The Skateboard Quilt Tutorial with guest Rob Appell

The Skateboard Quilt: Easy Quilt Tutorial with Jenny Doan of MSQC and Man Sewing’s Rob Appell. Missouri Star Quilt Co’s Jenny teams up with Rob Appell of Man Sewing to show us how to make a cool skateboard quilt using precut fabric.

Get all the info here (and scroll down to see Rob’s skateboard applique project):

Video Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

Jenny: Hi, it’s Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company and I’m here today with Rob Appell from Man Sewing. Hi, Rob.

Rob: Hi, Jenny. Thanks for having me out.

Jenny: Oh gosh, it’s so fun to have you here.

Rob: Oh, I’m super excited for both Man Sewing and being here in your studio in Hamilton. This is just an exciting week for me.

Jenny: Oh, gosh, it’s so much fun. Now most of you guys know that I have a lot of grandchildren. I actually have 21 and half of those are boys. Actually the boys are the 21.

Rob: Nice.

Jenny: They pulled together by one. The boys are ahead. And it’s hard to come up with projects for boys.

Rob: Oh, incredibly, isn’t it?

Jenny: You know. And so I thought it would be fun to design a skateboard quilt. So, Rob and I collaborated and we came up with this awesome project that you see behind us. So, let’s take a look at this quilt. So, this is a fun quilt. We’ve designed a skateboard block for you. I love the colors. What do you think Rob?

Rob: Well, first, my son was watching me, he’s eleven, and he was watching me put it together and he loved both the shape of the skateboard coming together and the piecing, which is kind of hard to think it’s going to happen, but he also loved the colors you chose, you know, and putting it together. So, energy and piecing all come together in this one.

Jenny: Absolutely! I think so too. And one of the fun things about this is, because we’ve used a pre-cut, I don’t actually have to stack forty bolts on the counter; I just actually get to pick up one of these. So, the fabric we’ve used for this project is Malka Dubrausky’s Poems for Pebbles by Moda and, I mean, I think it really lends itself to this kind of a project.

Rob: Absolutely.

Jenny: One of the cool things about this is that the block size we are going to use is half of this. So you, actually, with one layer cake, are going to get two quilts this size.

Rob: Is that enough quilts for 21 grandchildren?

Jenny:  Uh, no. But it’s enough for two. *laughter*

Rob: There you go.

Jenny: Enough for two and that’s all we need.

Rob: I like it.

Jenny: You know, some ages of boys won’t — aren’t going to love this. But, some ages are going to love this, so it works out great.

Rob: Absolutely. And, let’s not forget, there are ladies that skateboard, too.

Jenny: Oh that is… Oh, good point, good point. Now, I only did that once…

Rob: Right?

Jenny: Skateboard… Yeah.

Rob: Well, you know, my problem with skateboarding is, I love the sport, but I don’t like the… we’ll call it “the falling”…

Jenny: the falling, yes.

Rob: …or the dismount.

Jenny: You know, once you get to a certain age, you don’t want to fall anymore.

Rob: That’s right. It takes up too much of your quilting time.

Jenny:  That’s exactly right. Alright, so let’s talk about what we are going to need for this quilt.

Rob: Yes, show me how you did this.

Jenny: So, to make this quilt, what you are going to need is one packet of 42 ten inch squares. You are going to need about 3 ¼ yards of white, of the background fabric here, and you are going to need about ¼ yard of black for the wheels.

Rob:  Right.

Jenny: So it’s really manageable. And that’s going to make one quilt. Plus, you’re going to have a whole other half of these ready for a secondary quilt.

Rob: Love it!

Jenny: So let’s, let me show you how we did this.

Rob: Am I in your way here or are you good?

Jenny: Oh, no, no, I’m good. So, first, we are going to take a 10 inch square (one of our layer cake squares, right here) and we are going to cut it right in half. And, so, I’m going to lay this on the five inch line, right here, and cut this in half, and then we’ll have a 5×10 inch rectangle. We’ll have two of them. One I’m going to set over here in a stack to use later, the other stack is– are going to be my skateboard blocks.

Jenny: So, we decided to make the skateboard a block…

Rob: Right.

