Square Dance Quilt

Are you the type of quilter who likes to do some mindless sewing and yet still create a great looking quilt? Well then, this is just the project for you!

Layer Cake: American Banner Rose by Minick and Simpson
Layer Cake: Prairie Paisley II by Minick and Simpson
General sewing supplies

Using 1 Layer Cake each of Minick and Simpson’s newest lines, American Banner Rose and Prairie Paisley II, you can create a scrappy quilt in no time. The best part is that you’ll be working with the original Layer Cake size (no additional cutting) and the nice people at Moda have already done the color sorting for you!

Let’s begin:
  • Open up each of the Layer Cakes and look to see where the color division from darks to lights accrues. It’s right there in the middle. Divide each of the 2 sets into darks and lights for a total of 4 piles.

Relax, this is going to be fun!
  • Select one dark and one light swatch. I selected a dark from American Banner Rose and a light from Prairie Paisley II. The beauty of this project is that it allows you to tap into your creativity. Pick any two that you like together. Ideally, you’ll want to pick one that is darker then the other. You’ll see why soon.
  • With the right side facing up on both fabrics, place the two together. Right sides up and stacked on top of each other. Sounds odd already, right? Trust me it will work. It doesn’t matter which color value is on top as long as they are both facing up.
  • Now we’re going to “wacky” cut a grid in the shape of a “tic-tac-toe” board. By wacky, I mean in any size and angle you’d like. The only rule you should consider is not to make the pieces too small or narrow. Below is a picture of my first set of horizontal cuts. I simply placed the rule down on an angle horizontally and gave it a chop. I didn’t have to worry about the perfect little cuts, as so many quilts require. For purposes of illustration, I separated the cuts just a bit. You won’t need to do this when you get rolling.
  • I did the same thing in the vertical direction. You’ll note that there isn’t any pattern to the cut. It’s just “chop, chop” and you’re done.
  • Next, reverse the order of the middle swatches on the outside rows only. It’s very important that you don’t mix-up the positioning of the cuts. Simply “deal” the top card to the bottom of the deck without twisting or turning the swatches. The middle swatch isn’t touched.
  • You’ll now see the positive/negative block you’ve created with 4 easy cuts! Don’t peek yet, underneath is another block waiting to be sewn in the opposite configuration. 4 cuts yielding 2 blocks. Can’t beat that!

Onto sewing:

  • Normally, we’re very concerned with getting our “points” lined up perfectly to create a block. This block throws that idea out the window. Try your best to suspend that hard and fast rule from your quilt brain.
  • First, sew the pieces together horizontally in rows (keeping the order of swatches as they appear). Start at the top left hand corner and work across. With right sides together, sew the swatches together other using a ¼” seam allowance. Remember to make sure each swatch is sewn in the correct order.

Tip: Before sewing the pieces together, line up the top and bottom point to point (sew where my scissors indicate in the photo below). Don’t be concerned with the angle it creates. Just sew that seam with a ¼” allowance straight down vertically.

Row 1:
  • I flipped the top left hand swatch onto the middle one and sewed them together. I know, your gut is telling you that the bottoms are off! Only worry about the sides lining up. Don’t look at the bottom because it will make your quilter’s stomach turn.
  • Now flip the right hand corner over and sew it to the segment you just completed. By lining up just the sides, it appears that you’re sewing the piece at an odd angle. One of the hardest parts of this block is to forge ahead and not worry about the blocks appearance as you’re putting it together. Remember to sew each row across from left to right first. If you try to get fancy and skip ahead, you might be in for big trouble.
  • Pictured below is row 1 sewn together. Yes, the keen-eyed quilter noticed that the right hand bottom shows a small space where swatches 2 and 3 are sewn together. Remember that it’s on an angle, and as a result, these spaces will creep up. When the block is constructed the little space will disappear!
Rows 2 and 3:
  • Following the same rules as above and sew rows 2 and 3 together horizontally.
  • To complete the block, sew the 3 rows together. Start by sewing the top row to the middle. Then the bottom row to the newly sewed piece.

Tip: Again, ensure the points match on the top and the bottom of the rows. The block seams will not line up and that’s fine. It will only enhance the look when it’s done. In the picture below, you’ll see the rows lined up from point to point. Simply sew a ¼” seam to join them.

When you’re done with block 1, block 2 is right there waiting for you to sew.

The 2 blocks completed:

  • When the block was done, I trimmed it to 8.50”. Of course, you can trim it to any size given the random appearance. An 8.50” block will yield an 8.00” block when sewn together into a quilt, which makes the math much easier.

