behind the scenes:
Shoreline Shells quilt

Shoreline Shells quilts A Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) project. Design by Whole Circle Studio.

View at Hanalai Beach, Kauai

Hello quilting friends (and beach lovers)! Today I’m ready to reveal a behind the scenes look at the new Shoreline Shells quilt—a block of the month and quilt sew along project for 2023. Early bird registration is now officially open! Register here today and save!

Beach combing in Northern California (left) and Cape May, New Jersey (right)

Growing up on the east coast of the United States, the beach has played a big role in my life. Slathered with sunscreen and under umbrellas (hello pale skin!), as a kid I spent weekends on the beaches of Connecticut along Long Island Sound. Our big annual summer vacation was to southern New Jersey, known for beautiful wide sandy beaches and boardwalks. As an adult, I still visit the Jersey Shore with family and friends every summer and visit other beaches around the world when I can. Searching for shells and sea glass has always been on of my most favorite activities. I have containers of my treasures throughout my home.

In early 2022, I started brainstorming and sketching ideas for a shell and sea glass quilt design. A beach themed quilt has been on my wishlist of projects for a while. I used my beach combing collection as a starting point for inspiration.



Drafting Shoreline Shells quilt blocks into Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) patterns.

Once I decided on which 12 shells I wanted to feature in the quilt design, I took my preliminary sketches and drafted the foundation paper pieced (FPP) blocks. The awesome thing about FPP, other than it being incredibly precise, is that you can machine sew a few straight lines near one another at angles and then it looks like it’s a curve (or even a circle) and the seams are durable. I find that that most quilters either love FPP or haven’t found the love for it — YET. Foundation paper piecing requires thinking about piecing in a different way that most other quilt projects and every quilter approaches it slightly differently. I find that with a little bit of patience and practice, quilters can pick up on it and learn to love this technique. Need a tutorial (or refresher) on FPP? I have you covered with a free Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial/Mini Class.

After sewing up some test prototype blocks and making some tweaks to the pattern, it was time to decide on how to arrange the shells. I love having all types of options, so included in the Shoreline Shells quilt blocks are instructions for arranging the shells in a circle or a grid grouping (with options for even more customization). It’s like getting multiple patterns for the price of one! Let’s take a look at some of the color possibilities, fabric choices, and design variations:

Shoreline Shells quilt (circle option) made with Speckled by Ruby Star Society / Moda Fabrics
Shoreline Shells quilt on a Navy background (circle option) made with Speckled by Ruby Star Society/Moda Fabrics
Shoreline Shells quilt (grid option) made with PURE Solids and Decostitch Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics
Shoreline Shells quilt (grid option) made with PURE Solids and Decostitch Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics

 

Shoreline Shells quilt (grid option) made with PURE Solids and Decostitch Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics

Shoreline Shells quilt (grid option) made with PURE Solids and Decostitch Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics
Shoreline Shells quilts (grid options) made with PURE Solids and Decostitch Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics

Once I decide on a quilt layout, I often ask myself “What if?” and try to push the design a bit further. A design tweak or an additional detail makes a quilt design extra special.

Shoreline Shells quilt (grid option) made with Grunge by Moda Fabrics
Shoreline Shells quilt (grid option with irregular rounded corners in blocks) made with Grunge by Moda Fabrics

For the “grid” version of the blocks, the blocks can be made with irregular rounded corners—adding a bit of an organic detail that fits in with the shells. With a little bit of extra piecing, this optional extra detail is easy to achieve.

Shoreline Shells quilt (circle option with additional sea glass) made with Grunge by Moda Fabrics
Shoreline Shells quilt (circle option with additional Shoreline Sea Glass pattern for center) made with Grunge by Moda Fabrics

While I love negative space in quilts for the eye to rest, I was curious what the center of the circle option would look like filled with sea glass. For those who want an extra sea glass motif in the center of their circle Shoreline Shells quilt, an OPTIONAL pattern (sold separately) called Shoreline Sea Glass is available. The Shoreline Sea Glass pattern (also foundation paper pieced—FPP) includes instructions and patterns to make sea glass units for the center of the Shoreline Shells quilt (it also includes instructions for making a stand alone sea glass mini quilt).

Piecing Shoreline Shells quilt blocks into Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) patterns. Design by Whole Circle Studio.
Assembling the Shoreline Shells blocks (left: circle layout | right: grid layout)

I had so much fun making both the circle and grid options of  Shoreline Shells but that’s just the beginning! I’ll be sewing along with lots of other quilters from all over the world throughout 2023 (and for some of us beyond) as we make our own Shoreline Shells quilts. Not only will we have a beautiful quilt at the end of the process, but we’ll also gain valuable skills and have fun. I’ll be sharing all of my foundation paper piecing (FPP) tips and tricks with videos and photos on the blog along the way, so with all of this knowledge and practice you’ll be a pro paper piecer by the end of the project! I hope you’ll consider joining us.

