Friday, September 10, 2021

Three Essential Steps Before Starting Any New Project!

This week I want to talk about some essential steps before you start any Studio 180 Design Project or just any sewing project at all.  Doing these steps will help you make your projects a success. 

Step 1: Read through the pattern

Understanding a pattern, I feel, is the first step when starting a new project. Read the pattern thoroughly and take note of the following.

Skill Level - Ask yourself, can I make this pattern? Is it at my current comfort or skill level?

Tools Required - Do you have the tools, and do you know how to use them if the pattern requires them?  If you are using the Studio 180 Design tools and haven’t used that tool in a while, you may want to read through the tool or technique instructions.  You can also refer to the Studio 180 Design YouTube page for more help in using the tools.

Fabric Yardage – The fabric yardage is usually on the back and on the first page of any pattern.  You also should look at the Width of Fabric the pattern is based on.  Many patterns these days use 40” – 42” width of fabric. This is important when you go shopping for fabric because if you buy 40” wide fabric and your pattern using a 42” width. You may want to add a little more yardage to that required amount, just to ensure you have enough.

Step 2: Prepare

Now that you have a grasp on making the project let's talk about preparing your sewing area, sewing machine, and fabric for cutting.

Sewing Area
– I recommend cleaning your sewing area if you have one. I know many of you out there just don’t have a dedicated sewing space, so you are just setting up a space to sew.  Now, if you have a dedicated space, let's put away those projects you are in the middle of.  Better yet, finish those projects first.  That way, you don’t have any UFOs sitting around.  Then once complete, clean your area and put everything away that you will not need for the next project.

Sewing Machine – prepare your sewing machine. Make sure it is in good working order before you start any new project. Ask yourself these questions as you prepare a sewing machine for a new project.

  •  When was the last time you cleaned it? You should be cleaning it every time you start a new project, or if you are in the middle of a couple of projects, clean every couple of weeks. Trust me, it will need it.

  •  When was it last serviced? My local quilting shop recommends getting your sewing machine serviced every year.  This also depends on how much you sew.  You want to take good care of those machines.


  • One more thing you need to do to your machines is to oil (if required) and change the needle. I change my needle when I clean my machine. The sharper the needle, the better the project will be.

– The biggest debate is whether to pre-wash your new fabrics. Now, I will say that I pre-wash all my fabrics before starting any new project to remove any chemicals, dyes, and wax on the fabrics. I do this because I have seen quilts after the first washing, and some have bled.  The only fabric I do not pre-wash is the pre-cuts because I really don’t want to shrink this fabric too much. However, I feel the decision to pre-wash or not is up to you, the quilter; it is really your choice. 

One more thing you must do with your fabric, regardless if you pre-wash or not, is to make sure your fabric is pressed and all the wrinkles are removed. Ironing your fabric before you start will help with accuracy when you rotary cut your fabric.

Step 3: Gather your Essentials

Now that you have your fabrics ready, a clean sewing area, and the sewing machine prepared, here are a few more things you may need depending on your project.

Special Tools and Tool Instructions – Layout any special tools or tools, such as the Studio 180 Design tools that your pattern calls for.  Now I recommend that you have InvisiGrip™ on the back of any tool. InvisiGrip™ is a thin clear plastic that you place on the back of your tools to help prevent them from slipping on your cutting mat while you are cutting. The plastic adheres to your tool by static cling, so there is no adhesive element used. This makes the product easy to change out when it gets dirty and needs replacing.

Quilter Magic Wand - is a wonderful tool that provides you with an exact 1/2″ reference. In addition, this ruler has an etched line running down the middle that gives you an accurate 1/4″ on each side.

Marking Tools - When it comes to marking tools for your project, I recommend using fine lines mechanical pencils, such as Sewline Fabric Pencil, or a fine pen such as the Ultra-Fine Pigma Micron 01 pen. Make sure your marking tool is easy to see and will give you a nice fine line at the same time.

Rotary Rulers - These thick acrylic rulers are made primarily to be used with your Rotary Cutter and Cutting mat. In addition to the Studio 180 Design tools, it is recommended that you have standard rotary rulers that measure 6″ x 24″ and 6″ x 12″. The 6″ x 24″ ruler is great for cutting strips that are the Width of Fabric (WOF) and for large blocks. The 6″ x 12″ is excellent for sub cutting all your strips into squares. I also recommend having a 12″ x 12″ or larger square ruler for squaring up blocks.

