Start Here – Quilting 101

New to quilting? Looking for some help with the basic skills and terms? Start here! Quilting tips tricks and little bits of inspiration for the newbie to intermediate quilter.

  • How To Make More Time For Sewing And Quilting

    Thats right… did you know you actually can make more time for sewing and quilting in your day?? No magic potions required. Just a proven strategy to add in more of what you love.

    You may be thinking… ‘But I’m super busy, Christen!

    I would be so rich if I had a dollar for every time someone told me “we all have the same 24 hours in a day!”… ugh… if you could only see my eyes rolling back in my head… because while TECHNICALLY it is true… it is so not a valid reason as to why some of us are able to accomplish everything our hearts desire and us others are left floundering around and never able to find a single moment to produce creative work.

    I’m about to share 10 tips that you can start to put into practice today that will give you more sewing and quilting time.

    Most of them are centered around being a busy mom, because hey… I can only teach what I know, right? But these tips work for every single busy person in this world who needs a little help juggling life and a passion for quilting!

    (And as promised, NO magic wands involved… but if you happen to find one, I would *LOVE* to borrow it… just for a few hours? I do promise to give it back!)

    10 Tips to make more time for sewing and quilting

    Plan Out Your Calendar

    I use google calendar because I like having the notifications and reminders come up on my phone. I really love paper planners but I’m helpless if I accidentally leave it at home. Use whatever you feel comfortable with.

    You need a place to write everything down – Everything that is going on in your week. Every appointment. Every commitment. Everything.

    You need to be able to look at your week at a glance and see what is taking up all of your time.

    See if you can make any adjustments right away such as making all appointments or meetings on one day of the week instead of different days.

    I really love this planner! It is one of my favorites and I always feel so much more organized and on top of things when I have this planner in use!

    Write “creative time” on your calendar

    That’s right. It really can be that simple.

    Make a date with yourself. Write it in pen and don’t let it get tossed around like it doesn’t matter. Make the commitment.

    You wouldn’t ever miss an appointment with a doctor, would you? No, because you respect that that time is important for your health. Give yourself the same respect. Your creative time is important for your mental health and happiness.

    Even if you can only squeeze in 30 minutes here and there… it is absolutely worth the time spent because it will add up in the long run to making big progress towards your project goals!

    Remember when you were a teenager and you had plans to go out Saturday night? Remember looking forward to it all week long?! Yes, bring back that giddy happy feeling again!

    I find that it really helps me get through a particularly tough spot in the week if I know I have an hour planned to sew in the evening!

    Finding more time to sew and quilt in your day can be difficult... but it doesn't have to be impossible! here are 10 ways you can find more time in your day TODAY!

    Pick Your Projects With Purpose

    You may already have a list of projects that is a mile long. I know I do.

    I tend to get super excited about a project and am all in. (nevermind about those other projects I have that aren’t finished yet) I buy a new pattern. then I’ll buy the fabric and I start making plans. I have tunnel vision for only that project… until something comes up and I have to take a break. Then the project has to take a backseat for a while and the initial inspiration spark dies off a little at a time.

    Choose a project that speaks to your soul and has a specific purpose (even if it is just that you really want to make a turquoise quilt!)

    If you have a quilt that you are making for another person, you’ll be more likely to finish it because you’ll have the motivation of seeing how much they love your beautiful quilt to help push you through the less than inspired moments.

    Only work on things that bring you joy

    This goes with what I said above, but it is important to point out that you’ll have a lot more fun working on things you love than forcing yourself to work on things that you don’t.

    Example: I don’t like working with dull colors. Bright and happy bold colors inspire me and leave me feeling energized. If I have to make a whole quilt out of dull fabrics… I can do it, but I will find much more joy working on a quilt in my favorite fabrics.

    To keep up with your project list – I created a FREE handy Quilt Planner!

    Download this FREE quilt planner and get organized so that you can create more! 6 pages of everything you need. nothing you don't!

    Clean Out Projects That No Longer Inspire You

    If you were working on something and you have lost that spark of joy for it… it is ok to let it go.

    Take one more thing off of your plate and cross it off of your to-do list.

    There is no sense in letting it hang around on your to-do list if you really deep down have no desire to work on it again. It is just causing you to dread it forever at that point.

    Sometimes when you have both money and time invested in a project, it is hard to let it go… but it is taking up physical space and mental space at this very second. How much is that worth to you?

    Make some more room for things that you really do love and are really inspired by right now!

    Give up all house chores!

    haha… just kidding. I wish this were a possibility. I feel like I’m really the only one who cares about the state of our home. My kids would be happy to live in a dump.

    I hate laundry and I hate doing the dishes… but I know myself. If I leave those chores until “after I sew”… I can guarantee they won’t get done and I’ll be sorry tomorrow.

    I’ve developed a reward system (yes, like I’m a total child). I will set a timer for 10 minutes and do a total speed clean of my dishes and kitchen, then throw a load of clothes into the washer and after the timer goes off… THEN, I SHALL SEW!

