February is the month of love, and no better way to celebrate than with a free patchwork heart tutorial!
I first created a placemat size Log Cabin Heart a few years ago for Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, when they asked their contributors to design a mini quilt that represented 3 favourite things.
For me it was Log Cabins (my first love in quilt blocks!), scraps (of course!) and the colour purple (my favourite colour since childhood!).
But now I can add a 4th favourite element – piecing!
I love piecing much more than quilting, and the thought of downsizing my Heart block (while dialing up the cuteness!) thrilled me no end!
So my free YouTube tutorial means you can choose from the large (original) size – which makes a 14″ square unfinished block, the medium size – which makes a 10″ square unfinished block and the baby of the family – which makes a 6.5″ square unfinished block.
Perfect for using even the smallest of prettiest scraps!
But of course, why stick with squares!!
You can turn your blocks into anything you like. How do you like my trio of mats, made with my favourite Tilda scraps and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim)?
The large size would be perfect as a table centre.
Or how about the medium one as a candle or potholder mat.
And the mini mat is the perfect coaster size for your co-ordinating mug!
At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks and her 3 bears, there’s a size perfect for everyone!!
I love cross-hatch quilting, and it’s the perfect design for ditching through the ‘logs’ of these hearts.
And despite having a drawer full of pretty pre-made bias bindings, I didn’t have just the right colour for my trio, so I made my own!!
I also made a little gift bag with the small size heart pieced into the front and another one on the back.
This is filled with goodies for my friend’s birthday!
So if you love piecing, log cabins or cute hearts as much as me, why not check out my free YouTube tutorial. A link to the accompanying PDF Cutting and Measurements chart is in the description.
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.
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!
I also show you how to make and finish off the binding by ‘stitching in the ditch’ from the front side.
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.
I hope you enjoy the tutorial. We are getting better with each one that we make, and we have more planned!
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!
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 ….
…. as well as medium sized project or toiletry pouches.
And then I went large with my denim scraps, making this extra-large pouch, perfect for a laptop, files or even a knitting project!!
The tutorial takes you step by step through making the strippy panels, creating zipper tabs, inserting the zipper and assembling and finishing the pouch.
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!
So what have we been up to this week in class? Well, as our class project this term has been the Folded Double Wreath, I thought I would do a quick demo on another type of wreath – the simple plaited wreath!
This wreath uses much less fabric and is quicker to make! Win, win!
To make this wreath you will need:
3 x 3″ strips cut width of fabric (usually 42″ – 44″)
1 x 5″ strip cut width of fabric (bow) (42″ – 44″)
Large Safety Pin
Wooden skewer or knitting needle
Method: Use 1/4″ seam allowance
1 Fold each 3″ strip in half lengthways, right sides together, and sew down the long side. Leave the short ends open.
2 Use a large safety pin to turn the tubes right sides out. Do not press.
3 Stuff the tubes from each open end towards the middle. I used a wooden skewer for this. Make sure the tubes aren’t so well stuffed that they can’t be plaited.
4 At one end of each tube, tuck under the raw edges and pin and sew together across the top (I hand sewed a whip stitch here). Make sure the seams are all facing the back of the tubes.
5 Plait the wreath tightly ensuring no gaps between the tubes.
6 When you get to the end, trim the tubes to the same length, tuck under the raw edges and whip stitch them together as with the other end.
7 Neatly join both ends of the wreath, trying to continue the plaiting order.
8 To make the bow, fold the strip in half lengthways, right sides together, and sew down the long side, leaving a 3″ gap half way down.
9 Angle the ends of the bow by drawing a diagonal line a few inches in from one corner and down to the adjacent corner. Sew along this line. Cut away the excess leaving 1/4″ seam allowance. Make sure the angled ends of the bow are pointing in opposite directions.
10 Turn the bow right sides out, push the points out with the skewer or knitting needle and press, making sure to tuck in the raw edges of the gap.
11 Stitch the gap closed and tie the bow to the wreath, covering the join.
Tip: Tying the perfect bow – after the first tie, turn the wreath upside down and complete the bow. The pointed ends of the bow will hang down towards the bottom of the wreath!
