Improv. Curved Placemats Tutorial


By Judith on May 4, 2018
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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.

 

Improv Curves Placemat tutorial (2)

 

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

Co-ordinating threads

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!

Improv Curves Placemats

 

Adorn your table with your beautiful mats and wait for the compliments!

 

Improv Curves Placemats

 

So why not have a go at this organic and fun technique!

 

I hope you enjoy your venture into improv. curves!

 

Happy curving!

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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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Disappearing Blocks!


By Judith on March 11, 2018
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In my classes last week, I gave another ‘5 minute demo’.  This month the demo was all about Disappearing Blocks!

 

No, not magic tricks or a trick of the eye.  But how to turn a well known quilt block into something rather special (without lots of intricate piecing)!

The following are pictorial instructions on how to make the disappearing blocks.  A few notes to consider before we get started:

 

    • please work on the basis of colour placement being the same in each series, even if the fabrics are slightly different! (A big thank you to my daughter for making all the blocks)
    • I haven’t included sizes here.  You need to start with the finished block size and work backwards allowing for extra seam allowances per cut.
    • The position of the ‘cut’ lines can vary to give different effects, as long as they are equidistant from each seam.
    • check out my pinterest board for tutorials, sizes and variations.

 

1. Disappearing 9 Patch:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

2. Disappearing 9 Patch Variation:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

3.  Double Disappearing 9 Patch:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

4. Disappearing Hourglass:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

 

5. Disappearing Pinwheel:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

6. Disappearing Pinwheel Variation:

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

7. Disappearing Four Patch:

(assume finished block is in same fabrics!)

 

 

Here’s what to do:

 

 

 

8. Disappearing 4 Patch Variation:

Start with another 4 patch block.

 

 

 

These are just a sample of the many disappearing blocks you can make! Aren’t they cool!

 

photo courtesy of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine

 

And if you make a quilt with one of these disappearing blocks, you can get some lovely secondary patterns emerging too, like my Disappearing 9 Patch quillow (pattern available here.)

 

I hope you have been inspired and have fun making some impressive (yet easy) quilt blocks!

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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HSTs, QSTs and HRTs


By Judith on February 2, 2018
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Hi everyone!

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!

 

Autumn Boho Quilt (British Patchwork & Quilting Sept17)
Autumn Boho Quilt made with giant hsts!

Chevron Heaven Quilt (April17 Popular Patchwork Magazine)
Chevron Heaven!

 

Houndstooth Quilt for LPQ (Nov16)
Modern Houndstooth – hsts and squares
Rainbow Geese (photo courtesy of Sewing World magazine)

 

 

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 ……..

 

 

….. but check out my QST Pinterest board for lots more clever ideas & sizing charts!

 

Half Rectangle Triangles (HRTs):

As with HSTs and QSTs we will be sewing either side of a diagonal pencil line, but this time, because we are working with rectangles, the layering is different.

 

 

Placing the fabrics right sides together, make sure the pencil line runs to the opposite corners of the other rectangle.

When these have been sewn, separated and pressed, you will need to trim off the excess fabric at the corners before using them.

 

 

And if you change the direction of the pencil line in other units, you can achieve lots of different effects.  Here’s a little Twizzler block I made for the class lesson.

 

 

I haven’t made an HRT quilt yet, but it is most definitely on my bucket list!

But please check out my HRT Pinterest board for inspiration overload! Oh my! I want to make them all!

If you’ve always wanted to design your own quilts but have been unsure of where to start, then why not give HSTs, QSTs or HRTs a try!

I hope you feel inspired!  Thank you for tuning in!

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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Home Sweet Home Wallhanging


By Judith on March 20, 2017
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Hello everyone, we are well into Spring here, and the April issues of quilting magazines are hitting the shops!

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

In keeping with the Spring theme, I designed a birdhouse wallhanging for British Patchwork & Quilting (April issue).

 

 

One of the things I love about Spring is the sound of chirping birds in my garden. I had this cute birdhouse fabric in my stash, (Sugar Hill ‘Birdy in Pink’ by Tanya Whelan) and I drew inspiration from there.  Can you see little birdhouses in the fabric?  That got me thinking about the little birdhouses in my Woodland Friends quilt.

 

So a few template alterations later, and I had the basis of a spring-time wallhanging.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

Before fusing any of the shapes to the Essex linen background, I quilted the background in a grid pattern, with calico behind the wadding. (The finished wallhanging is double backed, which means after all the other applique is complete, a pretty back of more cute ‘Sugar Hill’ fabric is attached.)

 

 

Satin stitch applique is one of my favourite ways to applique, and luckily I had a fat quarter of fabric with love birds printed on it.  I simply cut these out, bondawebbed them to the birdhouses and stitched round them.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

The lettering required a little more thought.  I enlarged a cursive font of the word ‘sweet’, transferred it to fabric and got it satin stitched in place. I knew I wanted a contrast in the lettering of ‘home’ so I drew the words on with a water soluble pen and free motion sketched over them.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

I’m really digging curvy corners at the moment, and shaping the top corners on this wallhanging removed some excess negative space which better balanced out the proportions of the design.

 

 

Some standard quilt binding and a few hanging tabs later and voila!  A Birdhouse wallhanging to welcome Spring into your home!

 

The wallhanging measures 19.75″ x 16.5″ and it made front cover of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  Woohoo!

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

Happy chirping!

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Staggered Strips Cushion


By Judith on March 23, 2016
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Are you a ditch quilter?

Ditch quilting is when you quilt in the seams of your patchwork, so that it won’t be seen! This secures all 3 layers (top, wadding, backing).

Traditionally, quilts and other quilted projects were always ditch quilted first, before any decorative quilting was added.

However, as with most things, attitudes and trends have changed. No longer do we have to try to ‘stay in the ditch’ and hold our breath as we try to get from one end of a seam to the other!  (Imagine how nerve wracking that is for a beginner!).

As long as you quilt sufficiently (manufacturers state the minimum intervals on wadding packaging) so that there is no bagging between layers, then ditch quilting isn’t always required.

However, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be used as a quilting technique in its own right.
Sometimes when you have pretty fabrics and an effective design, decorative quilting isn’t required.

Simple Strips Cushion

 


This is my Staggered Strips Cushion.  Hopefully you can tell that it is quilted without seeing the quilting!

Simple Strips Cushion

I have quilted in all the vertical seams using my ditch quilting foot.  If you don’t have a ditch foot, use an applique or open foot to maximise your view of the seams and ditches!

If you would like to learn more about ditch quilting, get my step by step guide in the current issue of Popular Patchwork (pg 34).  You can also get the pattern for my Staggered Strips Cushion.

Staggered Strips Cushion / Popular Patchwork (April)


Happy Ditching!

Jude xo

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