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Cutting out your Glam Clam Quilt

In chatting with my students in preparation for my Glam Clam Quilt class that I’ll teach in a few weeks for the first time at Sew Modern in Los Angeles, I’ve come across a couple things that might be useful to you too. In the free Glam Clam Quilt pattern I don’t give a lot of information on how to layout your templates for cutting nor do I give yardage information. This is because, there are so many layouts for cutting the clamshells depending on the final design of your Glam Clam Quilt.

8″ Glam Clam Quilt Cutting Layout
This pattern is best cut out of yardage because you can stagger the templates to maximize the number of pieces per yard.  Also, if you open the fabric to the full width of the fabric it allows for the greatest utilization of the fabric. The following illustration shows a good layout. It allows ten 12″ clams and three of the peripheral templates. If your fabric is a solid or multidirectional you can rotate the templates to fit into the available spaces.

12″ Glam Clam Quilt templates laid out on 1 yard fabric

8″ Glam Clam Quilt Cutting Layout

Here are the 8″ Glam Clam’s also laid out on a 1 yard piece of fabric opened to the full width of the fabric.

8″ Glam Clam Quilt templates laid out on 1 yard fabric

Scrappy Glam Clam Quilt?

Of course, this pattern is great for scraps. You will need at least a 13″ x 13″ square to cut one 12″ clam  and a 9″ x 9″ square to cut a 8″ clam. If you have larger scraps, you can also stagger the templates like we did on the full yard cut of fabric.

If you want to purchase small cuts of fabric to make a scrappy Glam Clam quilt, you will need to purchase between 1/3 yd and 1/2 yd for the 12″ (if your quilt shop gives “generous” cuts then 1/3 yd would be sufficient). And a 1/4 yd would be sufficient for the 8″ clams.

Stack ‘Em High
Another question I’ve had is how many can you cut out at a time. If you have sharp scissors, you can cut up to four or five layers at a time. I cut up to eight. If you try this be sure to use a lot of pins and be very careful to make sure your scissors are perpendicular to the fabric so that all layers are cut the same size and shape.

Coming Soon. . .
Also, I’ve figured out how to piece these without pins now. Yes, WITHOUT PINS! The tabs make it possible and it is so much quicker. Hopefully, I’ll get to show you how soon. But, I’ll have to find time to shoot a video to do that. . . If anyone knows the number to the time fairy please let me know!


Mary Richardson - September 4, 2014 - 12:09 pm

Hi from Nova Scotia, Canada
Just listening to a your podcast with Pat Sloan. Your large glam clam quilt sounds really interesting. thank you for sharing. I will have to try this for at least a pillow top. Mary

Toni - June 16, 2014 - 8:08 am

Latifah! I discovered your site sooo by accident…visiting my sister in LA, & she’d saved the LATimes 5/31 article for me. (I live in north & very rural CA where we don’t get a “real” paper, tho’ my husband says the LATimes no longer is…well, never mind that.) Anyhow, I absolutely LOVE your work–in fact I might be in love with you, at least I’m enchanted.
I’m going to try the GlamClam. I’ve sewn for a hundred yrs, and quilted for about 10… Your tutorial is terrific, and I think I can do it.
Thanks, so much!

Tressa Young - January 13, 2014 - 9:57 am

I really need to try this, thank you for the tutorial.

Candy Scott - September 15, 2013 - 12:42 am

Thank you for your outstanding presentation today at CVQG. You have inspired me on how to finish one quilt and move on to a couple of others.
Candy Scott

Val CARPENTER - September 14, 2013 - 9:28 pm

Loved meeting today and all your wonderful quilts. Wow!


Melissa - July 31, 2013 - 10:45 pm

The Time Fairy doesn’t have a phone…THAT is precisely where all my free time goes! :)

You are such a dear for showing how to lay out the templates to maximize the fabric usage. :)

Jeifner - July 31, 2013 - 8:54 pm

This is so exciting and I can’t wait to try it! They’re beautiful. I’d like to know about the pinless piecing as well.

