Flower Shop QAL Prep Week
The Flower Shop QAL starts next week and I wanted to take the opportunity to get everyone confident and ready to start sewing together! To kick off my first Quilt Along we have an amazing giveaway happening over on Instagram - be sure to stop by for a chance to win a bundle of Kaleidoscope fabric from Alison Glass! This is the exact bundle I will be using for the QAL - and it’s also available in her shop, so if you fall in love with it like I did and do not win the giveaway, you still have a chance to sew along with us and these beautiful fabrics.
We will call this week - Prep Week - a time to clean off our workspace, gather fabrics, tools and practice some curves before we begin.
Cleaning off our workspace is definitely a great place to start - you have room to look at and cut your fabrics, removing any other fabrics or projects in your way that can make working on our blocks confusing later on. Project bags, plastic bins to hold cut fabric or tools, or even large ziplock bags are super handy for keeping our quilt pieces / blocks together when we are not working on them. So starting off by taking the time to get everything you need and organized will help you so much in the long run.
The next step is to start thinking about what fabrics you might like to sew with. You might have a wonderful stash to work from or are interested in buying some new fabrics. This pattern works well with solids or super scrappy - totally up to you! For the Quilt Along I will be making the throw size quilt which measures 73” x 73” square and consists of 9 blocks.
For those of you that already have the pattern you will notice the fabric requirements have options on some parts for fat quarters or yardage. I will explain how the differences can result in totally different looks.
As you can see we will be choosing fabric for the Background of the quilt, parts of the flower: Center, Petals & Leaves and the Shadow which is the area right behind the Petals. You can make the Shadow part of the actual flower or make it more of a background color.
For the Background I chose a neutral color because I love using white or cream as a background in my quilts. I feel like it really makes the focal point of the quilt pop - and gives a nice background (kind of like a nice white wall in a photo). For this I chose a beautiful linen like fabric from Alison Glass’ Kaleidoscope line called Daisy. This is also an area where you can get scrappy and instead of buying 2 1/4 yards of one color, choose a fat quarter for each block. Wouldn’t a low volume print be fun?
Below is the Background Fabric (2 1/4 yd) I have chosen for my throw size quilt: Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass
Next up is the Shadow part of my quilt. For the quilt I used on the cover of my pattern I chose to use one color - a beautiful Butterscotch tan shade and make it more of a background feature. I am going to go with the same thought and for this quilt use a Black and White text print from Alison Glass. This will be just enough of a contrast from the creamy white background color, but add a bit of fun. I consider this text print a solid - I use it so often in my quilts. On the Fabric Requirements you may notice that you have the option of using Fat Quarters instead for the shadow. Rule of thumb for these quilts - you can pretty much choose a fat quarter for each section of the block and have enough fabric. Some of my testers chose this option and it looks amazing. You can see below on Tricia Young’s quilt, she chose a shade a bit lighter than her petals and it makes the shadow look like part of the actual flower instead of just an accent color.
Below is the Shadow Fabric (2 1/4 yd) I have chosen for my throw size quilt: by Alison Glass
Text Print- Color: Love / Pattern: Path from SunPrint 2019
Now that we have the Background and the Shadow covered lets get into the fun parts of the quilt - the flowers!
I like to take the time and choose a different fabric for each flower. This could mean a different solid color, a different print - this is the part you can go crazy with! The Petals call for one Fat Quarter for each block. If you want to do all one print or color, just multiply your fat quarters by how many flowers you want to create - super simple.
I am sticking with my plan of using Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass and using beautiful Pink - Red - Purple shades for my flowers. I love how so many of Alison’s fabrics have flower names - it was meant to be!