Almost 2 years ago I launched our first appeal for Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Care in Antrim Hospital.
As the name suggests, the bags carry Syringe Drivers, the vehicle for administering pain or sickness medication. The patient receives the meds via a tube, which means they have to carry the Syringe Drivers around with them all the time. Sometimes they have one syringe driver, sometimes 2.
Providing bright and colourful bags instead of the standard issue grey ones is a small way of bringing a little cheeriness to the patient, especially when they get to choose one they like!
For our first appeal we had a brilliant response from generous sewists across Northern Ireland. So much so, we were able to pass on some bags to other palliative care units.
These bags can’t be reused, and the supply of bags from the first appeal has been exhausted.
Macmillan have asked us for more, so we are launching our 2nd Syringe Driver Bag Appeal!
If you have some sewing machine experience and cotton fabric, would you consider making one or two bags for those receiving palliative care or cancer treatment? You can find the tutorial here.
Previously we have only made for adult males and females, but now we also have a request from The Children’s Hospice, N.I., so we can receive bags in child-friendly fabrics too!
I launched the 2nd appeal on Facebook 10 days ago and we’ve already received 25 bags! THANK YOU!
I’ve always known how generous our sewing community is! Please, please help us to make many more bags! The bags can be posted or delivered to me at home. Email me at email@example.com for my address.
And if you live locally to Belfast, keep your eyes and ears open for an announcement about a free Syringe Driver Bag Workshop at our studio in Conway Mill!
Welcome back to my Log Cabin Blocks series (part 1 available here).
In part 1 we looked at a range of Log Cabin blocks, from Traditional to Wonky!
In part 2, we are going to look at the 2nd category in this family of blocks.
(All sample blocks are made using fabrics from ‘Handmade’ by Makower)
Part 2: Courthouse Steps
Similar to the traditional Log Cabin Block, ‘steps’ are added in rounds to the centre square, this time attaching to two opposite edges first before adding steps to the remaining 2 edges. The ‘steps’ are the same width.
Here is one of my traditional Courthouse Steps Quilts, this time starting with a background square (I’ve marked the block to make it easier for you to identify).
I love how the secondary pattern from the Courthouse Steps blocks dominates in this design!
You can find a traditional Courthouse Steps block tutorial here.
2. Colour Rounds:
As with the Log Cabin Colour Rounds variation, the same fabric is used in each round, but sticking with the same traditional Courthouse Steps construction.
By adding squares (cornerstones) to the ends of the ‘steps’ you will add an Irish Chain secondary pattern to your quilt.
You can change the starting shape of a Courthouse Steps Block to any 4 sided shape (like Log Cabin) but not a triangle.
As I mentioned in my last post, there are lots more great Courthouse steps variations available. Like this ‘sliced’ Courthouse Steps:
In this version, you make two blocks in two fabrics, one positive, one negative.
Slice them in half diagonally, switch them over and sew back together!
Now the point of doing this lies in the secondary patterns you can achieve from Sliced Courthouse Steps.
Aren’t they cool!
A video tutorial of Sliced Courthouse Steps is available here.
You can find more inspiring Courthouse Steps examples on my Pinterest board here.
And I’ll leave you with a picture of a Courthouse Steps block I’m currently working on, using vintage sheets.
I hope you’ll come back soon for part 3 of our Log Cabin Family series.
Hi there, the ‘5 minute demo’ in my classes for this month was all about Portholes!
I first learned how to do this nifty technique from Lu Summers at the 2012 Fat Quarterly Retreat.
It was so much fun, and one of those techniques that is deceptively easy!
You can pretty much porthole any shape, and show off some patchwork, feature fabric or pretty vintage embroidery. But my advice is not to get too intricate with the shape otherwise the outline may not keep its definition.
