Hissyfitz Designs

A Light-hearted Look at Appliqué Quilts by Sandy Fitzpatrick


Welcome to My Little Corner of the World!

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick9 Comments
Teapot stitching

Teapot stitching

If you are new here, I'm glad you found your way to my little corner of the world. I'm participating in a Blog Tour called BERNINA Ambassadors - Telling Our Stories, and today is the day that I get to tell mine. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may already know a few of these little tidbits but sit back and relax as we get to know each other.

My name is Sandy Fitzpatrick and I am a pattern designer, teacher and lecturer of machine appliqué and free-motion quilting. Sewing has always been a passion of mine and I get no greater joy than teaching and sharing my techniques with others.



I became an official BERNINA Ambassador about two years ago, but I've actually been a BERNINA advocate for almost 40 years! I had previously owned another brand of machine which "gagged" whenever I tried sewing over elastic. Since I was making clothes for myself and my children at that time, it was really frustrating trying to find a "work around" to my stitching problems. When I had the opportunity to sew on and purchase my first BERNINA I thought I could hear angels singing, as all of my stitching issues seemed to vanish. I couldn't believe that a machine could make that much difference in my sewing capability. As Ambassadors we also create great tutorials on the We All Sew blog. Here are a few links to some posts which I have previously written.

Stitch Tape Measure Style

Mantel Cover

Make It Merry Holiday Coasters

Decorative Stitching with the BERNINA Tailor Tack Foot

For years, I made my own clothes and, as my children came along, I made hand smocked outfits for each of my three kiddos. This worked well for a number of years. With two girls and a boy, I would make coordinating smocked outfits for Easter and Christmas along with the normal "church" clothes for the rest of the year. When our son was about four years old, I made coordinating sailor outfits for Easter. On Sunday morning when it was time to get ready for church, my son refused to put on the knickers and smocked shirt that I had so lovingly made. Frustrated, I stomped downstairs and told my husband, "You go talk to him!" About five minutes later, my son came strutting down the stairs, proudly wearing said smocked outfit. "How did you do that?!" I asked my husband. He said, "I told him I'd give him a dollar if he would wear it to church." Let's just suffice it to say that I never made him another smocked outfit.

When my kiddos outgrew these smocked clothes, I had to find another direction in which to focus my sewing. I decided to try quilting, and found my new passion. I began by making traditional quilts, but soon realized that appliqué was more forgiving and I didn't need as many math skills.

It didn't take long for me to realize that I enjoyed creating my own appliqué patterns. When friends started asking me to create patterns of my designs, I realized that perhaps I could turn my fun little hobby into a business, and Hissyfitz Designs became a reality.

Merry Mouse Mischief

Merry Mouse Mischief

I currently have a line of patterns that are a little outside of the box. I once had a customer tell me that I didn't even know where the box was. Hmmm... I guess I'll take that. Anyway, you may find me vending and teaching at quilt shows throughout the U.S. As we speak, er, I mean type, I am teaching and vending at A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN and next week you will be able to find me at AQS Quiltweek in Lancaster, PA.



I am currently working on new patterns for Quilt Market in St. Louis in May so keep a lookout to find them at a shop near you.

I hope you enjoy learning about the other participating BERNINA Ambassadors on this little blog tour. Simply click on the names below to get a peek at who we are and what we are all about. Remember that if you are looking for teachers for your guild or local shop we have lots of knowledge and enthusiasm to share!

Monday March 20 Lynn Carson HarrisKelly AshtonDiane DoranMelody Crust

Tuesday March 21 Kathy DelaneyChrista WatsonMandy Leins

Wednesday March 22 Sandy FitzpatrickBeth FerrierCheryl Sleboda

Thursday March 23 Annie SmithLori KennedyKari KarrCatherine Redford

Friday March 24 Joann SharpeCherry GuidryJenelle Montilone

Everyone loves a little free gift! If you have stuck around long enough to get to the bottom of this post, I have a free pattern for you, just sign up for my email newsletter in the pop-up block on my Homepage and this free Stitch It Up pattern will be emailed to you.

Stitch it Up!

Stitch it Up!


Signature for Blog

Signature for Blog

Sometimes a Girl Just Needs a Makeover

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick3 Comments

flamingo-new Do you ever have one of those days when you look in the mirror and decide it's time for a little change?