    You would be surprised what you can accomplish in 10 minutes if you have something really great as a reward!

    Quit saying Yes to everything

    Its really hard when the opportunity for plans comes up and you want to say yes to everything.

    It might be because coffee out with friends does sound really fun even though you’re already really busy. Or it might be because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying that you can’t help out with the community project right now. Of course, you feel like you SHOULD want to babysit your grandchildren every week, right?

    Let’s get one thing straight here… Saying “yes” isn’t the problem… the problem is saying ‘yes’ to everything! It leaves you overscheduled and unable to find the time for yourself that you crave.

    When faced with a commitment decision as yourself:

    “Would I rather do _____ or sew?” – then, you will have your answer to if you should say yes or not! 🙂

    Evening Sewing Dates

    I like having set nights during the week where I know I am going to be able to sew.

    My kids are relatively hard sleepers and have never complained about the noise of the sewing machine. Even still… I think I could figure out a way to get all my cutting done at night or plan my next quilt etc.

    My husband and I sat down and discuss our weekly evening plans. I work out what plans we have for the week regarding the kids, friends etc… then I set aside an evening for us to relax together. We like to watch movies or play a game… whatever. It changes weekly.

    Then, I set aside an evening for us to work on our own individual items. He will work on whatever projects he has going on and I will work on my sewing.

    No one feels left out because it is something we discussed prior and we have already made each other a priority by making sure we have other evenings scheduled. win win!

    Finding more time to sew and quilt in your day can be difficult... but it doesn't have to be impossible! here are 10 ways you can find more time in your day TODAY!

    Put your phone away

    Quit wasting pockets of time by checking your social media and other outlets or playing mindless games on your cell phone.

    I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from looking at Pinterest and other creative blogs… but if I spend all day looking, I’ll never actually get to the point of creating! and that becomes wasted time!

    Set a timer or make it a point to remember that you are the boss. You decide when enough is enough and you need to have a break from looking and start using that time to create!

    The Sticky Note Bread Crumb Trail Method

    Sometimes I only have 10 minutes to sit down and work on a project, but 10 minutes is better than nothing so I’ll get to work right away.

    If I have to get up and leave, I jot a quick note down on a sticky note. I like to leave notes about where I left off or what I was about to do next.

    Sticky notes are like a bread crumb trail for the next time I sit back down to sew. I’ll quickly remember what I was doing and be able to pick back up right away.

    Stop Making Excuses as to why you “can’t”

    A bit of tough love here…

    You are the only one who is keeping you from being able to find more time to sew and quilt.

    Ouch, right?

    If you are just dying to find more time to sew and quilt and the hours in your day feel really limited… Show yourself some love, sister! It’s time that you buckle down and find the time you so desperately want!

    You can do this!

    Finding more time to sew and quilt in your day can be difficult... but it doesn't have to be impossible! here are 10 ways you can find more time in your day TODAY!

    For more helpful tips that give you more actionable steps that you can take today, download my free guide: A Busy Girl’s Guide to Quilting.

  • Do You Want Better Quilt Piecing? Here is how to get it!

    The easiest way to improve the craftsmanship of your quilts is to perfect your piecing. (say that 5 times fast!) If you’re not entirely happy with your piecing and you want to have Better Quilt Piecing, I’m going to share my tips with you today!

    First, the difference between a total beginner quilter and an expert quilter is obviously practicing… More experience = more knowledge on how to work around the ins and outs of sewing and this issues that come up… but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait years down the road to be a better quilter!

    You can start TODAY!

    Right now even!

    Want better piecing? - You don't have to wait until you have years of experience behind you! You can totally be better today with these few tips!

    The biggest differences between the beginners and advanced can be seen in the tiny details…

    How many times have you thrown up your hands in frustration and said “ah! I don’t care if that seam doesn’t meet up perfectly. I can live with it not being perfect”? Then, instead of picking out that seam to fix the errors, you just kept moving forward, and never looked back?

    Don’t be shy. I’m guilty of it too… it is ok!

    In fact, I used to tell everyone “don’t look too close” when they would ooh and ahh over my latest sewing masterpiece.

    How is that for confidence???

    If anyone had a terrible case of sewing insecurities, it was me! I wasn’t worried things would fall apart at the seams or anything… but I didn’t want anyone inspecting my handiwork.

    Too many of those quick little “oh well!” decisions and my quilt tops looked like someone gave a 13-year-old a sewing machine and some half-hearted instructions and left her to fend for herself.

    It was pretty rough, let me tell you…

    It was a decent attempt, but nowhere near what I had pictured in my dreams.

    There was a lot that I would let slide back in those days because I didn’t want to take the time to go back and re-do it.

