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Judith, Author at Just Jude Designs - Quilting, Patchwork & Sewing patterns and classes

Resilience


By Judith on September 17, 2020
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During the earlier months of lockdown I was able to get back into running, after a year of not running due to injury.

It feels great to be running again! I run twice a week, 3 laps (5k) each time around the most beautiful park that is right on my doorstep.

 

 

But it’s hard!

It’s hard getting up and out before breakfast, sleep still in my eyes, stretching out muscles that don’t want stretched, getting out that front door to run in the rain, or worse, the wind!

Now of all the laps that I run, which do think is the hardest?  No, not the last lap.

The first lap is the hardest.  Everything in my body is yelling “What are you doing?  Are you crazy?  This hurts! It’s way too hard! There’s no way you’ll make 3 laps! You may as well give up now!”

This is the first of 2 voices that join me in my run – let’s call her Debbie Down-er (apologies to all Debbies out there!).  My Debbie Down-er voice loves to remind me just how hard running is for me, she’s a real whinge, a nay-sayer who doesn’t like being pushed to do anything hard or out of her comfort zone! She’s the voice of my body reminding me that I used to have M.E., that I’ve fractured my back twice, that I’ve busted my ankle 3 times, that I’m nearly 50 (oooh she’s close to the bone on that one!), not to mention how ridiculous I must look running like a deranged tortoise! What on earth do I think I’m doing!

 

 

Cue the 2nd voice in my head – let’s call her Determined Deirdre!

Determined Deirdre is the only reason I make it through that first lap, because she starts chirping “we can make 3 laps because we’ve done it before!”  I can’t tell you the profound impact that statement of truth can have on a body and mind that is screaming the complete opposite!

 

And so ensues the argument of my (unusual) internal dialogue, the voice of my body trying to shout louder than the voice of my mind, each one vying for attention over the other!  Over time I got better at choosing the right voice to listen to, and so long as Determined Deirdre’s voice is louder, I make it round lap 1 into lap 2. Victory no.1.

 

 

Lap 2 is where I settle into a rhythm and focus on my breathing. It’s still hard, and a niggly voice pops up again nearing the end of lap 2 “sure you’ve done 2 laps, that’s enough, quit now, the car’s right there”.

 

But I’ve come to learn about myself that if I even take 1 step over the threshold between laps 2 and 3, I’ve made it! There’s absolutely no way I’m quitting now that I’ve committed to lap 3, even if I have to drag myself across the finish line (glad to say that has only happened once!). Victory no.2.

 

 

And from the start of lap 3 it’s in the bag! I’ve still 1 mile to go, but I may as well be running on air! Why?

Hope!

You see, the finish line is in sight, the hardest work (the mental battle) is done and behind me, and the expectancy of victory no.3 (crossing the finishing line) energises my brain and fuels my tired body.

 

 

I’m also energised by the wildlife as I run round the lake in this beautiful park, imagining that they’ve come out specially to cheer me on!  Running in isolation is a completely different experience to running in a group, it’s much tougher mentally to be your own motivator, coach and cheerleader!

 

 

So as I run past them, I thank the amazingly tame squirrels, the shy little birds that jump back into the hedges, Bob and Bertha, the swans who sit at exactly the same spot at the edge of the path, for cheering me on.

 

I translate Bob’s protective hisses (!!) as ‘you’re doing great, keep going’, the regal stares and nods of the parliamentary island herons as ‘on course for a PB this week’, the many ducks toasting my efforts with their ‘bottoms up’ and the multi-talented seaguls performing their bread catching aerobatics and screaming for delight as I turn the corner into their view!

 

‘Bob’ happily distracted!

 

Well before you get really concerned about me (!!) let me explain why all this imagining is so important to me.

 

You see, in the 4 years I’ve been running I’ve learned something amazing!  The mind is stronger than the body! A strong and determined mind can make a body go much further than it wants to (just watch the triathalete Jonny Brownlee here for an extreme example of what this looks like)!

 

 

Running has given me mental resilience (fitness).

 

“When our minds are strong, we will be able to handle whatever life throws our way; we will go from just surviving to thriving!” Dr. Caroline Leaf

 

 

I believe our thought life & health is as important as our physical health, and yet it’s perhaps not something we choose to put much effort into.  Research shows that 75-98% of mental, physical & behavioural illness comes from one’s thought life (Dr. C Leaf ‘Switch on Your Brain’).

 

“Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate. Moment by moment, every day, you are changing the structure of your brain through your thinking. When we hope, it is an activity of the mind that changes the structure of our brain in a positive and normal direction.” Dr. Caroline Leaf “Switch on Your Brain”

 

Toxic thinking and negative stress wears down the brain, but I’m happy to report that the damage caused is reversible! Neuroscientists have proven this and many inspiring testimonies and evidences are recorded in Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book ‘Switch on Your Brain’. We actually can ‘be transformed by the renewing of our minds’ Romans 12:2.

 

So if you would like an active and growing brain, increased intelligence & wisdom, peacefulness, increased immune and cardiovascular health, why not take stock of your thought life. Not everything that is hard is bad for us!

 

 

For you it might not be running, but maybe you could start with meditating, or praying, or practising gratitude, stepping a little out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Start the processes of strengthening your Mind (brain/spirit) over Matter (body)!

You can do way more than you think you can.

 

And if there’s no-one there to cheer you on, be your own cheerleader, set your imagination to work, record the many little victories that happen in a day, and you’ll soon start to grow mental resilience.

 

 

I’ve still got lots of work to do on my thought life, it will be a life-time committment. But I’m not the same person I was 6 years ago when I made a decision to get healthy inside and out. Life is rarely easy, but we have a power-pack of resources available to us every single day to help us through it.  We just need to learn how to use it!

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Friendship Reel Candle Mat


By Judith on September 16, 2020
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Well our Kindred Spirits Quilt-Along got underway this week, and what a great response we’ve had!

 

Thank you to everyone for signing up and so far raising £200 for Shared Threads!

 

The first block in the quilt-along is a 9″ Applique block called Friendship Reel.

 

 

In the accompanying teaching video, you can learn both satin stitch applique (machine) and needleturn applique (hand).

 

We have a private Facebook group for the quilt-along and it’s so lovely seeing people’s fabric choices and prepped and finished Friendship Reel blocks appearing already!

 

Making both satin stitched and needleturned versions for the videos, I now have an orpha block which is surplus to requirements for the final Kindred Spirits Quilt.

 

Friendship Reel Candle Mat

 

So I thought I’d turn it into a little candle mat, to give folks an alternative use for their blocks and how to use up little orphan blocks.

 

Friendship Reel Candle Mat

 

This was my needleturned Friendship Reel, and with some textured matchstick quilting and black & white stripey binding, you’ve instantly got a handy little candle or vase mat or a useful trivet for your kitchen table.

 

Friendship Reel Candle Mat

 

And just imagine this lovely block made in Christmas Fabrics! Wouldn’t that make a sweet Christmas gift!

 

All fabrics available in our fabric shop

 

So no need for purposeless leftover blocks! Liberate them into functional items and gifts!

 

(If you’d like to join our Kindred Spirits Quilt-Along, booking is available here.)

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Betty Bag Finishes


By Judith on September 7, 2020
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I love seeing the same pattern being made in a wide range of fabrics and styles!

 

My Betty Bag is growing in popularity and I want to show you some stunning finishes!

 

Betty Bag class finishes

Betty Bag class finishes

 

Aren’t they fabulous!

I just love how stylishly practical they are, ready for some serious use about town!

 

And 3 more to show you.

 

Betty Bag class finishes

 

These are Betty Bags made by my #threadsacrossthesea buddies, Trudi, Sarah and Di.

 

Because we weren’t able to have our annual meet up this year, we had ourselves a secret swap, making Betty, and had an exciting reveal over zoom at the weekend.  I received the first one pictured, which was from the super talented Trudi (@Trudi_wood), made in stunning Art Gallery Fabrics, received together with this package of cuteness!

 

 

This is a free motion sketched picture by Stitched Up by Samantha!  Isn’t it gorgeous!  Totally my kind of art!

