Real Women Have Curves Part 1


By Judith on June 7, 2018
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Hello there!

 

How is everyone doing?  We are already half way through the last block of classes before summer recess!

 

I didn’t set a class project this block.  I figured I’d thrown a lot at my poor unsuspecting victims students! So instead we’ve been focusing on getting UFOs ticked off the list.

 

You may remember that last term I introduced my ladies to the no-pin method of sewing drunkard’s path curves.

 

Curves class roundup 1

 

And just look at what my curvy ladies have produced!

 

Curves completely conquered! BOOM!

 

Aren’t they fabulous!  Well done ladies, and also to those still finishing off their curvy cushions! You are all amazing!

 

And before the end of this block of classes, I will have more pics of my other group of curvy ladies who are making my Butterfly Garden Quilt.  You won’t want to miss it!

 

‘Ripples’ Cushion pattern available here.

‘Butterfly Garden’ Quilt pattern available here.

 

Happy curving!

 

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Applique Sailboat Cushion Workshop


By Judith on May 20, 2018
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Yesterday was a big day here in the UK!

 

There was the small detail of a Royal Wedding (and an even smaller football final!!), but the main event was happening in my classroom at Conway Mill!

 

Applique Sailboat Cushion Workshop

 

6 ladies rocked up for a day of sewing, making my Denim Sailboat Cushion.

 

And even though The Wedding was playing on my laptop in the background, these women were serious about learning hard and barely stopped for a lunch break!

 

 

For some, it was a first time venture into satin stitch applique and a little free motion sketching too (I think the celebratory tipple of Proseco might have helped, wink, wink!)

 

Applique Sailboat Cushion Workshop

 

I’m sure you’ll agree, that these finishes (and almost finishes) look amazing!

 

Well done ladies on your focus, fun and fabulous creativity!

 

Full kits were available at the workshop, and I have a few left which I’ve listed in my shop.

 

The pattern is included in the kit, but if you would just like the pattern, you can find the digital download here.

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Octosaurus Rex Quilt


By Judith on May 10, 2018
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Hello there!

 

We have just had a wonderful bank holiday weekend here in UK.  And what made it so wonderful?  The beautiful sunny weather!

 

I spent the bank holiday Monday in Florence Court, Enniskillen, with 2 of my girls, having lots of photo fun, and enjoying this wonderful National Trust house.

 

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Florence Court May18

 

It was a beautiful day, learning all about the women (upstairs and downstairs) in Florence Court’s history.

 

Also this week, the current issue of Quilt Now hit the shops, and in it you can find my Octosaurus Rex Quilt, designed for Makower using their Rex Collection of fabrics.

 

Octosaurus Rex (Quilt Now May18)

 

This quilt design is full of secondary patterns, and the larger Placement print is perfect for fussy cutting.

 

Octosaurus Rex (Quilt Now May18)

 

Here’s what I wrote as my source of inspiration:

 

“I live not far from the Giant’s Causeway, a 60 million year old formation of multi-sided volcanic stones. So I thought it would be fun to design Jurassic sized shapes around these cute dinosaur fussy cuts and fabrics. The Octagon blocks slot neatly side by side just like the stones at the Giant’s Causeway!”  

 

Octosaurus Rex (Quilt Now May18)

 

There is a lot of piecing in this quilt, and it is a decent size at 60″ x 72″.  However you could easily reduce the number of blocks and make a smaller quilt for a younger dinosaur lover!

 

Octosaurus Rex (Quilt Now May18)

 

So if you have a little one who is mad about all things Jurassic, then these fabrics are your perfect choice!

 

You can see the full collection here, and my Octosaurus Rex Quilt pattern is also available via the Makower UK website.

 

Happy sewing!

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Denim Applique Sailboat Cushion Workshop


By Judith on April 22, 2018
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I promised to post this week about the projects on my ‘Spring into Summer’ Table.

 

Never one to break a promise, I’m starting with my Denim Applique Sailboat Cushion.

 

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)

 

I originally designed this cushion for a summer edition of Pretty Patches Magazine.

 

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)

 

I loved re-purposing some denim and scraps for this nautical cushion.  My recent discovery of Aurifil 12wt wool thread also made a significant contribution!  You can read more about my designing process here.

 

The great news is that I’ll be teaching a workshop on this cushion on Saturday 19th May at my classroom in Conway Mill.

