May 2020

It’s now time for the really fun part of our Quarantiny quilts!

It’s time to work the puzzle game.


Remember these?

Time to arrange

then rearrange

& arrange some more

the blocks into the most pleasing setting!

It will probably take me a while to make a final decision

then start sewing the quilt together.

I decided on 128 blocks to arrange for color, value & block name.

Have you seen the options I showed on my Sewing With Susan FB page

if you’ve not made this many blocks?

Here’s an option for just 20 tiny 3″ blocks.


An option for 48 tiny 3″ blocks.



An option for 84 blocks.



Just by adding another circle of blocks around the center block

changes the block count drastically.

My quilt will be 36 1/2″ x 36 1/2″ when I sew the blocks together.



I may have another piece of Thimbleberries fabric

that I could spare for a border or 2 or 6!

I hope you’re excited to work on your quilt too.

Let’s get to work!

Show us your progress at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see you’re thinking/making too!


Just Keep Sewing…


  Appliqué Sewing Machine Day

Today we’ll appliqué the machine to the background block.

I had to choose a background print

from my incredibly cool Thimbleberries cart!



  • 13″ square of background fabric (will be trimmed to 12  1/2″)


Since I used the freezer paper technique

for machine appliqué I’ll show those steps today.

Feel free to use another form of appliqué,

fusible web, needle turn, etc.

Hopefully you have a 12  1/2″ x 12  1/2″ ruler.

By laying the ruler on the background square

you will be able to line up the appliqué

shape to see where to position it.

(The background should extend 1/4″ around the outside of the ruler.)

Put the bottom of the machine 2  3/4″

above the bottom of the ruler.

Pin the top of the machine in place.

Fold up the bottom of the machine to glue the edges.

Press glued edges to background fabric.

Unpin the appliqué then fold it down

to glue remaining edges.

Press remaining edges to background fabric.

Use the 12  1/2″ ruler to press entire

appliqué to background fabric to set the glue.

Stitch sewing machine appliqué shape to background.

I used a tiny blind hem stitch

with thread matching the sewing machine.

This is the same stitch that I use

to appliqué the Dresden plates.

With very sharp, small scissors,


cut slits in the background fabric

behind the sewing machine.

Be sure to go all around the shape

so you can reach all corners of the paper later.

Now the scary part…

Wet the entire sewing machine,

front & back, under running water.

Be sure to get the entire applique shape wet.

Let it rest a few minutes.

If you’re an impatient person I recommend taking

a walk around your house several times!

You don’t want to remove the

freezer paper until the glue is dissolved!!!

When you’re sure the glue is dissolved,

work your way around the sewing machine


pulling diagonally on the block

to release the stitches from the freezer paper.

If the freezer paper doesn’t easily pop free,

get it wetter!

You don’t want to pull the stitches

away from the sewing machine!

Once the freezer paper is free, pull it out.

It comes out mostly whole,

except in the tight areas.

I used a pin to pull the paper from the needle,

top of hand wheel & spool.

Once the freezer paper is all removed,

set the block to dry.

I like to set these on my kitchen table

& turn the ceiling fan to for a quick dry.

Pressing a wet block will distort it!

Ask me how I know…

Once it’s dry, spray & press

with Mary Ellen’s Best Press.

Align ruler with bottom of machine 2  3/4″ from bottom of ruler.

Bottom corners of machine should be 1″ from the left side

& 1″ from right side.

Trim to 12  1/2″ x 12  1/2″.

Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!

Just Keep Sewing…


  Sewing Machine Day

Now that we probably have enough 3″ blocks…

Let’s make this cute sewing machine today!


I had a hard time deciding what black

Thimbleberries fabric to choose from my cart!


Click this link to download the sewing machine


that I designed specifically for our quilt.

Note that it is reversed for you.


I used the freezer paper technique

for the sewing machine appliqué.

If you’re not familiar with freezer paper applique,

just trace the design onto the paper side of the freezer paper.

Cut out the sewing machine.

Fuse the wax side to the wrong side of fabric.

Cut out sewing machine with 1/8″ seam allowance.

I used my wonderful Apliquick Bars

and Bohin Glue pen to glue the seam allowance

to the freezer paper.

If you’re not familiar with the technique

of inner corners, outer corners and points,

take a look at Rosa’s wonderful YouTube video

for easy instructions that really work!

Feel free to use fusible web, needle turn,

or whatever method of appliqué is your favorite.

Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!

Just Keep Sewing…


  It’s Bitsy Dresden Plate Block Day!!!

The day you’ve all been waiting for!

Today we’ll make this adorable, irresistible cutie.

I had more fun going through my Thimbleberries cart!



  • 1 Dresden petal strip 1  1/2″ x 14″
  • 1 background sq. 3  3/4″ (will be trimmed to 3  1/2″)
  • 1 center fabric sq. 1  1/2″
  • 1 freezer paper sq. 1  1/4″


Cutting the petals

If you have my Tiny Dresden Plate Template

you can use it with a bit of retrofitting that I’ll show you below.

Since I’ve modified the template in the past 5 years

to make it easier to use and store

your petal cutting will depend on what version

of my Tiny Dresden Plate Template you have.

Either 1. line up the bottom of “Plate Template” with the edge of the fabric

(don’t cut off the top! extend cutting past the template).

or 2. draw a line 1  1/4″ from narrow edge of template

then align that line with the edge of the fabric strip

(don’t cut off the top! extend cutting past the template).

or 3. print out the pdf below and use that template.



Whichever of the 3 options you decide to use,

cut 12 Bitsy Dresden petals,

rotating the template on the strip.




All seams to be sewn a scant 1/4″.

Use a Seam guide by Perkins Dry Goods

if you’re unsure of where that is on your machine!

