Jewel of a Pillow


Whenever I start with new templates, I almost always work the design out on paper first. The Jewel Series was an exception as I couldn’t wait to see the results. I ended up making a few mistakes which turned into a great design. I call those “Personal Design Variations” The following is a tutorial of how this pillow came to life.

Supplies, etc

Templates: The Jewel Collection; Pearls, Diamonds, and Hearts. All 1” and of course a Westalee Design Ruler Foot
A foot that can do a zig-zag stitch
6 Point Crosshair Square
Sew Steady Table and Circle Sewing Tool (I used my Wish Table)
1 yd of fabric (can get by with ¾: see cutting diagram)
16” square batting
Thread for quilting
Thread for construction
Needle, scissors, and pins.
Something to stuff the pillow with, like FiberFil.


Stable Tape: I use this exclusively to keep my templates from slipping.
Grid Glider: Makes everything sew much easier.
Westalee Design Adjusting Locking Ruler: If you haven’t seen this system, you really need to check it out.

Waxed Dental Floss: I use this for gathering. The person who came up with this idea is a genius!
Two 14” squares of muslin for the pillow form.

Let’s Cut some fabric


I get perfect straight cuts every single time using my Westalee Adjustable Rulers.


Make the Ruffle:

The Grid Glider made making the ruffle a breeze. I used the entire WOF of the 5 ½” strips and trimmed off the selvage. Attach the 2 lengths of 5.5” strips on the short ends. Use the ¼” marking on your glider to keep it all straight. Press this seam open. Press the strip length wise, wrong sides together. Now seam the 2 raw short ends making a large loop. Press that open as well.



Gather the raw edge. My favorite way is with dental floss. Simply sew a zig sag stitch over the dental floss. I did overlap as I find it is easier to get an even gather on a continuous loop. If you’ve never tried this, I strongly recommend it. Be sure to use the waxed kind and when you’re done, you can pull it out and use for another project. I kept the edge of the fabric on that ¼” line. Thank you, Grid Glider. Hold the floss with your thumb so you don’t sew into the floss; I really like to avoid that.


Before going to the next step, I hemmed one 16” edge of each of the 10.5” x 16” piece. They should now be around 10” By 16”.

Let’s get the design done!

24 Reference lines with 6pt Crosshair
If you are not familiar with how to use a Crosshair Square,  click here to see a video tutorial. 

Stitching the Design

Showing how I made the design was easier than trying to write up the instructions, but I have listed the steps as well. I ran out of the fabric that I used for the pillow; lucky me I now have 2.

Round 1
Diamonds 4.5”
Every other line
Ring on the outside
Round 2
Pearls 7.5”
Same lines as above, every other line
Alternate ring to go from outside to inside.
Round 3
Diamonds 8.5”
Every line
Ring on the outside; make complete Diamonds where you can and half where you meet the Pearls from the previous round.
Round 4
Hearts 11.5”
Every line: Ring can only be on the outside.

Do not remove the pin or the reference lines from the design!

Putting it all together and Play with The Circle Sewing Tool

Time to put the Grid Glider away. Be sure to put the plastic sheet back on and then pop it in the tube for safe keeping. Another great feature.

If you need to, mark the center of your design, where the tack/pin is before removing it. Remove the tack and insert the Circle Sewing Tool pin in the same place. Put the blue silicone cover back on so you don’t get scratched.
Take your sandwich and find a hole for the tool that will stitch beyond the design. I marked this location with a piece of tape. Insert the Circle Sewing tool two holes to the left of that location. Be sure to go back to a straight stitch. Stitch your first circle. This is a placement line, so I used a longer stitch length, but it doesn’t really matter. Be sure to keep the sandwich flat.


Remove the sandwich and grab some pins. I stuck a pin to the outside of every 3rd reference line. You should have 8. Grab the ruffle fabric and mark it with 8 pins. This is sew easy. Lay it out and stick a pin in each end. Now put those 2 pins in the middle and add 2 more to the outside. Repeat so all 8 pins are spaced equally. Next, grab your sandwich. I placed mine on an ironing pad that is fairly thick. You will still have the Circle Sewing Tool attached and you don’t want to scratch a table or yourself. Adjust the ruffle putting the raw edges on the placement line lining up the pins on the ruffle with the pins on the pillow top. The fabric slides easily along the dental floss. I used a lot of pins. When it looks good, take it back to the machine.

Place the tool one hole to the right of the last step. Set your stitch length back to the default setting if necessary. Sewing this circle attaches the ruffle to the pillow top Remove the pins as you go. Don’t sew over them!