Below are the nine fat quarters I have chosen for my throw size quilt: Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass
Now, the only parts we need to figure out are the Centers and the Leaves of the Flower Shop blocks. These are the sections that can stretch a little bit on the Fat Quarters we are using. The fabric requirements on the throw sized quilt call for three Fat Quarters, you can actually get three entire blocks worth of centers from one fat quarter. So three Fat Quarters yield 9 blocks. Does this mean you have to only use three? Definitely feel free to use a different fabric for each center if you like or use the same fabric like one of my testers did and you will only need 3/4 yard fabric for your center blocks.
Below are the three fat quarters I have chosen for my throw size quilt: Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass
Now for the leaves - this one is the only “possibly tricky part” because it completely depends on how you want to have your quilt look.
The fabric requirements call for nine Fat Quarters or 1 1/2 yards of fabric. Hold up Nicole - those two amounts are not equal!! I will tell you why they have such a drastic difference. The leaves do not quite use up an entire Fat Quarter but they are one of the sections where people like to either use one to three colors or want a different fabric for each block. So if you are on team use one to three fabrics I would go with 1 1/2 yards so you will not waste any fabric. Or if you want to be on team scrappy definitely choose a Fat Quarter per block.
For my quilt, I went with the 1 1/2 yard option and divided that by three colors. So each shade of green I am using is 1/2 yard cuts.
Below are the three 1/2 yard cuts I have chosen for my throw size quilt: Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass
Would you like to quilt along using the same bundle as I am? Click on the link below for a special bundle from Alison Glass!
Alison is offering this bundle of Kaleidoscope fabric as a kit for the Flower Shop pattern over in her shop.
Whew - are you still there friends? Hopefully that was not overwhelming. I really wanted to tell you why I chose what I did, and hopefully it’s helpful for you while you are planning out your projects.
Useful Tools and Notions
This is the part where I want to recommend things I have found helpful while making this quilt - some are good investments for your sewing room and some are tricks I have found over the years that are inexpensive and work great!
Before starting any project I recommend starching and pressing your fabric to have a crisp flat finish - this will make cutting template shapes out of your fabric much easier and accurate. There are many products available - but my go to is always Faultless Premium spray starch that you can find at most grocery stores, big box stores. I am also a huge fan of Flatter - but the stiffness the starch gives helps with fabrics that might be a bit more delicate, linens etc and I feel helps with sewing curves as well.
One of the first things you will be doing before beginning is printing out your templates. This is where you can have an enjoyable quilt making process or cuss up a storm.
How to print out your templates:
When printing out your pattern make sure that your printer settings are correct. This means you want to print at 100%, no scaling. If you click the box that says fit to page - it will do that, fit the image to the page which will change the size of your templates. There is also a 1” box there for you to measure and make sure that everything prints accurately.
How to make a template that is sturdy and re-usable:
Now that you have your templates you have so many options on how to use them. There are products out there available online and in craft stores for templates - plastic sheets that you can trace and then cut out templates that are sturdy and great for using to trace your shape onto your fabric for cutting. These are amazing but not necessary. My personal favorite is a heavier cardstock - and it’s something you can get for free! Used Priority Mail envelopes are great - my first choice or even old cereal boxes are perfect! I have also used comic book board that I had left over from a project. Pretty much any thicker cardstock that you can find around your house works just fine. Another great material is the plastic cover from an old spiral notebook. You might have some of those in the next month or so if you have kids ending their school year.
What to use for marking template shape onto fabric:
For lighter fabrics I recommend using a fabric pen / pencil and for darker fabrics a white fabric pencil works great. If you want to save some money and / or constantly lose your marking tools you can do what I do and just use a mechanical pencil. These have been my go-to for the past few years and they work so well! I have yet to have any issues with lead on my fabric edges. But, I am definitely not the authority on what to use and what not to use, I will say - they are cheap, write well, are always within reach and are my favorite for marking my HST blocks before sewing and also my curve, arch shapes on fabrics. Again, these are hard to use on dark fabric so a fabric marker or white fabric pencil is definitely recommended.
