Cut, Stitch + Piece | Monica Curry Quilt Designs

Informative articles and tutorials about quilting. Free patterns and printables. Blog showcases quilt patterns 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 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

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.

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 rulers. I 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." I don't know Rayna Gillman and I'm not promoting her book for profit.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

March Studio Tour: Accurate foundation piecing

Foundation Piecing - How to Cut Pieces Accurately

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.

This tutorial is a cutting technique for foundation paper piecing that will give you accurately cut fabric pieces, 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.

I love foundation paper piecing, 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.


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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.

cut accurate fabric for foundation piecing

Monday, 5 March 2018

I'm in the Top 60 Canadian quilt blogs list!

I was very excited yesterday when I found out my blog was chosen as one of the Top 60 Best Canadian Quilting Blogs by

Monica Curry Top 60 Canada Quilting Blog

Promotion for this post is now over but you can still get free patterns HERE.

Friday, 2 February 2018

February Studio Tour: DIY large quilter's ironing board

I've used a regular ironing board for quilting my whole life. So, when I started seeing these wide ironing boards for quilting, I knew I had to have one. I wish I'd made one of these years ago because it truly makes a difference when ironing my quilt tops. If you have an ironing board, you can make one of these quilting boards yourself in a weekend.

DIY quilters ironing board tutorial

How to Make a Quilter's Ironing Board

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  • Standard metal ironing board
  • 20" x 55" - 3/8" or 1/2" plywood
    (If you don't have a saw, most hardware stores will cut this for you.)
  • [8] screws
  • [8] washers
  • [1] 26" x 60" cotton duck fabric.
  • [1] 24" x 60" insulated batting. I used  Insul-Brite by Warm Company.
  • [2] 24" x 60" 100% cotton quilt batting

  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Handsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Staple gun and staples shorter than thickness of your board


1.  Measure and mark 1-1/2 inches from the corners of the board. (Fig.1).
2.  Cut this amount off with a hand saw. (Fig. 2)

DIY quilters ironing board tutorial - detail 01
Figure 1

DIY quilters ironing board tutorial - detail 02
Figure 2

3.  Staple the fabric and batting layers evenly around the edge of the board in this order. (Fig.s 3)
  • Top - cotton duck 
  • Middle - Insul-Brite batting
  • Bottom - quilt batting

DIY quilters ironing board tutorial - detail 03
Figure 3

DIY quilters ironing board tutorial - detail 04

6.  Place ironing board upside down onto the board being sure it is lined up correctly. Mark where each screw will go. (Fig. 4)

DIY quilters ironing board tutorial - detail 05
Figure 4

7.  Screw the screws with the washers through the holes in the mesh.

8.  Tada!! Your new ironing board is now ready to be enjoyed.

DIY quilters ironing board tutorial - finished

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

My Easter Egg table runner featured at Connecting Threads

This is my second pattern to be kitted by Connecting Threads. It's my Easter Egg Table Topper. The Easter fabric Eggstraordinary by Connecting Threads was perfect for this project. Buy the kit at Connecting ThreadsBuy the pattern HERE.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

January Studio Tour: Tips for Sorting Your Fabric Scraps

Well, another new year has begun. All the Christmas decorations are put away, the turkey leftovers are eaten, and life has fallen back into a regular routine. This is the time of year that I like to tidy my studio and get it ready for the days ahead. It's also the perfect time to purge some of my scrap fabrics and get them ready for scrap quilts.

When I first started sorting scraps, I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I now follow a few simple rules I learned along the way.


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1.  Have a scrap fabric basket under your sewing table at all times.

quilt scraps bucket

2.  I consider anything smaller than a Fat Eighth (9" x 21") a scrap.

3.  Cut scraps in various sized squares. I cut an assortment of squares in the
following sizes:  1-1/2 inch, 2 inches, 2-1/2 inch, 3-1/2 inch, and 5 inches.

4.  You'll be amazed at how fast your square supply grows. Keep your squares in a storage container.

quilt scraps in container

5. Keep leftover fabric strips to use for string quilts. I store these in a container from the dollar store.
quilt strip scraps container

Get this FREE mini quilt pattern. Start using up your quilt scraps with this easy pattern.

Download the FREE PDF pattern HERE

Free scrap quilt pattern with post

Below are a few scrap fabric quilt projects.

doll quilt made from 2 inch scraps
Doll quilt made from 2-inch scraps