    I’m not sure if it was laziness on my part or just sheer willpower to plow my way through thinking more practice was all I needed to get better…

    It was the voice of a sweet friend that finally called me out on this vicious cycle of making something that took A LOT of time, effort and money and then not being able to be proud of my work because all I saw were flaws.

    Bless this sweet woman for calling me out. When someone who knows way more than I do tells me what to do… I listen.

    If you're looking to up your quilting game with some new tools, you're in luck! Don't just go buy what you THINK is going to be useful... read this first so you KNOW from a seasoned quilter what is going to be the best bang for your buck!

    I’m sharing her advice with you today You should listen too…

    If you want better piecing, pick a pattern and work on your piecing until its perfect.

    This “piecing project quilt” doesn’t have a time limit unless you give it one… but it will be the one that you give the title of No EXCUSES to.

    I’m not going to lie and tell you it was all rainbows and unicorns. There were some frustrating moments and some lessons learned along the way… but I promise you will have better piecing and more confidence to show for it if you follow these steps!

    Proper cutting is essential

    You can’t expect things to work out properly if you aren’t cutting your pieces precisely. That is step #1. It is just like a recipe without any measurements. You’re never going to get the exact right outcome if you don’t start with the right pieces.

    Check out this post on which rulers are my favorite and most used!

    I pulled out my seam ripper more times that I want to admit.

    If something isn’t right, fix it now. Don’t move on and say “oh well” or “I’ll come back to it later”. Re-do the seams that aren’t perfect and make it right.

    Check and Measure Your Seams

    I became obsessed with measuring my quarter inch seams for accuracy (something I wasn’t diligent with before)…

    Tiny Quilting RulerQuilting rulers are essential in the sewing room for quilting and DIY projects. which ones are absolutely essential so you don't spend a fortune? Read here
    This little handy guide stayed next to me as I worked!

    Staying consistent with your seams

    Guess what? Just by mastering my quarter inch seam and being consistent…. 70% of my inaccuracies disappeared.

    I was kind of shocked… no, REALLY shocked actually…

    Seams began to line up without having the stretch the fabric so tight to MAKE it work.

    Nesting your seams is a VITAL tool in quilting. It will help you get that finished and polished look on your quilt and cut out those rookie mistakes where your corners shift and seams don't line up. This is an easy trick that any quilter can use! Try it out on your next quilt. You won't be sorry!

    Sew straight seams

    This one takes some concentration, but it is a big one that goes with seams consistency. Here is a whole post about How to Sew Straight Seams even!

    I also created a product that has helped improved my straight seams so much. Y’all, I can’t even put it into words sometimes. I’ll even pay the shipping for you anywhere in the world (Yay! FREE shipping!!) and you can find it here in my store if this is something that you struggle with. So many people have had wonderful success with the Straight Seam Guide.

    Nest your seams

    I know, I know… everything has to do with yous seams! But it really is completely in the tiny details of your quilts!

    If you don’t know how to nest your seams, you can check out a whole post complete with a tutorial video. It will change your life.

    Measure measure measure

    In my old quilts… I really prided myself on being kind of a hippy quilter? (if that is a thing?) I didn’t have to measure everything… good enough was good enough and I liked being able to go with the flow and sew how I wanted to. aka, typical artist thinking she knows everything she needs to know and likes doing her own thing haha…

    The problem is, I was not a hippy quilter when it came to the end of the process. I morphed into ashamed and naive quilter who wasn’t all that proud of what she had made.

    And that is totally ridiculous. I’m so happy that I finally said enough is enough and I fixed it!

    I had to learn to measure more than once. Check check and double check everything.

    The pattern said that A + B will equal C, and darn it… I was going to have C! So I figured out how to get my As and Bs just right!

    What I wish I had known all along…

    Do you know all those quilts that I had made where I just assumed that I “needed more practice” as I zoomed past those little mistakes and left them in the dust? If I had just taken the time to fix them as they came up, I would have been a better quilter years ago!

    I didn’t need more practice sewing (though mastering my seams was a HUGE improvement) I just needed to slow down and work on those tiny little steps one at a time.

    Now, measuring and checking and precise cutting… it is all second nature behavior in my sewing adventure! I’m like a precision MACHINE!

    Now, I can still make a quilt where I don’t have to measure and can let my inner hippy free spirit quilter come back out… but even she has higher standards now 😉

    Want better piecing? - You don't have to wait until you have years of experience behind you! You can totally be better today with these few tips!

    My quilts still have flaws

    They always will… every single quilter I know still makes mistakes and is “still learning”.

    I’m not a perfect quilter by any means, but I don’t hide my quilts like I used to. I love them.

    Be proud of yourself at any level you are and know there is only room for improvement as you work on each quilt slowly progressing towards the next one!

    I can’t wait to see how your next quilt looks after you put these steps into practice! Let me know in the comments what you think!

  • How much does it cost to get my sewing machine serviced?

    Whether you just purchased a brand new sewing machine or you’ve had yours for a while, eventually the question is bound to come up… “How much does it cost to get my sewing machine serviced?” and “Do I need it? How often should I go?”