 

 

 

And not only that, kits will be available with everything you need to make the cushion, including lush Essex Yarn Dyed Linen, denim pieces, stripey binding and a bright red button for the back!

 

How cool is that!

 

 

So if you would like to spend a fun Saturday with other like minded creatives learning new skills like appli-quilting and free motion sketching, then just drop me an email to register: justjudedesigns@hotmail.co.uk

 

More ‘Spring into Summer’ posts coming soon!

 

Happy sewing!

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New Class Project: Drunkard’s Path


By Judith on April 2, 2018
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Happy April to you all!

 

Well despite it being ‘Spring’ with sweet crocuses in full bloom in my garden, today I drove through snow showers with 2 degrees registered on my dashboard! Brrrrrrr!

 

So let’s leave the present for now, and think ahead 1 week instead, when hopefully the weather will be much better as my new term of classes start up again after the Easter break!

 

For a while now I’ve been threatening exhorting my ladies to confront their fears and give curved piecing a try!

 

So we’ve decided to get our ‘big girl’ pants on and jump in to this exciting new technique!

 

 

I will be teaching the ‘no pin’ method of curved piecing, as well as how to trim a drunkard’s path unit to achieve different effects.

 

Small Projects:

 

For those who want to make a smaller project, I have designed and written several patterns.

 

‘Ripples’ Cushion:

 

Ripples DP Cushion (class project)
19.5″ x 19.5″

 

 

In this cushion you can use up lots of your colourful scraps, alternate with just a few colours, or use a different fabric in each ‘ripple’ as I have done here.

 

Ripples DP Cushion (class project)

 

The cute ditsy fabrics I’ve used here are ‘Katie Jane’ by Makower, which were leftovers from this quilt project.

 

Pattern available here.

 

‘Baubles’ Table Runner & Mats:

 

DP Table Runner & Mats (British Patchwork & Quilting, April'16)
Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting

 

 

There are 5 ‘bauble’ shapes in this runner, but you could easily add more or less to suit your table.  Wouldn’t this be lovely in Christmas fabrics for a festive table dressing!

 

The pattern includes instructions on how to make & attach bias binding, and 4 complimentary mats.

 

Pattern available here.

 

‘In The Round’ Heart Cushion:

 

In The Round Heart DP Cushion (Class project)

 

I love the versatility of the drunkard’s path block, and the heart shape in this pom pom trimmed cushion is a great example.

 

For the background I have used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) (available to purchase here).

 

Pattern available here.

 

Quilt Projects:

 

And for those ladies who want to ‘go large’ here are my quilt designs:

 

Butterfly Garden Quilt:

 

Butterfly Garden DP Quilt (class project)
48″ x 64″

 

 

The drunkard’s path block here creates pretty wing/petal shapes, a lovely way to showcase your floral fabrics and some echo quilting.

 

Butterfly Garden DP Quilt (class project)

 

Pattern available here.

 

Autumn Garden Quilt:

 

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)
56″ x 56″

 

 

By not trimming the drunkard’s path units, you can get a different effect, as shown in this lap quilt.

 

Autumn Garden Quilt (Popular Patchwork Nov16)

 

I’ve used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Denim) as the background in this quilt (available to purchase here).

 

Pattern available here.

 

Drunken Hearts Quilt:

 

Drunken Hearts Quilt - Sewing World Feb16
79″ x 76″ Photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting

 

 

Just like the ‘In The Round’ Heart Cushion, this quilt is made from drunkard’s path heart blocks.

 

For the background of this quilt I have used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Black) available to purchase here.

 

Pattern avaialable here.

 

I have two more quilt examples of drunkard’s path variations, the patterns for which I hope to be able to make available soon.

 

Hippy Blush Quilt (Popular Patchwork March18)
Hippy Blush Quilt – read more here.

 

 

Oriental Clamshells Quilt (Popular Patchwork Jan18)
Oriental Clams Quilt – read more here.

 

Wow! That was a long post!  Thank you for sticking with all my ‘curves’!

 

If you would like to learn how to make drunkard’s path units (& all of these projects) & have a lot of fun along the way, then why not join in with our other crazy creatives and register for our class starting w/c 9th April. More details on classes available here.

 

Happy curving!