Each Layer Cake has 42 swatches, which will make a total of 84 blocks. A quilt measuring 72” x 72” can be made with 81 blocks. 9 vertically by 9 horizontally. The possibilities are endless. A solid border can be added to increase the size and so on.

Have fun and let your creativity be your guide!
72” x 72” quilt

Glenn Dragone

Poochie Pillow

1 Max & Whiskers Layer Cake by BasicGrey
1 yard of a coordinating pattern from the collection
Pillow Form


Step 1: Purchase or recycle a standard bed pillow. I chose a simple poly-filled pillow that’s on the firmer side. The firmness will allow the pillow to hold it’s shape better than if it’s too soft.

Step 2: Measure the pillow’s length and height. Mine measured 24 1/2” x 18 1/2”. Given the dimensions, I decided on a 6” x 6” block. The keen observer will note that the total is short by a 1/2” on all sides. In this project, coming up short will work to the benefit of the end product. When the pillow is inserted, it’s always better to be a bit snug. The form of the pillow will remain firm instead of losing its shape after a few naps by your little pup.

Step 3: Each block will be constructed in the same manner. However, each will utilize a variety of patterns from the collection. See the patterns photographed below. I grouped them in 3’s to show what I used for each block. There will be a total of 12 blocks in all. 4 blocks across by 3 blocks down.

Row One

Row Two

Row Three

Note that the directions below are for the first block. The remaining 11 blocks are constructed in the same fashion. Use the fabrics illustrated in Step 3 to create the balance of the blocks.

Step 4: Block Construction

1/2″ square triangles:

Cut a 3 7/8” x 3 7/8” square of the solid white pattern
Cut a 3 7/8” x 3 7/8” square of the animal pattern

With right sides together, draw a diagonal line down the center from point to point. On each side of the diagonal, draw a line a 1/4” from the center. These 2 outer lines will be the lines you sew.

Sew the left and right lines.

Using your rotary cutter, cut the two pieces apart using the center line as your guide. Open the triangle and press it towards the darker fabric.

Trim the tiny tails at each end.

This exercise will give you the two squares you need for the block.

4 Patch Block

Cut a 2” x 4” of the medallion fabric
Cut a 2” x 4” of the white fabric.

Right sides together, sew the 2 pieces along the longer side. Open it up and press toward the darker fabric. Turn the newly sewn piece horizontally and cut it into 2” block segments. Reposition the 2 segments to form the 4 patch and sew them together. Repeat the same process for the remaining set of 2” x 4” fabrics.

The 4 segments of the block

Sew the top and bottom sections in a pair.

Sew the pairs into a block.

This will yield a finished block of 6 1/2”.

Repeat the above procedure for the remaining 11 blocks.

Step 5: Sew the blocks together to form the top of your Poochie Pillow.

Start by sewing the blocks together horizontally and then sew the rows together to finish your top.


Step 6: Measure your completed top to determine the size you need to cut for the bottom. It should measure 18 1/2” x 24 1/2”. The extra 1/2” will be taken up as the seam allowance when the two pieces are sewn together. Cut a 18 1/2” x 24 1/2” back from the 1 yard cut you choose from the collection. I used the medallion fabric.

Step 7: Sew the top and bottom together with right sides facing each other.

Option: I added a zipper to the top of my pillow. Even though my little doggie is perfect in ever way, he sometimes sits down with dirty feet. The zipper will allow you to take the pillow insert out and wash the bed. I wouldn’t, however, put it in the dryer. You’ll note that I said the zipper is at the top. The top will actually be the back of the bed. It’s a bit of a mind bender but it will make sense by taking note of the picture below. You’ll see the zipper is behind the bumper rail at the top of the pillow.

Step 8: Now it’s time to make the bumper railing. We know that the size of our pillow is 18” x 24”. Since the bumper is only on 3 sides, we’ll need approximately 60”. In order to allow for corners, we’re going to cut and sew a tube with a total length of 64”.

We’ll be using the remaining fabric from the 1 yard cut to make the railing.

Fold the piece in half lengthwise. The width should measure approximately 22” by 36” (the length of the 1 yard cut). Cut 2 10” pieces from the folded piece.

Cut the 2 pieces to 32”. This represents half of the total of the tube.

Right sides together, sew the 2 pieces together using a 1/4” straight seam. Press the seam to one side.

Fold the newly created 64” piece in half with right sides together. Press.

*The picture below is actually the back of the fabric. The shot appears as if it’s being pressed on the face.

Sew down the length of the entire piece to form the tube.

Sew one end closed.