5.5″ diameter bowl or plate to draw around (alternatively use template plastic and compass)
9″ diameter bowl or plate to draw around
13″ diameter bowl or plate to draw around
Calico: Same 3 cuts as Fabrics 2-4 above
Use 1/4″ seam allowance
1 Press the 12.5″ calico square in half both ways to find the centre.
2 Centre the 5.5″ diameter bowl (or template plastic) onto the calico and draw round the circle.
3 Place the calico onto the RIGHT side of Fabric 2, with the circle facing up. Pin the layers together and stitch on the circle.
4 Carefully cut away the fabric in the middle of the circle leaving an 1/8″ seam allowance.
5 Push the calico through the hole and round to the back. Press well so there is no calico showing from the front side.
6 Position and centre Fabric 1 (feature fabric) behind the calico, before pinning and sewing around the hole, 1/8″ from the edge.
7 Peel back the top fabric from the calico and feature fabric laying behind. Carefully trim away all the excess calico and feature fabric leaving 1/8″ seam allowance. Do not cut through Fabric 2! Put to one side.
8 Repeat steps 1-5 for the 16.5″ piece of calico and 9″ diameter bowl/plate.
9 Pin the first porthole (with feature fabric) behind this porthole. Sew around the 2nd porthole 1/8″ from the edge, as before.
10 Peel back the top fabric from the calico and feature fabric laying behind. Carefully trim away all the excess calico and feature fabric leaving 1/8″ seam allowance. Do not cut through Fabric 3! Put to one side.
11 Repeat steps 8-10 for Fabric 4 and 13″ diameter bowl/plate.
Tip: If you want to turn your piece into a cushion, I recommend not trimming away the last layer of calico and excess feature fabric. This will add more stability to the outer edges.
Now you have your triple porthole piece, you can turn it into a pretty cushion!
I spray basted wadding and calico behind the cushion front, hand ‘echo’ quilted the portholes, before adding some mini pompoms and an envelope back!
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and have lots of fun giving portholes a go!
What an amazing year it has been, both inside the classroom and outside it!
One of my professional highlights in 2018 was attending Patchwork in the Peaks Quilters Retreat, Morzine, France, as guest tutor.
And on a personal level, hosting a memory quilt party for my special friend’s 50th birthday in February was a wonderful day!
Helping 2 charities, Shared Threads and Flourish, launch their new sewing initiatives, both aimed at improving the lives of women, locally and internationally was (and continues to be) a pleasure and a privilege.
Among the many highs and lows that come in a year, I’m reminded of my ‘word for the year’ back in January ’18 – RHYTHM.
I set a word at the start of each year to give me a focus to my professional and life goals.
After a massive year of change in 2017, I feel I definitely achieved some rhythm, allowing life to settle some, and to get into my stride with the new classroom and home.
Of course there were still changes in 2018, some happy, some sad, some expected, some unexecpted; the normalcy of life demands it.
But amidst it all, I have much to be thankful for and am content to leave 2018 with a smile, and embrace the exciting new chapter that is 2019.
Come back soon to find out all about my word for 2019!
It’s all about the festive makes at the moment at Just Jude Designs!
So I thought I’d bring you a fun and easy little Christmas tutorial to get you in the festive spirit!
For 1 Tree You will need:
2 x (5″ wide x 6″ tall) pieces of background fabric
2 x (5″ wide x 6″ tall) pieces of heavy weight sew-in vilene
2 x (4.5″ wide x 5.5″ tall) thin card
Green, red and gold/yellow threads
Thread to match background fabric
1″ x 2″ wide ribbon (trunk)
4″ length of narrow ribbon
Hand sewing needle
Non-permanent fabric marker
1 Cut the card into an isosceles triangle – draw a line from each bottom corner to the middle of the top edge. Cut away the sides.
2 Place the vilene behind the background fabric (I use a little basting spray here). On the vilene, I centred and drew around the card triangle as a guideline for stitching.
3 From the right side, draw 1″ lines across the background fabric using a non-permanent fabric pen.
4 Select a decorative stitch on your machine and sew along one of the lines.
5 Continue sewing decorative stitches along all the lines (for the lines near the top of the tree you only need to sew 0.5″ wider than the triangle marking).