As a pattern designer, we get to make those decisions when it's time to reprint a pattern. This Flamingo Frolics pattern is not new. However, it still remains popular and when I began to run out of the pattern, I had to make a few decisions. Do I keep it in the line, or not?

Since it was one of the first patterns I designed, I decided to give it new life by remaking the quilt in updated fabrics and redoing the pattern completely. It is now much easier for you to create, as all the pattern pieces are drawn out separately and ready for you to trace onto fusible web. There are new instructions and a guide sheet showing pattern placement.

There is a constant swirl of new pattern designs in my head and I'm working hard to have some new ones ready for Spring Market. But, for now, welcome back girlie, good to see you "keeping up with the times"!



Measuring Tape Border? No Problem...

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick2 Comments
If you've been wondering how to use the blanket stitch on your sewing machine to create the look of a measuring tape I've created a post on just how to accomplish it on your BERNINA.

We all love to sew, right? That’s why we’re here! I especially love to create things that depict my passion for sewing. Did you know that you can use the stitches on your BERNINA machine to replicate the look of a tape measure? Not only can it be done, it’s also very easy to accomplish.

Quilt Stitchin' Addiction by Sandy Fitzpatrick

I used this technique to create a “tape measure” border around my Stitchin’ Addiction quilt and I can’t tell you how many people have fallen in love with this idea. It is basically just three regular blanket stitches and one a little wider.

For the full "how-to" article, check it out on BERNINA'S We All Sew blog here....



Sandy SigWeAllSew_205x205

...and They Made Skirts!

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick4 Comments

K & E skirtsI'm sure you will agree that it has been a really fast summer! I know that, as the years fly by, time seems to move so quickly. We had such fun visiting with all of our children and grandkiddos this summer and even had the opportunity to have two of the grandgirls spend a week with us. The last time they visited I introduced them to the sewing machine and we made small baby quilts by sewing squares together. Kate, age 8, decided she could do it herself and managed to sew all the squares and rows together to create her first little quilt. Emma, age 6, was perfectly content to watch me stitch her squares together and they both went home with their own original quilts.

All of our grandchildren live far away so we don't see them nearly as often as we'd like so when the girls came to visit a couple of weeks ago I had a new plan for them. They do not like to wear shorts or pants so I thought we'd tackle making skirts. I told them they could "shop" in my fabric stash and surely find something they would like. I have tons of novelty prints and was sure they could decide on something quickly. Big mistake...for one thing these girls don't decide on things quickly. Apparently this was a big deal and they wanted to make sure they got the perfect fabric for their new creations. It probably took a good half hour for them to find exactly what they wanted to use.

Now, I don't know if you are like me, but there are a few fabrics that I have been hanging onto for quite sometime because I love them and just didn't want to cut them up. Apparently these two little girls have equally good taste because they managed to find the only yardage I had of Laurel Burch fabric and decided "This is the ONE"! I would never have let my own daughters use such a coveted piece of "no longer in print" fabric but being the sucker grandmother (Honey) that I am, I caved. I told them they needed a coordinating fabric to go with this beautiful piece and that, fortunately, was easy to find as I do have my fair share of stripes in all colors and sizes.

I set up my new BERNINA 380, threaded the machine, and showed them how to use it. They are very fast learners!

The plan was to make this skirt as easy to sew as possible so I just measured around their hips and used that measurement plus 13" to determine how wide to cut the fabric. Next, we determined what the length should be, they wanted them long, so we came up with a final length measurement and then deducted about 4" from that because we were going to add a contrasting band to the bottom of the skirts. The contrasting fabric was cut 5" by the width of the fabric and trimmed to the same measurement as the skirt width.

K hands close-up These were so easy to make, first we sewed the contrasting band to the bottom of the skirt, right sides together. I made sure to use lots of pins to keep the fabrics lined up for stitching but laid out the rules right away that "you never sew over a pin, always take them out just as you get to them". Next we stitched the back seam, finished off the edge, turned up the hem and put an elastic casing in the top.

K sewing Kate's excitement grew with each step, and she even loved using the iron to press the seams and hem. I know, I know, that too will wear off someday. She now has visions of going home and making skirts for all her friends!

