TBZ's Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt

Index of all of TBZ's Harry Potter Quilt blog posts

Update Jan 2016: Thanks for stopping by the Harry Potter Quilt Index of all posts. Each one of these blocks uses a variety of techniques from traditional applique to custom digitized machine embroidery. Some of my favorite pop culture things are mashed in various ways. This quilt took exactly one year from start to finish and there were days I thought I’d never see the end! I learned so much from this project and I’m sharing it with you. All of the embroidery files, line art, etc are available as free downloads. At the bottom of this post you can find the post for the block you’re interested in. Click it and download to your heart’s content! Let me know what you think! Email me at susandowenby@gmail.com or add me on FB/IG.



Before Quilting


OG Post, Jan 2015: Here’s a funny factoid – Despite all of the time I’m spending on this project, I’m not a huge Harry Fangirl. Yes, I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies. I know a thing or two about the lore and love to sneak a snot flavored jelly bean into the jar. In my brain I really want to be in the Slytherin house, but in my heart I know I’m Hufflepuff through and through. I kind of love Professor Snape and have a soft spot for both Hagrid and Voldemort. Despite all of those truths, I still consdier myself a casual fan and I would have never imaged myself picking up Harry Potter fan project of this size.

What’s so Special about this one then?

First, the folks here at home seem to be really excited about the idea of this quilt. No, really, they actually asked questions about it and seem to want to help make decisions! The idea of the people at home being supportive and excited kind of makes my day. Doesn’t happen often!

Second, the community around this quilt is quite large and they seem very excited too. Doing things that other people are doing and paying attention to is always fun. Besides, I’m totally checked in to seeing what ideas different perspectives will bring to the table. If 50 of us do this with the same instructions and patterns there will undoubtedly be 50 very unique finishes.

Update May 2015: Sadly, I’ve found the Harry Potter Project of Doom designer and community owner does not welcome custom blocks to be shared within the community. Her paper piecing patterns have been a great inspiration to me and I’ve virtually met some awesome women in the Project of Doom group and been infinity inspired and impressed with their work. Since I’ve absolutely gone my own way with my version of this quilt and I’m no longer welcome to participate because of it, you’ll not find me in the Project of Doom community groups. You can still find me on IG @theboredzombie, on Facebook, theboredzombie, or right here on my home base. Always feel free to email as well, susandowenby@gmail.com.

The most important reason to me to make this quilt is that it is a total playground quilt. There is tons of room to try all sorts of techniques, finishing, textile manipulation, embellishments, and I can finally start to dig deeper into my embroidery software. I don’t expect to have the “best” or “most interesting” finish – but I’d be willing to bet I’m near the top in learning experiences.

Original Patterns

If you’d like to see the original quilt or download the patterns find them all on Fandom In Stitches’ Project of Doom page.

About my Blocks and the fine print

As I make blocks, I will add them as blog posts. An aggregate of all of those posts appears right here on this page.  I’ll tell you what I learned from each block, show you how I created textures and items, and include any digital embroidery files that I created. Please note – I am not making patterns for this, rather sharing my creative process for making each block. You welcome to use the ideas, processes, and embroidery files an anyway you like for your personal quilts, bags, or clothing.

I love it when you link back to me!! Please do share my blog with your friends and family if you use the ideas, patterns, or embroidery files you find here. For the wordy version – see my creative commons licensing information.


All Post Related to this project

MyEmbroideryMachineAll about my embroidery machine and my software.

