Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review


Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com
Photo from Craftsy.com

(This post  contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through this link, I will get a tiny commission, at no additional charge to you. Rest assured, I only link to products/classes that I love!  My disclosure policy can be found here.)

I’m a bit of an uptight quilter. There, I said it.  I can get pretty uptight about perfect points and I am totally obsessive about my scant 1/4″ seam allowance. In order to sort of balance this, I’ve been thinking a lot about improv quilting. Only thinking though, not really doing anything about it. I know that I need to carve more time out to just play at the sewing machine, but I just wasn’t making space to actually do it.

Then a new Craftsy class launched from the adorable Suzy from Suzy Quilts. It’s called Fabric Play: Sewing Mojo Minis and it was just what I need to loosen up a bit.  If you don’t know Suzy, she is a fabulous quilt designer with a big personality. And that personality really shines through in this class–she seems completely at ease in front of the camera, and is a natural teacher.

The class features four projects, which build on each other. I actually had to laugh at myself after my first attempt of sewing some wonky strips. At first, my scale was totally off, which Suzy had warned me about, but of course I ignored that warning. So, I tried again after doing a quick sketch, to get the scale right. Guys, I totally felt like I was sewing all wonky–but alas, I was not. I literally laughed when I was done with this. I thought about trying again, and maybe, I don’t know, have a glass of wine first to loosen up some more. But I was anxious to move on, so I did.

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Log cabins are fun, so I was looking forward to this asymmetrical improv version. I got a little wonkier on this one and was pretty pleased with how it came out. But obviously, I still had some loosening up to do.

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Next up–curves! For the third mini I got out of my previous color palette, because I bought a stack of fat quarters (Boundless Modern Brights from Craftsy–what a deal! That is not an affiliate link–it really is a just a great deal.) There were lots of colors that are out of my wheelhouse here, so it was fun to experiment. I played around with lots of arrangements for this one. It came out a little Dr. Suess-y but I still love it.

Boundless solids bundle kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

There is still one more mini in the class, as well as lots of inspiration for quilting and adding hand embellishments. I plan on finishing these up with some quilting and hand stitching–and am really looking forward too it. At least I know that I can sew some wonky hand stitches!

All in all, I enjoyed Fabric  Play: Sewing Mojo Minis  immensely. Suzy is a trained graphic artist, so she knows the theory behind what she’s teaching you. I feel like this class gave me some foundation knowledge that will be a jumping off point for more improv quilting in the future. And best of all, it made me carve out some unstructured play time that I had been craving.

(Full disclosure: I was given free access to the class for my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.)

Online Fabric Patterning with Wax Resist Class
Make something that means something at Craftsy.com


The simplest dishtowel hack

(This post  contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through this link, I will get a tiny commission, at no additional charge to you. Rest assured, I only link to products that I love!  My disclosure policy can be found here.)

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

I’m almost embarrassed to write this post, but since I have found it so helpful, I’m hoping that someone out there will too.

I used to have this issue with the dishtowel in my kitchen. It always seemed to be this rumpled, soggy mess carelessly tossed on the counter, somewhere close to the sink. I felt like I was forever refolding it and neatly setting it next to the sink, only to find it on the floor a few minutes later. Hanging it over the handle on the dishwasher or oven never really worked for me. If I put it on the dishwasher, it touched the floor whenever I loaded the dishwasher, and I have stainless steel appliances, so I didn’t want to hang on the oven door where it was going to leave spots. (First world problems, I am well aware!)

But then I bought a cheap set of Christmas dishtowels and lo and behold they had a little loop in the corner! (Like the center towel above.) I was able to slip it over the knob of my cabinet right next to the sink, and there it hung in all it’s glory–always in the same place, with enough air circulation that it drys out pretty well, and…well let’s just say it made me very happy! I will say that the towel in this part of the kitchen is mostly for just drying hands. I love absorbent bar mop towels for actually drying dishes, but I digress.

So, I picked up some white twill tape at Joann’s and proceeded to sew loops onto every dishtowel in the house. That was a few years ago, and it has worked splendidly.

Then I picked up the adorable dishtowels above at Trader Joe’s about six months ago (similiar ones here). But I never used them, because–no loops! So I sat down to remedy this a few nights ago and thought I’d share a bit with you. It’s super simple and it took me like 5 minutes.

When I was digging through my basket to find the twill tape, I came across some cuter trim that I decided to use on two of the towels. I actually sewed the tab on three different ways, to see if I have a preference. (It turns out I don’t.)

  • Dishtowels
  • Twill tape or decorative trim

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

  1. Cut the twill tape to about 5″.

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

2. For a looped tab, fold the twill tape in half and sew to one corner, or halfway along one side, on the wrong side of the towel.