Jenny: …unit so it would be easier for you. The first thing we are going to do with this unit is we are going to snowball the corners on this block.

Rob: Hey, right.

Jenny: So, how we are going to do that… what I actually wanted to show… when you have 42 blocks and you use a square on each corner, very quickly that amount adds up, and so all the sudden we have– we need a hundred and sixty-eight inch and half squares, which can be a little daunting.

Rob: Yes.

Jenny: So, I want to actually show how I do that because it just makes it so much easier. So, this is my yardage here and I have actually folded that in half. I do that for me because it’s more manageable.

Rob: Right.

Jenny: And I just, it just makes it easier. And so then I’m going to cut some inch and a half strips off of this. I always like to start with… where I’m evening up the edge of my fabric just to make sure I have a nice clean edge. And then I’m going to cut some inch and a half strips. So, let me just do that here. And we just got… I’ll just give you a few. You can do this with as many as you want. And, let me do one more.

Rob: Okay. I think she’s addicted to the cutting already.

Jenny:  I love, I don’t mind cutting.

Rob: She can’t stop.

Jenny: Alright, so now I have this little row, right here, of all these strips, and you can see they are individuals. And what I’m going to do is, I’m going to turn these right around, like this.

Rob: Nice.

Jenny: And I’m going to line them up on the lines on my mat so they stay fairly safe. I mean, fairly straight. And I’m going to leave them folded. And then I’m just going to make sure these are straight on here. And then what I’m going to do is, I’m just going to lay my ruler on here and I’m going to cut off the selvedges and the fold off this end.

Rob: So, you are cleaning up those edges.

Jenny: Yes.

Rob: Got it.

Jenny: And, you know, just push those off.

Rob: Yes.

Jenny:  And then what I’m going to do is, I’m just going to move my ruler over an inch and a quarter, I mean, yes– an inch and a half, inch and a half, inch and a half.

Rob:  So, you are making squares.

Jenny: Yes. Inch and a half, inch and a half. I don’t want to say an inch and a quarter because I’ll throw you off, so inch and a half. So, we are making squares.

Rob: Right.

Jenny: Inch and a half strips, inch and a half blocks. So then what we are going to do is, we are just going to go ahead and cut these and just scoot… leave our strips the same, scoot our ruler over, and so every time we make a cut, we get, you know, however many strips we have stacked…

Rob: I’m going to throw out the word, “dozens”.

Jenny: Yes. Dozens.

Rob: Dozens.

Jenny: Dozens. So we just go ahead and cut those and very quickly you are going to get all the squares you need and you haven’t had to work super hard. So, we are going to take four of these now and we are going to press them diagonally, like this, so it gives us a sew line.

Rob: Ok. You want me to do that for you?

Jenny: So, sure, absolutely. So…

Rob: I’m not going to get your fingers, though.

Jenny: So, let’s do that to four of these.

Rob: Ok. Uno.

Jenny: Oh, we are even bilinguist.

Rob: That’s right. Two.

Jenny: Two. The bilingual left at “uno”, I guess.

Rob: That’s right.

Jenny: Alright.

Rob: Tres and four. That’s a pretty one, too. That one’s really going to be fun for you.

Jenny: Ok. So what we’ve done now by ironing these diagonally is it gives us a sew line and so what we are going to do is, we are going to put a square on all four corners and just snowball them. So, I’m going to go to the sewing machine and do that, take my squares with me, and I just like to start at one side and I’m going to go corner to corner. So, here we go. And then I just kind of lift it up and give it a pull and I don’t trim them until I’m all done.

Rob: That’s nice and efficient that way.

Jenny:  You know, it just makes it easier. And then I’m just going to sew corner to corner on all of these.

Rob: Are you worrying about starts and stop knots, or anything like that?

Jenny: No.

Rob: Or when you put in your next row of strips, that is going to lock them all in together?

Jenny: No. I’ve always been under the, you know, when you are a… I was a clothing sewer first. So, when you sew clothing you do worry about the starts and the stops and all that kind of stuff.

Rob: Sure.

Jenny: But with quilting, every seam is enclosed in another seam.

Rob: I totally agree.

