Making a Ghost Party Quilt 

Would you believe I had no intention of making a Ghost Party quilt?

A colourful ghost quilt hangs by one corner in front of a white cabinet.

Yes, I had seen all of the many adorable versions that were being made during the sewalong (during fall 2023), but I resisted. I told myself: “Shelly, you already have several quilts cut out to bring with you to Retreat. You do NOT need another project right now!”

I was very proud of myself when I stuck with my guns and resisted the urge to jump on the ghosty bandwagon. 

The best laid plans…

Everything was going according to plan… I travelled to Retreat and started working on my Log Cabin Stars quilt the first night I arrived. Well done, Shelly!

The only problem? Abby was sitting across from me, and she was making a Ghost Party quilt. Her blocks were turning out SO ADORABLE that I could feel my resolve fading. 

Plus, when I went to trim my many flying geese units, I realized that I had left my trusty Bloc Loc Flying Geese trimming tool at home. Several people at Retreat had other FG trimming rulers, and I tried them all but none felt right to me. I did NOT want to trim a giant pile of flying geese with a tool I didn’t like, so I quickly abandoned my Log Cabin Stars quilt (telling myself I’d work on it when I returned home). 

It felt like the universe was urging me to give in to my quilty desires and make the dang Ghost Party quilt. 

Okay, I give in!

The next day, we took a group shopping trip to Stitch Supply Co and I decided to jump in. It was super easy to gather all the fabric I’d need to make the project. It also helped that several other retreaters decided to jump on the band wagon as well. In total, there were four people making Ghost Party quilts. Fun!

Two stacks of fabric: one low volume and one bright and colourful sit on a desk with an iPad displaying the Ghost Party quilt pattern.

I picked out a stack of super bright, fun, happy fabrics and paired them with some pretty subdued low volume options. These aren’t my normal jam, but I also don’t normally make Halloween quilts, so it felt like a good fit. 

Piecing errors

I’m usually pretty strict with my piecing and am not afraid to use a seam ripper to correct a mistake. But with this quilt, I made lots of piecing errors and decided to leave them be. 

I was having way too much fun at Retreat to bother undoing any sewing. When a ghost ended up with his eyes at the top of his head, or a square got turned the wrong way, I leaned into it and opted to call them “unintentional customizations”. Cute, right? 

Shelly holds a ghost block where the eyes are too close to the top of its head and mimics the ghost's expression by making a funny face.

The quilt has a bit more personality this way, and I’m happy to see the funny outcome because it will remind me of the great time I had sewing with my friends (and wine). 

Making a super flat quilt top

There are several communal pressing stations at our retreat center, and I noticed that they all had Reliable irons set up. Yessss! I own and love my Reliable Velocity 230 IR (no longer in production), but I was happy to see that one pressing station had the Reliable Velocity 270 IR set up, and another one had the Maven set up. It was fun to try both of them and see which one I enjoyed more (I liked them both for different reasons).

A colourful ghost quilt top is laying on the ground, and is slightly bunched up.

No matter which iron I used, my blocks for this quilt ended up super flat. As a longarm quilter, I love a flat quilt (because flat quit tops give better results). It’s a pet peeve of mine to use any iron that doesn’t *do* anything, so I was really happy to see that I’d be leaving with a flat quilt top.

If you don’t already own a Reliable iron, may I suggest putting one on your holiday wish list??

Where to get your own Reliable iron

Because I know I’ll get asked if I don’t provide the info, here are some links to the Reliable products we used (and raved about) at Retreat:

Reliable Velocity 270 IR:

USA Links: Home Depot, Wayfair, Amazon

Canada Link: Amazon

Reliable Maven 125IS 1L Home Ironing Station:

USA Links: Home Depot, Wayfair, Amazon

Canada Link: Amazon

Shelly holds a colourful ghost quilt top under a canopy of leaves in bright fall colours.

Taking a group photo

Since all four of us finished our quilt tops at Retreat, we thought it would be a great idea to get a photo of all of them together. 

We went on a little nature hike and snapped a few shots with this gorgeous scenery behind us. This feels like such a special photo to me, I’m so glad it exists!

Four women hold up colourful ghost quilt tops in front of a forest of trees in brilliant fall colours.

From left to right: Emily, Abby, Kait, me

Quilting my Ghost Party quilt

When I returned home from Retreat, I realized that I didn’t have any backing or binding fabric for my project. No problem - I made a quick trip to Fabriculous in Brandon, MB and picked up some 80” wide black Fireside, plus a fun print from the Sweet N’ Spookier line for my binding.

A colourful ghost quilt is loaded on a longarm machine.

I wasted no time and loaded the quilt sandwich onto my longarm. It took me a minute to decide which panto to use, but I settled on Spooky Swirls (by Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting). Given that the fabrics were so bright, I chose a neon yellow thread (Glide Citron). I love the way they look together! 

A closeup of neon yellow ghost stitching on colourful quilt squares.
A colourful ghost quilt lays on the ground and a woman's suede slippers are on top.
A colourful ghost quilt lays on the ground, and the top is flipped over to reveal a fuzzy black backing fabric.

Big stitch binding for speed!

I really wanted to be able to share a picture of my finished quilt by Halloween, which meant I had to hustle to get it trimmed and bound in time. While machine binding can be a fast option, I wanted the handmade look of Big Stitch binding. 

One corner of the colourful ghost quilt is flipped over to reveal the orange binding fabric and purple thread used to create Big Stitches.

I’ve used this technique on most of my recent quilts (including my: Bonus HST quilt, Moonglow Happy Stripes, Rainbow Adventureland, Perfect Picnic quilt, and my Scrap Stash Plus quilt), and it really is FAST. 

A colourful ghost quilt lays on the ground, with two corners flipped up to reveal the binding and backing. A woman's slippers are seen at the edge of the frame.
One corner of the colourful ghost quilt shows the fuzzy black backing fabric, and the finished front of one bound corner.

After only a few episodes of TV, I had my quilt finished and ready for its photo shoot!

When October feels like Winter

Did I mention that I had travelled to Quilt Market in Houston after my retreat in Wisconsin? The weather in Texas was gloriously hot and humid, but it made it all the more shocking to come home to Manitoba and find snow on the ground and a howling wind. 

Shelly holds her finished colourful ghost quilt while wearing a winter jacket and a beanie, and standing on the porch of a white wooden building.

Not to be deterred, Ian helped me choose a location for the photo shoot, and froze his fingers off as we got the shot. I’m not sure if you can see my teeth chattering in this picture, but I can assure you that it was not a warm day!! 

I’m so glad that I caved to quilty FOMO and made this fabulous quilt! It’s kooky and sweet and will be the perfect fall quilt for many years to come!

Have you made a Ghost Party quilt? Let me know in the comments below!

A colourful ghost quilt is folded over itself twice.

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  1. Yes, I made a Ghost Party quilt for my 3 year old Htandson who loves Ghosts. It was super fun! Just wish I could have gotten it long armed quilted by you. That panto is perfect!!

    Just curious, do you use steam or water spray when ironing your seams? I’m definitely looking into your recommended iron. Mine isn’t doing it for me.

    1. Hi Dawn, I’ll bet your grandson was PUMPED with his Ghost Party quilt!
      When it comes to pressing, I’m a big fan of steam. The Reliable hand-held irons have a special vapour generation system which means that they produce the steam *BEFORE* it hits the soleplate. Apparently this makes a huge difference (all I know is that the steam that comes out of my Reliable iron is unbelievable, and that it produces super flat blocks). Hope that helps!

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