Rotary Cutter and Mats - A good quality rotary cutter and mat are highly recommended for any quilting project you do. When I cut out my pieces for my project, I prefer to use a 45mm rotary cutter with a new blade. I recommend closing or retract the edge every time you set your cutter down on the mat. Safety first!

Iron and Ironing Surface - An excellent clean iron and ironing surface is key to getting a crisp seam and making the blocks lay flat. I use a lint roller periodically over my ironing surface to keep the loose threads from fusing to it. Each day before you start, check your iron before turning it on. Wipe off any excess dirt and lint. If your iron plates are dirty, refer to your iron instructions to clean the surface.

Additional tools and Accessories – Beyond the specific tools above, you’ll need some general quilting items such as a 100% Cotton 50 wt. Thread, needles, 1/4″ piecing foot, scissors/snips, pins, seam ripper, etc. Remember when buying your supplies to look for the best quality equipment you can afford. Doing this will make you happier with your final product.

Now that we have completed all the steps, we are ready to start our projects.  Please remember that organization is a critical element in making your projects a success.  I will be covering this topic soon.  

See you next Friday, with a new tutorial on the latest Block Party Block. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Why Should I use the Studio 180 Design Tools?

When I started getting back into quilting about ten years ago, I found that I struggled with several areas. First, I was having problems with my points and corners not lining up. Then my finished quilt tops would have fullness in the centers and the borders. Second, I struggled to get my blocks to come out the right size and have everything line up for years. I tried various methods and different tools.

Then around five years ago, I attended one of the Schoolhouse sessions at Quilt Market (Quilt Industry Trade Show) and saw a demonstration of the Studio 180 design tools. I immediately realized that these were the tools I searched for to jump up my quilting game. So the next day, I stopped by the Studio 180 Design booth and watched Deb Tucker demonstrate how to make precision Flying Geese, Half Square Triangles, and many more units. So, when I returned home and tried the tools on a few projects that I was developing. Again, I have to say they were the game-changer.  I started getting perfect points every time using these tools, and I just fell in love with them.

The tools work so well for me. A year after I discovered them, I became a Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor. For the past several years, I have been teaching the tools showing students to enjoy the success that I have found.  Recently, I open the doors to my first online membership called Precision Block Academy.  This academy was designed to help students learn the Studio 180 Design tools and techniques but do not have a local quilt shop to teach the tools. Plus, gain confidence in their quilting abilities.

Now you may be asking yourself, “Why would I use the Studio 180 Design Tools?”

One of the critical elements that make the Studio 180 Design tools a big success to quilters is that you make all your units slightly oversized and trim them down to a precise size. In doing so, they will fit nicely together when you add them with other units, especially those more advanced ones. When combining precise units with other precise units with a good ¼” seam allowance, your points and corners will naturally line up. An additional bonus is that the fullness in the center of your quilts will go away. The reason is that the blocks will all end up being the correct size.

More Key Features

Each of the tools is designed for more than one size in mind. In addition, you will find each of the tools is designed with several thin diagonals that will allow you to trim multiple sizes for each type of unit.

The tools come with instructions and cutting charts to incorporate the units into other quilting patterns not written for the Studio 180 Design tools. First, you need to know the unit’s finished size, then locate that on the cutting chart for that tool. The chart will give you the square or strip size that is needed to make the unit. In each of the instructions, you will find cutting instructions for both Right and Left-Handed users.

Each of the tools has companion patterns for you to make. In addition, you can find companion patterns written by Studio 180 Design and a few of the Studio 180 Design Certified Instructors, like me

Studio 180 Design makes quilting more effortless for you by making quilting easier by avoiding bias as much as possible. In addition, they provide you with cutting charts and diagrams in their instructions. If you need more help in learning the tools, there are YouTube videos that demonstrate the tools. Plus, lot of Free Downloads for you to practice with. There are also Certified Instructors across the United States, Canada, Netherlands, and Sweden.

Studio 180 Design has also developed a way for you to expand your tools use through Technique Sheets. These single laminated hole punch sheets will expand your use of the tools and broaden your skills for more design creativity.  Each of the Technique Sheets will provide you written instructions and Illustrations, plus cutting charts.

Since using these Studio 180 Design tools, I have found that I have been the biggest game-changer in my quilting abilities.  

Have you used any of the Studio 180 Design tools?  If so, please comment below on why you love these tools and how they have changed your quilting abilities. Look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Reviving My Blog!