Available here on my notions page

along with the rest of the tools that I recommend.


Fold each petal in half right sides together,

then sew from raw edge to fold as shown.

Sew all 12 petals.

Trim away seam allowance as shown.

Press flat as sewn, then turn right side out.

Using That Purple Thang

or other blunt point,

poke out point of petal.

Press again.

Do this for all 12 petals.

Sew 2 petals together (right sides together)

starting 3 stitches from edge,

back stitch to edge, then sew entire seam.

Press as sewn, then press seam open.

This is the only time I trim these seams.

I trimmed them down to about 1/8″

only because if you don’t they’ll be caught in the neighboring seams.

Sew pairs of petals together.


Sew 3 segments together to complete plate.

By extending the petals by 1/4″ when we cut them out

there is no opening in the center,

but that extra 1/4″ made the petals easier to hold onto

while assembling the plate

& also allows for a smaller circle

to be appliqued over the center.


Just 2  1/2″!

Perfect for our 3″ finished blocks.


Trace, then cut 3/4″ circle from the pdf above from freezer paper.

Fuse to wrong side of center fabric.

Cut out fabric with 1/8″ seam allowance.

With Roxanne

or other glue &

Apliquick rods,

glue seam allowance to back side of template.

These tools make my circle almost perfect!

See, no divots!!!

Glue circle to center of plate.

Crease the background square in half both directions.

Align seams of plate with the creases.

Glue plate in place.

Appliqué center to plate with thread matching center

then appliqué plate to background with thread matching plate.

I use a tiny blind hem stitch.

With small, very sharp, pointed scissors,

cut away first the background fabric 1/8″ inside

the center circle appliqué stitches

then cut away the center of the Dresden plate petals.

The freezer paper should prevent you

from accidentally cutting the circle fabric!

Dampen center circle.

Let rest a few minutes then remove paper template.

A slight pull on 2 opposite petals will release the paper template

& it will come right out of the hole in 1 piece!

When dry, press with Mary Ellen’s Best Press.

Trim block to 3  1/2″.


Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!


Just Keep Sewing…


  Antique Tile Block

Today we’ll make this cutie.

I enjoyed using more pieces from my Thimbleberries cart today!



  • 4 black recs. 1″ x 1  1/2″
  • 4 black sqs. 1″
  • 1 cream strip 1″ x 7″
  • 1 blue strip 1″ x 7″
  • 4 blue sqs. 1″
  • 1 blue sq. 1  1/2″

Sew together the 1″ x 7″ strips on one long side.

Press the seam open or to 1 side.

I tried it both ways with the same results.

If you want more assurance of perfectly matching seams

I’d recommend pressing every seam toward the blue fabric.

It’s easier to nest seams that are pressed to 1 side instead of open.

Cut 4 segments 1  1/2″.


Sew each 1″ blue square to a 1″ black square.

Make 2 “left” units & 2 “right” units

by next sewing a 1″ x 1  1/2″ black rectangle

to either the right side or left side of each 2-square unit.

See below.

Arrange the segments then sew the block.

I experimented with the pressing of these seams as well

with no evidence that one way was better than the other!

Have fun & make a couple or few or 10 more!

I find it intriguing how different each of these blocks look

depending on the value of the fabrics in the different positions.

Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!

Just Keep Sewing…


  Virginia Worm Fence Block

Today we’ll make this cutie.

I had fun going through my Thimbleberries cart today!



  • 1 strip 1″ x 15″ of 2 fabrics


Sew the long sides of the 2 strips together.

Press the seam flat as sewn, then press it open.

Cut 9 segments 1  1/2″ each.

Arrange the segments for the block.

The seams will nest if you let them naturally

go the path of least resistance as shown below.

I recommend pinning at the seams.

Pin where the seam will be sewn,

1/4″ away from the edge not some arbitrary place.


See what I mean below?

If you pin where you want to sew

you’re actually holding the pieces together more accurately.

Look how easy it is to be precise!

For the second seam,

the seam allowances will just naturally

go the right direction for nesting.

Just snug them up & pin in place.


& look how flat this block is

after pressing it on my new wool pressing mat!

Love it!

I’m using the 8  1/2″ square.

It’s perfect on my small ironing board.

I have them on my website if you need one.

Make a couple more.


Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!

Just Keep Sewing…


  Fancy Bow Tie Block

I saw an antique quilt a few months ago with a block similar to this.

Since I don’t know it’s true name I’ve named it fancy bow tie.

Today we’ll make this cutie.

I had fun going through my Thimbleberries cart today!



  • 2 cream & green sqs. 2″
  • 2 cream & green sqs. 1″


I used my “Lazy Susan” technique for the corners

by putting the cream 1″ squares on the corners

of the green 2″ squares & vice versa.

I trimmed away outside the 1/4″ line of the diagonal…

You know by now I know…


Press these seams toward the green fabric

so the seams will nest perfectly in the next step.

By the way I finally opened up my wool pressing mat.

I’ve been hearing nothing but good about them

(since 2 years ago at market

this my daughter Clare mentioned to me

when she saw me using it today…

who knew she was listening???).

I love it!

The fabric pressed even flatter than before.

BTW, I have these in 2 sizes on my website.

Arrange then sew the pieces.

I also used one of my new Magic Pins to pin the center seam.

Those little handles are so nice.

I pressed the last seam open

& took out the couple of stitches within the last seam allowance.

Are you tired of hearing me say that?

I really like the plaid version

& the star version reminds me of a cowboy shirt, lol.

It was my first block,

but the fabrics didn’t photograph very well,

so I made the cream/green block my step-out images instead.


Show us your blocks at my Sewing With Susan FB Group.

We want to see your progress too!

Just Keep Sewing…