    The recommended answer is that you should take your machine in about once a year to have it serviced. However, my experience is that you can go a little longer to stretch those services out a little bit more.

    With good in between care done by YOU, using some of the tips I’ve outlined below… you can stretch it into about every 2 years as long as everything is running smoothly.

    Obviously if you notice something is off or there is a weird noise that you didn’t notice before… PLEASE take your machine to have a good once-over by a professional shop.

    A lot of quilter and sew-ists like to think of it as a luxury spa day for their machines! ooh-la-la!

    Taking your sewing machine in to be services is like treating it to a special spa day! - But what are the costs? How often do you have to do it? All your questions answered and when you should worry!

    How much does it cost to get my sewing machine serviced?

    A sewing machine tune-up costs can vary according to each shop, but general cost ranges are in the $75 to $100 Range. These charges will not include the cost of any broken or replacement parts.

    Computerized embroidery machines may cost as much as $100 for basic repairs.

    Before you put away your wallet and decide to just start saving up for your next sewing machine… we’re going to go over exactly what a sewing machine service entails, why your machine needs it (no, its not a hoax) and if you can save the money and perform the service yourself… AND a few little things you can do throughout the year to stretch your money a little further!

    Why Service a sewing machine?

    There are many many many moving parts to a sewing machine.
    If it moves, it needs lubrication to avoid wear and tear.

    As a sewing machine is used, the lubrication eventually dries out. Once it has dried out, moving parts don’t work as well. The well being of the sewing machine starts to wear out faster than if it was maintained on a regular basis.

    Most new sewing machines are making the move toward higher-tech machinery. Your machine may have a computer circuit board and wires inside as well. Sewing machine technicians are specially trained to maintain and service computerized sewing machines. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, it isn’t recommended to ‘go inside’ and do anything yourself. A circuit board can easily fry at the hands of a well-meaning but clueless soul.

    A yearly service will prevent any heavily worn areas to be caught before they cause a worse problem down the road.

    Most machines do not need major replacement of parts when preventative maintenance is scheduled.

    Case in point: You machine should be serviced to keep it running smoothly for a long long time.

    Just like our bodies, teeth and car receive yearly check-ups, make sure your sewing machine receives equal treatment!

    What is done during a sewing machine service?

    The short answer? A WHOLE LOT!

    A full service isn’t just a quick in and out. Technicians will have a long checklist of items to carefully go over as they take a look at your machine.

    Here is an example of the checklist performed during a routine service:

    • Remove all covers to get to all major components.
    • Clean out all lint, dust, and old old oil.
    • Remove stray threads from the take-up lever and the hand wheel.
    • Check top tension disks and remove lint build up from low-quality threads.
    • Check timing belt/motor belt for belt tightness. Look for any excess wear spots.
    • For older machines: check motor brushes and make sure the motor is turning freely.
    • Check all shafts for any play or wobble.
    • The wear of all barrings.
    • Check the mechanism that drives the feed dogs for any play.
    • Double Check all gears that drive the machine.
    • Check the mechanism that drives the hook in the bobbin case area.
    • Check for any excess play between the hook and the hook driver.
    • Tighten any gears that are getting loose or wobbly.
    • Check bobbin winder.
    • Check feed dog height. A slight change in height could affect the way fabric is pulled through the machine.
    • Check feed dog alignment checking to make sure the feed dogs are straight and not rubbing on the stitch plate.
    • Oil every moving part of the machine.
    • Check that the needle is centering in the needle plate both from side to side and from front to back. The slightest bit off in any of the four directions can cause extra needle breakage when sewing extra wide stitches or heavy fabrics.
    • Check needle and hook timing.
    • Check that the presser foot sits straight on the feed dogs and is at the proper height.
    • Time the feed dog movement to the machine needle.
    • Calibrate bobbin case tension.
    • Check and clean bobbin case of any excess build up of lint.
    • Check foot control’s electronic contacts, cord, cord end and look for any cuts in the cord.
    • Test Sew Out – Once all areas of the machine have been completely checked, oiled and adjusted, the tech will do a test sew. Ideally, they are looking for a smooth running sound, balanced tension, even needle swing, centered needle position, proper feed dog movement/balance of stitches that stitch forward and reverse.
    • They will also insert a new Universal size 80/12 needle.
    Taking your sewing machine in to be services is like treating it to a special spa day! - But what are the costs? How often do you have to do it? All your questions answered and when you should worry!

    What to bring with a machine for service? 

    This list is pretty simple and straight forward. You’ll want to bring:

    • Your sewing machine
    • Foot Pedal Control
    • Power cord
    • Standard zig-zag presser foot (not a 1/4 inch foot)
    • Correct bobbin
    • If bringing an embroidery machine, also include an embroidery hoop and the embroidery foot.