 

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Denim Hexie Bag: Class Finishes


By Judith on March 30, 2018
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For the past 6 weeks some very talented ladies in my classes have been beavering away on my Denim Hexie Bag Pattern.

 

 

This pattern combines techniques such as English Paper Piecing (EPP Hexies), eyelet holes, zippered pocket, handbag construction as well as some serious denim upcycling!

 

At times it looked like a missile had gone off in a jeans factory in my classroom, as scissors and blades feverishly amputated legs, pockets and loops! While denim is one of my favourite textiles to work with, it doesn’t half shed!

 

But oh boy, the results of this serious crafting were so worth it!

 

 

 

Not all the bags being made are represented here, a few are still being finished off.

 

But aren’t they brilliant!  Sturdy, stylish practical bags that I know will get lots of use!

 

And I also know that the bags still being finished are equally as fabulous!

 

I haven’t been able to capture all the individual details in the bags here, but trust me when I tell you that each bag has it’s own unique characteristics.

 

Details like repurposed loops, tabs and pockets from the jeans, as well as complimentary fabrics like cotton and tweed, buttons, badges and even embroidery and printing.

 

A huge ‘well done’ to all my wonderful ‘Bag Ladies’!

 

If you would like to have some re-purposing fun of your own, you can get my Denim Hexie Bag Pattern here.

 

 

I also have 3 part-kits available in my shop, which include the pattern, pre-cut hexie papers, various coloured denim squares (for the hexie panels) , 1 metre of heavy weight sew-in vilene and 4 eyelet rings.

 

But be quick!  When they’re gone, they’re gone!

 

Happy recycling!

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Easter Table (part 2)!


By Judith on March 16, 2018
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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.

 

Garden Shed Tidy (Pretty Patches May16)

 

At the top right hand side of the picture, you will see my Garden Shed Tidy.

 

 

Sewing with clear vinyl isn’t as tricky as you might think!

 

 

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.

 

DIY Easter tree

 

Also hanging on my Easter tree are some crochet bunnies.  I followed this tutorial, however mine seem to resemble some kind of dysmorphic bat!

 

Harriet Hare Cushion

 

Now one of the cushions on my table is an old friend.  You may recognise her from this quilt!

 

Harriet Hare Cushion

 

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!

 

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

 

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.

 

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

It is double backed, the outer layer being a machine washable shower curtain (we don’t want any soggy bottoms!).

 

Picnic Bobble Quilt (Popular Patchwork Aug16)

 

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!

 

In the meantime …..

 

Keeeeeeeeep sewing!

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‘Take Wing’ Classes Roundup


By Judith on February 17, 2018
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This was the last week of our ‘Take Wing’ Butterfly wallhanging series.

 

31 brave ladies have been diving into the exacting and at times demanding technique of foundation paper piecing using Lillyella’s ‘Take Wing’ butterfly pattern.

 

And just look at some of the results!

 

Take Wing Butterfly Class Feb18

 

Aren’t they majestic!

 

Each one a unique metamorphosis of creative energy and courage into raw talent and beauty!

 

Some will be transformed into wallhangings and some into cushion covers.

 

I’m so proud of all my ladies for undertaking this project, especially for those who found themselves well and truly out of their comfort zone!

 

Well done everyone!

 

Enjoy your amazing creations!

 

 

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Kitty Cat Quilt


By Judith on February 13, 2018
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Hello there!

 

How is your week going so far?  I hope you are getting time to fit in a little sewing therapy!

 

My eldest daughter has recently started to work for me on a part-time basis, which frees me up to attend to pressing deadlines!  Oh how I love having a creatively talented assistant!!

 

 

Last summer I was asked by the fabric distributor Makower UK if I would consider coming on board as one of their designers!

 

I said yes straight away, and my first design for them is not only available for free on their website, but is also featured in the current issue of Quilt Now magazine.

 

Kitty Cat Quilt (for Makower)
66″ x 66″

 

Not only that, if you are a regular watcher of Sewing Quarter (Freeview channel 78) you may have seen Kitty featured!  It gets a mention in the programme introduction, and then has a much lengthier feature with sections of the quilt demonstrated here.

 

This medallion quilt is based around a panel, which I chopped up and spaced out with sashing.

 

Kitty Cat Quilt (for Makower)

 

Simple checkboards and drunkard’s path scallops create the feature borders.

 

Kitty Cat Quilt (for Makower)

 

So if you love your feline friends, I know you’ll fall in love with this fabric collection.

