Monday, February 6, 2023

3 Steps to Ease Your Saggy Bottom


ease, sewing, quilting,#write28days

Are you struggling with a saggy bottom?  Today, I have 3 easy steps to help you with that.

Quilting presents a few challenges that we quilters have to overcome.  One of these happens when one side of a block or row is longer than the other.  This can happen for a number of reasons.  Since no two fabrics are the same, they stretch or shrink differently as you handle them.  No matter how precise we think we have cut, some pieces just won't line up perfectly.  Also, your quarter-inch seam allowance may be off by just a smidge.  These situations mean sewing a longer piece to a shorter fabric without gathering or tucking.

When this happens to you (and I promise it will), don't fret or panic. Your quilt is not ruined.  In fact, it is so common there is a term for it - Saggy Bottom.  Even better, there is a way to fix it.

The term for this is ease.  ease is the process of distributing fabric evenly so it lies flat.

Getting rid of a baggy bottom.

If you are sewing together blocks or rows and you discover one side is a bit longer than the other, place the longer piece on the bottom and the feed dogs will ease the extra in.  Be sure to pin securely where you don't want the fabric to move, such at where points or squares meet.

Easing in larger areas.

When there is a fair amount of difference between your pieces or a long seam, such as sashing or borders, you want to distribute the excess fabric along the entire length of the seam.  To do this, determine the halfway point for each side.  Place a pin in the middle, and one at each end.  Next, find the halfway point between the middle and one end then pin it there.  Do the same for the other end of the seam.  Repeat this process as necessary, using the middle pin as an end one, until the fullness is evenly distributed.  Sew with the longer side next to the feed dogs.

Press carefully.

After you have eased your pieces together, you press in the fullness to the seams lay flat.  Do this carefully so you don't get tucks, wrinkles, or stretch the fabric.

Now you know how to ease away your saggy bottom, at least on your quilt.  Easing away the other saggy bottom is not my area of expertise, sorry.  But sitting to sew, then standing up to cut and press can be a workout and may help.

"I don't care what the groundhog says: I want six more weeks of quilting!"

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Socks or Shoes? How do you sew?


After a very busy holiday season, I am grateful to get back into my studio!  As I replaced the Christmas curtains with our everyday ones, I decided to make a table topper to match.  Searching my stash, I found matching fabric and settled on a pattern I could use.  I adjusted the design based on the fabric I had left, carefully cut the pieces, and began to sew.

The topper came together easily, but something felt off. When I came upstairs for a coffee refill, I realized what was wrong.  

I was sewing with my shoes on!

When I sew, I like to do it barefoot or with socks on.  I feel I have much better control over the foot pedal.  I use my toes and the ball of my foot to gauge how much pressure I need on the foot pedal.  With shoes on, that precision is gone and all I get is a flat pressure and much less control.  And with some shoes, my foot tends to slip around on the pedal.

There are a few hazards to not wearing shoes in the sewing studio. Dropping scissors or rotary cutters on your toes and stepping on pins or needles can be painful.  Socks also pick up threads and track them all over the house.

For me, I'll risk the hazards for more control over my machine.

How about you?  Sock or shoe?

Oh, and in case you were interested, here is the table topper I was working on.  Just needs to be quilted and bound.

"Put your foot down and QUILT!"

Thursday, November 3, 2022

What Happens in a Christian Studio

I recently received an e-mail from Matt Tommey, a Christian artist and coach. In it, he talked about what happens in our studio when we create with God.   It got me thinking, is this what is happening in my studio?

I want my studio to be a place like that.  A sacred space where I meet with the creative nature of God to fulfill a Kingdom assignment. 

I have been blessed with a great studio in my basement.  But somehow, going in it and creating has become a chore and not the blessing God intends it to be.  It is time for me to rekindle my enthusiasm and joy to allow my studio to be what God designed it to be again.

