Quilting Your Heritage

I have always said that there are many types of memory quilts – you just have to use your imagination.  I have been researching my family tree for years and thought it would be fun to see what kinds of quilts or quilt blocks were out there for my family heritage.  All I had to do was search for English and Irish quilt blocks and all kinds of ideas and examples came up.  What fun to take blocks that represent your family’s heritage and make them into a special quilt for you or your loved ones.

In their March 14, 2019 Blog post the Quilting Company had Free Irish Quilt Block Designs, as well as the Irish Quilt below deigned by Laura Stone Roberts for you to download.

There are all kinds of individual blocks out there that you can put together for your own quilt as well as full quilt designs.

For my English heritage I found this wonderful Victory Garden Quilt Pattern from Busy Bee Quilt Designs.There are lots of ideas and patterns on the internet for you to research and buy from wonderful designers. Take a look at what is available for your family’s heritage and design something special for them (or you!).

Happy Memories




It’s the extra steps that make a quilt.

I make a lot of memory quilts and each one is a little different than the other.  The reason for this is that every quilt is for a different person, represents different memories and has a different theme to it.  With some quilts a technique that I have done in lots of other quilts and its worked great doesn’t quite work so I have to rethink what I am going to do.  I just finished a quilt for a friends daughter for her college graduation.  It ended up being a two sided Delta Zeta quilt.  I used white as the sashing for the quilt so I needed to frame out the white shirts so they would pop against the white sashing and not blend in.  Normally I would just use black fabric as the frame because there is always a bunch of black shirts so it looks nice and balanced.  In this quilt, however, there was only one black shirt so using black fabric for the frames just didn’t seem right.  Instead I went into my stash and matched the frame fabric to the colors in the particular shirt I was framing.  The results worked out great and helped the shirts stay true to the quilt design and not look odd or out of place.

Here are pictures of the blocks I framed.    The block below looks black but it is really navy blue. The lower block below is really a neat deep purple.

The other thing I did with this quilt that I don’t do very often is to bind it with a Double Sided Binding using two different fabrics.  The client I was doing the quilt for wanted the sorority colors as the borders.  Since it was a two sided quilt it was decided to do one side with pink fabric as the narrow inner border and green fabric as the wider outer border.  Using the same fabrics but reversing them I did the other side with the green fabric as the inner border and the pink fabric as the wider outer border.  I wanted the binding to match the border on both sides so I had to do a Double Sided Binding.  I followed the wonderful directions I found on the The Pattern Basket Blogspot and it was so easy.

Following Margo Languedoc’s step by step instructions this is what my binding looked like before it was sewn on the quilt.

And here are photos of the quilt with the binding sewn on.

Green outer border

Pink outer border

I love how both sides have a nice finished look to them.  Think about doing this when the backing and border fabrics just don’t quite work as the binding for each other, your finished quilt will thank you for the little bit of extra time spent on the binding by looking especially pretty.

Hope these little tips help your make your quilts shine a little brighter when you have one with some special needs.

Happy Memories,  Trish




Signature Memory Quilt Tips

I was asked a few months ago to participate in a signiture quilt for an Aunt and Uncle who were celebrating their anniversary. I love these kinds of quilts because they are so personal for the person or persons receiving them.  There is nothing nicer than receiving a personal message from those you love and who love you on a special occasion.  Most people do the first two things correctly which is to cut the fabric the size they want for the blocks and use or send to each participant a special pen that will not wash out of the fabric.  What people tend to miss, and it is a major thing, is to tell you not to write in the space 1/4″ all the way around the block.  This is where the seam allowance is and, if people write all the way up to the edges of the block, you end up loosing some of the design or writing on the block.

I did a quilt for someone who had the wonderful idea of having people who attended her daughter’s graduation party write a block for her.  She cut the fabric squares out of beautiful bright fabrics and had the proper markers/pens for the project.  The one thing she didn’t do was mark the seam allowances on the block or tell them not to draw all the way to the edges.  When I was given the blocks to put the quilt together I sadly had to stitch parts of messages and peoples names into the seam allowance in order to put it together.  Here are a few examples of blocks that didn’t leave enough room for the seam allowance.

Below is the final quilt.  I absolutely love all the bright colors she used for the blocks. I don’t think I would have thought of doing that, most of mine are white or cream.  You can see the blocks that went oversized.  It worked out that she was 4 blocks short and, since she had sent me the extra fabric, I made the pinwheels for the corners from the fabric.  I am sure her daughter loved the quilt and the memories it will bring back in the future.