Jenn - July 31, 2013 - 4:47 pm

I really want to know about the piecing without pins!

Clamshell Pattern Posted!

Finally! It took a little longer than I wanted it to but, I just posted the patterns for the Machine Pieced Clamshell Quilt that many of you have been waiting for. It is called the Glam Clam Quilt and it’s available in both an 8″ or 12″ clamshell version. You can find them both on Craftsy and they are both free!

The 8″ is here:

And, here’s the 12″. Note: the 12″ is available to print out on both letter and legal paper. Letter paper is easier to come by. But, the templates on the legal paper don’t have to be taped together as much.

Traditionally, most clamshell quilts are sewn by hand. I have the highest admiration for those of you who love handwork but, I’m a pedal to the metal machine piecing kinda girl. So, when I wanted to make a clamshell quilt I knew I had to find a way to machine piece it. I’ve made three clamshell quilts so far and have two in the making and I must say, I’m sorta in love. I’ve got a reputation for loving circles and curves and so I guess it makes sense that I love clamshells too. Anyway, I looked and looked for large chunky clamshell templates and instructions on how to piece them by machine and couldn’t find any. So, of course I dove in to make my own. The main template Template D, is in itself is pretty standard. But, the most important templates are Templates A, B, & C. They are the templates that help you to build the top row on which all other rows are built. It makes the process SO much easier! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll remember Template B as the thong pattern piece.:)You’ll know what I mean when you see it.

The larger the curve the easier to sew, right? Clamshells are no different. 8″ is small enough to have a variety of fabrics but, stay easy to piece. And the 12″ template just makes a fun bold quilt. So, you’ll have those two to pick from.

A couple tips before you get started:

  • Be VERY accurate in your cutting. I’m speaking from experience here. I cut out EVERYTHING to make Neon & Neutral and it didn’t fit together! I wanted to cry. OK. I might have. Then, I just took a deep breath and re-cut out everything. So take your time. And, I found that it’s easier to be accurate with scissors.
  • This is a pattern where 1/4″ seam allowance IS important! Thankfully, you can use your 1/4″ foot to piece this. While I say it’s important, it doesn’t have to be perfect – mine weren’t. Just try to be as close as possible.
  • Pin, pin, pin. I am a self professed lazy anti-pinner. Don’t tell anyone but, Neon and Neutral was made without pins and Neon and Neutral II was made with pins and I must say II is much more square.:)I added tabs to the templates to make pinning and piecing easier.
  • A lot of the steps in the pattern are about keeping the pieces in order and putting them together logically. It makes for a longer pattern but, it makes for a less painful quilt in the process.

Enjoy and please share your clamshell quilts with me!

Because of the pinning and sewing curves, this isn’t the quickest quilt to put together but, it is SO worth it. And, the 12″ goes together quicker and easier than the 8″. It is bold and fun. But, the 8″ is so great and lends to the ability to have a greater variety of fabric and to add more texture and interest in the quilt.



Poppy - December 28, 2013 - 1:16 pm

I have just clicked over and about to start your amazing 8 inch version, thank you so much for sharing the pattern!

[...] was made using the Glam Clam quilt pattern designed by Latifah [...]

pinksuedeshoe - September 16, 2013 - 11:18 am

I recently saw this quilt on elisabeth bew’s instagram feed and fell in love with it! I can’t wait to make one! She posted about making a 4″ clamshell, and I was wondering if you would mind emailng me the template? I want to make a throw pillow (well, euro size) before I jump into a whole quilt because I’ve never pieced curves before. If it turns out you can bet I will be making more of these! Your pattern is great and your instructions make it seem so doable. THANK YOU!

