• Long Island Star Cushion Long Island Star Cushion

    Well I’ve been a tad busy recently and I’ve not been getting around to posting, even though I’ve been busy making lots of different things!  I’ve finally finished the Long Island Star Cushion cover that I started a while ago.

    I made it using some Kona solids that I got as part of a magazine subscription last year as well as the beautiful metallic Succulence Everlasting Cacti Terrain fabric as background. I used some Morning Walk Limestone Feel Pitahaya fabric as the star points and envelope back from the shop.

    frontback

    It only takes a few fat quarters or scraps for the front and 0.5m/2 fat quarters for the back with no fiddly zips to add if you do the envelope back!  It was easy to piece and made a lovely sized cushion. I’ve stuffed it with a 50cm x 50cm IKEA cushion insert which only cost £4 and fits perfectly.

    I hope you like it.

     

  • Gallery Tunic + Dress

    This week I’ve been taking a break from the quilting and getting on with learning some new dressmaking skills with the Gallery Tunic + Dress pattern from Liesl + Co.

    I love this pattern for so many reasons! Firstly, it has amazingly clear instructions. With the exception of the collar (which was a new thing to learn to make for me), I found it to be really clear and easy to follow.  Now I know how a collar is attached, it’d be a doddle to follow next time. Secondly, it has step by step instructions on doing a FBA which is something I always have to do. Whilst I now know how to do it courtesy of following this post by the curvy sewing collective, it was nice to see the instructions included it for a change! Finally, it’s so comfortable to wear.

    The first thing that I did was trace the pattern off and onto some greaseproof paper. I love using that as it’s cheap, easily available and see through for tracing. I’ve traced the pattern rather than just cut into the provided one as I’m losing weight and running so much at the moment that my size keeps changing! If you look carefully on the left hand piece, you can see the minor FBA I did.

    gallery tunic pattern

    Here’s the small darts I added during that process too:

    gallery tunic dart

    I’m using some lovely soft brushed cotton that I got from the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Fair back in November.  It’s called by Paper Cranes by Kokka Japan.

    From start to finish, including all the FBA and some adjusting of the side seams as it had too much ease for my tastes, it’s taken less than a day to constructed. I’m really pleased with the result and can’t wait to make it again in some of our AGF prints that are lovely and lighter weight.

    If you fancy making this, you can find the Gallery Tunic + Dress Pattern in our shop.

    Update: A picture of the completed tunic on me (I’d apologise for the wet hair/no make-up look but it was after a run!). Such a comfy top.

    Gallery tunic liesl and co

  • Lily Quilt

     

    In the past few weeks, and I suspect for the next few months too, I’ve been tackling each of the patterns that are stocked on the website so that our wonderful customers can see what they look like when we visit craft fairs this year.  This time it’s the turn of pretty Lily. Lily is a pattern card from Villa Rosa Designs and costs just £2, so it’s a cheap way to grab a great little pattern.  I decided to use up the last of the Lewis and Irene Marrakech fabric and twin it with some of the AGF Pure Elements Snow fabric. The pattern takes 6 FQs, a further 0.5m for binding and 1.5m of background. It’s one of those patterns that looks best with either 1 fabric range (bundle anyone?) or one colour from several ranges, both with a neutral background. Here’s my FQ choice:

    Lily quilt fabrics

     

    Now, there’s a lot of cutting to do before you can start, but once that’s out of the way, it’s a matter of chain piecing lots of strips so it’s fairly simple to construct.

    Lily quilt pieces

    I cut out all my pieces over a couple of hours before I started and then selected them as I sewed to make sure there wouldn’t be 2 adjacent pieces that were the same. Once the blocks were constructed, I then showcased them to get the most random pattern layout that I could:

    Lily quilt blocks

    As you can see, Lily is a log cabin block with a bit of a twist! Now all that was left was to sew the blocks together, baste, quilt and bind it. I decided to quilt simply, so I quilted the coloured rectangles round the edges and added some diagonal lines from the centre blocks to the corners. You could easily go crazy in all that negative space though! Here’s the finished result:

    Lily quilt completed

    Why not raid your stash today and give one a go? Or raid the Bobbins and Bolts stash instead!

     

  • Chain Piecing Guide

    Chain piecing is one of those easy techniques that can easily speed up your sewing and is a particularly useful trick when you’re patchworking lots of straight pieces of fabric together.

    So to chain piece, you simply sew a seam as usual but at the end of the fabric you pause with the needle down but do not cut the thread. Lift the presser foot up, slide your next piece in and carry on sewing. Keep doing this until you reach the end of the last fabric you want to sew and then cut the thread as usual.