Both girls were so thrilled with their new creations. Although the original plan was for each of the girls to make their own skirts, Emma was a little intimidated by the machine and decided that she would wait "until next time" to try to sew.

If you need a quick and fun project to do with your own children or grandchildren I highly recommend introducing them to the hobby that you love!

Eek, ants! Eeek, ANTS!!!

Signature Red

Three Down, Four to Go!

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick3 Comments

Emma and her quilt I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” This is a phrase that is well known around our house when it comes to getting something done that is sewing or quilt related.

As a quilt designer you would think that my children and grandchildren would be unable to move in their beds at night from the weight of all the quilts I have made for them, right?! Ha, unfortunately this isn’t even close to reality. My own children do indeed have quilts or wallhangings which I made for them many years ago, before I even started designing quilts. When my two daughters got married, the plan was to make a quilt for each new grandchild as they came along. This worked pretty well for the first couple. Kate received a quilt designed especially for her, which resulted in my Cutie Patootie pattern. Jackson followed shortly thereafter and so did his quilt, which eventually became the Action Jackson pattern.

However, the grandchildren didn’t end there. Both of my girls continued having babies and now I am WAY behind on the quilts. Kate now has two sisters, Emma is five and Claire is two, and Jackson now has three brothers, four year old Gavin, and two year old twin brothers Ryan and Dylan.

It would certainly be easier to accomplish my goal of supplying quilts to each of these kiddos if I could simply go to my local quilt shop and pick a pattern from the rack. However, my girls seem to think that each of these wonderful children deserves their own original quilt designed by “Honey”, and I must admit that I agree with them.

Poor Emma has been waiting patiently for her quilt for several years now. I had been working on it sporadically but just hadn’t set aside the time to get it finished, until recently. The layout is similar to Cutie Patootie except that it is upside down, I didn’t feel the need to “reinvent the wheel” here. The designs inside the blocks are all different except for the monkeys. I’d originally planned something else for that particular block, but one of Emma’s favorite things is monkeys, so I just used the block from Jackson’s quilt instead.


This summer we had a great time with the grandgirls as they stayed at our house for two weeks while their parents went to Europe. Before they arrived, I had finished the quilt top and had it layered and pinned for quilting. While they were here, I would find a few free minutes now and then to sit down at my machine for some free-motion quilting. The girls knew that I was working on Emma’s quilt and I had promised her that it would be finished in time for her to take it home with her. One day Emma stood watching me as I was stitching away on the quilt and she said, “Honey, can you just stay up all night until you are finished?” Well, that didn’t happen but I was able to have it ready for her by the time she left.

Emma was pretty excited about her new quilt. Courtney, my daughter, said that she was showing it off to her friends the following week and she overheard her say, “This is the quilt that Honey made for me. She’s old, but she’s not dead.”

Ha ha, aren't kids great!

Signature Red

How to Add a Flange to Your Quilt Block and Mount it on a Canvas Frame

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick1 Comment

16Finished-block Many of my patterns have an additional little design element that's called a "flange". This is actually just an additional strip of fabric in a contrasting color to add a little zing to the design. However, it not only adds that little pop of color but also has a very useful purpose! It allows you to lift up the flange on your finished project to begin free-motion quilting in an area so that no one call tell where you began. After you have done all of your wonderful quilting, you can then end your quilting by lifting up the flange again and secure your stitches underneath. Again, no one will be able to tell where you ended your quilting! AMAZING, I know!

I decided to add a little tutorial on my blog so that you, too, would have the knowledge to add a flange to your projects and give them a little extra personality. The design I'm using is called "Stitch" and can be purchased on my webpage.

The first thing you need to do is complete the stitching on your particular appliqué block.


For this block I decided to stretch it over an artist's canvas. I purchased a 12" blank canvas from my local art supply/craft store.


Since I started with a 12 ½" finished block, I needed to determine how much to trim off the block in order to add the flange and have the block wrap around to the back of the canvas. I wanted my flange to be 1" inside the edge of the canvas so I trimmed my block to 10 ½".2Trim-Block

Next, I cut one strip of fabric 1" x wof (width of fabric).


