Sewing Curved Seams – Drunkards Path Cushion

Drunkards path cushion cover

Drunkards path cushion cover

Sewing curved seams worries many quilters, but it really only takes a bit of care.  You need to sew the seam slowly and adjust the fabric as you go.  I find this easier than coping with lots of pins all along the seam.

This Drunkards Path cushion cover is an ideal way to try sewing curved seams as you only need to make four of the blocks.  In this tutorial I have also used a very simple method of making an envelope closing for the cushion cover.

You can buy the fabrics that I used at a discount in this week’s special offer.




 

Cutting requirements for the Drunkards Path quilt block

You can download the templates here – or you can find many templates on the internet.

Four of the squared off template in lilac.

Two purple and two green of the wedge templates.

Cut two 2.1/2″ green strips across the width of fabric and one 18″ green strip across the width of fabric.

Lay the pieces in position

Lay the pieces in position

Pin the ends before sewing curved seams

Place one of each shape next to each other, both with right side up.  This will help you to be sure that you are sewing along the correct seam.  In the photo the purple is just placed in position while the green one shows the completed block.

Flip the purple wedge so that it is right sides together with the lilac shape.  You need to pin at each end of the curved seam.  If you look at the shapes as they are in the first  photo you can see where the purple edge along the top will form a straight line with the lilac.

Pin the ends only

Pin the ends only

So pin the purple to the lilac along that straight edge as shown in the left hand part of the photo.  Repeat at the other end of the curve.  Those are the only pins that I use because I find that I can adjust the fabric as I’m sewing curved seams without too many pins getting in the way.

Begin sewing the curved seam

Begin sewing the curved seam

Sewing curved seams

Begin sewing at one end, making sure that it is the curved seam that you are sewing along.  You will find on the internet some people saying you must have the lilac shape on top and others saying that you must have the purple shape on top.  I find it easiest to sew with the lilac shape on top, but I prefer to say to you try both and see which way you find easiest.

Keep the fabrics lined up

Keep the fabrics lined up

So, back to sewing curved seams.  Do a few stitches and then stop so that you can adjust the fabrics.  Line up the fabrics to be in line about an inch or two along the seam.  Put your finger on this point and then with your other hand gently ease the purple fabric to the left so that it is in line with the lilac fabric.  Sew that inch or so along the seam then stop and repeat the process.  Smooth the lilac fabric so that it is always lying flat – that’s why I find it easiest to have the lilac on top.

Continue along the seam until you reach the other end which is pinned.  I have described this procedure as best I can, but I think that this is one of those occasions when the video will help (link given at the bottom of the page).

Make small clips into the seam allowance, taking care not to cut the stitches.  This will help your block to lie flat.  Press with the seam allowance towards the lilac section.  Make two in green and two in purple.

Lay the blocks to form a circle

Lay the blocks to form a circle

Assemble the Drunkards Path cushion cover

Lay the blocks out in two rows of two so that the green and purple wedges form a circle.  There are loads of ways of varying the placement to give different designs, but I have gone with this simple placement for the cushion.

Sew the pairs of blocks together.  The important thing is to match up the seam allowances to form a smooth circle.  Match these seams first and then sew the seams.

Finally sew the two pairs of blocks to each other, again matching the seam allowances at the ends of the curved seams.

Add the border

Add the border

I’ve added 2.1/2″ strips of green to form a frame around the blocks.  For mine I used two strips of 14″ for the top and bottom with two strips of 18″ for the sides.

Before you do this, measure your block.  The template that I used had 7″ sides but I have a feeling that if you use my templates they do not print to the same size.  It doesn’t actually matter:  as long as all four of your blocks are the same size as each other, your blocks will form the circle.

For your border, measure the sides of the block, then cut two strips of that length for the top and bottom and two lengths 4″ longer for the sides.

Lay the quilt block on the backing

Lay the quilt block on the backing

Making the cushion backing

I haven’t used a zip to complete this cushion cover.  Instead I have used the most simple method for making an envelope closure that I know.  It also provides a lining for the front of the cushion to protect the seam allowances.

Take the 18″ width of green fabric and turn under a small double seam at each short end.  These will be the edges of the envelop closing.  Lay the strip with right side up.

Place the drunkards path quilt block exactly in the middle of the green strip, also with right side up.  Fold the bottom of the green strip up over the top of the quilt block.  The bottom of the quilt block should lie along the fold line.

