Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2

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Welcome to Week #2 of the Hold Tight Sew Along! For this blog post, and the following two posts, I'll be share 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 as well as Hold Tight quilt kits. 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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From March 20 until April 10, 2019 I'll be breaking down the key components of the Hold Tight baby quilt pattern into four manageable tutorial blog posts. These tutorials will be 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.

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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I’ve just finished a top for my third Hold Tight quilt! To give myself a color palette challenge I decided to find a color palette inspiration from Pinterest and let that determine the look of this quilt.

Colour Crush from Love Print Studio Blog

Colour Crush from Love Print Studio Blog

I fell in love with this terra cotta, coral, clay, forest green, and golden palette and knew that Art Gallery Fabrics carried so many Pure Solids in these ranges that coming up with a palette based on this Love Print Studio mood board would be a snap!

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The morning of my fabric pull I was walking the dog and marveling at the blue sky when it dawned on me that an ombré background would be an awesome addition to this already earthy, southwestern-looking color palette—was I right???!!! My top is all pieced and am waiting for some Hobbs Poly-Down batting to arrive so I can quilt it. I’ve decide to use my Art Gallery Fabrics Destination Aerial print from my Tapestry collection as the backing and it could be any more perfect!

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As promised, I want to share the fabric selection information with you. Now, be warned that doing an ombré background you’ll need to double the amount of background fabric for this quilt because of the size and odd shapes of the pieces create a lot of waste and left over fabrics. I used six gradient fabrics for horizontal rows of color with the two middle blues being used in two horizontal rows. Altogether you’ll need 25 colors (or 27 if each background row is a different gradient) to make a Hold Tight quilt with an ombré background. The rest of the yardage is unchanged.

Cutting Templates and Fabrics

The Hold Tight PDF pattern comes with the full-size templates which already include the seam allowances. Be sure when printing out your PDF pattern that you set you printer to 100%, no scale. Select a US letter paper size and deselect any borderless option (no borderless). Each template page has a 1” square reference square to check for printing scale accuracy. It’s extremely important you print the templates to true size.

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With a permanent marking tool, trace the shapes onto heavy template plastic. I highly recommend Dritz Heavy Duty Template Plastic. Transfer shape letter information, grain line arrow. When tracing the Block Trimming Template, include the seam allowance and curves onto your template. Cut templates out with household scissors. Learn more about creating templates from the Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2 video found on my Sew Along page.

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Refer to the PDF pattern for strip cutting information and number of pieces to cut. Let template straight edges and grain line marks help you to align the templates onto the fabrics for cutting. A 28 mm rotary cutter is highly suggested for cutting around curves. Use the extra guides of rotary cutter rulers when working on straight edges.

Tip: To help hold the template in place while cutting, roll Washi tape onto itself to make double-sided tape. Adhere the rolled tape onto the back of a template shape in 2-4 places. Fabric can be rotated for cutting ease without disturbing the template position and the taped template can be reused several times before the tape looses it stickiness.

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When cutting the B shape pieces, utilize the straight edge of the strip to cut the first shape then rotate the template to make the second cut which leaves an oval shaped scrap. For more demonstrations on cutting see Week #2 video.

Unfortunately, curved patchwork comes with waste pieces. If you plan to do additional curved sewing like trying your had at my free Orange Peel Table Runner these waste pieces can be cut down into smaller sizes and used. Start a bin of castoff curves for that next project.

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Stitching, pressing, and squaring up of a finished block will be covered next week and also in Week #3 Sew Along video Part 1 and 2 but I put this image here to show the importance that the template markings play in creating the Block Trimming Template.

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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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If you’re wondering why I selected Dritz Shower Curtain Rings to be part of this giveaway package it’s because I love using everyday object in new ways and find this size shower ring to be so handy for keeping template pieces together, organizing swatch cards, note cards, bobbins, keys, etc. Anytime you can organize your work area is a good day, right?

