Message in a Bottle Baby Quilt

 Hello I’m Nicky Eglinton and I blog (occasionally) at Mrs Sew and Sow, and (more frequently) can be found on IG @nickyeglinton.

The lovely Lisa and Justine have asked me back again to share a cute nautical themed collection of prints called Message In A Bottle by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman.  

We thought they would make a lovely baby quilt and so here is the EQ version of the 40″ square quilt.

This traditional Flywheel block makes me think of the wheel used to steer a ship or the propeller driving it through the sea, but it could also work for aeroplanes, if baby is destined to be a flyer!

It might look tricky but is made from rectangles and squares using a stitch and flip method, making it very easy indeed. 

The fabrics are again directional prints!  This time though I will be spinning those prints round the block.   This is a great way to add a bit of movement to your quilt and also means that it works any way up.  It is also easier to make because all the strips will be cut, and all the blocks units will be pieced, in the same way.

Please read all the way through the instructions before starting.  This will be most important if you wish to make the bonus project – a cute matching double sided cushion (the tutorial for this will be on my blog).

Use a quarter inch seam allowance throughout unless otherwise stated.

Yardage Requirements

1 FQ each of the four Message in a Bottle prints: Bottles Navy; Red Anchors ; Boats Multi and Navy Whales
1 FQ of white - we used Muslin Mates - Bubbles
1 1/2m of light blue for background - we used Kona Aqua
1/2 m of navy or dark blue for binding we used Kona Storm
42" square of wadding 
44" square backing of backing fabric we used Star Spangled by Riley Blake
Cutting Requirements

Feature fabrics
Cut six 3″ strips from each FQ of feature fabric
Sub-cut sixteen 3″ x 5 1/2″ rectangles from the 3″ strips of each feature fabric
Total of sixty four 3″ x 5 1/2″ rectangles from all the feature fabrics combined

Background fabric  – Kona Aqua
Cut twelve 3″ strips of background Aqua fabric and sub cut sixty four 3″ x 5 1/2″ rectangles 

Cut ten 3″ strips of background Aqua fabric and sub cut into ninety three 3″ squares 

White fabric – Muslin Mates – Bubbles
Cut thirty two 3″ squares

Binding – Kona Storm
Cut four 2 1/2″ x WOF strips from the navy fabric for binding.  Join into one continuous strip.  Fold in half and press.

Making the block
Step 1
Mark a diagonal line across all 3″ squares – retain till Step 3

Tip:  I often just press the square diagonally in half and use the crease as my stitching line or use a pencil to mark a line, but you can use your preferred method just ensure that the mark is NOT permanent.  

Step 2
Divide each feature fabric into four groups of four rectangles, and four background rectangles.  Arrange each block as pictured below.

Step 3
Now lay two marked white squares and two marked background squares (from Step 1on top of the feature fabric rectangles, as shown below.  

Pin if necessary to hold the squares in position and stitch on the marked lines.

Below is one example of how it will look:

Fold down the triangular flap, ensuring that the triangle flap covers the whole of the corner – this means that you have stitched correctly.  If not, then restitch before proceeding.  Doing this step will make your blocks accurate.

Open up again and trim wastage triangles off (unless you are making Bonus HSTs – see last section of this tutorial).   Line up the quarter inch line on your ruler with the stitching line and trim both layers: the square and rectangle fabric below.  Press seams open.

Make one more unit with a white square and feature fabric rectangle;  and two more with background coloured squares and your feature fabric rectangles. 

Stitch them as pinned at the beginning of Step 3 – they will not all look exactly like the one in the photo as the colour and position of the square will change and that is correct.

Step 4
Add marked background fabric squares to the opposite end of each pieced unit.  Ensure that the line on your marked square is parallel to your previous stitching line.

Stitch along the marked line as in photo below.    

Do check that your stitching results in the correct shape; a parallelogram – see photo below before trimming.  Check also that your triangle flap covers what is underneath as before.

Press and trim as in Step 2 (unless you are making Bonus HSTs – see last section of this tutorial).


they will not all look exactly like the one in the photo above as the position of the square will change and that is correct.

Repeat for the three other pieced units.

Step 5
Reposition all four pieced units and now stitch the background rectangles to the outer edge of each. 

This makes your quarter blocks –

Step 6
Stitch two quarter blocks together to make two half blocks
and then two half blocks together to form the completed block.

Repeat Steps 2-6 to make sixteen blocks; four from each feature fabric.

Making the quilt

Step 7
Take four blocks, one from each feature fabric, and arrange in rows.  Stitch a row of four blocks together.  

Repeat for the other three rows.

Press seams in the first and third row to the left, the second and fourth row to the right.   When stitching the rows together nest the seams to ensure matching.

Step 8
Layer top, wadding and backing fabric and baste using your preferred method.

Step 9
Quilt as desired. 