What do you recommend for trimming all of these blocks:
This is where I am going to recommend that you use a 4 1/2” square ruler. I have been using my frosted Olfa 4 1/2” Ruler for over a year now and love it! You can also use a larger ruler, but grab some washi tape and mark off the extra area on the ruler so it doesn’t trip you up on measuring.
Also another tool that I have in my sewing room that I love using with trimming up blocks is a rotating cutting mat - I have a great rotating square mat from Olfa that I have been using (a lot) and can definitely recommend. This will speed up your cutting time and keeps your block and ruler in place - a lot less shuffling around.
When cutting out curve shapes you can go one of two ways - cutting with scissors or with a rotary blade. I have done both, scissors are great if you have a big stack and want to go into another room and cut out curves while watching a show etc. Or you can use a rotary cutter and carefully cut along the curve shape - and this is where I will recommend a smaller rotary blade. I have a 28 mm rotary blade by Olfa with a nice handle that is so nice and easy to use. The smaller rotary has an easier feel to it and I feel makes cutting curves quick and easy.
What do you recommend for creasing arch and clam shapes for sewing curves?
There are a few ways you can create the creases needed on your arch and clam shapes for sewing curves (these are helpful to align up both sides middle points to make sure curves will sew smoothly).
You can use the free method - your fingers, just firmly fold in half and press.
You can use your iron and just press down the small area needed for the crease.
Or if you have one available - a seam roller - I have found to be the most useful tool! These are mostly used for paper piecing - but I have found that when working with a linen type fabric finger pressing is a bit hard so this little tool lets me crease while at my sewing machine.
This one by Violet Craft has been a frequently used tool - and I think you will love it too!
Practice sewing curves!
I highly recommend practicing some with scrap fabric until you feel comfortable with sewing and trimming up some curve blocks before you cut into your precious fabric stack. Below you will see a video I made last year on how I like to sew curves. I will also be hopping online this week live to sew curves with you all and answer any questions you may have.
I will also go over all of the recommendations I made above regarding templates, tracing shapes, and cutting so you can see how I like to work on my blocks and assist you for week one of the QAL where we will be cutting our fabric up.
Shops carrying Flower Shop fabric bundles:
Below are some shops that are carrying special selections of fabric for the Flower Shop pattern. You can find bundles similar to the colors used in the pattern and also some fun special bundles created by the shop owners! I just bought the rainbow one, couldn’t resist!
Alison Glass created the bundle I am using for the official Flower Shop QAL Quilt - it’s a beautiful selection of Kaleidoscope fabrics with a black and white text for the shadow areas.
Alison Glass - Flower Shop Quilt Kit in Kaleidoscope
Fabric Bubb created a bundle inspired by my original palette using Kona cottons and an awesome rainbow selection both for the throw size quilt.
Sewtopia created a bundle inspired by my original palette using Kona cottons and is also offering 20% off notions / tools mentioned in this blog post!
Sewtopia - Flower Shop Quilt Kit
Cottoneer Fabrics created a bundle using Cotton Supreme Solids
Cottoneer Fabrics - Seventies Flower Shop Quilt Kit ( I also hear she is going to have the Backing from a Beautiful Mess soon when it releases from PBS Fabrics )
Handmade is Heart Made created a fun bundle of Bella solids, Essex Linen and a polka dot print for her Flower Shop bundle, you can find this in her Etsy shop.
Handmade is heart made - Flower Shop Quilt Kit
Don’t forget to pick up your Flower Shop pattern below and get ready for next week! Monday the 22nd kicks off our first week and we will be talking about cutting our fabrics out. There will be more info on templates, tracing and cutting. So be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get a heads up when the next post is live and to see what fun Giveaways are coming up!
The Flower Shop pattern will be on sale until the start of the Quilt Along on April 22nd, be sure to use code: SPRING for your special discount!
Thanks for stopping by today friends and be sure to head over to Instagram today for the HUGE Flower Shop QAL kickoff giveaway!