CauldronDigitizingMy design and digitizing process

HPSketchesSketching and Planning

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Table Basting and the Back of the Quilt

The Harry Potter Bookcase quilt stalled a bit for two reasons. The first was my schedule. I was all over the place for a lot of weeks and didn’t have the time to focus on it. The second, and biggest reason, was my indecision. I really wanted floating candles and flying keys. Those two items were the first two I planned before I made the first shelf. It didn’t seem to matter how I drew, designed, embroidered, or created the effects I never settled on anything I was happy with. At one point I decided that I was going to do something – anything – to move forward. I put the quilt on the wall with all of the various ideas and cut outs and stared. I stared so long that I eventually pulled out a chair. My roommate came home with me in the dark staring at the wall. Poor guy stood there while I had a full on melt down about why I was unhappy with every idea I had. He didn’t say a word until I was completely verklempt. He looked at me and said – why don’t you just hang actual candles and keys in front of the quilt. Whoa. Why don’t I??? Well. Once I was over my little tizzy, work started happening pretty fast! First, I sandwiched and basted my quilt using a table basting method. There are tons of tutorials out there with a google search “table baste quilt”. My biggest challenge was making it work with my table. I have a large table, but the top is wide so binder clips...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Week 30

Phew! I do love this Embroidered Hogwarts crest and now that I have it, I’m so thrilled I stuck it out and got it done. It was a beast y’all. Everything that could go wrong did! Check out this list of crazy… 1. It took FOR-EV-ER. There are so many details and sections of this it took a really long time to just create the embroidery objects. For the most part I knew what I was going to do, but there were a few places I hit logic problems and and re-adjust accordingly. I think digitizing time was somewhere around four hours. 2. I needed the crest to be 6 x 6.  Even though I spent two days trying to convince myself I should make it 5 x 5 so I could fit it in a single hooping. I knew I’d never be happy with 5 x5 so I went ahead and set it up for a split. Sadly – I misplaced one of the alignment lines on the first digitizing go which killed the placement for the second half. Sigh. Start over. 3. Because the color of this yellow fabric I had was so perfect, I used it despite it being a cheap-o big box craft store fat quarter. Look what the satin stitch did to it! Sigh. Start over – again. 4. I REVERSED my background colors and put green behind Hufflepuff and Yellow behind Slytherin. Fortunately I realized it before I made it to Ravenclaw, but still! sigh! Start over – again again! At this point I was pretty determined that it could and would be...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Mid-project celebration!

The inside is done! The inside is done! The inside is done! You can’t see it, but I’m so doing the happy dance! I’ve had a ball with these books. I’ve learned so much I can hardly stand it. I’ve loved coming up with the different ideas and sharing the experience with other people working on the similar quilts. At first I was sad when I made it to the last shelf. It was so final and the last place I could add or remove objects. It started to become apparent that somethings would have to go and other things wouldn’t make it. As I started working though that last shelf, I reached a bit of peace and found myself very ready to be finished.  Curious why? I was so here are some numbers: 7 months 62 sketch book pages of doodles and thoughts 926 files/folders related to embroidery patterns 750,000 (est.) machine embroidery stitches 115 (est.) fabrics used 160 (est.) fabrics purchased (oops!) 3 redesigned blocks 2 failures 11 best ideas ever  – cut for space constraints 13 + restricted section Mashups 2 large time consuming math errors (damn that seam allowance!) 2 temper tantrums This quilt did not start out to be so complex. As a matter of fact, I had intended it to be a “side project”. Side project – I lol at the thought now. I’d like to tell you that the inside being done makes the quilt close to done, but that is a lie. I still have the outside of the shelves, a few more embroidery files to digitize, and an ambitious final...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Week 28

The last set of book titles! Yay! Tom’s Diary and the basilisk fang are a single embroidery file. To use the book file: Heavily starch the book fabric. Hoop the background fabric with your favorite stabilizer. Sew the book guild line. Place the book fabric right side down and run the sewing stitch through both layers. Flip the fabric on the seam and press it: Finish sewing the file Cut away the book fabric roughly 1/8 – 3/8 of an inch from the stitch line exposing the background fabric. Fray the open edges. In this photo the fray is blue. I did tint it with a sharpie to make it an ink black finish. I had intended to paint on some texture and lines for the fang, but decided that maybe it just didn’t need it. If I had used that kind of detail in other parts of the quilt – maybe so. If you add texture or thread details to yours, I’d love to see it! Tales of Beedle the Bard and Broken Balls are fairly straight forward multi-hoop stitch outs using alignment lines. I really didn’t know how old Beedle was going to stitch out and was pleasantly surprised when it was fairly easy with no thread breaking or shredding. The Embroidery Files Want to make some of your own? Here are the files in .pes, .vp3, and .jef. They all stitched out nicely for me so I don’t think you’ll have any issues with them. Let me know if you do, I’ll try to help. 🙂 Want More? Check out the TBZ’s Harry Potter Quilt index....

