Meet Courtenay, a Missouri Star Academy Instructor!

Courtenay Hughes is one of our talented instructors here at Missouri Star. As part of our education team, Courtenay teaches quilting, embroidery, and appliqué classes through Missouri Star Academy. This includes our online courses, in-town classes, and some of our free tutorials!

Beginning Machine Applique

“I want to say I LOVE her teaching style! She is so funny, and I felt like I was spending an afternoon with a good friend. I really enjoyed this video.”

– Customer Review

Courtenay’s Creations

This quilting diva has been a wonderful component to our education team and you can see why! Her gorgeous projects continue to inspire all of us makers!


Now, let’s talk about appliqué, Courtenay’s area of expertise! If you’ve always wanted to try it out, but imagined it might be intimidating, we’ve got the tools, techniques, and tips to change your mind. Appliqué is a lot easier than it looks – and it looks pretty spectacular personalizing and decorating your quilt!

Beginning Machine Applique

We talked to Courtenay about machine appliqué designs and tips…

Q: Courtenay, how long have you been sewing machine appliqué? 
A: I have been quilting for over 25 years. I’ve had about 20 odd years of practice at machine appliqué. And I am really looking forward to sharing some of that with you

Q: What’s your favorite part of teaching appliqué for beginners?
A: My favorite part of teaching is when students who aren’t sure they can complete their projects get to the point where they realize that, yes, they can make them—and they will be beautiful! Whether that’s how to machine appliqué small pieces, how to hand appliqué in the car on road trips, or how to let loose and try something completely new, like a free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch that looks complicated but is actually very freeing, I love seeing students succeed!

Beginning Machine Applique

Q: What shapes can you make with machine appliqué?
A: Anything you can imagine – and any pattern in your library, really. I like to show you tips for leaves, stems, circles, stars, hearts, petals, and working in layers. While a lot of my patterns are flowers or animals – ask me about placing bunny ears – the sky is the limit. You can decorate any quilt with appliqué, in blocks, borders, even your quilt label.

Q: What are some tools you recommend for appliqué?
A: This depends a little bit on which method you’re using, but some of the applique essentials are:

For Machine Appliqué:

  • Fusible Web  – Use this to temporarily glue fabric pieces in place while machine stitching.
  • Appliqué Pressing SheetPlace over the project diagram to use as a guide while layering fabric shapes.
  • Marking PenUse a fine sharpie or marking pen to trace designs onto projects.
  • Scissors A good pair of scissors come in handy for cutting fusible and fabric pieces.
  • Machine Needles – A sharp needle that is great for stitching through layers of applique pieces. 
  • 50wt Thread – A strong thread that blends with fabric shapes. Or black thread for a “folk art” look. 
  • Self-Threading Needles An easy way to bury threads after stitching pieces to background.
  • Iron and Iron Cleaner – An iron for fusing paper shapes to fabric, and iron cleaner.
  • Embroidery Hoop – (optional) These come in handy when stitching pieces in place on background, especially when using the free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch.

For Hand Appliqué:

  • Appli-Glue or Lapel StickUse this to hold fabric pieces in place while hand stitching.
  • Freezer Paper Draw a design on the dull side, cut it out and lay the shiny side down on the project to use as a guide.
  • Bias Tape MakerUse this to make stems and more, especially when doing floral applique!
  • Marking PenUse this a pen to trace designs onto projects.
  • Precision Appliqué ScissorsA smaller pair of scissors come in handy for cutting smaller pieces.
  • Hand Needles A smaller point for hand stitching, but also a bit enough needle to prevent hand cramping.
  • Mini Iron – A tiny iron will give more control over tiny fabric pieces.
  • Appliqué PinsThese come in handy when fitting several pieces into place.
  • Fusible Web (optional) – Melts to adhere the fabric pieces together.
Applique Tools

We think it’s time to give appliqué a try!

We currently have two classes for beginners at Missouri Star Academy. You’ll learn multiple methods, troubleshooting tricks, how to machine appliqué a quilt or how to hand appliqué a quilt. Each class also comes with a FREE quilt pattern so you can show off your newly mastered skills! Try appliqué today!

Don’t forget to check in on our Education Center’s class schedule to see what class Courtenay will be teaching next!

If you’ve taken a class by Courtenay Hughes, show her what you made in the comments below ⬇️

I Heart Quilting Embroidery Project

I Heart Quilting

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for all you quilting and embroidery fans out there! February is National Embroidery Month and March is National Quilt Month, so this week we are combining the best of both worlds for an “I Heart Quilting” embroidery project!

