Category Archives: Pretty In Patchwork Sew Along

Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays – Book Review

PrettyInPatchworkBack at the beginning of the year I decided to join the Pretty in Patchwork Holiday Sew A Long over on Threadbias. I wanted to have some fun sewing with others while learning new techniques. The Sew A Long required the purchase of the book and then certain projects were pre-selected by the hosts for everyone to do. I managed to sew every pre-selected project but one (the Advent Calendar in October). Please note that there are actually 32 projects in the book to choose from.

At the bottom of this post are the photos of each project I made with a link to the post about them. Click on the photos to enjoy a larger view of each project.

I thoroughly enjoyed sewing from this book – in large part because I did it as part of a group and everyone shared their projects and discussed any problems they were having and how to resolve them. The projects are varied. Some are more time consuming and more difficult than others (for example, the Modern Diamonds Lap Quilt is not for beginner sewists, while other projects like the gift card givers are extremely simple). One of the things I liked the most about the book was how many new skills I was able to practice.

What I learned sewing from this book:

  • Reverse Applique quilting
  • Hidden zippers
  • Envelope closures for pillows
  • Curved piecing
  • Construction of drawstring bags

Many of the projects can be adapted to other holidays or toned down for something that can be used year round. The author also included some information about personalizing projects which was really fun (check out the Fun Fun Bunting and the Read Between the Lines Pillow below).

The book is not without its weaknesses, however. Unfortunately there were several errors in the book which complicated construction. Because I was sewing as part of a group, these problems did not prevent me from constructing the projects…but it did cause a few headaches. On the Fun Fun Bunting, several of the letters had to be redesigned to make them work out in the overall design. The Harvest Vine Table Runner (I renamed it as the Spring Vine), had templates which were not the correct size (Lark Crafts have since updated the error and provided new templates here). New sewists may become frustrated at trying to figure out how to correct a pattern. Errors in books like this always annoy me as I feel each project should be completely vetted before publication.

Another weakness in the book is a lack of pictures which show how to do certain construction techniques. There is some assumption that the person using the book will have basic sewing knowledge and will not need extensive explanations. Because many of these projects included new skills for me, I would have found myself floundering if it had not been for the helpful advice of more experienced sewists on the Threadbias group.

Those wishing to sew from this book should be aware that the templates at the back of the book are not all full sized. Many require copying at 200% or 400%. This book could be improved by offering full sized templates which do not require sizing.

Despite these issues, this is a sweet sewing book with lots of great projects. It is organized well and provides the opportunity to practice basic sewing skills. My favorite finished projects from the book were ALL the pillows, along with the Modern Diamonds Lap quilt, Drawstring Bags (which make great packaging for gifts), and the Spring Vine Table Runner (stay tuned for a quilt sized version of that one of these days!).

Pretty in Patchwork Holidays by John q. Adams is recommended for advanced beginners to intermediate sewists.


Projects by Month

The Brrrrr! Pillow (January):


Reverse Applique Heart Pillow (February):


Spring Vine Table Runner (March):


Modern Diamonds Lap Quilt (April):


Drawstring Gift Bags (May):


Fun Fun Holiday Bunting (June) – post is on Threadbias:


Modern Maples Throw (July) – post is on Threadbias and only the top is complete at this time:


Holiday Shopping List Folio (August) – post is on Threadbias:


Read Between the Lines Pillow (September):


Reindeer Grove Pillow (November):


Gift Card Givers (December) – post is on Threadbias:




Reindeer Grove Pillow

prettyinpatchworksewalong*click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view

I have been having a little fun and getting in the Christmas spirit with my sewing lately. I am continuing to sew along with the Threadbias group, Pretty in Patchwork Holiday Sew A Long and this month we were challenged to make the Reindeer Grove Pillow. In the book, the pillow is designed as a window seat pillow and measures a very long 50″…but since I don’t have a window seat, I decided to modify the pattern and make a 20″ pillow instead.

This is a really easy pattern and utilizes wonky piecing methods…so it is quick and fun to make.

Here is the front:


I used some scraps of Christmas fabric and natural Essex linen for the trees and background…and chose a cute green dot for the binding.


For the back, I made another little tree block and pieced the top portion of the pillow, added a hidden zipper and used another big piece of the linen for the bottom half.

ReindeerGrovePillow.Back0001 ReindeerGrovePillow.HiddenZipper0001

This pillow will coordinate nicely with the Christmas quilt I made last year…and add a little bit of festivity to the living room!


Read Between the Lines – An Inspirational Pillow


I’ve been out of the country for a couple of weeks, and just before I left, I crafted this pillow as part of the Threadbias Pretty in Patchwork Holidays Sew-a-long. The pillow in the book uses the words “Ho Ho Ho,” but because they gave an alphabet chart, I could chose any word I wanted. I decided to keep my pillow bright and happy and sew the word CREATE as an inspirational message in my sewing room.

This is a super easy pillow to make (and fun to stitch too). I used scraps from my scrap bin and a large piece of Kona Raffia for the flanges and back.

Buttonholes were a new skill for me to master, so I practiced a bit before doing them on the pillow…and it was pretty easy!

Finding buttons I liked proved to be a harder task…and so I eventually purchased a button making kit from Joanne’s and made my own covered buttons.


I love this one…and it looks great in the sewing room!