    You shouldn’t only take care of your machine once a year, however… careful care should be considered every single time you sew.

    I take my machines once every 2 years. Another quilter may tell you a different amount of time. You just have to find the comfortable medium between how your machine is acting and what your wallet can handle.

    This super easy tutorial will tell you everything you need to know to give your sewing machine a quick clean and tell yo how often you should clean your sewing machine too! - Hint, you have most everything you need in your bathroom!

    Can I perform a Sewing Machine Service myself to save money?

    There are a lot of videos on YouTube that instructs you how to service your own machine. I recommend giving them a good look before you just open up your machine and taking things apart…

    Personally, I very much suggest doing as much of the maintenance yourself on your machine as possible. This can stretch the time in between your services and make sure that things are running smoothly in between. You can read more about cleaning your machine in this post.

    If you use your sewing machine to sew (duh…)… you MUST clean it!

    Fabrics are linty, some threads are linty and that all leads to moving parts moving not so freely. Uncleaned machines lead directly to skipped stitches, uneven stitches, and broken threads right in the middle of a seam.

    It is an awful mess to be in when you’re nearing the end of a project and have to stop!

    You can see a full tutorial on a Quick 10-Minute Sewing Machine Cleaning in this post!

    This super easy tutorial will tell you everything you need to know to give your sewing machine a quick clean and tell yo how often you should clean your sewing machine too! - Hint, you have most everything you need in your bathroom!

    You might think that a little sewing here or there won’t leave much of a mess inside your machine, but you would be completely wrong!

    Soft minky fabric is the worst for causing all kinds of lint buildup after just a few minutes of sewing.

    After each project that you sew, take a few minutes to open up your machine and empty out the lint and any thread fuzz. You’ll thank me later 😉

    Where should I take my machine to have it serviced??

    The best thing to do is to call around and find a place that does not have to ship/take your machine off-sit to be serviced.

    Most vacuum and sewing machine stores will have technicians on site to work on your machine.

    If a shop sends your machine off to be serviced, you will be looking at a longer turn around time.

    You can also call your local small business quilting shop and see where they recommend or where they take their own machines. Big box stores will not be able to send you anywhere.

    What questions should I ask when I drop off my sewing machine?

    Make sure that the terms are very clear when you drop off your machine.

    • How long should I expect to be without my machine?
    • Do you do the service on site?
    • What is the cost of a tune-up?
    • If my machine is in need of repairs, will someone contact me BEFORE ordering parts? – The last thing you want is a surprise bill at the end of your service for parts you didn’t know were in need of repairs!
    • Do you offer any type of discount if I bring in multiple machines at one time?

    Whew! I know that was a lot to digest but hopefully, you’ve learned a thing or two and I have completely answered your question, “How much does it cost to get my sewing machine serviced?”… and then some because I’m totally about providing the extra information that you need to know!

    How much does it cost to have your machine serviced where you live?

  • Every Busy Quilter Should Focus On These 5 Things

    You’re a busy quilter, I’m a busy quilter… How often does this conversation play out between you and um… any other person that crosses your path??

    “Hey! How are you?”
    “Good! But OMG, I’ve been so BUSY!”

    I don’t see that adjective, “busy” changing anytime soon, do you? I’m also a super busy mom of 2 kids, a wife, and a business owner… Things can get a little crazy hectic here every once in a while (aka every single day).

    So while I have lots of quilting I WANT to work on and usually like 4 (or 400) projects that need finishing… I still have all the regular house stuff and human stuff to do to. Laundry, dishes, shopping, etc It is exhausting and it can feel like there are NOT enough hours in the day.

    So how do you keep your sanity without setting your quilting aside for later?

    When life gets rough and I want to curl up in a corner with my *good chocolate* (from the stash that my kids don’t know about)… I know its time to focus on the productivity hacks that bring me back to feeling more like Wonder Woman as opposed to Crazy Girl.

    And today, I’m going to share them with you!

    So you can go from feeling like this:

    via GIPHY

    To feeling more like this:

    Do you know what I mean by just those 2 images? Tell me fellow, busy quilter, that you get me! Please, oh please!

    Wonder Woman feeling says “Yes, I can handle this” It is that little kick in the pants that says “I got this”.

    I love that. I want to be HER

    The 5 things you should be focusing on as a busy quilter

    1. Be honest with yourself – Are you taking on more than ONE human possibly can (or should) handle?

    This can go for over-scheduling your calendar, too heavy of a load from work or even the number of quilts you’ve committed to making (I joke, that there is no such thing but yes… if it is stressing you out, there most certainly IS such a thing!)

    It is perfectly OK to admit that you’re not a super-human hybrid machine. — Even though I like to believe I totally am some days.

    It is best to be honest with yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

    If your workload is something you wouldn’t expect your best friend to take on, perhaps you shouldn’t take it on your shoulders either.

    Every Busy Quilter should focus on these 5 things to really up their quilting game! Work on these small changes for a BIG impact!

