Tuesday, July 7, 2020

FREE Buckets of Fun Summer Block for Block Mania Blog Hop

Hello there! I'm so glad you stopped by for this free Buckets of Fun Summer Block that I designed as part of the Block Mania Blog Hop. Make sure to check out all the beautiful blocks in the hope through links at the bottom of this post!

If this is your first time here, then welcome to our little corner of the internet, The Whimsical Workshop blog! Here we cover all things quilting and sewing, from organizational tips to free projects and sew alongs. Most of our posts are supported by video tutorials on our YouTube channel so be sure to give us a follow! We also have a Facebook group, Heidi's Quilting Help Desk, where you can get quilting advice, connect with other passionate quilters, and talk to us directly. We'd love to see you there.

For those of you who are new to the Block Mania Blog Hop, it is a blog hop that features a group of the quilting industry's top designers who each create a FREE 12" quilt block for you to enjoy. You get to learn about each designer and collect a wide array of free quilt block patterns for your personal collection.

The theme for this month is "Summer", so of course I wanted to design a block that referenced the best part of summer - going to the beach! This block is called Buckets of Fun and you can download it on our website:

Below is an image showing the fabrics we used in this block, along with the Heat n Bond-Featherweight fusible web that we used in this block:

I recently purchased my first Cricut machine and I was really excited to use it in constructing the pieces for this block. We'll be including the free SVG files we used for this project along with the pattern. Don't have a cricut maker? No worries, we also included the reversed templates for traditional fusible applique in the pattern as well.

If you just got a Cricut machine or if you're interested in learning how to incorporate your machine more into your quilting projects, check out our YouTube channel. I have a video tutorial for this specific block, along with a growing playlist of Cricut for Quilting tips and tricks videos.

When finishing the appliqué and edges of this block, I immediately reached for my favorite sewing and quilting thread, Aurifil 50 wt. cotton thread. If you don't like to use 50 wt, 40 wt will work as well! 

If you make a version of this block before August 4th, 2020, make sure to post it in the comments below for a chance to win a special secret prize! We'll be announcing the winner and their prize in our next blog hop post that day. 

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s free block. Make sure to visit our website for more whimsical patterns and connect with us on social media! 

Here are the other blogs to check out in the Block Mania Blog Hop
Here is the HTML:

Saturday, June 27, 2020

How to Perfect Your 1/4" Seams

Hi there! Welcome back to our blog. Have you joined our Dutch Wonderland Sew Along? It’s our third sew along and we’re making a beautiful 100" x 100" quilt with a variety of different blocks. The best part about this project is that you can start up and follow along at your own pace. We go live every week on our Facebook group, Heidi’s Quilting Help Desk, and shortly after post the video to our YouTube channel. The pattern is available for sale on our website, www.thewhimsicalworkshop.combut you can always watch and make blocks at your own leisure!

This week, we’re jumping back into some quilting basics and something that will definitely help you out whether you’re working on Dutch Wonderland or a different quilt; How to get a perfect ¼” seam. This is a really important part of sewing as the majority of quilt patterns that you'll come across will reference ¼” seams.

Over the years I’ve learned how to improve my ¼” seams with the help of a few great tools - the Clearly Perfect Angle and Sewing Edge reusable vinyl stops. 
I’ve put together a video for you using these tools that covers how to set up your machine with each one, and how to work with them for maximum efficiency.


You’ll be amazed at the accuracy of your seams once you have these tools to guide you. You can find each of these tools on our website, here:

Please make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you can stay up to date on all things creative, organization and general fun! You can also follow along with us on Facebook at Heidi Pridemore Whimsical Workshop, or join our group, Heidi’s Quilting Help Desk, and we’re also on Pinterest and Instagram.

If you test out these tools and techniques, we'd love to see how your 1/4" seams turn out! Drop us a comment on any social media platform and let us know. Thanks for stopping by and we'll see you next week for another fun blog post from The Whimsical Workshop!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Essential Notions for Your Quilting/Sewing Area

Hi there from The Whimsical Workshop! 