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

3. For another option, sew corner to corner on the wrong side of the towel. Trim excess twill tape.

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

That’s it! Let me know if this mundane issue has plagued you and if you find this a useful little homemaking hack.


My diamond quilt in the new issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting

Diamond quilt by Kristin Esser. kristinesser.com

The new issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting just came out and I’m thrilled to share that I have a quilt in it! It is called “Let the Light In” because the whole center of it is full of low volume prints–which rarely get a chance to shine! It was an easy and fun quilt to make, using the Bloc Loc Triangle in a Square ruler and a couple of layer cakes of Sundrops by Corey Yoder,

I quilted it using a combination of walking foot (in the background) and free-motion quilting (in the print areas). This color palette is really outside my norm, but I was so drawn to it! I love the mix of orange, peaches, yellows, and grays. Sewing it up would be a great remedy to the winter blues, and it could be done just in time for spring.

Love the diamond quilt on the cover

It even got a little cover mention!


Sew Illustrated Giveaway

Minki Kim and I are giving away a signed copy of Sew Illustrated over on Instagram–so pop on over to enter, if you haven’t already (Giveaway ends on December 10). We also spent a fun afternoon putting this little video together.

Do you agree? Is the gift really in the creating? Let me know in the comments.


I am a guest on American Patchwork & Quilting podcast!

(Updated on December 4: You can listen to the podcast here)

Well, kick that one off the bucket list! I was (surprised) and honored to be a guest on the American Patchwork & Quilting podcast, hosted by the lovely Pat Sloan. It airs next Monday, on December 4. You can click the image above or listen here.

I was visiting my daughter at college a few months ago, and we had been walked off our feet all afternoon when we sat down in this funky little coffee house in La Jolla, CA. As I settled in with my latte, I checked my phone and there it was: a message from Pat Sloan! I thought that for sure it was some mistake, like it wasn’t really THAT Pat Sloan, or that she just wanted to know how to get in touch with Minki. But lo and behold, she actually did want to talk to me and asked me to be a guest on her podcast. Honestly, it took me a day to even answer the email, I was so shocked.

But of course, I said yes (was there any doubt?) And it was so much fun! Pat is funny and kind, and it’s just like chatting about quilting with a good friend over coffee. I probably talked a mile a minute (which I do in real life anyway)–but I’m so happy that it airs next week, and I get to share it with you.

I’d love it if you added it to your podcast catcher and gave it a listen! (Don’t worry, I’ll remind you on Monday too.)



Modern Marks Blog Hop + Giveaway!

(This post  contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through this link, I will get a tiny commission, at no additional charge to you. Rest assured, I only link to products that I love!  My disclosure policy can be found here.)

Modern Marks fabric kristinesser.com

Welcome to my stop on the Modern Marks blog hop! If you are new here, feel free to have a look around!

This fabulous line is by Christa Watson and manufactured by Benartex. Working with this line was pure joy and fun. The colors are so rich and saturated and there is such a big selection of blues, which are my favorite. But there are also some really fun colors that are a little outside my wheelhouse–like lime greens and orange, so it was fun to expand my horizons. This was my first time sewing with Benartex fabrics and the quality is absolutely first-rate. The fabric is beautifully soft, with minimal fraying.

Modern Marks fabric kristinesser.com

The quilt I chose to make was Dot ‘n Dash from Christa’s book Piece and Quilt with Precuts. It is a “pinwheel” (aka jellyroll or 2.5″ strip roll) friendly quilt, for both the main and background fabrics. I used a fun low volume pinwheel as my background fabric, and I love the effect. I cut the 2.5″ strips from yardage, but it would be so fast to just use a pinwheel!

Modern Marks fabric kristinesser.com

Piece and Quilt with Precuts (kristinesser.com)

These fabrics absolutely POP and are so perfect for modern quilts.

Dot n Dash quilt by Christa Watson at kristinesser.com


And I especially love this larger-scale “mash up” print for the quilt back. It comes in several colorways–so it’s perfect for so many projects.

Modern Marks fabric by Christa Watson

Another thing that I love about this line is there is a great variety of focus fabrics, small and medium scale prints, and blenders. I’ve already pulled several of these prints for new projects that I’m working on–they have just the perfect amount of punch.

Dot n Dash Quilt | krsitinesser.com

I was able to work in several quilting motifs that I have learned from Christa’s book and the leftover strips were perfect for a scrappy binding.

Jelly roll quilts | kristinesser.com

scrappy quilts | kristinesser.com

I’m already plotting my next project for this line–it may be a liberated wonky star quilt. The yellows, lime greens, and oranges are just begging to twinkle.

