A catch up, with finishes and new ventures!

After an unscheduled break from writing blog posts I have a bit of catching up to do! So, without further ado, here we go:

The Beginners course ended successfully with my student finishing her lovely quilt. She’s looking suitably proud of her achievement in this photo!

I can share a finish too – the pretty, pretty version of my Trip Around the Stars quilt I made as the demo for the class is complete.

I added binding in the bright pink I’d used for the star points. I stitched the binding down by hand – not such a chore on a quilt that measures 38″ x 46″.

The lovely decoupage print extra wide backing is from Purple Stitches.

For the quilting I stitched one of my go-to favourites: a wavy line grid. I used a walking foot with a guide set at 1½ inches.

Thinking about what it’s like for absolute beginners trying to get their heads around patchwork quilting prompted me to rise to an online product challenge. I’ve produced the ‘Patchwork Quilting Equipment Guide: Best Buys for Beginners‘. My aim was to provide the information needed to make purchases that are fit for the job and will provide value, project by project, over many years. I’ve included sections on rotary cutting equipment, threads, needles, pins & scissors, fabric, wadding and sewing machines. Of course I got a bit carried away and added lots of extra information including how to care for the tools and even an explanation of all the weird cuts of fabrics us patchwork quilters talk about so blithely! The Guide is now ready to purchase as a pdf download.

My most recent project has been a ‘learn something new’ endeavour: the making of a little coin purse using a decorative purse frame. I have to say it was a bit fiddly and I’m not convinced about the practicality of this particular design. I find the opening of the 8.5cm/3¼” frame is a bit tight even for my small-medium sized hands. That, combined with the broad base style of the purse, makes it difficult to reach into the bottom corners.

As I’ve already prepared fabric with interfacing to make another nine purses I’m going to experiment with other pattern templates that have a smaller, more rounded shape. I only bought two of the small metal frames so I’ll move onto 10.5cm/4″ frames to find out if they are more practicable (hopefully the pieces of fabric I’ve prepared will be large enough!). The first pattern template I used was one that came free with a tutorial.  Next up, I’m going to try creating my own pattern template following the directions in this tutorial.

Linking with Wendy for the Peacock Party and Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. Wendy is making preparations as she is the guest exhibitor at the Taupo Quiltmakers show in June while Michelle is enjoying over-thinking a fabric pull for her next Plaid-ish quilt.

Happy Stitching! And, most importantly, Happy Easter!

Allison

 

Tutorial: Envelope Cushion Back with Buttons and Binding

I began following the English Country Garden QAL in February 2021. I did intend to make all nine blocks and create the quilt-as-you-go quilt top… But best intentions and all that…I’ve got to the back end of 2021 with just four of the blocks completed. I enjoyed learning more about EPP and applique by making the blocks and also enjoyed having a slow stitching project to turn to but now I’ve decided it’s time for me to draw my involvement in the QAL to close. I’ll be making use of the completed blocks rather than consigning the project to the UFO Cupboard of Shame!

I’ve trimmed the blocks to 18½” square to make four new cushion (pillow) covers to replace the rather worn patchwork covers we’ve been using in our living room for the past 10 years or more.

I hope sharing the process I’m using to make cushion covers from these quilted patchwork blocks will be a useful guide should you decide to do something similar 🙂

Materials

  • One 18½” quilted patchwork square*
  • Cushion Back Fabric: cut two 18½” x 15″ rectangles
  • Medium weight interfacing: cut two 17½” x 2-5/8″ rectangles
  • Two 1″ buttons
  • Double fold binding: cut two Width of Fabric 2¼” strips to make approximately 84″ of binding. Sew strips together and press in half lengthways
  • 18″ x 18″ pillow form.

*I like my cushions squishy. If you prefer a firmer, tighter fit then cut your square to 18″ and the Cushion Back Rectangles to 18″ x 15″.

Equipment

  • Sewing machine with facility to make button holes
  • Rotary cutting tools
  • Pins and/or binding clips

Step One: Preparing Buttonhole Plackets

  • Place a Cushion Back Rectangle wrong side up on an ironing surface. Press a crease 3″ down from a long edge of the rectangle. Open out the rectangle.
  • Position an interfacing rectangle along the crease – there will be approximately ½” fabric exposed at either end and approx. ¼” seam allowance along the top of the rectangle.