Fold the top down

Fold the top down

Now fold the top of the green strip down.  The top of the quilt block should lie along the top fold line.  The end of the top of the backing will overlap the bottom edge by about six inches.  This provides the opening for you to insert a cushion pad.  The quilt block is completely enclosed within the backing strip.

Back of the cushion

Back of the cushion

The advantage of using this method is that you now also have a layer of fabric backing the drunkards path quilt block, protecting the seam allowances.

Line up all the edges of the fabrics and pin in place.  Sew all round the edge of the square.  I tend to use quite a large seam – about 1/2″ or 3/4″ – so that I can be sure that all layers of fabric will be caught in the seam.

Turn the project right side out through the gap in the back, check that all the layers of fabric were caught in the seam and insert a cushion pad.

I hope that this simple project will show you that sewing curved seams is not difficult.  Sew the seam slowly and try a project like this with fairly large blocks first before tackling one with small curved seams.

Here’s the video:

St Pete's Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica

Last month I managed a flying visit to Rome.  What a breathtaking city it is!  I haven’t had time to sort out all the photos yet, but I hope that I’ll be able to bring them to you next Friday.

Wedge Shaped Cushion Cover Tutorial

Wedge shaped cushion cover

Wedge shaped cushion cover

Recently I was asked for an article on making a wedge shaped cushion cover.  Most cushions we cover are square, rectangular or round, so this was a good opportunity to look at making covers for cushions of irregular shape.

I bought a wedge of foam from a local shop so my measurements here are naturally for that specific wedge.

Over Christmas I felt that I could well have more people than chairs in my tiny sitting room.  The wedge proved useful for someone to rest against a wall while sitting on the floor.




 

Wedge shaped foam

Wedge shaped foam

Cutting requirements for the wedge shaped cushion cover

Before you can buy the fabric or even think of cutting it, you need to take careful measurements of each face of the wedge.

I measured each face (six in total) and then added 1″ to each measurement so that I could use a 1/2″ seam allowance.

I thought that the wedge was shaped so that the front and the back were both at an angle.  In fact if you look carefully at the photo you’ll see that the back is at right angles to the base and the front is at an angle.

This obviously makes a difference to the pieces that you cut.  When I cut the two wedge shaped pieces for the sides I cut them with the fabric folded over so that my two wedge shapes were mirror images of each other.

List of sizes

List of sizes

You also need to decide which face you are going to put the zip in.  For my wedge I have sewn the zip into the base.

The measurement for the base was 9″ by 21″.  Instead of using one piece, I cut two pieces 5″ by 21″.  This was so that I could sew the zip in the middle between the two rectangles.

Add the zip

I began by turning under a 3/4″ hem hem on one long edge of each of the base rectangles.  Then I sewed the zip to these two edges so that the rectangles were joined by the zip in the middle.  I used an 18″ zip because that’s what I had in stock.  This was a mistake – if I had used a longer zip I would have found it easier to pull the cover over the wedge when I had finished.

Assemble the wedge shaped cushion cover

Add the front and back first

Add the front and back first

Next I added the front and back panels to the base section, making one long strip.  The sides (the wedge shaped pieces) are next to be sewn.  They will be added to the ends of the base section.  The fabric is now in a cross shape.

When sewing the sides in place, be careful to sew only as far as the seam lines – see below.

I had to be careful when adding the side sections because the back of the wedge is at right angles to the base while the front is angled against the base.  This meant that I had to check that the right angled corners of each side section were on the same side as each other – on the left in the photo.

Sew the sides to the back and front

Sew the sides to the back and front

Next I needed to join the side sections to the back and front sections.  This involves pulling the edge of the back to the edge of the side section.  This means that you will have three seams joining together at the base.  Because you only sewed as far as the seam lines above, this should leave you sufficient fabric to form a seam.  This time you need to start sewing with your needle on the seam line joining the base to the front or back.

You are making a pouch at this stage – almost like putting the side gusset in a bag.  Be careful to smooth all the other fabric out of the way before you begin sewing.  There are four seams to sew in this way – two sides of each side section.

Sew the sides of the top

Sew the sides of the top

Add the top section

Before you sew the top in place, open the zip at least half way.  This will enable you to turn the project right side out.

Now with right sides together sew the two short ends of the top to the tops of the side sections.

Finally sew the long sides of the top to the front and back of the cushion cover.  These seams again need care as you have three seams meeting at each point.

