Made By You! Plus Fun Tutorial

I got an email the other day from Ernest S. (correction Judy in MO made this.  She uses her husbands email and the email wasn’t signed so I assumed we had a guy quilter-  Thanks for clarifying Judy!)  In the attachment was a picture of their version of our “Plus Fun” quilt.

Oh my…I love it.  When I saw this version the memories of the fun I had while making it came flooding back to me.  I love scrap busting quilts and boy, oh boy, did this one clean out some scraps.

This was originally published in McCalls Quick Quilts several years ago.
I thought today I’d give you a free tutorial for this quilt as it’s such a fun one to make.  Normally I would refer you to ordering a back issue but here was an error in the pattern writing.  Please note, we do not write the patterns.  We only sell the design along with a rough draft of the instructions for the quilt.  The magazine companies write the actual patterns.


I thought to make this a pattern in our shop for sale but then thought instead we’d rather treat you with a FREEBIE tutorial instead.  You all have been so good to us purchasing several of our patterns.  We so appreciate your support and in return…a Freebie for you.

Here is our quilt….

Oh, I hate that picture of the quilt as you can’t see the goodness in it…the prints and that’s what really makes the quilt.

My suggestion is to focus on a few colors.  Note brown wasn’t included in the quilt. I used teal and not blue but of course, use what makes you happy.  Note in the close-up pictures there are white and off white neutrals but not tans.

This quilt is entirely made of nine patches…LOTS OF THEM!  So gather some scraps and let’s get sewing.  I’m going to take a second here to refer you back to a few blog posts I did on sorting scraps.
Scrap Sorting #1
Scrap Sorting #2
Scrap Sorting #3

All of these posts talk about how to use neutral background fabrics and colored fabrics.  You’ll notice that if you want to make the quilt like the one sent in by a reader or the one I made, you will want to focus on “white-based” neutrals or slightly off-white.  You will need a lot of them.  You will also notice that many of our white-based neutrals are highly printed.  I love these as they make the most interesting quilts.  A person can look a quilt for a long time studying the prints when you use an eclectic bunch of fabrics like these.

If you are someone who goes on a lot of shop hops or loves visiting quilt shops, this would be a great quilt for you.   You could pick up a fat quarter at each shop….make it a memory quilt of your shop hop.

Here is another picture for reference.  This is our “Thanks to You!”  quilt from our book (find it in the Shop)  We did one version in white-based and one in tan-based.   The Plus Fun quilt would be good in a tan version too.

Our quilt is in a 21 x 21 layout.  That includes the border as it is made from nine patches as well.  The blocks finish at 4 1/2″ so our quilt is 94 1/2″ x 94 1/2″.  Of course, you can make it smaller.

Look closely can you see how the quilt is all just nine patches?

In the quilt note the squares are 2″ cut and 1 1/2″ finished.


The block finishes in the quilt at 4 1/2″.


Here is how to make a block…For each colored block, you need 4 neutral 2″ squares and five colored squares.  Make two as pictured below.

Make one as pictured below.

Sew the strips together….

…and you have your block.

Repeat to make 181 blocks.

Grab 9 neutral squares.  Sew into rows and then into the block.

Repeat to make 260 neutral nine-patch blocks.

Sew the blocks into rows.  Sewing every other one as you can see in the photo above.

You’ll need ten rows that have 19 blocks each starting and ending with colored block.

You’ll need nine rows that have 19 blocks each starting and ending with a neutral block.

Sew those rows together to create the center of the quilt.

Sew 19 neutral blocks into a row.  Make two.  Sew them to the side of the center of the quilt.

Sew 21 neutral blocks into a row.  Make two.  Sew them to the opposite sides of the center of the quilt.  That’s your quilt top.

I used this funky fabric for the backing.  It was a thrift store find fabric.  I miss the thrift store fabric.  I don’t get it anymore as the thrift store has been donating it all to the ladies that make masks.  It doesn’t even hit the sales floor.

I love the pebble quilting on this…so fun.

Now if you don’t like sewing little pieces that are 2″ that’s entirely okay.  Cut your squares at 2 1/2″ and make fewer blocks…or 3 1/2″ and make even fewer blocks.

The quilt that was sent in had border strips rather than border blocks.  I think that looks great and cuts your piecing time down a lot.  If you choose that, I would cut your border strips (if you don’t want to piece them like the original) the same size as the square in the blocks.

After seeing the version that was sent to me, I sure wish I have put a stripe on the binding.  I just love stripes for binding.