Jenny: So, I just, you know, I like to live a little dangerously, you know. So I just don’t do the start and stops knots.

Rob: Got to leave a little something to chance.

Jenny: Don’t do the starts and stops anymore. Alright, so now we have this little block and we’ve got… let me cut these threads here. There we go. And so then, now what we are going to do with our snowball block is, I’m just going to lay the ruler, come out about a quarter of an inch from my stitch line, and I’m going to trim those on all four sides. So, there we go. And two more over here. It doesn’t have to be exact. It just, we want to trim out that bulk. And then what I want you to do, Rob, is, I want you to go ahead and iron those back.

Rob: Okay. You got it.

Jenny: Alright.

Rob: Thank you.

Jenny: So that’s our block for the actual board. That’s how we make the actual board. Now we have to make the wheel set. Awesome. So, now, this is our, our full board. This is the block that is the board in the middle part.

Rob: We refer to that as the deck actually.

Jenny: The deck. The deck. This is the deck. So, the deck is done. We’ve snowballed the corners and the deck is done.

Rob: But it’s not going to roll that way.

Jenny: No, it’s not going to go very far.

Rob: So, for the wheel set when I first made my sample block, I always like to make a sample to kind of practice a little bit…

Jenny: Right.

Rob: …I did it in parts and pieces.

Jenny: Yes.

Rob: But it wasn’t as accurate.

Jenny: A lot of little pieces.

Rob: And we have got a lot of complete boards to put together.

Jenny: A lot of pieces.

Rob: And so, with the strips, we are going to strip piece these for the wheel sets.

Jenny: Oh, that’s a great idea. So…

Rob: So we started here with a 4 inch strip.

Jenny: Okay, so that’s our middle piece, right here, between the wheels.

Rob: Perfect.

Jenny: There we go.

Rob: Okay, and then we actually have two of the 2 1/2. So, I am just going to lay these out for you.

Jenny: A 4 and two 2 1/2.

Rob: Yes, and then…

Jenny: And those make the wheels. The black makes the wheels, right there.

Rob: Right. And then we are going to sandwich this in with a 1 and ½ inch strip, out here, and my quick tip is when, I love sewing with solids.

Jenny: Uh-huh.

Rob: But, when sewing with solids, every now and then I get a seam allowance that’s in the wrong direction…

Jenny: Right.

Rob: …because you don’t have a print to work with, to keep yourself…

Jenny: Sure.

Rob:  …right sides together. So, I will actually stack them up in my lap and just piece as I go.

Jenny: Oh, okay.

Rob: So it’s all done before I come back and press.

Jenny: Oh, okay, that makes sense, that makes sense.

Rob: So that’s just one of the ways I like to do it.

Jenny: So, what we are going to do is, we are, we just actually sew these together a ¼ of an inch. Correct?

Rob: Correct. Yes, and then once they are all stitched together… I think we have a sample of that. Don’t we?

Jenny: We do. We sure do.

Rob: Okay, let me get this out of your way.

Jenny: So I, we sewed together these, this strip set, right here, and this is going to be our wheel set. And you can see, here, that not all strip sets are created equal.

Rob: I don’t even want to know why that is.

Jenny: I don’t either. I don’t even know why that is either. But, this makes our strip set. So, when we cut these, that’s going to give us the whole wheel set on the block, correct?

Rob: Absolutely.

Jenny: Ah, love it! So that’s way faster than doing all these tiny little pieces.

Rob: Right, right. And this is what it looks like, here, when it’s all sliced.

Jenny: …a lot more accurately.

Rob: Yes.

Jenny: Yes. So can I cut this, right here?

Rob: Yes, do it up.

Jenny: Alright, so I’m just going to even this up. This is going to give us an even starting spot, right here, and I just want to show, you know, how easy this is to get this whole set because this is a great way if you need a lot of little pieces on the side.

Rob: Uh-huh.

Jenny: Just, you know, make it even and sew them together and you get these little pieces, like this, that actually fit perfectly along the side of your deck.

Rob: Very well said. I like that.

Jenny: Whoo! And then we are just going to stitch those on. So, so that was a great idea with the wheels.

Rob: Oh, that was so efficient and time saving. I was going to go nuts trying it one little… putting on one wheel at a time.