I blogged about this fabric and quilt in more detail here,  here, and here. To find a shop to buy some Modern Marks of your own, check here.

And now for the giveaway! I know that you want to get your hands on this fantastic line–and Benartex has graciously offered to giveaway a bundle of 8-10 Modern Marks fabrics on each stop on the blog tour!(US residents only please.) You can enter my giveaway below, but make sure to hit every stop on the tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit all the stops on our Modern Marks blog hop, including our host, the Benartex blog, Sew in Love {with Fabric}, where there is a fabulous interview with our favorite fabric designer, Christa Watson
Hollyanne @String & Story
Hilary @Aurifil
Stephanie @Modern Sewciety



Juki TL-2200QVP Mini Review

I’ve had my Juki TL-2200 QVP Mini for about six months now and thought it was time for a review. I get a lot of questions about this machine and I’m hoping that this post will answer them all for you!

Juki TL-220QVP MiniMy number one priority for a new  sewing machine was that it would give me some extra space for quilting–both free motion and walking foot. I have a Babylock for piecing, but I just don’t enjoy cramming a quilt through that small throat space when it comes to the actual quilting part of making a quilt.

quilting with a Juki

After much research and in-person testing, I ultimately decided on the Juki TL-2200 QVP Mini. It is the newer version of the ever popular, cult-classic Juki TL-2010Q. It is basically the same machine except that it comes with an extra open-toe quilting foot, and an improved walking foot (which was a common complaint about the TL-2010Q model), and a few other feet that were less important to me as a quilter. And it has a fancier paint job. Since both these feet were things I wanted anyway, the $200 price difference between the two machines seemed justified. I paid $1200 for the 2200–with full warranty and support from the dealer. This turned out to be more important than I realized.

Before I made my decision, I put the Babylock Jazz, Juki TL-2010Q, and the Juki TL-2200 QVP through their paces. I brought quilt sandwiches, quilting gloves, and patchwork pieces with me to the shop. Though I wanted so much to love it–since it has such a huge throat space–I had to rule out the Babylock Jazz because it was missing some crucial features for me: a needle down setting, and a thread cutter. It’s just so hard to go back after you get used to those features. I predict Babylock will add those features in the next model of that machine.

Then it was down to the two Juki’s. I had to figure out whether or not the additional feet were worth the extra $200 (which is about what they retail for) and ultimately I decided that they were. I also just liked the feel of that machine better on the floor of the dealer-but that could have been my imagination. The TL-2200 QVP usually goes for $1400, so they came down a bit on price for me and that helped make the decision as well. This dealer would actually sell me the TL-2010Q for the internet price of $999, but they would not handle warranty issues for that price. I would have to deal with Juki directly in Florida. It turns out that I’m really glad that I decided to go with the machine that the shop would support the warranty.

The machine comes with an extension table. It is a bit smaller than the Sew Steady extension table that I had made for my Babylock, but I really don’t mind.

Another cool thing–all the Juki TL-series machines are made to fit the Grace quilting frames–so you can actually turn it into a very afffordable longarm! I don’t have room for that now, but it is an interesting possibility for the future.

Once I got it home, threading the machine and winding the bobbin went smoothly. The manual was great, and there are plenty of YouTube videos showing how to do these things on the TL-2010Q–and it’s the same for this machine. It took a few tries to get the hang of the needle-threader, but I’ve got it figured out now. This was the most helpful video for that feature.

Ribbon candy quilting kristinesser.com

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

Once it was set-up, I  went straight in for free motion quilting. Since it’s a mechanical, straight stitch machine, it definitely feels different. It’s kind of like driving a new car, it takes some getting used to. The stitches are beautiful and I love all the space and visibility! There aren’t a bunch of features to talk about here–it’s a very simple machine–which I really like. It has a nice big foot petal and a knee-lift, which is another feature that I could not live without anymore.

Juki TL-2200QVP

Then I put it through it’s paces on patchwork. I put my Babylock away and started piecing my current project with it. I tried two different patchwork feet–one with the usual guide and another called a compensating foot–which has a more serious guide on it. I thought I would like the later–but I didn’t. I will try it again sometime though. I really like piecing on this machine–my only issue is the thread cutter is loud! Which reminds me–this machine has a thread cutter on the foot petal as well as on the machine! I didn’t think I would like it–but I love it! If you don’t like it, however, they give you something to put in the petal to disable that function.

Squiggles quilt kristinesser.com

Then it was on to walking foot quilting. This is a straight stitch machine–so no built-in wavy line quilting on it, but it makes beautiful walking foot stitches! I just did a hand-guided organic walking foot curves on the quilt above.  I’d heard that the walking foot was loud, but when I tried it at the store, it didn’t seem too bad. As a quilted my small project, it got louder and louder, and something definitely seem wrong. When the foot eventually got jammed, I knew I needed to take it back to the dealer.

