Vintage Improv Quilt


By Judith on November 3, 2017
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Hello my friends!

 

Happy November to you all!  Aren’t the weeks just flying in!

 

There have been a few exciting developments in the Hollies Household, which I will be able to tell you all about in 2 weeks time (can’t wait!!).

 

In the meantime, I can tell you about a quilt I made earlier in the year, which was featured in the September issue of Quilt Now (apologies for the late posting).

 

Vintage Improv Quilt (Quilt Now September17)

 

This is another scrap-busting project, using medium to low volume prints which have a ‘vintagey’ vibe (‘volume’ refers to the ‘loudness’ or brightness of the fabric).

 

I had a ball dipping in and out of my scraps drawers, using wee pieces, leftover jelly roll strips and scraps of vintage sheets.

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

This improvisational style of piecing is quite addictive!  You just start with a few small pieces, keep adding and trimming as you go, and before you know it, your scraps have grown into a sizeable panel.

 

 

I got so carried away that I made too many sections!  Not wanting to waste them, I sewed them altogether and used them as a central panel in the back, pieced between 2 vintage sheets!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

Even the binding is another vintage sheet!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

I appreciate that maintaining a healthy ‘scrap stash’ takes organisation and space, but here are a few advantages you get from it:

  • You can make an entire quilt using just scraps!
  • Make your scraps go further using yardage for the background.
  • Enjoy the satisfaction & frugality of turning leftovers into many wonderful and new projects.
  • Put them to good use in charity bee blocks, like Bee Blessed.
  • Use scraps to ‘test’ blocks or measurements when resizing a block

I’m sure you can think of lots more advantages to keeping your fabric leftovers. And you can be even more creative thinking up genius ways to store them!

 

Improv Vintage Quilt (Quilt Now Sept17)

 

Despite this being a sizeable quilt (72″ x 82.5″) I wish I could tell you I made a significant dent in my scraps stash making it!!

 

But that just means I have lots of lovely gems waiting for another chance to be transformed!

 

I wonder what my next scrappy project will be?

 

Happy scrapping!

 

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Selvedge Bookmark Tutorial


By Judith on September 17, 2017
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Hello everyone!

 

How are you doing?

 

I haven’t done a tutorial here in a long while, so I thought it was time to rectify that.

 

 

You know how I’m always saving fabric scraps? Well I even keep the part of the fabric most people chuck away!

 

If like me you love to read, or know an avid reader, how about a selvedge bookmark? The perfect fabric/book loving combo!!

 

The key to keeping usable selvedges is to allow at least a quarter of an inch of fabric above the text (the edge below the text is a sealed edge, not a raw edge).

 

 

Here’s the tutorial:

 

Materials:

 

A selection of selvedges (with at least 6mm/0.25” above the text)

4” x 10” piece of heavy sew-in vilene (or wadding)

4” x 10” piece of cotton fabric (back)

1 x 10mm eyelet

12” length of narrow ribbon

 

Method:

Assume ¼” seam allowance unless advised otherwise

 

  1. Angle the top corners of the vilene/wadding by measuring 1” from each corner along the top edge and 2” down from each corner along the sides

 

 

2. Place your first selvedge level with the bottom edge of the vilene/wadding (remember ¼” will be absorbed by the seam allowance).

 

 

3. Place the next selvedge on top, with the sealed edge covering the raw edge of the first selvedge. Stitch close to the sealed edge.

 

 

4. Continue adding selvedges in this way until all of the vilene/wadding is covered.

 

 

5. Flip the bookmark over to reveal the original shape of the vilene/wadding. Trim away the excess selvedges.

 

 

6. Place the backing fabric right sides together with the bookmark and sew around all sides, leaving a 2” gap in the middle of the bottom edge. Trim away the corners.

 

 

7.  Turn the bookmark right sides out through the gap in the lining. Push the corners well out and press.  Press under the raw edges of the gap.

 

8. Top stitch 1/8” from the edges on all sides, closing the gap as you go.

 

 

9. Insert an eyelet at the top of the bookmark, using the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 

10. Thread the ribbon through the eyelet and knot to secure.

 

And you’re done!

 

 

Time to curl up in a squishy sofa, with a snuggly quilt and hot chocolate, and allow a good book to take you and your imagination to far flung places!

 

Happy selvedging!

 

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Denim Maker’s Tote


By Judith on June 18, 2017
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Hi everyone!

 

It’s getting pretty hot around here!

 

As I enjoy the wide open windows and the washing on the line, I’m also progressing well with packing up ready for moving house at the end of this month.  A small challenge when there’s 15 years worth of ‘stuff’ to thin out ready for our down-size!

 

I have also packed up my sewing room, but not before I got a class sample finished for classes in the new term.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

I’m a great admirer of Anna’s fabulous bag designs and patterns, and her Maker’s Tote is a particular favourite of mine.  I’ve had it bookmarked for a while, but am only now getting around to making it!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

I thought this would be a good bag pattern to teach in class because of the variety of bag construction elements and skills involved.

 

But of course I couldn’t just stick to the pattern, could I!

 

I love using denim for bags, it makes them more durable and useable in my view.  And besides, I already had 2 ‘uneven brick’ panels sewn together for another project long forgotten!  They were the perfect size, so I got to *quilting them, first in the ditches, and then some feature quilting using Aurifil 12wt wool thread.