    2. Schedule your quilting time in your calendar

    This works 2 ways… either you look up at the clock and realize you’ve been hunched over this quilt for 4 hours and suddenly it is now dark outside and WAY past your bedtime. Oh yeah, and you didn’t get a single other thing done today. Oops.

    -OR- You feel like your schedule is so busy that there isn’t a single moment in the day to even think about quilting (*insert crying here*)

    Those days are tough, honey. I hear you here.

    Schedule your downtime and your quilting time like you do any other event in your calendar! and then, the hard part, stick to it. Set alarms, get a friend to call you – do what you gotta do!

    This will ensure that you get the quilting time that makes you feel like you’re making the desired progress on your quilts.

    Putting quilting as an appointment in my calendar is seriously the only way I really get to quilt in productive chunks of time vs. tiny 10-minute increments.

    Expert tip: Putting on a TV show or a movie is a great way to keep track of time while you’re working on your quilt. Hours can go by so fast when you’re really focused.

    Nesting your seams is a VITAL tool in quilting. It will help you get that finished and polished look on your quilt and cut out those rookie mistakes where your corners shift and seams don't line up. This is an easy trick that any quilter can use! Try it out on your next quilt. You won't be sorry!
    Learn more about what it means to “nest your seams” and get those seams to meet perfectly in your piecing. This is a HUGE step in improving wonky piecing.

    3. Always look for the next project that will grow your skills

    I’ll admit that I’m not the best at being disciplined enough to finish what I’m currently working on before I start a brand new project.

    Even though I really do try to keep my projects to a reasonable number…

    I’ve seen other quilter’s project lists and studios filled with WIPs or UFOs. Work in progress or Unfinished objects I know I’m not the only impatient one! – Want to know more quilting slang? check out this post WHAT IS THE QUILTER’S CODE? )

    Still, if you’re going to be quilting, you might as well make sure that you’re constantly growing your skills and trying new things!

    You can read more about continuing to challenge yourself in quilting. Why you should step out of your comfort zone.

    4. Organize What You Have – Including Current Projects

    Ever missed a deadline you had? Or had to double up your sewing efforts to finish a quilt on time? Or miscalculated and had to give a quilt late? (*Guilty*, yep, yep, and yep!)

    I got frustrated mostly by my own miscalculations. Then, I decided I needed a way to write everything down in a way that kept me organized and made it impossible for me to forget any key parts, dates etc.

    Download this FREE quilt planner and get organized so that you can create more! 6 pages of everything you need. nothing you don't!

    What actually happened was I created a handy way to log every single quilt that I made over the period of a year… and wow. Not to pat myself on the back but yes… I totally was patting myself on the back.

    It pays to take a look at the larger picture instead of hyper focusing on just one quilt at a time 🙂

    You can read more about the FREE 6 Page Planner here or you can simply tell me where to send the FREE download by filling out the little form below! Totally FREE 🙂 My gift of sanity to you, busy quilter!

    5. Take Care Of Yourself

    (Honestly, I thought about putting this one at the top of my list.) How many times do we tell someone to “take care” but never really give it much more thought than that?

    This is my momma-self coming out to give you a little love, ok?

    — I promise I’ll keep it short and sweet! —

    If an apple tree doesn’t get what it really needs nutrient wise, it still gets to be a tree. It can still make it through another season or so, but it doesn’t produce good fruit.

    Do you understand where I’m coming from? The tree doesn’t get to do what it was made to do when it was planted…

    ….BUT YOU, my sweet beautiful busy quilter, you are so much more complex than an apple tree!

    • You need to be loved.
    • I want you to laugh so hard you can’t catch your breath.
    • You need to spend time on the phone with an old friend to reminisce silly old memories.
    • Please consider establishing a self-care routine that you do everyday for YOURSELF because it makes you feel good.
    • You need a decent bedtime and perhaps a nap every now and then,
    • You need to find a good song. Then, turn it up so loud you can’t even hear yourself sing badly to it.
    • Insert whatever geeky/silly dance moves you want to add in too!
    • You need to pull out your quilts that haven’t had a good cuddle in a while. Curl up with a book or a movie. You can study your past quilts and see how your skills are improving!
    • And you should eat a vegetable every day – there, I said it.

    Take care of YOU… because inside you is greatness and the world needs more of it!

    Want to up your quilting game? Focusing on these 5 things is going to make sure that you stay amazing!

    Keep being a busy quilter. Keep focusing on these 5 things continue being an amazing quilter that has a good head on your shoulders!

    For more ideas on fitting quilting into your busy life, check out my most popular FREE download below!

    Happy Quilting!


  • The Ultimate Sewing Space Checklist!

    Are you ready to have the ultimate sewing space?

    I shared pictures and all the details on my office/sewing space and it got me thinking about what exactly was essential for it to function well.

    Like, if I were to help someone else set up their perfect sewing space, what would you HAVE to have?

