Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

Hold Tight Sew Along Week 4.jpg

It’s the fourth and final week of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I’ve been sharing tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. No longer will curved piecing hold you back from stitching a quilt with curves! 

If you don't have the pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page or from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop who now carries this pattern along with the Hold Tight quilt kit. If you’ve just discovered this blog or only just heard about this sew along, there’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun as the blog post for the sew along will remain up to access any time. To get up to speed, take a look at the Week #1 posting dedicated to color selection and working with colors like a designer.

Hold Tight Sew Along Banner web.jpg

The Hold Tight Sew Along tutorials are useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt is being made. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos to further your learning experience. I’ve added a new video dedicated to hand quilting and adding the “strings” embellishment to this quilted quilt before binding. View video support Weeks #1 through #4 on my Sew Along page. All the videos will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

These blog posts serve to supplement the instructions but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. The Hold Tight pattern will have your material list, cutting requirements, full-size templates, and be fully illustrated. My supplementary blog posts are just that, supplementary and meant to guide you along as you sew and give general patchwork sewing information for anyone sewing curves.

Hold Tight Quilt Top.jpg


If you’re a beginner or just in need of a refresher on how to baste your quilt top, machine quilt, and add the binding, check out the Finishing blog post I had written for the Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt. Since I cover the way I put together my quilt sandwich and how I go about machine quilting in the Sewcial Bee Sampler post I won’t go over that identical information here but instead add information specific to the Hold Tight quilt such as batting selection, the machine quilting design I used on both of my Hold Tight quilts, and hand quilting the string embellishment.

Two Hold Tight Quilts.jpg

To help illustrate how different batting lofts look in a finished quilt I decided to use the exact same quilting design on both of my Hold Tight quilts.

The white background quilt on the left has a Hobb’s Tuscany Silk batting inside and the ombré quilt on the right has Hobb’s Tuscany 100% Polyester batting inside. I love both of these battings but they have completely different properties.

Here’s what I love about both of these products:

Both preform beautifully with quilting stitched up to 4” apart.

Both have a beautiful drape, light weight (no heavy quilt to wrestle with when stitching), and easy to handle.

Both are excellent for hand stitching and machine quilting.

There’s no shrinkage with Tuscany Polyester and only 3%-5% with Tuscany Silk (but I’ve noticed very little after laundering).

I’ve had no issues with laundering these battings and set my machine to Delicate Cycle, Cold Water wash and rinse, and low heat (delicate) drying.

The Tuscany Silk is similar to a cotton batting for stitch definition and feel but without the weight. The Tuscany Polyester is a high loft for a puffier look and is light as a feather (great for kids and extra snuggly quilts).

You can read further direct from the source at Hobb’s Batting plus take a look at their handing Quilting Products Batting chart to know what’s the best batting for your needs.

2 Hold Tight Quilts Close.jpg

I decided to do a very simple quilting stitch on these two quilts. The original Hold Tight quilt is filled with Tuscany 100% Polyester batting but has a dense, overall quilt design (see quilt below) so the quilt doesn’t puff as much as with the simple, looser machine quilting (see quilt on the right, above). It just depends on the look and feel you want to achieve.

Hold Tight draped.jpg

To stitch the loose Looping Scallop design you will need to do a little prep work of marking a horizontal line across the middle of the block rows.

Hold Tight Quilting-02.jpg

By dividing the block rows in half horizontally you’re making guides for two Looping Scallop quilting lines per block row. Stagger the two Looping Scallops in alternating rows as seen in the illustration above. I freeform stitched my Looping Scallops and they look in real life about as wonky as they do on my illustrated drawing.

For one horizontal row of Looping Scallops I used the block seam lines as my guide where I would make the loop. On the next row, that seam line was my midway point between loops that I eye-balled to land in the middle of the block.

I worked from the bottom of the quilt up, as I wanted the scallops to give a bit of a cloud illusion and this felt the most natural for me in creating the loops. You can work from the top down if that feels more comfortable to you. If you’re not sure about eye-balling where the loops and scallops are to be stitched, then draw out the machine quilting design or make a little mark at the midpoints for reference so you have more of a guide to follow.