  • I will embrace my position as a child of God and do what He has put on my heart.
  • I will embrace my unique design as a creative and create with the Holy Spirit.
  • I will embrace my Kingdom assignment to create so God will be glorified.
What is your studio like?  Are you embracing it as a place to meet and create with God?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

In the studio, we are most alive and God is glorified because creating was His idea in the first place. It’s who He is: Creator.   Matt Tommey

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Barn Quilt Pumpkins

Barn Quilt Pumpkin

Hello, Quilters!  I'm so excited that fall is here!  That means warm drinks, cozy sweaters, and more time quilting.  But for now, the garden still has most of my attention.

Last year we threw little decorative pumpkins in the garden after we were done with them.  To our surprise, a few of the seeds grew.  Now we have plenty to decorate with this year and some to share.

As I was looking for ideas to use them, I came across a painted and stenciled Barn Quilt Pumpkin. A Barn Quilt is a quilt block painted on a board and hung on a barn. Making a barn quilt has been on my to-do list for years but I've never gotten around to it.  A tiny version painted on a small pumpkin seemed doable.

I quickly learned stenciling on a curved surface is very difficult.  I painted over it and looked for another way to get the same look.

Mod Podge transfer was my answer.  It was much easier for my shakey hands to handle.  You just coat the design with Mod Podge, place it on your pumpkin, and let it dry.  Then carefully rub off the paper and your design stays on the pumpkin!

There are times in life when something looks impossible, like me stenciling on a pumpkin.  But God is our helper and he always has a way.  Ask Him because He cares about every little (and big) thing in your life. 

Isaiah 41:10, ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


These cute pumpkins make a great addition to a quilter's fall decorations. They would be adorable in your sewing room, on a mantle, or on a side table next to a chair with a quilt tossed over. They also would make a great gift for a fellow quilter.

 Are you ready to make your own Barn Quilt Pumpkin? Here's how I did it.

Supplies needed:
  • pumpkins or gourds, cleaned and dried
  • fine sandpaper
  • white paint (I used some chalk paint I had left from another project)
  • paintbrush
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam brush
  • printed design (use a dry toner printer)  You'll find the one I used at the end of this blog.  You may print it for your own use, or use another design.
  • scissors
  • sponge
  • sealer (again, I used what I had)

Clean and dry your pumpkin,  Using fine sandpaper, remove the waxy productive coating the pumpkin naturally has.  This will allow the paint to adhere better.

Paint the bottom and about a third of the way up your pumpkin and turn it upside down and let it dry.  Then paint the rest, overlapping and blending with the previously painted part.  

Let dry completely.  If any of the original colors of the pumpkin show thru, add a second coat of paint.

Cut out design.  I used one on each segment.

Place the image face up and coat with Mod Podge.
this should be thick enough that the image is obscured.

Place coated side of the image onto the pumpkin and press firmly,  Carefully wipe away any excess that oozes out.  Repeat around the pumpkin.

Dry for 24 hours.

Wet the image with a damp sponge.  Lightly rub to remove the paper backing.  Don't rub too hard, you'll remove the image as well.

Let dry and repeat for any area that has paper remaining.

Use a clear coat sealer over the entire pumpkin and let it dry.

Your very own Barn Quilt Pumpkin is ready to use!

"There are no rules in quilting, and if you think there are, then it is time you try breaking a few."
-Dana Bolyard

-To use stencil, right-click, save image as, to download.  Then print on plain paper.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Staying on Track

 I don't know what your workshop looks like, but mine is a mess of started projects.  I get inspired and start something new, but before it gets finished, inspiration hits again!  And a new project gets added.

I realized I needed a way to keep myself on track.  Also, I wanted to have a place to remind myself of new projects I wanted to do, without another pile of papers and fabric cluttering up my workspace.

After some research and prayer, I decided on a corkboard. Because of the shape I wanted, I made my own. I found some cork tiles at a good price, but I didn't want to attach them directly to the wallpaper. I also had a box of promotional yardsticks I could use as a frame.