As far as the quilt that was made for my Aunt and Uncle – I think, from the pictures I saw, they lucked out and everybody stayed within the seam allowance which makes me very happy.

Remember to allow for the seam allowance when preparing the blocks. Either draw a light line around the block for the seam allowance and tell people to stay in the lines or just write in the directions to leave a 1/4″ clear all the way around for sewing the blocks together.

Hope this will help you make your family or client great signature memory quilts in the future.

Happy Memories, Trish


Electric Quilt and Memory Quilting

I have had Electric Quilt for quite a few years and have upgraded it to EQ8.  I use it for designing most of my quilts and especially my memory quilts.  When I first got it I used just the fabric colors to balance the coloring of the t-shirts and save the time of laying them all out on the floor to get them to balance right.  I remember the first time I tried to do photos of the shirts and use them in the design on EQ it was really complicated and I gave up in frustration.  Admittedly, I am not the best person at using software, but I remember it not being that easy and with as busy as I was whipping out quilts for customers and working on my book etc, I didn’t have time to fuss with it so I just decided to keep going the way I had been.   Fast forward several years and I have more time to play and learn.  A friend and neighbor of mine asked me to make a t-shirt quilt for her daughter’s college graduation.  I have watched this young lady grow up and couldn’t say no.  She brought me a bag of over 45 shirts.  I decided to use her “Top 40″ and to make a two sided quilt.  I remembered seeing an article about how easy it was to use photos for t-shirt layouts in EQ and decided to give it a try again.  Wow, have they come a long way or maybe I have LOL.  It was so easy.

The steps I took were:

1) Measured the design on each shirt.  I had already decided all the blocks were going to be 14” wide finished so I only needed the length of each design.

2) I put the length on a piece of paper and placed it on the upper area of the photo where I could cut it out of the photo later. If you are going to do a variable size quilt you would write down the width of the design also. I took a picture of each shirt with the length in the photo.

3) Downloaded all the photos onto my computer.

4) In my computer I sized/cut each photo so the design was the only thing showing in the photo and saved the photo with the dimensions of the design in the file name.

5) Following the directions in EQ I imported the cropped photos into the photo library and then saved them into the project sketchbook.

6) I used the photos to design the quilt – putting the shirts where they needed to be according to the design size and style. Since the size was embedded into the file name it was easy to know which shirts would fit in with the other shirts in the row.

Here are the designs I came up with for each side of the quilt.

A lot of programs get upgraded regularly. Something that may have seemed difficult to do the first time you tried it could have been made so much easier as the program gets improved.  I am not sure if that was the case here or if I just got better at understanding the software. I am just glad I finally had the time to experiment with the program again. There are so many really neat tools for us to use in our quilting we just need to have the time and take the time to learn how they work.  Electric Quilt has lots of support and ideas for using their software. Just go to http://www.electricquilt.com and check out all the information available.

Do you have quilting and sewing tools you are not sure exactly how to use such as computer software, specialty rulers, feet for your sewing machine?  Go to the manufacturers website, Google the tool or do a YouTube search. There are all kinds of videos out there to teach you what you want to know.  Most of all, don’t be afraid to expand your horizons! It can open a whole new world to you and possibly make your quilting and sewing life a lot easier.

Happy Memories


Parachute Wedding Dresses

My husband showed me a small blip about these dresses that was in a flyer he got from the Museum of the US Army.  It fascinated me so I did a little more research.  I am new to reusing items and making them into something else, but this is the ultimate in taking something that contains a lot of memories and finding another use for it! The dresses and their stories that follow are just a wonderful part of our history.

World War II brides had to be very imaginative when it came to finding fabric for their wedding dresses.  Many of them found that discarded silk parachutes were a great source of fabric. At the beginning the parachutes were pure cream silk, then they were made from a thinner nylon material. Parachutes were brought back by servicemen as souvenirs as many could not be used again if they had gotten wet from landing in the sea or were damaged in other ways.

Women started making bridal gowns from parachute silk before the war ended. In early 1943 newspaper articles ran stories about young women who were not letting anything go to waste, including the parachutes their husbands jumped from planes in!

Numerous women in the U.S., Europe, and Australia made these dresses as it was difficult to find a lot of white or cream fabric.  Instead they used the parachutes which provided lots and lots of fabric – allowing them to make voluminous dresses with big sleeves, long trains and other details.

