Sunday, April 4, 2021

Hands2Help - Meet Guest Blogger Susan and her Stained Glass Tutorial!


Hi, all!

Welcome to the first guest blogger post of Hands2Help 2021!  This week I'm pleased to welcome Susan, of Stitched by Susan.  Susan quilts beautifully with her long arm, and is also generous in sharing her knowledge and skills via the internet.  AND she has a beautiful quilt tutorial to share with us today!  Ever a scrappy quilter, she has come up with a design that is a perfect scrap buster, and she shows it in several different color ways to show you just how versatile the pattern is.  So without further ado, I'll turn the blog over to her!


Hello, and welcome to my studio! My name is Susan Smith (dba Stitched By Susan), and I'm so thrilled to join Sarah and be a part of the Hands2Help project in 2021! 

I grew up in far northern Canada, and in fact lived for a number of years of my childhood in a log cabin without electricity or running water. The lack of electricity meant that I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine. If you've ever used one, you'll know it's a bit like rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time - it requires coordination! But on the flip side, it is relaxing and soothing, and I periodically sew quilts on my treadle to this very day. It is truly therapeutic. 

Over the years my quilting has evolved, and I currently spend my days quilting professionally for others, as well as teaching freehand quilting. I invite you to drop by my "studio" any time at my website, or on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest.

My mother made quilts in the time-honored fashion; using whatever fabrics she had on hand. And since I learned to quilt at her knee, so to speak, I too love scrappy quilts.  The Stained Glass pattern that follows had its beginnings in a freebie I acquired, and I've edited it to use 2 1/2" wide blocks, as that is a size that is a common quilt leftover, plus I've revised the layout to result in the size of throw quilt I like best. 

Since I'm a longarmer, I've acquainted my clients with my scrappy habit, and they generously allow me to keep a strip from the backings of their quilts when I trim them up. Thus I always have an overflowing basket or two (or 10) of strips which cut conveniently into the bricks required for this quilt. In fact, over time I've picked up the habit of right away cutting up that strip into my preferred brick size when I trim the quilt, and consequently, I now have baskets ready to assemble into quilts.  I've made several that while still being scrappy, are themed, such as the pink one shown in these photos, or bright jewel tones, or black and get the idea.
So, let's get to the quilt, shall we?

Quilt dimensions: 68” x 74”

Fabric  and Cutting Requirements

Both background and stained glass colors are cut into

  • bricks 2 ½” x 4 ½” 

  • blocks 2 ½” x 2 ½” 

If you’re using scrappy lengths of fabric, it’s very speedy to first cut into strips, either 4 ½” wide or 2 ½” wide, and then sub cut into individual pieces.

For the background you will need 188 bricks, and 12 blocks. If you’re cutting all of these from one background fabric, it will require (22) 2 ½” strips or just over 1 ½ yards. Know that these can be scrappy as well, just be sure they contrast quite highly with ALL of the print fabrics, and read very similarly. For example, white-on-white prints work well, but a broad selection of neutrals may not be as satisfactory.

For the stained glass colors you will need about 450 bricks, and 12 blocks. I advise cutting some extra as you will want to be able to have a variety of prints and colors to choose from. I also suggest using at least 50 different prints.

TIP: I’ve included a couple of other color ideas in the layout

at the end of this pattern.  


To give you an overview, you’re going to assemble all the rows first, and afterwards lay them all out, and then sew the rows together.  This gives you the freedom to shuffle around the rows to play with the print groupings.  

I found it most efficient to sew 3 of any one row, all at the same time.  Let’s use Row 7 from the layout diagram for an example.  It has 5 print bricks, 1 background, 5 prints, 1 background, and another 5 prints.  So at your sewing station, choose 3 prints and lay them out as though you’re going to sew one right after another.  Choose 3 different prints, and lay them right sides together on the first three.  Sew the short sides of the first pair, don’t cut the thread, and feed the 2nd pair under the needle and sew.  Again, don’t cut the thread, and feed the 3rd pair under. Now cut the thread. 

Open these pairs (no need to press yet).  Choose another 3 prints, and lay them right sides together on the right hand pieces.  Again, sew the short sides, one right after another, without cutting the thread until after all 3 are sewn. Cut the thread, and open the segments at your work station.  Now you can see how 3 strips are being formed.  I found working on several strips at once helps immensely to keep the pattern straight, and not to get confused over what comes next.  I also found that doing more than 3 strips at once got very cumbersome, but feel free to experiment to find what works for you.

Continue adding to the right side of all 3 strips, following the print/background layout for this row. When the entire rows are completed, trim all the threads between rows and press.  It doesn’t matter which side you press to, as none of the seams intersect when the rows are sewn together (happy day!). It’s easiest to press from the wrong side first, to press all the seam allowances in one direction, and then to give it a final, thorough press from the front.