 

Thank you everyone for taking part in my Betty Bag class, and to Trudi for my very own Betty!

The Betty Bag pre-recorded YouTube course is available here.

 

Happy sewing!

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Kindred Spirits Quilt-Along


By Judith on September 3, 2020
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I’m super excited to let you know about my latest teaching project:

 

Kindred Spirits Quilt (Coastal) 64″ x 76″

 

This is the Kindred Spirits Sampler Quilt and I will be teaching this as a weekly quilt-along, starting 14th September through to end January ’21.

 

Each week there will be a new block to make and a new technique focus (some blocks have 2 weeks allocated).

 

This was a project I already had in mind for my actual classes at Conway Mill.  But as I’m not back to running my classes yet (thanks to Coronavirus!) I thought I would go ahead and teach it online!  And that means anyone can join in!

 

This quilt-along is all about building skills, building confidence and building community.  Here are a few more thoughts on what this quilt-along represents:

 

 

So what do you get?

 

All the teaching will come in the form of

 

  • pre-recorded videos emailed each week into your inbox. These videos will include accurately cuttin fabric and using templates.  The videos mean you have complete control -press pause, replay and sew at your own pace
  • PDF documents (colouring sheets & cutting instructions)
  • Professionally art-worked templates (as needed)

 

and you will be supported every step of the way through our interactive social media groups where you can ask questions, share tips and ideas, access bonus features, make new friends and create community!

 

And here are a few other colourways you could consider:

 

Kindred Spirits Quilt (Cool Christmas)
Kindred Spirits Quilt (Scrappy)

 

The full list of materials and equipment needed is available here, as well as the schedule of our block making throughout the 4 months.

 

And finally, by taking part in this Quilt-Along, you will also be supporting a charity close to my heart.

£5 from every registration will be donated to Shared Threads, who make reuseable sanitary pads and hygiene packs for women and girls who are struggling with period poverty at home and abroad.

 

Here’s Kirsty to tell you more:

 

 

If you’d like more information about the work of Shared Threads or how you can get involved, check out their website here.

 

And so the countdown begins!

 

I do hope you will consider joining us for an Autumn term of fun, learning and connecting!

 

(Booking will be available from 14th September here)

 

Happy sewing!

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Betty Bag Goes Live!


By Judith on August 31, 2020
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Happy Bank Holiday Monday to all in the UK!

 

I’m happy to report the sun is shining (for a change). Not been the best summer for warm sunny weather here this year, but today I am thankful for (a little) heat and light!

 

And that makes it the perfect day to tell you that our Betty Bag class is now available for general release! Hooray! Click here to access.

 

 

The ladies from my regular classes have been beavering away on their Betty Bags these past 3 weeks, and it was so lovely to see some finished bags yesterday on our zoom call.

 

 

I’m just waiting on a few more photos to come in and then I can show you their amazing results!

 

 

So far I have made 5 Betty Bags, the most recent one as part of a secret swap between me and my ‘Threads Across the Sea’ quilting buddies! (tune in to the hashtag #justjudebettybag over on instagram this week to see the Betty Bags of my swap buddies!).

 

 

This class is made up of 1 pre-recorded YouTube video and a PDF document.

 

In your order confirmation email (& when you complete the order at checkout) you will receive a link to a PDF document.  This document lists the full list of materials needed, the cutting out instructions and the link to the YouTube video. To access the YouTube video, copy and paste this link into your internet browser to access the video.

 

In this class you will learn:

  • How to use metal or plastic zippers
  • How to insert zippers 2 ways
  • How to quilt panels using a quilting bar
  • Bag construction using interfacing
  • How to make a removeable strap
  • How to insert a magnetic clasp
  • Single-fold Binding

 

 

So if you would like a compact and slimline pouch to keep all your travel or night-out essentials safe and sound, then why not make your own!

 

And as my ladies have discovered, they also make for great gifts too!

 

To get a flavour of what my video classes  look like, checkout the free tutorials on my YouTube channel.

 

Happy sewing!

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Macro


By Judith on August 16, 2020
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I love visiting my Mum and Dad’s garden.  Dad has ‘green fingers’ and despite nearing 80 years, he still works hard to sustain the organic life and beauty of his acre plot.

 

 

I moved here when I was 12 years old, from town to country, and while I only spent 6 years here, from the moment I arrived I felt connected, at home, released by the wide open spaces of my surroundings. I became a ‘country girl’ and it felt like the consummation of my very existence.  I feel it every time I visit and walk around the garden and honeysuckled lanes, like time gets suspended and nothing else exists or matters except colour, creation and the unadulterated country air.  Here you can literally stop and smell the roses!

 

 

As I’ve gotten better at photography (I’m still very much a novice!), I’ve discovered a love of capturing the beauty of nature, in particular flowers and flora!

 

 

Photographing sea and landscapes aren’t really my thing, mainly because I’m always dissatisfied that my photographs fall a long way short of capturing the intense beauty and spectacle laid out before me.

But the more I got into photography, the more I kept leaning in, wanting a closer look, discovering details I don’t usually see without focussed, deliberate seeking.

 

 

Last summer I attended a 2-day Macro Photography workshop.  And despite not having the right equipment (everyone else already had a macro lens, wince!), I learned so much, in particular how to get up close and connected to nature; how to really look and discover an entire other universe of life co-existing peacefully in our environment. I felt like Horton the Elephant in Dr. Seuss’ ‘Horton Hears a Who’ when he discovers an entire other planet of ‘Whos’ existing on a speck of dust.

 

 

When I think of the term ‘macro’ I think of large scale, big picture, long sighted, the opposite of micro. Paradoxically, macro photography is all about the tiny, the minutiae, what is hidden from the human lens.  But what this extreme close-up photography does is enlarge the subject to greater than life size, to make seen what was unseen, to unveil many realities and truths of nature that go seemingly unnoticed and undiscovered.

 

 

One of my favourite stories is The Secret Garden, by F.H.Burnett. The recently orphaned Mary tells her newly discovered cousin, Colin, a story from India of a boy rajah, and how when he opened his mouth, you could see the whole universe in his throat. 10-year-old Colin found this absurd as his closeted and literal mind failed to comprehend the metaphor.  Only later, as he learns to walk again in the magical garden that Mary nurtured back to life, does he understand, that within a person can exist a universe worth of life and possibility, potential and wonder, goodness and kindness.

Like an entire world existing on a speck of dust.

Like macro revealed in micro.

 

 

During this pandemic my world has become much more micro, particularly in a sociable and relational way as my classes stopped, church went online, and visits with family and friends became restricted to ‘outside’ only; the usual freedoms we take for granted paused and limited.

And yet, within this new micro world I have discovered a macro one, an opportunity to rediscover and refocus the important aspects of life, like rest (the proper creative, soul kind of rest), time (to read, and think and waste), contemplation and learning and self-discovery, my children (undistracted, quality conversations and memory making). It was always there, this secret world on a speck of dust, hidden by the distractions and overgrowth of demands, responsibilities, busyness.  I’ve been neglecting my garden of peace and balance, often without realising it, and am grateful for this moment to get up close and personal again with values and truths that really matter to me.

 

 

It will be some time before our ‘normal’ way of life resumes, if at all. My prayer is that we adjust and adapt, bend and flex, twist and turn until we are reconciled and familiar with a new ‘normal’, a normal where new balance and good priorities are synced, where the macro is always being discovered afresh in the micro, where we reach and release the universe that exists in our throats so we can walk forward enriched, inspired and empowered to live a life well lived.

If you look for beauty, you will find it.

If you seek peace, you will find it.

If you search for purpose to your day, you will find it.

Choose to discover the macro in your micro world today.

 

 

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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Ditsy Daisy Quilt


By Judith on August 4, 2020
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In 2017 my Ditsy Daisy quilt pattern was published in Popular Patchwork Magazine.

 

56.5” x 66” (155cm x 162.5cm) Photo courtesy of Popular Patchwork Magazine

 

My inspiration for this quilt was the bundle of fabrics the editor sent me, from Lewis & Irene, called Flo’s Little Flowers.