One thing (or do I mean another thing) that I could have improved upon:  the front of the wedge is slightly longer than the back because it’s at an angle to the base.  I didn’t pick up on this when I was measuring the foam wedge.  It meant that the front section was slightly shorter than the sides and back when I sewed everything together.  It was easy enough to trim everything to the same length before I sewed the seams, but I thought that it was worth mentioning as something you might find helpful.

Making a wedge cushion cover is mainly a matter of logic.  Begin at the base and then gradually add the other pieces to build up your wedge, finishing with the top section.  I hope you’ll find this article useful no matter what shape of cushion you are making a cover for.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

 

Handmade Christmas Table Napkins

Handmade Christmas table napkins

Handmade Christmas table napkins

Handmade Christmas table napkins are lovely to use and they also make great gifts.  I’ve made these ones using 22″ squares of white linen and a star embroidery stitch from my domestic sewing machine.  You could make them using a different stitch for any time of year.  I also have some red linen and I think that I might try them with a white star embroidery round the edges.

Handmade Christmas table napkins – size

For the first napkins that I made I used 18″ squares of fabric but I’ve used 22″ squares this time and I think that I prefer these – a good lap sized napkin!




Clip the corners

Clip the corners

Basic preparation

First step is to clip the corners to reduce bulk.  Try to clip the same amount from each corner.  I use my ruler and cutting mat so that I can check that I’m taking off the same length from each side of the corner.  I’ve clipped a good 1/2″ from each side of the corner.

Pin the straight edges first

Pin the straight edges first

Next begin pinning the edges.   I begin by turning under a double hem on all the straight edges of the square.  I find it easier to turn under the corners when the edges either side are already pinned, but that’s just personal preference.

Fold across the corner

Fold across the corner

Making mitred corners

This is the step that I think makes handmade Christmas table napkins look more professional.  Fold down the clipped edge of the corner – about 1/2″.

Turn under the hem on one side

Turn under the hem on one side

Now continue the double hem from one of the edges, turning one side of the corner under twice.

Pin quickly!

Pin the other side

Pin the other side

Repeat with the hem on the other side of the corner.  You are aiming for a neat join of the two edges forming a diagonal line down the corner.

This may not go quite right the first time – well it doesn’t for me anyway.  It’s worth taking the time to do it a couple of times if necessary.

Embroider the edge

Embroider the edge

Add the embroidery

Now you can add the embroidery.  As these are handmade Christmas table napkins I have chosen the star stitch on my machine.  Obviously you could choose whatever stitch suited you.  You need to use the same thread in the bobbin as on the spool so that the stars will look the same on both sides of the napkin.  I always work on the wrong side both because that’s where the pins are and also it’s more easy to check that you’re catching the hem in your embroidery.

That’s really all there is to it – a lovely simple project either for your own Christmas table or to make as a gift.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Reversible Butchers Apron – Free Pattern

Reversible butchers apron

Reversible butchers apron

I’ve made the reversible buthers apron as two distinct aprons in different colour pairings.  Then I sewed the two sections together.  This meant that I had no hand sewing to do and the neck loop and waist ties were all sewn in at the same time.

I used a straight central section so that I wouldn’t have to worry about matching up the seams from the chevrons on either side.

The butchers apron is 24″ wide and 33″ long.  I have used 3/4 yard each of black and blue with 1/2 yard each of red and white.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

The reverse

The reverse

Cutting requirements for the butchers apron

Black and blue fabrics:  cut eight 2.1/2″ strips across the width of fabric, three 1.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric.

Red and white fabrics:  cut seven 2.1/2″ strips across the width of fabric.




Make panels of three strips

Make panels of three strips

Make the butchers apron front – right side

Sew together 2.1/2″ strips of black and red.  You need to make three panels of black, red, black and two panels of red, black, red.

One length of 35"

One length of 35″

Cut one of the panels into a 35″ length.  This will form the middle of the apron front.

You should now have four panels left – two of each type.  Use one of each type for each side of the apron.  Cut these into 20″ lengths, making eight panels altogether.

Cut a triangle from each end

Cut a triangle from each end

For the right hand side of the butchers apron,  take the top right corner of one panel and fold it down to the bottom edge. Take the bottom left corner of the panel and fold it up to the top edge.

Cut these two triangles off along the fold lines.  Repeat to make four panels – two of each type.

Alternate the strips

Alternate the strips

Lay these down the right hand side of the central strip.  Begin with a black/red/black and alternate the panels down the length so that the black and red strips alternate all the way down.

