Category: Tutorials


I recently shared a quilt that my friend made for her granddaughters 10th birthday on my IG feed. Several of you asked for the pattern, so I am sharing my notes. It is not officially a pattern because we made it up as we went along. So here is the story behind the quilt.

My BFF, Kay has decided to make each of her grandkids a quilt for their 10th birthday. She has 9 grandkids, 1 is starting college, 2 just turned 10, and 6 under 10. You may remember when I shared Piper’s quilt a few months ago.

Savanah turned 10 last week so she got a quilt from GRANNY KAY.  Kay sewed and sewed and sewed jelly rolls together to make a big square 65″. We didn’t have an exact size of quilt to make, but just big enough to throw on the end of the bed.

Kay picked Jelly Roll strips that reminded her of Savy and the colors she liked. Next step was to join the strips together to make a long strip.

Cut one strip 65″ and then start adding. It is best to add strips alternating sides of the starting strip and alternating what direction you sew. This is not absolutely crucial but does help prevent the strips to be wavy and stretch while sewing. If you have a walking foot for your machine, this also helps. Sew 14 strips together for one half of the heart and repeat for the other half. ( I added a strip to each side of the background fabric so the heart could float a little before the pieced border- this would make strip 15)

At this point Kay and I tagged teamed the quilt. She sent me the heart strips and I added  the backgrounds and borders. You know what it is like to be under a deadline and we had to get this off to the quilter and still have time to ship it back to Kay before the birthday.


3 yds background, I cut the borders first so I did not have to piece them.

Shown below is 45″ x 108″. Less yardage is needed if you don’t mind piecing your borders.


Adding the triangles to the strips can be a bit tricky only because they are so big. The measurements for the triangles are oversized so the quilt can be squared up once it is completed. Follow your favorite technique to add the triangles.  Save the strips that are cut away when adding the triangles. These will be used for inner border.

Repeat to make the other half paying close attention to where the triangles are added. You don’t want to end up with the other half upside down, speaking from experience!!   Trim your heart! My heart  was just a tad over 60″.

Using the leftover strips from adding the triangles and subcut them into 2 1/2″ sections. Join them together and add to all 4 sides.  ( 2 borders with 30- squares and 2 borders with 32 squares)

Outer border- add top and bottom first. ( I had you cut your borders a tad longer  since you may have trimmed up your quilt a bit differently than mine)

Repeat with 2 side borders.

I cut binding also from the leftover pieced strips. This is a tad bit bulky because of all the seam allowances. I was okay with that since I thought that was a perfect ending for this quilt.

Kay puts so much meaning into everything she does and this quilt was no different. She contacted close family members and asked for a few words that described Savanah. These words and phrases were quilted throughout the quilt. ( Thank you Maggi Honeyman for working your magic.)


Have fun and hope this info helps when making A BIG HEART quilt.

Thanks to KAY letting me be a part of this special gift.






what can you make with…?

charm pack and moda candyWhat can you make with a Moda Charm pack, a moda candy and a few yards of bella solids?

123I am pulling this blog post out of my draft section because I share a free little pattern download at the bottom of the post but also wanted to share the incredible quilting.


A charm pack (42-5″ squares) and a mini charm pack (42-2 1/2″ squares) So easy. Start sewing with the precuts to make a quick project during balancing all the summer schedules. Plenty of room for autographs for a family reunion project.

125WOWSER! Feathers Galore!

126Hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of summer.

Here in Texas the heat and humidity has hit us.

If you want the pattern, click here for a free download.

Pattern includes a larger version that uses 2 charm packs and 2 mini charms.

I would love to see what you make. Share your pic on FB or IG and tag me, @modalissa.



Splendid Sampler- Day 57

banner_fin v4

I am 57 out of 100.
This is not my class rank or my finish in the last 5K I participated in.
It is my block number in the Splendid Sampler.
I call it the Super Splendid Sampler. (triple S)

It seems like yesterday that I met with Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson as they were cooking up this idea. What a idea it was, bringing together 100 different people from the quilting community from all over the world to make 1- 6″ block.

Sounds easy enough! I had fun playing with a 6″ block, but tying it to a story about me got a little tough. Where to begin?

Splendid Sampler- ModaLissa

I played wth fabrics and decided Starting Point was the perfect description for my journey as a quilter. I started quilting in 1980, pre-google, pre online shopping, pre-almost everything! I am a self taught quilter, trying to figure it out as I went along. This was my Starting Point.

Splendid Sampler-modalissa

The Block instructions are posted on the Splendid Sampler website. I snagged this picture from the site. I had completely forgotten that I wrote the silly note on the envelope when I mailed it to Pat.