Reach all the way down and pull the closed sewn end out to form an open-ended tube with the right side now public.

Step 9: Using a poly filling, begin to stuff the tube to form the railing. Don’t overstuff it! Just use enough so it will stand on its own. I used a yard stick to get the filling down to the bottom of the tube. You can also use your hand as if you’re putting on a long glove with a wad of stuffing in your hand.

At approximately 19”, sew a single line down the tube. The 19” represents one side of the pillow.

The extra inch will enable the tube to be turned when it’s attached to the pillow. Additionally, this will make for a creased edge.

Continue to stuff and stop at 25” (the back horizontal portion of the pillow) sew another line down the center of tube.

Continue stuffing until you finish filling the tubing. Whip stitch the end closed. It’s actually 1” longer than needed. Once you begin to sew it to the pillow, you’ll see that the extra 1” will come in handy to be able to form the tube around the pillow without stretching it.

Step 10: Sew the tube around the 3 sides using a simple whip stitch.

Step 11: Insert your pillow if you choose to use a zipper.

Step 12: Find your furry friend and introduce him to his new Poochie Pillow.

1 dog pillow.

Glenn Dragone

Clermont Farms Shower Curtain + Bonus!

A decorative shower curtain that’s simple to construct using a Layer Cake and Jelly Roll. This curtain adds color to your bath and shows off your quilting talents in a whole new way.

1 Clermont Farms Layer Cake by Minick & Simpson
1 Clermont Farms Jelly Roll
4 1/2 yards Clermont Farms solid cream fabric or backing of your choice


Step 1: Arrange all 42 10″ x 10″ Layer Cake samples as pictured below. (I photographed small cuttings so you can see a clearer picture of my rotation). You can create any layout you’d like. It’s a simple matter of arranging them in a manner that appeals to your design sensibility. Note: All of the samples are being used uncut from the Layer Cake.

Step 2: Mark each row in a naming convention that works best for you. I like to use small sticky notes marked with the row number and the direction in which the blocks should be sewn together. Typically, I start from the left side, and collect each block going across to the end of the row. Therefore, the bottom sample in my stack is the last block in the row. When I’m ready to sew I can simply layout each row and I’m ready to begin. Another trick I use is to take a quick picture of the whole layout. It’s a fast and effective means of double-checking.

Step 3: First sew each of the 6 rows across.

Step 4: Now connect each of the rows together to complete the layout. Remember to insure the connecting joint points are meeting up snuggly. You can feel if they’re in place by rubbing your finger along the two joints. They’ll fit together like a glove when matched up. Pop a pin into each joint so they won’t slip while sewing across the row. If you feel a lump, it’s most likely going to create a problem when the two seams are sewn together. The key to an eye catching set of blocks is having the points meeting up perfectly. It’s just a matter of taking your time.

Step 5: For the bottom and final row, l created a design element to add interest. Using the Clermont Farms Jelly Roll, select the first 5 patterns represented in each row vertically starting from the top. Pictured below are the patterns for the first block.

Step 6: Sew the 5 patterns together to create a block.

Step 7: The 5 patterns will yield a block a bit larger then 10″ x 10″. Simply trim the block on both the left and right sides by approximately 1/4″.

Step 8: Sew the final row together, but turn every other block horizontally to create the decorative effect.

Step 9: Sew the the row to the bottom of the curtain.

Side Borders

Step 1: Measure the sides of your curtain. My measurement was 66 1/2″.

Step 2: From the Jelly Roll, select 12 patterns to be used for the side borders. I decided to use a blue combination on the outer border column, and a beige combination on the inside border column.

Pictured below are my selections.

Step 3: Each column will have 3 patterns sewn together vertically to make the column. Determine the rotation of the patterns and cut each 23″ x 2 1/2″ (the width of the Jelly Roll).

Step 4: Sew the 3 patterns together to create 4 vertical border strips.

Step 5: Sew the coordinating left and right panels together (meeting the joints at each intersection).

Step 6: Sew the completed border to each side of your shower curtain.

The left border completed and sewn to the shower curtain.

Top and Bottom Borders

Step 1: Select another 12 patterns from the Jelly Roll for the top and bottom borders. Again I decided to use a blue combination on the outer border column and this time chose a red combination on the inside border

Pictured below are my selections.

Step 2: Follow Steps 3 through 6 from the Side Border directions.

The bottom border completed and sewn to the shower curtain.


Step 1: Measure your shower curtain top both by length and width.

