Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3

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Welcome to Week #3 of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I'll be 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 and take part in the sponsored giveaway prizes for each week of the event. To get up to speed, take a look at the Week #1 posting dedicated to color selection and working with colors like a designer.

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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. The videos support Weeks #1 through #3 and you’ll find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page. All the videos will be available on Week #1 of the sew along for those wanting to work ahead and 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.

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Even though I’ve labeled this pattern an intermediate skill level quilt pattern, I firmly believe that even a confident beginner can tackle curved patchwork with ease because you’ve completed the following:

  1. You’ve printed out the PDF instructions and templates to 100% scale (not borderless) onto US letter size paper and because you’ve cut your fabrics true to size (see Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2 post).

  2. You’re sewing with an accurate seam allowance. As with any patchwork sewing its imperative to stitch with an accurate 1/4” seam allowance. Take a moment to read the Seam Allowance section on my Perfect Patchwork tutorial.

I’ve prepared bonus videos for this week’s tutorial and you’ll find the Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3 parts 1 and 2 are extremely helpful for pinning, sewing, press, and squaring up your blocks. Find all the Hold Tight Sew Along videos on my Sew Along page.

Sewing Curves

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First image: To begin, find the center of an A and B shape and finger press a crease. With the largest A shape on the bottom (right side up), pin midpoints with the smaller B shape, right side down, on top.

Second image: Align a short, squared end of the B shape to the corner (straight) edge of the A shape and pin. Repeat on the other side.

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Place the pinned pieces over your knee or a pressing form to help the curved pieces align. Place additional pins at equal distances so the curved edges match.

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Using an accurate 1/4” seam allowance, stitch with a short (2.4-2.6) stitch length. Slowly sew the seam along the curve with the sewing machine needle in the down position. By having the needle lowered into the fabric when the machine is stopped this allows the presser foot to be raised and holds the fabric in place without loosing the needle position.

Remove pins as you sew. Avoid pulling or pushing the pieces to be sewn so as not to stretch the bias curved edges. Continue to check that the raw edges are matched and lift presser foot to reduce any bulk in fabric before lowering and continuing to stitch.

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Once two pieces have been sewn together, finger press the seam open. Press block in an up and down motion (not side to side) to avoid distorting the block.

Note: For this quilt I recommend pressing the seams open because it will be easier to assemble the quilt top and avoid bulky seams.

If you’re piecing a B/B/C block where three shapes are sewn to make a block, press the first seam open before proceeding to stitching the second seam. Once a block(s) are pieced, proceed to Squaring the Blocks.

Squaring the Blocks

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Use the Block Trimming Template found in the PDF and make a plastic template. Transfer all markings onto the plastic. See Week #2 blog post. I’ve added in some extra wiggle room into the Hold Tight blocks and they’ll need to be trimmed exactly to size for quilt assembly. Tip: Use rolled Washi tape to hold the plastic template in place while cutting. This also allows the template to easily be rotated when trimming a different side.

First image: For an A/B, align the square edge of the Block Trimming Template to the right angles of the A shape (lower left) as this piece will have the least amount of distortion from sewing.

Use the curve marking of the Block Trimming Template to match template with the curved seam on the block.

Second image: Before trimming the block to size, take a moment and make sure the seam allowance area of the Block Trimming Template is covering fabric on all sides and that the curve(s) of the template and block match and seam allowances are true. Trim sides as necessary to square the block.

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When trimming a B/B/C block, use both curve markings on the Block Trimming Template (see second image where the curved markings have been highlighted in black). Align template to block curves and double check that seam allowance is correct on all sides before trimming.

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A sew along’s a lot more fun with sponsors and giveaways, right!? Our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously provided the Hold Tight Sew Along with products I know you’ll love! 

Every Friday I’ll be posting weekly a 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!


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I’m so excited for this week’s giveaway. Our friends at Hobbs Batting are offering batting prizes for two winners. We’re holding a giveaway here on the blog (see entry details below) and another winner drawn from the #holdtightsewalong Instagram hashtag pool.


The lucky winners will be able to select three, throw-size batts of their choice from the following fine quality Hobb’s Tuscany brand battings. I personally love the Hobb’s Tuscany batting collection and found it to be the best batting for handling, drape, stitch definition, and quality.

