Tweed Fox Cushion

By Judith on March 13, 2017
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Do you love to recycle?


I try to do my bit for the environment, but one thing I love to recycle most are textiles.


A selection of my healthy hoard!


I’ve had to curtail my fabric hoarding over the years (!!) but tactile textiles like tweed, wool, linen and corduroy I’ll never be without! A donated coat here, outgrown trousers there, and before you know it, I’ve accumulated a healthy stash with more ideas than time!


Once upon a time we had a thriving linen and textile industry here.


It’s always a joy working with these materials, but especially when making a gift for a fellow ‘tweed’ loving friend.


Vi Vixen in tweed


Last year I made a Woodland Friends quilt, a cute clan of friends who just keep giving.


Vi Vixen in tweed


I enlarged the template for Vi Vixen and bondawebbed the pieces onto a background of patchwork tweed.  Then I free motion sketched all the shapes in place.  I think the rustic and naive effect of raw edge applique suits this version of Vi perfectly!


Vi Vixen in tweed


In this cushion are offcuts from a pair of my daughter’s trousers (don’t worry, she outgrew them a long time ago!), pieces of Irish linen, a tweed coat, and many other off-cuts I’ve been donated or gathered up.  Even the button is from an old duffle coat!


Vi Vixen in tweed


So my Tweed Fox cushion has been gifted and extremely well received. There is so much joy in the making and giving of something already loved. And I know this particular fox will continue to be greatly loved.


Happy sewing!


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Buying Fabric from outside UK

By Judith on February 21, 2017
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If you aren’t a regular at buying fabric from non-UK online fabric stores, you may get a shock when you place an order, and then take delivery of a grey Customs Card from the Royal Mail, instead of your much anticipated bundle of fabric goodness!



And to add insult to injury, not only have you been hit with a customs charge, but another £8 Royal Mail handling charge on top!


That great deal you thought you got on your fabric doesn’t taste so sweet all of a sudden!


I’ve purchased fabric from America approx. 10 times and I’ve never incurred a customs charge.  But I’ve been lucky.  Your expectation should be that a charge will be incurred, and here’s why:


Anything that is ‘imported’ into the UK is subject to Border Force checks, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


Those checks may result in the following charges being applied:


Customs charge (based on the value of the item, where the value is over £135)

VAT (a consumption tax applied to EU countries)

Excise tax (a tax applied to purchases of alcohol or tobacco)

Some products are ‘duty free’ but fabric isn’t one of them!



There is excellent information on both the Royal Mail and HMRC websites but here are the rules in a nutshell:


Buying fabric from inside the EU: no charges


Buying fabric from outside the EU:

If the total value* of your package is less than £15, there are no charges.


If the total value* of your package is between £15 – £135, there will be Import VAT to pay. This is calculated as a percentage of the total value of your package.


If the total value* of your package is over £135: Import VAT and Customs Duty is charged


*this includes cost of the items, shipping and any insurance costs.


For example, if you purchased 5m of fabric from America totalling $40 ($8 per metre) and the shipping costs you $25, Customs calculate the total value of the package as £51.89 and the import VAT as £10.35. Royal Mail will then apply a handling fee of £8 on top of this, bringing the total cost of your fabric parcel to £70.24. This makes my fabric cost just over £14 per metre, which is an average price in a UK store.


So while you might think you are bagging an $8 per metre bargain, unless it is a design or collection you can’t get in the UK, it might be worth trying to purchase it locally.


If you want to find out how much customs duty you might pay, before making your purchase, use this nifty calculator.



All the above information is based on non-gift purchases.  The ‘no charge’ threshold for gifts are higher,  but there are clear and definite boundaries on what can be considered a gift. If you are making a private purchase from a fabric store, this is not considered a gift.


There are a few non-EU countries who have an ‘Import VAT Pre-paid’ arrangement with HMRC, which means you won’t incur any additional charges on delivery of your package. These countries are Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and The Channel Islands.


I hope this article has better informed you about purchasing fabric from other countries.  It is not my desire to put you off purchasing from abroad in any way. However, with adjusted expectations and informed choices, you can still enjoy your purchases without those nasty shocks!


