Piecing Makeover by Patty Murphy: A Review

Piecing Makeover by Patty Murphy is the book I needed but didn’t know I did. I ran into Patty at Quilt Market in 2017 in the Convention Centre’s cafeteria – I think we bonded over the taco bowl salad – and we got talking about who we were and what we were doing and Patty was there promoting her book Piecing Makeover. She was really excited about it and we talked briefly about what it was, etc. but in the throng of all the new people and conversations I completely spaced on following it up when I got home. Luckily for me (and my piecing) Patty tracked me down and asked me if I would like to have a look at her book and review it on my blog. Never one to say no to a fellow C&T Publishing author I agreed.

I’m ashamed to say that I really expected this book to be another project based quilting book; light on the useful information and heavy on the patterns. But it’s not! It’s a book all about improving your piecing and patchwork skills. In fact, there’s no complete pattern in the book at all. Patty uses a variety of traditional patchwork blocks as the basis for delivering her wisdom and I love it. Every block in the book is a teachable lesson in improving your skills, from the very basics to the complex.

Having been primarily self-taught this book covered things that I took for granted that I just inherently knew about patchwork (like cutting fabrics!) and showed me a better way to do things. I was even a little thrilled to see some of the things that I’d taught myself and thought unique to my style of working covered in Piecing Makeover. (I love it when I can bond with an author over a shared way of doing things while reading their book.) Patty has even covered the things I fear most: curves.

I picked this book up and flicked around it looking with excitement at all the information and helpful photos and knew immediately that I’d need more time with this book. I can see myself using it as a reference tool while I work, just keeping it tucked into the primary position on my workspace so I can grab it as I need it. Dare I even say it, but this is the perfect book to accompany Fussy Cutters Club. Let Patty teach you the foundations while I teach you how to apply fussy cutting to those skills.

Now I know that with a book review you’re supposed to rave about a book, but that’s not my style. If it’s crap, I’m either going to write back and let the author know that I don’t think it suits my community or I’ll write a balanced review pointing out the good with the bad. Here’s my review of this book in a nutshell: I bought a copy. When I’m provided with books for review it’s always eBooks – rarely does a publisher provide a hard copy. Now I love a good eBook for the convenience but my heart lies with the hard copy. I love to be able to pick it up and hold the words in my hands while I read. I love to be able to flip between the pages and not have to worry about the screen locking while I’m off working on something else. I love books.

In the years that I’ve been writing in this space I’ve only ever bought a copy of the book I’ve reviewed once. I’ve now added Piecing Makeover to that short list. I learned so much from this book in the first couple of chapters that I knew I had to have a copy. I even added the eBook to my in-flight reading list for my trip to Quilt Market because I wanted to spend more time with it so I could let the lessons sink in. For those of you that are participating in the Tula Pink Butterfly Quilt Sew-along you’ll know that I’m yet to tackle the curved blocks in the quilt. Curves freak me out somewhat irrationally, but they do. Curves and equilateral triangles are my quilty nemesis. But not now, I’m seriously going to come home from Market and conquer these blocks with the help of Patty Murphy’s Piecing Makeover.

Win a Copy of Piecing Makeover by Patty Murphy

Because I love you all and I think that no quilter should be without a copy of Piecing Makeover by Patty Murphy I’m giving you a chance to win a copy. Simply leave a comment on this post telling me what your quilty nemesis is and you could win a copy (a bonus way to enter can also be found on my Instagram account by clicking here – look for the book cover in amongst all the Quilt Market photos). Competition is open internationally. US Residents will receive a hard copy while international peeps (like me here in Australia) will receive an eBook. Competition closes 11:59pm 4 November. Winner announced in the 6 November Gnome Gnews (click here to subscribe).

Buy a Copy of Piecing Makeover by Pattern Murphy

If you can’t wait to find out if you’ve won a copy you can purchase your very own copy at the following places by clicking on their links: Amazon | Etsy

Disclosure: C&T Publishing provided an electronic copy (eBook) of Piecing Makeover to All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by the businesses involved. For further information about my disclosure policy please click here. This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!