Jenny: And when you read a pattern, honestly, it’s horrible to see that you need 8,765, you know, of anything.

Rob: Exactly.

Jenny: And so when you can say, you know… the strip sets, really, for this whole thing you just need two strip sets.

Rob: Right.

Jenny: Because you are going to get 27 of these out of each strip set.

Rob: Right. And we need two for each board.

Jenny: Yes.

Rob: Fabulous. Okay, next.

Jenny: Alright. So, now we just have to sew them on. That makes our block. Right?

Rob: Pretty much easy. Yes?

Jenny: Okay. So what I’m going to do now is, I’m going to take one of each of these and I’m going to go to the sewing machine, and I’m going to sew them on. Put them like this: right sides together.

Rob: Uh-huh.

Jenny: And we are just going to sew them down. And I, it’s just, it’s really fun because it goes together really quickly. Alright, here we go. And then, I’m just going to, I’m putting my wheel set on top so that I can have a little better control because it’s a small piece.

Rob: Meaning you like the bulk of your fabric from the deck on the bottom against your feed dogs?

Jenny: I do.

Rob: Yes.

Jenny: Unless I’m sewing on borders or sashing.

Rob: Right. Well, I’m a bit of a sewing machine snob when it comes to something like this…

Jenny: Here, let me have another one of those.

Rob: Yes. Here you go.

Jenny: We can’t only, we can’t have just wheels on one side.

Rob: No, no. They certainly don’t roll that way.

Jenny: They don’t. Alright, here we go. One more side. Anyway, you were saying?

Rob: Well, I was saying I’m a bit of a sewing, sewing machine snob, and I utilize the parts and pieces of machine to my advantage and I would have done the exact same thing. I like that a lot. But, I want to know if the construction of the skateboard block was easier or more difficult than the construction of the half-pipe on your front porch when you first moved to Missouri that I heard about. Apparently, some of those boys in your family like to skateboard as well.

Jenny: Oh, they did. They loved to skateboard. When we moved in from the farm they didn’t know what they were going to do, so they built a half-pipe. And we had this beautiful Victorian house with a wrap-around porch and we put a half-pipe at the end of it and the boys would skate around that side, go up that half-pipe, and, at one point, the town doctor came by and he looks at me and he says, “I can’t believe you let those ragamuffin children put a half-pipe on your beautiful Victorian porch.”

Rob: Yes, but didn’t he put like a stack of brochures and some pre-op forms to fill out for job security?

Jenny: No. No, he actually didn’t. He was like, “You’ve made this house so beautiful and you’ve put a half-pipe on it.” And you know what I told him was that my husband and I were going to sit alone on that porch for probably 40 years…

Rob: That’s right.

Jenny: And we only had these boys for a couple more. And if they wanted to skateboard on that porch…

Rob: That’s right.

Jenny: …it was okay with me.

Rob: I love it. Do you want me to press that for you?

Jenny: Yes, could you press that out?

Rob: You got it.

Jenny: Now on the, when we pressed on the strip set, what I kind of did back here was, I pressed toward the darks. So that, you know, if you have a light fabric, you know your white, it would, it really wouldn’t show. And then they kind of laid together nicely. And then on this one we just pressed them out.

Rob: Yes.

Jenny: And there is our completed skateboard.

Rob: Correct.

Jenny: How come you don’t call it a skatedeck then?

Rob:  Well, the deck is a part.

Jenny: Alright.

Rob: The board is the entire tool, vehicle, whatever you want to call it.

Jenny: Alright. So, here is our skateboard block. So, you are going to do that to all 42 of your pieces. You’re going to snowball them. You are going to attach the wheels.

Rob: Okay.

Jenny: And then we are ready to assemble the quilt.

Rob: Right.

Jenny: So, what I like to do, again, because I have, because I have… I like the mentality of chain piecing.

Rob: Yes.

Jenny: I am like an assembly line sewer.

Rob: Yes. Henry Ford would be proud of you.

Jenny: I do, I do all my, I do all my blocks… I snowball all my blocks, I put all the wheels, I do all the wheels. You know, I do everything one at a time.

Rob: Right.