Sew the panels together and sew the resulting panel to the right hand side of the central strip.

Make the butchers apron left side

Fold triangles for the left side

Fold triangles for the left side

The panels on the left hand side need to be cut to the same sort of shape, but the triangles are folded in a different way.

On the left hand side of the panel, fold the top left corner down to the bottom edge.  On the right hand side, fold the bottom right corner up to the top edge.

Cut along the fold lines as before and repeat with the remaining three panels.  Make up a panel of alternating strips and sew this to the left hand side of the central strip.

Straighten the hemline

Straighten the hemline

Trim the sides of the apron front to straight lines – unless you are a more careful sewer than I am and your apron sides are already straight!

You also need to cut across the bottom to make a straight hemline.  I know that this seems a little wasteful of fabric, but I feel that this is the most simple way to make this apron

Cut across the hemline

Cut across the hemline

I find that the easiest way to trim the hem is to fold the apron front in half along the length and then when you cut across the width you can be sure that the hemline on the two sides will be even.

Use black and blue for the ties

Use black and blue for the ties

Make the ties

For the ties I have used one 1.1/2″ strip each of black and blue so that the ties will look correct no matter which way you wear the apron.

Sew along the length

Sew along the length

Sew a blue and a black strip together down the length.  Fold in half along the seam line.  You now have a strip 1.1/4″ wide which is black one side and blue the other side.  Fold under a 1/4″ hem in both the black and the blue to hide the raw edges and pin.

Topstitch along both sides of the strip.  Repeat with all the strips so that you end up with one for the neck and two for the waist ties.

Decide on the neck loop length

Decide on the neck loop length

I held the black apron against me to judge how long to make the neck loop.  I’ve said 30″ in the video, but that was actually a bit long.  I would probably have obtained a better fit with about 25″.  Measure what size you need for your neck loop – it needs to be short enough to hold the apron in place but long enough to fit easily over your head when you put the apron on.

Make the second apron front

Repeat the entire process with a different pair of colours – I have used blue and white which are perhaps more appropriate for a butchers apron.

Pin the ties in place

Pin the ties in place

Assemble the butchers apron

Lay the black apron with right side up.  Pin the ties in place.

The neck loop is placed either side of the central strip and the waist ties are placed at the corner – where my hand shows in the photo.

Remember to pin the ties with black side down.

Place the blue apron on top

Place the blue apron on top

Place the blue and white apron on top with right side down, matching all the edges and corners.  Pin.

Sew all round the edge of the apron leaving a gap of about 6″ so that you can turn the project right side out.

Leave a gap in the side

Leave a gap in the side

Pull the apron right side out through the gap.  Push all the edges and corners out and pin.  Turn under a small seam and pin to close the gap.

Top stitch all the way round the perimeter of the apron.  Apart from holding all the edges in place, this also closes the gap so that you don’t need to hand sew it.

Me modelling the apron

Me modelling the apron

The only way that I could think of to model the apron for you was to wear it in front of the mirror.

That completes the butchers apron pattern.  I hope that you’ll find it a useful pattern either for yourself or to make as a gift.

Here’s the video:

I seem to have spent another week working non stop – I really must try and get out more!  The photo that I would like to share with you is from when I went to the Safari Park with my daughter.  The baby rhino was absolutely gorgeous – running all over the place making mock charges at blades of grass.

 

Quilted Over-Trousers – Useful Sewing Project

My quilted over-trousers

My quilted over-trousers

I’ve made my quilted over-trousers in readiness for a trip to Norway later this year.  They could also be useful here if we have a cold winter in the UK.

They are intended to be worn over my jeans – like a coat but for the legs.  I could have made my own quilted fabric, but it was actually much cheaper (and easier) to buy the ready quilted stuff.  As I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, I didn’t want to spend too much time on this project.

I bought two metres of fabric only – no zips or buttons.




Cut the pattern pieces

Cut the pattern pieces

The Quilted Over-Trousers Pattern

A good rummage among my patterns produced a very old pattern that suited my needs.  It’s Style 3811 but any pattern with loose trousers would have been fine.

What I was looking for was simplicity rather than fashion so I ignored darts and waist closures.

With the fabric doubled over I cut the back and the front. Then I cut the waistband on a single layer of fabric.

Sewing the quilted fabric

Sew a sample seam

Sew a sample seam

As the fabric is quite thick I did wonder whether I would need to put the walking foot on the sewing machine, but I tried a sample seam and decided that my normal sewing foot would cope well.