 

 

This collection was all about cute ditsy prints with a retro vibe in a contemporary colour palette.  So in keeping with the floral theme, I designed a hydrangea block and a daisy block to capture the soft, summery feel of these fabrics.

 

 

Hydrangeas are fascinating flowers because each ‘head’ is made up of lots of little flowers, each with 4 petals and a tiny centre.

That’s where the design for my Hydrangea block came from.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

Just before lockdown we had reformatted and tested the pattern ready for general sale, and I’m delighted to announce that it is now available in digital format in our webshop.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

The background fabric is Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) which you can purchase here.

 

This pattern will cover the piecing technique for the hydrangea block and how to machine applique the daisies with lots of photos to support you each step of the way.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt

 

You will also learn how to assemble the quilt top with borders, joining the backing & curving the corners of your quilt.  Additional free tutorials on spray basting and making and attaching binding are available here.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt

 

This quilt is definitely for all lovers of florals and summer!!  Just like me!

Happy quilting!

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New Online Class: The Betty Bag


By Judith on August 2, 2020
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We are delighted to announce our next online class:

 

 

The Betty Bag is a slimline purse designed for holding your essentials without creating a bulky bag!

 

The Betty Bag

 

Whether you are travelling, out for the evening or just want a hands free shopping experience, the Betty Bag will perfectly meet your needs.

 

The Betty Bag

 

The zippered compartments are great for coins and notes (maybe even a second currency!).  In behind those there is space for a passport and phone, and in behind that is a credit card slot.

 

The Betty Bag

 

The strap can be made in 2 lengths, a shoulder strap or a crossbody strap.

 

The Betty Bag

 

And it is removeable too, so you can easily convert your bag into a stylish clutch purse!

 

The Betty Bag

 

The class will take the form of videos via YouTube, so you can stop or pause the steps to suit your pace and replay sections if you need to watch steps again.

 

The Betty Bag

 

Initially the class will be released on Monday 10th August in 3 weekly parts to my existing class ladies before being released for general sale as 1 complete video on Monday 31st August.

 

The Betty Bag

 

In this class you will learn:

  • How to use metal or plastic zippers
  • How to insert zippers 2 ways
  • How to quilt panels using a quilting bar
  • Bag construction using interfacing
  • How to make a removeable strap
  • How to insert a magnetic clasp
  • Single-fold Binding

 

The Betty Bag

 

I hope you will join us for some bag making fun!

 

Happy sewing!

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Just Jude & Friends: Japanese Rice Bag


By Judith on July 31, 2020
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It’s our final week of my Instagram Designers Collaboration and we are making Stuart’s Japanese Rice Bag.

 

 

Stuart has a YoutTube channel with lots of well explained and easy to make projects.

 

 

The project he chose for us to make is his sweet Japanese Rice Bag, and is one of his free tutorials.

In his video Stuart uses 7.5″ squares for the bag, but approves of these sizes being varied to suit.

 

Japanese Rice Bag (Charlotte)

 

So I decided to make a smaller bag (using 5″ cut squares) to accompany a birthday gift I’ve been working on for a special little someone (more on that later!).

 

Japanese Rice Bag (Charlotte)

 

I used some Stoff Linen with Tilda to make a child-size bag, with cute applique hearts and mini pom-pom trim!

 

Japanese Rice Bag (Charlotte)

 

This is a super easy and well demonstrated tutorial by Stuart, and I had this wee bag run up in an afternoon!

 

Japanese Rice Bag (Charlotte)

 

I can’t wait to see what the other designers make with this tutorial.  You can check them out on Instagram by searching #justjudecollaborates

 

And who is this little bag for?

 

Charlotte's Bunting

 

A very special 5 year old who can already read and knew exactly whose name was on the birthday bunting I made for her.

 

Charlotte's Birthday bunting

 

The background fabric here is the same Stoff Linen in the rice bag and I used Tilda scraps in raspberry reds and teals to make up the satin stitched letters.

 

Charlotte's Bunting

 

I created the letters in Microsoft Word, enlarged to the right size and traced  from the ‘wrong’ side of the printout onto bondaweb.

 

I was so pleased I had just the right amount of mini pompom trim leftover from the bunting to accessorise the Rice Bag!

 

Charlotte's Bunting

 

I’m so pleased the birthday girl loved her pressies, which made me feel a little better for being late with the gifts in the first place! My bad!

 

Happy sewing!

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Just Jude & Friends: Horseplay Cushion


By Judith on July 24, 2020
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We are in week 4 of my Designers collaboration on Instagram.

 

 

This week is all about Kerry’s Horseplay Cushion pattern, a combination of piecing and applique.

 

 

I decided to pull some fabrics and try a few blocks to see where the creative juices would take me.

 

 

I wasn’t sure if I wanted another cushion, so kept my options open about what I might end up with!

 

Horseplay Mat

 

And I ended up with a cute mat!

 

Horseplay Mat

 

I paired 2 contrasting Tilda prints with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Denim and interchanged the placement in each little block.

 

I liked where this was going, made another 2 rows and got them all sewed together.

That’s when I knew this 12.5″ block would make a perfect mat or table topper.

 

Horseplay Mat

 

Then the big question – How to quilt it?

 

Horseplay Mat

 

After some deliberation I decided on simple organic matchstick quilting.  This condensed quilting technique made sure all those raw applique edges got well bedded down.

 

I love the texture and ‘solidity’ of the matchstick quilting on this mat.

 

Horseplay Mat

 

Some narrow black and white striped binding and a little leather loop completes the look!

 

Horseplay Mat

 

This is a sweet pattern by Kerry, with lots of creative possibilities!  You can purchase the pattern here.

 

Horseplay Mat

 

And do you like my vintage glass cake stand?  I found it in a skip I was walking past the other day!  Well, I couldn’t just leave it there, could I!!!!!

 

Happy sewing!

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Just Jude & Friends: Dotti Denim Pouches


By Judith on July 21, 2020
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Firstly, apologies for forgetting to announce here the winner of my last giveaway (my bad)!  The lucky winner was Michelle Green @elsie_and_alice and was announced on Instagram & Facebook. Thank you to everyone here who entered.  Fingers crossed you will be luckier with my next giveaway.

 

**************************************************************

 

Today is the end of week 3 of my Just Jude Designers Collaboration on Instagram.

 

 

This time the designers were making my Dotti Denim Pouch and I’m blown away by their makes.

 

Svetlana:

 

Kerry:

 

Stuart:

 

Lucy:

 

Aren’t they fab!

 

I love how each pouch reflects the creative personalities of the makers!!  You can read/see more about each pouch by searching the hashtag #justjudecollaborates  on Instagram.

 

 

And if you’d like to make your own Dotti Denim Pouch, you can purchase it here.

 

And I’ve already pulled my fabrics for Week 4’s collaborative project, Kerry’s Horseplay Cushion. 

 

Watch this space!

 

Happy sewing!

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Honour


By Judith on July 18, 2020
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In many ways it’s an old-fashioned word …. ‘Honour’.

To me it invokes impressions of chivalry, courage, daring, respect duly paid.

I particularly like the 1755 definition in A Dictionary of the Enlish Language which defines honour as

“having several senses, the first of which was “nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness”. This sort of honour derives from the perceived virtuous conduct and personal integrity of the person endowed with it.” (Encyclopaedia Brittanica)

The Latin origins of the word are very much rooted in concepts of esteem, reputation, societal norms and public office, standards for and applications of which have changed much in a post-modern world.

On the face of it, it seems such traditional applications of the word have certainly changed through the generations (how often do you hear of a woman’s honour being defended by a ‘pistols at dawn’ duel?) replaced instead by a moral code ‘law based’ defining society.

Charles Dickens perfectly describes his grief at the loss of honour around him in ‘Squire Norton’s Song’ as the old man describes to the young boy what ‘honour’ used to mean (full poem at the end of this post).

“Dear father, what can honor be,
Of which I hear men rave?
Field, cell and cloister, land and sea,
The tempest and the grave:
It lives in all, ’tis sought in each,
‘Tis never heard or seen:
Now tell me, father, I beseech,
What can this honor mean?”