Place the backing fabric right sides down on top of the pillow. Again, be careful. You can do this at the machine if you would like. I aligned the edges of the backing fabric with the edges of the sandwich. They will overlap in the middle. Be sure the hemmed side is in the center and not on the outside. Pop them onto the Circle Sewing Tool. I secured the 4 corners with pins. Move the tool one last time one hole to the right. This should be the original hole that you marked when we first used the Circle Sewing Tool. Makes sense now why I marked those holes. Sew the circle, being sure to overlap your stitches from where you started so it stays secure.


Remove from the Circle Sewing Tool, but leave the tool in place if you want to make a pillow form.

You can remove the floss now as everything is secure. Trim about ½” away from the innermost circle (the last one you sewed.) Turn it right side out and use your hand to shape.

If you are going to add a button, do so before stuffing. I just came across the perfect button in my button box, but you could leave it plain, or glitz it with crystals. Perhaps a bow?

I made a pillow form with fleece because I had some the right size, but muslin or any fabric would work. I simply put 2 layers on the Circle Sewing Tool and stitched the circle, overlapping the stitches. Trim and cut a slit in the center of only one side. Now fill with the stuffing of your choice. When I inserted the form, I made sure the slit was towards the front. You could just stuff the pillow and not make a form. Hand sew up the back opening if you wish, I did not. Super simple to switch out different designs; I have a feeling I’ll be making a lot more of these. I hope you enjoy making this pillow. Feel free to leave a comment or let me know if you have any questions.

For more inspiration from Sew Steady, click here.

Coburg Blooms

Westalee quilt block in cream with blue/green varigated thread by Pam Varner

I was asked to submit a 12” square quilted block for the Coburg Quilt Show Block Challenge that was held this past July (2018) in Coburg, OR. Sew Steady was the major sponsor for this show and having recently been invited to be one of their Brand Ambassadors, I jumped in.

I love using the Westalee Design Spin-e-Fex templates as pantographs. (aka continuous line designs). The mini size would be perfect, but boring if horizontal. I decided to make the design go from corner to corner and switch up the sizes between 1 ½” and 2 ½”. This involved math; you know that geometry class you took in high school. Initially my plan was to fill in the empty triangle space created with the 1st part of the design with more Spin-e-Fex patterns. Then I looked at the block and thought it would be too busy and the original design, quilted in variegated threads, would get lost. Now I needed a design that would fit in a triangular space and not compete with the beautiful flowery design I had stitched out. Thread that matched the fabric would help and I have templates, Flying Bell Curve Triangles from the London Collection, that are the right shape. I played around with my stitching line discs and before I knew it, I had the solution.

I’ve never been to Coburg and have no idea what kind of flowers grow there, let alone know about flowers in general. My block looks like flowers, flowers probably grow in the Pacific Northwest in summertime, so I went with name “Coburg Blooms.”  My goal was to create a block that wasn’t super complicated, but still looked good; not win awards. I am happy to report success on both counts.

I hope you like it and if you try this block, I would love to hear about your success.

I used the Mini Spin-E-Fex  #8, but any in the line will work.

For the Flying Bell Curve Triangles, I used sizes 2”-5”.

Marked my block with an 8pt. Cross Hair Square.

The first one I did on cream. Next I tried Orange. Which is your favorite?


My Gold Foot!

20170910_221848This past weekend, I had the honor of attending Teacher Certification training by Leonie and Bill West of Westalee Designs. We all met in Eugene, OR; the home of Sew Steady.

I started my education by touring the manufacturing process of Sew Steady Extension Tables and Cabinet inserts. Tables are cut to order and then hand finished, one at a time. The time from order to shipping can take up to 3 weeks, but it is usually less. I loved looking at all those new shiny tables awaiting to be boxed.

Next up was the laser cutting of the quilting templates. This amazes me. First there is the computer design file which is magically sent to the laser cutter. Eventually a huge sheet of acrylic becomes a handful of templates. The process is not as quick as I thought even though they manage to get as many templates in one file as possible. Think cutting cookies. Acrylic cannot be rolled up like dough, but I am happy to report that the left overs are recycled. Manufacturing runs 24/7. Even though there are computerized cutters involved, it is still a labor-intensive product. I honestly think the price could be more; especially considering the cost of acrylic.

Meeting the staff was a high-light as I talk to these folks on the phone regularly. I love connecting faces to voices. Then of course, there was shopping. It was too tempting seeing all those shelves of ready to go template sets, so yes, I came home with a few……or more.

Now it was time for class. Leonie and Bill spent 2 days going through basics to advanced uses for templates and showed us prototypes of soon to be new template sets. We shared our own work, talked about up-coming education for consumers, and brain-stormed for the future. My head kept spinning with the possibilities; both with the product and classes I can offer. Leonie has what I call the perfect mind for designing. She can see a simple shape and imagine endless possibilities. She marries this with the math we learned in Geometry (ok, that may be over simplified) and a template is born. Then she takes it further to see what other designs can be made. It is genius. The possibilities are truly endless. The Whoa! Wait! What? moments kept coming. I am inspired and yet humbled as there were only 5 of us invited.