Today some of these dresses are in museums while others are cherished pieces of family collections. They don’t often come up for auction, making them a rarity on the vintage clothing market.

Joan Corbett and Eric Chapman were married in June 1946. They had met when Eric was stationed at an air force base in New Plymouth and kept corresponding while Eric was stationed in Guadalcanal and Bougainville and Joan worked in the Land Army. Eric picked up a silk parachute from a stockpile when he was discharged at the end of World War II. Eric thought the parachute would make a great wedding dress.

Joan’s mother, Myrtle, made the dress. It features long sleeves, a full skirt and a long train. It also has sixty nine cotton doily medallions in the train, at the waist, and on the shoulders. (Excerpt from Auckland War Memorial Museum Website)

Joan Chapman’s Parachute wedding dress Auckland War Memorial MuseumJoan Chapman’s Parachute wedding dress (Auckland War Memorial Museum)

Following is a white wedding dress worn by Lili Lax, 22, for her marriage to Ludwig (Aron) Frydman, 21, on January 27, 1946.  They were married in a synagogue near Celle Displaced Persons Camp in Germany. Lili told Ludwig that she had always dreamed of getting married in a white dress, so he obtained a white rayon parachute from a former German airman for 2 pounds of coffee and cigarettes. Lili used her cigarette rations to hire a seamstress, Miriam, to sew the gown. Miriam used the leftover material to make a shirt for Ludwig. Six months later, Lilly’s sister wore the gown when she married, and then their cousin Rosie wore it. Lili lent the dress to many more brides, although she quit counting at 17. Ludwig, his parents Michal and Gizella, and 11 siblings lived in Sevlus, Czechoslovakia, which was annexed by Hungary in 1939. In March 1944, Germany invaded Hungary and soon began the systematic deportation of all Jews to concentration camps. Ludwig was confined to Munkacs ghetto and then deported to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. Ludwig’s parents and 7 siblings perished. Lili, her father Yitzhak, and 4 younger siblings Faige, Eva, Mechel, and Eli, were from Zarici, Czechoslovakia. In June 1944, Lili and her family were sent to Auschwitz. Lili’s father and brothers were immediately gassed. Lili and her sisters survived imprisonment in Plaszow, Neustadt in Oberschlesien, Gross-Rosen, and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British forces on April 15, 1945. Lili and Ludwig met in Celle DP camp in June 1945. With their 10 month old daughter and Lili’s sister Eva, they left Celle in 1948 to join her sisters in New York.  (Excerpt from US Holocaust Memorial Museum Website “Wedding gown made from a white rayon parachute worn by multiple Jewish brides in a DP camp”)

Parachute Wedding Dress US Holocaust Memorial MuseumParachute Wedding Dress (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

The wedding dress below was made from a nylon parachute that saved Maj. Claude Hensinger during World War II.


In August 1944, Hensinger, a B-29 pilot, and his crew were returning from a bombing raid over Yowata, Japan, when their engine caught fire. The crew was forced to bail out. Suffering from only minor injuries, Hensinger used the parachute as a pillow and blanket as he waited to be rescued. He kept the parachute that had saved his life. He later proposed to his girlfriend Ruth in 1947, offering her the material for a gown.

Ruth wanted to create a dress similar to one in the movie Gone with the Wind. She hired a local seamstress, Hilda Buck, to make the bodice and veil. Ruth made the skirt herself; she pulled up the strings on the parachute so that the dress would be shorter in the front and have a train in the back. The couple married July 19, 1947. The dress was also worn by the their daughter and by their son’s bride before being gifted to the Smithsonian.(Excerpt from Smithsonian Website)

If you would like to see more examples of parachute wedding dresses just Google it and you will be able to see more as well as read the stories behind them.

Wonderful Signature Quilt Ideas and More

A month ago I went to a quilt retreat and met a wonderful group of women and men.  As happens at these things we all talk and share what we are doing and have done.  Sharon told me about the memory quilts she had done and I asked her to share them with me so I could share them with you.

The first one was made from upholstery fabric from her brother-in-law, who was an upholsterer of 15th century antique furniture. Each muslin piece in the center contained signatures that she copied as well as the birth date of the person.  It was given to her mother on her 75th birthday.

This quilt she made from pieces of quilts made by my Retreat mates.