But you don’t have to look too far to see that honour still exists in our world today, either positively or negatively, particularly among more tradition-based cultures where family, faith and community values, passed down from generation to generation, are staunchly and passionately defended and invoked.

However you choose to define it or recognise it, honour can’t exist outside of relationship.  You either receive it from another, or you bestow onto another.

In my church, our Pastor will occasionally publicly honour individuals who have humbly and selflessly served the congregation or community, to give respect and recognition for their sacrifice and faithfulness.  I love this gesture from a time gone by.

The other day I got to visit 2 dear friends (in different locations) who have both recently made one of my online projects.

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag Finishes
Applique Hearts Boxy Bag Finishes

 

The unintentional ‘theme’ that day reminded me of how blessed I am to have loyal, compassionate, wise and supportive friends in my life – friends who have cheered me on as I started and grew my business, who have walked with me through dark valleys and celebrated joyfully my victories and achievements, who have invested in my kids and my dreams for the future.

 

Our ‘Couch to 5k’ graduation at Park Run March’16

 

Most of all, I have friends who believe in me (often more than I believe in myself!), who have convinced me of my value and worth when I was betrayed and rejected, of my gifts and talents when I felt like I had little to offer and who have inspired me with their creativity and ideas when I was running on empty.

 

 

Today I want to honour my beautiful friends (not all pictured here) and give due respect and praise for their uniqueness and integrity.  The Wikipedia definition of ‘Magnanimity’ sums them all up perfectly …

‘bigness of soul/spirit is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes.’

I aspire to be as great a friend as mine are to me.

Who can you honour in your life today?

 

SQUIRE NORTON’S SONG
Charles Dickens

The child and the old man sat alone
In the quiet, peaceful shade
Of the old green boughs, that had richly grown
In the deep, thick forest glade.
It was a soft and pleasant sound,
That rustling of the oak;
And the gentle breeze played lightly round
As thus the fair boy spoke:-

“Dear father, what can honor be,
Of which I hear men rave?
Field, cell and cloister, land and sea,
The tempest and the grave:
It lives in all, ’tis sought in each,
‘Tis never heard or seen:
Now tell me, father, I beseech,
What can this honor mean?”

“It is a name, a name, my child
It lived in other days,
When men were rude, their passions wild,
Their sport, thick battle frays.
When, in armor bright, the warrior bold
Knelt to his lady’s eyes:
Beneath the abbey pavement old
That warrior’s dust now lies.”

“The iron hearts of that old day
Have mouldered in the grave;
And chivalry has passed away,
With knights so true and brave;
The honor, which to them was life,
Throbs in no bosom now;
It only gilds the gambler’s strife,
Or decks the worthless vow.”

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Just Jude & Friends: Melody Mini Cushion


By Judith on July 10, 2020
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We are now in week 2 of our Instagram Designers Collaboration with Sotak Handmade, Charm About You, Stuart Hillard Sews, Penny Dog & myself.

 

 

Last week we made Svetlana’s Lola Pouches (you can see mine here).

 

This week we are making Lucy’s Melody Mini Quilt/Cushion.

 

 

This is a foundation paper pieced pattern which makes either a 20″ cushion or wallhanging.  I love foundation paper piecing for the accuracy and pointy points you can achieve!

 

I decided to make another pillow for my sofa and of course, I chose Tilda Fabrics!!

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

I wanted to create a secondary pattern that became the centre feature of the cushion so I vered slightly from Lucy’s original colour placement.

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

The cushion is actually made in 4 quadrants – you could keep the colourway in each quadrant the same colour/fabrics (like Lucy’s original pattern).  Alternatively, by changing the fabric in one point in each quadrant you get a new secondary pattern when each of the those points face towards the centre.

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

When it came to the quilting, I decided to quilt in the ditches first, to bed down a few of those lumpier seams.

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

I knew the Kona Snow would look too stark by itself so a little running stitch brings interest to these plainer sections and a little more quilted texture.

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

My points were pretty well matched in the middle, despite the bulk of the intersecting seam, but it just didn’t feel right not to highlight the centre with a vintage button!

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

The back of the cushion has my ‘go to’ feature zip, and a stripey Tilda binding frames the finished cushion.

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

I’m really pleased with how this cushion has turned out and love how it looks with my other handmade cushions.

 

Melody Mini (Cushion)

 

Fabrics used:

Kona Snow

Tilda Old Rose (Lucy Teal Wisp)*

Tilda Classic Basics (Paint Dot Pink)*

Tilda Bon Voyage (Lilit Red)*

Tilda Tea Towel Basics (Apple Cake Stripe Red)*

*available to purchase here

Melody Mini Quilt/Cushion pattern available here

 

And don’t forget to check out the other Melody Minis on Instagram by searching #melodyminiquilt or #justjudecollaborates

 

Happy sewing!

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Applique Hearts Boxy Bag Online Class


By Judith on July 7, 2020
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I’m delighted to announce that our Applique Hearts Boxy Bag online class is now available for general sale.

 

 

25 of my regular ladies have had lots of fun making the bag the past 4 weeks, and the results are amazing!!  Here are a few of their photos.

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag Class

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag Class

 

Aren’t they beautiful!

 

I love seeing all the different fabrics used, which totally change the personality of the bag!

 

Well done ladies!  I hope you (& your recipients) get lots of enjoyment out of your fabulous bags!

 

 

Here’s another little resume of what the YouTube class covers:

*hand applique (Needleturn)

*machine applique (Satin and blanket stitch)

*suitable materials for the bag

*quilting

*reinforced divider pocket

*snap fasteners for divider pocket & alternatives

*making handles

*handbag construction

 

The class consists of 1 YouTube video and 2 PDF files. You can purchase the class here.

In your order confirmation email you will receive links to 2 PDFs – one is the full list of materials needed.  The other is the heart template which also includes the link to the YouTube video. Copy and paste this link into your internet browser to access the video.

When printing the heart template, either select ‘Actual Size’ or deselect ‘Fit To Page’ printer settings.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of our class finishes (always my favourite part!).

 

Happy sewing!

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Just Jude & Friends: Lola Pouches


By Judith on July 5, 2020
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Our Just Jude designer collaboration is well underway! (You can read all about this new initiative here.)

 

 

For our first week we have been making Svetlana’s Lola Pouch (there are 2 sizes to choose from).

 

Lola Pouches (sml)

 

I had the privilege of pattern testing the Lola Pouch for Svetlana so I’m familiar with this gorgeous pattern and have enjoyed making several more pouches since.

 

Lola Pouches (sml)

 

I decided to make 3 small Lola pouches as gifts for 3 sewing friends.

This time I teamed up some medium grain cork with sumptuous ‘Roads to Flowerhouse’ by Bari J for Art Gallery Fabrics. I just love the rich colours in this print.

 

Lola Pouches (sml)

 

Svetlana is a fellow stripey binding fan, so the Michael Miller narrow black and white stripe was the perfect choice here.

 

Lola Pouches (sml)

 

When I first made the Lola pouch, I feel in love with Svetlana’s cool technique for recessing the zipper underneath the binding, with the option of tucking in or leaving out the zipper tab!  Genuis!

 

Lola Pouches (sml)

 

I couldn’t resist finishing these cuties with a little leather detail.

 

Lola Pouches (sml)

 

So all that’s left to do is fill up these little pouches with sewing treats and get them posted off!

 

(All materials used in these pouches are available in our shop.)

(You can find Svetlana’s Lola Pouch here.)

 

And if you are following along with our collaboration on Instagram, you can check out the other Lola Pouches (& future collaborative projects) by searching #justjudecollaborates

 

Happy sewing!

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Giveaway!


By Judith on July 3, 2020
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To celebrate the release of our Tilda Drawstring Bag tutorial and kits, we are giving one away!

 

 

Not only will you receive everything you need to make our drawstring bag, fully pre-cut, but we are also throwing in a half metre of Retro 30’s Apples & Strawberries (Green) by Lecien and a spool of Aurifil 50wt Quilting Thread.