In 1989 my SIL gave me a book, It’s Okay to Sit on My Quilt by Mary Ellen Hopkins and an  Olfa rotary  cutter. Game Changer!! I was hooked. Many books, classes and quilts later, I am still as passionate about the art of quilting as I was then. I continue to learn and be inspired and hope the Splendid Sampler has inspired you.

If you are making the sampler, keep going,  you can do it. Hopefully, you have learned a few new things and met some quilty friends along the way.

Organizing and supporting such a project has been borderline miraculous for Jane and Pat, or maybe a better description would be as if they were herding cats. Thank you to Pat, Jane and all of the designers contributing to this project.  Hop on over to Splendid Sampler to download my block instructions.






Peaks- the quilt

candy corn quilt

I recently posted a picture of this quilt on my Instagram because I love it.
I love the colors.
I love the pattern.
I love the quilting.

I love, love, love it.

Someone asked me about the pattern and colors so I thought I would share it here. When I went to hunt down

the good pics, I remembered it was featured in the April May 2013 QUILT magazine.

So here are their nice styled, color corrected pictures from 2013.

my candy corn quilt in QUILT aprilmay2013And here are the details if you want to make your own version using Bella solids.

9900-51- Buttercup,

9900-81 Goldenrod,

9900-83 Grey,

9900-125 Betty’s Brown,

9900-147 Coral,

9900-162 Amelia Apricot,

9900-171 Etchings Charcoal,

9900-185 Zen Grey

9900-209 Clementine,

9900-210 Strawberry,

9900-213 Mustard,

9900-244 Harvest Gold.

A fat quarter of each.

The background could be anything but I used 9900-182 Porcelain (4 1/4 yds.)

I refer to this type of quilt as a 12 pack, not a 6- pack that is something completely different. Pick your favorite 12 colors, add background of your choice

and the possibilities are endless.

Choose all shades of greens and browns for trees,

blues and greens with a little white on top for snow capped mountains,

30’s prints for a retro quilt

or just a combination of all your funky favorite fabrics as a scrap buster!

Bella Solid Peaks quiltI shot a pic of the quilt with my Iphone as I zipped by the quilt laying on an unmade bed at my sons house.
The quilt looked even better washed and used. I love it when a quilt has been put to good use.

Tag me if you make a version of this quilt. I would love to see it.
Here is the pattern for your use.


how many slices in a pie

I have never really liked baking pies. 
I love  eating pies.

My mom’s coconut cream is to die for, but baking pies for my crew never seemed to be enough 
food so it was not my go to dessert.

So when  I was playing with the Dresden plate project sheet that Moda was doing with Printemps by 3 sisters, I wondered how many ways can you slice a Dresden plate. See where I am going this…..

I knew the width of the strip used would make a difference in the overall size of the blades which determines the size of the Dresden plate. All this really in depth research was performed using one ruler, Simplicity/EZ Easy Dresden by Darlene Zimmerman.

EZ Quilting Tools Easy Dresden Quilt Tool Set

Complete instructions on how cool this ruler is, shown here.

Using only one ruler I knew that my angle would be the same 
and I would need 20 blades.

Enough with the stuff I should have paid more attention to in high school geometry,
lets get to the fun part.

look closely at the difference in the pic above 
and  the pic below.

The only difference is whether you start measuring 
with the top of the
ruler or the bottom of the ruler. 
(it is okay to look at the pics again.)

Here is an example of the two blades stacked on top 
of each other. Since I cut them from 
the same width of fabric they are the same length.

The plate blocks measures 18″ across with a 
5 1/4″ opening in the center.

This one measures 15″ across with 
a 2 1/4″ opening in the center.

The blocks lined up beside each other 
showing the 3″ difference between the size.

This is them on top of each other showing 
how cool a layered dresden plate would be.

combining two of the most popular and forever 
classic dresden plates
There doesn’t seem to be much difference in sizes 
of the overall Dresden plate and the centers. 
 I measured them and it was about a 3″ difference
 which really adds up.
Big Dresden plate measures 18″ with a 5 1/4″ center opening.
Smaller plate measures 15″ with 2 1/4″ opening.
Adding paper pieced hexagons makes this 

into one shabby chic quilt.

quilt made by Debbi Duckworth

Printemps is headed to stores now so ask for the fabrics and patterns at you fav store or just dive into your scraps 
and have some fun making all sizes of Dresden plates.

I wonder how big to cut the blades for one huge Dresden plate?

All this is making me hungry. I think I will call my mom and see if she has some pie.


