Sketch to Quilt: House Rules Mini

Today’s article is a show-and-tell of sorts. A little walk through of how I take an idea and turn it into a finished project, in this case a mini quilt measuring 15 1/2 in. by 16in titled “House Rules.”

Inspiration for this mini quilt came in response to a challenge from Curated Quilts magazine for their “Well Said” Mini Quilt Challenge for the month of March 2019. I subscribe to their email newsletter and the challenge hit my in-box the first full week of March. Instantly upon reading the challenge requirements (required color pallet, must contain something “well said”, size requirements, and deadline of March 25th), I knew I had an idea I wanted to submit.

The idea had actually come to me long before this call for entries. A few years ago I had been thinking of values important in our home. The art and quilt business is my part-time occupation, but motherhood is my constant occupation. I have two elementary aged children and teaching values is a big part of motherhood. Through both occupations I am thinking about how the work I do, the day-to-day living of life, and the values and practices exhibited is communicated to my children.

Without getting too political or on too high of a soapbox, I feel like there has been an increasing lack of empathy and ability to think of the lives of others in our society recently. I believe the majority of people are out there, every day, doing their best to make a good life for themselves and their family. Styles may differ, but the basics are essentially the same. Mostly what we all want is real love. We want acceptance of who we are. We want kindness, understanding, respect. Show us grace when we make mistakes- and we will make mistakes because we are all imperfect humans doing the best we can at any given moment. Be honest with yourself and other people. Show affection when it is appropriate and don’t be afraid to make that emotional connection. We want someone to look us in the face, knowing all of our great bits, all of our dirty bits and still be there at the end of the day. We want someone to go all in with us on this crazy, messy, beautiful life.

So I stood at my kitchen counter, half-used scrap paper at the ready and sketched out the idea for this mini quilt. Immediately knowing I did not want to cut all of those letters by hand, I ordered some letter dies from Amazon. While I waited for the small letters to arrive, I dug through my scrap bins to find strips of the colors to roughly match the required pallet. I am also absolutely in love with the small black and white x print I got at Hobby Lobby in January and I think it adds a great print detail to the otherwise solid quilt.

Fabrics ready, armed with a sketch, I worked on building the house shape on which I wanted to add the wording. Next I heated up my iron and adhered Heat-N-Bond to a bunch of black cotton strips in preparation for making the letters. All of the small letters were cut using my Cricut Cuttlebug die cutting machine. All of the larger letters were cut by hand in a style to match the die letters. I checked all of the spelling twice, and proceeded to lay out and adhere all of the words, stitching them in place with black thread to finish. That took a while, those are little 3/4in. letters!

After all of the letters were stitched down, I moved the entire house unit onto my gird cutting mat so I could build the background to the required size. I proceeded to pull, cut and sew my colorful solid strips into the modified rainbow from my sketch staggering the starts and leaving generous tails for trimming. Then I added the x print to the bottom of the rainbow on the right side. After the right-side panel was completed, I attached it to the house unit on the right side shaping it around the corner of the house using a “y” seam. Finally, I added the x print in the upper left corner and trimmed everything to make the mini quilt a 15 1/2 in. by 16in. rectangle. 

After giving the min quilt top a good press, I made my quilt sandwich using a scrap of warm and natural batting and a black and white wavy line print from my stash as the backing. I quilted around the outline of the house using black thread. Then I quilted an 1/8in. along side the rainbow strip seams. I finished the quilting by matchstick quilting through the rows of the x print using white thread. The binding was cut at 2 1/2in. from the same black and white wave print as the backing and added with machine stitching in black.  The back has two little aqua squares sewn in each corner for hanging.

All-in-all I am extremely happy with how this mini quilt turned out. You can see from the above photo how well I was able to translate my sketch into a finished project. I completed a pretty good “y” seam, a tricky skill I need to practice. And I believe I created something worthy of submission to the Curated Quilt magazine that fulfills all of the “Well Said” challenge requirements. We’ll see if it gets published, but even if it doesn’t, I am really happy with what I made. Another idea realized is a great thing in my world. I know some of the sentiment is pretty heavy for a mini quilt, but hey, that’s what they asked for- something you have been wanting to say. I feel better for having said it and I hope someone else will feel better for having read it.

I hope you enjoyed this look into how I made my “House Rules” mini quilt. If you make one of your own inspired by my project, please leave a comment below or share a picture by tagging me on social media @laruedefleurs. I would love to see what way you interpret the idea and how it worked for you. All written work and photographs are original content and are copyright protected; kindly give due credit by linking back to my website if you use or share.

Happy Mini Quilt making! xoxo, Janice

Inspiration and resources are linked where applicable. All written work and photographs are original content and are copyright protected; kindly give due credit by linking back to my website or source website if you use or share.

(©2019, Janice Bailor //

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