 

 

The giveaway opens today 3rd July and you have 4 different ways to enter:

 

* subscribe to our YouTube Channel
* follow us on Instagram (@justjudebelfast) & tag someone in our giveaway post
* like our Facebook page and leave a comment on our giveaway FB post
* leave a comment here with your email address

 

The giveaway is open to international entries and we’ll announce the winner on 11th July!

 

Good luck!

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New Tutorial: Tilda Drawstring Bag


By Judith on July 2, 2020
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If you are a regular here, you may remember I made a few linen drawstring bags in my spare time, for friends who were working hard during the pandemic.

 

 

Well I’m happy to announce that I have filmed a free tutorial on how to make these cute bags, and it is now available to watch on YouTube.

 

 

In the tutorial you will learn:

  • How to piece the exterior bag
  • How to quilt with a quilting bar
  • How to needleturn applique the heart
  • How to insert channels and lining
  • How to insert drawstring ribbon

 

And not only that, we have made up Tilda Drawstring Bag kits, to make your life even easier!

 

Tilda Drawstring Bag

 

The kit includes everything you need to make the bag (except thread) and all the pieces are pre-cut for you so you can get straight to the fun sewing stage!

 

Tilda Drawstring Bag

 

The fabrics are Tilda (base, lining and channels) and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (outside).  There are 20 different Tilda Fabrics for the base and 2 different Tilda fabrics for the applique hearts.

 

Tilda Drawstring Bag

 

We even pre-cut freezer paper hearts ready for your needleturn applique!

 

Tilda Drawstring Bag

 

Don’t you think the kits would make a sweet gift for a sewing buddy?

 

Tilda Drawstring Bag

 

Of course the channel has to be a cute Tilda (Tea Towel) Stripe and a linen ribbon drawstring compliments the rustic character of the bag.

 

Tilda Drawstring Bag

 

The kits are available to purchase here.

 

I love making these bags, especially using my favourite fabrics!  I hope you enjoy making them too!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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IG Designer Collaboration


By Judith on July 1, 2020
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I’m so excited to annouce a new  designer collaboration during the month of July, which will be running on Instagram!

 

 

I’m teaming up with 4 talented quilting designers to make 1 pattern from each designers shop or book.  Each week we will showcase a designers pattern and let you see 4 different takes on it!

 

In addition to myself, the 4 other designers are:

 

Svetlana Sotak:

@Sotakhandmade

 

Svetlana is a contemporary quilter, bag maker & blogger based in The Netherlands.  She has the most beautiful calming style and has an amazing range of pouch and bag patterns available in her shop.

 

Svetlana has recently authored a book entitled That Handmade Touch.

 

We will be kicking off our first week by making Svetlana’s Lola Pouch.

 

Lucy Brennan:

@CharmAboutYou

 

Lucy is a British quilter and blogger who designs & sells her own patterns and regularly teaches quilting classes. Lucy worked for two years as a designer and demonstrator on TV and often has projects featured in magazines.

 

Lucy describes her style as ‘miscellaneous’, enjoying mixing modern and traditional elements in her designs. She also co-hosts #saturdaynightcraftalong on Instagram, a weekly global crafting initiative.

 

In week 2 we will be making Lucy’s Melody Mini Quilt.

 

Kerry Foster:

@Pennydog

 

Kerry is a British blogger, quilter and dressmaker living in Canada.  She designs most of what she makes and is mostly known for making animal portrait quilts with turned edge applique.
Kerry is a regular contributor to British quilting magazines and also teaches quilting classes.  Her pointer ‘Hank’ is as famous as Kerry on Instagram!

 

Kerry sells her patterns online and has published a book entitled Paint by Number Quilts. 

 

In week 4 we will be making Kerry’s Horseplay Cushion.

 

Stuart Hillard:

@StuartHillardSews

 

Stuart first appeared on our screens in the first episode of The Great British Sewing Bee!  He is a self-confessed fabricaholic and designs his own fabrics.

 

In addition to presenting programmes on TV and his YouTube channel, Stuart is a regular contributor to quilting magazines and has authored 3 quilting and sewing books.

 

In the final week of our sew-along we will be making something from Stuart’s latest book Simple Shapes Stunning Quilts.

 

And week 3 will be yours truly!  I can’t wait to see how the others interpret my Dotti Denim Pouch!!

 

 

You can tune into my instagram account @justjudebelfast to follow our sew-along or any of the designers instagram accounts.

 

But don’t worry if you’re not on Instagram, I’ll also be posting my collaborative makes here too!

 

Happy sewing!

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Plush Velvet Tote


By Judith on June 27, 2020
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The last of my recent run on gift making is this plush velvet tote bag for my youngest daughter.

 

Plush Velvet Tote

 

She requested an everyday sizeable, soft tote bag, especially when she’s too-ing and fro-ing to lectures at Uni.

 

Plush Velvet Tote

 

Now this girl of mine is super tactile! I gave her a choice between 2 different lightweight upholstery bolts I had been donated, knowing full well she would choose the sumptuously soft velvet over a paler linen look fabric.

 

Plush Velvet Tote

 

I also gave her a choice of lining fabrics and she choose the one I had my fingers crossed on! That’s my girl!

 

Plush Velvet Tote

 

At 5’11” I knew she would need long length handles.  I made a feature of them with a few repurposed denim loops and tabs.  A little scrap of leather denotes the front of the bag.

 

Plush Velvet Tote

 

A simple phone pocket on the inside is all this bag needed to make it fully functional.

 

I’m happy to report the birthday girl loved her new bag and has been using it ever since!

 

Plush Velvet Tote

Happy sewing!

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Denim Planter


By Judith on June 21, 2020
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Hi everyone,

I hope you are keeping safe and well and keeping the creativity flowing!

 

Yesterday I hosted my first socially distanced afternoon tea party in my garden, to celebrate my cousin’s birthday!

 

Wendys birthday tea party

 

I’m happy to report that the sun shone all afternoon and a wonderful time was had by all!  It was so lovely socialising again and catching up with sewing friends face to face!

 

Denim Planter

 

My ‘make’ for the birthday girl was this denim planter, a multi-functional basket for her sewing or living room.

 

Denim Planter
Lining – Tilda, Bon Voyage Lilit Blue

 

Working with denim is always ‘play time’ for me and I thought I would make a larger version of the selvedge basket I designed and taught at our quilting retreat last year.

 

Selvedge Basket

 

First I sewed the denim strips onto heavy sew-in vilene using the ‘quilt as you go’ method of piecing.  I quickly realised this wasn’t going to be sturdy enough to allow the basket to retain its shape.

 

So I quilted the panel onto flex foam using orange Aurifil 12wt wool thread. Much better!  And just look at that gorgeous texture!

 

Denim Planter

 

The lining was inserted before adding the binding and pinching in the sides to give the boxy shape to the basket.

 

Denim Planter

 

I definitely needed my heavy jeans needle for that part!!

 

Denim Planter

 

And last but not least, some leather handles secured with bronze rivets, to bring a little rustic colour and texture to the basket.

 

Denim Planter

 

At this juncture I didn’t know what I was going to put in the basket, or how to ‘prop’ it for photographing.  I grabbed a couple of my artificial plants and set them in and immediately fell in love with the contrasting greenery and inventive use of the basket!

 

Denim Planter

 

And so my denim planter was born!  I loved making it and will definitely be making one for my own home!

 

Another lovely way to use up denim scraps!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Denim Hexie Messenger Bag


By Judith on June 10, 2020
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I’ve been working on a few gifts lately, and now that one has been received I can show you it here.

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

This bag was made as a special thank you to a lovely lady who enjoys repurposing textiles as much as I do!

 

Denim Hexie Messenger bag

 

I had a few relaxing evenings making up the EPP hexies, but with no other plan in my head than that!

So when I had 2 panels made to a good enough size the old design juices started flowing.

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

I got the panels quilted on to Flex Foam which I think really adds some lovely texture to the hexies.

I had a vision of a messenger bag with curved corners this time.  Once the gusset was in, the bag really started to take shape.

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

Getting the depth and style of the flap was important.  I didn’t want anything too fussy, so as not to take away from the hexies.  So a few lines of Aurifil 12wt wool thread in contrast gold did the trick, with curved corners to mirror the bottom of the bag.