Now that you've set up your sewing area for quilting, let's take a closer look at some of my favorite notions to keep handy. These aren't mandatory to have by any means, but they will definitely help make your projects easier and hopefully more fun. If you're interested in adding any of these to your own sewing station, I'll link them all down below. 

To get started, my first recommendation is for the Binding Ruler. There are multiple videos on our YouTube channel that cover how to use this ruler if you're curious, so be sure to check those out (and give us a follow while you're there!). I keep this ruler next to my machine with a small cutting mat and rotary cutter so that I'm able to finish the tails on my bindings as I go. In my opinion, this is the best way to finish your binding.

Next up, I also love having my Cutting Gizmo within arm's reach. It's designed to help with chain piecing, and has a straight edge, recessed blade (safety first!) so that you can quickly and efficiently separate your pieces as you go. Make sure to watch our notions video on YouTube here where I give a quick demonstration. 


I like to keep a Zippy Ripper on hand as well. This tool is relatively small and only has 5 teeth, but can help you undo seams quickly and efficiently. If you're anxious about ripping through your fabric, please be sure to watch our notions video on YouTube here where I give a quick demonstration. This video also covers the scissors I have in my sewing area, the stackable bobbin storage rings I use, my sewing machine cleaning tools and more. 

Finally, I like to keep a Purple Thang for guiding things through my machine and poking out corners, and an industrial magnetic pin holder for keeping my pins together.


Next week I'll be covering how to get a perfect 1/4" seam, so be sure to come back and keep following along!

Shop The Whimsical Workshop Notions and More

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Welcome to the Dutch Wonderland Free Sew-Along!

Hi there! Welcome to the Dutch Wonderland sew-along, led by Heidi Pridemore of The Whimsical Workshop. We're so excited that you're joining us on this 10 week adventure to create a beautiful 100" x 100" quilt.

You can follow along with us for free as we go live in our Facebook group, Heidi's Quilting Help Desk, every Wednesday at 10am, or watch previous weeks' videos on our YouTube channel, posted every following Monday. So make sure you join our Facebook group and subscribe to us on YouTube so that you don't miss a single second!

We'll be starting this project on Wednesday, June 17th at 10am and it will run through August 19th, 2020.

The pattern is available for sale on our website, www.TheWhimsicalWorkshop.com as a digital download. While the pattern is not required to participate, if you are hoping to create the finished quilt as shown, we highly recommend having it on hand for reference.

Each week, Heidi will walk you through a block in the pattern. There are 8 unique blocks and she will go through each step by step and offer insider tips and tricks. This is a great way to build up your experience with block assembly!

For the final week of the sew-along, you'll get to see your project come to life as you put together all of your beautiful individual blocks. Heidi will discuss some additional setting options as well, if you choose to only make one of each block.

And because we love fun, we'll be giving away a random prize every week! To enter, you'll need to post a photo of your weekly creation in our Facebook group, Heidi's Quilting Help Desk, by Tuesday at midnight. Then the next day, Heidi will announce the winner live during the next part of the sew along.

Now let's get into the project syllabus. Make sure to bookmark this post for future reference!

Week 1 (June 17th): Introduction to the Project
  • How are you approaching this class? Are you here just to learn new techniques or to make a final quilt?
  • How to select fabric for your project
  • Cutting for each week
  • Helpful tools
  • Rules for the Weekly Giveaway

Week 2 (June 24th): Block One Center
  • Cutting list will be posted in the Facebook group a few days before class.
    • It will come in two sizes, 24" square and 12" square
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Clearly Perfect Angle & Q-Tools Guide

Week 3 (July 1): Block One Pieced Border
  • Finishing up the pieced border that goes around the Block One square
  • Forming the center of the quilt top
  • How to make Cat's Cradle blocks with and without the Creative Grids ruler
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Creative Grids Cat's Cradle Ruler

Week 4 (July 8): Block Two
  • Block Two Square Construction
  • Working with Bias Triangles, Flip and Sew, and how to align your points before sewing units together
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Magic Pins

Week 5 (July 15): Block Three
  • Block Three Construction
  • Different ways to cut and make HST units
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Purple Thang & Small Strip Stick

Week 6 (July 22): Block Four
  • Block Four Construction
  • Pressing, Pressing and Pressing!
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Bohin Chalk Pencil & Frixion Pen