Tuscany Poly

Tuscany Unbleached Cotton

Tuscany Bleached Cotton

Tuscany SUPREME Cotton

Tuscany Cotton/Wool

Tuscany Wool

Tuscany Silk

Giveaway now Closed. Congratulations to Margaret Swan!

Note: This giveaway is open to EVERYONE! If you're a "no reply" or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment--you can't win if I can't get a hold of you!

1. Simply leave a comment here under this post! (First comment entry).

2. Follow Hobbs batting on one of their social media platforms *  Blog  *  Instagram  *  Facebook  *  Just let me know that you did by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - second entry). 

3. My followers get a third entry! If you follow via subscribing to my posts, through Bloglovin (or other service), or on Instagram, just let me know by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - third entry). 

4. Help spread the word!! I know that many of you already do, so I thought it would be nice to add that as another way to enter! Spread the word about the Hold Tight Sew Along on YOUR instagram, facebook, tweet, pin, blog post, etc... (separate comment - fourth entry). 

That’s FOUR possible entries! Enter now through Monday, April 8th! The winner will be picked at random around 4 pm Eastern. I will post the name of the winner on this post once they've been notified and responded to my email.

Don't forget the giveaway for this week is also held on Instagram for an additional chance to win and will be randomly drawn on Monday. The winner is 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 and don’t forget to tag me too! 

Are You Ready to Sew?

Are You Ready to Sew?

Thread Heart photo by Sharon Holland

Thread Heart photo by Sharon Holland

Great news everyone, there's going to be another free sew along this year! May co-host, good friend, and Art Gallery Fabrics sister designer Maureen Cracknell and I will be hosting another block-of-the-week sew along and it's going to start February 21st! Be sure to follow us both on our blogs, Instagram at @sharonhollanddesigns and @maureencracknell for all the upcoming details. Next week we will give you your first peek at the new name, new look, and a Maker button to share on your blog and/or Instagram feed. Everything you loved about the Sewcial Bee Sampler will be there plus we took into account all the wonderful feedback from last year's survey. We're hoping you'll love this new sampler even more. 

2017 block from the Sewcial Bee Sampler with Bountiful and Pure Elements fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics

2017 block from the Sewcial Bee Sampler with Bountiful and Pure Elements fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics

In preparation for all that sewing you'll be doing I wanted to give you a little pre-flight checklist so your sewing experience can be a good one. 

Machine Maintenance 


Having your sewing machine in tip-top running condition is a must. Not only does it protect your investment but it makes for a hassle-free sewing session. Check out my past tutorial on how to clean your machine and help it perform at it's best. 

Accurate Sewing


You heard me say it a million times last sew-along "sew with an accurate 1/4'' seam allowance." I'm going to always stress that point and it's the number one reason beginning and seasoned quilters get wonky blocks and clipped points. Make sure you're starting out on the right foot and review my Perfect Patchwork tutorial

Pressing Questions

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Pressing is always a question every quilter has. The answer is, "Yes, and often." I press my fabric before I cut it and after every time it's been stitched. I especially think it's important to press before cutting apart units like Half-Square Triangles, Flying Geese, etc. By pressing the fabrics before cutting apart it not only flattens the unit but sets the seams and helps for a sharp edge once the unit is opened. Read more on the Perfect Patchwork tutorial page. You'll also find my favorite sure-fire, easy pinning method. 

Stip Cutting

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Another must for making your patchwork effortless is starting with accurately cut strips and shapes. Even the small amount off will cumulate once pieces are sewn together and your block again can be wonky or way off the mark. Review how to straighten the edge of your fabric before cutting strips and how to cut the right size strips and shapes for your blocks here

Directional Prints

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One of the things I noticed about last years sampler blocks was the desire for quilters to have their chosen prints all running the same direction. In the past I've not been overly concerned about that because I think of a quilt as an object that is seen from all directions and not static. But, it was a good eye-opening for me to realize that others did find this something they wanted to achieve in their work. To help with that problem, especially when making units like Half-Square Triangles and Flying Geese I put together a little tutorial for controlling the direction of prints

Prints designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics

Prints designed by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics

You have a little less than two weeks to dust off your machine, finish up UFOs, and get ready for some sewing fun with Maureen, myself, and the amazing other Makers online that take part in our virtual sew along. I'm looking forward to seeing all your beautiful makes and reconnecting. 