Around here, we certainly love our sewing machines, but sometimes you just can’t beat a little hand sewing, and this embroidery project is just the ticket! And, because we really love quilting, we created a few different designs that you can download HERE.

Courtenay, a member of our Missouri Star team, showed us how to create this darling wall hanging in a Live Video. Watch it below: 

Ready to start stitching?

Here are the supplies used for this project:

I Heart Quilting Design Downloads

Fusible Fleece, like this one

Shape Flex

Presencia Thread. We used this one

Embroidery Hoops

Embroidery Needles

Transfer Eze (optional)

Micron Pen

Frixion Pen

Crayons

Fabric! You can grab some scraps, or shop our entire selection of 5-inch squares HERE

Looking for more embroidery fun? Check out all of our embroidery offerings, and have a look at some of our favorites below:

Tea Towels

Missouri Star Quilt Co. Pin Pillow Kit

Land That I Love: Customize and Embroider Projects for your State

We hope you have a ball stitching up your “I Heart Quilting” wall hanging. Be sure to share photos of your creations with us on Facebook and Instagram using #msqcshowandtell

New Friday Tutorial: How to “Quilt As You Go” Any Block — Using Antique Blocks

MSQC New Tutorial on the Blog!

How to "Quilt As You Go" Any Block!

Some folks collect snow globes, coins, or baseball cards. But Jenny? Jenny collects old, forgotten quilt blocks. She’s always on the lookout for unfinished treasures, and when she gathers just the right combination, it’s project time!

How to "Quilt As You Go" Any Block with Jenny Doan!

In today’s new tutorial, Jenny demonstrates a quick and easy “quilt as you go” method that can transform a set of vintage embroidery blocks into a finished quilt.

So grab some hot cocoa, watch the tutorial and pull out those orphan blocks you’ve been saving for just the right project!

How to "Quilt As You Go" Any Block!

Ahhh, I need a vacation! :)

This week and next might seem a bit light in posting.  I am preparing to take my family to the Lake!  Ahhh, I could use a few days of sun-water-and relaxation!  🙂

The best part about it is that it is a FAMILY REUNION vacation!  Who can resist those?  We will have a crazy-good time.  Memories will be made and I am sure we will have more than one water fight!  {did I ever tell you about the time Mom {Jenny} broke her back, water fighting with us when we were kids?}  It’s a good story.  *wink

Not sure where I found the image above {somewhere online, ugh wish I could remember} but it really spoke to me.  I am looking forward to spending time with and taking care of those closest to me this week.

What are your plans?

~Sarah

ps. we are SUPER excited about this.  We are busy working on our project right now.  Do you love embroidery as much as I do?

Embroidery…and a little decorating

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‘White Christmas tree, white Christmas tree….how lovely are your branches.”

Well, if you were paying attention, I mentioned in my last post that we had some snow days to spend together and that I still hadn’t decorated yet….  Here is what we came up with.  This year we have a WHITE Christmas tree.  ( i got it on CLEARANCE after Christmas last year)  So lucky.  Anyway, I have been dying to make a pom-pom garland FOREVER, and finally bought all the pom-pom’s I could find.  (no, really.  It’s true)   Yesterday, my girls and I watched a movie and strung those bright (awesome – cute-can you tell I’m excited) pom-pom’s together.  We all had a blast and it was fairly easy.  (7 year old stuck herself a time or two with a needle.  Only a few tears, and we were done.)    So, today we decorated the tree in non-breakable ornaments, aka 2 year old proof.

I used to decorate anyway, and be all diligent about keeping the little hands off the tree….Not this year.  It is so much less stress….I don’t fret one bit about the ornaments being thrown across the room, during a make believe baseball game.  I am happy with it, and really glad that I am not constantly in fear.

After all that I figured I better get started on my embroidery project…..this one is so cute.  So, tedious…..but so worth it!  (by tedious, I mean lots of small intricate details.  But that is what makes it so charming)

Here is a peak:

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How cute are those presents? And cakes?

Believe me.  It is darling.  But, it is gonna take me a while.  I will show you when it’s all finished.  I promise.

So, what is keeping you busy this week?  Any one else been stuck at home?  🙂  Heheeh….really I have enjoyed it.  The kids and I are having a great time.   I think cookie baking is next on the list.  Yes, baking and decorating!  Mmmm…and fudge.  Let’s make fudge.

Have a great day.

ps. sorry about the bad picture quality.