Handy Dandy Quilt Tutorial

Jenny Doan

Handy Dandy Quilt Tutorial

Quilt Size: 66" x 77"
Jenny demonstrates how to maker a show-stopping Handy Dandy quilt using 2.5 inch strips of precut fabric (jelly roll). For this project, Jenny chose Forecast Batiks by Ebony Love for Island Batik. She uses Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer A and Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer B to quickly trim and square each block. The Handy Dandy quilt is an old-fashioned favorite that is known by many names, including Handy Andy, Mrs. Jones' Favorite, and Foot Stool or Footstool. It's made up of easy half-square triangles, quarter square triangle hourglass blocks, and a gorgeous piano key border.

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video transcript

Hi everybody, it’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Take a look at this quilt behind me. Isn’t this fun? Now this looks like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Even that piano key border. But wait until I show you how to do this. It’s way easier than you think. So to make this quilt you’re going to need one roll of 2 ½ inch print strips. And we have used this gorgeous line called forecast batiks by Ebony Love for Island Batiks. You’re also going to need a roll of background fabric. We’ve used a 2 ½ inch strip roll right there. You’re also going to need some background fabric in yardage. And you’re going to need 1 ¼ yards. And that includes all your sashings which are going to be cut 1 ½. So for your backing you’re going to need 4 ¾ yards for vertical seams or 2 ½ yards of 108. The other tools that you’re going to need are going to be the clearly perfect slotted trimmer A and B.

So the block we’re talking about today is this block. And it has several different names. One of those is Footstool, one is Mrs. Jones Favorite. I thought about Mrs. Doan’s Favorite because it’s such a cute block. But the name it’s most known by is Handy Andy and so we decided to call it Handy Dandy because it’s such a unique technique, way we did this so let me show you how to make it. So first we’re going to use 30 strips out of our roll. When I realized I was only going to use 30 strips what I did right away was I took out all the light ones just like this. And I cut those into five inch strips for my piano key border. So you’ll notice in this piano key border out here on the edge, there’s a lot of these light strips in here and that’s the strips that I pulled from there. So there should be ten strips that are light. And then off every strip set we cut we’re going to cut two more five inch strips off of that. And so then I went through my strip pack and I started pairing them up so there would be contrast, so I would have these two together, you know. And then I’d have these two together. And I just paired them up so that there was good contrast so that when I started sewing I would already pretty much have my blocks together.

So I have some over here that are already sewn together. And this is just easy. You’re just going to take your strip and you’re going to sew on both sides. Now when you have a pre cut that has a straight edge and a pre cut that has a pinked edge like this, I always like to lay my color, my straight edge on the top and sew from that quarter of an inch because the peaks make that piece a little bit bigger. And if you’re following it this way when you make the cuts, you’re just going to be a little bit different size. So always go ahead and put your smaller strip on top, use your quarter of an inch from the edge of your strip and sew them both sides. So these two pieces are going to make my block. Now you can see right here I’ve got a cut end, I’ve already cut off two five inch pieces. So let me show you how I did that. So I took my two strips, and one of the things to remember about this quilt, particularly, is that batik strips really have no selvedge. So you can use right from the very edge. So these strips are about 44 inches long. If you don’t have at least 43 inches in your strip of usable material then you’re not going to get your piano key border out of it. So you can make all these blocks but then you’d just have a regular little six inch border out here if you did that. It would be like a yard and a half for that six inch border. But if you’re using these batiks or you’re using something that is at least 43 inches you’re going to be able to make that piano key border.

So the first thing I did is I kept my folds at one end like this. And I kept them right together, folded in half, both my strips. And what I did out here at the very end is I just barely shaved off a little right here, just a tiny, to make sure that I’m exactly straight, lined up real straight, just like that. So it’s just this tiny little bit that I cut off. And then what I’m going to do is I’m going to cut off two five inch strips. Now remember my strips are folded so I’m actually going to get two with one cut. So I’m going to lay my 2 ½ inch ruler on here over to the five and we’re just going to make that cut like this. And we are going to set these aside over here in our pile for our piano key border.

So once you’ve cut your piece off, you’re going to take these strips, you’re going to pair them with a background strip and in our case we’re using white. You’re going to sew them right sides together quarter of an inch on both sides. And I have those done over here already like that. So here’s this one. And you can see I’ve laid my smaller piece, you can see the little peaks coming out. And that’s really the way we want to do it to make sure that we get it the right size.