I then placed this on my ironing board in a little pile and added spray starch to it.


Next, iron this little strip of fabric, wrong sides together, to create a long strip of fabric that is ½" wide.


Now, cut four of these flange strips 10 ½" in length.


Line the raw edge of the first strip up with the raw edge of the top of the block and sew it on with a ¼" seam allowance. Then continue to sew the flange strips onto your block. I usually sew the top and bottom on first and then the two sides.


When the flange has been added, you need to determine how wide to cut the border strips to add to your block so that it will wrap to the back of the canvas. Center your block on the front of the canvas and measure from the edge of the block to the back side of the canvas and add ¼". My measurement was 3" so I cut two strips of background fabric 3" x wof (width of fabric).


I then cut two strips 10 ½" in length because that is the size of my block, and I sewed one border to each side of the block, again using a ¼" seam allowance, encasing the flange between the block and the border fabric.


Remember to press your borders away from your block each time you sew one on. The folded edge of your flange strip will be towards the center of your block.


Now that your side borders have been added you need to cut two lengths from your border fabric to measure 3" x 15" and add these two borders to the top and bottom of your block. When all the borders have been added, it's time to layer your block with backing and batting and do some fun quilting. If you aren't sure about free-motion quilting, you can always do some straight line quilting or cross-hatch quilting.


After quilting is finished, trim your block to 15" square and staple it to your canvas.

15Staple-to-canvasCenter your block on your canvas and pull the fabric to the back a little at a time and staple with a heavy duty stapler. Start in the center of each side so that you can determine that the block is centered and square and pull the fabric tight. The corners can be a little tricky, so fold the corner up at a diagonal and then fold the sides over it. Then continue to add staples around the block every couple of inches.

What a quick and easy way to give a block more personality. You can also add a flange to an area on your quilt that needs a little extra pop of color!

A Time to Sew

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick4 Comments

What a great weekend retreat we had last weekend as our bee went on our annual “bee-treat” at the beach! Lots of sewing, quilting, and knitting mixed in with delicious food and laughter. It was great to have one of our long, lost members return for the weekend. Kelly moved out of state several years ago but slipped right back in without missing a beat and was able to enjoy all the fun just as if she had never left!

We were able to complete a few quilt tops and get a good start on more projects…

Shirley completed her top using beautiful Daiwabo fabrics.


Kelly made a bathrobe for her son out of John Deere flannel and also got a great start on some pineapple blocks and a quilt top made from plaid fabrics.



A shoulder injury kept Tina from bringing her machine to sew on but she got quite a bit accomplished on a knitted bag that she is planning to felt.


Carol made a gorgeous pinwheel quilt top (don’t know how I missed getting a picture of it) and also took a little time to work on her Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt which she has been hand-piecing for as long as I can remember. It is almost finished and we are ready to celebrate with her when she takes those last stitches!


Lori completed two quilt tops, a bright and happy jelly roll quilt made from a Moda Bake Shop pattern and her version of “Frog Days of Summer”, one of my patterns – Gorgeous!



Bright and happy quilt tops were also made by Ann using Dr. Seuss fabrics which she made for baby quilts.



Julianne managed to crank out 25 lined fabric bags for Beads of Courage, an organization that provides bags to children with serious illnesses to carry their collection of beads.


Julianne also worked on more blocks for her triangle log cabin quilt top.


As for me, applique was the name of the game as I worked on blocks for my grand-daughter, Emma’s, quilt. Photos for that quilt to be posted at a later date.

I think we all came home with great feelings of accomplishment, and a renewed sense of spirit, ready to hit the ground running for the upcoming week.

Lovin' Laramie

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QuiltEssentials, Laramie, WYWhat great fun we had in Laramie, Wyoming at QuiltEssentials! Janice Pope and I traveled to Laramie to stay with our friend, Mary, and to teach a few classes. We were welcomed by a great group of ladies and had such fun. My free-motion quilting class was a joy, as always. It's so great to see students realize what fun they can have with some new quilting designs.

During the class, Sherry Reynolds came by the shop to show one of her quilts. It was absolutely stunning! Sherry, an engineer in her former life, has only been quilting for about 5-6 years but has certainly mastered it in this short time. Keep an eye out for her, we're sure to see her work often!