Hold Tight Quilt Quilting.jpg

Once your quilt has been quilted and before you add the binding, you’ll want to add the hand stitching to create strings on the ends of the balloons. I’ve put together a helpful video all about Hand Quilting and you can find it on the Sew Along page with the other Hold Tight Sew Along videos.

I used all 6 strands of 6-ply Aurifil floss for my hand quilting thread.

Hold Tight Art Class Quilt on line.jpg

All of my Hold Tight quilt use Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids for the top. The white background quilt I’m calling the Art Class color way and you can see the full list of fabrics used on week #1 of the Sew Along. For the backing I had to sneak in a print and used Sporangia Plaid print from my Art Gallery Fabrics Signature collection as the perfect compliment to the colorful front.

Hold Tight on Ladder 2.jpg

For the Ombré Desert color way I mixed it up a bit and made a gradient background to simulate the sky. Read about the colors that went into making this top along with the color inspiration for the quilt on week #2 of the Sew Along.

Hold Tight Ombré Desert on line.jpg

The backing for the Ombré Desert color way is Destination Aerial from my Tapestry collection for AGF. It was the perfect shades of blues and peaches!

Hold Tight on Ladder 4.jpg

I lucked out with the perfect (although a bit windy) day for photography and love how the blue of the sky looks with these quilts. The balloons look as if they will fly away!!!

2 Hold Tight Quilts.jpg

I can’t wait to see your finished Hold Tight quilts, there’s so many possibilities for coloring and even the finishing options make this quilt look completely unique. Be sure to tag me @sharonhollanddesigns when posting to social media and don’t forget to use the hashtag #holdtightsewalong to be entered into our final giveaway that will be drawn from the Instagram hashtag pool on Monday, April 15 (see below for more details).

HoldTightSewAlong Sponsor.jpg

Let’s give a huge shout out of thanks to our fine sponsors and their generous giveaway prizes. I personally love the people behind these companies, their quality products, and their dedication to serving makers like you.

Thank you to our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously sponsored the Hold Tight Sew Along.

This Friday, April 12th will be our last Hold Tight Sew Along giveaway on Instagram. By using the hashtag #HoldTightSewAlong on Instagram every time you post sew along photos to a public account (private account posts don’t show up in hashtag pools) your IG account is automatically entered into the weekly sew along drawings! Ideas for what to share include your sew along progress, the “I’m a maker” sew along badge found HERE, your fabric pull, blocks, and finished quilt.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns so you never miss a thing!


FQS Giveaway.jpg

You may need to be restocking your solids stash after this sew along so what better way add some color to your fabric cabinet than with a chance to win this giveaway! One lucky IG winner will be sewing with this beautiful 15-piece Art Gallery Fabrics Summer Sun Pure Elements fat quarter bundle generously offered by the Fat Quarter Shop.

AGF Summer Sun.png

Don't forget the giveaways for this sew along are held on Instagram (not on the blog) and winning names are randomly drawn from the posts in the hashtag pool. By posting images of your Hold Tight color inspiration, fabric pull, blocks, or quilt. Use the official #holdtightsewalong hashtag every time you post your makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings! See my Instagram Friday giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details. 

Community Sampler Week #15

Community Sampler Week #15

Community Sampler borders 2.jpg

You've done it! You're top is pieced and now it's ready to be quilted. My co-host and sister Art Gallery Fabrics designer Maureen Cracknell and I are so happy to have you sewing with us and can't wait to see your finished quilts.

CS Promo banner 2.jpg

Surprisingly we still have a few new Makers joining our sew along at this late point. If you are just joining us, pick up the Introduction PDF on the Sew Along page and you'll get a material list along with coloring pages so you can get started planning your quilt. Then, work your way through the first Community Sampler post to the present and take advantage of the in-blog tutorials for the different patchwork techniques used throughout the Community Sampler. Both Maureen and I will leave all the Community Sampler downloads up on our blogs for you to download long after this event is done. Also, check out the #Community Sampler hashtag on Instagram, you'll see an amazing array of beautiful blocks as inspiration overload! Soon, you'll be seeing finished Community Sampler quilts too!