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

When it comes to bag linings, I love the surprise of opening up a bag and getting that ‘wow’ factor from a stunning lining!

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

This lining is Autumn Nectar Honey by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics and is available here in my shop.

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

Doesn’t it just bring a blast of sunny colour to the inside of the bag!  And the purple tones are the perfect match for a cheeky Liberty key fob tab!

No funtional bag is complete without a handy slip pocket.

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

And the adjustable cross body strap means you can get out and about hands free!!

 

Denim Hexie Messenger Bag

 

I’m delighted to report that the new owner loves her bag and says it was a timely gift as her old bag was in need of being replaced! Yay!

 

I love it when my ‘play time’ repurposing textiles brings happy smiles and pleasure to faces!

 

Happy sewing!

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Causeway Hexie Cushion Finishes


By Judith on June 7, 2020
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I promised I would show you the finishes from my first online class – The Causeway Hexie Cushion class.

 

Here are some of the finishes!

 

Causeway Hexie Cushion class
Top Row L-R: Wendy, Valerie, Rosemary, Marion, Lois Bottom Row L-R: Janet, Deirdre, Anja, Debbie, Alison

 

Janet made 2 of the same cushion, so extra kudos to you Janet!!

 

Aren’t they gorgeous! And I know there are a few more still in the making!

 

Well done ladies for your amazing results and bearing with the imperfections in my first online class and being patient with our Zoom sessions!

 

I’m so looking forward to our next class starting tomorrow! Nothing beats actual ‘in person’ classes, but for lockdown, this is definitely the next best thing!

 

Happy sewing!

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New Online Class


By Judith on May 31, 2020
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We are still very much in lockdown here, so ‘teaching’ has had to look very different for me.

 

Aside from my free video tutorials on YouTube, I trialled an online class last month with my ladies – the Causeway Hexie Cushion.

 

Feedback from the ladies was really positive and I’m looking forward to showing you their results!

 

Spurred on by their brilliant results and encouragement, I’m making another class available – the Applique Hearts Boxy Bag.

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)This class will be available first to my ladies from 8th June, and then to the general public from 6th July.

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)

 

As before, the class will consist of 4 weekly YouTube videos, with an optional zoom session at the end of each session (existing class members only).  This is when we check in with each other, talk about any issues, swoon over our progress and fabric choices etc.  and generally stay connected (as best we can!).

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)

 

This boxy bag design is a variation on my original Boxy Bag class I designed and taught way back in 2011!

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)

 

I often call it my book bag, because the short handles and sturdy body really lend themselves to carrying heavy books and files, to work, college, church or the library!

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)

 

However, I also think it would be a great project bag.  There is a handy divider pocket which could keep a pattern book with lots of room in the main bag for a knitting or crafting project.

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)

 

I chose to needleturn my hearts onto the bag, but as you will see in the ‘what we cover’ section below, I also show you how to machine applique too!

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)

 

So here’s what we will cover in this class:

 

*hand applique (Needleturn)

*machine applique (Satin and blanket stitch)

*suitable materials for the bag

*quilting

*reinforced divider pocket

*snap fasteners for divider pocket

*making handles

*handbag construction

 

Many of the materials I have used in this bag are available in my shop.

 

Applique Hearts Boxy Bag (online class)

 

So if you need another practical and sturdy bag in your life, or can think of someone who would love one, why not join us on either 8th June or 6th July for some step by step handbag making fun!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Free Tutorial: Hexie Basket


By Judith on May 12, 2020
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As mentioned in my previous post, I have more baskets to show you!  And these are from my latest free YouTube Tutorial!

 

Hexie Basket Tutorial

 

In this tutorial you will learn:

 

~The English Paper Piecing technique

~Quilting the exterior panel

 

Hexie Basket Tutorial

 

~How to make and attaching Piping

 

Hexie Basket Tutorial

 

~Basket construction, including inserting the base and lining

 

 

Hexie Basket Tutorial

 

 

~Bindng the top edge to finish

 

Hexie Basket Tutorial

 

And a bonus feature at the end of the tutorial will show you how to calculate the cutting measurements for any size basket you wish to make!

 

Hexie Basket tutorial

 

So if you fancy making these cute baskets, why not check out my free video tutorial here.

 

Happy sewing!

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Basket Case!


By Judith on May 9, 2020
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I’ve been making a lot of baskets lately!

 

Some were for my next free tutorial (remember my Scrappy Hexie Basket?  Well I’ll be releasing the pattern for this one as a free tutorial very soon).

 

And some were just an excuse to have fun with teeny pieces of fabric!

 

Improv scrap baskets

 

These baskets are only 4.5″ and 6″ tall and are ‘improv. pieced’.  This means your pieces of fabric aren’t pre-cut to a specific size, rather you just keep adding pieces until you have a section that can be joined to another section.

 

Improv scrap baskets

 

Improv. piecing for small projects is the perfect way to use up tiny pieces that are too small for English Paper Piecing or regular piecing patterns.

 

Improv scrap baskets

 

To give you a sense of scale, my smaller basket is holding large spools of 50wt Aurifil thread.

 

Improv scrap baskets

 

I create my baskets with an inset base with piping.  I think the piping gives the basket more definition and shape.

 

Improv scrap baskets

 

And the structure is provided by the heavy sew-in vilene that the exterior is quilted on to.

 

Improv scrap baskets

 

I can think of a tonne of uses for these cute baskets, not least filled with goodies and gifted to loved ones!

 

Tune back soon to hear all about my free Hexie Basket YouTube Tutorial!

(And now there’s a mini tutorial on how to make these improv.pieced versions of my Hexie Baskets here.)

Happy sewing!

 

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Sashiko Minis


By Judith on April 30, 2020
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Once upon a time, in the days before lockdown, I visited an Irish linen factory and purchased some small offcuts of charcoal blue medium weight linen (among other things, ahem!).

 

Sashiko minis

 

I immediately fell in love with the muted tones of this linen and thought a striking white thread would contrast beautifully with it!

 

And that started my pursuit of a series of small sashiko designs which I could stitch and frame as a set.

 

Sashiko Minis

 

I found a few free designs I liked on Pinterest and played around printing out various sizes.  I settled for 6″ designs and cut out my linens at 7.5″.

 

Then came the problems!!

 

Sashiko Minis

 

Trying to transfer the designs onto this medium weight linen proved tricky!  First I tried my lightbox, but the linen was too dense to allow the design to show through enough to trace!

 

My pattern transfer pen is dark purple and wouldn’t show up on the linen.

 

Sashiko Minis

 

So after watching a few YouTube tutorials I ordered some yellow carbon paper.  I traced the design through the carbon paper onto the right side of the linen. But the yellow pigment barely left a mark!

Aarrgghh!

 

Sashiko Minis

 

So the only option I felt I had left was to trace the design onto baking paper, sew through the paper, and then tear the paper away at the end.  I wasn’t too keen on this idea because hand sewn stitches are much less secure than machine sewn stitches and could get pulled out of shape.

 

Sashiko Minis

 

So I fused some woven interlining onto the back of the linen and tried one design to see if I could get away with it, and bar one or two stitches that needed ‘settled down’ again after removing the paper, it worked relatively well.

 

Sashiko Minis

 

I didn’t have sashiko thread so used an old spool of fine crochet cotton instead!!

 

And the 7.5″ box frames came from Hobbycraft today, so I wasted no time getting them framed and photographed (I took out the glass for the photoshoot!).

 

Sashiko Minis

 

All I need to do now is decide where to hang them!!

 

Happy sewing!

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Textile Art Class Finishes!


By Judith on April 29, 2020
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It seems like an age since we were last in class creating a holy mess with strips of fabric, wool fibres, thread and hospital bandages (don’t ask!!)!

 

We were well in the throws of making Textile Art Pictures, using a water soluble fabric technique for the background, and then building up a picture on top.

 

I’ve had a few finished photos sent to me of completed pictures, and they are pretty amazing!

 

Class Finishes: Textile Art

Class Finishes: Textile Art

 

Aren’t they fab!  I love how each one is uniquely different, expressing favourite thoughts, colours, flowers and words.