Here are the details (and FAQs) of the Shoreline Shells Block of the Month + Quilt Sew Along:


WHAT IS A BLOCK OF THE MONTH (BOM)?
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Each month throughout 2023 (January–December) you’ll be emailed your link to download a detailed PDF Foundation Paper Pieced (FPP) pattern for a block in the Shoreline Shells quilt. You can make one block a month or “binge” sew whenever it’s convenient for you. This is a low-stress BOM sew along and we’ll all work at our own pace. Each month, we’ll practice our FPP skills and at the end of the year have a beautiful quilt top to show for it! I’ll be here with you on this adventure to encourage you but during any month if you don’t have time to finish the block, no worries.

In addition to the patterns, there will be other bonuses including monthly content on the blog where I’ll be sharing piecing tips, tricks, and inspiration. The bonus content will be up on my blog indefinitely. There are special hashtags on Instagram (#ShorelineShellsquilt and #shellsBOM) so we can all check out everyone’s beautiful blocks come together and cheer one another on! We’ll also have the opportunity a few times a year to meet up on Zoom to meet quilters from all over the world who are working on this project, ask questions, and have a voluntary show & tell of blocks.  

Included in the registration are instructions for two different block options in each month’s pattern. You decide which option you want to make depending on how you want to arrange your blocks—in a circle arrangement or grid arrangement (or both). It’s like getting two patterns for the price of one! NOTE: the only added charge is for those who want an extra sea glass motif in the center of their circle Shoreline Shells quilt, an OPTIONAL pattern (sold separately) called Shoreline Sea Glass is available.

Immediately after you purchase the Shoreline Shells Block of the Month, you’ll receive an email with the link to download the Welcome Packet, which includes detailed fabric requirements for all of the options as well as Coloring Sheets and other helpful planning information.


WAIT, THIS IS FOUNDATION PAPER PIECED (FPP)?
WHAT ABOUT THOSE CURVES?
YES! This is TOTALLY Foundation Paper Pieced (no curved piecing or applique). 

The awesome thing about FPP, other than it being incredibly precise, is that you can sew a few straight lines near one another at angles and then it looks like it’s a curve. It’s an easy way to achieve these organic, curvy shells and sea glass! If you look closely, you see the straight lines but if you step back, they look like curves.


WHAT IS THE TOTAL COST AND WHAT DO I RECEIVE?

For $59.95—EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION opens on December 1, 2022 (a one-time charge), you’ll receive:
(note: price increases on December 20, 2022)
Register here and join the fun!
Shoreline Shells registration makes a great holiday gift— put it on your wish list!

• 12 Foundation Paper Pieced (FPP) Quilt Block PDF patterns
With each block you’ll get instructions for piecing the blocks two ways—for the circle layout and the grid layout. For those who want to add the OPTIONAL sea glass motif in the center of the circle layout, the Shoreline Sea Glass pattern (sold separately for $13) is required.  Immediately after purchasing, you will receive an email with a link to download the Welcome Packet in Adobe PDF format so you can start planning!

• Monthly Tutorials and Tips
Each month you’ll be able to access my tips and tricks for paper piecing that month’s block on the blog. We’ll piece the blocks together each month. You’ll be sure to sharpen your foundation paper piecing skills while having fun!

• Exclusive Online Zoom Get Togethers
Connect with me and other quilters face to face from the comfort of your home. I’ll be hosting a series of Zoom get togethers so we can do “show and tells” of our blocks, meet new quilters, exchange tips, and encouragement.

• Planning Resources
Use one of my planned colorways or create your own color scheme with the supplied coloring sheets. Use the same fabrics that I used—download the fabric requirements and specifications here or plan your own. This pattern is perfect for all types of quilting fabric—solids, blenders, prints, or a combination. For those who like to keep it loose: plan as you go and use what you have in your stash or pick up fabric as we go along.

• Instructions for Putting It All Together
Instructions will be included for how to make the blocks into a throw size quilt (70½” x 70½” for circle layout, 72″ x 90″ or 64½” x 80½” for grid layouts). Sew your blocks into a quilt or incorporate them into other projects—mini quilts, wall decor, placemats, table runners, bags… the options are endless!