    Chain piecing part 1

    You’ll be left with something like this:

    chain piecing part 2

    Now simply snip the thread between each piece of fabric, being careful not to cut your fabric in the process.

    chain piecing part 3

     

    Ta da! Same result as you’d get by individually sewing each seam but faster as you don’t pause in between. If you pin a few pieces together before you start sewing, you can sew with very little pause between pieces. Best of all, it uses less thread this way as you don’t have those start and end threads to cut off each time.

    On both the Silver Star edge strips and particularly on the Lily quilt, this technique speeds up the sewing as long as you’re organised so you don’t lose track of which piece goes where! I get around this by cutting out every piece of fabric for a quilt or cushion before I start to sew and then I lay it all out on the floor. I then sew in either blocks or rows, split the chains of pieces into their parts again and lay them back on the floor in their correct position. This is easier said than done in our small house though as I sew at the dining table and I have 2 young boys that like to tear around the place! It usually means that I sew while they’re asleep or at school and then tidy up before they come home or wake up.

  • Library tote completed Library Tote

    So here’s the Library Tote bag. I’ve recently had a go at raiding my scrap bag. I’m sure we all have one of those bags full of bits of material just too precious to throw away! I saw the Library Tote in Quilt Now magazine and decided to give it a go using some of the snow fabric from our shop as a background.  This one was made as a gift for a book crazy friend but I think I’ll make a second for me when I get a spare few hours.

    The toughest part of this was choosing which materials to put together as I have a carrier bag full of reasonably sized scraps that were all big enough.  Here’s the test run of them all next to each other:

    Library tote fabrics

     

    It was a quick one to sew together once the fabrics were chosen and cut out, though it required a bit of organisation to get the white pieces and the colourful pieces together in the right order. I ended up writing a number on the back of each piece so I could check they matched. Thank goodness for Frixion pens!

    Here’s a view of the bag front completed. I stole some of the selvedges off other fabrics in my stash as some, like the Amy Butler Violette one, had nicer text for the book spines. I laid it on the fabric for the backing to check it looked ok and I figured this one looked a lot like pages from a book:

    Library tote front

     

    And here’s the completed bag:

    Library tote completed

    Hope you like it! If you’d like to make it, the pattern is available from Quilt Now Magazine issue 15.

  • Silver Star Quilt

    Silver star kit

    The Silver Star Quilt is made with a pattern by Villa Rosa Designs and is a great pattern for beginners and those of us who just want to sew something that’s going to look great and not going to tax us too much. The quilt top (if you’re a beginner, that’s the fabric bit before you quilt and bind the edges) can be made in around 3 hours. It’s only a dinky one with a finished size of around 32″ by 42″ (81cm x 107cm) but that’s a nice size for your knee, a cot or if you’ve kids like mine, the roof of a den. I made this one in Michael Miller fabrics to match the pastels of the living room:Silver star yellow

    If it looks crinkled, that’s because it has been well washed. 2 little boys and pastels do not mix so well…

    It only takes 6 fat quarters to make it (4 are for the star, 1 for the border to frame it and 1 to make up the binding along with the scraps from the star) and then a 1/2 yard of background fabric or half a metre if you’re in metric like us in the UK.  My first attempt at this was batiks and I listened to some poor advice from the sales lady instead of going with my instincts. Despite my love of colour, it’s far too bright and clashes! Thankfully my cat, Molly, doesn’t mind as it’s become her blanket.

    I’m now on my 4th one and I can safely say it works just as well in batiks, brights and pastels as long as you lay it all out and check for clashes before you cut. Here’s my work in progress. So far I’m up to the central star being completed and everything else is cut out. I’ll have a completed picture for you as soon as the boys are back to school next week.

    SIlver star partial

    Here you can see the advantage of metric FQs as I have plenty of scraps left to make the binding. I’m not even sure I’m going to need that 6th FQ if I make it a scrappy binding instead.

    Silver star offcuts

     

    The kit that I’ve made up for the shop is the one above and is made using AGF Morning Walk and Pure Elements fabrics.  I’m also going to be making it in the Succulence fabrics as the Abiding Rainwater print looks great as a background! I’ve been showcasing the prints right here:

    Silver star succulence

     

    It’s available as a kit of 6 FQs, 0.5m of background and the pattern card right here.  Or if you have fabrics you fancy using up, the pattern card is available here. Don’t forget to share your results. I can’t wait to see your quilts!

    UPDATE: Here’s the finished article!

    Silver star finished