Sharon - IN - July 27, 2013 - 1:39 pm

Just downloaded your free clamshell pattern! Thank you so much! It looks so doable being large pieces. Love the modern look!

mathea - July 25, 2013 - 12:52 pm

I have never ever considered making a clamshell quilt before – too old-fashioned and fiddly I thought…
But that was until today – your 8 and 12″ versions are stunning and the idea of machine-sewing them – hm, I’m tempted!

Leanne - July 25, 2013 - 5:33 am

I love this quilt and thank you so much for the free patterns. It is on my list now.

Latifah - July 22, 2013 - 11:55 pm

Hey Bruinbr, the 12″ was uploaded as a zip so that’s likely the problem. It’s a zip because it includes two versions of the 12″ pattern. One that can be printed on legal paper and one on letter paper. The one on legal paper requires less piecing of the templates but, I understand not everyone has legal paper so I presented the version on letter paper as well.

So excited you’re taking the class at Sew Modern! It should be fun!

Bruinbr - July 22, 2013 - 10:40 pm

Thank you so much for these patterns! I’m having trouble downloading the 12″ pattern though on my iPad. I’ve tried opening it in safari and chrome, but I’ve had no luck. The 8″ pattern opens up right away and I can view it in iBooks, so I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong with the 12″. Sorry if this is a dumb question!

I can’t wait to take this class with you in August! :)

Becky - July 19, 2013 - 9:21 am

for posting your patterns. I’ve got both sizes downloaded and can’t wait to get started on a clamshell quilt of my own.

Maureen from Ventura - July 18, 2013 - 7:57 pm

Thank you so much!! I have been obsessed with this quilt since I first saw a photo of Neutral and Neon during QuiltCon!! It’s truly amazing.

Bess B - July 18, 2013 - 7:24 pm

Thanks so much for the pattern. I think I am going to attempt a lap quilt.

Maria - July 18, 2013 - 6:39 pm

I loved Neon and Neutral since the first time I saw it so thank you greatly for this free pattern! You are so generous and the best, Latifah. Thank you!

angela - July 18, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Latifah, thank you SO much for these patterns. I cannot wait to get started. You are so generous and awesome!

~Michelle~ - July 18, 2013 - 10:36 am

You are a rockstar! Thanks :)

Julie Pickles - July 18, 2013 - 9:59 am

Thank you so much for your generosity!! I’ve been wanting a clamshell quilt for awhile, but like you I didn’t want to handsew the dang thing! This is just perfect, thank you so much!

First Kiss Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt to test the free clamshell quilt pattern that will be coming VERY soon. It is called First Kiss and is made with 12″ machine pieced clamshells. It will eventually be a picnic quilt for me.

When I first saw Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Sparkle line, specifically the Roller Skates, 110 Cameras and the Rotary Phones, I was immediately put in mind of warm summers in the late 80’s, early teenage years, and first love. Roller skating, late night phone calls, pictures in the park, and that sweet innocent first kiss. I was a late bloomer mind you so this didn’t really happen. :)  But, this is what came to mind. Hence the name First Kiss.

The 12” machine pieced clamshells really highlight the large scale prints and the coordinating blenders pull it all together. I included scattered clams made of metallic linen which compliment the metallic elements in Melody’s Ruby Star Sparkle fabrics. They aren’t bright in your face metallics but barely there which make them perfect.

These colors aren’t traditionally summer colors especially with the plum and navy’s included but combined with the peaches and reds they sure feel like summer to me!

I’ll have to get better pictures of the back but, here’s a sneak peak. It includes two fabrics, this yummy print by Bari J. that I loved. It is paired with one of my favs called Pencil Check in Linen, a Michael Miller print. And, it is framed in my signature 1″ binding. Can’t wait to take this out on a picnic!


Nicole - July 15, 2013 - 12:15 pm

I absolutely adore your stuff!!! Wish you were closer so you could come teach a class in my studio….. Let me know if you’re ever on the East Coast (VA). xo

angela - July 11, 2013 - 2:37 pm

This quilt is so cool. Yippee!!! I can’t wait to get that pattern!

