CUT, STITCH + PIECE | Monica Curry Quilt Designs

Quilt Patterns for Quilts, Home D├ęcor + More| Find beautiful and unique quilt patterns for every room in your home. Whether you’re a new or advanced quilter you're sure to find something that inspires you.

Monday, 16 July 2018

JULY STUDIO TOUR: Tips for finally finishing those UFOs

For the past few weeks, I've been working on my unfinished quilt projects aka UFOs. I gave myself an official UFO challenge.

For July's Studio Tour, I decided to share some of my tips for starting your own UFO challenge and finally getting your unfinished projects done.

1.  Get everything out in the open.

Pull out all of your UFOs, and I mean all of them! Lay them out and review exactly what you're dealing with.

2.  Weed out the rejects. 

Look at each UFO and decide which ones you'll keep and which ones you can part with. Some UFOs are UFOs for a reason. Maybe the colours are wrong, the pattern is boring, or the workmanship is poor. Don't spend precious sewing time on projects that don't thrill you. If a project doesn't make the grade, let it go. Use it for a scrap quilt or give it away.

3. Store each UFO where you can see it.

After you've sorted out your projects, store them where you can see them. I use clear plastic 12" x 12" scrapbook bins that I buy at Michael's. I prefer to use see-through bins so I can see my project at a glance. You could also use those clear bags that you get with new sheets. Also, Ziploc makes a really nice storage bag that would be perfect for storing projects.

My project bins for my UFOs.

4.  Buy what you need to finish each project.

Write down a list of items that you'll need to complete each UFO. Check if you need thread, fabric, quilt backing, etc. and take a shopping trip to pick these things up. After you get your supplies put them in the project bins. If you get your supplies ahead of time everything will be ready for you when you start. You also won't be tempted to put the project aside again until you get to the fabric store.

5.  Start with easiest first.

Start with the easy projects first and work your way up to the ones that need more attention. I find starting with the less demanding UFOs keeps me motivated.

Spools mini quilt for my studio | 14" x 14"

6.  Do a little each day.
Even if it's only 15 or 30 minutes, work on your project every day. You'll be amazed at how much you can get done in a short time. Try setting goals for yourself to finish something each day.

Binding made and ready to quilt.

Download my free checklist HERE to keep your progress on track.

Free UFO quilt block HERE

If you have your own tips for getting your UFOs finished, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

June Studio Tour: Colour Wheel Combinations for Quilters

The fabrics you choose for your quilt can really make or break your project. I prefer not to stumble blinding when picking my colours and choosing from all the beautiful fabrics out there can be overwhelming. I know there are many wonderful pre-cuts being sold that make most of the colour decisions for you, but it's still good to know at least the basics of colour theory.

Below are the basic five colour combinations you can get from the colour wheel. I use one of these as a starting point when planning quilt colours. With practice, choosing fabrics will become easier starting with just these five combinations. You could also purchase a colour wheel by Dritz that is specifically for quilters. The colour wheel will help you choose colours a little more easily.

Buy the Dritz quilting colour wheel HERE

Get a FREE PDF download with all these combinations HERE.

1. MONOCHROMATIC are different shades and tints of the same colour.

2. COMPLEMENTARY are those colours that are across from each other on the colour wheel.

3. ANALOGOUS are colours that are beside each other on the colour wheel.

4. SPLIT COMPLEMENTARY The base colour (e.g. red) and the colours that are adjacent to that colour's complement (e.g. green).

5. TRIAD are three colours that are evenly spaced on the colour wheel.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

MAY STUDIO TOUR: Downloading + Printing PDF Quilt Patterns

When I first started selling my quilt patterns I decided to offer them in downloadable PDF format only. It's much more cost-effective for both my customers and for me. Printing costs for patterns are expensive and those costs are normally absorbed by the customer along with mailing costs. Another advantage of buying PDF files is that you don't have to wait days for your pattern; instant gratification!

Since I only sell PDF downloadable quilt patterns at my  PATTERN STORE, I thought it would be helpful for my readers and customers to have a list of five hassle-free steps for downloading and printing them. I will be including these steps with all my patterns from now on.

What is a downloadable PDF file?

A PDF (Portable Document Format) "is a file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted." -- Google Dictionary

STEP 1 - Get Adobe Acrobat Reader

Before you can download your PDF pattern you will first need the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer. CLICK HERE to download the Acrobat Reader for free.

STEP 2 - Create a pattern folder 

Create a pattern folder on your hard drive to keep your purchased PDFs. You can call the folder Patterns or Bought Patterns or whatever makes sense to you. If you buy a lot of quilt patterns online, you could also create subfolders for particular designers or quilt types.