Time to quilt and finish your Community Sampler! Download the free PDF on the Sew Along page.

Community Sampler borders 1.jpg

The Finishing PDF download will give you cutting and yardage requirements for a Community Sampler quilt with and without borders. If you've modified the pattern by enlarging the size of your quilt you will need to recalculate the number of binding strips needed, backing, and batting yardages.

  • Add 6''- 8'' to the finished dimensions of a quilt (3''- 4'' extra inches on all sides) for backing and batting needs. 
  • To figure binding: Add all four sides of the quilt plus an additional 12'' for seams. Divide that number by 42'' (the width of typical fabric) and the result is the number of strips needed. Round up if necessary.

For my Community Sampler quilt I've pieced my top in Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Element solids. But, for the back it's time to add a print! My newest Art Gallery Fabrics collection, Signature is now available at your local quilt shops and online. I chose the Untamed Beauty Daybreak print from my collection because the background has the same soft peach/pink as the Sweet Macademia Pure Elements solids background on the front of the quilt and picks up the coral, honey yellow, and kelly green solid colors throughout the blocks.

To be honest I've not figured out my binding yet but I do know it will be a solid and may just depend on material I have left from the top--maybe a scrappy one!


Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm directing you to the blog post for Finishing that was originally posted during last year's Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along. There's where you'll find all the tutorial information for spray basting, quilting, and binding your Community Sampler. The sizes have changed but the concept for basting, quilting, and binding your quilt are the same. As stated in that post, there are many ways to finish a quilt and I am blogging about how I finish my quilts. If you have a preferred method, please do it the way you're comfortable with. If you intend to send your top off to be professionally quilted, discuss with your long-arm quilter how they'd like you to prepare your quilt top and backing for being quilted. 


I'm not a professional quilter by any means. I get by and call my quilting style "organic" because it's not perfect and lines are not straight. Since I've not quilted my Community Sampler at the time of writing this post I cannot say with certainty how I plan to quilt it yet. I have an idea to do a loopy clamshell sort of quilting (see first illustration) but until I sit down to my mid arm machine I really am not sure. 

Artboard 1loops quilting.jpg

Use your coloring book page from the first PDF download with a tracing paper overlay to test out various quilting options. 

I do have a tutorial on my Tutorials page for how to quilt a Baptist Fan pattern that is one of my favorite patterns. You can find tons of quilting pattern inspiration online or through the professional quilters resources I listed earlier. The type of quilting design that appeals to you is the best one to choose. Keep in mind the complexity and your skill level when choosing, so you don't get frustrated.

Artboard 1grid quilting.jpg

Another great option that always looks good is a grid pattern. You can run the grid horizontally and vertically or on the diagonal. 

Keep in mind that different batting types have different properties and quilt spacing requirements. Read the packaging recommendations and plan your quilting accordingly. 

I know this is not possibly enough to answer all your questions on how to finish a quilt. Use the internet, books, and other quilters to help fill in the gaps I've not covered here. I've only written about the steps I use to finish my quilts and there are many other ways to achieve the same end results--find what works best for your skill level and needs.

Next week will be the full reveal of mine and Maureen's quilts and of course our grand finale giveaway prize! 


My co-host Maureen Cracknell and I are continually amazed by the joy and excitement each of you bring to our virtual community. Thank you for making this sew along so special. Please visit Maureen's blog and see the progress she's making on her sampler quilt, using her beautiful AGF fabrics Love Story collection. Be sure to use the #CommunitySampler hashtag when posting your blocks to Instagram and tag both my @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell so we don't miss any of your beautiful work! But, please be patient with both Maureen and I over the next few weeks if we don't comment back. Both Maureen and I are preparing sewing samples for our new spring collections and there's just not enough hours in the day (or energy) to get it all done!