6 Now sew decorative stitches in lines between the ones already sewn. Repeat steps 2-6 for the other background piece.
7 Cut out a generous 1/4″ wider than the triangle.
8 Pin the triangle card to the wrong side of one of the pieces. Using the English Paper Piecing (EPP) method, wrap the edges around the card and hand tack in place.
9 From the right side, machine stitch around the edges 1/8″ from the edge. At the bottom edge of the tree, catch the folded ‘trunk’ ribbon as you sew past. Remove the tacking stitches & leave in the card.
10 Hand tack a ribbon loop to the top of the tree (inside edge).
11 EPP & top stitch the remaining card triangle to the other stitched piece in the same way as before. Remove the tacking stitches & leave in the card.
12 Bring the 2 trees wrong sides together and whip stitch (by hand) the 2 trees together.
My 5 minute demo in class this month was how to make these super easy infinity scarfs.
You can use anything between 1 and 4 pieces of fabric for your scarf.
The sumptuous softness of Art Gallery fabrics or Liberty Lawns work particularly well, but you can also use quilting cotton, or for a more cosy scarf, try brushed cotton or snuggly fleece.
Would you like to know how to make them? My tutorial shows you how to make a scarf from 4 fabrics.
You will need:
Scarf made from 1 fabric: 1 x (20″ x 60″) or
Scarf made from 2 fabrics: 2 x (10.5″ x 60″) or
Scarf made from 3 fabrics: 2 x (10.5″ x 30″) & 1 x (10.5″ x 60″) or
Scarf made from 4 fabrics: 4 x (10.5″ x 30″)
3 metres mini pom pom trim (optional)
Adjustable zipper foot
Use 1/4″ seam allowance
1 Sew 2 panels right sides together along the short edges. Press the seam open. Repeat for the other 2 panels.
2 On the right side of one of the pairs, pin and machine tack 2 x 60″ lengths of mini pom pom trim down both long sides. The pom poms should be facing away from the outer edges. I used my zipper foot for this part so I could sew past the pom poms.
3 Place both paired panels right sides together and sew down both long sides. Again, I used my zipper foot here.
4 Turn the scarf right side out.
5 Iron under the raw edges of one short end by 1/4″.
6 Take the other short end and twist the scarf once before tucking it into the ironed under short end.
7 Even out the short ends, pin and sew them together, 1/8″ from the folded edge. You are only sewing through the 2 short ends here.
And there you have it! A beautifully soft infinity scarf.
You can of course lengthen and widen the measurements here to suit your needs or style!
Have fun making these versatile and practical scarves. But be warned!
It’s about time I posted another tutorial here, don’t you think?
Before all the sniffles and colds get going, how about pretty, quilted tissue box covers. I’d much rather see pretty fabric sitting in my room, than a functional cardboard box!
And this tutorial will explain how to cover a box of any size, so let’s get started!
You Will Need:
Heavy Sew-In Vilene
Non-permanent fabric marker
Cardboard or template plastic
Measure your box:
Take measurements A (short side), B (long side) and C (top). Then add 3/4″ (0.75″) to each measurement (1/2″ for seam allowances, 1/4″ for ease) to get the cutting out sizes.
You can see my measurements in the example below:
So now that you have the cutting out measurements you can either ….
apply all measurements to your exterior fabrics, lining fabric, wadding and heavy sew-in vilene
instead of cutting out the sides, cut and baste an 11″ x 12″ piece of exterior fabric, wadding and sew-in vilene. Once quilted, this is big enough to cut out all 4 sides.
You will also need this template for the openings. I use the larger shape for rectangular boxes and the smaller shape for cube boxes. Cut out the openings and transfer them to card or template plastic.
Use 1/4″ seams
1 If you haven’t already done so, spray baste the exterior fabrics, wadding and vilene together.
2 Quilt as desired (I marked and quilted a 1.5″ diagonal grid, see photo above).
3 Pin an exterior short side (A) right sides together with the exterior top (C). With a pen, mark 1/4″ in from each corner on the short side (wrong side).