I would love to hear about your ‘purchasing experiences’. Drop me a comment below!



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Warning! Fabric Marking Pens

By Judith on January 29, 2017
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As a Quilting tutor I’m often asked what is the best way to mark the right side of a project ready for quilting.


I’ve learned that when sewists hit on a reliable product they like, they tend to stick to it!  Afterall, when so much money, time and effort is put into quilt making, having a reliable tool to avoid a devastating ‘marking accident’ is crucial!



But recently I’ve become more and more concerned about a pen that is widely sold in Quilting and Fabric shops as a non-permanent fabric marker.



The Frixion Pilot Pen is like a gel pen, which disappears when heat is applied to it, either from ironing or through friction from a ‘rubbing out’ action using the eraser at the end of the pen.  It has a fine tip and comes in a range of strong colours, which shows up on almost all fabrics.



HOWEVER what is most concerning is this pen will cause bleaching or ‘ghosting’ when ironed off darker fabrics (see the lines above right).  Also, under cold temperatures the ink will reappear!


This is because the Frixion pen is not designed for use on fabric (and most definitely not the RIGHT SIDE of fabric!).  One of the main features highlighted on the Product website is that you can rub or iron off a secret message, put the paper into the freezer, and voila, the ink magically returns.


In my view, these features make this an unsuitable tool for quilters, who are often marking on the right sides of fabric.


Thankfully, there are other products out there which are much safer to use.


I have 2 ‘go to’ pens I like to use:


The Chalk Pen:



The white Clover chalk pen (left) or Prym Chalk Pen (right) are great for marking the right side of fabric e.g. quilting lines.  The loose chalk comes through a little wheel creating fine, accurate lines.  And you can buy refills too!



However I never use coloured chalks because they contain dye and can stain light fabrics.


A soft white chalk pencil is a good substitute as long as it is kept sharpened to produce fine lines.


Water Erasable Pen:



My 2nd ‘go to’ pen is a water erasable pen which I mostly use for drawing more intricate designs like lettering or when I need to create measurement markings for things like applique projects.


The water erasable pen markings come out in the wash, or with a damp cloth or water spritzer. Sometimes if I dry the marked section too quickly, or don’t use enough water, a 2nd application of water is needed to remove all the blue marks.


However you must remember not to iron your work before you remove the blue marks otherwise they may ‘fix’ to your fabric.



The other 2 main products on the market for quilters are air erasable pens and Hera Markers.


I haven’t heard of a good review for Air Erasable Pens, mainly because the ink disappears too quickly, much more quickly than the 12-24 hours stated.



I have a Hera Marker which I have used to mark light fabrics. It is a molded piece of plastic which creates indentations when pressed onto the fabric. I recommend only using the curved section of the hera marker in case you ‘scratch’ the surface of the fabric. The indentations are removed through ironing or washing.


The Hera Marker is fine for larger sections of lines, but not so good for intricate designs.



This is by no means an exhaustive list of fabric marking tools, and the recommendations for all of them are to try them out on a spare piece of fabric first.

But here is my summary of the pros and cons of those I have covered in this post.


I have been asking folks in the Sewing Surgery Facebook Group what their experiences have been on the Frixion Pilot pen in particular.


If you haven’t already commented, I would love to hear your feedback on what marking tools you use and the positive and negative experiences you have had.

But whatever fabric marking tool you choose to use, mark safely!


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Giveaway Winner!

By Judith on December 27, 2016
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Well that’s Christmas over for another year! Phew!


I hope you all had fun and didn’t eat too much!



Thank you so much everyone for entering my giveaway and filling out my little questionnaire.  It has been a wonderful 6 year celebration!


Your feedback and suggestions are enlightening and valuable, and I will use them to shape how and what I blog about to best meet your needs.


And on to the important business of who has won my Joel Dewberry blogiversary giveaway.



I’m delighted to announce that the winner is …………..



Congratulations Leigh!  I have emailed you directly!  Your winnings will be en route to you very soon.


Thank you all for taking part!



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Blogiversary Giveaway

By Judith on December 20, 2016
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On this day 6 years ago I started blogging!  My how time flies!