So what you’re going to do with this strip is you’re going to cut 12 2 ½ inch triangles and then you’re going to cut four three inch triangles. And then you’re going to swap strips. So the four three inch triangles are going to make this middle right here and your corners are going to be out here. So you’ll notice we have a different one in every one. So we just swapped our blocks out. So you’re going to need both of your clearly perfect slotted trimmers because one has half sizes and one has whole sizes. So we’re going to start with the 2 ½ on here. And what I’m going to do is I’m just going to lay this on here like this, my seam line matches their seam line. So when you start that first cut, if you find this is backwards at all for you, like if you find that you’re trying to do some crazy cutting, start cutting from the other side. I’m left-handed so I’m going to cut this way. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to take my 2 ½ inch trimmer A and I’m going to put my stitch line on their stitch line and I’m going to cut this way and then I’m going to cut this way. And so that’s my first 2 ½ inch triangle. We need 12 of those. To cut the next one, what I’m going to do is I’m going to flip my strip over. And if I’ve done this correctly then all I have to do is line this up along the edge and I’m making single cuts like this. And so two, and now we’re going to come down here and now you’ll notice it has this little peak out here so we can only do that every other cut and it has to be lined up on there just right and we’ll take this off. So it’s a little bit of waste every once in a while but not too much. Alright so here is three and we’re going to come over here and do four and then this one we can scoot all the way over to the edge just like that. And you’re going to cut 12 of these. Now I have some already cut over here but out of that strip you’re also going to cut three three inch triangles.

Now you’ll notice on this, let me trim this end off right here so I can show you from the other side because I didn’t think you wanted to watch me cut 12 of these because, you know, there’s a lot. But anyway so now you’re going to need three which means you’re going to need your slotted trimmer B. And you’ll notice when you use your 2 ½ right here, when you use that, you’ve got a little bit of ways up here for the point. And so you can easily get your three out of here. So again we’re going to take our three inch stitch line, line it up on here like this. And you’ll see if I have it all the way over to the edge lined up on that stitch line, it barely crosses the stitch line up there. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to cut four of these like this. And then I’m just going to flip this strip and because we’re cutting all the way to the top every one of these is a complete slide over. So we’re going to do this, two, three and then flip that over and four. And we’re cutting from the three inch stitch line, match ours up, our stitch line up with their stitch line, cut straight across.

Alright so now you’ll see this something has a few stitches along the top here and then these are just going to come apart so easily. Look, I didn’t even have to tug or anything.

So we’ll take these over here and we are going to iron these four because the first block we’re going to put together is going to be our hourglass block in the middle. So I’m just going to open these up. And I can even just tug with my thumb just barely a tug and they come apart. So don’t worry about the fact that you’re crossing that stitch line because you won’t have any trouble with that at all. Alright so now we have four three inch half square triangles. And we want to make hour glasses out of these. When you make hourglasses using half square triangles you’re going to have one half square triangle with the color going up, one half square triangle with the color coming toward you like this. You’re going to match up those center seams. And you are going to draw a line right down the center of this block right here like this. And you’re going to sew on both sides. So we’re going to come over here and we are going to sew on both sides of this but I’m actually going to take a minute and put this one together as well. What’s fun about doing these this way is that you’ll get four just by doing this one little method. Alright. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and chain piece these. So I’m going to come down one side like this. Let me make sure my thread is right. Coming down this side. And I’m going to slide my other half square triangle in or my other hourglass block. Now I’m feeling to make sure my seams aren’t overlapped, that they’re snugged in there real well. And they have to nest in real tight to get a nice sharp point. And then I’m going to flip this whole thing around and come down on the other side. This one, let’s see, how do I do that? Alright, one more. Alright.