 

  • Adhere the interfacing in place as per manufacturers instructions.
  • Fold and press the seam allowance over the edge of the interfacing Diagram 1.
  • Fold the interfacing flap to the back of the rectangle and pin in place.
  • Top stitch 1/8″ along the top edge and 1/8″ inside the seam allowance to secure the placket Diagram 2. Now measures 18½” x 12″ (18″ x 12 if making the tighter fitting version).
View of wrong side of a Back Rectangle with top stitching completed.
  • Repeat to prepare the second Cushion Back Rectangle.

Step Two: Make Buttonholes and Attach Buttons

  • Fold a Cushion Back Rectangle in half on the placket edge and make a crease to mark the centre.
  • Lay the Cushion Back Rectangle face up on a flat surface.

  • Measure 2½” away from the centre crease and make an erasable mark starting ¾” above the top stitching that secures the placket seam.
  • Repeat to measure and mark a buttonhole 2½” away from the other side of the centre crease.
  • Make vertical button holes using the marks as guides.
  • Place the Button Hole Placket, face up, directly on top of the placket of the other Backing Fabric rectangle (also face up).
  • Make a mark through each buttonhole onto the placket below to position the buttons.
  • Attach buttons.

Step Three: Attach Cushion Back Rectangles and Binding to Cushion Front

  • Lay the Cushion Front right side down on a flat surface.
  • Button the two Backing Rectangles together and pin placket ends so plackets are lying directly on top of each other.
  • With Cushion Back face up, place one 18½” edge directly on top of a Cushion front edge. Pin in place.

  • Carefully smooth the Backing over the Front. Pin in place. There will be a strip of excess Backing fabric along one edge.

  • Flip the pinned pieces over so the the Cushion Front is uppermost. Use a rotary cutter to remove the excess Backing Fabric.

  • Pin the binding raw edge to raw edge around the Cushion Front*. Start on an edge that does not have exposed Placket ends.
  • Stitch the binding in place using a ¼” seam in the usual way. Take care not to accidently flip the placket pieces as you stitch.
  • Hand stitch the binding to the back of the cushion cover.

*If you would rather machine stitch both edges of the binding then first stitch the binding raw edges to the Cushion Back before flipping the binding round and machine stitching it to the front of the cushion cover.

I hope this tutorial is useful. Any questions or suggestions do get in touch with me using the comments box at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in reading more of my tutorials you can find them by using the ‘Tutorials’ tab in the header 🙂 . I’ve also published several patterns including the I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern, these can be bought as PDF downloads from my Etsy Shop.

Linking with Kelly for Needle & Thread Thursday. Kelly has been busy hanging lights outside her house in time for the Holiday Season but has had time to create a gallery of quilts from last weeks linkup.

Allison

Three bags: two wins, one fail, learning all the time!

Phew! First of all let’s get the weather chat out the way! Of course it is the number one subject here in the UK 😀 After months of cool, very wet weather the temperatures have suddenly ramped up. Here in central southern England we have had a succession of days in the high twenties. The forecast is for rain at the weekend followed by a dry week with much more comfortable low twenties temperatures. My poor tomato plants have gone from being completely water-logged to being fried! Not sure there will be much of a crop to enjoy this year.

Anyho! Some sewing has been going on between sweaty trips to the allotment (we are harvesting raspberries, courgettes and beans at the moment).

I bought a metre each of these Debbie Shore fabrics a few weeks a go with a friend in mind. She loves nature and keeps Doves as pets so the

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Scrappy Scrap Basket tutorial for The Summer Scrap Elimination 2021

Scrappy Scrap Basket. The Why? I often use scraps of fabric as an on-going leader-ender project. I have a bin of scraps within easy reach of my sewing machine and select a couple of scraps to stitch together each time I start or finish chain piecing patchwork units. On the other side of my sewing machine I have a basket ready to receive the stitched leader-enders as I snip them off the strings of chain pieced units. When the basket is full to over-flowing I know it’s time to press the seams of the leader-enders before throwing them in the box ready to become bigger units in a scrappy patchwork quilt 🙂

I’ve made several of these baskets and love just how scrappy a Scrappy Scrap Basket can be! For this tutorial I made a basket not only from fabric scraps but also interfacing scraps and wadding scraps. Funny how I still have loads of scraps…

It’s  Week 4 of the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 blog hop and I’m very happy to be sharing this Scrappy Scrap Basket tutorial as a contributor to Swan Amity Studio’s annual event.