Please note that this giveaway package is for US residence only (sorry, international friends, due to overseas shipping costs I’m asked by our sponsor to keep this giveaway US only.)

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 Giveaway Week #15

Community Sampler Giveaway Week #15

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Each Friday, throughout the Community Sampler sew-along, that Maureen Cracknell and myself are co-hosting, will be a Giveaway Friday. We've coordinated special giveaway prizes with our amazing participating sponsors for each and every week! If you've happened to miss the first Community Sampler posts, take a look back from the first post Community Sampler Week #1 to get caught up to the present. Feel free to start sewing with us at anytime--it's never too late to join in, and it's free! 

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Omnigrid® is a family of measuring and cutting products. When Omnigrid® tools are used together they provide quilters, sewists and DIY aficionados with unsurpassed accuracy and quality. A product concept born of the genius of Peggy and Randy Schafer, Omnigrid® products work behind the scenes allowing makers to flawlessly bring their creations to fruition. - See more at: Omnigrid!

Products  *  Projects and Patterns  *  Instagram  *  Pinterest 

We hope you enjoy visiting Omnigrid!

For this week's Community Sampler Giveaway, Ominigrid is offering an incredible prize! Both the blog and Instagram winner will receive all of the wonderful Omnigrid sewing/quilting products shown below! Due to the oversized nature of this prize we will have to limit the drawing to winners within the United States only (see entry rules).

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2050 45mm rotary cutter * R24 6” x 24” ruler * 18 x 24 cutting mat *  R1 1” x 6” ruler *  2045 28mm rotary cutter * 2051 45mm blade replacement * 2046 28mm blade replacement * Thread Snips * 2-1/2'' x 2-1/2'' ruler 

Thank you Omnigrid for this generous prize!


Here's how: Since Maureen and I are taking turns hosting the Community Sampler Giveaway Fridays, this week I'm sending you to Maureen Cracknell's blog to enter! 

Sorry, international friends, due to the oversized nature of this prize we need to limit this drawing to entrants with U.S. addresses for this giveaway.

A BIG thanks to all of you who are joining the Community Sampler sew-along and to those who enter our Giveaway!  ♡ Sharon

Perfect Patchwork

It's been exciting to learn so many of the Sewcial Bee Sampler Makers are new to quilting! Teaching people how to sew patchwork is as rewarding for me as it is for my co-host Maureen Cracknell. We love seeing all the blocks being made and following you via the Instagram #SewcialBeeSampler hashtag and watching your creative journey in the SBS block-of-the-week sew along. 

We're a week and a half into the virtual sew along and I've gotten some questions from new quilters about achieving better points on their blocks. I've put together a little tutorial in hopes of answering some of these questions and list some patchwork basics to improve your piecing experience. 

Cutting the Strips

Using a rotary cutter, rotary cutting mat, and acrylic ruler are essential for making straight and accurate pieces.

1. Press fabric. Fold the fabric in half with selvage edges matched. Place the folded fabric on the cutting mat with the fold edge nearest to you and ample mat area extending beyond the fabric. Note: If working on a small mat, you may need to fold the fabric twice so the first folded edge is even with the selvage edges and the second double-fold is nearest to you.

2. Place a square ruler on top of the fabric with the edge of the ruler aligned with the fold closest to you and near the left edge of the fabric raw edges. Position the long side of a 24'' ruler against the left edge of the square ruler and ½'' to 1'' in over the left raw edge.

3. Carefully slide the square ruler out of the way while keeping your left hand firmly on the long ruler. Note: The raw edge of the fabric should be completely under the long ruler and fabric to be cut and there should be ample mat area around the fabric to be straightened.

4. Hold the rotary cutter next to the right edge of the long ruler and roll the cutter away from you using a firm, downward pressure while cutting through the layers of fabric. As you cut through the fabric walk your fingers up the ruler to keep even pressure on the ruler.

5. Remove the trimmed starting edge without disturbing the straightened edge of fabric and you're ready to begin cutting strips.