Don't forget that this Friday's a Giveaway Friday on the Community Sampler sew along. Maureen and I will take turns hosting a giveaway each week where one of our generous sponsors will be featured and offering amazing prizes both here on our blogs and also on Instagram. Maureen will be hosting the giveaway this Friday and you'll be instructed how to enter at that time.

Happy sewing!






Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt Finishing

Finishing Your Sewcial Bee Sampler Quilt

Wow, I cannot believe how quickly 26 weeks can go by! All the Sewcial Bee Sampler (SBS) blocks have been released and it's time to put your quilt together. There's only two more weeks to take part in our SBS Survey. Refer back to my last post for all the info and link to the simple eight question survey about your SBS experience. By taking part in the questionnaire my co-host Maureen Cracknell and I can get a better idea as to what we may collaborate on next as well as give us a headcount of actual SBS Makers! Please only take the survey once and much thanks to those who've already responded. 

Surprisingly we still have a few new Makers joining our sew along at this late point. If you're new, be sure to take advantage of the in-blog tutorials for the different patchwork techniques used throughout the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Pick up tips and block variations beginning with the first blog post The Start of Something Sewcial. Both Maureen and I will leave all the SBS downloads up on our blogs for you to download long after this event is done. Also, check out the #SewcialBeeSampler hashtag on Instagram, you'll see an amazing array of beautiful blocks as inspiration overload! Soon, you'll be seeing finished SBS quilts too!

Several of you have decided to skip the sashing between the blocks and make a smaller quilt and that's the beauty of this project that it can be customized to fit your needs. For those of you waiting to add the sashing you can download the PDF instructions for finishing your SBS sampler quilt from my Sew Along page

Today's blog post feels a bit epic with all the tutorials I've prepared for finishing your quilt. The following information on spray basting, quilting, and binding is the way I finish all my quilts. That doesn't mean this is the only way to do things--it's simply how I finish my own quilts. I'm by no means an expert quilter and will only touch upon some aspects of machine quilting. You will definitely want to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge professional quilters have posted on their blogs, YouTube videos, and in books. My favorite quilters to follow and resource are: Christina Cameli, Angela Walters, and Christa Watson. They're pros!

You will also want to check out Maureen's blog as she will be giving you additional information with step out photos of adding the sashing and how she has pieced and is quilting her quilt. 


Feel free to arrange your SBS blocks anyway you'd like. My first (of the two) sampler I kept all the blocks in order of release but my second quilt I needed to move some of the blocks around for better fabric and color distribution. Be sure all 25 blocks (those with frames and without frames) are squared to 12-1/2" before you start adding the sashing. 

One thing you will notice about the framed blocks is they have an orientation. The opposing sides of the frames are the same size. It doesn't matter if you orient the larger frames on the top and bottom like we've shown in the instructions and in the photo below, or the smaller of the frame sides at the top and bottom, I just suggest orienting the blocks the same way throughout the quilt for a more professional finish. Also be mindful if the prints on your block have an obvious direction and keep them all running the same way as you piece.

Since our sampler quilt is square, how you add the sashing can also your preference and doesn't change the cutting requirements. The instructions are given for making vertical rows adding 2-1/2" x 12-/12" sashing strips between the blocks then joining the rows with long vertical sashing strips. This can easily be flipped and worked the same way as horizontal rows and sashing. 

In example below I used some orphan blocks and Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements peach solid sashing to show vertical and horizontal orientation. For the actual Bountiful quilt I chose to use the Pure Elements Snow white solid to match my frames (accentuating the blocks to float on the background) and stitched vertical rows as given in the instructions. For my second SBS quilt the frames and sashing are made from different prints so I felt the prints looked their best with horizontal sashing. 

Follow the instructions on the Finishing PDF for cutting number and size of sashing. To make the long sashing strips needed for between the rows, stitch the remaining (11) 2-1/2" x 42" strips short ends together to make one long strip.

Press your seams toward the sashing to reduce bulk and press each block/sashing row well. Measure each block/sashing row without stretching the material. Average those numbers and cut 6 sashing strips to this measurement from the long strip. Sew the long sashing strips alternately together with the block/sashing rows to make the top. Press top well.