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Week 27

This block has quite a story. I knew I wanted my sorting hat to actually have lots of texture with folds and deep shadows. So I cooked up this idea to actually fold fabric rather than try to replicate it with paint or other techniques. To make that work, I knew I’d have to have textile that could tolerate the rough treatment and hold its shape. I came across this giraffe textured felt in the craft store and thought I’d give it a try. I thought it worked out well, except the felt only comes in the same brown as the background. Sigh. I thought about dye or paint but finally settled on putting something behind it. The POD’rs are doing a sorting hat with Crookshanks behind it. I don’t love old Crookshanks, but I do love Mrs. Norris. Scrawny brown Mrs. Norris. Double Sigh. So Crookshanks it is. Since Scabbers is just to the left of Crookshanks, I decided to make him thinking about taking the rat out. Much to my surprise, it has become one of my favorite interactions on the quilt. Two weeks ago – I would have told you there was NO WAY I was putting Crookshanks on there! Good thing I always reserve the right to change my mind! The Sorting Hat To make the hat I: Sized and printed an image of the sorting hat. I believe the image is a sorting hat magnet. I like the shape and the way the translated the the folds into 2D. It seemed like to would translate well into my version. I traced the contour lines...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: The rest of week 26

And now for the rest of the block! Earlier this week I showed you Scabbers and the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean box. I still wanted Scabbers to sit a little higher. I added a box of chocolate frogs and a Honey Dukes box. If you’re a member of the project of doom facebook group, you should really check out the Chocolate Frog embroidery files in that group. They are fantastically detailed and have a great hexagon shape like the movie boxes. I would have totally used it if I had room for the shape of the box. Since I didn’t, I went with a simple, but effective idea. Maybe we’re looking at one side of the hexagon. The Honey Dukes box is a made up idea. I kind of image that if you went in and bought lots of sweets they would send you out with a box similar to any pastry shop. It seems like the box would have their logo on it and would feel like it was dripping with sweetness. I knew I wanted the stripes and I also knew there was little to no chance I was going to find the perfect stripes so I painted them on! It isn’t perfect, but I really like the wonky hand done effect. I think it adds a bit more to the sappy sweet look.   The Embroidery Files The embroidery files for the Chocolate Frogs and Honeydukes are downloadable in .pes, .vp3, and .jef here. Find Scabbers and Bertie Bott’s in this post. Want More? Check out the TBZ’s Harry Potter Quilt index. It is full...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Half of Week 26

It’s Scabbers!!! So – yesterday rained out all of my big holiday plans and I was able to participate in the #FridayNightSewAlong on Instagram. Since I’m typically otherwise engaged on Friday nights it was my first time giving it a try. I figured I might as well go all out and tackle a start to finish project. Here’s my progress though the night as seen on IG – I’m home for a #fridaynightsewalong that never happens. Anywho, I’m going to try to digitize stitch scabbers for the #harrypotter quilt. It is an aggressive goal… Wish me #machineembroidery luck! A photo posted by Susan Owenby (@theboredzombie) on Jul 3, 2015 at 3:50pm PDT Beans are ready. It is a bit of a crazy way to do this. So many small spaces and thread breaks. This will be awesome or a total disaster. Won’t know until it runs on the machine! #fridaynightsewalong A photo posted by Susan Owenby (@theboredzombie) on Jul 3, 2015 at 4:54pm PDT This is #machineembroidery madness. I’ll either have something surprising cool or a complete failure. Let’s hope the loudness of the embroidery machine can drown out the fireworks less than 1/2 mile from here. I will not hide in the closet. I will not hide in the closet. I will not hide in the closet. #raindancefail #fridaynightsewalong A photo posted by Susan Owenby (@theboredzombie) on Jul 3, 2015 at 5:56pm PDT Scabbers! #harrypotter #machineembroidery #fridaynightsewalong #dropsmic A photo posted by Susan Owenby (@theboredzombie) on Jul 3, 2015 at 8:06pm PDT Time Check! Instragramming this project had an added and interesting bonus, I basically clocked myself.  The...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Week 25