So Steve got to work bringing my vision into reality.  We cut and spray painted the yardsticks.  He found some heavy cardboard that he cut to the shape we wanted.  Then he glued the cork and frame to the cardboard.  With a couple of screws, he attached it to the wall at the entrance to my studio, under my new banner.  I finished it with a declaration.

The Lord blesses the work of my hands, so everything I set my hands to prospers.

Now, every day when I go into my studio, I see what projects I have going.  Those are the ones I need to finish before I start on another one. I am reminded that there is a purpose for each of these projects and I have the grace I need to finish them.  I also have room to post new and upcoming projects. 

 I have to admit that this little board has helped keep me focused and on track.  I've even finished a few projects just so I could remove them from the board!

The Father has given us creative talents that are meant to be shared with the world.  That means projects have to be completed, so they can be placed in the hands they were intended for.  An incomplete quilt or table runner is not blessing anyone shoved aside in a corner of my studio.

And that is the ultimate goal of any quilter: to bless someone with the work of our hands.  

For me, my new corkboard is a tool to achieve that goal.  What do you use to keep your projects organized?

"You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake." Deuteronomy 15:10

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Nesting for a Perfect Fit

**This post is part of the #write28days challenge to write and post every day in February.  
Todays prompt: Nesting

Nesting, when used as a quilting term, refers to placing your seams together to achieve a smooth flat quilt top.  When assembling the blocks, the seams are pressed together(not pressed open), so they sort of notch together.  You do this by pressing a row of seams one way and the adjoining row in the opposite direction.  This takes a little planning, but the end result is worth the effort.

As I was working on this, the Holy Spirit reminded me that the body of Christ should fit together smoothly also.  At times there is so much division among us, I wonder how He will ever make it fit.  But we only see one block...

        ...while He can see what the whole quilt looks like and how it is to be pieced together.

I'll tell you a secret.  Sometimes I get frustrated by those who don't have the same revelation I have been given.  It's as if I'm being pressed to one side, while others are being pressed in the opposite direction.  Wouldn't it be better if we were all pressed the same way?  It is much easier to walk in love with someone who agrees with me and doesn't challenge my beliefs.  Especially when I know I'm right!
But then I considered God might know what He is doing.  I Corinthians 13:12 says all I know now is partial and incomplete.  We have each been given a part, and our parts are to hook together to form a complete quilted body, without spot or wrinkle or bulky seams.

So while we meditate on that, let me show you how to nest your seams!

After you have sewn and cut your strips it is time to press your seams.
   Press the first and last row down, and the middle row up.

Place your fabric right side together and gently move the seams until they nest.  
You will be able to feel them notch together.

Pin into place, check your notches haven't moved, then sew.

Open and press flat.

You should have a perfectly aligned and flat quilt block. 

 Nesting seams is an important skill for your quilting toolbox of knowledge.  Give it a try on your next quilt if you haven't done so before.

What other skills do you have in your toolbox of knowledge?  What would you like to learn?

The love of quilting is our common thread.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

 I just opened a new Etsy Store!  Last week as I was putting away Christmas and Thanksgiving boxes I decided to go through some of the boxes we pulled from Mom and Dad's old storage unit.

In one of the boxes, I found 29 calendar tea towels from the '60s & '70s.  Another had handmade doilies, aprons, and table linens.  I love this stuff and knowing it was Mom's, Gram's, and Great Aunts make it even more special.  However, I'll never be able to use it all and my kids don't want it.  So, jodelights! Vintage Etsy shop was born.

So far, I've only listed about half of the tea towel.  I'll continue to add more as I get the time.  I've seen several cute things made with them over on Pinterest; bags, aprons, and even a quilt or two.

You can check out the site on Etsy at jodelights! Vintage.  Maybe you will find something special.