So there you have it.  It was such fun revisiting this pattern.  This would be a great pattern to use as a leader and ender.  You could mindlessly piece the strips of those neutral blocks….Hmmm.  Maybe I want to make another of these quilts.  Seriously, mindless sewing is my favorite!!

23 thoughts on “Made By You! Plus Fun Tutorial”

  1. Hi Jo, I noticed a little error in your tutorial: “Grab 9 neutral 9″ squares. Sew into rows and then into the block” should read 2″ squares.

    Have a great day!

  2. Once again, thanks so much for all you do, Jo. I so look forward to your two postings every day and feel like I know your family as though you all lived next door or down the street.
    One quick question: the plus sign quilt sent in to you I see is 9 by 11 blocks. Did they use 2″ squares or larger?

  3. I love this! Thanks for the freebie, and for talking about color a bit too. It’s always helpful to hear how someone got a certain look for a project even if you want to do something different you can learn a lot that way.

  4. One comment about this: “Sew 19 neutral blocks into a row. Make two. Sew them to the side of the center of the quilt.” In a block quilt like this, especially with a “block-style” border, have you ever used this easy alternative to adding long borders? Simply add a neutral 9-Patch to the beginning and ending of each row prior to assembly!! That only leave the top and bottom border to add to the completed quilt top.

    1. YES… We sew our borders that way most of the time if we know ahead of time what the end of the design is going to be. For this one, I didn’t know what I was going to do for borders to finish it off so we added borders at the end. It was a design as we went type of quilt.

  5. Thanks so much Jo for the freebie and for revisiting the scrap sorting. I am just setting up and going through all my material and it is such an ordeal. I am buying totes and cutting larger pieces of material that I want smaller, keeping FQ, jelly rolls, etc. separated. I am going to need so many totes; and that doesn’t count the scrap totes…Thanks so much for sharing the color theory as well on the white based and cream based. That really helps.

  6. Thanks for featuring my quilt although it appears I didn’t sign my email. I refuse to allow my husband to get credit for it. I did use the 2-1/2” squares which you gave as an alternative since that was the size of my scraps. This quilt was named perfectly as it was a lot of fun to make.

  7. This is going to be my next scrap project. I am about half done with a scrappy trip around the world quilt. I can tell I will end up with scraps from my scraps. 2” squares will be perfect! Thanks for the pattern

  8. Thanks for featuring this quilt. I have the magazine and intend to make it. I think I will use 2 1/2” squares so I can use leftover binding strips. I just finished up some memory quilts and was looking for my next scrappy project. This will be it!

  9. I really like this quilt as a leader and ender project and its quite colorful with the light neutrals. I see this working for me in the 2.5 inch squares since I have lots of Jellyrolls strips left from other projects. I always appreciate when you talk about what is a light and what is a dark neutral, its so helpful to get the scrappiness right. Thanks for sharing the pattern for free, so kind of you

    1. Lucia
      A 21 x 21 layout means that there are 21 blocks across and there are 21 rows. The blocks are small so you need a lot of blocks!!

  10. Definitely getting to do list started I have all kinds of scraps stored here and there. I do have some of them sorted. I think I’ll be doing this one as a break from what I’m working on. I have 3 of the 9 blue and white blocks ( I sent you the picture of) I need for the wall hanging. I am so happy they all lay flat.

  11. This is adorable and so adaptable to all size quilts, Will this tutorial be in your free patterns tab? I don’t want to loose it.
    I read you faithfully every day and enjoy it so much. Thank you for being you.

  12. Thank you so much Jo, for making this available free. I am busy working on the Rainbow Hourglass quilt that you made from Bonnie Hunter, but this Plus Fun quilt is about to become my Leaders and Enders quilt. I appreciate your advice on neutrals being white based vs cream based. But most of all, I so appreciate your honesty, in that ultimately, make the quilt how you want. Don’t worry if all the bloggers are doing “low volume” stuff in a certain way. Make quilts that you love, and keep up the great quilty stuff! We will be here.

  13. I should not have read your blog today!! LOL My 2/12 inch square bucket has been overflowing and calling my name. I knew right away this was the quilt I wanted to make out of them. I made 14 blocks today when I should have been doing other things that have a deadline of next Friday. Oh, well. I had a fun afternoon and another UFO! :) Love your blog. I also finished a book today that you maybe recommended. It was called Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. I really enjoyed it.

  14. Pingback: Ask Jo: How I cut square so quickly | Jo's Country Junction

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top