It has been such a wonderfully positive experience, and I love every aspect of blogging!


So how would you like to celebrate with me?



I’m giving away this 12 fat quarter bundle of Joel Dewberry’s Wander and 2 co-ordinating spools of Aurifil 50wt.


Joel Dewberry 12 FQ Giveaway


Wander has the most gorgeous shades of soft grey, mustard and magenta, balancing pretty florals and geometrics perfectly.


Joel Dewberry 12 FQ Giveaway


If you would like a chance to win this bundle of loveliness, just complete my quick little survey here.


The givewaway will run for 1 week and is open to international entries too! I will announce the winner on Tuesday 27th December.


Thanking you in advance for your valued feedback.


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Christmas Baubles Quilt

By Judith on December 11, 2016
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Popular Patchwork very kindly sent me a gorgeous bundle of ‘Wrap it Up’ fabrics by Makower with a ‘festive quilt’ remit for their December issue.



I took inspiration from the baubles shapes in the fabrics and designed this applique baubles Christmas quilt.



These fabrics were lovely to work with, and I teamed them with Makower’s Pindot (white) for the background.


Christmas Baubles quilt (Popular Patchwork Dec16)


The quilt comes in at a roomy 61″ x 64″, perfect for snuggling under and watching all those festive movies!



And if you think this contemporay quilt would look good next to your Christmas decorations, you can purchase it here.



Or for this and lots more Christmas Patchwork patterns, pick up your December copy of Popular Patchwork!


Happy decorating!



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Mixed Textiles Robin Cushion

By Judith on December 7, 2016
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In the December issue of Pretty Patches magazine, you might find this cheeky chappie making a song and dance of things!


Christmas Robin (mixed textiles) for Pretty Patches (Dec16)


Many of you will know that my first love in ‘all things fabric’ are recycled textiles.  I have a particular obsession fondess for tweed, linen, wool and corduroy.


Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)


The only items officially ‘purchased’ in this cushion are the background (Tilda) and the berries!


Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)


I love mixing textures and textiles!  Here we have sumptuous tweed, soft red wool, tactile cord, a vintage curtain remnant and a few scraps of good old fashioned quilting cotton. Oh what fun I had playing putting these together.


I also love satin stitch applique, but I knew with these thicker fabrics standard thread would disappear into the nap.



So out come the 12wt Aurifil wool threads! These are thick enough to use for hand embroidery, but not too thick to put through the eye of a size 90 machine needle. Win, win! (You can find a great selection here.)


As the design came together, I knew I wanted ‘berries’ in the corners.  I scratched my head for a few minutes, and then came up with a plan!



I un-threaded some jumbo pompom trim I had leftover from another project.  Then I ‘couched’ or satin stitched 3 thread stems together to create a little cluster of berries.  This made it super easy to sew them into the corners of the cushion.


Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)


A simple envelope backing and you have the perfect gift for all bird and nature lovers everywhere (not forgetting all the tweed & corduroy lovers too!).


Christmas Robin Cushion for Pretty Patches (Dec16)


My recycled, chirping Robin may be in the Christmas issue, but like the loyal and territorial real birds, I think he’ll stick around all year long!


So what type of fabrics make your heart skip a beat?


Happy bird watching!


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Giveaway Winner!

By Judith on December 1, 2016
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Thank you to everyone for entering my Tula Pink Giveaway here and on Facebook.




I’m delighted to announce that the winner is ……………

Sandra Jansen

Congratulations Sandra.  I hope you enjoy your winnings!

And for everyone else, don’t be sad!  I will be running another giveaway very soon!



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Free Storage Caddy Pattern

By Judith on November 30, 2016
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Hi everyone, I hope your week is going well.  Can you believe it’s December tomorrow?!


And you know what that means!!




Giveaway time!  I’ll be announcing the winner of my Tula Pink giveaway tomorrow evening, so if you haven’t already entered, just sign up for my newsletter (right) and/or like my Facebook page here.

And 18 fat quarters aren’t the only free items I’m giving away!

How about a free pattern?




This is my Storage Caddy, as seen in Pretty Patches Magazine.