Keep all the “like” rows together; for example, all of Row 1. If you have numbered pins, use them to pin the strips together at one end.  If you don’t have numbered pins, just a slip of paper with the number written on it, and pinned on, works too. 

Hang all the groupings of rows over an open door. This keeps them

smooth and makes them easy to choose when you

get to the layout.

When all the rows have been sewn, it’s time to assemble.  You will want a large design wall (or design floor) for this. Use the numbered layout diagram (near the end of this post) for a guide, and remember, all “like” rows are interchangeable.  So if a Row 4 and Row 5 next to each other start with exactly the same print, you can swap out the Row 4 for a different Row 4.  Stay relaxed about it though; unless you have used a LOT of different scraps, it’s very likely you’ll have a few instances of the same fabrics beside each other.   

Mark the left side of Row 1 with a brightly colored pin (or slip of paper pinned on). This will help you know at a glance the orientation of the quilt as it grows. Sew Row 2 to Row 1, right sides together on the long side.  I recommend pinning at least this first seam, matching the beginning and ending, and having the bricks offset.  Press the finished seam toward one side.

TIP: If you need to assemble in several sewing sessions, number and

label the beginning of every row once you have decided on the final layout.

For subsequent rows, lay the new row on the assembled part (check your bright pin for orientation), and you’ll be able to line up the new seam allowances with the second row back. If you’re comfortable with that for reference points, you won’t need to pin any more long seams, you can just make tiny adjustments, if needed, as you sew along the row. Just sew, and sew…..and sew.  

When all the rows are assembled, give the sides a final trim; there is sometimes a smidge of unevenness there. A large cutting mat and an 18” ruler are good tools to straighten up that edge.


Quilt and bind as desired. I chose to quilt my pink Stained Glass quilt with my signature Crazy 8 design (and, yes! it is done freehand). It adds fabulous texture, especially after washing and a wee bit of shrinkage.

Enjoy your Stained Glass Window quilt, and I hope it’s made a fair dent in your scrap bin!

If you make this project, please post pics to Instagram using the hashtag #stainedglasswindowquilt or to Facebook, tagging me on both as @stitchedbysusan.  I also have a Facebook group for my patterns where you are welcome to post progress pics and ask/answer questions, and just generally hang out with other quilt makers.


black and white version

red and white version

jewel tones on gray version


Thanks, Susan, for such a great tutorial!  I don't know about you all, but now I want to run drag out my scraps and start cutting pieces for several of these fun quilts!  

And if you want a PDF of this post, it's really simple.  Look just below my sign-off, and you will see a green box that says "Print PDF".  (If you don't see that box, go up to the top of the post and  click on the title, which will open up only this post, and then you will see the box at the bottom.)  Click on the box and follow the simple instructions to obtain a PDF that you can either print out or save on your own computer.

Be sure to check back in next week when we will have another great guest blogger, and it will also be a check-in week, when you can share your progress and cheer on your fellow H2Hers!




  1. Thank you Sarah and Susan. This tutorial came at the perfect time -- locally, we've been asked for donation quilts to be given to First Responders. Hoping to use up lots of scraps.

  2. Pretty quilt, and will use up a lot of scraps!

  3. This is such a great pattern, Thank you!! I usually cut my scraps in 2.5x4.5 strips - who knew they could end up looking this awesome!!

  4. Wow! Thanks for sharing the great tutorial. The quilt is beautiful and it's perfect for all of the small scraps we all accumulate.

  5. What a lovely quilt pattern, Susan! Thanks you for taking the time to share your tutorial with Hands2Help. I'm SEW looking forward to giving it a try!

    1. You're welcome! This is a super easy and rewarding quilt - I've made it quite a few times😁

  6. That pink, no, no, I don't need a new project...but the pink one! Thanks for sharing. Less thanks for potentially getting me into trouble with a new project...😉

  7. Fantastic design for this quilt!!! Just amazing and the quilting is perfection!

  8. Great tutorial. I'm sure this question has been asked and answered but I can't find it.
    how do we let you know when donate to one of the groups? Thanks.

    1. Linda, there will be check-in dates and a final link-up party when you can share what you donated and to whom. If you don't have a blog, you can email pictures and info about your quilt to me and I will post it for you. (You are a no-reply blogger, so I didn't know which Linda you were on the sign-up list - sorry! Had to answer you here.)

  9. Awesome tutorial!!! Thank you, Susan! And that wishbone quilting--freehand?!! Wow! Great job!

  10. Great tutorial! Thank you, Susan.

  11. kweather78@aol.comApril 5, 2021 at 11:46 AM

    I can't find the link to download a PDF. What am I missing? Thank you.

  12. This is wonderful Susan! Such a beautiful design and the quilting is such a beautiful all over design. I have this phobia for lots of long rows...maybe this will help me conquer it!


Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!