Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A Shuttered Window and Open Works Tutorial on Free Motion Mavericks

Hi and welcome to Week 566 of Free Motion Mavericks! I taught part of a playday on Monday for some members of the Out of the Box Fibre Artists group (OOTB). Since I'd like to share this with you, I created a tutorial. Hope you enjoy it.

Shuttered Window

We start by making the shuttered windows. The open work, which are the threads on top, is optional and is done once the shuttered window is finished. 😊

Shuttered window

Shuttered window with open work

These are the triangles that I made for my Exit Strategy piece.

For this tutorial, 
  • I made a few samples, so please don't mind the different coloured fabrics.
  • There is both a hand stitched and machine stitched component. 
1. You will need two pieces of fabric. The larger one is at the top and the slightly smaller one is at the bottom.

2. Mark the shape that you want on your top fabric. The shape needs to be smaller than your bottom fabric. 
  • You can use any shape that you like, but one side needs to be straight. That's the side that you will be using for your shuttered window. A triangle, rectangle, or square works well. They can also have wonky sides.
On the top fabric, mark your shape.
    • If you're not sure if the shape is larger than your bottom fabric, place your top fabric over your bottom fabric and hold these up in front of a window or a light. You'll want to ensure that your bottom fabric is at least a half inch (½") larger than your shape, on all sides.
Use a light or window to check that your bottom  
fabric is larger than your shape

3. Except for the side that will be shuttered, cut the other sides of your shape along the line.

Cut the sides of your shape, except for the straight shuttered side.

4. Place the bottom fabric underneath the top fabric, both facing up.

The bottom fabric peaks out of the open shape

The sides of the your shape can be wonky 😊

  • Decide on the orientation of your bottom fabric if applicable.
You can change the orientation of your bottom fabric
as long as it still a ½" larger on all sides than the shape.

5. Stitch around the three sides of the fabric. Fold the window shutter section to keep it out of the way of your stitching.

Stitch all sides except the window side.

You can stitch however you like, as long as the sides are stable.

You can use one of your sewing machine's 
fancy stitch to sew around the three sides.

6. Fold your window shutter any way that you like and then secure it using stitches, beads, buttons, etc. 
  • You can be as fancy with your folds as you like! 
1. Close your window shutter

2. Fold the shutter in half diagonally 

3. Fold the other side diagonally

4. Bring the point up and pin

4a. Fold the point to face downward

Point is facing down. Secure it.

You can fold the shutter accordion style and secure it with beads.

An accordion fold secured with stitching

Open Work

To add the threads across your window, you can do this by hand or by machine. 
  • Ensure that you secure the thread on the edge, each time that it crosses the window. 
  • Watch the tension on the thread so that it isn't too tight (and pulls) or too slack (and sags).
If you do this by machine, 
  • Take a few stitches on the side to anchor or secure the thread. 
  • Lift the foot and go across to the other side where you want your thread to land. 
  • Anchor the thread by taking a few stitches on the side.
  • Repeat until you are happy with your threads.
The open work can be done by machine.

If done by machine, once you are finished, you can clip
the bobbin threads at the back of the piece
since they have been secured at the side.

The finished block that was stitched by machine. You can now 
secure the window if you didn't do it before.

Class piece finished with open work

Demo finished with open work.
Threads were doubled.

Members' work

Here are images of the work done by the members during the playday. There are some very interesting variations!

What I learned
  • It was so much fun teaching my part of the playday. I was the second presenter and it was the perfect position since my section was the easiest, so a bit of a break between the two more involved sections of smocking and creating tucks. 
  • All the participants had a good time and did some interesting things. It's always nice to see the creativity in the class.
  • When I presented, I mentioned that at least one side of the shape had to be straight for the window shutter. That got me thinking that my other sides didn't have to be straight. That's when I made my wonky sides 😊
  • I enjoyed using my sewing machine to make the fancy stitches on the side of my demo for you. It has so much potential.
  • Did you recognize the fabric? These are scraps from my niece's t-shirt quilt.
Related links
Linking parties

Free Motion Mavericks

We had three lovely FMQ finishes last week. 

Melva made a runner and bowl cozies for a client. The mountains on the runner are prairie points and the "C" is for Colorado! 😎

Melva's lovely Colorado runner and bowl cozies.

Frédérique of Patchwork & Appliqué made this gorgeous reversible Patio quilt for her husband. It took a few years to accumulate the right fabrics, but what a finish! Her backing consists of blocks made during the "30 days of improv" challenge last year. She made a stencil of a lovely continuous line flower pattern. It looks amazing! 

Frédérique's reversible Patio quilt is finished!

Sandra of mmm quilts finished this cute pixelated heart quilt for her daughter's cat. How wonderful! I'm sure that Harper will enjoy cuddling up on it. Sandra quilted it with lovely double loops. You can see Harper's name quilted in the bottom left side of the quilt.😊

pixelated heart quilt for Harper by Sandra of mmm quilts.

It's now your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Such a small project but so much to see and enjoy. It is thread and textile art with so many possibilities. I have that Lava Lamps fabric. I am so tempted to make this piece.

    1. Thanks Preeti, I'm sure that you could insert it somewhere :-) Isn't the Lava Lamps fabric fantastic? It's the backing of my niece's t-shirt quilt.

  2. What a fun project and fun to see the other versions! Thank you for linking up to Tips and Tutorials! Always faithful!

    1. Thanks so much Kathleen. I'm looking forward to integrating the block into something else. Thanks for hosting your party - I'm all about learning (like you!)

  3. What a fun project!!! I can just see it with many windows on an Eye Spy quilt, with 2 of each square ... it could be a matching game. So many possibilities!!!

    1. Thanks Gail. If I ever make an Eye Spy quilt, I would certainly use it!

  4. Those shuttered windows are so much fun - I think they'd be great to do in a house quilt.

    1. Thanks Raewyn, you've just given me a great idea....I happen to still have a house quilt to finish :-)

  5. You are always so wonderfully creative, Andree. Love all the shuttered windows each member made. I can just imagine all the fun that was had.

    1. Thanks Kim. It's always fun playing with fabric with like-minded ladies :-) Hope you are doing well.

  6. Très créatif ! J'aime beaucoup tes petites pièces, charmantes !

  7. So creative Andrée. Thank you again for sharing in Put your foot down.

    1. Thanks so much for hosting the party Denise. Hope your doing well.


Hi! I would love to hear from you and I will try to answer you. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a message. :-)