Finally, this last one is for the 30th Anniversary of Ordination for her husband. The blocks are from the states and/or cities in which he lived and worked. The signatures are from their family, his colleagues, friends, and professors. They were generous to provide their signature so she could copy them on muslin. With the help of three quilting friends she completed the quilt.

I love all these quilts! They are all very unique.  There are some important take away’s from these quits for people wanting to do one.

You can use almost any block or design for your quilt. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Don’t be afraid to use fabrics other than quilting fabrics, especially if, as in the case of the first one shown above, they have a family and emotional connection to the person.

You don’t have to mail people fabric and pens etc, to get their signatures, you can have them send them to you in an email or letter like Sharon did. Doing this saves postage, time and the worry that people will write too big for the block you send and have the writing get lost in the seam allowance.  Technology is wonderful and we need to take advantage of it when we can.

This brings me to an important detail often overlooked by people doing signature/memory quilts – you MUST notify the person writing in the block you send that they need to leave a minimum of 1/4″ all the way around for the seam allowance.  Not everyone knows to do this. You end up with some that go into the seam allowance and you lose some of the writing.  I have had several people do the blocks before talking to me and then send them to me to put into a quilt.  Several of the blocks lost writing into the seam allowance.  NEVER assume people know to leave the space, most don’t.

There are many kinds of memory quilts. I love that Sharon thought to make a fan of memories from her quilt retreat. What a wonderful, novel idea.  I always encourage you to think outside the box and try something new and different. These quilts show what you end up with when you do just that, wonderfully special and unique quilts.

I would love to hear about your experiences making signature quilts and see what you have done. If you aren’t on the blog feel free to email me the photos at quilter@HappyMemoriesQuilts.com.

Happy Memories, Happy Days




Memory Quilt Wedding Gift

Since I have stopped making quilts for clients I have been playing catch up with all the quilts I owe my family.  I feel like the cobbler whose children have no shoes, or the plumber who has pipes that leak because he is busy doing for everyone else. I have a closet full of family projects that have been waiting for me to have time.  My family has been so patient, especially my niece Kristen and her hubby Andy who got married 2 plus years ago.  I just recently got their wedding gift of a memory quilt done for them and surprised them with it when we saw them at a family gathering last month.   I have made many of my family a quilt as a wedding gift.  This quilt is made up of the memories they have from dating going up to the date of the wedding.  In Kristen and Andy’s case I asked for 23 memories from their years together.  These memories can be anything, concerts, trips, first date, favorite songs, etc., and the deal is they won’t be asked what they mean or stand for – it is for them only.  I use the “My One and Only” pattern from my book Easy Memorabilia Quilts, Ties, T-Shirts, Photos and More.  Each block is a memory that I have embroidered. I use the colors that they have picked for their homes to make up the quilt. Kristen and Andy love the ocean so the colors are various shades of blue, white and gray.

Here are two photos of the quilt.

What do you do for your wedding quilts? Do you have a special quilt pattern you use or do you change it up each time?  I would love to see what you have all done and hear your gift ideas.

Have a great weekend.

Happy Memories, Trish

Memory Pillows and Animals the Possibilities are Endless

Many of us want to make a remembrance for a family member that is not a quilt. There are really unlimited possibilities to do this.  I thought I would give you some examples to get your ideas flowing.

Pillows are an easy way to share memories with someone special.  They can be any size or shape such as square, rectangle, round, or heart shaped.  They can be single sided or two sided and use t-shirts, polo shirts, or dress shirts.  You can also applique children’s clothes, dance costumes, etc., onto fabric and make them into pillows as well.

This pillow was made by Chris from a t-shirt.

Chris added a nice touch when she included a heart similar to this one with a message to the recipient.

This is a pillow made from a dress shirt, tie, and suspenders.  You can make one of these with or without the tie and/or suspenders. You can also do this with a polo shirt.  If you are not sure how to make a block out of a dress shirt or polo shirt, check out my book “Easy Memorabilia Quilts, ties, t-shirts photos and more” or my Dress Shirt class on The Quilting Company.   A pattern for the pillow below is included with the class.

When you have a costume that you can’t include in a quilt because of the decorative sequins etc., a pillow is a great way to save the memory.  The pillow below is an example of that.  I couldn’t include this dance costume in the quilt I was making for my client without charging them for custom quilting to get around the sequins.  Since it was the only item that was an issue I offered to make it into a pillow and they loved the idea.