    Today I’ve got a few tips for you on how to set up your own ultimate sewing space —plus a handy checklist for ensuring you don’t miss anything!

    Tips For Setting Up The Ultimate Sewing Space

    Here are tips to creating The Ultimate Sewing space (no matter what size!) PLUS a Free download checklist so you have everything you need!

    1) Assess what supplies you already have

    Chances are that you already might have several things around your home that would be useful to use for your sewing space. There is no need to go out and buy a ton of storage or big furniture until you actually know what it is you’ll be storing!

    Take some time going through your home and bring out all of the sewing supplies and gadgets and gizmos-a-plenty. all the whos-its and whats-its galore. Pull them all into one place and categorize like things together in piles.

    Once you know what you have, you’ll be able to better categorize it and take note of anything you need, but don’t have or have but don’t need.

    2) Consider what you actually NEED (and don’t need!)

    After you’ve taken mental note of what you already have, I want you to pause and think about what you *need*. Yes… we can all flirt with the boundaries of being a full on hoarder. You don’t have to go fully minimal with your supplies, but you don’t want to have so much that you can’t find the things that you do need either.

    If you have more than one of something, consider parting with it if you’re looking to de-stash.

    You might be tempted to go out and get storage happy with all the cute bins and baskets and drawers, oh my! — Look out Target… we have a woman who wants to organize! I swear they can spot you from a mile away and your pocketbook might even start to shake with fear.

    Even if you don’t already any have organizers or baskets, you might realize that you don’t need as much as you think you do to be really effective.

    3) Assess your space

    You might be one of the lucky girls with a whole spare bedroom for your sewing space or you might just have a small temporary table that you set up in the dining room from time to time.

    Whatever you have, keeping your supplies organized and easily accessible is going to give you the efficiency to spend far more time creating and far less time looking for things… or even having to go to the store because you know you have it, but you can’t find what you need!

    This post also has some really good ideas on improving your current sewing space.

    4) Organize Starting With Priority Items

    Once you have all of your sewing supplies, you’ll want to actually organize everything to get your ultimate sewing space set up!

    Hear these words… do not just put things wherever there’s a free spot or a free shelf. No! Resist, I tell you! I want you to be strategic about setting up your space.

    Organize your sewing space based on your personal needs and priorities.

    For example, we know that the seam ripper is going to get used… a lot. Don’t hide it at the back of a drawer that’s difficult to get at. Instead, make it easy to access! You don’t want to have to quit your creative flow just because you can’t find a basic sewing tool!

    Consider what supplies you are constantly reaching for and need to easily access. Then do your best to keep them within arm’s reach. This will keep you more on-task when you’re working.

    5) Create good habits – And Stick To Them

    How often do you clean and tidy your creative or sewing space?

    …Come on now, be truthful with yourself! You don’t have to tell me.

    When was the last time you cleaned your sewing machine? (hint, you can read this post if you want to know how) or dusted all those nooks and cranies around your workspace? What about that pile of ‘I don’t even remember what I was doing when I set that aside’?

    It’s HARD to remember to keep your sewing space neat and tidy, but it will do wonders for your productivity levels!

    Creativity is messy, yall. It really is… but There is a difference in DIRTY and just slightly cluttered!

    Make sure it is a space that you actually WANT to work in every day!

    Make your sewing room a beautiful haven that you LOVE to be in! After you finish sewing, take 60 seconds to tidy up and organize. Set yourself up for success the next time you come to sew.

    6) Avoid having absolutely everything out in the open

    Avoid distraction like your sanity depends on it.

    Maybe you have superior laser focusing abilities… I, do not possess those skills. I am more like a squirrel in a nut factory with ADD. Basically, try your best to hide anything in your sewing space that you aren’t working on or related to the project that you are working on. Keep your workspace clear so your brain doesn’t have a choice!

    You might be wondering, “but what about my trinkets? All my lovely fabrics? Or pictures of my grandkids, or plants? They don’t have anything to do with quilting/sewing. Do I have to hide them from view in my office?” No! Things like that can stay—just LIMIT how many you have on display if you can. Limit those little extras so that your sewing space remains primarily a space for sewing and productive creativity. You can still allow some of your personal interests/joys in life to shine through.

    When you do this, you’ll find that you are able to stay so much more focused on your projects at hand, and you’ll be less distracted—which means you’ll produce higher-quality work. Win-win!

    7) Storage Solutions

    Don’t be afraid to take a good hard look at your recycled boxes when it comes to organizing. Even if you look at it as a temporary fix.

    Perhaps the budget doesn’t allow for a full makeover right now. You can “test out” different sizes and ideas by anticipating what you might need and give it a go before making any purchases.

    You can read this post for more ideas on cheap storage solutions for your sewing room

    Or you can read this post for ideas on how to store you scrap fabric.

    Every person’s habits vary and what works for one sewist might not be the most efficient for another — you need to figure out what kind of organizational systems and ultimate sewing room set-up is right for you!