It is 7″ tall with 7″ diameter and can be used to keep lots of bits and bobs in order.  You could use it in the sewing room, the nursery, the bathroom, even on your bedroom dressing table!




This pattern will give you a flavour of how I structure and present all my patterns.


So if you fancy having a go at this ‘beginner friendly’ pattern it is available for free download here.


(If you have trouble downloading the pattern, please let me know and I will email the pattern to you.  We have been having a few teething problems on the new site, but are working hard to get you a fully functional service!)


At the start of my patterns, you get a ‘Good to Know’ section (you can see this section before purchasing). This is where you can get all the essential information e.g. if a zipper foot is required, main techniques, best fabrics to use etc.




The rest of the pattern is then made up of the following headings:




There are step by step colour photos throughout the Make It section, and all templates have been professionally art-worked.


I have worked hard to ensure that my patterns are as easy to follow as I can make them.  It is my desire that you can use a pattern confidently at home, without needing a teacher on hand to make sense of it!!



But I’m always up for constructive feedback!  Let me know what you think of the Storage Caddy pattern, or any others.


Happy Sewing!



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Tula Pink Giveaway!

By Judith on November 23, 2016
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Welcome everyone to my new website!

Thank you to those of you have already given me great feedback and left comments – your opinions matter to me and I will continue updating and improving the website to make it as user friendly and desirable as I can.

I would love for you to join in the celebrations with me, and so I am launching my first ever Just Jude Designs giveaway!

Tula Pink & Aurifil giveaway

How would you like to win this 18 fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink’s ‘Chipper’ AND 3 spools of co-ordinating Aurifil 50wt?

Tula Pink & Aurifil giveaway

This designer collection has the cutest little foxes and squirrels, in saturated tones of soft green, purples, pinks and oranges.

Tula Pink & Aurifil giveaway

You have 2 chances of winning this lush bundle!

  1. Register your email address for future Just Jude Designs Newsletters (sign up box is on the right hand side).
  2. Like my Just Jude Designs Facebook page (click here) and leave me a comment here saying you’ve done so.

The giveaway will be open until Thursday 1st December, and international entries are welcome.

Best of luck everyone!

Let the celebrations begin!



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Houndstooth Quilt

By Judith on November 18, 2016
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The design process can be an interesting one!

I remember one time in Bee Blessed we decided to make arrowhead blocks. For some reason, when I looked at that block I saw different patterns, and filed those ideas away!
Earlier this year I made this Starburst quilt, for a summer issue of Popular Patchwork, and realised one of those arrowhead ideas!


Popular Patchwork cover.July


But I needed to ‘scratch the itch’ a little more, and so my modern Houndstooth Quilt came into being (in fact there were 4 other variations of this one!).


Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)

Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine fell in love with it and commissioned it for their November issue, which is in the shops now!


Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)
Photo courtesy of LPQ


They also asked for a matching cushion:



I’ll admit that this quilt is a little more modern than my usual style, but I love the 9 steps of gradation in the Kona solids from Black to Silver.
Kona Pomegranate has been one of my favourite colours since I discovered Kona solids – I love how it completely interrupts all that grey!


Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)

And just look at that bright canary yellow on the back!

It’s a bad habit of mine not to look at blocks at face value! You never know what you might discover!

Happy sewing!



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Hearts & Patches Quilt

By Judith on October 20, 2016
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I have a particular soft spot for Tilda fabrics.  I love the calming colours and the vintagey feel the ditsy florals and spots evoke.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
‘Autumn Tree’ is a collection that came out last year, and is still available to purchase.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
I went with simple 16 patch ‘on point’ blocks with appliqued hearts for my autumn quilt submission to Pretty Patches magazine.

And they put it on the front cover!  Woohoo!
Hearts & Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
I definitely think there will be more Tilda quilts in my future!
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
Happy sewing!



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Mori Girl Travel Pouch

By Judith on July 11, 2016
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Travel Washbag

If you are lucky enough to be heading off on your travels this summer, you might need a giant pouch to keep all those toiletries and suncreams in!!