Getting started on the last shelf y’all! It is of course only a minor milestone. I suspect it makes me roughly 1/2 finished since there are still so many extra to add to the outside as well as flying around the inside. It’s ok though – I’ll just keep plugging away until it is done. I thought it would be fun to Sirius Black’s Azkaban prisoner plate from his wanted poster. When I started down the path for it, I way over did it and it was “real” looking which didn’t match the rest of the quilt. I stepped back a bit, stripped it down to the post important features and it fits the overall look much better. The embroidery files include the large numbers and Azkaban Prison text. The smaller numbers I painted on with textile paint. I just painted away until they didn’t fit anymore so if you’re a sticker for detail, you’ll notice a few are missing. Here are seam lines and measurements of each piece Dreadful Denizens of the Deep is my first try at creating a pixelated image with the embroidery machine. You may recognize this guy as a river zora from the 8-bit version of Legend of Zelda. This particular book has been quite the bane of my existence. You’re looking at my third attempt and in this one – I forgot a color change. Grrrrr! I’m letting it go though. All of the words are spelled right (I think!) and doesn’t look terrible and that is good enough for me. I really dig the Hogwarts, A History book. The bright yellow windows...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Week 24

This week’s block is a simple set of embroidered books. Saucy Tricks for Tricky Sorts is a big nod to my favorite tricky sorts – Penn and Teller. I was determined to use that green background, but it really doesn’t work with the red title. I didn’t make it white because I knew 12 Fail Safe Ways to Charm Witches was also white. For some reason, my brain wouldn’t let me do two white titles next to each other. Stupid brain. I should quilt listening to it! Magical Drafts and Potions was a silly and very simple idea, but I think it really works! It might be on of my favorites so far. The Embroidery Files Want the files? Here they are in .pes, .jef, and .vp3. These are fairly straight forward and I don’t even think there are too many mistakes in them! Yay for getting better at this digitizing skill! Want More? Check out the TBZ’s Harry Potter Quilt index. It is full of links including a link to the original project and patterns as well as links to any of TheBoredZombie.com’s related posts and other custom blocks complete with downloadable embroidery patterns or applique templates. You can also see more about my machine and software in this post and take a look at my design process in this post. Only one more shelf to...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Week 23

I’ve already written 2000+ words about this cauldron, so I’ll send you there for everything you wanted to know about it including a walk through of my design process. You can’t see it in photos I take straight on, but it does have pretty fun texture over the black applique.   There are a few other items in this block –  a pair of potions and the Half Blood Prince’s copy of the Advanced Potion Making. The Potion Bottles Here’s two potion ingredients, Flobberworm Mucus and Armadillo Bile. To begin with, I had the Flobberwormon the label with the mucus pouring out of the lid. He was just so – boring. I know, it is perfect if he is boring because that is a feature of the flobberworm. I just couldn’t live with it though so I moved the Flobberworm to the lid and put Earthworm Jim on the label. Earthworm Jim y’all. Makes me so happy. Every time I look at the Flobberworm Mucus bottle my brain says “Somebody blows their nose and you want to keep it?” I’m not going to say if I nodded to Ghostbusters on purpose or not, but I did. The fabric for the Armadillo Bile reminds me of the scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Charlie and his grandpa float to the ceiling so I added a few more floater bubbles in the bottle. The stitch out of these is pretty straight forward. They fit completely in a 5×7 frame. I did use misty fuse on my applique pieces because they were so large. The Embroidery Files Here’s all...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt Week 22