Step 2: Determine the fabric you’d like to use as the backing. I used Clermont Farms in the solid cream. Measure out the length of your quilt and add approximately 3 inches to both the top and bottom. Use your new total measurement and layout the backing fabric. There are many ways to make a backing. In this project, I chose to sew selvage to selvage. After opening up my sewed fabric, my width is clearly achieved. Since I’m going to quilt the project, the seam line will not be noticeable. Additionally, this side of the curtain will be facing the plastic shower lining so no worries at all!

Step 3: I want my curtain to have flow, and also have ease of movement. I did as little quilting as possible. The more you quilt the firmer the piece becomes as a whole. I chose a simple diamond pattern that intersects every other block. I also added a free motion pattern around all 4 borders to add an accent.

Step 4: I used the random leftover strips from my Jelly Roll to create a classic binding.


Step 1: Measure across the top of the shower curtain.
Note: After quilting and binding, the measurement will change a bit.

Step 2: Divide the amount of shower rings by the total width of your curtain. Mine measured 72″. I allowed for 3 inches on each side and spaced out the rings in 6″ intervals. I used household clothes pins to mark the buttonhole position.

Step 3: Practice some test buttonholes on a “sandwich” in a similar weight as your curtain. I used some leftover fabric and a piece of my batting. It’s important to play around with buttonhole sizes. I used my current shower curtain as a guide.

Step 4: I used a buttonhole length of 3/4″. I selected the setting for a buttonhole normally used for heavier material. If you have your manual, it’s a good idea to check out the buttonhole options you have available on your machine.

Step 5: After you sew the buttonholes be extra careful when opening up the seam. You don’t want to cut outside the sewn seams.

Wash and dry your shower curtain as you would a quilt. Hang it up and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.


Bonus: Matching Guest Hand Towel

Step 1: Purchase a hand towel of your choice. I used a simple white towel. The Clermont Farms fabrics will add both color and interest to the border.

Step 2: Select 11 patterns from the Jelly Roll and cut them 2″ x 2″.

Step 3: Sew them across horizontally.

Step 4: Press a seam 3/8″ on the reverse side of all 4 sides of the row.

Step 5: Align and measure your newly sewn row in relationship to the width of your towel. Trim accordingly.

Step 6: Pin the row to the border of the hand towel and sew a 1/4″ seam around the row. Sewing at 1/4″ will give the edge a nice lip to add a decorative touch.

Presto! You have a hand towel ready for your guests.

1 shower curtain. Measures 72″ x 72″. Machine washable.
1 decorative guest hand towel.

Glenn Dragone

Clermont Farms Quilted Tote Bag

This Americana themed, multipurpose tote is suitable for the pool, the green market, or a fun day trip.

1 Clermont Farms Jelly Roll by Minick & Simpson
1 yard Clermont Farms solid navy
1 yard cotton batting

Front Panel

Step 1: Cut Squares 2 ½” x 2 ½”

Choose four strips of fabric from the jelly roll. I used the dark blue paisley, the white and blue tossed plums, the blue with white sprays of flowers, and the dark blue lattice with roses. The fabric width is already 2 ½”, so simply lay out each strip on your cutting board, measure out 2 ½” across the length, and cut away.

Using my patterns, cut 12 squares of the dark blue paisley, 12 squares of the white and blue tossed plums, 6 squares of the blue with white sprays of flowers, and 6 squares of the dark blue lattice with roses.

Step 2: Layout Your Panel

Step 3: Sew the Squares Together

Sew right sides of two squares together using a ¼” seam allowance. You can chain piece if you like. Use a dry iron or finger press your seam allowances to the darker side. Keep the layout photo as a handy reminder. Sometimes distractions come up and those tiny squares get jumbled up.

Now sew the completed set of two squares into blocks of four. Make sure your seams interlock. I rub my fingers together over the joining seam prior to sewing. If they are locked in, you will be able to feel a smooth connection. Gently pull the two pieces apart to see if the join is locked. The locked joins will yield a sharp intersecting point on the face. Again press the seams to one side after finishing.

Join the three sets of blocks across into three rows. Press the seams to one side for each row.

Finally, join the three rows together. It is a good idea to pin the joins for the final row of sewing to keep the intersections aligned.

Voila! The Front Panel is complete.

Step 4: Add a Border

Measure the length of the left side of your panel (mine was 12 ½”), and cut a solid red strip from the jelly roll the same size. Now cut the strip in half lengthwise. I ended up with two strips measuring 12 ½” x 1 ¼”. With right sides together, sew the left and right borders to your panel. Now repeat these steps for the top and bottom borders of your panel.