STEP 3 - After you buy your pattern, where do you find it?

After you purchase your pattern most sellers allow you to download your file immediately from their site and/or will email it to you. If your file is emailed and you can’t see it, check your email “Junk” folder in case the file was read as spam. It's important to download the emailed PDF files promptly because some might have only a limited time frame (e.g. 72 hours) for you to do so. If you register with a seller, such as Etsy, they will provide you with a personal order history page where you can retrieve your patterns at any time.

Important: Whichever website you purchase your PDF pattern from, read their instructions for downloading or contact the site's tech support.

STEP 4 - Rename and download your PDF

Some quilt patterns files you buy are poorly named, e.g. AQS-pattern-144-1.pdf. So, before downloading your PDF to your computer, rename your quilt pattern file something that makes sense to you, e.g. pattern name_quilt type_designer.pdf

STEP 5 - Print your pattern correctly

Before printing your PDF file set the "Page Scaling" option in the print setup box to “Actual Size” or “None.” (Fig 1)  This will ensure your quilt pattern templates are printed to the correct size for your project.

Figure 1

After printing your pattern, measure the 1-inch square (test block) that is provided on the template page of your pattern instructions. If the test block measures too large or too small, double check the printer setup box and reprint the pattern. If there is no test block, measure the templates as best you can to be sure they're the correct size. (Fig. 2)

Printing PDF quilt patterns - one inch test block
Figure 2

Friday, 27 April 2018

Springtime on the farm means babies!

Springtime on the farm means babies! This spring I'm launching two new placemat patterns, Baby Jersey and Piglet. Aren't they adorable? I'm sure your child or grandchild would love one of these to make mealtime fun. These placemats are easy to make using fusible applique and simple straight line quilting.

Baby Jersey Placemat Pattern

Jersey Cow Placemat by Monica Curry

Piglet Placemat Pattern

Piglet Placemat by Monica Curry

Friday, 20 April 2018

APRIL STUDIO TOUR: 4 must-have irons for quilting

In my February Quilting Studio Tour, I showed you how to make your own quilting ironing board. This month I’m going to talk about irons for quilting and introduce you to the four irons that I've used over the years with good results. A quilter’s ironing needs are very specific. We might need several types of irons depending on our projects, but there are so many irons on the market it can be mind-boggling choosing the right ones.

Three simple guidelines when buying an iron for quilting: 

  1. Determine your needs. Do you quilt only occasionally or is your iron going to get a full workout? Do you do patchwork, applique or both? 
  2. Do your homework. Research different products. 
  3. Purchase the best iron you can realistically afford. There are many good irons at different price points, so shop around if you're on a strict budget like most of us.

1. Dritz Mini Travel Iron

My Dritz Mini Iron is my little workhorse. It sits beside me on my TV table ironing board when I'm doing all my piecing. It's the perfect size for paper foundation piecing and is great for pressing down seams and larger fused applique pieces. It heats up fast and stays hot. It also has a steam feature. This little iron is also great for taking with you to quilting retreats.

2. Rowenta Focus II

It's important to have a good basic iron for quilting. A top functioning iron is worth its weight in gold. My rule of thumb is to buy the best iron that you can afford. Top quality irons come at various price points. Also, you likely don't need all the bells and whistles for quilting so do your research. When I turned 60 last year, I treated myself to a brand new iron, a very sexy Rowenta Focus II. The German made Rowentas are considered the best steam irons on the market. It took me a while to decide on a new iron, but after some research, I settled on this one; I'm so glad I did. This iron is an absolute gem. I know the Oliso iron has been toted as the must-have iron for quilting, but the reviews for the Rowenta were better.

3. Clover Mini Iron

The Clover Mini Iron is a must have for doing fusible web applique, especially when pressing down small pieces or long appliqued stems. I like that the tip is small enough so I can see what I'm doing.

My only beef with this mini iron is that the stand you get with it is not great. I use an old plate to put the hot end on when I'm working but I'd highly recommend you get yourself a wooden stand like the one below. This stand would be easy to make if you have the tools but for $10.39 at Connecting Threads, it's not going to break the bank to buy one.

4. Petite Press Portable Mini Iron

I bought the Petite Press Mini Iron not too long ago when I had a project with lots of applique work. I saw it on a YouTube video review by Babyville Boutique. It heats up well, has a digital temperature setting, attached rest, adjustable handle and the ironing tip is double the size of the Clover. Over time, I could see this mini iron taking the place of my Clover.

Quilters' Pressing Accessories

I don't have these pressing accessories yet, but I felt they were interesting enough to let you know about them. Click on the links to get more info on these products at Nancy's Notions.