4 Sew from marker to marker, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch. Repeat for the other short side.
5 Press the short ends out before attaching the long sides in the same way (remember to mark your 1/4″ points).
6 Repeat steps 3-5 for the lining pieces.
7 Find the middle of the lining top piece (I simply folded it in half lengthways and widthways and finger pressed).
8 Centre your chosen template opening onto the wrong side of the lining top piece and draw around it.
9 Pin the exterior and lining pieces right sides together. Sew along the drawn line, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch.
10 Carefully cut out the opening, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Snip at 1cm intervals all the way around the opening, taking care not to cut into the stitches.
11 Push the lining through the opening and all the way round to the back of the exterior. Iron around the opening to neaten.
12 Top stitch around the opening, 1/8″ from the edge.
13 Pin the exterior sides right sides together. Sew adjacent exterior sides together, sewing from the top down to the 1/4″ marker (fold the top piece out of the way so you can get right down to the 1/4″ marker). Start and finish with a reverse stitch.
14 Repeat step 13 for the lining pieces.
15 Turn the exterior right side out, by folding it out over the lining. On the inside you should be able to see the right side of the lining.
16 Push the lining well into the corners of the exterior cover. Pop in the tissue box and trim off any excess cover and lining level with the edge of the box.
17 Machine tack (large stitch) around the raw edges 1/8″ from the edge.
18 Make enough double fold quilt binding to get around the bottom edges with a couple of inches overlap. Attach, join and finish the binding as you would for a quilt.
Pop in the tissue box and adorn your bedside table!
Or how about a scrappy tissue box cover ….
…. or have some free motion sketching fun!
Whatever shape or design you choose for your cover, have lots of fun!
This is my Autumn Rail Fence Quilt (as featured in August ’17 issue of Pretty Patches magazine).
If, like me, you have a healthy supply of scraps, then this is a great scrap buster project for you!
In August I am hosting a Scrap Buster Saturday, and this is one of the many quick and easy ideas folks can use to dig in to those overflowing scrap boxes!
Here’s how to make the Scrappy Rail Fence Block (12.5″ unfinished):
1 You will need a variety of scrappy strips, at least 13″ long and of varying widths (don’t go wider than 3″). Press them and make sure they have straight parallel sides. Don’t worry about trimming the lengths, you get a more accurate block if you leave the trimming to the end.
2 I went for a ‘late summer’ colour theme of teals, oranges, pinks and golds. But you could easily use whatever colours you have for a more ‘random’ rail fence.
3 You will notice I have included a brown striped fabric at the edge of each block. These strips are cut 2″ wide and give a little uniformity to the scrappiness of the blocks. If you are going for random and bright colours, try a narrow black and white stripe here.
4 If you are working to a colour theme, try to get an even number of colours per block. The order doesn’t matter, just sew enough together using a 1/4″ seam, not forgetting the stripey fabric on the end, until you can get at least 12.5″ wide. Set the seams (pressing the seam as you have sewn it) before pressing the seams to the darkest fabric.
5 Trim the block to 12.5″ square. If there is excess on the width make sure you don’t take any off the stripey/end fabric. You want these end strips to be of uniform width. I used my 12.5″ square ruler for easy trimming, but you can trim these blocks to any size, just make sure they are square!
6 Make lots more blocks until you have enough for your quilt (or until you have used up all your scraps!). I laid out my blocks in a 5 x 6 formation (5 blocks across by 6 rows down) alternating the direction of every other block to achieve the rail fence design. Join the blocks right sides together in rows and press the seams of each row in alternate directions. Join the rows together making sure to butt/nest the intersecting seams.
7 Spray baste your quilt top, wadding and backing (Spray basting tutorial available here) before quilting as desired (I quilted in a free motion meander all over). Trim off the excess wadding and backing and attach the quilt binding (tutorial available here).
Now you’ll always be warm and toasty on chilly Autumn evenings!
In keeping with our ‘curves’ theme this term, my monthly ‘5 minute lesson’ in classes this week was all about Improv. (improvisational) curves.