The dealer took a look at it while I waited (which was nice–since it’s about 40 minutes away) and told me that something was off in the alignment of the machine that only became a problem with the walking foot. Sometimes these things happen–as long as between Juki and the dealer they fixed it quickly–I was fine with it. But it really made me glad that I didn’t need to deal Juki myself–it was all handled under warranty.

Now that I’ve had the machine for six months, I will tell you that I had some fits with it a few months ago–something got off with  the needle bar that was causing thread breakage–and I was on a quilt deadline–so it was frustrating. But once again, the dealer and Juki dealt with it beautifully. Since then, I have completed several quilts on it and could not love it more!

So, I admittedly had a bit of a rocky start with this machine, but all was quickly resolved and I highly recommend it. I have a feeling that I would have also been very happy with the TL-2010Q, but I do love the extra feet that the TL-2200QVP Mini came with–so I have no regrets. I’ve provided a couple quick links below for the Grace frame and the TL-2010Q, but the TL-220QVP Mini is only available from a Juki dealer. You can find the closest one to you here.


Free Sew Illustrated Project :: Coasters


Sewing Illustration Coasters from Sew Illustrated kristinesser.com

C&T Publishing has released one of the projects from Sew Illustrated for free on their blog today. So, if you’ve been on the fence about trying sewing illustration, hop on over to check it out!


Free Tea Cozy Pattern and Tutorial

Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com

I have a deep and abiding love for all things tea. From the ceremony of it, to the delicate tea cups and tea pots, to the beautiful utility of the tea cozy. I have several teapots, all different sizes and shapes, and they all need different size tea cozies to keep that cuppa warm while you chat with a friend.

So, instead of a tutorial on how to make a tea cozy for my teapot, I thought it would be more useful to give you some instructions on how to make a tea cozy to fit any teapot. And if you are anything like me, you’ll need more than one.


Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com

Note: The exact amount of fabric needed depends on the size of your teapot

  • ¼- ½ yard linen or neutral cotton fabric
  • 25-30 squares of various prints for patchwork, cut to 2 ½ ”  (a mini charm pack is perfect for this)
  • ¼- ½ yard cotton fabric for lining
  • ¼- ½ yard Insul-Bright (insulated batting) or cotton batting (such as Warm and Natural)
  • 1 ½ yards of cotton trim (optional)
  • Freezer paper or several sheets of printer paper

(Seam allowance is ¼”, unless otherwise noted.)


 Measure Your Teapot
  1. Measure the width of your teapot around the widest point and jot down the measurement. Mine is 18.5″. 
  2. Measure the height of your teapot all the way around, top to bottom. Mine is 15.5″.Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com
  3. Take the width measurement, divide by 2 and add 1.5″. For mine this is: 18.5 ÷ 2 + 1.5= 10.7
  4. Take the height measurement and divide by 2 and add 1.25″. For mine this is: 15.5 ÷ 2+1.25= 9.
Make the Pattern
  1. Take a length of freezer paper and fold in half. You can also use plain printer paper taped together, but freezer paper has the advantage of sticking to the fabric when you iron it, eliminating the need for pinning the pattern to the fabric later on.
  2. Mark the height of your teapot on the freezer paper. Mine is 9″.
  3. Divide the width measurement by 2 and mark on the freezer paper. Mine is actually 5.375″, so I rounded to 5.5″
  4. Draw a curve from one point to the other. Cut out on the line and unfold. I like to write which teapot this is for and what the formula was, for future reference.Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.comTea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com

Continue reading “Free Tea Cozy Pattern and Tutorial”


How to make a string block

This post  contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through this link, I will get a (very) small commission, at no additional charge to you. Rest assured, I only link to products that I love!  My disclosure policy can be found here.

I was looking for a quick and easy quilt block to put together to practice some free-motion quilting on and actual quilt. Like many of you, I’m sure, I have some precuts hanging around in my sewing space. I picked up a “sushi roll” (aka jellyroll) and and “origami square” pack (aka layer cake) of some sweet Flower Sugar from Lecien. I quickly decided on a simple string quilt and made a short video tutorial on how to make a foundation pieced string block. So simple and fun!

I think a quilt made with this simple and fun block will be busy enough to take the pressure off “perfect” quilting–which sounds pretty good to me! I’ll keep you updated on its progress. I’ve already sewed up most of the blocks in just three evenings. Plus, my new Juki is so fast, that I feel like such a boss stitching these up.


You can check out the Daylight Slimline Floor lamp here.

The seam roller is available on Amazon here.

Flower Sugar fabric is available at the Fat Quarter Shop here.