 

*the original pattern uses a foam interfacing like Bosal to give structure and reinforcement to the bag.  I wasn’t able to get any in time, so substituted with a layer of wadding and heavy weight sew-in vilene spray basted together.

 

I used a size 100 Jeans needle for the quilting and construction

 

 

The front and back of my bag are slightly different.  I didn’t think the prescribed front pocket would work on my version of this bag, but I did include the zippered back pocket.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

One of the joys of working with recycled denim is thinking of ways to use the loops, tabs and unusual features attached to a pair of jeans.

 

Self-covered button with vintage chintz

 

 

I decided my Maker’s Tote could be used as my everyday bag, not just a class sample, so I incorporated another one of my favourite textiles, vintage chintz linen.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

A few vintage style Lecien prints coordinated beautifully for the internal pockets and facings.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The handles are made from a re-purposed denim belt, reinforced with webbing and lined with more of the chintz linen.

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The belt was a little on the wide side, so by cinching in the edges along the top section, they are now the perfect fit for my hands and have lovely structure too!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

The bag is finished off with self-made bias binding, another great skill to have under your belt.  If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that the first lot of bias binding I made is different to the one on the finished bag!

 

 

I decided I didn’t like choice no.1 (after I had attached it!). In my opinion the chintz linen binding works much better, even though it was a little trickier to attach.

 

So there we have my version of Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote!  A fabulously roomy bag, gorgeous shape, and versatile elements.

 

And I’ll leave you with an ‘out take’ of the ‘helper’ on my photo-shoot!

 

Denim Maker's Tote (large)

 

Linking up to Nicky & Leanne’s Scraptastic Tuesday!

 

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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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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Denim Pouches


By Judith on December 30, 2016
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Some much needed time off in December meant ‘play time’!

And for me, playtime usually involves denim!!

 

 

I love the many different tones that exist in this durable form.

 

 

I started my ‘playtime’ with a little denim EPP (English Paper Piecing) in front of the open fire on chilly December evenings.

 

Pretty soon I had 2 EPP panels made, and before I knew it I had 2 sizeable pouches made!  I even employed The Beast for those particularly thicker features!

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

I was loosely basing these pouches on my denim washbag. I love how Aurifil wool thread holds its own on the thicker textiles.

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

I had 2 people in mind as the recipients for these pouches.

 

Brit Bee Secret Santa Denim Pouch

 

This one went to Katy, who I was making for in our Brit Bee Secret Santa.

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

And this one went to a good friend on her birthday – can you guess what her name is?

 

Denim Zippy Pouch Gift

 

And I might just have a 3rd EPP Denim project on the go!

 

My name is Judith and I’m addicted to denim!

 

Happy sewing!

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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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Autumn Tree Wallhanging


By Judith on September 18, 2016
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Now that I am embracing Autumn, I can show you one of my favourite makes of this year!

 

Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issues)
This is ‘Autumn Tree’, an applique wallhanging measuring 27″ x 30″, which I will definitely be displaying in my home.
Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issues)

 

I adore the warm autumnal purples and pinks in Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee range, especially on a Kona Bone background.  In fact, the leaf shapes are the by-product of the Sizzix Drunkard’s Path Fan die!!  I always keep these shapely leftovers, and was so pleased to be able to turn some of them into a seasonal project.

Useful tip:  Quilt your background first before appliquing on the shapes.  This means you don’t have those head-scratching moments when trying to decide how to quilt around the shapes.

 

 

Satin stitch is my favourite applique technique, and I think it suits the clean lines of the leaves and trunk.

Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issue)

The pattern for this wallhanging is in the October issue of Pretty Patches Magazine.

And maybe one day I will make Spring, Summer & Winter/Christmas versions to hang up with each changing season!!

Hope you are off to a great Autumn!

Jude xo

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Denim Sail Boat Cushion


By Judith on June 19, 2016
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Hello everyone!  My that’s another week gone!

How has your week been?

My June is always a little crazy, but exams are over, Uni daughter comes home for a visit on Thursday, so all is right with the world!

Did I ever tell you that I love recycling denim (only once or twice right! Wink! Wink!).

Sometimes an idea just comes on me and I have to run with it.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)


This started out as a little denim ‘play therapy’!  I had a clutch of Aurifil 12wt wool threads which I knew would marry the denim perfectly!

And so a little fun applique project turned into a cushion commission for Pretty Patches Magazine.

This was my first time using Aurifil 12wt threads in my machine.  I used them for some of the details, but not the main satin stitch applique.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)

I had used Coats Creative thread before in this way, and really liked the effect. But it’s difficult getting a wide range of shades in Coats Creative thread.  Aurifil however have a lovely range of 12wt colours, and with a size 100 needle, it ran through my machine like a dream (I used normal cotton thread in the bobbin).

My favourite bit is the uniquely worn part of the ‘sea’ – can you guess which part of the jeans this came from!!

You could easily substitute the denim for quilting cotton if you don’t have spare jeans lying around!!

So if you fancy dreaming of sailing away on the summer seas, then pick up a copy of Pretty Patches (July) today!

Happy Sailing!

 

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