6. Cut width of strips according to pattern by aligning the vertical markings on the long ruler with the straightened fabric edge, using the horizontal markings for the desired strip width. Tip: Add Glow-Line™ Tape onto your ruler to mark the strip size for quick reference. Hold the ruler in place with your left hand and walk your fingers up the ruler to keep even pressure on the ruler when cutting through the layers to make a strip. If you are left-handed the steps for rotary cutting are the same; except you cut from the right side of the fabric instead of the left. 

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How to Sub-Cut Strips

Cutting quilt block pieces from strips is a time-saver and makes the piecing process easy because you're working with accurate-sized shapes. 

1. Place a folded strip on the cutting mat in front of you horizontally with folded edge on your right (on the left if left-handed). Use a ruler to square-off the ends of the strip, removing the selvage edges.

2. Align the straight edge of the strip with the ruler marking that corresponds to the width of the piece indicated on the pattern. Cut the number of pieces needed from the fabric strip(s), opening the folded end, if necessary, to cut a single layer of fabric. For strips longer than my ruler is wide, I rotate the ruler, running the long side even with the long side of the srtip.

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Seam Allowance

Patchwork pieces are cut with an additional ¼'' seam allowance on all sides. The cutting instructions for all the Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks have already included the seam allowances.

The term finished block or finished size refers to a block once it's sewn together. This reference no longer includes the seam allowances in the final measurement. A finished quilt can vary in size from the actual given size on the instructions because of variations in sewing, quilting, and shrinkage. Before we sew the Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks into the sashing setting and finish our quilt top, all the blocks (with framing, if applicable) should be measuring at an unfinished 12-1/2" square. 

Checking the accuracy of your ¼'' seam allowance before you start sewing is an important first step in achieving perfect patchwork. If your seam allowance is off, too wide or too narrow, by even a fraction these small amounts can add up to significant differences when piecing blocks and assembling a quilt. Stitching with a ¼'' presser foot does not guarantee an accurate seam allowance and a test should be done to understand what adjustments, if any, are needed before beginning your patchwork project.

An easy way to see if your sewing machine is hitting the ¼'' mark is to place a sheet of quarter-inch rule graph paper under the needle on your machine and lower the needle to where two perpendicular lines intersect and cross. If the right edge of the presser foot aligns with the closest quarter-inch mark then no further action is needed.

If you don't have a proper ¼'' presser foot, you can always mark out ¼'' seam allowances using a specially marked ruler. This works well for marking stitch lines when sewing half-square triangles, but can be time consuming.

To adjust your sewing machine, try these steps: If the right edge of the presser foot extends beyond the nearest quarter-inch mark and your machine has the ability to move the needle side to side adjust the needle position to the left until the right side of the presser foot aligns at the quarter-inch mark. Make note of this adjustment and reset your needle position each time you need a ¼'' seam allowance for sewing. Likewise, if the initial position test shows the presser foot to the left of the mark move the needle position to the right to adjust placement.

If you are unable to re-position your sewing machine needle then placing a temporary tape guide on your sewing machine the throat plate will help you keep the edge of your patchwork straight and aligned for accurate ¼'' seam allowances.

Next time I will give some basic pinning and pressing tips. Just remember, accurate cutting and precise seam allowances will make piecing so much more enjoyable. Less frustration means more time playing with fabrics and planning your next block!


If you've been following my posts on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns then you know I've now started 2 sampler quilts! The second quilt will feature fabrics from my first four Art Gallery Fabrics collections: Gossamer, Sketchbook, Coastline, and Tapestry plus two new fabrics recently release in the new AGF Fusions lines. Fusions are re-colorings of the most popular AGF prints from the different AGF designers and regrouped into fresh and fun mini collections. 

Don't forget to visit Maureen's blog to enter this week's giveaway (ending Monday). Wednesday we will be releasing block #3! 

Happy sewing