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  1. My nemesis is Flying Geese. I can never get them to be accurate. I’ve tried specialty rulers, different formulas, Howe they just don’t work for me. Patty’s book would definitely be a worthy partner to the Fussy Cutters Book. Thanks for opportunity to enter Angie

  2. My nemesis is y seams. I just refuse to mark them, and I hate not being able to chain piece! I need to try again because I think my new piecing foot could hold the answers….

  3. I regularly have trouble with points not matching up or getting cut off when I sew seams together. I have learned to just live with it in order to get things finished, but would love to improve my accuracy for better finished quilts. Thanks so much for your unbiased review of this book–I will be putting it on my wish list!

  4. My nemesis is time! There is never enough, lol. But for quilty things, it is equilateral triangles also, and until recently curves. I made a 24 inch New York Beauty mini quilt, let me tell you that knocked the scared out of curves. haha. I would recommend you practicing with some practices pieces first so there isn’t any pressure about ruining something you’ve worked hard on. It really helps to work out the kinks. I actually don’t mind curves now (I use lots of pins).

  5. My nemesis is working without getting every bit of fabrics being considered back into their cubby holes! Cluttering that small to begin with area I call my sewing room. That being said, the work techniques I avoid – even though I have done them successfully once – hand applique and curved piecing! Thanks for the opp to win the book. doni @ Oregon coast

  6. Cutting/ piecing seems to be my nemesis lately, 8 out of 10 pieces are fine and then BAM nothing meets?? all cut at the same time with the same ruler but some pieces just don’t want to play nice so I’m thinking I need a re-do of my cutting and piecing skills even though I’ve been quilting for over 20 years, so this book would be perfect. Thanks for the chance to win it Angie.

  7. I haven’t made a quilt or block with curves and even decided against doing a quilt along when I realised there were curves in the quilt.

  8. Cutting the fabric accurately. Sewing a scant 1/4″ seam accurately. Matching points accurately. Notice a theme here?

  9. I’d have to say long seams are my worst nightmare! Short seams I can keep straight, but a long seam might as well be a drunkards path.

  10. As a beginner I am always looking for books that are easy to navigate and answer the question I haves.

  11. My nemesis is accurate cutting. I get wonky blocks and have to make less than 1/4″ seams as a result. I could use all the help I can get, and this book sounds like it would help a lot!

  12. I’m with you on the curved piecing. I’ll use iron-on interfacing and flip the curved piece when possible – like drunkard path.

  13. Most every doggone seam allowance either sucks in its gut and misses the mark or bulges out! Would love to have hold of this informative book. thanks

  14. I too am mostly self-taught and I think this could help me solve some recurring issues. Thanks for the review!

  15. circles I hate them, quilting them just drives me crazy, no matter how much I practice with pen and paper it just doesn’t work

  16. I’m nervous about spiky triangles & epp. They both make my brain go foggy. Sounds like a great book to have on the shelf!

  17. Needle turn appliqué. I’m terrible at it, don’t enjoy it, and refuse to do it. Luckily, it’s an unnecessary technique 🙂

  18. Today, it seems my nemesis is me and forgetting details. But in general, getting really straight cuts (yes, with the ruler and rotary cutter) on longish pieces. I’m short, so are my arms and hands and I just struggle to keep that from wiggling around sometimes. If I don’t win, this will be on my Santa list for sure.

  19. I have problems when sewing the blocks together, something always shifts and there is a big hole.

  20. It seems that I can pin so very carefully with pinwheel blocks, but the centers never quite line up! Those pinwheel centers….

  21. My nemesis is Lone Star quilts. But I went to a retreat where we all worked on a mystery quilt. Guess what the pattern was? I have my star points all done, now just need to put it together and see if I did it right.

  22. Sashing. I’ve got several quilt tops almost completed, they just need the sashing. I don’t know why I avoid it, maybe it’s the endless pinning.

  23. HSTs and Flying Geese are a tie .. I feel like I cut so precisely and sew as well and still in danger of losing points when it is all sewn together, so if I don’t win it I will buy it and thanks for sharing!!

  24. The piecing book sounds like a must for everyone. We can all use tips for making our work better.

  25. so nice to finally learn the right/easy way to do all the things we “fudge” through. Curved piecing is also my nemesis.

  26. I’m still a newbie and everything feels like my nemesis! I just did flying geese yesterday- yikes