Travel Washbag

The lovely peeps at Quilt Now sent me the cutest fabrics by Dashwood Studios called Mori Girl!

Travel Washbag
As you can see, this pouch has stacks of room, with a zipper inserted along the top finished edge.
Additional features are a narrow piping trim on the outside and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your toothbrush and cloth.
Travel Washbag
The ‘wet bag’ is lined with Rip-stop nylon, a sturdy wipeable and machine washable fabric. You could easily line the travel pouch with Rip-stop too and turn it into a wash bag.
The pattern for this travel pouch is in the July issue of Quilt Now, in the shops now!
Happy travels!


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Spring Rain Quilt!

By Judith on April 14, 2016
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Spring rain is something we get lots of here in N.Ireland!!  In fact we also get lots of Summer, Autumn and Winter rain too!

But I’m hoping you could live with this kind of spring rain all year round!!

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)
63″ x 63″


This is my ‘Spring Rain’ quilt, as seen in the April issue of Pretty Patches.

Pretty Patches very kindly sent me the cutest bundle of fabrics called ‘Spring Walk’ by Little Cube.

Spring Walk

While spring can inspire many images, I immediately thought of raindrops (I wonder why!!) and showcased the fabrics in raindrop shaped portholes.

Spring Rain Quilt (April Issue Pretty Patches)
I really enjoyed making this quilt and it was such a lovely bonus to see it on the front cover!
Spring Rain Quilt (April issue Pretty Patches)
One of the many things I love about spring is that it is the season of growth!  I have been doing a lot of personal growing lately, getting fitter physically and mentally.
And all the new growth in my little garden is a lovely reminder that no matter what is going on in our lives, there are always new opportunities to grow!
My garden (spring)
My garden (spring)
My garden (spring)

Happy growing!
Jude xo


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Selvedges, Discounted Fabrics and More!

By Judith on March 5, 2016
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We had some beautiful sunny days recently!

Mama Hen Quilt Top for Siblings Together


Just look at that blue sky!

This is my Siblings Together Bee 2 quilt top – borders are on and all ready to be quilted.

Siblings Together Bee2 blocks for Theresa

And these 8″ Disappearing 4 Patch blocks are on their way to Theresa/Hilly Filly as Miss March in Siblings Together Bee 2.

I had a little sort through my selvedges the other day.  These are my selvedge jars AFTER I have sorted through them and eliminated those I can’t use!!

Sorting Selvedges!


As you can see, it’s quite a squeeze!!  I hope I get some play-time soon with these lovelies.

And speaking of lovelies, have a look at these!

Discounted Fabrics in my Etsy shop

These fabrics (& more) are now listed in my Etsy shop at silly prices!  Designers like Amy Butler, Valori Wells, Tanya Whelan, starting at £4 per metre.

So if you want to bag a bargain, be quick as stock is limited.

Happy shopping!

Jude xo


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Tumbler Stacks Baby Quilt

By Judith on March 3, 2016
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Earlier this year, Quilt Now sent me a few fat quarters from the ‘Pitter Patter’ collection by Michael Miller, and asked me to come up with something for their March issue.

The fabrics have adorable little clouds, raindrops and stars! So I thought a baby quilt was in order.


I decided on a tumbler quilt, mainly because I could whizz the fabrics quick smart through my Sizzix (don’t worry, templates are provided by the magazine)! But also because the tumbler shape would lend itself nicely to these cute directional prints.

Tumbler Stacks Cot Quilt for Quilt Now
Approx. 37″ x 45″

If using directional prints like me, you will need to alternate the direction of your prints when cutting out the tumbler shapes. As you can see, they get stacked top to toe!

Tumbler Stacks Cot Quilt for Quilt Now
I decided to keep the zigzagged edges, and it wasn’t difficult at all to get the binding around those gentle angles.
Tumbler Stacks Cot Quilt for Quilt Now

A lady in one of my classes has already made this and it is beautiful (wish I’d taken a pic)!
If you’d like to make one of your own, then pick up a copy of Quilt Now (March). And if you subscribe to the magazine, you get a free bundle of Pitter Patter fabrics!!
Happy Tumbling!
Jude xo


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