So, I was thinking. Let’s say for giggles that I’m a total muggle completely oblivious to all of the wizards around me. Maybe some of my other favorite pop culture stories are true too. And maybe some of the books that caused trouble in these worlds have found their way to Hogwarts. It seems like the only place to keep them is in the “restricted” section and the only person to guard them is Madame Pince. Before you let me have it, I know my Mme Pince doesn’t really look like JK’s. I have a tendency to associate book characters with people I know. I won’t tell you who I mentally modeled Madame Pince after, but this is kind of what she looks like in my mind. The Letters The letters are made from the super cheapo felt you buy in sheets near the feathers and other decorative do dads in big box craft sotres. I used Sulky’s Ultra Solvy as a stabilizer and stitched them out like mini appliques. I sewed them onto a chain with a hand stitch and little tiny skull beads between them. It isn’t immediately obvious in the picture, but the type of chain I’m using  (micro chain link) isn’t working so well. It crinks and the letters go all over the place. I’m planning on switching them to a different type of chain, I’m thinking one like a fan pull would be perfect if I can find a small lightweight one. Create the template Hoop the water soluble stabilizer stitch out the first set of guide lines. Create a template with tracing paper...

Harry Potter Bookcase: Block 21

OK – I’m going to ask you to just go with it….. I know… what the heck! I swear, these book mash ups are with really good reason and are going somewhere! I’m not quite ready to show you where yet, so I’m going to hope that you’ll hang in there with me.   I honestly love this block. I had tons of fun bringing in some of my favorite pop culture things. How many of them did you know? If you didn’t know the references here’s the break down – Necronomicon – this is a mash up mash up! I took my cues from HP Lovecraft, Evil Dead II, and Nightmare before Christmas. See it?? The Never Ending Story – This is one is pretty straight forward. There are two versions of this embroidery file. One textured one that looks nice, but doesn’t work at all with metallic threads. The second file has better flat fills for metallics, though it is still a bit challenging to stitch. To Serve Man – Remember that episode of Twilight Zone? One of my favorites of all time. I went back and forth on adding the translation on there, but decided at the end of the day it would be nice of me to help people with this one. Vampyr – This would be Buffy’s Slayer Manual. At first I was going to do the gold to try to make it look like hammered lettering. I got tired of fighting with it though and decided to go for more a snakes skin look. Theory and Practice of Demonology – heh, this one...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Block 20

Block 20 is an all book block. Since it sits right next to the Mandrake, I thought I would put some Herboloby books in there. Believe it or not – these books took FOREVER. I had some real troubles getting a few of them where I wanted them to be. In the end, I’m super happy with them and they are one of my favorite sets, even if they don’t stitch out perfectly. If you’re going to use the files, here’s some details about the stitch outs – don’t say I didn’t warn you! Winogrands Wondrous Water Plants This book actually stitches out very well. It literally took hours to digitize. Originally, there were no mushrooms at the bottom and several huge ones up the spine. The words should have snaked around the mushroom shapes, but I just couldn’t make it work. The file is split. If you use it, stitch the TOP file followed by the bottom file. If you’re a Warcraft player, you’re likely to recognize the inspiration for this book – my favorite zone – Zangermarsh! The funny thing is that I kind of hate playing in Zangermarsh, but I love the look of it. It is a bit dark and ethereal. The critters are fun to watch and the zone is great from the ground and air. Here’s a screenshot: Healing at Home With Herbs This one took a while to digitize too! It was mostly just indecision. I finally settled on the mortar and pestle, but didn’t like them plain. I tried and tried to digitize some herbs. I finally realized that what I...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Block 19