In the studio:  Finding all those vintage items and starting a new store has taken up a lot of my sewing time.  So I've not spent as much time there as I wanted, plus it's cold down there!  Even so,  I'm working on some ideas for Easter table runners and aprons. And I'm still working on finishing up some quilts, December's Focus on Finishing carried into January. 

"There is nothing a day of quilting won't cure."

Friday, December 10, 2021

Focus on Finishing

 Every year I choose one word for the year. It is sort of a guiding light, a theme, or a focal point for the year.  This year my word was FOCUS.

Focus on Finishing is my theme for December.

These frogs that live on my porch were the first project.  I made them years ago and they had gotten quite dirty and needed a makeover.

Every morning, as I went out for my coffee and time with Jesus, I would say to myself: I need to clean those up, but I never got to it.

This year as we were decorating the porch for Christmas, Steve commented they needed Christmas outfits, their summer ones were out of place with the other decorating he was doing.

I wholeheartedly agreed and promptly went to my stash to see what I could find. Fortunately, I found the original pattern, so I didn't have to design all their clothes from scratch. I was pleased to find big enough pieces of a red and white stripe with gold accents and some solid red to dress them in.  I used scraps of fur for the hats and her muff.  There was even enough to make a small banner to hang with them.

Steve was very happy with how they turned out and deemed them worthy of a place on our Christmas porch. I think these outfits will be good until Valentine's Day, just need a different banner and a heart or two. And now their summer clothes are washed and ready to go.

So far my Focus on Finishing is going good.  Besides cleaning up these frogs, I've glued a chair back together, finished a sewing project for a friend that had been started at the beginning of the year, and made a plan for finishing other UFOs in the studio.

Finishing up projects or at least having a solid plan to finish them is a great way to end the year.  Facing all those unfinished projects sitting in my studio is a creativity killer.  Seeing those small projects around the house I haven't gotten around to zaps my energy.  By focusing on finishing up those projects, I am making more time and room for new ideas and inspiration.  Finishing them didn't take much time, but the relief of not having them "hanging over my head" was very freeing.

Do you have small, unfinished projects that are zapping your creative energy?   Make December this year is your time to Focus on Finishing.  Let's all start the new year out with room for our imagination and creativity to flow.

Friday, October 29, 2021


Hello, quilters! 

 This vintage postcard from Graphics Fairy was in my inbox today.  What a perfect pictorial image demonstrating quilting, especially hand quilting.

Let me show you what I mean.  Quilting (thread) can be a slow process(caterpillar) that keeps us busy(bees).  But when that quilt is done and given with love, you are acting like an angel!

An angel is a messenger from God, and God's message is always one of love.  Quilting is definitely an act of love.  So let me encourage you today to keep on going.  That quilt will get finished and will be a blessing to all that experience it.

“Sewing small pieces together gives me a peaceful heart and a quilt to wrap you with, my love.” ― Benita Skinner

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Spring Cleaning in your Sewing Room

 Hey, it's Spring and time for Spring Cleaning!  Anybody excited?

I didn't think so.  But it's got to be done.  Spring cleaning in the sewing room is just like in any other room of your home with some additional things to do.

Start with the basic room cleaning stuff, walls, windows, floors, and ceilings.  You can find this list in  Cleaning for the Dream Guide and Worksheets PDF at

Then there are special items in the sewing room.  I suggest you keep a shopping list (also found in the Cleaning for the Dream) for any items that you want to replace.  Here is a checklist to get you started.  This page is now included with the PDF guide.

  • Use room by room list for floors, walls, and ceilings. etc
  • clean machines
  • sort and discard bent or rusted pins and needles
  • clean iron
  • clean or replace ironing board cover
  • sharpen or replace cutting blades and scissors
  • clean cutting table and mats
  • clean design board
  • clean quilt frames
  • dust bookshelves, sort and discard magazines or books you won't use
  • clean TV and remotes
  • clean your computer, purge unwanted files and Pinterest pin
  • clean supply bins
  • sort and reorganize fabrics and batting
  • clean coffee pot and snack area
You may have other items you will need to clean depending on your space.  I don't do everything on this list and you don't have to either.  I only sort and organize my fabric every five or so years.  I clean my iron and sewing machines more often than once a year.  I only discard magazines and books when the shelf starts to bend or break.