 

I know this particular project was a real hit with some of my ladies, who had ideas and plans for several more pictures!

 

If you’d like to have a go at a similar technique, check out my free tutorial here on how to turn little scraps into applique shapes using water soluble fabric (available to purchase here).

 

And it’s soo lovely to see your scrappy pouches, made using my first YouTube tutorial.

 

Scrappy pouches video tutorial

 

Thank you everyone for sending me your pics!  They bring a smile to my face!

 

Happy sewing!

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Scrappy Heart Drawstring Bags


By Judith on April 21, 2020
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Hello there!

 

I’ve had a little extra time on my hands the past 2 days (that’s in between long lie-ins, short walks and afternoon reading in my sunny garden)!

 

I had a few leftover pieces of Tilda strips from my last free video tutorial project and thought I’d put them to good use.

 

Scrappy Heart Drawstring Bags

 

This little drawstring bag stands around 11″ tall (unfilled) and combines mostly Tilda scraps with some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).

 

Scrappy Heart Drawstring Bags

 

I quilted the front and back in a 1″ diagonal grid before needleturning a heart on each side, and a simple running stitch detail.

 

Scrappy Heart Drawstring Bags

 

The bag is fully lined with finished drawstring tabs.

 

Scrappy Heart Drawstring Bags

 

The bag took no time at all to make, so I made another one!!

 

Scrappy Heart Drawstring Bags

 

I’m not much of a hand stitcher, but I really enjoyed the slow stitching of the hearts and running stitches.

 

Scrappy Heart Drawstring Bags

 

I’m planning on filling these bags with goodies and gifting them to some friends who are fighting on the front line of the Covid19 battle.

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Scrappy Table Topper Video Tutorial


By Judith on April 12, 2020
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As lockdown continues here, I’ve had lots more time to play with my favourite scraps!

 

I’ve been needing a little mat to place under the tray that sits on my oak table.  I also love the process of making ‘stacked coins’ from scrappy strips.

 

So put the two together and what do you get? My free Scrappy Table Topper Tutorial!

 

Scrappy Table Topper Vidoe Tutorial

 

The tutorial will take you through how to make the stacked coin columns – they can be any size you wish, maximising the size of scraps you have.

 

Scrappy Table Topper Vidoe Tutorial

 

You will also see how to quilt the topper using a quilting bar – that weird looking ‘allen key’ type bar that languishes in your accessories tray!  It’s a really handy little gadget, and will save you lots of marking out time!

 

Scrappy Table Topper Vidoe Tutorial

 

I also show you how to make and finish off the binding by ‘stitching in the ditch’ from the front side.

 

Scrappy Table Topper Vidoe Tutorial

 

This is a really quick little project, and you can make these pretty and functional mats any size you like!  I now have several of them dotted around my house, bringing me joy each time my eye catches some of my favourite fabrics.

 

Scrappy Table Topper Vidoe Tutorial

 

I hope you enjoy the tutorial.  We are getting better with each one that we make, and we have more planned!

 

Happy sewing!

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Scrappy Pouches Video Tutorial


By Judith on April 6, 2020
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Hello everyone!

 

I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these strange days.  With much more time available to us, I guess you are all making lots of headway with all your WIPs and UFOs!!!!! (wink, wink!)

 

With no classes to teach, I thought I’d have a go at teaching online!!  With essential tech support from my daughter, we spent 6 days filming, editing, cringing,  re-filming and editing some more to finally produce our first video tutorial!

 

It’s far from perfect and we still have lots to learn (not sure I’ll ever get used to seeing & hearing myself on video!), but we are really pleased overall and the initial feedback is positive.

 

So if you have lots of scraps you would like to turn into something practical and pretty, then our free tutorial might just be what you’re looking for!

 

scrappy pouches video tutorial
Click on the pic and you’ll be taken to the tutorial on my Youtube Channel

 

These scrappy pouches can be made to any size, so you can cater for the scraps you have.

 

The strips are sewn down onto a foundation layer (either sew-in interlining, baking paper or wadding) and no matter the size of the pouch (or textile you use) the technique is the same.

 

I’ve made a cutesy pencil case size pouch ….

 

Scrappy Pouches Video Tutorial

 

…. as well as medium sized project or toiletry pouches.

 

Scrappy Pouches Video Tutorial
Scrappy Pouches Video Tutorial

 

And then I went large with my denim scraps, making this extra-large pouch, perfect for a laptop, files or even a knitting project!!

 

Scrappy Pouches Video Tutorial

 

The tutorial takes you step by step through making the strippy panels, creating zipper tabs, inserting the zipper and assembling and finishing the pouch.

 

Scrappy Pouches Video Tutorial

 

And you also get the measurements for all the sizes shown here.

 

So with all this time on our hands, there’s really no excuse for not diminishing those scraps!

 

Have fun and keep sewing!

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Graduation Gifts!


By Judith on March 30, 2020
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My daughter has recently been serving with a Missions organisation called YWAM (Youth With A Mission).

 

As a team leader she has had the privilege of nurturing 5 students through a Discipleship Training Programme, 4 months in the UK and 2 in Japan.

 

At the end of the programme the students have a graduation ceremony, and I had the privilege of making little graduation gifts!

 

Sadly because of Corona Virus, the graduation ceremony couldn’t take place, but the gifts were handed out none-the-less and well received (I also made gifts for the other team and programme leaders).

For the Girls:

 

 

Hexie Pouches Graduation gifts

 

My evenings spent basting hexies meant I had a little collection built up! So I put them to good use and turned them into zippy pouches.

 

Hexie Pouches Graduation gifts

 

I had no idea what the girls’ colour preferences were, and even though they were individually wrapped and handed out separately, my daughter said that each person got exactly the right one for their particular style and colour choice! Yay!

 

Hexie Pouches Graduation gifts

 

All the hexie panels are made from scraps, leftovers from other projects.  The bases are either Irish Linen or Essex Yarn Dyed Linen and the exteriors finished off with little leather tabs.

 

Hexie Pouches Graduation gifts

 

I put some scented hand creams inside the pouches! An extra little surprise when they were opened!

 

Hexie Pouches Graduation gifts

 

For the Boys:

 

Journal Covers - Graduation gifts

 

These are A5 journal covers, made in Irish linen and cork.

 

Journal Covers - Graduation gifts

 

The exteriors are identical, with little scraps of navy leather riveted onto the cork pockets, which also have a handy pen slot!

 

Journal Covers - Graduation gifts

 

The cover is held closed by wrapping a leather cord around a duffle button.

 

Journal Covers - Graduation gifts

 

The linings are suitably masculine, and I even included a notebook!  So these journals are ready for immediate use!

 

I was so pleased I was able to post these over to the graduates and leaders, before they all quickly dispersed to different countries, before borders and flights were closed to them.

 

My classroom is currently closed because of the pandemic, so during this lockdown I hope to make more gifts, as well as trying my hand at video tutorials and classes.

 

You can check out my first video announcement today on FB and IG, and a mini tour of my little sewing room here!

 

 

Wish me luck!

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Scrappy Scraps Basket!


By Judith on March 16, 2020
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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! Apologies!

 

Nothing to do with the current pandemic. I got creatively and mentally very tired after a busy first quarter, but I’m pleased to report that life is settling down for me (ironically, as Covid-19 causes chaos!) and I’m back at the sewing machine!

 

If you know me at all you will know my love of scraps and Tilda!  Put them both together and you get lots of EPP (English Paper Piecing) projects using even the littlest pieces (see some past examples here and here)!

 

I had been keeping my precious Tilda scraps in an unattractive plastic bag!

 

But now look what I’m keeping them in!

 

Hexie Tilda Scraps Basket

 

These are 1″ hexies, hand stitched together and quilted onto heavy sew-in vilene, then magically turned into a cute basket to perfectly house my pretty scraps!

 

Hexie Tilda Scraps Basket

 

I wanted a defined cylindrical shape so added some piping to the base and narrow binding at the top.

 

Hexie Tilda Scraps Basket

 

I’m hoping you can’t see where the short sides of the panel are joined together to make the cylinder! With EPP, the shapes at opposite sides will slot together (like a jigsaw) so trim away the excess stabiliser before joining the hexies with some discreet whip or ladder stitches.