Hedwig! My version of Hedwig is strongly strongly influenced by this image of her from the HP movie promotional materials. (d’awww look at wittle baby Radcliffe) I tinkered with the sizing a bit by cropping the image as close as possible to Hedwig’s outside contour line. I then used MS Word to pick some static sizes for the image (7”, 8”, and 9” wide). I printed all three sizes and pinned them to the design wall until I found one that I thought suited the space. Ultimately, I went with 7.5” wide for the image. I used my tracing paper method of designing the block except this time, I actually traced something! I doodled in a wonky perch in place of Harry’s arm and I was off the races! I transferred her shape by tracing it on to a rinse-away stabilizer then I used some glue sticks and combination of turned edge and raw edge applique to attach her to my block (with the faux trapunto technique described below). I used a paper back fusible web to cut and shape small pieces for the eyes and beaks. I put them in place using my tracing paper template, did a tight zig zag stitch around their edges. Finally, added details with jacquard textile paints.   Faux Trapunto I knew I wanted her to really stand out a bit when the whole quilt was quilted so I did a faux trapunto technique. Place an oversized piece of fusible batting with the glue side facing the back of the block and a piece of lightweight tear away stabilizer backing everything (Note: Normally...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Block 17

This block is pretty straight forward. I had a little more practice with the multi-hoop digitizing with Men Who Love Dragons Too Much. I learned that you really have to make concessions for solid fills like in Ireland’s flag on Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland. When I digitized the flag shape, I put the fills right next to each other. Since I see small spaces between each color, I can think that next time I should given each section a small overlap with the one next to it. This block and the one next to it is a big old nod to Hagrid and Norbert. The dragon scales are a product called Anglina Fusible Film. The film fuses to itself and Anglina fusible fibers. Typically people use it for making fairy wings and such in sculptures. I found that I could sew though it and gets some spiffy effects. I don’t think it would work well if the quilt (or garment) was going to have lots of handling and heavy washing, but for my purposes it is just fine and takes a fair amount of abuse. The cool thing about the film that you can’t see in the picture is it changes colors as it reflects light. It really looks like scales and shines in low light situations.  I put a dragon scale skin inside the egg which is all done with raw edge applique. I had really big plans of this egg with some texture tricks and other ideas, but decided my shelves were getting a bit overwrought. I felt like it needed a little dead...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Block 16

The Embroidery files for Hippogriff Psychology, Omens Oracles and the Goat, Hairy Snot Human Heart, From Egg to Inferno, and Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit.

Harry Potter Bookcase : Block 15

Meet Cletus, my version of Harry Potter’s Monster Book of Monsters. He has silly polymer teeth, a custom buckle, and removable fur so the quilt is still washable. This post has all of the steps that brings Cletus together.

Harry Potter Bookcase: Block 12

Get the files for Where There’s A Wand, There’s a Way, Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, Modern Magical History, Great Wizarding Events of the 20th Century and Lego Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Block 11

First, the fun stuff! Here’s the newest Harry Potter Block, well, 1.2 blocks… Yes – I know – only years 1 – 6 of The Standard Book of Spells were ever mentioned in the Harry Potter series. Logic dictates there were seven though. As much as I tried to tell my patronus story on six books, it never felt right to my OCD. I went ahead and “borrowed” a few inches from the next block so I could have 7. I thought these seven books all lined up in a row offered a really good opportunity to tell a story. At first I was just going to have a few sparks or crystals widening from the end of a wand. I just wasn’t happy with that though. It seems like the time working through the spells should lead up to something. Expecto Patronum was the spell that stood out to me as something really visual. I landed on a horse, because I’m positive that is what mine would be (who knows why I think that!) If I were allowing start overs or redesigns, I would surely do something a little different here. I think the idea of a fully formed patronus completely separated from the wand as the “final book” is a good one, but the way I designed them, it doesn’t have the right flow. Book 6 really stands out to me as the grandest of all the books and book seven seems to step back. Not the right build up and crest there! I think simply standing the horse in portrait orientation would give enough room to...

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Block 10

ooooh a failure! See what went wrong and how I ended up with this super fun remembrall. As always – embroidery files are available in the post!

Harry Potter Bookcase Quilt: Block 9

Pick up embroidery files for Flesh Eating Trees of the World, Spellman’s Syllabary, and see the full tutorial for Beginner’s and Advanced Transfiguration.

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Susan Owenby
Principal Artificer of Things.

Welcome to my site! I love to show you what I'm working on and the process I use to make all sorts of crafty things. I hope you'll find something you love that inspires you to get to work in your own studio.

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