The Wests are truly lovely people with a heart of gold. There a few new tools being released and they took the time to make some with our names engraved on them. That small gesture means sew much to me.


Mine, all mine.

Every course requires graduation ceremonies and ours was nothing short of special. My expectation was a paper certificate with my name in a curly font. And then the unexpected happened as I was the first called to the podium. Inside a small cloth bag was a Full-Size Gold Ruler Foot and a Mini 12” Arc Template hanging on a chain. It is the official sign of being an Accredited Teacher.


My new necklace!

I am now one of 10 in the world that have been accredited by the Wests. With honor comes responsibility and one I will not take lightly. I will continue my online classes; adding new sessions as quickly as I can and look for opportunities to teach in shops around the country. If you want to see my necklace up close and personal, please feel free to contact me.






Why I Love to Teach/Learn


Photo Credit: Cel Lisboa


School is back in session; seems like a perfect time to share my love of education.

I have always loved the process of learning and I am fortunate to be able to teach. For over a year now, I have been hosting the Quilt as You Go Sampler Quilt designed by Leonie West of Westalee Designs. In this course, students learn Ruler Work on their domestic sewing machines by using 7 different templates. Currently, I am conducting the course on-line.  Leonie’s husband, Bill, filmed while she quilted every block. In these videos, she guides the students with her extensive knowledge of the products she invented. The two of them are an amazing team. The brilliance behind their collections of quilting ruler templates is beyond compare. They are so perfectly engineered and paired with their true 1/2″ ruler foot, a quilter will never lack for inspiration.

Why do I teach online? Ruler Work requires a flat surface and many quilters have their machines in a cabinet.  The bigger machines that so many of us love, are too cumbersome to transport. Then there are those who either don’t live close to a local quilt shop or lack the means to get to one. I provide a place for them to go.

When I first started teaching online, I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to connect with my students. There was also the challenge of not being able to “see” when they are heading down the path of bad habits. Monthly live sessions in my virtual classroom, email, digital photography, and social media have all played a role in giving my students the level of education they not only need, but deserve. A little Sassy-ness sprinkled here and there by us all adds to the atmosphere.

We are all busy learning. My students anxiously try their new skills and challenge me with questions. I’m exploring ways to improve their experience and experimenting with both stand-alone software and online options for my business. Each new platform requires education. Linking files, adding photos, entering data, oops moving data. Then my obsession with perfectionism kicks in, or I discover a better way to accomplish a task and I start over. The exhilaration of this new knowledge mixed with accomplishment keeps me going. There isn’t much time at the end of the day for me to spend in my studio. Moving forward, I will have to find more ways to fit that in.

This mixture of my passion for ruler work, teaching, and technology has taken me on a journey that is filled with excitement at every turn. I receive comments almost daily that confirm I am headed in the right direction.  I am hopeful for what the future holds and the never-ending batch of new students the World Wide Web steers in my direction.



Learn more about my online class  OR  or contact me

*to learn more about Westalee Design, check out the following:

Westalee Design Website             Westalee Design on You Tube

*Sew Steady is the Distributor and Manufacturer for Westalee Design in the US.


Westalee Introduces Flying Bell Curve Triangles

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Oh how I love new templates. I am often asked, “What’s your favorite template?” My response is usually, “The last one I got in my mailbox.” But this time I really really mean it. The Flying Bell Curve Triangles are the first of The London Collection designed by Leonie West of Weatalee Designs. Let me tell you, she has really out done herself with these templates. They come in multiple sizes and you can create triangles, rectangles, pantagrpahs, borders and sashing, and too many to list because I know I’d miss some. If that’s not enough, the inside of the template is in itself a template! That’s double the templates. You can use the entire template or just part of it. The gentle curves are amazing on their own, but when you join them mirrored they create ribbons and new designs.  Adding to the fun is the Design Inspiration Book by Leonie that you can download. The link is included in the packaging. The designs in this article are from that book. If you don’t follow the instructions exactly, you come up with a totally different, totally awesome look. You literally can’t make a mistake. See the entire collection here.

Watch Leonie on Sew Steady’s FB page here.

Apply Discount Code PARTY15 when checking out in My Sassy Notions online store to save 15% May 4-9, 2017!






Well fellow quilters, I’ve decided to become an educator for Sew Steady®, showing tables (we all love those tables) and Westalee Design for Sew Steady. What is Westalee? Well it is a designer of ruler feet and ruler templates for the domestic sewing machine. I am super excited. I have been working with the templates for a few months now and plan to share what I have learned very soon. Apologies for being absent this past month, but once the decision was made there was a lot to do. Now that my store
is open, I hope to devote more time to YOU!