We attended a great Wearable Art exhibit at the University of Wyoming's Art Museum. What inspiration to make me want to come home and make a new coat or jacket of my own!

This is called Bella Pavone by Alice Kay Arnett. Gorgeous pintucking!

And the Mirror Smiled Back by Sara Varca. Gotta love that wild lining!

A Clash of Unity by Jennifer Schneider. This gray and yellow is so "in" right now!

Meditation by Teresa Nealon. A wonderful classic style.

Those Who Sew in Tears Will Reap in Joy by Treva Sprout Ahrenholtz. This beautiful dress was started many years ago by Treva simply to make something creative and beautiful. Her description stated that she came back to it time and again as she was dealing with sadness in her life. She didn't realize that someday she would have a real purpose for it and eventually was able to wear it herself as a wedding gown.

Quiltin' with Friends

UncategorizedSandy Fitzpatrick3 Comments

Our bee recently went on our yearly "bee-treat" and had a wonderful weekend full of laughs, relaxation and sewing! I think we determined that this was our seventh year to go away together (it would have been eight except for the fact that we cancelled our retreat four years ago when I had a skiing accident). Anyway, we always look forward to our time together. For the past two years we have gone to Oak Island and stayed in a gorgeous beach house owned by a relative of one of our members. We waste no time getting machines and tables set up so that we can get down to some serious sewing and quilting.

This year's retreat was also a deadline for a project we had been working on individually. We got the idea from Quilting Arts magazine as they published an article a few months ago asking for small quilts that portray your inner animal. Since these quilts were small, usually 8 1/2" x 11" or something close to it, we figured this would be an easy and fun project. Giving ourselves several months to work on them also helped, however, there are always a few of us who literally wait until the last minute! I must admit I am one of the procrastinators but managed to meet the deadline by finishing my quilt at 11:30 p.m. the night before the reveal! Unfortunately I could not think up an animal that was a procrastinator but did manage to come up with something  that I felt was a close depiction.


I decided my inner animal had to be a duck. When I asked my dh why he thought I picked a duck he said it was because I let things roll off my back and don't get too upset about anything. Although that is a pretty accurate description, the real reason is because, like a duck, I may look calm on the surface but underneath the water I'm paddling as fast as I can! When we had our "reveal" moment, the quilts were removed from a bag and laid on the floor one at a time so that we could guess which animal matched which person. What fun it was to see just how well we knew each other.


This cute little quilt  belongs to Shirley. She said she had a hard time coming up with just one animal that depicts her so this is Shirley flipping her lid! As you can see it says, "Itz a ZOO in here!" She says that pretty much sums it up with all her ideas just screamin' to get out.


 Julianne created this great little quilt of  a Mama Hen. She said she longed to create a cheetah, based on her love of running and racing but she was sidelined from running due to an injury during the challenge time (notice the cheetah shaped cloud). She decided that she is really a Mama Hen with her four chicks around her, who dreams of being a cheetah. The hen is sitting on a quilt that Julianne made, which was photographed and transferred to fabric for use in her little quilt.

It wasn't too hard for us to guess that this was Carol's quilt. We are always accusing her of putting things away and forgetting where she put them. The great thing about this little quilt is that behind every leaf is a picture of scissors, thread, measuring tape or some other sewing tool. She certainly nailed it with this one. Also, notice the question mark above the squirrel's head? That's Carol, always looking for something and as she says, tries things by trial and error! :)

 There was no doubt who this little gem belonged to when it was revealed! Lori is a Hokie through and through and has sewn every bag pattern known to man! Although the rest of us weren't really sure what a Hokie was, we learned that it is actually a turkey. Lori says the Hokie Bird is loyal, studious, loves fall weather and college football, and bleeds maroon and orange. She did a great job on this little bag, the back of it even has turkey feathers for a tail!

Last, but certainly not least, is Tina's lion quilt. She says the traits of a lion are independent, strong, and fiercely protective of family and friends. What a beautiful job she did of collecting just the right brown prints for the lion's mane. It's no surprise that Tina chose this strong and gorgeous creature as she, herself, earned her black belt in karate this past year. You go girl!

We still have one member of our bee who is working on her inner animal. Hopefully Ann will have her quilt ready to post soon.