Many people do bears, but you could really do any type of stuffed animal.  How about the school mascot or a child’s favorite animal?  There are so many patterns out there. Don’t limit yourself to what everyone else does, think of who you are giving it to and who the memory is about and you could come up with something outside the box.  “Google It” and see what ideas are out there.  I Googled “Stuffed animals made from clothes” and found patterns for Elephants, Monkeys, and Bunnies to name a few.  Go to your local fabric stores and look through pattern books and craft books. There are all kinds of things made from cloth that can be made from clothes that might be perfect for the loved one you are thinking about.  As I said the ideas are endless, just think outside the box and look for ways to do what you have in mind – there is always a way. Remember anything made from fabric can be made from the clothes you have, just spread your wings!

These are bears made by Chris for her grandkids using t-shirts of their grandfathers. She did a great job. The lettering isn’t perfect but, as Chris said, the kids get the idea and remember him wearing them which is what counts. They don’t have to be perfect.

Check out the ears of the bears.  I love how Chris used a logo and a helmet to accent them. Just shows how you can add little touches to make your memories special.

I always tell you to think outside the box.  If an idea comes to you go for it! Look online and in books for patterns that will help you make your idea.  Don’t be afraid to modify how something is put together so you can accommodate the design your trying to make and the designs on your shirts.

I would love to see what you have all done with your memories other than making quilts out of them.  Have you found a pattern that really works well for this?  Let us know we would love to see them and try them for ourselves.

Happy Memories,  Trish

Setting goals for the New Year & A Special Sale

Happy 2019, hope your holidays were wonderful and filled with joy, love and family. Now that the holiday craziness is behind us its time to set our goals for the new year.  Mine are totally selfish. As many of you already know I have decided to stop my Jersey Girl Quilts business, where I make quilts for people.  I may start it up again someday but I have so many of my own projects that have gone by the wayside these last 10 years that I just felt it was time to concentrate on my stuff for a while.  I want to get my UFO’s done and learn how to use my “new” sewing machine, serger and ScanNCut as well as work more on getting myself healthy.  My UFO list is so long it is scary! I am not sure where to start so I am just plunging in with the projects I wanted to get done for people, including wedding and baby quilts and sprinkle in a few holiday projects for me so I don’t feel neglected. LOL. Do you have a huge list of projects to do?

When I decide on the projects I want to do I go through my stash to see what fabrics I already have. Then I put them with the pattern and make a list of any fabrics I need to buy to finish out the “kit”.   I also either put any tools or rulers I am going to use with the project or write a note to remind myself what tools I have that would make the projects I want to do easier.  This is especially important when they are tools that you don’t use very often.

I am sure all of you have a list of projects like I do and many of you have a memory quilt on the list as a gift for a birthday, high school or college graduation this year.  I know this because many of you have been taking my online classes through The Quilting Company.  I have found that my All Squared Up Tee’s Templates have made making these kinds of quilts so easy that they go together like a dream.  Since many of you have been taking the classes I thought I would give you a special discount on the templates, book and stabilizer to help make the process so much easier for you.

Keep me posted on your projects I always get motivated and inspired by other quilters.  Hopefully I will be posting some finished projects of my own in the coming weeks.

Happy Memories, Trish









Happy Holidays and The Night Before Christmas, a Quilters Version


I have spent the last few months traveling on an extended vacation abroad with my hubby, watching Army Beat Navy YEAH!!!!!! and getting ready for Christmas.  I hope you have all been doing well and having fun doing all your holiday projects.  We get to spend the holidays with our family, minus sadly our son-in-law who is deployed this year.  As you spend time celebrating whatever holiday your heritage honors and are cherishing those moments with your families please remember and pray for those families who are minus a person because they are defending our freedom to celebrate whatever holiday we choose.  There are many soldiers and their families who won’t be with their loved ones so that you can.  Our families prayers go out to all the men and women in our armed forces, police, first responders, and all the hospital staff that are sacrificing their family time for us.  Keep them safe and give them your blessings this holiday season.

I would like to share a quilters poem I found by Brenda Groelz, Kathy Rockbugs, Marilyn Root, Cindy Swafford

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Poem
(A Quilters’ Version)

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
The only one sleeping was a Quilter’s dear spouse.
The Log Cabin stockings were almost completed,
“Just a few stitches left,” our sweet quilter repeated.