As the name suggests ‘improv.’ means you pretty much go with the flow and make up the curves as you go. No two curves are the same, and there are much fewer rules to abide by than with standard pieced curves. You don’t even have to worry about an even seam allowance (gasp!).
You can imagine how well this technique went down with all my rebellious non-conformists (you know who you are!!).
There are many examples of improv. curves on Pinterest (see my Curves Pinterest Board here). And to give an example of these in class, I made some improv. curved placemats, in the lovely coastal Beachcomber fabrics by Makower.
Here is the tutorial on how to make my Improv. Curved Placemats (makes 4 x 15 1/4″ diameter mats).
You will need:
Between Nine and Twelve 10″ squares (I used Beachcomber by Makower)
50cm of Wadding or Insul Bright Heat Resistant Wadding
50cm of calico
1 metre of Heat Resistant Non-Slip Table Protector (at least 35″ wide)
4.5 metres of 3/4″ wide bias binding
505 Basting Spray
Method:Assume 1/4″ seams
1 Place 2 squares of fabric on the cutting mat, right sides facing up, and overlapping. The wider the overlap, the deeper the curves can be. I usually overlap by 2-3″ (I am using up a smaller piece of fabric here to overlap the 10″ square).
2 Using a rotary cutter, cut a curve up through the overlapped section.
3 Remove the excess pieces (this will be the smaller piece of the right hand fabric and the smaller/underneath piece of the left hand fabric). The remaining pieces should fit neatly together.
4 Sew the 2 pieces right sides together. It is easier to do this by straightening the underneath piece with your right hand and lifting up the top piece with your left hand. Don’t worry if your seam allowance isn’t even the whole way down, just make sure there are no tucks.
5 Press the seam to the darkest fabric.
6 Repeat steps 2-5 for a third piece of fabric, over lapping the left hand edge of the first piece.
7 Spray baste the curved pieces, wadding and calico together (tutorial on spray basting available here).
8 Quilt the mats, starting centrally and working towards the outer edges. I quilted in the ditches and then’echo’ quilted the curved seams 1/2″ apart.
9 Place a round plate or bowl on top and draw around it. Cut along the line and remove the excess. Put to one side.
10 Place the same plate/bowl onto the felted side of the non-slip table protector. Draw around it and cut out.
11 Machine tack the table protector to the wrong side of the mat, making sure the felted side is on the inside. Machine tacking means using a large stitch on your machine, and stitching close to the edges. If you find the rubberised table protector resisting or sticking to your sewing machine, make sure the rubberised side is facing up and engage the dual feed/walking foot on your machine. If you don’t have these, stick some matt scotch tape to the underside of your presser foot keeping clear of the needle opening.
12 Open out the bias binding, and leaving a few inches unsewn at the start, attach the binding around the edge of the mat using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, stopping a few inches short at the end (remember to use a quilting size stitch length here, not a tacking stitch).
13 Place the end of the bias binding over the start and measure and mark 1/2″ overlap. Trim off the excess.
14 Open out the binding and sew the short ends together using 1/4″ seam allowance.
15 Finger press the seam open and finish sewing down the remaining binding to the mat.
16 Snip all around the edge of the mat at 1cm intervals, taking care not to cut the stitches.
17 Push the binding over to the back of the mat. Pin in the ditch from the front, making sure the binding is caught at the back.
18 Stitch in the ditch from the front side finishing with a reverse stitch.
And you’re finished!
Adorn your table with your beautiful mats and wait for the compliments!
So why not have a go at this organic and fun technique!
I hope you enjoy your venture into improv. curves!
So, I’m going to completely ignore the impending snow forecast and pretend it is spring and enjoy my narcissus and daffs and the blissfulness of denial!
With just over 2 weeks to Easter, let’s crack on with part 2 of my classroom Easter table.
At the top right hand side of the picture, you will see my Garden Shed Tidy.
This was made for the May ’16 issue of Pretty Patches magazine. As the garden starts to come to life again, I get sporadic urges to amble down the ‘garden’ isles of my local homeware shop, buying packets of seeds with renewed vigor that this year I will plant them (!!)
