Hi there, the ‘5 minute demo’ in my classes for this month was all about Portholes!
I first learned how to do this nifty technique from Lu Summers at the 2012 Fat Quarterly Retreat.
It was so much fun, and one of those techniques that is deceptively easy!
You can pretty much porthole any shape, and show off some patchwork, feature fabric or pretty vintage embroidery. But my advice is not to get too intricate with the shape otherwise the outline may not keep its definition.
You Will need:
Fabric 1 (centre): 7″ square
Fabric 2: 12.5″ square
Fabric 3: 16.5″ square
Fabric 4: 18.5″ square
5.5″ diameter bowl or plate to draw around (alternatively use template plastic and compass)
9″ diameter bowl or plate to draw around
13″ diameter bowl or plate to draw around
Calico: Same 3 cuts as Fabrics 2-4 above
Use 1/4″ seam allowance
1 Press the 12.5″ calico square in half both ways to find the centre.
2 Centre the 5.5″ diameter bowl (or template plastic) onto the calico and draw round the circle.
3 Place the calico onto the RIGHT side of Fabric 2, with the circle facing up. Pin the layers together and stitch on the circle.
4 Carefully cut away the fabric in the middle of the circle leaving an 1/8″ seam allowance.
5 Push the calico through the hole and round to the back. Press well so there is no calico showing from the front side.
6 Position and centre Fabric 1 (feature fabric) behind the calico, before pinning and sewing around the hole, 1/8″ from the edge.
7 Peel back the top fabric from the calico and feature fabric laying behind. Carefully trim away all the excess calico and feature fabric leaving 1/8″ seam allowance. Do not cut through Fabric 2! Put to one side.
8 Repeat steps 1-5 for the 16.5″ piece of calico and 9″ diameter bowl/plate.
9 Pin the first porthole (with feature fabric) behind this porthole. Sew around the 2nd porthole 1/8″ from the edge, as before.
10 Peel back the top fabric from the calico and feature fabric laying behind. Carefully trim away all the excess calico and feature fabric leaving 1/8″ seam allowance. Do not cut through Fabric 3! Put to one side.
11 Repeat steps 8-10 for Fabric 4 and 13″ diameter bowl/plate.
Tip: If you want to turn your piece into a cushion, I recommend not trimming away the last layer of calico and excess feature fabric. This will add more stability to the outer edges.
Now you have your triple porthole piece, you can turn it into a pretty cushion!
I spray basted wadding and calico behind the cushion front, hand ‘echo’ quilted the portholes, before adding some mini pompoms and an envelope back!
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and have lots of fun giving portholes a go!