Cut and piece the backing to measure 3''-4'' larger on all sides than your quilt top (as sizes will vary depending upon if you added sashing or not) using a 1/2" seam allowance. I prefer to use a 1/2" seam allowance on the backing seam to add strength to the seam. Press the seam open to reduce bulk. Press backing well.

Cut batting to the same size (or slightly smaller) than the backing. For my quilts I'm using Hobbs batting products courtesy of our generous sponsor. Part of the grand finale package will include the Tuscany Wool and Tuscany Silk queen size battings just like the ones Maureen and I are using in our quilts.

Spray Basting

Again, this is a personal preference on how you baste together the layers of your quilt. If you intend to send your top off to be quilted by a longarm quilter you can skip to the Binding section. I like spray basting for two reasons: No pins to put in and no pins to remove when machine quilting. Second, I feel I get a much smoother finished quilt because of the terrific surface contact between the layers. It's totally your choice how to sandwich the layers but I will show you how I do it. There are many YouTube tutorials by industry professionals on this subject if you need more information.

Suggested supplies: Knee pads, duct tape, and 505 basting spray. I love the 505 brand of basting spray. I buy it in bulk and go straight for the large cans! I do have an affiliation link for this product on my right side bar with Amazon. If you are at all interested in purchasing this product I'd greatly appreciate you using my affiliate link. It's not like I'll get rich but every penny does help defer some of my expenses of producing this blog. 

I use my garage floor as my large, flat surface for spray basting. My garage floor is free of any oil or grease stains and a simple sweep before I begin is the only prep I need. I don't protect the floor from overspray but if that's a concern, you may want to add cardboard, kraft paper, or some other ink free paper product to the supply list and tape down it around the spray area before you begin.

Lay the backing wrong side up and use the duct tape to hold the backing to the flat surface. Don't stretch the backing tight, but keep it relaxed and ripple free as possible. On a quilt this size, I use about three pieces of tape per side. Once the backing is secure, open the cut-to-size batting and center it onto backing.

Once the batting is opened, smoothed, and centered, pull half of the batting back to reveal the backing. Following the manufacturer's instructions on the spray baste and spray about a 12" wide section of spray baste onto the wrong side of the backing parallel to the folded back batting. Lift batting and smooth out onto spray basted section working from the center outward. 

Continue spray basting and smoothing sections of batting in the same manner till the half of the backing is covered. Pull back the other half of the batting and repeat until the batting and backing are adhered and smooth. 

Adhere the top in the same manner by first centering the top on the backing/batting sandwich. Pull half of the top back and apply the spray bast in sections to the batting. Smooth the top out from the center as you go until the quilt sandwich is done. Remove the tape and bring your quilt inside. I like to let it rest and dry a bit before I start quilting. I have no idea if that is a thing, to let it rest, but it's what I do.

Before I start any quilting I turn the quilt sandwich over so the backing is right side up and give it a check over for smoothness. The nice thing about spray baste is it's repositionable and if you need to lift a layer to flatten it out you can without losing any integrity. Work from the center outward if you need to fix and puckering. 

Machine Quilting

Choosing a thread color and quilting design can feel overwhelming sometimes. Both of these aspects of quilting are purely a personal choice. My suggestion is that if you are new to machine quilting and plan to take on the job yourself, choose a thread color that blends with the quilt so it will be less noticeable. I use a 50 or 40 weight thread. 50 wt will be thinner than a 40 wt and thinner thread equals less visible.

The best way to judge how a thread color will look on your quilt is to pull out a strand of thread and lay it across a section of the quilt. You can see how what looked like bold colors on the cone almost negate out to about the same look when seen just as strands on the second photo. I went with the cream thread (bottom right) for the top thread and white thread for the bobbin. You don't have to use the same color for the top and bobbin thread if you don't want to. 