Travel Pillowcases

Travel Pillowcases
I have been having so much fun making travel pillowcases. 
All you really need is 14″ of fabric plus a band. 
It is pretty cool how the construction of this pillowcase is done.
 Don’t get me wrong making the standard pillowcases with the
 sausage technique is absolutely amazing. 
The travel pillowcases are made completely different using 1 width of fabric. 
These are fun to keep in the car for road trips or the occasional road side pillow fights!
How about using them as pillowcases/gift bags!


Body- 14″ by 44″
Trim- 1 3/4″ x 14″
Band- 8″ x 14″


1. Trim- Fold in half lengthwise and press
2. Band- Fold in half lengthwise and press
3. Lay the body of the pillow case face up and layer the raw edges of 
the trim and band. Pin in place.
4. Sew along the 14″ side keeping all the layers together .
5. Press
( this is where it can be a bit tricky to understand from written directions)
6. On the opposite end of the pillow case, fold under 6″. 
Press. Fold under 1/4″ of the 6″ and press to create a hem.
look close at the words on picture
7. Fold body right sides together.
8. Fold the flap over the top of the band creating an envelope and pin in place.
9. Sew the 2 side seams.
10. Trim corners to eliminate any bulk.
11. Turn the pillowcase right sides out. The envelope flap will hold 
the pillow in 
place and cover the top 6″ of the side seams.
12. Press and add a 12″ x 18″ travel pillow.
thank you Carolyn Tover for the machine embroidery
Doing some research on travel pillows and found that the size of 
pillows can vary by manufacturer. You may want to decide what size 
your travel pillow is before cutting and vary the  pattern slightly.
For some of the pillowcases I used flannels.
top-Apple Jacks by Tim & Beck
Marmalade by Bonnie & Camille
bottom 2- Cottons from Bear Country School by Berenstain Bears
Sleep tight!

Ombre Jelly Roll quilt

Have you fallen in love with Vanessa’s Simply Color fabric line?
I know I have.
Vanessa has ombre mini jelly rolls that include only her ombre fabrics.
The jelly rolls are a little misleading because at first glance they look like a nice
little set of spring colors. Once the jelly roll is opened, the colors burst as the
ombre colors flow creating a full pop of color. The quilt shown below
was made from 1 ombre jelly roll and a bella solid background.

ombre nine patch12_6

ombre nine patch12 
 Look how cool the binding and border is using a ombre fabric also.


ombre nine patch12_20

Now for the backing…
Just as colorful as the front.

ombre nine patch12_22 
Of course I had to use fat quarters from the Simply color  collections  for my quilt back.
Are you nervouse about just chopping up a bunch of fabrics to piece your backings?
Lynne Wilson has come up with patterns to help you through the process.
Each of the patterns will make a backing up to a certain size.
What a great way to use up your stash! OR use new fabrics like I did!! Ha ha!
I have a reversible quilt that is full of color!
The pattern line is BACK IT UP.


ombre nine patch12_9

 For the pattern to make the quilt top, click HERE.
I also made a version with grey solid as the background. These fabrics are so addictive
 that I couldn’t make just one!!

Berenstain Bears star quilt

Bear Country School
 Are you looking for something fun and quick to make?
All you need is
 1 charm pack, 
3/4 yd background fabric,
1/3 yd inner border,
 1 1/2 yds for border and binding
The entire pattern is listed below but the following pics are some 
step by steps so you can see how easy this ruler makes sewing “off” corners. 
Blocks like snowballs etc are perfect to use this technique
 and there is no marking involved.
Quilt measures 48″ x 48″
Folded Corner Clipper, Stock #502
Prairie Sky Quilting

 With fabrics right side together, place the ruler on the fabric and trim. 
(the EXTRA trimmed triangles can be sewn together and used for another project.)
see how the ruler lines up at the point and includes the seam allowance
sew 1/4″
this method can also be done on pieces that are already sewn together such as the two squares above.
add the bella solid square
I also sewed all my “extra” triangles together as shown in the background.
To download the pattern to make this quilt, click HERE.
charm pack star12_5
Welcome to Bear Country
by Berenstain Bears is in stores now.
charm pack star12_11
 This is a great pattern to make using any charm pack!!

Have fun.