I’m so happy to announce that I’m bringing my blog back full-time starting this Friday, September 3rd.  I’m taking a new approach to this blog; instead of random topics. I have decided to dedicate my blog to educate you on the Deb Tucker Studio 180 Design tools.

To give you a little background on me, I have been a Pattern Designer for over eight years. Five years ago, I found the Studio 180 Design tools and discovered game-changer tools that take your abilities to the next level. A year later, I became a Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor and devoted my pattern Designs to companion patterns for the tools. I love watching my students see the delight in their faces when they have perfect-looking units and blocks.

I wanted to share my love for the tools and educate you on the Studio 180 Design tools via my blog.  So starting this Friday and every Friday, you will be introduced to new topics, tools or techniques, tutorials, and so much more on Studio 180 Design.

So if you have a love of the Studio 180 Design tools or are just curious about the tools, you will not want to miss each Friday's blog post. If you haven't signed up to receive your blog delivered to your email each week, then click on this link.

See you tomorrow for the first post.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Freedom Block - Block Party Block 14


Hello everyone, I have an exciting way to play with the Studio 180 Design tools by making a block each month, which I call Block Party Blocks the blocks. Each block is released on the 15th of the month.  In the Patterns, you will receive instructions on making the blocks and how to use the blocks, such as a pillow, a table runner, or a table topper. This is a great way to practice your skills and play with the tools.

With that said, I want to introduce my latest Block Party Block #14, which I am calling Freedom. This is block is not as complex as it may look at first glance. It comprises only three different units, Split Rects, Corner Beams, and Square Squared. Taking these individual units and putting them together, you can get a beautiful block that can be used by itself to create a table topper or table runner. If you feel adventurous, you could combine the block with others and use it in a sampler quilt. The possibilities are almost endless.

To start building the block, I would recommend picking out your fabrics. I decided to go with a background color, two mediums, and a dark for my block. If you go this way, I recommend that the two medium fabrics are different enough in color to not blend together. You could also substitute one of the mediums with a light. This is one of those blocks that you can go wild or be a little conservative. It is really up to you on the fabric choices and how you want it to look.

To put this block together, you will need to make four of the Split-Rec units, four Corner Beam Units, and one Square-Squared unit. The tools you will need are the Studio 180 Designs’ Split Rects, Corner Beam, and the Square-Squared. Then you will also need some of your standard quilting supplies, like a rotary cutter and fabric pencils or pens. I would also recommend getting some paper plates and labeling them with the name of each unit. This will help you keep organized. 

Split Rects

To get started, I would recommend making the Split-Rects first. That is the easiest of the three units and would make a good warmup to get started. Start by cutting the fabric to the correct size, following the instructions that came with the Split-Rects Tool. Once the pieces are cut, head over to your sewing machine and start sewing them together using a ¼ inch seam. Once the four Split-Rects are sewn together, press the seams, and it is time to trim. To trim your unit to the correct size, again refer to the instructions that came with the Split-Rects tool.

Corner Beam Unit

After finishing the four Split-Rects units, it is time to move on to the Corner Beam units. Again you need to make four of these units as well. Again start by cutting the fabric to the correct size, following the instructions that came with the Corner Beam tool. Once the pieces are cut, head over to your sewing machine and start sewing them together using a ¼ inch seam. With the Corner Beam unit, you have two pieces that need to be sewn onto the centerpiece. Again, make sure you are following your tools’ instructions for how to sew them. Once the four Corner Beams are sewn together, press the seams, and it is time to trim. To trim your unit to the correct size, refer to the instructions that came with the Corner Beam tool taking special care to align the tool before cutting correctly.

Square Squared

Next, it is time to make the Square-Squared unit the goes in the center of the block. As with the first two units, start by cutting the fabric to the correct size. Following the instructions that came with the Square-Squared tool. Once the pieces are cut, head over to your sewing machine and start sewing them together using a ¼" inch seam. With the Square-Squared unit, you have four pieces that need to be sewn onto the centerpiece. Make sure you are following your tools’ instructions for how to sew them. Once the four Square-Squared units are sewn together, press the seams, and it is time to trim. To trim your unit to the correct size, refer to the instructions that came with the Square-Squared tool taking special care to align the tool before cutting correctly.

Freedom Block

Now that the units are complete, it is time to make some magic and sew the units into the completed block. To do this, I would recommend sewing the units, row by row. Once the three rows are complete, then sew the rows together to complete the block.