I have a Husqvarna Platinum 16 midarm machine. This type of quilting machine has a 16" arm to accommodate the bulk of a quilt better than a domestic machine can and is also called a sit down machine. The machine is stationary and only the needle moves up and down. There's no feed dogs. It's a free-motion machine and I need to move the quilt under it to quilt. I keep the areas of quilt not being quilted rolled up and on the table so the quilt top doesn't drag and pull as I quilt.

As I said earlier in this post, I'm not a professional quilter. I get by. I call my quilting organic because it's not perfect and lines are not straight. You will see the full quilt reveal next week and I will talk more about my quilting choices for the two quilts. For my Bountiful quilt I went with a very simple loop pattern that when overlapped creates a circle in the overlap. My second quilt I intend to do a denser floral design but I haven't gotten that one finished yet. I do have a tutorial on my Tutorials page for how to quilt a Baptist Fan pattern that is one of my favorite patterns. You can find tons of quilting pattern inspiration online or through the professional quilters resources I listed earlier. The type of quilting design that appeals to you is the best one to choose. Keep in mind the complexity and your skill level when choosing, so you don't get frustrated.


There are many ways to make binding. For the Sewcial Bee Sampler I chose double-fold regular binding. If you'd like to make bias binding, refer to my How to Bind a Quilt tutorial on my Tutorial page

Cut (8) 2-1/4" x 42" binding strips according to the PDF instructions. Place two strips right sides together at right angles. Sew with a diagonal seam (I've shown a drawn diagonal line on the first photo). Continue adding strips in the same manner to make one long binding strip. Trim seams to 1/4".

Press seams open to reduce bulk. Fold the strip lengthwise in half with wrong sides together. Press.

Roll the quilt parallel to a side of the quilt to be stitched for ease of handling while attaching the binding. Starting at the center of the exposed edge of the quilt top, place the folded binding on the front of the quilt with raw edges aligned. Leaving 12" of the binding strip free, begin stitching with a 1/4" seam allowance. Sew to the corner and backstitch 1/4" from the edge. Remove the quilt from the machine and refold so the new edge to be sewn is exposed.

Fold the strip up at a 45° angle and then back down over itself, lining up the raw edges to make a mitered corner. 

Resume stitching, beginning at the top edge of the new side and continuing around the quilt to the next corner and backstitch 1/4" from the edge. Remove the quilt from the machine, re-roll to expose the new edge and continue around the quilt to within 12" of the starting point. Tip: I like to miter the final corner and stitch a little way into the beginning side, ending with a backstitch, before removing the quilt for the final steps. 

Lay the quilt top on a flat surface. Bring the loose ends of the binding together so the binding and quilt lie flat. Fold the binding ends back onto themselves so the folded edges touch but do not overlap. Finder press to crease. Open the binding. Note: I've marked the creases with an air solvable pen on the wrong side of the left end and on the right side of the right end so you can see the creases better. 

Place the strips at right angles, rights sides together, left end over right end, using the creases to align the strips as shown. Pin the ends together on the diagonal away from the center diagonal seamline. Draw a diagonal line from the corner intersections. Sew on the line. 

Before trimming the seam allowance, refold the binding and check that it lies flat on the quilt top. Adjust the stitching if necessary. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4" when satisfied. 

Pin the binding down and sew to the remaining edge of the quilt top, ending with a backstitch. Trim the backing and batting even with the quilt top. 

Turn the binding to the back of the quilt and blind stitch by hand or machine stitch to finish. I always hand stitch my binding and like to use office supply binding clips to hold it in place as I sew. My woven cotton labels were made by Custom Couture Label Company. Not an affiliate but I love their products anyway. 

Okay, wow, that felt like a lot of information but I know it's not possibly enough to answer all your questions. Use the internet, books, and other quilters to help fill in the gaps I've not covered here. I have only gone over the steps I have used to finish my quilts and there are many other ways to achieve the same end results, find what works best for your skill level and needs. Next week will be the full reveal of my quilts and of course our grand finale giveaway prize. 

This Friday we still have another Giveaway Friday! Maureen will be hosting the giveaway from her blog and our sponsor is the the fabulous Circa 15.