design, simply flip the honeycomb you cut out over and match it to the fabric below.  Trace.  Create 4 mirrored honeycombs, as shown above.  Voila!   I hope you enjoy creating all kinds of designs with English Paper Piecing: I just love it!



I love Lucy Boston!

Boston in the Fall: our newest Lucy quilt, and we’re lovin’ it big time. The colors are amazing! But then again, it’s Autumn in New England, and with that kind of inspiration all around, you can’t go wrong. I literally start working on every block and say, “oooooo I LOVE this one BEST! This one is AMAZING!” … daughter Charlotte, in the meantime, rolls her eyes and just snaps the photos…

This is just one way to arrange the exclusive Tina Givens Afternoon Playground block.

The first step to creating a stunning Lucy Boston Block: work with lights and darks in contrasting colorways. (try a complementary set of blocks as well, added to a quilt, they really add a lovely, restful touch). I’m using a clear template to cut my blocks, so I can see what will fit in each frame. You’ll find them at in the Lucy Boston department. Any pattern you cut from the cloth will create a NEW patten when quilted into a Lucy Boston block! That’s the fun of it.

First step! Fold your fabric around the first two sides of the honeycomb paper, and make a quilter’s knot (two stitches instead of one) in that corner, catching all the fabrics. You can go through a third time if you don’t think this will hold.

Folding the first edge over the pre cut paper. Find the papers at!

Fold over the next edge, creating a corner, and run a stitch through your second corner. Follow through with each remaining corner until the last.

Tucking and sewing the corners in place

Last corner! Finish with a quilter’s knot.

Finis! Create as many as you can, with careful fussy cutting, from each piece of fabric. Four 10″ squares of fabric should yield enough for one block, while four fat quarters yield four to six blocks!

First finished honeycomb

First finished honeycomb


Bunches of Bumblebees, ready for the block!

Bunches of Bumblebees, ready for the block!

Complete 24 honeycombs from each fat quarter to create 4 blocks, and stay tuned for step 2 in our Lucy Boston in the Fall series!  #LucyMondays #LucyBostonJoy #tinagivens #lucyboston #ilovelucyboston #EPP #EnglishPaperPiecing #EPPeverywhere #PatchworkoftheCrosses #POTC #YouDownWithEpp #AnnaMariaHOrner #DenyseSchmidt #VictoriaandAlbertMuseum #VictoriaandAlbert #FreeSpiritFabrics #WestminsterFibers #IamaFreeSpirit #Handmade #Patchwork #kaffe #kaffefassett #millefiori #newhexagon #lapassacaglia #millefioriquilts

Our best sale of the year: 12 Days of Christmas in July!

Truly our very best sale of the year! Get ready for fall sewing with this summer breeze of sale items: and be ready for the holidays this year with extra cash to spare!  For 12 days, we offer free items with purchase, terrific sales and specials on all your favorite kits and fabrics, and just a general good time.  Just to be nice, we hold ALL orders until the end of the sale.  You pay post ONCE.  After that, participate in as many freebies as you like, we’ll ship the whole shebang together for the price of ONE shipping fee.  (USA Only).

Oh, and just to be extra amazing, our NEW Snowman BOM will be introduced sometime during the sale!  Watch for it.

12 Days of Christmas in July: Don’t miss it!