I quilted in the ditch along the seamlines between the blocks  (see photo of back of quiltto stabilise the layers.  I find this helps to prevent the quilt sandwich from shifting or stretching when quilting on the bias as you do going round in circles.

Then I quilted in a continuous spiral from the centre using the width of my presser foot as a guide till I reached the outer edge. 

The Flywheel block, the prints in different directions and the quilting all lend a great feeling of rotational movement to this quilt.

Step 10

Attach the binding in your preferred method.

I stitched the binding to the back of the quilt first. 

Then folded the binding toward the front of the quilt, and top stitched to the front.  This makes a quick and secure binding which will hopefully be laundry and baby or toddler proof!  

Hope you enjoy making this quilt and if you drop into Simply Solids feel free to take a photo of yourself in selfie mode with it and please let me know where to find it!  Or let me know where to find your version – I’d be thrilled to see it!

Now check out below how to make those bonus HSTs and come back to join me for a tutorial on how to make that cushion.

Making Bonus HSTs
Should you want to join in making the Bonus cushion project you may want to stop in Step 3 and Step 4 before you trim off those waste triangles! 
Mark a line,  half an inch away from the stitching line and parallel to it.

Stitch on the marked line.

Cut in the middle of both stitching lines.  Both units will have their own quarter inch seam.  
Continue with quilt tutorial and save those bonus HSTS for your bonus project.
Alternatively you can collect the waste triangles and chain piece them.
Bonus cushion project tutorial coming up….

Mother’s Day Mug Rug!

With Mother’s day just around the corner we though we’d share with you a super cute mug rug that Julie has made for us!

Mothers Day Mug Rug

Hi! I’m Julie, and I blog over at

Today I’m sharing a tutorial for a Mug Rug that would make a great Mother’s Day gift.

The Rug measures 6”x9” (15.5x23cm) – the perfect size for holding a mug of coffee and that all important slice of cake or cookie!

It can be made mainly from scraps, but the fabrics Justine sent me are so lovely I’m pretty sure you’ll want to use them. The mug and the bird are from the Priory Square collection for Art Gallery Fabrics designed by Katy Jones.

You could, of course, substitute any name or just embroider a few flowers along the border, if you didn’t want to use it as a Mother’s Day gift.

You Will Need:

6 different 3½” square pieces of low volume prints for the background

7″x10″ piece of backing fabric

7″x10″ piece of wadding

1 1/4″ x 40″ length of fabric for the binding

6″ square of fabric for the mug

4″ x 2″ piece of solid white fabric for the name border on the mug

5″ x 1″ piece of solid fabric for the open top of the mug

4″ square of fabric for the bird

2″ square of contrasting fabric for the bird’s wing

2″ square of fabric for the heart shaped teabag that the bird is holding

A4 size or similar size sheet of Bondaweb or other fusible webbing

Sewing machine threads to match the applique



Sewing machine

Erasable marker pen

Embroidery thread

Embroidery needle


Start by joining the six 3½” background squares in a 3 x 2 arrangement.

Download the full instructions and full scale templates for the pieces from here:

Print off the templates and trace them onto Bondaweb. Iron them onto the back of your chosen fabrics and cut out

Mothers day Mug Rug 1d

Trace the word “Mum onto the white border using an erasable fabric marker. Using a dry iron secure all the pieces to the background following the photo as a guide. Note: If the pen you used is heat sensitive, just iron around the edge of the mug border piece – enough to hold it in place, but without touching the wording.

Mothers Day Mug Rug 1fMachine stitch each piece in place using a zig zag stitch (make sure you change the foot on your machine to one that will accommodate the zig zag stitch first – you will break your needle otherwise!)

Embroider over the word “Mum” using a simple backstitch.

Embroider two legs on the bird so that he is perched on the rim of the mug and embroider a string from the heart teabag to the bird’s mouth.

I was able to fussy cut the bird so that one of the flowers looked like his eye. If you are using different fabric you might like to embroider on an eye, too!

Mothers Day Mug Rug 1gPrepare a quilt sandwich in the usual way. Baste and quilt. I did straight line quilting with my walking foot. The lines were just over ¼” apart. I chose not to quilt over the applique, which meant I had a lot of ends to sew in. If you use a Clover Self Threading needle, it makes this job a lot quicker.

Mother's Day Mug Rug 1hI finished off the mug rug with a single layer continuous binding. There are detailed instructions on how to do this on the downloadable PDF.

Well done! You’re finished. Maybe you now need to make another one for yourself…. After all, you’ve deserved that cake and coffee!!

Mothers Day Mug Rug BHow lovely is that? Such a cute make for all the mums out there, wonder who will make mine?!

As ever if you do make any of the projects featured on our blog please tag us in your makes on Instagram and Facebook #simplysolidsmake

Valentines Bunting

Today we have an awesome tutorial for some patchwork heart bunting from the lovely Polly who blogs at JakandGeeGee. Polly has a lovely blog that showcases her makes, fabric and crochet based as well as her cute family! If you don’t already read her blog why not pop over and tell we sent you!