Week 7 (July 29): Block Five
  • Block Five Square Construction
  • Flying Geese
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: The Cutting Gizmo

Week 8 (Aug 5): Blocks Six & Seven
  • Block Six Square Construction
  • How to cut straight strips
  • Perfecting 1/4" seams
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Clearly Perfect Angle & Q Tools Guide

Week 9 (Aug 12): Block Eight
  • Block Eight Square Construction
  • Different way to make a quarter inch square
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Zippy Ripper

Week 10 (Aug 19): Quilt Assembly
  • Quilt borders and how to assemble a quilt top
  • Alternating settings for blocks
  • Quilting tips
  • Weekly Giveaway Prize: Creative Grids 6" Flying Geese, 45 and 90 Degree Multi Size Ruler

Saturday, June 6, 2020

My Top (5) Five Sewing Machine Feet Recommendations

Welcome back to The Whimsical Workshop blog! 
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for following along with us. I hope you're having lots of fun setting up or rearranging your sewing area and feeling inspired to start your next project.
Before you jump into your next quilt, let's talk about sewing machine feet. There are so many options out there, it can be hard to know which ones you need, which ones are fun extras to have, and which ones are crucial for specific projects. 
When it come to quilting, most of us use a ¼” foot for all our sewing needs. However there are plenty of other feet that can help with piecing and appliqué. I have picked out the top 5 sewing machine feet that I've found myself reaching for over the years, and listed them out for you below:

1. The 1/4" Foot: This is the main foot you'll use for quilting. The majority of quilt patterns call for 1/4" seams, and this foot will make following those patterns much easier. If you don't have a 1/4" foot, I absolutely recommend investing in one. There are two versions of this foot. Some have a guide on the foot that the fabric can push up against it. If you have not used a 1/4" foot before, I recommend starting with this style over one without the guide.

2. The Walking Foot: This is also a foot that is super important to have in your toolbox as a quilter.  A walking foot will help pull in your fabric evenly, which comes in handy if you're sewing thicker fabric, or lots of layers all together. The walking foot has feed dogs built into the bottom of the foot to evenly feed the fabric layers through the machine. If you have a newer machine, check to see if you have dual feed dogs is already built in, which is what a walking foot creates for any machine without this feature.

3. The Open Toe Foot: This sewing machine foot really allows you to see what's going on while you work. It's ideal for finishing raw edge appliqué, blanket stitching and machine appliqué. If you're going to be doing fusible appliqué, this foot will give you added visibility and control as you work our the edges of your piece. Check out our video on finishing the edges of your fusible applique with an open toe foot on our YouTube Channel.

4. The Zipper Foot: Most machines now a days come with a zipper foot, but if your machine does not, this may be useful to have if you're going to be working on garments or bags. Unlike other feet, this foot will let you run right up alongside the edge of a zipper. It can also be useful if you're sewing in piping or cabling.

5. The Top Stitch Foot: This foot will help you get a beautiful top stitch right along the edge of your fabric. It will help you get an accurate, controlled straight stitch and helps give your project a much more finished and polished look.

If you'd like to see more on how to use each of these feet, I do go into more detail about them all in a video on our YouTube channel, here

Bonus Tip: If you have a lot of different feet that you want to keep handy and in good condition, I recommend a regular bait box (you can find these on Amazon or in sporting good stores that have fishing equipment). The small compartments are perfect for keeping sewing machine feet organized and travel-ready.

Next week I'll be talking about some of my essential notions that I keep at my sewing station, so be sure to come back and keep following along!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

How to Set Up Your Sewing Area for Quilting

Hi there and welcome back to The Whimsical Workshop blog! If you've been following along with us the past few weeks, you'll know that we walked through all of my favorite tips on how to set up your ironing and pressing area for quilting. If you haven't had a chance to read those tips yet, I recommend going back and starting there.
Because now we're moving on to your sewing area! When setting up an area for quilting, there are several things to keep in mind.

