Billy Bass Mini Quilt (Sewvivor round 1) – plus a tutorial on adding sound to quilts

Ta da! Here’s my round one entry for the Nautical theme- a turned edge applique Billy Bass quilt. And I added sound too!


And a video to show that it works…


Size – 18″ x 11″
Number of blocks – n/a
Time to make– 4 hours not including component-related thinking time
Fabric – Scraps, including a perfect silver metallic print, some Architextures and the base board is a wood grain from Lush Uptown.
Backing Fabric – Plain muslin- it’s for hanging after all
Binding Fabric – More Lush Uptown wood grain- different shade
Threads – Gutermann, plus Superior Threads monofilament
Batting – 80/20 Soft and Elegant
Quilting- Woodgrain echo and also outline quilting on the fish. Trapunto added for dimension.

I decided well in advance that if I made it through to the first round of Sewvivor, I was going to make a Billy Bass quilt for my nautical themed entry- he’s a sea bass rather than a river bass after all! Billy Bass is a short-lived weird gift fad from the early 2000s, therefore it only seemed fitting that I displayed him in my bathroom- I don’t have a “smallest room” for it, just the one lav’ in our house!


So I made all my freezer paper templates ready from this illustration of a sea bass I found via Google Images and when I found out I was lucky enough to get through, the making properly started, and in earnest. If you want to know or try the process behind making up a design, may I point you to this tutorial I wrote previously, or any of my BOM patterns.


Whilst I was gluing the seam allowances, Ange and Anita on Instagram both suggested I should make him sing. It was just too irresistible! Sadly I didn’t have the time or the expertise to make him dance too, but how awesome would that have been?

Here’s the next step after making up the fish appliqué. I first made my background panel from a woodgrain fabric I had from my Lush Uptown bundle. I cut it 11 1/2″ x 18 1/2″, cut the corners rounded using tape as a template and a small rotary cutter and stuck the appliqué down with glue with a bit of toy stuffing underneath to give it a raised, trapunto effect. I also folded the ends over on a gold coloured fabric, using the reverse to mute the print, and stitched Billy on the top with monofilament and a tiny stitch.

I’m really looking forward to making a bag for the next challenge, so to help make that a reality (your votes are 50%, the judges are the other half)…

Please go and vote here!



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Here’s the tutorial on adding a sound box to a quilt…

A finished quilt to add sound to
A recordable sound chip
A push button switch (this and the above were purchased from Talking Products)
5″ square of fabric
Temporary fabric marker
A sewing machine capable of zig-zag stitch
Small sharp scissors
Needle and thread for hand stitching

My quilt has corner triangles on the reverse so that a dowel can be used to hang the quilt. If you’re doing the same, I highly recommend adding these as you stitch the binding to the back so you can make use of the same stitching for a quick and tidy finish.

DSCF75831) I decided on the placement of the button first, and drew around the button for the incision.

2) On my particular chip, you can have it push button activated or it has a greetings card style slide switch. Record the message (or play a bit of music into it as I did) using the microphone attached to the chip – I purchased the Al Green song, Take me to the River on iTunes for this purpose and played a section of it into the chip from my phone.

DSCF7585DSCF7586 DSCF75873) With small sharp scissors, cut out the centre of the circle drawn through all the layers, sew all the way around the edge using a satin stitch or a zig-zag with the width set very short.

DSCF75894) Unplug the standard button from the chip. Feed the wire for the push button switch through the hole from the front to the back and secure with the washer and nut.

DSCF75915) Now make a pocket for the chip so it can be removed for washing if necessary. Fold one edge of the 5″ square over onto the back by about 1/8″ to 1/4″. Fold over again to hide the raw edge. Press and top stitch along the edge.

DSCF75926) The seam becomes the top of the pocket. Snip the two bottom corners off, no further than 1/4″ in. Fold the sides in 1/4″ and press, followed by the bottom.

DSCF75937) The pocket now needs to be hand sewn onto the back of the quilt along the three unsewn edges. Position the pocket and pin into place. Sew around the edges using the same stitch as you would for hand stitching the binding down- only sewing through the backing fabric.

DSCF75968) Connect the new button in the same location on the circuitboard as the original button. The chip can now be safely nestled inside the pocket, press the button and make sure it works! If you need to wash the quilt, make sure you unplug the button and take out all electrics.


P.S. My next post will be my 900th! I’ll be doing a nice fabric giveaway of an FQ bundle in my next post so make sure you bookmark or follow this blog if you are new so you don’t miss out!

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