Molli Sparkles - July 11, 2013 - 4:48 am

This is so cutting edge cool, I can’t stand it! I want to grab it and go to the skating rink right now!

Loop de Loop Pillow Class

I’ve been playing around with Bias Tape Applique for awhile and love it. L.O.V.E. It! I haven’t posted about many of these quilts on the blog yet and will post more about them over time. It is such a versatile and fun technique and you too can learn the basics by learning how to sew this Loop de Loop Pillow. I will be teaching this class at Sew Modern in Los Angeles this month. The class will be taught in two sessions on July 17th and 24th and there are still spots available.

In this class you will learn how to make bias tape, the best types of patterns for bias tape applique, and the best techniques for sewing it. Then, you’ll sew it all up into this fun envelope style pillow.

I was SO proud of my students in my last class and of what they created – these are just the pillow fronts. The fabric selections are so different and yet every one is great! Aren’t they?

I can’t wait to see what this next class comes up with!

NancyinSTL - July 11, 2013 - 10:27 pm

Wow! I love this block and now you have my creative juices flowing on other ways to use this technique–for example, spelling out words in cursive. Did you know that some schools no longer teach cursive? I’ve enjoyed your work ever since I discovered you on Flickr a few years ago, but you seemed to have taken a break for a while. Now, I’m discovering lots of interesting things on your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Jeifner - July 10, 2013 - 11:25 am

They look great!

Think and Wonder Quilt

(Note: If you want to make your own Think & Wonder Quilt you can find the pattern here!)

Some very dear friends of mine are having a baby boy soon and their nursery has a Dr. Seuss theme so of course they are getting a Dr. Seuss quilt! I love bright and colorful quilts but, sometimes Dr. Seuss quilts and projects are made with an overabundance of color and prints. Can you believe I said something has an overabundance of color? Haha! Anyhow, I wanted to make a baby quilt that was fun and featured the Dr. Seuss characters but, that was quieter and a bit more sophisticated.

I introduce to you the “Think and Wonder” quilt (47  x 47″) named after a Dr. Seuss quote that says: “think and wonder, wonder and think”.

This is the very first improv log cabin-y quilt that I have made, can you believe it? I’ve made LOTS of improv log cabin blocks for charity quilts and bee blocks and the like but, this is the first quilt that I did on my own!

I used three Dr. Seuss prints from the first Celebrate Seuss  line by Robert Kaufman for the front and a fun Green Eggs and Ham print for the back. I coordinated with lots of tan, cream and white cotton and linen solids and prints. I also added a bunch of black and white prints including some of my favorites from Suzoko Koseki, Lu Summers, Ed Emberley and a few more.

I think the Horton block is one of my favorite blocks but, I love how all the blocks blend in with one another. Each block features one Seuss character and has a bit of the black and white Seuss stripe. And, though you can’t see it well in the photos, they also each have a piece of the white on white Pearl Bracelet from Lizzy House in them.

Of course, I just HAD to use the black and white Seuss stripe for the binding. And the quilting is a simple grid that contrasts with the improv nature of the piecing and gives a little order to the quilt.

I sort of fell hard for this Green Eggs and Ham print. I was happy that I was able to make this quilt from stash fabrics since I already had the other three Dr. Seuss prints but, I HAD to purchase this print for the back. It completed the quilt for me. The perfect balance of sophistication and whimsy.

And, since it was so awesome, the back is just the Green Eggs and Ham print and the label which features Horton.

A closer look at the label.

I love the contrast between the neutral front and the fun green back.

I had a couple onesies laying around from a previous gift so I appliqued a Green Egg and The Lorax on them.