Before I unpinned the pattern pieces I marked B or F on them to denote back and front.  The pieces are very similar looking so it would have been easy to confuse them otherwise.

Make the quilted over-trousers

Sew the inside leg seams first

Sew the inside leg seams first

The first seams that I sewed were the inside legs, sewing front to back on each side.

Then I would have sewn the U shaped bit from front waist to back waist, but I realised that I needed to finish each seam before I began the next seam so I serged those two seams.

Next I sewed the two sections together along the U shape.

Sewing the two outer leg seams should have been the next easy step.  However I was feeling complacent at how well the project was going so I managed to sew the wrong two seams.  Hold the two pieces together and check that you are making a trouser shape before you actually sew them.

The final steps

Wearing my quilted over-trousers

Wearing my quilted over-trousers

When I tried the trousers on I realised that I didn’t need a waistband.  I had intended to add a waistband with a wide elastic band inside it, but these quilted over- trousers are going to sit on top of my jeans without needing any elastic.  What I hadn’t considered was that the waist needs to be wide enough to be pulled over the hips.  If I had done that, then an elasticated waistband would have been useful.  As it is, I shall really have to tug to get these trousers on when I’m wearing jeans.

So instead of a waistband I just turned under a hem around the waist and at the end of the legs.  The whole project (even with unpicking) took a few hours only.  I’m thrilled with my quilted over-trousers – they are just what I had envisioned and I hope they’ll keep me nice and warm during my Norwegian trip.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

 

 

 

Single Strip Cushion Cover – Easiest Cover Ever

Halloween cushion cover

Halloween cushion cover

The single strip cushion cover is easily the most simple and easy cushion/pillow cover you could hope to make.  It’s a great standby if you need to make something really quickly as a gift – or for charity sales.  It has an envelope closing at the back rather than a zip, which of course cuts the time enormously.  I’ve made it here to fit a 16″ cushion pad.

Cutting requirements for single strip cushion cover

One 16″ strip of fabric cut across the width of fabric




Mark the central panel

Mark the central panel

Make the single strip cushion cover

Finish the edges of your strip of fabric – I have used my serger, but you could zigzag or use pinking shears or whatever method you normally use.

Fold the fabric in half to find the midpoint and mark this with pins.  Measure up 8″ and down 8″ from the central line and mark these lines with pins as well.

Turn under a hem on each end

Turn under a hem on each end

Turn under a small hem on both the short edges.

Lay the fabric with right side up and fold the top edge down till the fold matches the top line that you marked with pins.

Fold the edges along the marked lines

Fold the edges along the marked lines

Repeat with the lower edge – fold it up until the fold matches the lowest line that you marked with pins.  Pin carefully down the sides, making sure that you catch all the layers of fabric.

Sew a seam down each side.  That completes the single strip cushion cover!  It really is the most simple method imaginable.

Single strip cushion cover

Single strip cushion cover

Remove the pins and pull the cushion cover right side out through the envelope opening.  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I realise now that I should have cut the strip shorter before I began.  The trouble was that I was fixated on the idea of using one width of fabric.  In fact, I have ended up with more overlap than I would like, making it more difficult to insert the cushion pad.  If I was making this again, I think that I would cut about 6″ off the length of the fabric.  You can always make a small clutch bag with the bit that you cut off.

Just for fun, I made another single strip cushion cover using a see through Halloween fabric.  It’s a black organza type fabric with silver spiderwebs on it.  Because it’s see through the pink shows through and gives a very attractive cushion.  That’s the one in the photo at the top of the page.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Peg Bag Pattern – Free Bag Tutorial

Peg bag pattern

Peg bag pattern

This peg bag pattern is easy to make and I feel that it is another project for those who wish to craft for charity or Christmas stalls.  Or to make for yourself, of course!  It can be used as a peg bag for hanging out your washing or it can be hung from a hanger to hold your socks or tights.  The bag is very approximately 11″ wide by 11″ long.

I’ve seen peg bags with applique washing lines and clothes on them, but I have gone for a much simpler strip of lace around the neckline.  It is intended to look like a small dress – but with a very large neckline so that you can easily pull out pegs or socks from within the bag.  Lace is also a great way of covering imperfections in the neckline!

To buy the kit click on peg bag kit.