• Lots of Fun and Skill Building
This Block of the Month was designed for quilters who have some experience with foundation paper piecing (FPP) and are looking for a fun but challenging project. That said, beginners are totally welcome as I’ll be sharing all of my tips and tricks. Wherever you are with your FPP skills, by the end of 2023, you’ll gain more piecing skills and confidence. I’ll be here to share all of my tips and cheer you on every step of the way. We’ll all go at our own pace. There’s no pressure to finish the block each month, but for those who want to keep to a schedule we’ll keep each other accountable and have a finished quilt top by the end of the year.


WHAT SIZE ARE THE BLOCKS?
WHAT SIZE IS THE FINISHED QUILT?
With each block you’ll get instructions for to how piece the blocks two ways—for the circle arrangement and the grid arrangement. Make one type of block each month, or BOTH!

Circle option:
Block sizes vary (triangle and quadrilateral shapes: 18″ x 28½”, 25¼” x 25½”, and 35½” x 17½”)
Finished quilt measures 70½” x 70½” (oversized throw)

Grid option:
Blocks measure 20½” x 16½” (unfinished)
Finished quilt measures 72″ x 90″ (twin) or 64½” x 80½” (oversized throw)

Want to make a larger quilt (like a twin, queen, or king)? Just add a bigger border.


I HAVE SOOOO MANY QUILTS. IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE I CAN MAKE WITH THE BLOCKS?
I totally get it! The grid blocks (unfinished size: 20½” x 16½” each) are super flexible. Here are just some of the things you can make with the blocks:
• placemats
• table runners
• wall art (framed or unframed)
• mini quilts or swap quilts
• incorporate into a bag or a garment


WHAT ARE THE FABRIC REQUIREMENTS AND WHAT FABRICS DID YOU USE FOR YOUR QUILTS?
Fabric requirements depend on which option of the quilt you’re planning on making.
Click here to download the PDF with the fabric requirements and see which fabrics I used for all of the options.
Here are some of the fabrics I used (and will be using) to make my Shoreline Shells quilts — all of the details and specifications are listed in the PDF link above:
• Moda Grunge
• Ruby Star Society Speckled
• Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids + Elements


CAN I BUY A FABRIC KIT FROM YOU?
I don’t sell fabric, but I’ve teamed up with some fabulous quilt shops that do!

Here are a couple of shops that offer various fabric options (my recommendations and others options too). They are familiar with the Shoreline Shells Block of the Month and can help with fabric. If you don’t see a specific option listed on their website, give them a call or email and they can assist you:

• Sewing Arts Santa Monica (CA) | 310-450-4300 | www.sewingarts.com
• Cotton Candy Fabrics (CT) | 203-885-0792 | www.cottoncandyfabrics.com
• Alison Glass (online) | www.alisonglass.com


I’M HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME CHOOSING WHICH OPTION TO MAKE. ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR DECIDING?
The good news is that you don’t have to decide when you register. Both options are included when you sign up. It’s like getting two patterns for the price of one! (The only added cost is if you want to add the OPTIONAL sea glass in the center of the circle option—and you can decide to add that later.)

Each month, you’ll receive instructions and paper pieces for two different block options. You’ll make one or the other (or both) depending on how you want to arrange your blocks—in a circle arrangement or grid arrangement. Towards the end of the year, you’ll also receive assembly instructions for arranging the blocks and completing the quilt top design.

If you love both arrangements but only pick one, here are some things to consider:

Shoreline Shells quilts A Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) project. Design by Whole Circle Studio.
CIRCLE ARRANGEMENT:
QUILT SIZE: 70½” x 70½” — oversized throw
The individual block sizes for the circle options vary (triangle and quadrilateral shapes: 18″ x 28½”, 25¼” x 25½”, and 35½” x 17½”). When it comes time to sew all of the blocks together to assemble the quilt top, no additional cutting or fabric is required and the quilt top comes together quickly. The triangles and quadrilateral shapes all fit together at the end to complete the circle.

For those of you who love negative space in your quilts and blocks that aren’t arranged in a traditional grid, this is the arrangement for you!

I had a lot of fun quilting the background using my walking foot by starting towards the middle and marking then following a dodecagon (12-sided shape). I then echo-quilted using multiple thread colors. This quilting plan gives a lovely circular motif in the background that accentuates the circle arrangement of the shells.

While I love walking foot quilting, many quilters have reached out letting me know how excited they are to piece the top and then free-motion quilt or long arm quilt. With the negative space in the center, the options for quilting are endless!