Modern Diamonds Lap Quilt


*Click on any photo to enjoy a larger view.

prettyinpatchworksewalongIt has taken me a bit of time to finish this lap quilt which measures a generous 59″ X 63″ and uses the awesome Lario collection by 3 Sisters for Moda. I was really lucky to win a fat quarter stack of this fabric from a Fat Quarter Shop giveaway…and I thought is was the perfect fabric for this Modern Diamond Quilt. The pattern for this quilt may be found in Pretty in Patchwork Holdiays by John q. Adams (page 99). I’ve been sewing along in this book with a Threadbias group…and it is WAY fun!

This is not a quilt for beginners (in my humble opinion) as much of the sewing is along bias edges and the quilt is pieced using triangles and set on the diagonal. I did a bit of ripping of seams early on until I got the hang of it…and I used a generous amount of spray starch during piecing to keep those bias edges from stretching too much.

ModernDiamonds.drapedonrocker0001 ModernDiamonds.overrail.010001

I deviated from the pattern slightly by using a darker fabric on the long edges. I used the same color (slightly different pattern) for the binding.


For the back, I chose lots of the yellow striped fabric from the collection, and used up some scraps by doing a small pieced section.


I chose to do straight line quilting following the design of the big diamonds…this is seen best from the back of the quilt.


I really love the bright pops of red in this alongside the softer pinks, blues and yellows. It is a happy quilt which could be used at any time of the year.



Drawstring Gift Bags

PrettyInPatchworkI love Threadbias which is a on line community of sewists, and earlier this year I joined their Pretty in Patchwork Holidays Sew Along.

We’re using the book Pretty In Patchwork Holidays by John q. Adams and choosing projects every month to complete.  May’s project are these darling Drawstring Gift Bags:


I used one Moda Candy precut of Odds n’ Ends by Cosmo Cricket which allowed me to make two bags. I chose natural linen and some red checked fabric from my stash to complete the project. Instead of buying bias tape, I made my own using some of the same checked fabric I used for the lining.

I sent one of these to New Hampshire as the “packaging” for my mother’s gift for Mother’s Day. I’m hanging on to the second one for now.

This was a super fun, very quick project!!!

Spring Vine Table Runner


*Click on any photo to enjoy a larger view

I’ve been having a lot of fun over on Threadbias stitching along with the Pretty in Patchwork Holidays group. This month our project was to create this sweet little table runner. I decided to use spring-like fabrics from the Oasis collection by 3 Sisters for Moda (which was conveniently in my stash). I also pulled out some Kona solids:  Melon, Mushroom and Snow.


This was my first time doing curved piecing. I followed this tutorial and it ended up being fairly simple to stitch the little petal blocks.

I decided to break up the “pinkness” of the project by adding a 2.5″ white border along the long edges – and I think that decision was the right one. I bound this runner with a little of the pink flowers on white.

SpringVineTR.quilting detailfront20001 SpringVineTR.quilting detailfront10001

Normally I would have free motion quilted a small project like this one, but because my thumb has been sore, I decided to I use my walking foot, lengthen the stitch length to 3.3 and trace around the petals three times, then around the entire “vine” as well. I did straight line stitching on the stem and along the long sides.

SpringVineTR.back0001 SpringVineTR.quilting detailback0001

My back is pieced because I did not have enough of the backing fabric for the whole project – I used a little of the yellow fabric along the long edges and a strip of the blue fabric across the middle.

This little runner measures 38″ X 18″ and it is reminding me that even though the temperatures are chilly, Spring is in the air!



Reverse Applique Heart Pillow


*Click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view

Happy Valentine’s Day a little bit early! I joined the Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays Sew Along at Threadbias at the beginning of the year and this is our project for February. I had never done reverse applique (or any kind of applique, actually), so I was a little bit nervous about stitching this pillow. But it ended up being super simple.

I used left over scraps from my Mama’s China quilt so that the pillow would coordinate with that quilt. The background is Kona Coal which I thought set off the heart nicely.


The back has an envelope closure (another first for me) and I decided to use a little more left over fabric to piece the back before finishing the edges. The binding for those edges and around the pillow itself uses yet more of Mama Said Sew fabric.


This was a really fun project which took me no time at all to complete. It is the perfect addition to the guest bed (and I think those sock monkeys approve!).


A Winter Pillow – Brrr!


*Click on any photo in this post to enjoy a larger view.

This is my first ever pillow. I’ve wanted to make one for awhile, but I had no idea really how to do it. I decided to join the Threadbias group which is sewing together from Pretty in Patchwork Holidays by John Q. Adams.

PrettyInPatchworkThis is a delightful book with over 30 holiday projects including pillows, table runners, ornaments, quilts and more. I wish the book had more diagrams and that I did not have to enlarge templates, but I really love their project selections and I am looking forward to sewing one project a month with the Threadbias group.

The front of this pillow is paper pieced and it would be a good paper pieced project for sewists who have not yet mastered that skill because the pieces are large (the pillow size is 18″ square finished). I chose to use fabrics from Laurie Wisbrun‘s wonderful Brrr! collection (except for the scarf which is from Kate Spain’s Joy collection).  Laurie is known for her captivating and whimsical animal prints. She blogs at the Scarlet Fig and if you love her fabrics, I would encourage you to follow her blog! The solids in this pillow are white and medium gray from Kona Solids. I deliberately offset the little guy’s eyes for a more wonky look!

The pattern calls for making a smaller version of the front to piece on the back, but I decided that I would use a polar bear print instead:


The only tricky part of the pillow was making the hidden zipper (which I had never done before). This is where a diagram in the book would have been helpful. But, luckily I was sewing with a group of experienced sewists over on Threadbias, and so I got a little help and everything came together perfectly.


Last night I finished stitching on the binding and now it is ready to take its place on my bed!