Ask Jo This and That….

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days.

First off before I get into today’s post I want to share a fun story. This comes from Kayla, “Someone happened upon my blog from my mom’s blog and recognized my address. She even sent me pictures of how my house used to look.”  It turns out her in-laws used to live in Kayla’s exact house!!  Here is a LINK TO THE POST that tells the whole story.  It’s so fun.  You’ll want to check it out.

Before I get into the questions, I thought I would share a comment about the  Wonder Grip Nicely Nimble gardening gloves I recommended.

I use and love mine for gardening but Patricia wrote:
You are really going to laugh! Those are the gloves I wear when I use my long arm quilting machine to do ruler quilting and such! I love them! So glad to know they work for gardening too.

Oh my…It looks like I might need a second pair!!

Seven Shirt Quilt
A blog reader Gloria wrote asking, “I am trying to find someone who has made or has the pattern for the seven shirts quilt. I got the shirts, destructed and put in a sack YEARS ago. With the great pause in the country I have been catching up but cannot find the pattern for this quilt anywhere. Do you have any suggestions?

This is the seven shirt quilt.  It was on a blog called “The Thrifty Quilter”…then changed to “Life is a Stitch”.  You can find pictures of it HERE.

The problem, the link goes to an error message.  I had seen this quilt years ago when I first saw Bonnie Hunter making quilts from shirts and thought the premise of the quilt was so cool.  You take SEVEN men’s 100% cotton shirts and you can make an entire quilt including the pieced backing.

Has anyone made this quilt?  Does anyone have the instructions?  They seem to be completely lost from the internet so sharing doesn’t seem wrong to me.  Leave a comment in the comments section if you can help Gloria locate the pattern.

The next question is about….Baptist Fans.  Not long ago I wrote a post about finishing Kelli’s Cheddar Bow Tie quilt.  I had several people ask about how do baptist fans on the long arm.

Here they are on Kelli’s quilt…

Here they are on mine…

They are time consuming but I do really like them.  Baptist Fans are especially great on Civil War reproduction quilts.

I have talked about how make them before and did a full blog post about it.  You can find that HERE.  I am adding that link to the right hand column where other tutorials and free quilt patterns are.  That way you easily find the post anytime.

Seam Guide

For now I thought I would tell you about her seam guide….I found out about this from Lori’s blog Bee In My Bonnet.  You can find the link to the actually page that tells more information about the seam guide here.  I was already buying the book so I decided to buy one of these too.  I’ll admit to being pretty skeptical….

So it looks like this…..
Everytime I show my sewing machine, I always get questions about my seam guide.  This is the one I have…

Here’s a close up so that if you’re ever interested in getting one, you know exactly what it is….HERE is an Amazon link for one..

I know others use a credit card taped to their machine…or a foot on their machine…or a accessory for their machine to help get a true 1/4″ seam, but I use this.

Below I am sewing some half square triangles.  Notice how I am keeping the edge on the quarter inch line?  I use the guide all the way through.

I love it!

Most people if they are “snowballing” a corner or making a flying geese block take the time to draw a line from corner to corner.  I never do.  I don’t need to with this.

Notice how I can keep the corner of the top block on the middle line?  No need to draw the line when all I have to to is keep the corner on that middle line.  The seam guide does the work for me!!

It took about a minute to install….five might be more accurate.  I read the directions twice and fretted once…but it’s not a big deal.  After I got it in place I did worry though.  How hard would it be to get to my bobbin to change it?  So even though I didn’t need to change my bobbin, I tried it anyway.  Here’s what I found….My machine is different than most.  I don’t have a drop in bobbin…I don’t have a front load bobbin.  I have a side load bobbin.  The opening you see to left is actually an opening on the deck of the table that attaches to my machine.  The opening on the right, under the seam guide is actually the opening to my machine.

To get to the bobbin I had to lift the seam guide and stick my hand under…check out my glamorous arm picture below!

It was do-able and the guide, with the help of the sticky dots that I only placed on the right side of the seam guide held the seam guide in place.  There was no need to reposition it.

I have been using this two years or so.  I really have taken it for granted.  It has completely become part of my sewing world.  I took it off a couple weeks ago to really do a full big cleaning of my machine.  I forgot to put the guide back on the machine.  The next time I sat down to sew, if felt like my machine was naked.  It’s really become that much of a constant in my piecing life.  I would say hands down, Lori Holt’s seam guide is one of my most used sewing notions.  Happily Amazon has them HERE if you local shop doesn’t.

