In Stitches

I recently noticed that there is one sewing technique that repeatedly gets action at my sewing machine.  Whether I’m making a quick baby quilt, potholders or Christmas stockings, I go back to the tried-and-true STITCH N’ FLIP method.  I was introduced to this no-measure, go-with-the-flow funky design idea by a quilter friend.  She showed me Valori Wells’ book, “Stitch n’ Flip,” and I never looked back.

For those of you unfamiliar with Valori, she is the daughter of famed quilter and designer Jean Wells.  Valori has earned her merit in the design world alongside her mother with her fantastic photography and eye for detail.  I love that she has overflowing wells (no pun intended) of creativity that are presented in a user-friendly manner that even novices can attempt.

I’ve had the good fortune to have shared dinners and conversations with Valori (alongside my quilting cousin, Rob Appell, who will be featured at some point on this blog!) when we ran in the same circles at Quilt Market. The creativity that flows through the Wells family is a gift and an inspiration to others.  You can discover more about them on these websites:

Valori Wells Textile Design

Jean Wells: Quilt Artist

Their fabric store in Sisters, Oregon (The Stitchin’ Post)

*Note to my readers:  In no way did they ask me to say any of these things about them.  I haven’t talked with them in years!  But their organic, relaxed and colorful way of looking at the world through the lens of fabric speaks to me.  Period.

So…where was I going with this?  Oh yeah.  This sewing method reared its head again last week while getting ready for Christmas:



Here are the basics to the technique (which I posted last year on the DIY Journal covers post) for creating a square ( could be made into quilt blocks or potholders or..anything you can think of!)

*RS:  Right Side

stitch n flip techniques

Once the strips are sewn, you iron it well, flip to the back and use a straight edge to square it up (I usually make the base an inch or so bigger than my desired finished size).


For potholders, I use a few pieces of wool or cotton batting on the inside.  Simply layer them this way:

1.  Wool, batting or special heat-resistant fabric from fabric store cut to the same size as your finished “flip n’ stitch” square, face up.

2.  Lay strip-pieced fabric square, RS up, on top of batting pieces.

3.  Back of potholder, RS down.

Layer them in a stack and stitch all the way around, leaving a small opening along one edge.  Turn RS out through opening.  Iron flat, pin opening closed and top-stitch 1/4 ” from outer edge.  Optional:  Quilt or stitch an “X” through all layers to secure.

Here is another more strippy design I did: (notice my base was one of the layers of batting)


For my Christmas stockings, it was the same general idea.  I picked up a few sweaters and a soft wool ESCADA jacket at the thrift store.  ( The jacket’s original price tag was $150 still attached. I bought it for $6. I love a bargain!)  I fell in love with the color and figured I would somehow be able to incorporate it into my project.

I washed and dried the sweaters on hot (for max shrinkage/coziness factor) and cut off a chunk of the sleeve from the blazer.  I designed my desired stocking shape on a piece of interfacing.  I cut a chunk for the top of the stocking (I liked the V-neck of the green sweater), then drew a straight line across the top piece, added my second piece RIGHT SIDE DOWN AGAINST THE FIRST PIECE and stitched along that straight edge.   I flipped the 2nd piece down and ironed flat.  I continued sewing in the same manner all the way down the stocking until all of it was covered in sweater pieces.  This was more of a straight piecing than the circular idea I showed above.

stitch_and_flip_stockingsnewI trimmed the stocking down, then layered the backing and front RS together, stitched around and left the top open.  I stitched a ribbon to the top for a hanger.

finished stockings

This technique lends itself to simple projects like these, or more involved projects like the ones in Valori’s book.  I highly recommend “Stitch n’ Flip” not only as a reference for the technique, but for inspiration!  While the book is no longer available through The Stitchin’ Post and is out of print, there seems to be plenty of copies on Amazon.  Check out the link here:  Stitch n’ Flip by Valori Wells.

 What favorite sewing technique do you find yourself using over and over? 


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