 

Kitty Cat Quilt (for Makower)

 

And if you didn’t want to make a big quilt, why not make the central panelled section as a cute baby quilt instead!  Purrrrrrfect!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Take Wing Butterfly Wallhanging


By Judith on November 29, 2017
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It’s getting much colder here!  Brrrrr! Winter has most definitely arrived!

 

And it’s getting harder to photograph my projects outside – icy showers are never too far away!

 

Take Wing Butterfly wallhanging
24″ x 15″

 

For a while now I have been wanting to make Lillyella’s Take Wing Butterfly pattern. 

 

Butterflies hold symbolic meaning for me, and when I first saw Nicole’s Take Wing Butterfly, it took my breath away!

 

Take Wing Butterfly wallhanging

 

The butterfly is foundation paper pieced in 5 sections.  I LOVE foundation piecing because of the crisp, sharp points and lines you get from this technique.

 

And Nicole includes a really helpful colouring sheet, so you can colour in the sections of your butterfly first to get an idea of colour and fabric placement.

 

Take Wing Butterfly wallhanging

 

The fabrics I used were mostly Sunprints by Alison Glass, leftovers from a rainbow quilt I made in the summer.

 

Most of the pieced sections are small, so this would also be a great scrap-buster project.  And if you don’t fancy a wallhanging, it can easily be transformed into a beautiful cushion.

 

Take Wing Butterfly wallhanging

 

I will be teaching this next term as part of my new program of classes. I do hope you can join us for some foundation piecing fun!

 

Happy sewing!

 

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Applique Robin Cushion Pattern


By Judith on October 19, 2017
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Hi there!  How’s your week going so far?

 

I hope you are managing to fit in some sewing time.

 

This week has had a few twists and turns for me.  The Quilting shop where I teach announced they are closing down.  Sad news for staff and customers alike.

 

In better news, I launched my Applique Robin Cushion pattern this week!

 

 

A few weekends a go I taught my first ‘Rockin’ Robin’ workshop at the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild.

 

 

The ladies were a joy to teach and totally embraced the ‘mixed textiles’ vibe.  12 cute Robins adorned the table at the end of the workshop!

 

I’ll also be teaching this project in my weekly classes, in the run up to Christmas.

 

 

I can’t wait to see many more versions of my Robin cushion appearing here, there and everywhere!

 

I’ve put together some Robin Cushion kits, using my wonderful collection of tweeds, flannel, linen and vintage cotton. The kits include everything you need to make the cushion front, including the pompom berries, pattern and already enlarged template.

 

 

Stuck for a gift idea or fancy having a go yourself? You can get your hands on one of my Robin kits here, but be quick – they are flying out the door fast!

Happy sewing!

 

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Another Sew Together Bag


By Judith on June 12, 2017
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Happy Monday to you all!

 

It’s almost the end of my teaching term here in Belfast.  There has been a hive of activity across my 4 classes and it’s always a joy seeing completed quilts, bags, wallhangings and more.

 

This term, a number of my ladies have been making the Sew Together Bag, by Sew Demented.

 

The first Sew Together Bag I made at Brit Bee Retreat.  While there were a few sections of the pattern which could have been better illustrated, I was able to independently complete the bag (with only a couple of peeks at my friend’s pouch!).

 

 

I’ve designed and made many pouches and bags, but my classes are mixed abilities.  So by way of preparation for teaching this pattern, I knew I needed to make another bag, taking additional notes, tips and improvements for my ladies.

 

 

A while  ago a good friend bought me the cutest little fat quarter bundle from Pretty Fabrics and Trims.

 

I’ve been saving them for just the right project and knew they would work well with some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Flax.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

However, I didn’t have quite the right quantities for the Sew Together Bag, but some Tilda prints married beautifully with them.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

Now I may have a not so secret stash of vintage lace and trims!

 

Vintage lace & trim

 

What better time to use a delicate piece of textile history to finish off the patchwork panel on my bag.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

Never one to miss a recycling opportunity, the charm from a broken bracelet became my zipper pull.

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

So that’s my 2nd Sew Together Bag!

 

Sew Together Bag June17

 

But I wish you could see the amazing bags my ladies have made!  They are all so different and all beautiful!

 

A satisfying end to the summer term.