If you have a comment or question that I haven’t gotten to, please email at  THANKS!!

18 thoughts on “Ask Jo This and That….”

  1. Jo, in looking at that 7 shirt quilt, it looks like alternating snowball and 9 patch blocks. It appears that each snowball is that background fabric with each corner one of 4 pattern fabrics, and each 9 patch has the center square a constant color, then each corner one of the 4 pattern fabrics and fill in the side squares with the background fabric.

    Make all of the 9 patches the same and all of the snowballs the same. Lay them out with each 9 patch in the same orientation every time , then do the same with the snowballs, matching the corners.
    (In my humble opinion)

    I don’t have shirts, but I think one of these is in my future.

  2. Sorry, I went and laid it out on graph paper, here’s what I found:

    I was wrong, if you only use two colors plus the constant center square, then you can keep everything in the same orientation.

    If you use 4 colors, one in each corner plus the constant center for the 9 patch) then you have to alternate even and odd rows. You could rotate the blocks 180 degrees then sew them together. But all the snowball are made the same and all the 9 patches should be the same.

  3. Stearns Carol

    Edna you are right. Its quite a clever pattern with the snowballs have 4 different corners. I have 7 shirts. I could do this. Do you think it is 2 1/2″ squares?

  4. Stearns Carol
    I found this link Jo, where she is delving into the pattern a bit. The snowballs are 6 1/2″ with a 2 1/2″ square on each corner. And the 9 patches are 2 1/2″ squares that come out to 6 1/2″. Its the artful arrangement of the fabrics that make it come out. There are two neutral shirts for the snowballs and 2 each of the squares in the 9 patches. There is a center constant 9 patch square and 4 other shirt fabrics in the corners. Each snowball has the same 4 corners and then you arrange them to come out to the pattern. The Piano key border is likely 2 1/2 by 6 1/2 strips. Carol

  5. I have made the seven shirts quilt Gloria is asking about. I cannot find an electronic file to forward to Gloria, but I did find a paper copy of the pattern. I must have cut, pasted and printed. If she would like a copy of the pattern, please have her email me if she is comfortable with that arrangement.

  6. Just ordered the seam guide, now I can stop marking all those HST’s. Thank you for showing how to do Baptist Fans on the longarm. I’m not that good with muscle memory but I’ll try. Have a good Memorial Day weekend.

  7. Thanks for providing this information again on Lori Holt’s seam guide. I was trying to find it on your site and couldn’t find it. Serves me right for not ordering it the first time.

  8. Bethany or Melissa,
    I would love the paper copy of the pattern. If you email me I’d be happy to send you a self addressed stamped envelope. I over bought shirts and even after making two from the Quilted Twins page I have a lot left. This is very different. Thanks Jo for asking about this pattern.

  9. The original instructions for Seven Shirts have been saved by the wonderful Internet Archive. I pasted the broken Wishes and Weeds URL into the Archive’s search box, and it found the page. All the written instructions are there, but the illustrations are missing:

    The link posted above by Carol Stearns also looks really good.

    Whenever you happen across a broken link. copy it into your computer’s clipboard and go to and paste the link into the Wayback Machine search box. You’ll often get a page with a calendar of when that lost site was archived. Click on a highlighted date to get the copy of the page. Sometimes a site will not be available because it has asked not to be archived.

  10. Thank you ‘pattern finders’. I have had this on my to do list for a long time. Now maybe I can get it done.

  11. I had that posted on my Pinterest page, but of course that was a dead link. I put the URL for her blog post in the Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) and was able to get the full post with directions.

  12. Judith Fairchild

    I love the way all the readers cooperate to get questions answered. Now I have to get some shirts and get to work.

  13. I have made the 7 shirts quilt and pretty sure I have the pattern in printed form at the very least. I like the quilt but I do wish it was a little bigger. Next time I’ll use more shirts.

  14. I’m the author of . At the time I made the 7 shirt quilt, I didn’t want to repeat the directions, but rather give credit to the original post publisher. I was just trying to follow the honor as if the person actually had the copyright. We many times don’t realize these blogs will be deleted, and should save the webpage to our computers for future reference. I have put the basic pattern idea on my post, but what we really need that I miss from the original post was how she cut up each shirt into the needed pieces. She managed to use nearly every inch of the shirts without waste to make the designs. Maybe one of these days, I can hash that out? Thank you all for checking out my blog.

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