Cutting requirements for the peg bag pattern

I have used a 13″ strip cut across the width of fabric for the outer fabric and the lining fabric.  In addition you will need about 28″ of lace.  Cut one of each template in outer fabric and one of each in the lining fabric.  You will also need two strips about 1″ by 9″ in the lining fabric for the tapes.

Click here for the peg bag front template

Click here for the peg bag back template

Pin the template to the fabric

Pin the template to the fabric

Cut the fabric

Lay your strip of fabric out across the length and fold back about 13″ at the end so that you have two layers of fabric for that 13″ stretch.  Pin one of the templates in place with the right hand edge of the template lined up with the fold in the fabric.

Cut one in the outer fabric (the sky fabric) and one in the lining fabric (Liberty Art fabric).

Make a new fold for the 2nd template

Make a new fold for the 2nd template

Fold the strip of fabric over by 13″ again to create a new fold and pin the other template to it, again matching the right hand edge of the template with the fold line.

From the scraps of the lining fabric cut two strips about 1″ by 9″ for the tapes.

Sew the outer front and back together

Sew the outer front and back together

Assemble the peg bag

Place the two sections of outer fabric (back and front of bag) with right sides together.  Sew from the edge of the neckline across the shoulder, down each side, across the bottom and up the other side.  This creates a pouch.

Repeat with the lining fabric but this time sew across the shoulders and down the sides only – do not sew across the bottom of the bag lining.  This creates a tube.

Clip into the seams

Clip into the seams

Clip the corners where the fabric sticks out and clip into the seam on the inward curve of the seams.

This will help to make the bag lie flat when you turn the sections right side out.

Turn the outer bag right side out but leave the lining bag wrong side out.

Make the tape

Make the tape

Sew the two tapes

Lay the strips for the tapes with right side down.  Fold the edges in to the middle along the length.  Then fold the strip in half along the length so that the raw edges are completely concealed.  Sew along the strip to hold in place.  One end of each tape will be concealed within the seams.  I usually tie a simple knot in the other end to prevent fraying.

Pin the tapes in place

Pin the tapes in place

Lay the tapes on the neckline of the lining fabric about 2″ either side of the central point.  One end of each tape will lie on the neckline while the other end lies down the back of the section.

Pull the lining over the outer bag

Pull the lining over the outer bag

Join the two sections of the peg bag pattern

Pull the bag lining down over the top of the outer section, matching the neckline particularly.  The tapes are now lying between the two bag sections.

Sew around the complete neckline so that the two bag sections are joined together.  I found the two shoulder sections a bit fiddly to sew – just where the back and front pieces are joined.  You need to sew these bits slowly so that you can ease the fabric as you go.  Don’t forget that the lace will cover the occasional bump in the fabric – although I’m sure that you are a more careful sewer than I am so you won’t have any bumps!

Pull the lining up

Pull the lining up

Pull the lining bag up over the top of the bag sections so that you can sew the hemline of this section.

Sew the hemline

Sew the hemline

Turn under the two edges to make a small seam along the hemline and sew this in place.

Push the lining back inside the outer bag, pushing into the corners of the sleeves and hemlines to make a good fit.

Topstitch the neckline

Topstitch the neckline

Pin around the neckline and sew a line of topstitching to keep the two layers in place.

Sew lace around the neckline

Sew lace around the neckline

Add the lace

That’s the peg bag pattern complete apart from the embellishment.  For this I have used lace for three reasons:  it looks like clouds on the sky fabric, looks like a pretty collar on the dress shape and hides any imperfections in the neckline.

The lace is sewn on by hand.  I began at the back of the neckline to hide the join of the two ends, although in fact the lace is easy enough to join so the join doesn’t really show up anyway.

Peg bag on the line

Peg bag on the line

You can see the peg bag pattern in action here with the tapes used to tie it to the washing line.

I hope that you’ll find this a useful pattern whether you make it for yourself or for your charity sewing.

Here’s the video:

Portmeirion village

Portmeirion village

Last week I promised you a little more on my Welsh trip.  One of the highlights of the trip was a look around Portmeirion.  This is an extraordinary village built on a peninsular in North Wales.

The architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, wanted to show that beautiful buildings could be built to highlight the natural landscape.  He was heavily influenced by Italian architecture and the result is a gorgeous village – although I wouldn’t want to live there and have to cope with all the hordes of tourists!

The Prisoner

The Prisoner

The village has been used in countless films and TV programmes.  Perhaps the most famous of these was The Prisoner, filmed in the 1960’s.  You can get the feeling of this looking through the bars on to the river.