Modern Fall Quilt

kennedy modeling my newest quilt
Can you modernize Halloween or possibly the 
celebration of Thanksgiving? Both Holidays are certainly the beginning 
of the fall holiday season in the United States, 
but neither holiday would be considered modern.
I love the season,
I love the colors
and I love the weather
during this time of year 
I was inspired to sew.
I didn’t know what project but I had a color palette in  mind.
So I was looking back through my notebook of project sheets.
I have always
 the Wee Woodland pattern so I choose some “fall colors”, 
some candy corn and peanuts,
 threw them in a bowl for a sewing snack and started 
another project.
The working title for this quilt was Modern Fall. It was my excuse 
to get to sew with
 orange, grey, magenta and greens and a 
natural grey pindot background 
without having to worry 
about the fabrics matching my house.
Whoa, wait a minute, did I give you the impression that 
anything in my house matches? 
It doesn’t, eclectic to say the least.
My kids are kind of tired of helping me hold up quilts for pictures,
so I solicited some help from my niece, Kennedy.
She is interested in photography, so I held the quilts
and she took the pictures. We have pictures from all different angles.
There is something about clicking that shutter button multiple times so it
sounds like a professional photographer.
I think that only applies to fashion photography not quilts.
 click, click, click
 I think it was a test to see how long I could hold my 
arms straight up over my head holding the quilt.
quilting by Natalia Bonner
Close up of quilting shown on Natalia’s site.
Enough with the quilt pictures. 
My arms were tired. 
It was time to change places,
I was behind the camera and she was in front.
 This quilt is easy and fun to make using an assortment of 10″ squares. Pattern info here.
My other niece Avery came home and helped “model” some
of the other quilts to 
be shown in future posts.
Thank goodness they still like to help Aunt Izzy.

the baby maker

Have you ever seen the movie, The Proposal with Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds

and my idol Betty White?

Betty White is classic in this movie as the future grandmother in law to Sandra Bullock, even faking a heart attack to make sure the marriage actually happens. If you have seen the movie, then you certainly know of the “baby Maker” scene, where Betty White gives them a quilt to sleep with, aptly named the baby maker.
My oldest son was married end of September. Yes I know I have shown these pictures before but this is another opportunity to show off my new daughter in law and my proud son.
Okay back to the quilt. Grant and Misty didn’t really have a color scheme so I struggled with what I should make them for a wedding  gift. It had to be perfect! I decided to do a friendship quilt using charm packs of assorted naturals. I sewed a few fabrics around the squares and instantly fell in love with the quilt. I knew they would love it also and certainly be surprised. I think this is about the time I decided to make it a friendship quilt. I secretly got addresses of family members, friends, co workers, old college buddies etc. and mailed each of them a square of fabric, a pen and a return address envelope. Then I waited and waited.
Have you ever been so excited to work on a project that you just couldn’t sleep?
Well this was one of those projects for me.
 I waited and waited for some blocks to start arriving so I could sew. This is also when I learned of several change of addresses as envelopes were returned as undeliverable etc.
Their wedding invitation was printed on a hankerchief with lace edging.
It was the perfect size to cut and use as one of the squares adding such a keepsake to the actual quilt.
One of the first squares to arrive was from Nate Miller, a local 6 year old friend of my sons. He drew Grant and Misty along with the two kids, dog and a butterfly that he thought they would have after they were married. Sounds like a perfect life to me, right?
My best friend gave them a platter with the weeding invitation printed on it. How cool was that? She always has the best ideas.
I had to add some grey squares as that is one of her favorite colors and it certainly added a vintage feel to the quilt.
The fun thing about sewing each of these squares as they arrived was that I tried to hand pick some of the fabrics to co ordinate with their friend’s  block. I was able to add a 30’s print with little kids on it.
After all it is named the baby maker.
Kate Benz sent in a wonderful quote from Mother Teresa.”It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”
I was able to use some of the fabrics that I had bleached and over dyed for a vintage look.
Everyday I was so excited to get the mail to see how many blocks arrived and ignore the bills!!
Now I was doing all of this in the formal living room where I had moved my sewing room. The kids live locally and could drop by at any time so this certainly added a bit of adventure to the project by keeping the project hidden.
This is one of my favorite quotes. How much simpler can it be said?
If you read my posts you know that I am addicted to pinterest. (you can find me here.) If I am addicted to something I do like to share my addictions, so Misty is also on pinterest. I looked around to find a quilt she had saved and pieced the back of the quilt using that design making the quilt reversible. The perfect grey Sweetwater fabric had just arrived so I was super pumped.
Misty keeps the quilt rolled up and in a basket because she worries about any of the signatures disappearing if she has to wash it to many times. I will let you know if I see it out being used or maybe I should send Betty White over to throw it on their bed.
If you would like to get the pattern to make your own “baby maker” check out Rita at Red Pepper Quilts website. Rita does not call the pattern, Baby Maker, The pattern is named Tiffany.
Thank you Rita for the design inspiration for this project. It was perfect.