Scrappy Scrap Basket. The How?

Materials to make a basket approx. :

  • Ten 2½” x 5″ rectangles of fabric (outer sides of basket)
  • Two 2½” x 10½” rectangles of fabric (outer base of basket)
  • Two 1¾” x 10½” rectangles of fabric (outer top of basket)
  • Two 4½” x 6½” rectangles of fabric (tab handles)
  • Two 10¼” x 8″ rectangles of fabric  (lining of basket)
  • Two 10″ x 7¾” rectangles of medium weight interfacing
  • One piece of wadding 11″ x 22″
  • Top stitching thread

Note: Use ¼” seam allowance unless directed otherwise; reinforce start and finishes of all seams with reverse stitching.

Step 1: Basket Outer

  • Stitch together the 2½” x 5″ rectangles along their long edges to make the basket back and front each measuring 5″ x 10½”. Press seams open or to the darker fabrics.

  • Stitch the 1¾” x 10½” rectangles to the upper edges of the basket back and front. Press seams open.

  • Stitch the 2½” x 10½” rectangles to the bottom edges of the basket back and front. Press seams open.
  • Apply iron-on interfacing to the reverse sides of the basket back and front pieces.

  • Lay the back and front pieces side by side on the strip of wadding. Baste using spray or pins.

  • Quilt both using a design of your choice (I used a walking foot to quilt a twisted ribbon design and echoed the seam between the vertical rectangles and the horizontal fabric at the top of the basket).
  • Trim away the excess wadding so the basket’s back and front each measure 8¼” high by 10½” wide.
  • Boxed Corners: Place the basket back and front right sides together. Mark a 2¼” square in the bottom corners.

  • Stitch the sides and bottom seams together – back stitch at the start and end of each seam and across the marked lines.

  • Cut away the bottom corners along the marked lines.

  • Pinch the two open edges of a cut corner together, aligning the bottom seam with the side seam.

  • Stitch the open edges of the boxed corner together making sure to back stitch at the start and finish of the seam.

  • Repeat with the opposite corner.

Step 2: Tab Handles

  • Fold a 4½” x 6½” rectangle in half – short edge to short edge – to find the centre and press along the fold. Open out the rectangle and fold both short edges to the centre crease. Press and then fold edges together along the centre crease to create a 1″ x 6½” tab.

  • Top stitch 1/8th inch in from the edges along both sides of the tab.
  • Fold the tab in half. Centre the open edges against the top of a side seam of the outer basket – right sides together. Using an 1/8th inch seam allowance baste in place.

  • Repeat to make the second tab handle.

Step 3: Basket Lining

  • Lay the two lining rectangles right sides together and mark 2¼” squares in the bottom corners ready to make boxed corners.
  • Stitch the side seams starting with a ¼” allowance at the top edge gradually moving to ½” allowance at the marked line. Reverse stitch at the start and beginning of each seam.

  • Stitch a ¼” seam along the bottom edge leaving a 3″ opening to turn the basket right sides out. Reverse stitch at the start and finish of each seam.
  • Cut away the marked corner squares.
  • Make boxed corners in the same way as those made for the outer basket.
  • Press open the side and bottom seams.

Step 4: Create the Basket

  • Place the outer basket inside the lining, right sides together.
  • Align the side seams and pin or clip together the top edges of the basket outer and lining.

  • Stitch together using a ¼” seam all around the top edges of the outer basket and lining.
  • Turn the basket right sides out through the opening in the lining.
  • Carefully roll and finger press around the top edge of the basket.

  • Top stitch ¼” around the top edge of the basket.
  • Machine or hand stitch closed the opening in the lining.

Congratulations! Your Scrappy Basket is finished and ready to receive it’s fill of scraps!

Of course, this basket pattern can be adapted in many ways depending on the shape and size of the scraps you use. It would be possible to use a stitch & flip method to attach strips of fabric to the wadding or to make the basket sides using a Crazy Patchwork technique. If you choose to make a larger basket I’d recommend using two layers of wadding or a foam interlining to make sure the sides are rigid enough to stay upright.

If you have any queries about this Scrappy Scrap Basket tutorial please do get in touch 🙂 Don’t forget to follow the link to the home of the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 project at Swan Amity Studios where you’ll find Swan’s scrap elimination tutorials and links to other contributors of this years blog hop.

Allison