 

Making Pillowcases – Sewing Projects

Making pillowcases

Making pillowcases

Making pillowcases is incredibly quick and simple to do.  I don’t suppose that this project took me more than an hour.  It’s a great way to make pillowcases to tone in with your bedroom or to give as a gift.  Made in a plain fabric with some embroidery , they make lovely personalised gifts.

Cutting requirements for making pillowcases

I based my measurements on an existing pillowcase and cut two lengths of fabric – one 19″ by 30″ and one 19″ by 36″.  I used two different fabrics so that you could see more clearly what I did.  The pillowcase also now matches the duvet cover that I made a few weeks ago.




Overlocking on the edges

Overlocking on the edges

Making pillowcases

I began by serging round all four edges of each rectangle to seal the edges.  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I realised afterwards that I should have left this to the end and then I could have serged two edges together.  Basically I’m so thrilled to have my serger working that I serge anything that sits still for long enough.

The story behind this is that I bought my serger machine a few years ago for £100 at Aldi.  I was busy at the time but just felt that it was a really good buy, so I didn’t actually try to use it for some months.  Then I went to a workshop to find out what I could do with the machine.  I found that there was a screw missing on the plate so the feed didn’t work and I basically couldn’t do any sewing with it.  All I really learned was how to thread all the different threads.

Fast forward some considerable time and I managed to find a small screw that would work, fired up the machine and am absolutely thrilled with it.  I wish that I had sorted it out ages ago.

One panel longer than the other

One panel longer than the other

Anyway, back to making pillowcases …  I turned under a small double hem on one short edge of each panel of fabric and sewed the hem in place.  Then I lined up the two rectangles, right sides together, so that the bottom edges of the two were in line with each other.  At the other end, where I had hemmed the edges, the blue rectangle was about 6″ longer than the red one.

Fold the blue rectangle

Fold the blue rectangle

I folded the blue rectangle down so that the fold was in line with the edge of the red rectangle.

Then I sewed the two long edges and the bottom short edge.  This creates a pouch.  Turn the pillowcase right side out and insert a pillow.  The folded blue fabric acts as an envelope so that you can tuck the pillow in to keep it in the pillowcase.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Christmas Cross Table Runner Pattern

Christmas Cross table runner

Christmas Cross table runner

The Christmas Cross table runner is very simple to make and I think it’s really beautiful – but I would say that, wouldn’t I!  I’ve used three blocks which are 16″ square finished size and added a red frame to it.

The table runner measures 18″ by 56″ and it takes 1/2 yard each of red, green and gold.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt block

Completed quilt block

Cutting requirements for the Christmas cross table runner

4.7/8″ squares:  six red, six green

2.7/8″ squares:  twelve green, twelve gold

4.1/2″ squares:  six gold

12.1/2″ by 4.1/2″ rectangles:  three gold

2.1/2″ by 4.1/2″ rectangles:  twelve green

6.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ rectangles:  twelve green

18.1/2″ by 4.1/2″ rectangles:  two red

1.1/2″ by 48.1/2″ strips:  two red

You will also need rectangles about 20″ by 60″ in both backing fabric and wadding.  Oh yes – about 170″ of binding as well.

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the half square triangle units

You need to make half square triangles with both the 4.7/8″ and 2.7/8″ squares.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This produces two half square triangles which are either 4.1/2″ or 2.1/2″ square.

Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

Christmas cross table runner block layout

Christmas cross table runner block layout

Make the Christmas cross quilt block

As this is a simple block, I have shown the full layout rather than showing it in stages.  Place a 12.1/2″ gold rectangle in the middle with a gold square above and below it.  In each corner of this central section place a red/green half square triangle with the red on the outside.

Make the outer frame with green rectangles and green/gold half square triangles.  The top and bottom rows are made with 6.1/2″ green rectangles on either side and a pair of green/gold half square triangles in the middle.

For the sides lay down two 4.1/2″ green rectangles with a pair of green/gold half square triangles between them.

Sew the patchwork pieces across the row for all the rows except the middle one.  For this one you need to sew the two half square triangles at the ends together first and then sew the pieces across the row.

The block measures 16.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make three of them.

Add red to the sides

Add red to the sides

Assemble the Christmas cross table runner

Sew the blocks together in one column.  Sew a 1.1/2″ red strip to each side of the column.

Mark a curve on the corners

Mark a curve on the corners

For the ends of the table runner I chose to round the edges but you might prefer  just to leave them square.