And if (like me) you aren’t much of a gardener, you could easily use this cute tidy in your bathroom, the teenagers room, or in the study keeping stamps, envelopes and stationery organised (people do still write letters, right?).
Hanging on my diy Easter tree are my Easter Egg Zippy Pouches, made with older children in mind who might prefer money or vouchers for Easter! You can get the free tutorial here.
Also hanging on my Easter tree are some crochet bunnies. I followed this tutorial, however mine seem to resemble some kind of dysmorphic bat!
Now one of the cushions on my table is an old friend. You may recognise her from this quilt!
My trusty Woodland Hare, Harriet, has been enlarged and appliqued onto a bespoke cushion cover. She’s been stuffed and in the absence of piping cord, I top-stitched the side seams.
Seeing Harriet’s endearing smile always brings me joy!
Finally, for part 2, all of these items are sitting on my Picnic Bobble Blanket.
This was another magazine commission, this time the August ’16 issue of Popular Patchwork.
It’s a great pattern for showing off a larger scale print.
It is double backed, the outer layer being a machine washable shower curtain (we don’t want any soggy bottoms!).
This is another pattern I will commit to re-write for general sale!
There is a lot of work involved in converting a pattern from a magazine template to one of my own formatted patterns. I have a long ‘to do’ list and will be announcing some new releases soon! Thank you for your patience.
There are still 2 projects left on the table to tell you about. But I will give them a post all of their own!
When I was at Primary School we had a ‘Nature Table’, decorated according to the seasons, with items mucky hands would triumphantly find and trophy into class the next day!
The Autumn Table was my favourite. I can still see the bright orangey-red ovals of rosehips, shining like jewels among the tattered leaves and empty conker casings.
Well I may be all grown up now (sort of!), but in the childhood-spirit of celebrating the season, I thought it would be nice to have an ‘Easter Table’ in class!
Not all of these items are strictly ‘Easter’ related – I’m using a little Spring inspiration (& a lot of creative license!) too.
So over the next 2 posts, let me talk you through my table and I’ll give you the links to the free tutorials too!
We’ll start with the left hand side of the table. The items are sitting on my blue chenille mat. If you’ve never tried chenilling before, I highly recommend it. Great fun and super easy too!
Chenille involves lots of layers of fabric, sewn together on the bias in half inch channels. The fabric between the channels is then cut, through all layers except the bottom one. Give it a rigorous wash and tumble dry, and hey presto, you have the fluffiest fabric which you can then turn into anything you like!
So far, I’ve chenilled a baby play mat, a bath mat (below) and a heart cushion!
In class this week, our ‘5 minute lesson’ was all about HSTs (Half Square Triangles), QSTs (Quarter Square Triangles) and HRTs (no not that type of HRT! Half Rectangle Triangles!).
These versatile and clever units form the many building blocks of quilt and quilt block design!
They are component parts that follow the same construction principles but with their many design possibilities, they just keep on giving!
Sewing with triangles can be tricky, especially as those naughty bias edges can flex and stretch! But despite the word ‘triangle’ being mentioned in the names of all of these techniques, at no point are individual triangles sewn together! How cool is that!
Let’s start with the humble Half Square Triangle.
Half Square Triangles (HSTs):
Method 1 (yields 2 identical hsts):
Start off by putting 2 squares right sides together.
Draw a pencil line corner to corner on the wrong side of one of the squares and sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to create 2 identical half square triangle units. Press the seams open (always press bias seams open where possible).
How easy was that!
Method 2 (yields 4 identical hsts):
Place 2 squares right sides together and sew 1/4″ around all four sides.
Cut in half from corner to corner, and then into quarters through the opposite corners.
As before, press the seams open.
And now that you have cracked hsts, the design possibilities are endless! Here are a couple of my own HST quilts, but for lots more variations, including sizing charts, check out my HST Pinterest Board!
Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs):
This time you need 2 lots of half square triangles. You can work with 2 fabrics, or like I’m doing here, 4 different fabrics.