Back Panel

Repeat the steps for the front panel to create your back panel. I chose different fabrics, and used the lighter blue paisley, the white and blue tossed miniatures, the light blue and white rose, the lighter blue lattice with roses, and solid cream for the border. Cut 12 squares of the paisley, 12 squares of the miniatures, 6 squares of the roses, and 6 squares of the lattice.

Here is the layout for the Back Panel.

Side Panels

Measure the sides of your front and back panels. They should be approximately the same size, but no worries if they are a bit off, we are going to trim the pieces before construction.

For each side, choose four strips of fabric from the jelly roll, and cut to the larger measurement (better too big than too small). The fabrics I chose are pictured. Straight stitch these four strips together to create the side panel. Repeat these steps to create your second side panel. I chose to use the red paisley and the tossed plum on beige for both. The variation is in the colors of the blue and white roses and lattice with roses. In one panel I used the lighter blue and in the other the darker.

Side Panel One

Side Panel Two

Bottom Panel

Measure the bottom of your front and back panels. Choose four strips of fabric, cut to the larger measurement, and straight stitch together. Pictured are my selections.


Now the fun begins!

We are going to treat each of the five panels as if they are mini quilts. Cut a piece of the 1 yard of solid navy so that it is 1” larger on all sides of your first panel to be quilted. Then cut a piece of cotton batting the same size. Make a quilt sandwich by positioning your solid navy face down on your mat, followed by the batting and the panel face up. Secure your sandwich with pins. Quilt your panel as you like. I used a simple “stitch in the ditch” approach with each panel. Sandwich and quilt the rest of your panels.

After you finish quilting, trim up each panel. This is the point where you can ensure the pieces are all the same size.


Decide which edge you would like to be the top of your front, back, and side panels because we are about to give them a nice finish. Measure the top of the panel you are working on and cut a piece of solid navy to fit its width. My first panel measured 13 ½”, so I cut a strip 13 ½” x 2 ½”. Now press that strip in half, and sew the raw edge to the raw edge of the panel like a quilt binding. After adding the binding, turn the strip and hand stitch binding to the back lining. Repeat for the three remaining panels. The bottom panel does not need to be bound because it will be sewn to the body of the tote bag on all four sides.


Cut two strips of solid navy to 21” x 4”. This will yield a handle approximately 8” in height from the top of the bag. Fold each strip in half lengthwise and press. Open up each strip and fold the sides to meet in the middle. The pressed fold will help to gauge the center.

Cut two strips of batting to 21” x 1” and tuck it inside flush against one side. Sew the open side closed. To keep it balanced in appearance, sew another line down the opposite side.

Measure 3” from each end of the top front and top back panels. Pin the handle so the end of the handle meets the bottom of the solid border. Make sure the handles are not twisted prior to sewing. Simply hold it up and you will see if it is not correct. Using a “stitch box”, sew each handle to the top of your panel.


We are going to put the bag together using a binding to join and hide the exposed seams. Choose eight strips from the jelly roll, or use solid navy if you want the inside of the tote bag to be all one color.

(Before continuing read “Option” at the end of the instructions. It may be of interest.)

Start by sewing the front panel to the bottom panel. Measure the edge of the bottom panel lengthwise. Cut a binding strip the measure length by 2 ½”. Press the strip in half. Sew it to the edge of the bottom panel. Place the bottom panel on top of the front panel with the sewn binding on the bottom.

Turn the two panels over so the lining side of the front panel is now facing you. Reach under and turn the binding around to the lining side of the front panel. Pin the binding to the lining side for sewing.

Sew both pieces together on the lining side. Take your time and make sure you are sewing through both panels.

When you finish and open it up, you will see that the two panels are now joined and the seam is covered by the binding.

Now assemble the back panel to the bottom using the same procedure.

Pictured is the front panel attached to the bottom with the back panel ready to be assembled.

Next add the two side panels.

We are almost done. Take a breath, you are doing great!

Now it is time to make this guy into a real tote. In order to sew the side seams to the bottom, twist the side panel and place it on the one side of the bottom panel. Add the binding as you did before. You will be constructing the balance of the seams working in a clockwise fashion.

After all of the pieces are joined with seams your new tote is done. Your tote is completely washable. Since it is quilted, each wash will enhance your design.


If you would like your bag to stand up in a more uniform manner, add the seams to the outside of the panels instead of the inside. The photo shows the bag inside out. You will see it stands up proud and tall. By adding the seams to the outside, the bad is able to stand on its own. The seams on the inside give the face side a clean look. You are the designer. It is all up to you.

1 tote bag. Measures 13”W x 13”H (excluding handles) x 7”D. Machine washable.

Glenn Dragone