Jenny: Once I’ve finished one block…

Rob: Right.

Jenny: And so, the sashing is the same for me. So, what I’m going to do is, my sashings are all 2 and ½ inches.

Rob: Correct.

Jenny: So I’m going to cut a 2 and ½ inch strip, here.

Rob: You know, so all of this is really precut friendly, even with the strips you are doing.

Jenny: Totally precut friendly.

Rob: I love it.

Jenny: And so now I have this 2 and ½ in strip and what I’m going to do is, I’m going to lay my, my board on here and I’m going to sew down and I’m going to add another board and add another board and add another board. Okay, so I’ve sewn these boards onto the 2 and ½ inch strip…

Rob: Right.

Jenny: …and we’ve cut them apart.

Rob: Beautiful.

Jenny: So now what we have is the board with the flap and we are just going to lay those side by side and as we sew those together, that gives us our long rows.

Rob: Very nice.

Jenny: So, right here we have seven in a row, up here, on the top…

Rob: Right.

Jenny: …and they are all sashed and the sashing is at the end.

Rob: Right there. And then we came back in with another 2 and ½ inch strip, here, and we sashed out between the rows. And then, on the end, over here, where the flap wasn’t, we did the exact same thing.

Jenny: That’s exactly right. And it just makes a beautiful little project. Beautiful little project.

Rob: Yes. Quick and easy, too.

Jenny: Rob, it’s been so great having you.

Rob: Ah, thank you very much.

Jenny: You know, I’ve heard you are a bit of a show off.

Rob: Well, that’s true. And so, I brought a little something to show.

Jenny: Awesome.

Rob: I got inspired while making the…

Jenny: Oh my gosh!!

Rob: …all our skateboard blocks, but I’m an applique dude.

Jenny: Those are so cute.

Rob: Thank you. So I made a couple little applique skateboards that I’ve brought.

Jenny: Cute. How cute is that?

Rob: Now, I made these three dimensional so you could see…

Jenny: Oh my gosh!

Rob: …both sides.

Jenny: You even appliqued the back!

Rob: I did, I did.

Jenny: That is so cool!

Rob: Thank you!

Jenny: And those wheels look familiar.

Rob: Well, these are the old kryptonic wheels that we grew up on.

Jenny: Oh, he grew up on. I didn’t.

Rob: That was the big burst into skateboarding. She skated; she just doesn’t want you to know.

Jenny: I had the key with the metal wheels, you know.

Rob: That’s right. That’s right. The 2×4… man up. There you go.

Jenny: There you go. Well, anyway, it’s been great. We hope you enjoy this tutorial on the Skateboard Quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.


Jenny: Hi, I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. And here at Missouri Star we are starting a new project called, “Man Sewing”. And Rob Appell… Rob, you’re the face of that thing. Tell us about it.

Rob: Oh, man, I am so excited to be doing this. And, you know, it’s funny. When we talk about the term, “Man Sewing”, none of us really know what it is. I guess I’m just a man doing some sewing.

Jenny: There you go.

Rob: But, I’m doing quilting, home décor, stuff for kids. I got a guitar strap I’m excited about and a lot of art quilts like those little applique skateboards I showed you when we did the skateboard block as well.

Jenny: Oh, that is awesome. So, be sure and roll on over and check it out. You are going to want to subscribe. You are not going to want to miss a single thing. So, check out Rob Appell with Man Sewing.


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  • Miriam

    I loved skateboard quilt tutorial.

    What meadures used in skateboard and the strips?
    If possible in cm

    Thanks a lot


  • alison

    you guys have sooo much fun doing what you do! I wish i could be there with you. Your enthusiasm is infectious. I hope that you never stop!!
    with all good wishes from Canada.

  • Stevan Silva

    Love this tutorial. I may try it using the Folded Corner Clipper ruler by Prairie Sky Quilting so I don’t have to draw the lines and sew.

  • Evita

    I’d like to know how wide is the strip for the wheels, It seemed to be 1.5″ but I’m not sure and you never said it either,Appreciate the response before I start cutting for 4 quilts. Thanks in advance.

  • Char Quiroz

    Here is my version of your skateboard quilt.