Christmas in July :)

As this is a quilting and sewing blog, I try to keep things such as religion out of my blog and I have no intention of getting into my current beliefs here. :-)  But, I feel a bit of history is necessary here. I was raised Muslim and incidentally we are right in the middle of my favorite time of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan. It is known as the Muslim holy month of fast but, it is much more than that. A time for self improvement and realignment and if it’s done in earnest can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. And in just a few days Muslims around the world will celebrate the close of that month with one of the two major Muslim holidays of the year, Eid ul Fitr. This was our major gift giving/celebration time of the year growing up. It is a wonderful, giving, festive, celebratory time but, it doesn’t traditionally include decorations like Christmas.

As a Muslim I wasn’t raised celebrating Christmas. But, always the creative before all else I always thought it would be fun to be able to decorate for Christmas. I’ve always loved Christmas decorations!

I live with and help take care of my 92 year old grandfather and Christmas is also my guy’s favorite time of the year so of course I seized the opportunity to decorate for Christmas last year! This is not meant to be offensive to anyone as I recognize the religious significance and importance to those that it is meaningful to. But, for me it is not religious. It is a time to celebrate family and love and to share with them something that is significant to them. So, I picked colors that reflected my family. My guy is red-green colorblind so I knew that I had to decorate in more colors than that. And my grandfather is visually impaired so it needed to be bright with a lot of contrast. So, I picked a palette of navy, red,  yellow, and green against white. It sounds very primary color-ish but, turned out to be festive and pretty. And my theme was Gumdrops.

So, I made a couple of simple stockings. Blue for my guy. Green for me as it’s my favorite color. And Red for Grandpa.

And, a Gumdrops tree skirt.

And, Gumdrops placemats with jingle bell napkin rings for our adjoining dining room. My grandfather likes a formal table.:)

I wanted a Christmas quilt so I made my second text quilt. (I’ll post tomorrow about making your own text fabric!) It features “Twas the Night Before Christmas” which is safely in the public domain unlike my first text quilt (more about that tomorrow).:)Note how the text “spills” off the sides of the quilt.  The backing is my favorite ever Lotta Jansdotter print Woven from the Echo line in Navy to coordinate with the blue text on the front.

I’ve always loved snow globes so there was a snow globe. Thanks Target.

And a few ornaments including fabric covered Styrofoam balls, dollar store nutcracker and snowflake ornaments decorating the presents and a fun wreath also from Target.

Merry Christmas in July and an early Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends!  :)  Maybe next year I’ll post on time. Maybe.



Meg - August 2, 2013 - 8:52 pm

Your text quilt is Fabulous and you have such very cool handwriting! I wish I could see it in person…

Latifah - August 1, 2013 - 3:28 pm

Thanks Christina,I just posted more info on writing on fabric!

Christina - August 1, 2013 - 9:23 am

So many beautiful things Latifah! But that text quilt is really cracking my head open. I want to try this!

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!

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