And, of course, there’s a ball. There’s almost always a ball in my baby gifts.:)


[…] these two quilts that I made up for my Think & Wonder pattern. You may remember the first Think & Wonder quilt which featured Dr. Seuss characters. Well, I made two different versions for my pattern artwork. […]

Quiltdivajulie - April 1, 2014 - 7:56 pm

I, too, love Dr. Seuss – but have resisted the fabric line because it is TOO much (and for me that is a lot to say since I adore colors).

Your approach is BRILLIANT!

Lynn @ K&S Design Girls - September 21, 2013 - 12:47 pm

Oh I love this! Amazing.

Pat S - August 13, 2013 - 10:04 am

Love this! Puts my Dr. Seuss log cabin to shame – but I think yours is brilliant.

Melissa D - July 26, 2013 - 6:45 pm

I love this quilt! I love the bits of color in the midst of the neutrals, and I love the back and your labe;, too!

mathea - July 25, 2013 - 12:46 pm

I love this quilt – it’s so elegant and stylish and then you get the surprising bursts of colour when you have a closer look – plenty for baby to explore and a quilt to treasure for a long time after the baby stage. Love the ball!

Alli - July 10, 2013 - 5:53 pm

I super duper dig your quilt’s color scheme! Most Dr. Seuss quilts I see are really bright and primary-color-y, which isn’t really my thing, but yours is awesome! :)

Jeifner - July 10, 2013 - 2:19 am

I really like all the tans/neutrals mixed with the black and white stripes. The pops of character color will be so fun for the baby as it grows up :)

Alison Marie - July 9, 2013 - 8:46 am

I love this – now I really have no desire to finish my all red&blue Dr. Suess quilt for my cousin’s son….I want to start all over again in another direction!

Latifah - July 9, 2013 - 7:29 am

Thanks for all the love everyone! Thanks for letting me know Betty, I’ll look into it – maybe my photos are too big. . .

Betty - July 9, 2013 - 7:26 am

You have such a gift for seeing the possibilities in combinations and making it all work. This is one of the coolest quilts I’ve ever seen and am totally smitten with it!
I’ve followed your blog for a while now and truly love your work (note, I don’t love what engine runs your blog because it just doesn’t load well, herky jerky and slower than molasses). Think I’m doing something wrong?

Carla - July 9, 2013 - 6:03 am

How darling! and a ball to top it off. Very nice

sue - July 8, 2013 - 5:43 pm

fabulous and inspiring!

Jane Holbrook - July 8, 2013 - 12:00 pm

Very pleasing to the spirit. Modern and traditional and sassy and so sweet. I can almost reach in and touch the fabric. You have just made my day. I am in touch with my inner purr.

Mary Ann - July 8, 2013 - 11:53 am

Just fabulous, so sophisticated and playful at the same time.

Tracy - July 8, 2013 - 11:45 am

What a beautiful quilt! A really restful sophisticated quilt that would look lovely anywhere, and then close up its so playful, what a lucky baby!

Christine Sherman - July 8, 2013 - 8:50 am

What an amazing quilt!!

angela - July 8, 2013 - 7:30 am

I love this! Your work is so interesting and pleasing to the eye. Wow.

Ann - July 8, 2013 - 6:19 am

I have not been a fan of the Dr Zuess fabrics nor the quilts. Too, too much for me. But this, this I absolutely love. I have never been accused of being subtle but maybe subtle is the new me ? Thanks for sharing this quilt is inspirational.

PennyDog - July 8, 2013 - 3:38 am

Brilliant! I love the subtlety.

Lady Harvatine - July 7, 2013 - 9:38 pm

Well done latifah! This is the perfect way to make a dr Seuss quilt. I’m not a fan of crazy colorful ones. I love color too but they can just be too much.

Elisabeth - July 7, 2013 - 9:35 pm

Oh Latifah, this is so amazing. You are so talented. <3

Jayne - July 7, 2013 - 7:47 pm

You were very brave taking Dr. Seuss in a less bold way! But…this so works! Brilliant and some little baby is going to cherish this forever! Well done!!

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