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Isogram Mini Quilt {How to sew with Alphabet Panels}

2016 April 21

So there’s thing called an isogram, which I didn’t know about until my sponsor Fabric Spark emailed to see if I wanted to make a project with a Nature Walk Alphabet Panel. It’s gorgeous, but right away I was worried… my kids are too big for alphabet projects, no matter how amazing the fabric is! Of course, I now *needed* the fabric, so for a couple of days my husband and I thought of things to write with one panel of the alphabet until I Googled it and found out what I needed was an isogram: “a word or phrase without a repeating letter”.

Moving ahead for a second, this project is the last thing I need to finish before my Trunk Show at the Creativ Festival in 2 days! Wow! I am running around like crazy person over here. If you are in the Toronto area, I will be presenting a Trunk Show – “Be Brave and Sew” on the Fashion Arts stage at 2:30 on Friday and 9:30 am (gulp!) on Saturday. You can also see the original sample projects from the Sewing Diaries, other past projects and the girls’ Easter Dresses. I’m so happy to be working with Janome to present this!

But, back to isograms, it turns out there are tons of these things! I got a few from this website – “Stand By Me”, “Rocket Man” or “Rhapsody in Blue” (plus lots more) if you are a music enthusiast and Playground, Trampoline, Ambidextrous or Subdermatoglyphic (!) according to Wikipedia. I also found a great example of a sewing isogram after I finished my project, from Sherri Noel (great first name, btw!) – she wrote “Sew Crazy” on her sewing machine cover! Of course, you could always think up another phrase and buy two or three alphabet panels.

One last thing still bugged me – cutting up the panel without a use for the leftover letters. But, I’m in luck and know a whole bunch of people with first and last names that start with each of the leftover letters – so, if you know me – you “might” be getting a pillow or zippy pouch (or other sewn something) with a letter on it for your next birthday/Christmas or other random holiday!

This project, however, is for my oldest daughter. I thought the isogram “Quick on the draw” was perfect for her bedroom wall. She does not stop drawing – and you rarely find her without a drawing implement of some kind in her hand. She visits art supply stores like they are candy shops – she needs this mini quilt! Fabric Spark was amazing and sent me the alphabet panel and some of her other fabrics from Tamara Kate’s Nature Walk collection for Michael Miller Fabrics. I love that this Tamara Kate art can inspire my little girl!

I’ve made up a little mini tutorial for the project below, with links to all of the fabrics I used, plus the gorgeous Little World in Amberthat didn’t make it in – vetoed by the fact that after it was pieced in it didn’t really match my daughter’s room so well.

Keep in mind that the amount of fabric you need will drastically change depending on the phrase/word you want to spell! This mini quilt is actually quite large at 35″ x 23″. If you are coming to the Creativ Festival, it will be on display in the Fabric Spark booth, #248!

As a gauge I used this much fabric:

1) Cut alphabet rows apart. Measure the halfway point between the rows, mark first, cut after!

2) Cut letters apart with 1/4″ seam allowance on both sides, making sure to keep the sides parallel. We will trim the top and bottom after sewing each line.

3) Sew the letters together into words with a 1/4″ seam, I pressed my seam allowances open. Make sure to align the letters so they line up side by side before sewing, don’t align the top/bottom of the white space or they will be uneven.

4) Cut and sew 2 1/2″ wide strips for spaces between words and sew words into lines. Trim the top edges, including a 1/4″ seam allowance on each, so everything is square. My letter rows ended up about 7 1/4″ tall each. Make sure each row is the same height.

5) Add 2 1/2″ strips to each row end, then the top and bottom and between your rows. I pressed these seams open as well.

6) Sew all the rows together to make the center of the mini quilt.

7) Cut & sew 2″ strips to the top, bottom and sides to create the border.

8) Piece your backing if desired, make a quilt sandwich and quilt your project. For lack of more experience, I mostly stitched in the ditch around the letters. Then did a few border rows around the edge.

9) Add quilt hanging sleeve if desired.

10) Make enough binding with 2 1/2″ strips to go around project. Then bind with your favorite method.

I hope you love your new mini quilt! My daughter is so excited to hang this in her room.

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13 Responses leave one →
  1. Brenda Maxwell permalink
    April 21, 2016

    THANK YOU! I purchased this panel the first time I saw it, just because it was so beautiful. I had no idea what to do with it. Now I have . I am going to pick up some of the co-ordinating fabrics tomorrow at Creative. Now to get to that isogram website and figure out what to “say”.

    • April 26, 2016

      Hooray Brenda! I’m so glad you can use the idea! Did you think up something to say yet?

      • Brenda Maxwell permalink
        April 27, 2016

        My husband and I are still thinking about what we want it to be, there is not much choice. We are contemplating “Stand By Me”, “Walk On By”, “Earth Song”, or “Rhapsody In Blue”. I picked up a metre each of 3 of the coordinating fabrics at Creative. I could not find your “Quick on the Draw” until I looked down from sorting through the FQ bundles and there is was.
        I was disappointed to miss seeing your talk on Friday, but we got there quite early and my stamina wore out around 12:30.

        • April 28, 2016

          Oooh! Glad you got the fabrics. I love how they all go together with so much pattern! I would have worn out by 12:30 too – that’s about when I arrived! Love to see what you end up doing :)

  2. April 21, 2016

    That is lovely. I wouldn’t know what to spell either hahaha. I can’t wait to see it on Saturday.

  3. Ann (no e) permalink
    April 21, 2016

    Sherri, fabulous quilt ;) you will shine at the Festival. Enjoy your time on stage, you are a natural teacher ;) I hope you meet up with some of the posters from your blog. Take some photos if you get a chance to catch your breath. Take care and have fun ;)

    • April 26, 2016

      Awwww. thanks so much Ann! SO appreciated :) It was super fun and I’ll be sharing photos later this week! Turns out I think I might be ok at it – after I got over being super nervous it went great! Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  4. April 22, 2016

    Sherri!! This is so awesome! I love it so much. Thank you for the isogram list so I know what to look for. I love how you made it so much more grown up than just the alphabet.

    • April 26, 2016

      I’m so glad Reece! So glad I came up with something so that I could use it too ;)

  5. April 29, 2016

    This project is excellent – I love the end product. Thanks so much Sherri.

    • May 9, 2016

      Thank you for letting me make it Daryl! :) It’s hanging up and my daughter loves it.

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