"You're off to great places!  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting!
So...get on your way!" - Dr, Suess

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

 The Lords Commands a Blessing on your Quilts

The Lord commands the blessing on all you set your hands to do.

As quilters, we seldom make quilts just for ourselves.  We make them to give away as a blessing for someone we care about.  Some are made to be sold, but we still want them to bless the end user.  And if we do keep them, we know we will be blessed by them.

Deuteronomy 28:8 says the Lord commands a blessing on everything on which you put your hand to.  Making a quilt certainly qualifies for that blessing!  The word blessing means to decree divine favor, mercy, or benefits that make one happy.

Quilting takes time.  I recently saw that it takes between 600 - 800 hours to complete a queen size quilt. I've never tried to track my time in hours, but that sounds close to me.  If you have a long arm quilting machine that number should decrease significantly.  However, that is still a lot of hours you are receiving a blessing!

The blessing on the work of your hand as you quilt is twofold.  First, there is a blessing as you plan, piece, quilt, and finish your project.  Each phase carries a commanded blessing as you work with your hands.

Second, there is a blessing on your finished project that you can release to the end-user.  I usually pray for the person I am making the quilt for, even if I don't know who that will be. 

As you quilt today, remember the Lord is commanding a blessing upon all the work of your hands.

A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul

Friday, February 19, 2021

 Choosing Fabrics for a Peaceable and Harmonious Quilt

Snuggling down into a handmade quilt, with a cup of coffee and a good book, can turn an average day into an awesome one.  Wrapped in that cocoon made with love, brings peace and contentment to my soul.  This is why I quilt.  I want every quilt I make, big or small, to carry love and peace to its recipient.

Achieving that goal starts with finding fabrics that will work harmoniously together to produce a finished quilt that is peaceable.  This is the most important step in creating your quilt.  This process can be daunting, and you will get overwhelmed if you overthink it.  At Hancock Fabrics, I was often called to help customers with this process.  It is also one of the most creative and fun parts of quilting!

Here is how I do it:

If you are using a pattern, use it as a guide for how many different fabrics you will need.  Most patterns will suggest which fabrics should be a small print, a large print, or a solid.

Next, decide on your main colors or a focus fabric.  I usually start with a print I like.  Then start pulling pieces that you like and think will work.  Stack fabrics together, so you can see each piece.  This is the time to let your creativity loose and be open to possibilities.  Throw in that piece of hot pink or lime green and see how it works.  Try a stripe or chevron.  You aren't making any decisions here, just tossing in potential winners.

Then start eliminating.  There will be one that you love but just doesn't flow with the others.  Be brave and save it for next time.  Continue adding and eliminating fabrics until you have what you need.  I this example I needed 7 fabrics.
Check out your choices in different lighting.  If you aren't happy with what you have in your stash, you may need to go shopping.

Unfortunately, I found what I needed in my stash.  This is what I ended up with.

Remember this is art, not an exact science.  Trust your own creativity and have fun.  There are no right or wrong choices here, just good and better ones.  If you like what you see, chances are others will like it also.

At this point, if I'm still not sure, I walk away.  Sometimes I'll make a couple of test squares and put them up on my design wall.  Then I go get a cup of coffee and take a break.  Hopefully, when I walk back into the studio, one will speak to me.  But no matter what, at some point, I have to make a choice.

Otherwise, I'll never start a quilt, much less finish one.  And the blessing God intends it to be will never be received.

Do you have a method for picking out fabrics?  Tells us about it in the comments.

"I will not buy any more fabric until I use up the stash I have at home", I said.

Then I laughed and laughed and laughed!