“Then I can hang them and head off to finish
the pillows I’m making, fulfilling Mom’s wish
For something quilted to put on her couch and spoke,
as she pricked her poor finger, our quilter said, “Ouch!”

When from out in the kitchen there arose such a crashing,
she sprang from her work, and she dropped all her sashing.
Away to the doorway she flew like a plane,
wondering just what was happening and who she would blame.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
but Old Mrs. Claus and her bag of quilt-gear…
With her elves bearing gifts, through the kitchen she came,
she directed and pointed and called them by name.

“Now Elna, now Pfaff, now Bernina and Viking,
the Hoffman and Mumm should be just to her liking.
To the sewing room – there, it’s just back of the hall,
now dash away, dash away, dash away all!”

“My Dear,” said The Claus (as she liked to be called),
“There really is no need to worry at all.
Your projects will all be completed this night,
I’m terribly sorry we gave you a fright.”

“Sit down. Have some tea. It’s relaxing, you’ll see.
My friends and I’ve come a long way to help Thee.”
She thought she was dreaming, our dear Quilter did,
In fact she quite feared that she near flipped her lid!

But the flash of the needles and twist of the thread
soon gave her to know she had nothing to dread.
They spoke no more words, but went straight to their sewing.
How the work went so quickly she had no way of knowing.

The stitches, how fine! The corners, how straight!
This Claus-woman’s talent was awfully great.
They finished the pillows, then started to quilt.

Before they all knew it, the whole thing was built!

Now old Mrs. Claus, she knew quilters real well,
and she knew they’d need help on this night most of all
So she said to our quilter, “Just move over dear,
I’ve brought my own needle. We’ll get done, never fear.

I told dear old Santa about what quilters do.
How they plan all these projects but have other work too.
So he taught me his magic for doing things fast.
There, that pillows done. Now this is the last.

They tidied their thread snips, and picked up the scraps
and chased our dear quilter’s six cats from their laps.
As they scurried away with their thimbles still gleaming
dear Mrs. Claus paused, her cap ribbons streaming.
“Merry Christmas, my dear, now just have a ball!”

God Bless and I will be in touch next year.

Happy Memories, Trish

The Quilt Barns of Carroll County Maryland

Doug and I have a friend, Mark, who is an avid photographer.  He and his wife Jane do a lot of traveling so of course he takes pictures of their travels but his favorite pictures I think are the ones he takes of wildlife.  Mark takes a lot of photos out at the Wetlands, an area by our home in Florida that he and Jane volunteer at and he has gotten some beautiful shots.  This past summer they went back home to Maryland for a few months and Mark decided to take photos of the quilt barns of Carroll County, Maryland.  The photos are wonderful and he is letting me share them with you. Go to his blog at https://www.markpollittphoto.com/blog/2018/9/the-quilt-barns-of-carroll-county-maryland and read the story of his adventure and check them out.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I know it is only October but lets get real if we are making things for people on our Christmas lists we have already started planning and designing.  Many of you have memory quilts on your list.  Some will be made from T-shirts, some from ties, and some from that special person’s clothes.  No matter what your quilt design Happy Memories has the supplies you need to get the job done and done beautifully. Whether you are making your first T-shirt quilt or are using new to you items in your quilt such as dress shirts and polo shirts there are tools, supplies and information available on our website for you. And right now you can get all those tools and supplies for 30% off if you go to the web store at www.HappyMemoriesQuilts.com/our-store.htm!

Also, check out the links below to go directly to my classes that will teach you all you need to know to get those projects done easily and without stress.  Don’t want a class, check out my book, Easy Memorabilia Quilts, Ties, T-shirts, Photos & More for how to take just about anything and make it into a block. Also, tips and patterns that will make your gifts a breeze to design and make.

Check out all my online classes for lots of techniques and tips on all the things you can do to make your memory quilts extra special.

Making Memory Quilts: Neck Ties
Making Memory Quilts: Children’s Clothes
Making Memory Quilts: Dress Shirts
Making Memory Quilts: T-Shirts
Making Memory Quilts: Jersey’s

If you have any questions about the classes feel free to contact me via email at quilter@happymemoriesquilts.com.