If you’d like to incorporate the sea glass motif (also completely foundation paper pieced) in the center of your quilt, you will need to also purchase the add-on Shoreline Sea Glass quilt pattern. The Shoreline Sea Glass pattern includes instructions and patterns to make sea glass units for the center of the Shoreline Shells quilt. Instructions for integrating Shoreline Sea Glass units into the Shoreline Shells blocks are included in your monthly BOM instructions. I’ll also walk you through the process in the bonus video content so that it’s super clear.

The Shoreline Sea Glass PDF pattern is an immediate download after purchase, so if you wish, you can get started on all of your sea glass pieces right away. Instructions for a mini quilt arrangement (making the sea glass it’s own quilt—great as a table topper or wall hanging on it’s own) is also included in the add-on Shoreline Sea Glass pattern. 

Shoreline Shells quilts A Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) project. Design by Whole Circle Studio.
GRID ARRANGEMENT OPTION 1:
QUILT SIZE: 72″ x 90″ — twin
For quilters who like their blocks to be arranged in a more traditional grid or want to make blocks for other projects like runners, placemats, or to incorporate into other projects, this is the option for you! Each block measures 20½” x 16½” (unfinished).

The blocks for the grid arrangement allow for lots of options for customizing fabric selections (both the shells and the block backgrounds). Detailed fabric requirements (and suggestions) are included, making it easy for you change the background color of each block.

You’ll also have the option to leave your block corners at 90 degrees or do a bit more piecing and add unique detail to your blocks by incorporated the OPTIONAL irregular, rounded corners. It’s totally up to you!

Shoreline Shells quilts A Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) project. Design by Whole Circle Studio.
GRID ARRANGEMENT OPTION 2:
QUILT SIZE: 64½” x 80½” — oversized throw
This is an alternative grid option, making blocks that are also great for other projects like runners, placemats, table toppers and incorporating into other projects. Block sizes vary: 16½” x 16½”, 16½” x 32½”, 21½” x 24½”, and 22½” x 24½” (all unfinished sizes).

When it comes time to sew all of the blocks together to assemble the quilt top, no additional cutting or fabric is required and the quilt top comes together quickly.

Use the supplied coloring sheets to play with your fabric assignments and the positive and negative space.This quilt can be made with a color blocking effect (left) or shells floating on the background (right). 


CAN I GIVE A REGISTRATION AS A GIFT?
Yes! Giving the experience of making is an awesome gift—and one that lasts a whole year and beyond. How wonderful is it to have an heirloom quilt at the end of the experience? To purchase a registration as a gift, be sure to check the “Is this a Gift?” box at checkout. 


MY GUILD OR GROUP OF QUILTING FRIENDS WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS BOM/SEW ALONG TOGETHER. ANYTHING WE SHOULD KNOW?
This is a great project for groups of quilters to experience and work on together! In past BOMs, quilting friends gathered together regularly on their own either in-person or on Zoom, sewing together while chatting and having fun.

Please note that each quilter must purchase their own registration to the Block of the Month. Sharing the patterns, instructions, and related materials is not permitted. The patterns are provided for the registered quilter’s individual use only. By purchasing the BOM registration, the buyer agrees not to copy, reproduce or distribute copies or reproductions of this pattern to any person or group, or to allow others to do so.


WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY PATTERNS?
Immediately after you purchase the Shoreline Shells Block of the Month, you’ll receive an email receipt with a link to download the Welcome Packet so you can begin planning. You’ll receive the first block pattern along with links to the quilt along bonus content in your email on January 9, 2023. The remaining blocks will be emailed out on the first of the month February–December 2023. Quilt top assembly instructions will be sent out with the December block.


I CAN’T WAIT TO GET STARTED. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO START PLANNING BEFORE THE FIRST BLOCK ARRIVES?
I’m as excited to get started as you are! You can start planning and getting ready by:

1. Decide which arrangement you want to make (circle or grid) or both! Instructions and paper pieces for both arrangements will be available in each month’s pattern. 

2. Use the Shoreline Shells Coloring Sheets (included in the Welcome Packet, available for immediate download after registration). Play with color placement either by using colored pencils or arranging fabric swatches.

3. Think about your fabric selection— gather your fabric each month as you make the blocks, use what you have and make the blocks scrappy, or collect all of your fabric ahead of time. I have the detailed specifications of what I used for all of my quilts here as well as in the Welcome Packet. Need a recommendation for where to get fabric? I’ve got you covered! See above “Can I Buy a Fabric Kit From You?” for info.