Tailors Clapper

This wooden block is used to press down seams after they've been ironed.


Teflon Pressing Sheet

A heatproof Teflon sheet that keeps sticky stuff off your iron.


DISCLAIMER:  This article is my own personal review of these products. I do not receive compensation in any form from the companies referred to in this post.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Sewing Machine Bookends: Cool quilting room decor

Last weekend hubby and I took a nice drive in the country to pick up these incredible vintage sewing machine bookends for my sewing room. Aren't these the coolest things you've ever seen? I first saw similar bookends on Pinterest, so I had my eye on these for a while after seeing them on a Facebook group. I was happy the artist, Greg at, still had the bookends when I finally texted him last week to buy them. They cost $100. I thought that was a very good deal considering all the work that went into them.

Vintage sewing machine bookends | Monica Curry's quilting studio.

The sewing machine is circa 1920s. Even the wooden bases are from an old sewing machine table. Greg told me he normally upcycles the bases of vintage sewing machines into tables. He said he's usually left with the machine when the table is finished. So, he decided to make something out of a machine because he didn't want to throw it out.

Vintage sewing machine bookends - detail 1

The set even came with some vintage wooden spools of thread. I would love to find more of these spools.

Vintage sewing machine bookends - detail 2

Monday, 9 April 2018

Improv Quilting: The modern scrap quilt

Improv quilt Summer Aspen by Monica Curry
SUMMER ASPEN by Monica Curry

Several years ago I bought Rayna Gillman's book Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: A Stress-Free Journey to Original Design. I wanted to try something new and push the envelope a little. I also had a ton of little scraps I couldn't bear to throw out. The result was my improv quilt called Summer Aspen (shown above). I really enjoyed making this quilt. Gillman's book is very comprehensive and well written. She provides very good step-by-step directions for her "free-form" quilting technique.

Rayna Gillman's book Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: A Stress-Free Journey to Original Design

The strips I used for the tree trunks in Summer Aspen were cut from fabric that was printed from a linocut I made. I wanted each strip to look like an actual Aspen tree.

Summer Aspen improv quilt by Monica Curry | Detail 1

Summer Aspen improv quilt by Monica Curry | Detail 2

I liked how this quilt turned out and hung in my office for a couple of years. I finally turned it into a sewing machine cover.

Sewing machine cover improv quilt

In 2017, Rayna published her new book Create Your Own Improv Quilt: Modern quilting with no rules and no rulersI haven't bought it yet but from what I can tell her style has changed from her first book.

Disclaimer: This is an honest, independent review of "Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts" by Rayna Gillman. I am not receiving any form of compensation for this post.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

MARCH STUDIO TOUR: Accurate foundation piecing

I posted this tutorial several years ago but wanted to revisit it because I think it is so important for getting beautiful results with your foundation piecing.

I love paper foundation piecing (PFP), but one of the most frustrating problems I had when I was a newbie was coming up short. I would be happily piecing my block, go to flip the next section to press it, and crap! It would be too short or too thin or both. Even worse, I'd be pressing a finished block and find a "hole" at a seam where a piece came up short...ugh! I eventually discovered a method that has worked great for me. I first saw this technique in Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts by RaNae Merrill and modified it slightly by using freezer paper.

This is a simple and foolproof method for cutting your paper foundation fabric pieces perfectly. The tutorial will give you instructions for this cutting technique so you can accurately cut fabric for PFP, saving you time and precious fabric. This method is especially great for when you have multiple blocks to make. With these simple steps, all your pieces will stitch and flip beautifully.


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You Will Need

  • Foundation piecing template that has been mirrored. 
  • 8½" x 11" sheet of freezer paper 
  • Scissors 
  • Rotary cutter 
  • Quilting ruler 
  • Fabrics for your block 
  • Coloured pencils or markers to match your fabrics.


    1. Print your template on the dull side of your freezer paper.

    2. Colour each section of the template with the fabric colour you want to use for that section. If a section is a white or cream colour, you can make a symbol to represent that colour or leave it blank.

    3. Cut out each freezer paper section into separate pieces and lay them on the corresponding fabric with the right side of the fabric facing up. Leave a generous space all the way around each section. Press lightly with a hot iron to get the freezer paper to stick. If you need multiples of the same section, you can place the freezer paper sections on 4 to 5 layers of fabric.

    4. With your quilt ruler, cut 3/4 inch allowance all around each section.

    5. All your cut sections should look like this when you're done. They're now ready to be pieced together with no surprises. It's important to NOT remove the freezer paper or you won't know which piece is which. Pick up your pieces from the bottom.