Happy Memories

Thoughts and Prayers

There are many of you who are dealing with Hurricane Florence.  Some of you have had to leave your homes, or you have taken in loved ones to keep them safe.  You are first responders or families of first responders who are working through this horrible storm or you are just neighbors out there trying to help neighbors, please know our thoughts and prayers are with you.  I have family, our daughter, her husband and grandchildren who are riding it out in inland NC not sure what she will bring to them and friends who are closer to the coast who have been evacuated.  Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers as the days unfold.  God Bless

Fabric Designer and Quilt Shop Owner in the Making!!!

About a month ago our daughter sent us a photo of our 5 yr old granddaughter, Caelyn, showing off her first Quilt. (Sorry, I don’t show pictures of her on my business sites as they go out to everyone so I cut off her adorable head.) Her Momma had this piece of fabric and she took her crayons and drew a picture in each of the “blocks”.  She was so proud so GiGi, me, is going quilt it with fabric she picked out for the back and make it into a full-fledged quilt.

A few weeks later we went to visit them and Caelyn asked if I could make a special friend of hers a dress.  Her little friend has major medical issues. She has been through a lot and Caelyn wanted to do something special for her.  I told her it would be difficult to make a dress for a little girl I didn’t know but asked what if we made her a quilt instead?  Caelyn loved that idea, so after she approved my quilt design we went to a fabric store and she picked out a special unicorn fabric and a matching fabric for me to use.  The next day we were all doing things around the house and Caelyn decides to play quilt shop so she colors some white scrap fabric and lays it out with price signs.

It was the cutest thing.  I couldn’t believe she came up with this after only 1 visit to a fabric shop. I see myself working for my granddaughter in a quilt shop some day, I would love that.  Time will tell.

Do you have a little quilter in the making?  Do you have ideas for teaching children to quilt?  Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.  When I finish her quilt I will show you how it looks.

Have a great week. Happy Memories, Trish

The Final Details of My Uniform Quilt

Hope you are all doing great.  For some of you school has started and for some of you there is still a few weeks left of summer. I have had a busy summer with lots of fun, travel and lots of work.  We were finally able to do the quilting and the last details of the uniform quilt I have been working on and I was really happy with the results.

The quilting was time-consuming as we had to do “cut outs” to get around the thicker areas of the uniforms.  As I tell my students and anyone who will listen you can use pretty much anything in a quilt, but if you are going to have it quilted you need to talk to the person quilting it to know if they will be able to deal with the extra thick areas.  I have a Gammill Statler Stitcher and we are able to stop and start the stitching in certain areas so it doesn’t go over bulky areas.  Sometimes no matter how much bulk you remove from a garment it still is too thick for a quilting needle to go over it.  Many of these garments were thick wool which made it difficult to get some areas flat enough. I removed the patches and chevrons from the uniforms so we didn’t have to go around them which made the quilting a bit easier.

Once we got the quilting done I had to sew the patches and chevrons I took off back on.  In order to do this and not totally kill my fingers I used a curved needle and a round thimble.  It worked great. Any thimble will do. The object is to protect your fingers as you’re pushing the needle through the thick patches and material.

These pictures show the sleeve quilted with the chevron in place and the curved needle with round thimble. Here are a few photos of the sleeves with the chevrons sewn on,This is a picture of an army uniform with the patches.  Some I took off and some I kept on.After all the patches were replaced I had some extra patches and epaulets the client had given me so I designed the label to accommodate what was left.  It is a large label but since the quilt is king size there was no problem having a label that big.  I did apply some SoftFuse to the back of the label to hold it more securely than just doing the stitching around the side.Here is the final quilt.  The client loved it which makes all the hard work worth it.

This quilt is an example of how you don’t have to cut all your uniforms up in order to put them in a quilt. I love how you see each uniform as it was not just in pieces.   Hope these pictures and tips give you some ideas for your own uniform quilts.

I would love to see pictures of the quilts you have all made and are working on. Please feel free to share.

Until next time, Happy Quilting and Happy Memories, Trish

Making Memory Quilts With Large Pieces.

Over the last months I have been working on a memory quilt for a client that contains West Point and Regular Army uniforms.  I decided to keep the uniforms intact as much as possible so you can see what they looked like.

This is the heavy black parka.  I removed the hood and the sleeves and took out the zipper and pockets. The is the dress gray coat that I removed the sleeves and zipper.  I kept the collar intact – just debulked it.

I took one of the sleeves from the dress gray and made a block out of it.

This is the summer India uniform. As with the dress gray I removed the sleeves and debulked the collar. I also removed all the buttons and stitched down the epaulets.