So just like that we’ve got our two little hourglass blocks sewn together. And I’m going to clip them apart right here. And then I’m going to go ahead and cut on our drawn line like this. Now this is really where the clearly perfect slotted trimmer shines for me because you need to cut 2 ½ inches of these. But there are hourglasses now. So with the clearly perfect slotted trimmer it gives you two ways to line it up. So I want these to be 2 ½ because all of the blocks in this quilt end up 2 ½. They all are cut down to 2 ½. And so we’re going to line up this right here. But I can’t scoot it to the side because I have that center seam. So I line up my center seam, this center line here with my seam and my stitch line with their stitch line and you will have very little to trim, just like this. And just like that. And this is going to make your tiny, look how cute this is, these tiny little half square triangles. And they’re just so easy. A great way to make hourglasses. So let’s go ahead and trim these up. Again lining my seam line with theirs and putting that center line on my stitch line. And this just makes cutting anything that’s a quarter square triangle or an hourglass or anything like that, it’s a life saver. And here’s one more. I’ve got it on my stitch line both directions, trim and trim. Alright. Let’s go press these open because these are so cute. Know you a lot of people steer away from tiny things but, I don’t know, the longer I sew, you know, it’s just a shorter seam. You don’t have to be scared of it or worried about it. It’s going to work. And I’m just going to iron these. And there’s just something really gratifying about making a block and going Ah, it’s so cute and tiny and that middle seam is just perfect. So again I’ve nested that middle seam up. Make sure those are, those seams are nice and tight together. And we have this ready to go for our center seam.

Alright so over here, I have a little stack of half made blocks so, you know, you didn’t have to watch me cut out 12 2 ½ and press them and all that sort of thing because when we know how to do one you’re good to go. Alright so this right here, these are our corner blocks. And it’s made with three of our little 2 ½ inch half square triangles. That’s these right here that we cut out first. Remember we cut 12 of these first and then we cut four three inch ones. So 12 2 ½ and four three inch ones. And then what we’re going to do is we are going to put these together in four patch blocks. And so I have my triangles here. And we’re going to put them so they all face the same directions. So we’ve got this one. I always say color, you know, color up, color up, color up and a solid right there. And that makes our four corner blocks. So let’s sew that together. We’re going to do it this way. And we’re going to do it this way. And I’m going to chain piece those together so that I know that when I open those up there’s going to be going the right direction. I can just sew straight across there to that other seam. So right now we’re going to put these in here like this. And we’re going to sew a quarter of an inch right down the side. And then this one is going to go in like this. And then when you open these up they should all be going the same direction. So let’s see if we did that right. And we did. Take a look at that. Alright so now I’m going to put these right together. And I’m going to line up my edge and then I’m going to make sure my center seams are nested together. When I say nesting it means that one seam is going one direction, one seam is going to the other and where those seams are sewn they just lock into each other. And that’s, when I say nesting, that’s what I mean. So my seam is going two different ways and it will just lock in there nice and tight. Alright so now let’s press this open. When you press it they should be in pretty good shape. Our little corner block up at the top. And then let me show you how we’re going to put this together. So we have these four corner blocks here. And all of our corner blocks, our solid is going to go to the center. Now again, see how this one is a little bit bigger. It’s because that pinked edges they are a little bit bigger and so if that drives you crazy just trim it down just a little bit so that it will all line up. These blocks should measure 4 ½. Alright so then we’ve got this one and then we’ve got this one right here. Now our hourglass block that goes in the center, is all just attached to 2 ½ inch squares. So here’s our 2 ½ inch right here and our hourglass. And it’s going to go in the middle of these two like this. And then this one is going to go in the middle of these two like this. Then I’m going to take the other two hourglasses and I am going to attach a square in the middle and a square on either end. And that’s going to make the sashing block that goes right there. So let’s go ahead and put this together and see how it looks.

Alright so this top row I’m remembering that my solid white square goes against the side of the hourglass. I have these little mantras for myself so I don’t mess it up. Just like that. And then this one is going to come over here and it’s going to do the same thing. All my colors, you know, they’re all going to point in. And then our little hourglass, we’re sewing them on the side. And we’ll do that with the top and the bottom pieces and then we’ll put that center sashing in. Alright so again, line this up with our little hourglass to the center, our white goes right to the side like that. You can easily match up this seam right in here. It gives you an anchoring point to make sure your block stays pretty square. And if you have to, you know, if a seam has already been ironed and you need to move that another direction, just go ahead because you can iron again. That is easy. Alright so this one is going to go on here. So then you’re just going to sew this side together. Make sure those seams are nice and nested and then we’re going to press. Whenever you’re dealing with smaller pieces, it’s always a good idea to press and make sure that, you know, it’s just easier to work with a nice flat piece. I like to iron from the top and then sew it. Oh then check it for folds. You don’t want any folds in your pieces. So start ironing from the top and then flip it over and make those seams go the way you want them to. There we go.