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chevron Heaven Quilt


By Judith on April 7, 2017
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I love Chevron quilts! They are simple to make and are so versatile in providing many different designs.

 

One of the simplest ways to make chevrons is using half square triangles, and with clever fabric placement, or mixing up your fabric ‘values’ (low volume, high volume) you can achieve all sorts of wonderful patterns.

 

 

When the editor of Popular Patchwork sent me her mood board for the April issue, the colours were earthy and saturated and I saw a glimpse of a chevron pattern in there.

 

So I pulled out all my Kona solids that fit the brief and went to work designing a chevron inspired quilt.

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
12 shades of Kona made it into the final quilt!

 

For me these colours represent transition – moving out of a long dark winter and into the new life of spring. Little hits of prints mixed in with the solids are like those glimpses of colour and growth you see coming out in the garden at this time of year.

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
I wanted to break up the continuity of the half square triangle chevrons with narrower rows, and so designed a simple foundation pieced template for these.  If you’ve never tried foundation piecing before, this would be a great, non-threatening project to start with!

 

 

Foundation piecing is a little more time consuming than normal piecing, but it’s definitely worth it to get those crisp, sharp points!

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The organic wavy quilting lines create a sense of movement through the angular peaks and troughs of the chevrons.  And I backed it with trusty Ikea Numbers cotton.

 

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The magazine also includes a double page feature on how to style a room around Chevron Heaven!  What a neat idea!

 

Chevron Heaven Quilt (Popular Patchwork April17)

 

The April issue of Popular Patchwork is in the shops now!

And Chevron Heaven is now listed in my shop for sale!

Happy sewing!

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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!!

 

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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?

 

p1090379

 

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!

 

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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.

 

presentation2

 

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

 

presentation1

 

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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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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Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?


By Judith on May 15, 2016
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As a pattern writer, I’m always interested in how other designers and companies rate their patterns according to ability levels.

Until now, I have been reserved about ‘grading’ my patterns.

You see, unless I know your background and attitude to sewing, it would be hard to recommend to you a ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ quilting pattern.

I’ve been teaching people to sew and quilt for nearly 8 years.  I’ve seen complete beginners take on technical patterns with a ‘bring it on’ attitude and totally nail it.  I’ve seen seasoned sewists attempt beginner level techniques for the first time and have near nervous break-downs!  And I’ve seen everything in between.

One thing I’ve learned is that your APPROACH and ATTITUDE to your learning is key!

Yes of course we have different learning styles; yes of course we have our preferred techniques and comfort zones. Sometimes additional support or explanation is needed from others, and of course experience can count for something. But never underestimate the power of a mind that is open and teachable to new things. (I also find a healthy dose of patience and determination go a long way too!)

Old Spools clothed in Liberty scraps


No matter how long I’ve been sewing for, I still have much to learn.  When I try out a new technique for the first time, I become a beginner all over again!

We all have different perspectives of what these terms mean. I get ‘beginners’ in my classes who have never used a rotary cutter before, and some who have; some already know how to use a sewing machine and some don’t! Some know what quarter inch seams and fat quarters are, and others look at me like I’ve got 2 heads!  The term ‘beginner’ can be quite a broad umbrella!

Trying to define such subjective terms as ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ within nebulus parameters isn’t always helpful.  For instance, a pattern marketed as ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ may put off someone who has been sewing for only a short time (and yet would be more than able to complete it), or someone who has been sewing for years but hasn’t tried much variety in their sewing. Equally, a ‘beginner’ graded pattern may rob a veteran sewer of the joy of a satisfyingly quick and uncomplicated make (my favourite kind!).

I appreciate that guidelines are sometimes needed, even if they are out in the ball park somewhere! I’m not against patterns being graded (though perhaps a more informative explanation should be given about the techniques involved, rather than just the typical 2 out of 5 stars/spools/scissors rating for example.)

What I’m not keen on is someone else, like me, or any other pattern writer, telling YOU what you are capable of achieving or not achieving. YOU are in charge of your learning.

So my questions to you are these?

How helpful are pattern gradings to you?
Do you pay much attention to them?
Would you like to see more of them?
Do you find a disparity between the levels across different pattern producers?
Do you define your sewing ability by one of these categories?

I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this.  At the moment I”m reviewing some of my existing patterns and writing new ones! Your comments will help me enormously.

Thank you,


Jude xo 

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