Fold the red rectangles in half along the length so that all the corners lie together.  That way you make sure that you have the same curve on each corner.  Mark a small curve across the corner – I used a plate – and cut along the curve.

Sew rectangles to the ends

Sew rectangles to the ends

Sew one rectangle to each end of the table runner, with the curved edges at the ends.

That completes the Christmas cross table runner.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  This is done in the same way as for a quilt.  Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section.

I should add here that as there are curves on the corners I should recommend that you use binding cut on the bias but these are such small curves that when I bind it I will just use normal straight binding.

Here’s the video:

Trip to London

Wellington statue

Wellington statue

Last week my daughter managed to get hold of tickets for Live at the Apollo in London.  We had a wonderful evening and the next morning I took a walk around the Buckingham Palace area before catching my train back to Birmingham.  So much splendour!

The buildings are wonderful and I was particularly struck by how much parkland and greenery exists even in the middle of London.  Look at all those trees around the statue of the Duke of Wellington.

Wellington archway

Wellington archway

It was a sunny day and I couldn’t see the screen of my camera very easily so the photos of Buckingham Palace either show too much sky or too much pavement – but then I’m sure you’ve seen many images of Buckingham Palace already.

The English Heritage photo of the Wellington archway shows more detail than mine does – and it gives you the history as well.  Apparently it was built in the early 19th century and then moved towards the end of the century.  The archway is very imposing and again you can see the trees very close to it.

MakingDuvet Covers – Pattern andTutorial

Making duvet covers

Making duvet covers

Making duvet covers is easy to do and allows you to choose your own fabrics to match the rest of the room.  They also make quick gifts.  I’ve made a single duvet cover here but of course you can make any size – the method is the same whatever size duvet you are covering.

Making duvet covers – measurements

My duvet measures 52.1/2″ by 74″.  I have added 1″ to the width and 2″ to the length so I am cutting my fabric 53.1/2″ by 76″.  You can make any size cover – just measure your own duvet first.  I’m using crease resistant cotton 60″ wide so that makes it even more easy to make the cover – no piecing involved.

I have used two different colour fabrics – partly so that my duvet cover will be reversible and partly so that the photos will be more clear for you to follow what I am doing.  I have used 40″ of popper tape – most haberdashers will stock this, but mine came from Dunelm.  You can buy the kit for this single duvet cover here.




Sew pieces with wrong sides together

Sew pieces with wrong sides together

Sewing the sides and top

I’m using French seams so that there is no chance of any fraying on the inside of the duvet cover.  So begin by placing your two rectangles with wrong sides together.  Sew a 1/4″ seam on three sides – one short edge and both long edges, creating a pouch.

Press the seam allowances and turn the pouch wrong side out.  Using a slightly larger seam allowance, sew the same three sides together.  This encloses the raw edges within the seam.  Press the seam allowances.

Mark line 2" from bottom

Mark line 2″ from bottom

Making the hem

While the fabric s are still right sides together, mark a line 2″ from the edge along the open end of the pouch.  You need to do this on both fabrics.  Beginning at the side of the duvet cover, sew 6″ towards the middle along the marked line, sewing through both fabrics.  This will be the bottom corner of your cover.

Repeat on the other side.  You should now have a gap of about 40″ across the bottom of the pouch.

Turn under a double hem

Turn under a double hem

Create the bottom hem by turning the fabric up so that the edge of the fabric touches the 2″ line.  Then turn it up again so that the fold line is along the 2″ line and you have a 1″ double hem.  Make sure that you are only working with one layer of fabric at a time and do the same on both sides.

Popper tape

Popper tape

Add the popper tape

Turn the duvet cover right side out.  I find that this is safest, so that you can be sure that you are sewing the tape to the correct side of the fabric.  You want the tape to be lying along the hem on the inside (wrong side of fabric).

The popper tape comes in two lengths joined together by the poppers.  Turn under the end of the tape and pin one length to one side (eg red) and then do the same with the other piece of tape on the other side (blue).  Make sure that the poppers from one tape are opposite the poppers on the other tape so that you don’t have bumps in your fabric.

Sew the two tapes in place.  I began by using my normal sewing foot but soon had to change to my zipper foot because you haven’t got much room to sew around the poppers.  Even so, I still had a little bulge in the stitching around the poppers, but not enough for it to look untidy.

That’s it!  Making duvet covers really is that easy and I’m thrilled with mine.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

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