The Free Motion Quilting Project

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How to Teach Quilting Classes

Hello My Quilting Friends! It's time for a new podcast episode and this week I'm sharing tips and ideas for teaching quilting classes. I received this request from Suzanne on Instagram and she wrote:

"How do you prepare and plan to teach a class from prep to actual class time and then post-class?"

That's the question I'm answering today. If you'd like to make a suggestion for a future podcast episode please contact me or you can send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I love knowing that you're engaged and interested in the show and I may just record an episode just to answer your question!

Now here's the show:

As you can tell, I have a lot of strong opinions about what makes a good quilting class and what makes a good quilting teacher and I think that all this information can apply whether you're teaching in person or online or anywhere in between. I do think it's important to come from the heart when you teach. If you're tired and run down, it's going to be reflected in how you express yourself.

I also share a lot of tips on how to teach and the importance of samples and a hand out. Find a few friends to practice your class as well before you teach a bigger group so you'll know what questions are going to come up ahead of time.

Click Here to find the full transcript

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day

Monday, December 5, 2016

How to Piece a Sun Explosion Block

It's time to piece our very last quilt block for the Machine Quilting Block Party this year! Our final block combines many units we've learned this year including a Square in a Square, Half Square Triangles, and Flying Geese to create a beautiful Sun Explosion quilt block.

Let's learn how to piece this block step-by-step in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the pattern for Block 12

The trickiest part of this Sun Explosion Block is the flying geese units that are expanded with little strips to create the side units. Make sure to watch the video above to see how I deal with the bright orange fabric shadowing through the light cream fabrics.

This is our last block for this year, but remember the party is starting right back up on January 1st, 2017! We have a new mystery quilt called Flower Festival to piece and quilt together month by month next year.

We will have more details on this new quilt along very soon. In the meantime, get to work on your Sunshine Surprise quilt! If you finish your quilt and post a picture to the Block Party Facebook Group we will send you the Block #1 pattern for next year for free!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tunic Challenge - Part 3

Photo from The Tunic Bible
 It's our third week of the Tunic Challenge and I'm on the home stretch! Amy Johnson and I have been sewing along together for the past three weeks to push each other to make something for ourselves. We both bought a copy of The Tunic Bible and this week we're cutting out the pieces of our tunics to sew next week.

I've had a lot of fun picking out my fabrics and deciding how to stitch my tunic up a notch. In the book, we have 12 necklines and 6 sleeves and 4 hems to choose from (not to mention 2 ways to fit and 3 different lengths), and if I extrapolate the different combinations, you could potentially create more than 288 different garments from this one pattern!

My favorite by far was the tunic with an elongated placket and ribbon trim. It looks a bit retro to me, and obviously comfortable to wear around the house, but is also easily dressy enough for a nice occasion.

Now for a guilty admission - I've been hoarding ribbon trims.

This started more than a year ago when I first stumbled across the seriously addictive, absolutely wonderful delight that is Reniassance Ribbons. Ribbon isn't even a good word for it. This is DIVINE!

I began my collection with the 2 inch wide gorgeous trim on the right, but do I use it? I must get more so I can play. But then what if I mess that up?

Yeah, most of my horded collections of supplies start this way. And then get promptly stuck in the this-is-too-pretty-to-cut / I-just-want-to-pet-it-and-love-it-from-afar state that doesn't actually yield to using it.

But I really, really love this stuff! Wouldn't it make me more happy to use it and see it and get to show it off in a fancy garment?

Absolutely! I'm determined to use a significant amount of this to trim my tunic. Just as soon as I figure out how to make my hand cut into it. I can't seem to force my fingers to close around the scissors and make...them...cut....

*Sigh* I will just have to make myself do it!

So this beautiful bubble blue and purple trim was my starting point and then came the search for fabrics. I decided to go with a darker color to make the ribbon stand out that much better and my eyes fell on a big piece of dark purple batik.

I'm sure this was a big piece of backing fabric set aside for something important. So important I absolutely can't remember it now. No problem - it will now be my tunic.

Cutting out of course went easy as pie because I already had the pattern pieces prepared. I also added an extra layer of white cotton voile which is very thin fabric that I will use to back the purple batik.

This will be an interlining that will strengthen the tunic and reduce wrinkles. It did double the time to cut out the whole thing, but as with all of this - it will be worth it!

So that's what I did this week on the Tunic Challenge. Let's see how Amy Johnson got on with it.

We just have one more week to go - sewing and showing off our finished tunics! You can join in the fun too - pick up a copy of the Tunic Bible and follow along. It's a very fun pattern with so many variations. I know I will definitely be making many sleeveless tunics for next summer.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Quilt Impossible Maze - #471

It's Friday and time for a new machine quilting design! This new design, Impossible Maze, is inspired by the second design to be posted to the Free Motion Quilting Project - Etch n' Sketch. It's even simpler and easier to quilt than before because I've switched out all the curves for straight lines and right angles:

Learn how to quilt Impossible Maze in a beginner quilting tutorial with Leah Day

I really like the texture of this Impossible Maze quilting design. It's a bit like Monster Teeth and Hardwood Floors, but I think it will be even easier to quilt than other of those. Notice how my straight lines aren't really all that straight? You can also get away with that because it's not supposed to be exactly perfect. See what I mean in this new quilting tutorial:

Do you enjoy these tutorials each week? Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you don't miss any new videos!

Now let's learn a bit more about this Impossible Maze quilting design.

Learn how to machine quilt Impossible Maze - free video!
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Yes, this design involves a lot of straight line quilting, but it's perfectly fine if it's not perfect.