I have the full instructions for completing this block for sale on my website. The complete instruction is set up like you would find in one of my patterns: fabric requirements, cutting, and sewing instructions. Also, if you are interested in learning more about how to use the Studio 180 Design Tool, please check out my Precision Block Academy and sign up on my waiting list. I will be opening up registration again this fall for a short time, and you don’t want to miss out.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Precision Block Academy Open Registration Begins!

Are you feeling Overwhelmed, Not Confidence, and Uncertain in some of your quilting projects?

Do you have Studio 180 Design tools still sitting in the package and do not know how to use them?

Do you want to learn the Studio 180 Design tools and techniques but do not have a local quilt shop or Studio 180 Design Certified instructor to teach the tools?

New to quilting and what to learn more to expand your quilting knowledge.

Well, I have a solution to your problems that I’m So Super Excited about, and I can't wait to share it with you.

So let me tell you a little backstory…

Over a year ago, I started my Facebook group page, called Groupies, where I offer free blocks. These allowed my group members to practice their skills with the Studio 180 Design tools.  In the last couple of months, I started including a full version of the blocks, giving them additional directions and a table topper pattern.

In the last couple of months, I had several questions pop up in that group, such as can you provide video lessons using the Studio 180 Design tools. How I can work on my quilting skills and how to Tuckerize blocks and patterns. Questions like these got me thinking about how I can help you solve all your quilting problems.

I started to develop an idea of creating a community of quilters where I could share my experience with the Studio 180 Design tools and my passion for making elegant quilts. 

My vision was to develop a community where I could teach you the Studio 180 Design tools — showing you how to use the Studio 180 Design tools properly and adapt them for any block or project.  Help you solve your fundamental or advance quilting issues—solving problems such as aligning points, extra fullness in the quilt center, and so much more through monthly lectures.  Teaching you these skills will help build your quilting abilities and raise your confidence to take on any pieced project. And be a star with your favorite Longarmer. 

In this community, you will not have to worry about your local quilt store being closed or one that has not opened up for classes because of the pandemic, or even possibly no access to a Studio 180 Certified Instructor. Learning these skills can all be done from the comfort of your own home, no moving that heavy sewing machine from place to place.  Plus, you will have full access to me, the teacher, all the time.

So today, I am proud that my idea is coming to life, and open registration of the Precision Block Academy, The Studio 180 Design Way. has begun. The official launch of the membership will start July 1st.  

The Precision Block Academies goal is to teach you how to make a precision quilt using the Studio 180 Design tools while building your confidence and quilting skills. This is more than a typical online class or course. The Academy is about the making of a community where we can learn from each other.  Together we can enhance and cultivate our quilting skills utilizing our Private Facebook group and Zoom sessions.

 What’s Included in your membership:

  •        Each month, you will receive a block covering one of the Studio 180 Design tools. Your Course will cover the 12 different lessons that cover the Studio 180 Design tools. You will receive a block pattern, the Video course on using the Studio 180 Design tool, and assembling the block. Additionally, you will receive a Sampler Quilt pattern for your finished blocks, plus fabric requirements.
  •         Access to a Private Facebook group only for those enrolled in the ongoing Block Precision for the Tucker Tools program. This group is where you can ask questions, share your blocks, and receive advice.
  •         Two live Zoom Sessions each month. One session will cover a new quilting topic each month, and the other will be a Stitch and Sew environment where you can work on your blocks and ask questions to me.
  •          Unlimited access to the videos and patterns as long as you are a Member of the Block Precision Academy and the Tucker tools program is in existence.
  •          And So Much More…

Today, I’m open this registration for this membership to you for a short time, between now and June 6th, to sign up for the Academy.  I will only be opening the academy a couple of times a year, so this is your chance to step in the door and start learning.  Again, these are more than classes; it is like having a Workshop in your own home.

So Join me today as a member:

You will be able to choose one of the payment options: $25 per month / $275 annual.

Now you can cancel at any time. If you are paying by the year, your membership will end at the end of the year. If you pay monthly and want to cancel, your membership access will end the day before your next payment is due. I’m sorry, I do not accept refunds.

Remember, my goal is to have this community serve all of us as we learn and progress in our quilting abilities.  There are plenty of topics and tools to keep us going for years. That’s what excites me. This idea is why I am up late at night and waking up early in the morning with millions of ideas running through my head to better teach and be there for you.  

This all begins here today. Then years from now, we’ll look back on this and say, “Do you remember when I struggled with my points?

If you are interested and would like to learn more, please visit the Precision Block Academy page.

Here’s to the success of our new community and the start of an exciting adventure in quilting for all of us.