4. Get excited and share the love! Download the “I’m In!” buttons by clicking on and then saving the graphic below. Share your excitement and the love on your social media. Be sure to include the tags: #ShellsBOM and #ShorelineShellsQuilt


I’VE MADE A QUILT BEFORE, BUT I’M NEW TO FOUNDATION PAPER PIECING (FPP), COULD I DO THIS?
Yes—totally! If you know the basics of quilt piecing and are ready to learn and practice a new technique, you can make this. The blocks are geared towards experienced paper piecers, but if you’re an adventurous beginner, YOU CAN DO THIS! I break down these detailed blocks into easy to follow steps. We’ll gain experience with tiny pieces, piecing at different angles, and matching alignments. We had many beginner FPPers during the 2021 and 2022 BOMs —they made beautiful blocks and learned new skills!

Full disclosure: if you like  fast quilt projects, this probably isn’t the project for you.

It is recommended that participants get familiar and practice FPP before we dig in. I have a free FPP video tutorial/mini-class here.  While general FPP instructions are NOT included in the Shoreline Shells patterns, I will be sharing tips, tricks, and best practices that relate to the blocks (and can be used for other projects in the future) on my blog. 

Wherever you are with your FPP skills, by the end of 2023, you’ll have lots more practice and improved your paper piecing skills. You’ll gain more piecing confidence while making beautiful, unique quilt blocks.


WHY SHOULD I REGISTER AND JOIN THE BOM + QUILT SEW ALONG? WILL I ENJOY THIS?
Each month, we’ll practice our foundation paper piecing skills and at the end of the year have a beautiful quilt top to show for it! See what other quilters had to say about our previous BOMs + quilt sews along below. I’ll be here with you on this adventure to encourage you but during any month if you don’t have time to finish the block, no worries. Work at your own pace! Full disclosure: if you like fast quilt projects, this probably isn’t the project for you.

We’ll also have an opportunity a few times a year to gather on Zoom and meet quilters from all over the world who are making the Shoreline Shells blocks. It’s a chance for us to gather informally, chat, and those who are comfortable can do a “show & tell” of their blocks.

Curious about other quilter’s experiences? Here are what some of the participants in our previous Block of the Months said:

“I’m enjoying the Botanical Beauties quilt project, and my FPP skills have definitely improved along with all the practice!” –Tanisha L.

“I am a fan of Whole Circle Studio patterns. I’ve sewn several of Sheri’s FPP BOM such as the Botanical Beauties and Around The World blocks. Her instructions and diagrams are really helpful.” –Mimi G.

“I just want to thank you for the BOM Botanical. This is the first time I have ever done a BOM and first class with you. Your patterns are excellent, precise, fun and challenging enough.” –Chavah

“I am loving doing the Around the World Block of the Month quilt.I had not done paper piecing for years—and only a little when I did it.I found your video SO GOOD.I wanted to do a paper pieced quilt some months ago.Your video is just excellent.So clear.So carefully crafted.I actually found it very easy, enjoyable, and quite Zen once I got into it!I am looking forward to the next block! Thank you so much!” –Marilyn C.

“ I just wanna tell you again how much I am enjoying the  Around the World block of the month project! I am yours girl – whatever is coming down the pike Count me in! Your talents are making me shine. Thank you!” –Donna B.

“Thank you for doing this BOM. I have loved it. I was able to keep up each month and couldn’t wait to see where we were “traveling” to each month. I loved the detailed directions and cutting recommendations. I found that I loved cutting all of the pieces in advance which made the sewing much easier. I have done FPP in the past, but never a whole quilt. I am so excited to finish this and put it together. I can’t wait until January for your the next quilt! Thank you for a great experience!” –Doreen P

“ I have absolutely enjoyed making each block! Regarding Paper Piecing : The instructions are so well explained and detailed, very easy to grasp. ” –Alejandra A

“I don’t even know where to start. This is most fun I have ever had on a quilt project. I literally was so excited the first of every month when the new block came out. From picking the fabric to sewing the block I had so much fun! This is the first time I’ve done a BOM of the month and I loved it. Most sew alongs are weekly and since I still work full-time they do not fit my schedule. But having a whole month for each block worked perfectly for me. The pattern and instructions were well done and easy to follow.” – LaTanya B

“This BOM is my first FPP project and I was relatively new to quilting when I started. I am loving this monthly project and get excited each month to receive the email with the next pattern. The flexibility of being able to complete the blocks on my my own schedule has been really helpful, I just print the patterns when I get them so I am ready when I find the time. The instructions are very detailed and, as a newbie to FPP, the monthly tips and tricks videos sent with the patterns have been so helpful.” – Emily A.


Register today and join the sewing fun!

Still have questions?

I’d love to help you. Please send me an email and ask away!

 

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.