The full dress uniform I removed the sleeves and kept both of them for blocks.  I debulked the collar as shown in previous post.

The dress gray sleeves were attached without the gold rank as it is too thick to quilt through. They will be added via hand stitching after the quilting is done.

There were two Army BDU’s, one a shirt and one a jacket.  I used both of them, removing sleeves and stitching down pockets.  I choose not to remove these patches but to quilt around them.  You may want to remove them, do the quilting and then sew them back on afterwards.

I was given a pair of pants from the India uniform and the Dress Gray.  I cut them up and made two of this block set.   This is the quilt top put together and ready to quilt!! This kind of quilt shows how you don’t have to cut everything up into pieces. You can keep things whole, just like you do in other memory quilts.  Spread your wings and try different things. It makes for very special and individual quilts.

Happy Memories, Trish

Baby, Oh Baby

Hope you all had a great and safe 4th of July.  We spent the day and night with friends in St. Augustine.  It was great and the fireworks downtown were wonderful.  I have been busy on two quilts.  One is a baby quilt for a friends granddaughter.  They like butterflies and I found a really cute fabric by Susybee for Hamil Textiles.  I designed a simple quilt that would accentuate the fabric but also have a little whimsy to it with a pin wheel block.  I gave the client the choice between having all the pin wheels the same color and they would pick the color or mixing it up.  She chose mixing up the pin wheels.  I am so glad they did, I love all the different colors.  I picked a dark and a light of each color on the quilt and then mixed them up in the quilt.  The mom doesn’t like purple but likes turquoise so I made sure the purple/blue color in the quilt went more to the blue in the pin wheels and made the inner border turquoise.I love working with my clients to give them the quilts they want for their loved ones. Most of my quilts are memory quilts but sometimes I get to make quilts that will be the foundation of many memories to come.  Those are really special too.

Are you working on anything this summer or are you taking a break?  I love seeing all the things people do so please share your projects with us so we can be inspired.

Have a great week.  Trish


Debulking a Collar

We had a wonderful few weeks of celebrating our son’s wedding and our 40th anniversary and now I am getting back into work again.  I have been working on a quilt using West Point Uniforms. No matter how many of these I do it still amazes me how many layers of stabilizer are used in these things.  I wanted to show you how I did the collar so you see how you sometimes have to take things apart to debulk them and then sew them back together. This is the collar before debulking.

After I have removed the facing fabric you can see there are four layers of stabilizer in this collar several of them are fairly thick.  It is no wonder it stands up so stiff and straight.

In this instance when I took out the stitching that was holding down the stabilizer I also was undoing the black cording that decorates the lower front of the collar. When these kinds of things occur I make sure I take good pictures as I go so I can put the item back together again looking the way it is suppose to.This is the collar minus all the extra layers.

This is the front of the collar showing the cording now loose.

When you get the collar placed the way you want and resewn you can then reapply the black cording the way it is suppose to be. You can see that I use my open toe foot so I can see the cording and needle really well to sew it on.

Don’t be afraid to take a lot of pictures as you are taking things apart so that you will have an easier time putting them back together again.  I would rather delete photos not used than to waste time trying to remember and figure out how something had been before ripping it apart.

Hope this gives you some more “behind the scenes” information on how I do things and makes it easier for you to do your quilts.

Take care and have a wonderful, safe 4th of July weekend.




Scrappy Clothes Quilt

This is a crazy time of year with all the end of school functions, graduations, and vacations. This last few weeks I have been finishing quilts for clients before we head north to Syracuse and Utica, New York for our son’s wedding next week. We are so excited and are busy getting all our stuff together for the trip and the big day.  I thought since I had shown you how i fussy cut some of the blocks for my clients quilts that I would show you the end product. The clothes I was given were from the clients Mom and Dad so there were an equal amount of bright colors and bold patterns from Mom to offset the more subdued colors and patterns of Dad.  The end result made for a really colorful scrappy quilt.

Hope you are enjoying all the end of school activities and have some really neat things planned for the summer.  I know I do.

Happy Memories, Trish

Happy Memorial Day!!!

On this Memorial Day weekend I would like to say thank you to all the men and women of our armed forces and their Gold Star families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  Without their selfless acts we would not be enjoying the freedoms we have. As you are off having fun at the beach, lakes and parks please do not take those freedoms for granted, someone gave their life and someone lost a loved one to give them to you.

God Bless Our Military and their Families Now and Always.