Look closely at my block above - see how the lines are a bit wobbly and sometimes closer together and sometimes further apart? It's quite forgiving and still looks great inspite of these imperfections.

Now if you want it to be perfect with nice straight lines the best bet would be to mark the design. Don't worry, it's not cheating. I do it all the time!

Design Family: Edge to Edge - Impossible Maze is quilted by stitching from one edge to another. This could be from one ditch to another across a narrow bit of sashing. It could also be across a border. It could also mean quilting across an entire quilt. All are fair game.

Suggestions for Quilting - As for the easiest space to put this design I would suggest 4-6 inch sashing and borders. This is enough space for the quilting design to stand out and show off, but not so much space you're having to stop and reposition your hands several times while quilting the straight lines.

Of course, the best way to know where any design will work best is to quilt it! Experiment and play with Impossible Maze in your next quilt and be sure to snap a picture to show us what you did with it. You can post your pictures ot the Leah Day Quilting Facebook Group or tag me on Instagram or Facebook @LeahDayQuilting.

Let's go Quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Podcast 4 - Machine Embroidery with Patsy Thompson

Hello My Quilting Friends! This week I have a excellent interview with Patsy Thompson about machine embroidery. Patsy is an award-winning quilter, and she's also a self-published author, and you've probably seen her DVDs in your local quilt store. She has this really unique style of free-motion quilting, her thread colors especially. When you see her quilts, I think you'll instantly recognize them. It's really that distinctive.

Patsy and I are going to talk all about machine embroidery, how she uses machine embroidery in her quilts, how she does it, how she digitizes, all of that good stuff. Of course the machine she uses, so definitely be looking forward to this interview with Patsy.
She shares a lot of good information. We're going to include a few photos in the show notes, so if you'd like to see some visuals, you can of course come by and see the full transcript and show notes from the episode, and that's going to be at, so you'll be able to find it there. You can also see Patsy's amazing work at

Click Here to find the full transcript with links to everything mentioned in the podcast.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sneak Peek for Block #12!

It's almost December and our very last Machine Quilting Block Party block for 2016! Here's a little sneak peek to give you an idea of next month's block:

This last block will finish off the last row of your Sunshine Surprise Quilt so you can connect all the blocks together to create your completed quilt. It's so exciting to see so many beautiful blocks being posted to the Block Party Facebook Group so be sure to join in and share your progress this month!

And yes, the party will continue in 2017 so if you're just finding out about this project, just wait until January 1st and begin the Flower Festival quilt with us next year!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Tunic Challenge - Part 2

Yay, we're on the second week of the Tunic Challenge! Click Here to find Part 1 of this mini series.

Just a quick recap in case you haven't been following along - Amy Johnson and I are both making tunics using The Tunic Bible book. We're both super busy this month and we knew we wouldn't make tunics for ourselves, but by challenging each other, we're having lots of fun and making something pretty to wear this winter.

This I cut out the pattern pieces in white fabric and started sewing to create a muslin of the tunic garment. Honestly I'm glad I did because adding the elongated placket and bias neckline was a bit tricky and it was good to get some extra experience with it. 

I was also able to play with interfacing and decided that French Fuse was the best choice for me. It's lightweight and adds body to the garment without becoming stiff.

I cut out the pieces and slipped on the tunic before attaching the sleeves. Immediately I saw it needed to be shortened, which surprised me. I have a fairly long torso and the tunic for size small ran to below my butt. That's not my favorite length because you end up sitting on the end of the shirt and it gets all wrinkly, or you have to bunch it up not to sit on it and that looks weird...yeah, you get the idea.

So I found the only full length mirror in the house, backed up as far as I could and folded the tunic up along the lengthen / shorten lines. Then James decided he needed to come help out, despite already going to bed.

When I finally managed to get my kid to stop picking my nose and choking me, I found the adjustment I liked. This raised the tunic up around 3 inches so the bottom edge falls around the pockets of my jeans. Perfect! I don't like shirts that come up too short and expose my belly (who the heck would?!) and I don't like shirts that come down too low, unless it's actually a dress. None of this wannabe dress / confused length shirt nonsense for me.

Have you noticed I'm fairly picky? I know - I'm surprised too! When I buy ready-to-wear garments I know instantly when something feels right. When making it yourself, I think you have to give yourself permission to keep tweeking the pattern until it feels good. Too many times I've made garments that enough...and then I've never worn them.

So back to the fitting. The collar was tricky and yes, I was working with leftover bias binding from funky quilt that absolutely didn't match my white muslin, but hey, it was already cut!

Then I played with the sleeves. Or more like fussed with the sleeves. The first thing I realized is the main garment is designed with 3/4 length sleeves. So I tried adding a cuff and that only took them down to my wrist bone. Uggh!

I measured and guessed that I needed an additional 5 inches of length to become a long sleeve. I tried that out and I like it a lot better, but I may extend it another two inches to get it just right.

So that's my fitted tunic! I didn't stitch the back darts because I like a comfortable fit. I like the cut and I think it's nicely flattering.

Now how has this gone for Amy Johnson? Check out her post right here!

We have just a few more weeks of this Tunic Challenge. Here's the next posts we have planned:

Next Saturday - Cutting out the pieces of our real fabric

Saturday after next - Sew our tunics and show them off!

You can join in this informal sewing party. Just pick up a copy of The Tunic Bible and follow along sewing your tunic with us. We'd love to see what you make on Instagram!

Let's go sew!

Leah Day
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