    Here are tips to creating The Ultimate Sewing space (no matter what size!) PLUS a Free download checklist so you have everything you need!
  • The BEST Places To Buy Fabric Online!

    I love to go shopping for fabric!… (and like a lot of quilters I know…) maybe a little too much? ….. ha… Just kidding… you can never have enough fabric, right? 😉 I have done my fair research of the best places to buy fabric online!

    I love love love fabric. Don’t you just love collecting it and using it in beautiful quilts to show it off.

    I also love a good bargain so I’ll tell you my secrets on shopping for bargain fabric too! You can also check out my tips on How I find fabric for $2 a yard!

    The qualifications I look for in Online Fabric are:

    • It MUST be high-quality quilting fabric – No cheaply made fabric that isn’t worth my time.
    • I love a good selection of Modern prints – the more I can buy from 1 store, the better I can save on my shipping.
    • It isn’t a deal breaker but it certainly helps if I can find a good coupon or FREE shipping, am I right?

    My go-to Websites for buying fabric online:

    My first go-to website is They have a HUUUUUGE selection of fabric in most every possible collection you can think of. I even wrote an entire blog post on and the evolution of online fabric shopping!

    It is a color obsessive quilter’s dream paradise because you can shop by color, fabric type, theme etc.

    However, I have found that they don’t carry a lot of the smaller more limited collection prints… so if you’re looking for the super specialized fabric you may have to dig a little deeper into the internet.

    How to find the deals: Shop clearance and closeout fabrics first. Then fill in with what you need from the full priced fabric.

    Side Note: You can also get an extra 1% discount if you sign up for an ebates account. I swear it used to be 3% so it may change again in the future. I know its not a lot, but if you do any amount of online shopping, it is totally worth signing up for. It’s FREE and you earn cash back for buying your regular purchases online. That’s it. No catch or secrets. ummm did someone say more fabric money? Yes, yes I did! I’ve been using it for about a year now and love love love it!

    FatQuarterShop is a store with us quilter’s in mind! I’m talking all the bundles, jelly rolls, layer cakes, quilt patterns, notions and fabric in one beautiful store.

    They offer FREE shipping if you spend over $80 – yes, thats kind of a high limit, but oh so easy to get to if you plan you shopping right and buy it all in one place.

    There is also a flash sale every single day that I am so tempted by every time I shop. Its 1 product every single day that is deeply discounted for 24 hours and then a new one the next day. who doesn’t love that bargain grab?

    There is also these incredibly essential band-aids that no quilter should be without! And at $4.48/box… well we can heal any needle prick, can’t we?

    Hawthorne Supply Co has long been a favorite of mine! It is run by a husband and wife that are just adorable.

    They have a good selection of sale fabrics and their site is absolutely beautiful and easy to navigate to find exactly what you are looking for quickly.

    They also have great giveaways on their site frequently… I have never been fortunate enough to win one but… I must keep trying because you never know, right?

    Keepsake Quilting is a wonderful site for quilting fabrics! Oh, they have a fine collection, yes they do!

    They also have a great selection of notions, patterns and clearance fabrics too!

    I couldn’t help it… their name drew me in bu their fabric selection brings me back again and again. Thousands of bolts is just what their name says – so much fabric!

    … and it is organized by color too so its easy to pull together the look you have in your mind when you are planning a quilt but don’t know exactly what you need.

    They also have specials on fabrics for just over $5 a yard!

    Clair’s Fabrics is a lovely (Australian) shop. It is full of such wonderful modern and contemporary prints and fabrics. I feel like I get lost in a wonderland looking through the selections!

    You can even shop by designer which is a nice touch if you have your favorites and want to shop quick to see whats new!

    First of all… a Pink Castle logo! duh…. second of all, really great deals on pre-cuts and bundles! Pink Castle Fabrics is a hot spot for quick and easy shopping.

    Bloomerie is a super well organized online shopping experience and I have never had one single issue with my order.

    I usually find several fun finds in their sale section as well

    This darling website is just that… everything is just adorable and I want it all. The people who work to curate the bundles at Cottoneer are absolutely gifted in what they do. I envy their talents with all my fabric loving heart.

    Fabricworm has been in the business of fabric obsessing for over 10 years now. I love their selection of Japanese Imported fabrics.

    One of my last (but certainly only scratching the surface of online fabric shopping) is Connecting Threads.

    First of all – free shipping on your first order when you join their email list (yay!)

    Once you’re in, you can shop by color, fabric use, type etc. This makes it easy to go straight to what you’re looking for.

    *Whew!* Thats was a little long winded but I hope you have found a new store or two to browse through this evening 🙂 Go shopping and enjoy the best places to buy fabric online!

    There are so many fabrics out there just waiting for you to scoop them up and turn them into something wonderful!

    What about you? Where are you favorite places to shop for fabric?