With love,


Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #10

Sewcial Bee Sampler Block #10 

Today we'll have enough blocks to complete the first two rows of our Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt! I've been so impressed with all the blocks being posted each week--you're an extremely talented group of quilters. Thanks for inspiring me with your beautiful patchwork.

My very good friend and co-host Maureen Cracknell and I are thrilled that this sew along project is so popular. We're still seeing new SBS Makers joining us every day so please be sure to welcome the new members and help out where you can with encouragement and any pass along any tips you've learned along the way. Thank you for being such a wonderful, supportive community, I know many new friendships have been made because of the SBS.

If you're just joining, you may want to start at the beginning of the community sewing bee with my first post The Start of Something Sewcial and work your way up to the present. I've included tips and tutorials with each new block and they can be helpful, especially if you're new to quilting. 

Download the free Butterfly Crossing block from my Sew Along page.

Block #10 Butterfly Crossing

Today we will introduce a new patchwork technique - Quarter-Square Triangle (QST) Units

Much of what you've already learned in this sampler quilt will be used in this new technique. You've sorta been doing this all along with our 8-at-a-time HST units, and 2-at-time HSTs. The biggest caution I have for you with this block is to cut your pieces carefully to begin with and be certain you're using an accurate 1/4" seam allowance (SA) when sewing. Not only is it imperative to sew the QST units with a true seam allowance, this block has many pieces to it and small infractions on your seams will only multiply in a block with a lot of pieces. To double check your machine for an accurate seam allowance, review my Perfect Patchwork post and take the graph paper test.

1. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of each 3-1/4" fabric A square (or lightest fabric). You could draw the line corner-to-corner, in the center or, use a seam guide tool like this one by Omnigrid. To use the seam guide tool, center the yellow line of the ruler from corner to corner, then draw the actual 1/4" SA stitch lines using the outside edges of the ruler.

Place a marked square right sides together with a 3-1/4" fabric B square. Sew a 1/4" SA on each side of the drawn line or directly on the drawn line for the seam guide ruler method. 

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2. Whichever method you use to mark the square, you will cut the HST unit apart down the diagonal center, separating the two units and leaving 1/4" seam. Make a total of 10 HST units for this block. I chose to make 6 with a fabric A/B combination and 4 with a fabric A/C combination. Press open toward the dark fabric. Trim dog ears.

3. Pair matching HST units right sides together as shown with same fabrics in opposite corners. Nest the seams and draw a diagonal line (or seam guide lines) perpendicular to the seam line on the wrong side of one unit. Note: You can mix and match as desired. Pairing two different HST units will yield two QST unit with a mix of those fabrics. 

4. Sew a 1/4" seam allowance on each side of the marked line (or directly on the sewing guide drawn lines). Cut apart, open, and press. Makes 2 QST units. Make a total of 10 QST units (there will be one left-over because we only need 9 for this block).

Your QST units should measure 2-1/2" square--the same size as the squares used in the block. 

My Butterfly Crossing block is not perfect and some of my points are a little clipped here and there when it all was put together. That doesn't bother me and no one will notice it once it's quilted. Take your time with this block and have fun.

Some of my spring bulbs are starting to bloom and most of these pretties were picked from my yard. I can only imagine it won't be long before real butterflies are flitting about the flowers. I've made this block using my new Bountiful fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics and one of my favorite Pure Element solids - Sweet Macadamia. My Bountiful Blog Tour is just underway this week and I'd love for you to follow along. I've got an amazing line up of talent for this tour-- see the full list on my Bountiful Blog Tour post. If you've been wondering where to buy Bountiful, check out my Shop Fabrics page for shops that carry my various fabric collections. 

Aurifil        Circa 15        The Intrepid Thread        Fat Quarter Shop        Omnigrid        Llama Fabrics        Color Girl       Lady Belle Fabric        Needle in a Fabric Stash        Dritz        Knotted Thread      NeedleandFoot        Stash Builder Box

Aurifil      Circa 15      The Intrepid Thread      Fat Quarter Shop      Omnigrid      Llama Fabrics      Color Girl     Lady Belle Fabric      Needle in a Fabric Stash      Dritz      Knotted Thread    NeedleandFoot      Stash Builder Box

Also, don't forget that Friday is Giveaway Friday and this week Maureen will be hosting the giveaway from her blog. We've got a great giveaway planned from Lady Belle Fabric I know you'll not want to miss! 

Happy sewing!