Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen Shaffer | McCall’s Quilting Blog

Welcome back guest blogger and quilt designer  Jen Shaffer of Patterns by Jen! Jen’s large lap quilt, Seaside Stepsis patterned in the February/March 2017 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts magazine. Read on as Jen discusses using the Seaside Steps quilt pattern to make a gift for a high school graduate!

I am so happy to be today’s guest blogger. I hope the bright, cheerful fabrics of Seaside Steps (from the Under The Sea collection by Heather Rosas for Camelot Fabrics) brought warm thoughts and joy to you. There is just something about a quilt saturated in color that makes me want to snuggle in and absorb it.

seasidesteps style 600px Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen Shaffer

I have a child graduating from high school this year. Yes, he will always be a child in my heart, but truly he is a young man ready to spread his wings, just a bit, and fly. I’m using him as my inspiration for this quilt, though I used our local college, Southwest Minnesota State University, for the color choices.

SMSU Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen Shaffer

Since most colleges have only two colors, I used another neutral to fill in, I think it turns out very nicely with just three colors. To add a little more college flare, and to use some of the extra fabric, I pieced the backing.

I chose to use a t-shirt from SMSU, as well as the leftover fabrics, to add a stripe down the back. I  used the t-shirt to decide on the width of my stripe, my 12 1/2″ square fit perfectly on it, and that made all the measuring easy peasy.

tshirt and extras Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen Shaffer

Once that was decided on and cut out, I added some interfacing to it for stability and then I grabbed my leftovers and laid out my strip.

trials Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen Shaffer

Testing options

final layout Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen Shaffer

Final layout

I didn’t end up using all of the extra pieces, but a good chunk of them went into it. I know it goes against many, many quilters ideas, but I don’t like to have a lot of scraps and extra fabric, so if I can piece a backing, I will.  Once the strip was stitched together, I grabbed the rest of the backing fabric, sliced out a 12 ½” strip, replaced it with the pieced strip and sent that baby to the quilter. I made sure to let her know about the t-shirt because that can cause issues with the quilting.

Horseshoes pantograph pattern Jessica Schick Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen ShafferShe had this great horseshoe pattern that was perfect for this Mustangs quilt. The pattern is Horseshoes and Loops #JS Pano 114V2 by Jess Shick of Digitech. Do you find that a quilt just takes on life once it’s quilted? It’s doesn’t have that flat feeling any more. This seemed especially true for this quilt. Once the quilting was done I felt it came to life.

I think this quilt is great for a quick sew, and by adding a t-shirt and some school colors, you can make it yours (or your graduate’s) in time for graduation. Have fun, enjoy this time and then cry after you’ve dropped them off.

close up Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen ShafferJen

QQ10217 Seaside Steps: A Visit with Jen ShafferThanks, Jen! If you’d like to make your own version of Jen’s Seaside Steps quilt and don’t yet have a copy of the February/March 2017 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, you can purchase print and digital copies of the magazine or download the Seaside Steps digital quilt pattern separately from our online shop.

And if you’d like to try incorporating t-shirts into a quilt but need some helpful instruction first, check out our on-demand online course, DIY T-Shirt Quilts! 


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