 

Hexie Tilda Scraps Basket

 

My chosen lining isn’t Tilda but a pretty Lecien floral. But as a lover of all things ‘ditsy’ I’m confident it blends beautifully with the Tilda prints.

 

Hexie Tilda Scraps Basket

 

Now, what will I make next with my favourite scraps!!

 

Happy scrapping!

 

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Tucks & Pleats Class Finishes


By Judith on February 27, 2020
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You may remember the first block of classes this year was all about Tucks & Pleats.

We manipulated fabric a few different ways in 3 projects:

 

A pouch with twisted tucks:

 

 

A cushion with open tucks:

 

 

A pleated bag:

(free pattern by U-Handbag.com)

 

 

It’s fair to say that these projects went down a treat!  Check out some of the awesome finishes:

 

Tucks & Pleats Class finishes
Tucks & Pleats Class finishes
Tucks & Pleats Class finishes

 

Aren’t they amazing!  And there are a few more still being finished off (take it from me, they are equally as stunning!).

 

Well done ladies on all your tucking and pleating!  Enjoy your beautiful projects.

 

Happy sewing!

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Spring ’20 Quilting Retreat


By Judith on February 24, 2020
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Our 2nd quilting retreat at Murlough House, Co.Down was at the weekend, and just like our first retreat last October, it didn’t disappoint!

 

Spring '20 Quilting Retreat

 

There were 18 of us, sewing, laughing, eating, playing and having some much needed chill out time!

 

And like last time, the sun shone which meant the fitter few got to enjoy some scenic walks down to the beach!

 

Our swap/ice-breaker project was the humble mug-rug. Nothing humble about these beauties!

 

Spring'20 Quilting Retreat

 

The workshops this time around were Foundation Pieced Spools on Saturday (later turned into cute wallhangings) and some relaxing hand sewing on Sunday making brooches.

 

Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat

 

Last year our charity quilt block drive involved lots and lots of scrappy 2.5″ squares, all sewn together to make a postage stamp quilt for Siblings Together.  Here is the recently finished quilt, made by 23 people!

 

Spring '20 Quilting Retreat

 

Inspired by our efforts, a small group of ladies from retreat organised themselves to make more postage stamp blocks and brought their finished quilt at the weekend to show us.

 

Spring '20 Quilting Retreat

 

Isn’t it fabulous!  So that’s 2 quilts ready to be posted to Siblings Together.

Our charity quilt block drive this year was all about half square triangles.

The ladies each  brought 5 colourful squares and 5 low volume squares with them to retreat, we mixed them up and then gave them back pairs of squares to sew, chop, press and rejoin into blocks of 9 half square triangles.

And just look what 18 people achieved!

 

Spring '20 Quilting Retreat

 

And when this quilt is pieced, quilted and bound, that will be another one off to Siblings Together!

 

And there were many other quilts in the making too this weekend. Here are just a few!

 

Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat
Spring '20 Quilting Retreat

 

Phew! What a wonderfully creative time we had!

 

A huge thank you to the wonderful staff at Murlough House, and of course to this crazy lot for making it a very special quilting retreat!

 

Spring '20 Quilting Retreat

Happy quilting!

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Textile Art – New Class Project


By Judith on February 16, 2020
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At the end of February we will be having a half term break from classes.

Which means, a new block of classes kicks off in March up until Easter.

And a new block of classes means a new (optional) class project.

 

 

We’re going to dip our creative toes into some textile art this term, having unadulterated play-time with mixed textiles and medium.

 

I’ve 2 class samples to showcase several fun techniques.

 

Picture 1:

 

Textile Art Pictures - Class samples

 

This is a 12″ picture in a box frame.

The background can be made with strips of torn linens, cottons, lace, voile, broderie anglaise and anything else light weight which is textured or can fray well.  I even included fine strands of felting wool!

We then use a water-soluble fabric to matchstick quilt the background before adding our composition on top.

 

Textile Art Pictures - Class samples

 

I’ve chosen some flowers and seed heads, but you could quite easily go with a bird, meadow or beach theme.  Let your creativity run wild!

In the making of my picture I used the following techniques:

couching

free motion embroidery

paper aging

embellishing

I also included some cut out some embroidered yellow flowers from an old duvet cover!!

 

Textile Art Pictures - Class samples

 

What a lot of fun!  You’ll never look at textured fabrics, bedding and apparel in the same way again!

 

Picture 2:

 

Textile Art Pictures - Class samples

 

I love word art!  There’s nothing quite like the perfectly spoken word at exactly the right time to create profound impact and legacy.

 

If you enjoy poetry and literature you can have so much fun with your composition here.  Or how about the name and meaning of a loved one?  What a special gift.

 

The background is made in the same way as picture 1.  I’ve also included free motion sketching and printed text here.  This time though, I’ve embellished my picture with text printed onto fabric.  You need an inket jet printer and freezer paper do to this.

 

Textile Art Pictures - Class samples

 

I’m so looking forward to seeing what artistic impressions are released when this class starts in March!

 

If you would like to join us for some textile creativity, check out all the classes and vacancies here.

 

Happy sewing!

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Pleated Bag – Class Project


By Judith on February 2, 2020
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In our current block of classes we are looking at tucks and pleats.

 

You may remember I had made 2 examples of tucks for our classes, but at the time was still working on a pleats sample.

 

And here it is:

 

For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)

 

The pattern for this pleated bag is by Lisa Lam (U-handbag.com) and is called ‘For Pleats Sake!’.  You can find the free tutorial here.

 

For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)

 

The tutorial doesn’t include quantities for the exterior and interior fabrics.

 

If you are using non-directional fabric you will need 0.5 metre of both.  However, if you have a direction to your pattern which follows the width of the bolt, you will need 0.75 metres.

 

And a further note on the fabrics.  I used ‘deco’ (decorating) weight fabric (or lightweight curtaining) from Ikea.  This fabric gives body to the bag, pleats beautifully and negates the need for interfacing or fusible fleece.

 

For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)

 

I used the same weight for the lining (a vintage curtain) which also gets pleated. However if you wanted to use quilting weight cotton I recommend using a heavy weight sew-in stabiliser (rather than fusible fleece) on both the exterior and lining.  Spray baste the sew-in stabiliser rather than using a fusible heavy weight stabiliser as this could resist the light weight cotton and cause it to bubble.

 

For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)

 

Sewing the faux leather handles through the exterior layers only can be tricky (the handles can’t be held in place with pins and the needle comes  out awkwardly between the exterior and lining!). So try sewing through both layers and covering the visible back stitching with glued on fabric or leather scraps.

P.s. you want to use really strong thread to sew on your handles, like linen, perle cotton or 6 strand embroidery floss.

 

For Pleats Sake Bag (class sample)

 

The bags currently being made in class are gorgeous! I can’t wait to show you them at half term, with the equally beautiful pleated pouches and cushions!  It’s a hive of wondrous activity!

(Want to know the difference between pleats and tucks?  See here)

 

Happy pleating!

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Hexie Book Bag


By Judith on January 26, 2020
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I like a little ‘hexie action’ in the evenings, and over Christmas I enjoyed working my Tilda scraps into 1.25″ EPP hexies.

 

As they grew I thought I would make a cover for my soft cover Bible.  But then I keep a journal with my Bible, as well as Bible Study books!!!

 

So a cover grew into a bag!

 

Hexie Book Bag

 

I remembered many years ago I had designed and taught a boxy bag class (my mum uses hers for keeping books in).  So I blew the cobwebs off my pattern and set to!

 

There is so much I love about this new boxy bag.

 

Hexie Book Bag

 

Firstly, it has plenty of room for my Bible and study books and a separate pocket for my A4 journal. And because it is made from flex foam it sits squat and open giving me visible and easy access to the contents.

 

Hexie Book Bag

 

I also love the combo of Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) with the Tilda Hexies and a little vintage lace.

 

Hexie Book Bag

 

I even included some hexies inside.

 

Also inside is handbag mesh in the base, to ensure the shape of the bag is maintained while carrying around heavy books.