Alright so now it’s time to put this center sashing strip in. And we’re going to lay it right sides together. And at every little junction we can match these up an

d this will keep our block nice and lined up. You can put a pin in there if you’d like and that will make it even easier for you. And so I”m just going to start here. What I do is I just sew a few anchoring stitches and then I stop and I make sure that this seam is nested right to the next one. And I sew across that. And I will stop at every seam and make sure that it stays nice and nested. And then one more here. Alright now let’s add the other side to this. And I’m just going to put that on here and we’re going to do the same thing. We’re just going to nest every 2 ¼ inches we’re going to stop and make sure things line up. Alright and then this center one. Now if you ever have one side that’s really bigger than the other side, put that side on the bottom because the feed dogs will help take in more fabric and you’ll be able to ease that in if you put it on the bottom. When you’re dealing with little 2 ½ inch seam differences they stay pretty close. Alright so let me iron this. This looks so cute. Alright.

So this makes such a cute block. So let’s look at the quilt for the setting. Now you’ll notice that these don’t actually line up exactly. There’s some movement to them. It felt right for me with this fabric, with the storm and the rain and the wind blowing and all that. So to achieve that look, what I did was what I called a log cabin sashing. So I take a 1 ½ inch strip of fabric. And I’m going to cut my little selvedge end off of here. And I’m going to put this on two sides of my block, one side here and then around this side too. So let’s just sew this down on the sewing machine and I’ll show you how I did this. Now I didn’t cut these to size. You can if you want to. I just wanted to do a bunch of them, one after the other, after the other, once I got my blocks made. And so we’re just going to sew down here a quarter of an inch right along the side. And then what I’m going to do is I’m going to trim this right here, my little ruler. And then I’m going to press this back just like this. And then I’m going to add another piece to either side. It doesn’t matter which side you want to add it too because the block stays the same. But I’ll do it on this side right here. You know a lot of times we get worried about which side, which side. This block is uniform all the way around so it doesn’t matter which side because we are going to turn these when we set them. So line it up, put a little stitch in there and sew a quarter of an inch right down the side. Alright so let’s trim this off. And again, if I were doing a bunch of these, I would go from, you know, I would just keep putting another block, another block, another block and I would just side a whole bunch at once and then put the other side on. Alright.

So here’s our little block and let’s take a look at how this fits into the quilt because this is really a fun setting. If you ever want your blocks to have a little movement or something like that this is that setting. Now the size of the strip is going to change the amount of movement you get. So if you wanted to add a 2 ½ or a three or whatever, it’s just going to make that movement bigger. And so I wanted this subtle, almost like raindrops, you know, just softly falling. So let’s start right here. So this one is up and this one is down and this one is up and this one is down, just like that. And so you’re just going to put them in as you lay them up here, you’ll be like, this piece is up. And you know, when you go to put the next one on it should not have a sash there. So if it has a sash there you know to turn your block. So this corner is up, this corner is down, this corner is up like this, this corner is down. Just like that. And that’s how you do your first row. Now let’s look at how many blocks we have in this quilt. We have one, two, three, four, five, by one, two, three, four, five, six. So it has 30 blocks and it makes a quilt that is 66 by 77. We used 30 strips for this.

And then once you get your inner quilt together, it’s time to put together this piano key border. Now you’re going to need 35 for each side. And for the top and the bottom, you’re going to need 33. And how you do that is you’re going to take all your white strips that you pulled out. And you’re going to cut those into five inch strips. And you’re going to add those in to your colored strips right here. And you’re just going to sew them together. You’re just going to lay them on like this, one to the next, sew, add another one, add another one, add another one just like that until you get 35 in a strip. So 35 on this side, 35 on that side and 33 along the top and the bottom. And it just makes a darling quilt. Now we’ve used a quilt pattern on here called Cotton Candy because I just think it looks like clouds, it’s so cute. It’s little clouds. And our back on here is the big rain print. And you can see how pretty that looks as well. So this is a fun block. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the Handy Dandy quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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