To begin, you really need to consider the type of surface you're going to put your sewing machine on. Do you have enough space in your sewing area for a cabinet dedicated to holding your machine? Or will you need to use a table and store your machine between uses? If you do need to break down your area between uses, it's really important to make your break down and set up process as simple as possible. If getting out your machine and setting it up takes a long time or gets too complicated, you won't be encouraged to sew. 

For either set-up you'll need to make sure to leave yourself enough space around the machine to support the quilt project as it grows. If you leave the fabric hanging off the table while sewing, it can cause the fabric to stretch and distort while you are sewing, which can then lead to ripples in your project. If you have a narrow table consider using a small table or adjustable ironing board on the side or in back of your machine table for added space and support.

Another thing to consider is where you'll put your sewing tools. I love having drawers in my cabinet to store my notions and add fun cups on top of the table for tools I use the most.  My favorite tip is on storing your sewing machine feet; I use an inexpensive bait box from a sporting goods store to keep my the feet organized and protected from damage that can occur from just throwing them loose in a box. 

I love this style of bait box because the lid pops off and can be stored under the box while it sits my drawer. When I have to go on the road, I just pull out the box and pop the lid on and we're ready to go!

The next step, similar to how I set up my pressing station, is to ensure that your sewing table and chair are at the correct height. If you're too high or too low for your station it may cause neck, back and arm pain. If you need to raise up your foot pedal, try Yoga Blocks! I also recommend an adjustable chair, such as those used in offices, so that you can raise and lower yourself as needed. You can also add a splash of color by adding a quilt to the chair.

And finally, good lighting is crucial. The light should properly illuminate not just your machine, but the area around your machine. This will make it easier to catch mistakes, adjust your sewing machine foot, trim excess thread, and much more. I use three lights at my machine along with the light on the machine. I have a Daylight Slim Light in front of the machine, a goose neck light pointed at the needle and a LED light under the arm of the machine that lights up the work surface.  I've listed out some of my favorite lighting sources below with links as to where you can find them. 

Visit our YouTube channel to see how I set up my sewing area, as well as how I store my sewing machine feet and details on some of my favorite notions. 

Next week I'll be going over my top 5 recommended sewing machine feet, so be sure to come back and keep following along!

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Lighting Links

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Ironing Station for Quilting - Pressing Mats, Lighting and a Bonus Tip!

Hello there! It's Heidi from The Whimsical Workshop, here to help you finish setting up you ironing and pressing area so that you can get started on all of your wonderful quilting projects.

Now that we've talked about what to look for in a good iron and how to make sure your surface is at the right height (if you haven't read these blogs yet, I recommend starting there!), we can move on to the next step, your pressing surface.

Having the right surface to press on is very important as it can impact how long it takes you to iron your fabric. My preferred surface to use is a large wool pressing mat from The Gypsy Quilter. Wool is an insulating fiber, which means that it can help absorb more moisture at a faster rate. In some cases, this can help significantly cut down the amount of time you spend pressing.

However if wool isn't your style, a 100% cotton cover makes for an excellent choice as well. Cotton is a good choice for delicate fabrics that require a lot of pressing, but can't withstand too much heat.

The next step in setting up your pressing area is to make sure that you have adequate lighting. Lighting is crucial in all stages of quilting, but especially with pressing. Without good light, it's harder to see whether you're pressing seams fully flat, if you're spraying enough water out of your spray bottle, you know, those kinds of important things!

To start, take into account whether you do most of your work during the day, or at night. If you tend to quilt mostly during the day, then being by a window with lots of natural light would be optimal. If you sew a lot in the evenings after the sun sets, or if you are in a space without windows, then investing in a good overhead lamp might be a good idea.

And finally, now that our stations are set up in a well-lit area, covered in a wool pressing mat, sitting at just the right height, a bonus tip from me to you.

I have had years to get every part of my pressing station set up to exactly how I like it. And the one thing I would absolutely recommend to all quilters for this area, is a gel floor mat. If you're anything like me, you'll be spending many long hours on your feet, pressing away. Having a comfortable, supportive mat will go a long way in helping relieve foot and back pain.

Check out our video on YouTube where Heidi takes you on a tour of her pressing area at The Whimsical Workshop Studio.

Thank you for following along and if you have any questions, you can always reach us at info@thewhimsicalworkshop.com.