Now take 1 hst from each pair and place them right sides together so that their seams are lying on top of each other.
Draw a line corner to corner perpendicular to the existing seam. Sew 1/4″ either side of the line.
Cut along the line to separate and press the seams open. Now you have 2 identical QST blocks, with each of the 4 fabrics in each unit.
See if you can spot the QSTs in my friend Susan’s gorgeous ‘Blue Moon’ quilt.
I have a little QST quilt in the works, but I can only show you this sneaky peak for now ……..
How would you fancy another Just Jude Designs tutorial! It’s been a while so I thought it was time to share one of my handy pouch patterns!
If you attend regular sewing classes, a Quilting Guild or charity sewing groups, you will know there’s a lot of stuff to remember to bring with you each time!
So a travel sewing pouch might be just the thing you need to keep your essentials compact and portable.
And there’s a handy little zippered pocket in the back!
So before we get started, here are a few essential points:
Use quarter inch seams throughout
Avoid directional prints for the main/outer fabric (it will be upside down when the flap folds over – ask me how I know!!)
All cutting instructions are shown width x height
Right, let’s go!
For main/outer/flap cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
For front/small pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 10”/25.5cm)
For lining cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
For medium pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 13”/33cm)
For large pocket cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 16”/40.5cm)
For zippered pocket lining cut: 2 x (8”/20cm x 9”/23cm)
From sew-in vilene cut: 1 x (8”/20cm x 17”/43cm)
You will also need:
Elastic hair bobble
Basting Spray (505)
5” plastic zipper
Non-permanent marking pen/tool
1 Spray baste the vilene to the wrong side of the main/outer fabric.
2 Iron all 3 pockets in half widthways, wrong sides together. Top stitch along top/folded edges.
3 Place the small and medium pockets together (aligned at the bottom & side edges). Chalk & sew lines onto the small pocket to create dividers as required. Use a reverse stitch at the top/folded edge. Do not sew a central line through all layers as this will be sewn in the next step.
4 Place the small and medium pockets on top of the large pocket, again aligning bottom and side edges. Mark a line that runs vertically through the middle of the small and medium pockets only. Sew on this line, through all layers, again using a reverse stitch at the top edge.
5 Place the pocket section on top of the lining (right side facing) aligning the bottom and side edges. Machine tack together. Put to one side.
6 Make the back/zippered pocket: Hand or machine stitch the open end of the zipper closed to hold in place.
7 Place one of the zippered pocket linings right sides together with the outer fabric, aligning the bottom and side edges.
Draw a line on the pocket fabric, 2” (5cm) down from the top and 1.5” (4cm) in from each side.
8 Next draw a line ¼” (6mm) above and below the first line. Join up the sides and draw > shapes ¼” (6mm) in from each side.
9 Pin the layers together and sew on the outer lines only through both layers. Do not sew on the centre line.
10 Carefully cut along the centre line and > lines into the corners. You need to cut right into the corners without snipping the stitches. A small pair of embroidery stitches are useful here.
11 Push the pocket fabric through the letterbox opening to the back. Press well so no pocket fabric is seen.
12 Place the zipper into the letterbox opening, so that the ‘teeth’ are showing on the right side. Pin and carefully sew around the opening using 1/8” (3mm) seam allowance.
13 Pin the remaining pocket lining piece right sides together with the first pocket lining piece. Do not pin through to the main/outer fabric.
14 Clip or pin the outer fabric back out of the way before sewing around all sides of the pocket linings.
15 Complete the pouch: Machine or hand tack an elastic hair bobble to the top edge of the outer fabric, centred and with the main loop pointing down.
16 Place the outer piece right sides together with the lining/pockets. Pin and sew around all edges, leaving a 3” (8cm) gap in the top of one of the sides. Carefully snip the corners at an angle to remove the bulk.
17 Turn the pouch right sides out, push the corners well out and press well.
18 Hand stitch the gap closed and sew on a button 2” (5cm) up from the bottom edge and centred.