Patchwork Heart Bunting Tutorial
This heart bunting will be great for decorating the house for Valentine’s Day. You could also use it for a bedroom or even a wedding! I’ve chosen a navy and aqua palette as I thought my house full of boys would prefer it, plus it makes a nice change from the standard pink/red everybody associates with Valentine’s Day.

Photo 28
I’ve made a 3m string of bunting with 15 flags but you can make your bunting as long or as short as you would like.

Shopping List
To make 3m of bunting with 15 flags you will need
– ¾m of plain fabric OR ½m plain fabric and 3m ready-made bias binding.
– 5 fat quarters of print fabric
– Thread

Pattern Notes
Seam allowances are ¼“ unless otherwise stated

1. If you have ready-made bias binding go straight to making your flags. If you are making your own binding to string your bunting cut 2″ x WOF (width of fabric) strips from your plain fabric until you have just over 3m in length (or the length you require).
Photo 1
2. Lay the ends of two strips, right sides together, like shown below and mark a diagonal line. I like to just make a crease but you can draw the line if you prefer.
Photo 2
3. Sew along your mark. Trim off any excess and press seam open. You should now have a perfect join for your binding. Repeat this until you have joined all of your strips together.

Photo 3Photo 4
4. Fold the strip in half widthways and press. Then open it up and fold each edge into the
centre and press.
Photo 5Photo 6
5. Finally refold the strip in half and press. That’s your binding made! You can put it aside until later.
Photo 7
The instructions below are for making 1 flag, I’ve made 15 but you can make as many or as few as you want. Just multiply the quantities accordingly.

6. Cut out the following for each flag.
From plain fabric –
2 pieces – 1″ x 5 ¾“
1 piece – 4½“ x 1¼“
1 piece – 4½“ x 1″
2 pieces – 1½“ x 1½“
4 pieces – 2″ x 2″
From print fabric –
1 piece – 5½“ x 5¾“
6 pieces – 1½” x 1½”
4 pieces – 2″ x 2″
Photo 8
7. We will start with making the HST’s (Half Square Triangles). Fold the 4 plain 2” squares in half diagonally and finger press to mark. If you prefer you can draw the diagonal line.
Photo 9
8. With right sides facing, put the marked squares on top of the printed 2” squares. For each pair sew a line ¼” from either side of the mark.
Photo 10
9. Cut along the mark, you should end up with 8 squares. Press seams to the dark side of the square and trim to 1½” x 1½”.
Photo 11 Photo 12 Photo 13
10. Lay out your 1½” squares like below.
Photo 14
Once you’re happy with the heart it is time to start stitching! Take the first two squares
from the top row and, with right sides facing, sew the blocks together. Repeat this for the
rest of the squares. Press seams open.
Photo 15
11. Take the first two rows from the top and, with right sides facing, sew the rows together.
Make sure that all your seams align. Press seams open. Repeat until all four rows are
Photo 16 Photo 17
12. Place the 4½“ x 1¼“ plain piece of fabric, right sides facing, at the top of the heart block. Stitch together and press seam away from the heart.
Photo 18
13. Place the 4½“ x 1″ plain piece of fabric, right sides facing, at the bottom of the heart block. Stitch together and press seam away from the heart.
Photo 19
14. Place a 1″ x 5 ¾“ plain piece of fabric, right sides facing, at one side of the heart block. Stitch together and press seam away from the heart. Repeat for the other side.
Photo 20
15. Place the 5½“ x 5¾“ print piece of fabric and the heart block together, right sides facing, and sew on three sides. Remember to leave the top open. Trim the corners to help with turning, I also like to trim the excess seam allowance with my pinking shears but it is really personal preference. You can then turn the flag ride side out.
Photo 21
Photo 22
That’s it, flag done! Once you have your desired number of flags finished its time to attach them to the binding you made earlier.

16. Depending on how long your bunting is you may need a bit of space. Lay out the full length of binding and spread your flags along it. Make sure you have some binding free at either end so you can tie it up when you’re finished.
Photo 23
17. When you are happy with the flag layout and spacing sandwich each flag between the
binding and pin/clip in place. Now is a good time to fold in each end of the binding as shown in the photo below. This will give a nice finish.
Photo 24 Photo 25
18. The last step is to secure the flags. Top stitch from one end of the binding to the other,
ensuring that all layers of the binding/flag sandwich are caught in the stitches. I like to use my zipper foot for this as I can get nice and close to the edge of the binding and it always gives me a nice finish.
Photo 26 Photo 27
You are done!! Go hang your bunting and spread the romance!
Photo 28

Thanks Polly we love this bunting sooo much! The block is so useable and we can see it on the front of pouches and pockets as well as in the bunting. As mothers of boys the colours make our hearts sing too! Cool enough to be kept up all year round we think!

If you’d like to make your own version of this bunting use code BLUE and you’ll get 15% off all our blue fabric until the end of February!