Railfence Lined Zipped Tote Bag Pattern

Lined zipped tote bag

Lined zipped tote bag

I’ve made this lined zipped tote bag using the railfence quilt block and I’m really pleased with the finished bag.  I’ve plaited fabric strips for the straps which also makes the bag very individual.  The main body of the bag measures 16″ square and there isn’t a half square triangle in sight!  I have used 21″ of light blue fabric, 10″ of dark blue, 5″ of medium blue and just 3″ of the white ivory fabric, together with a 12″ zip.  You can buy these fabrics together in this week’s special offer.

Cutting requirements for the zipped tote bag

1.1/2″ strips:  three dark blue, three medium blue, three light blue, two white ivory

2.1/2″ strips:  four dark blue

16.1/2″ squares:  two light blue

One 12″ zip




Cut the squares

Cut the squares

Make the railfence quilt blocks

Sew together a 1.1/2″ strip each of dark blue, white ivory, medium blue and light blue.  Press the seam allowances all in one direction.  Cut this panel at 4.1/2″ intervals to make squares.  You should get nine squares from each panel of fabric so you need to make two panels.  You need to make eighteen of these squares.

Make the body of the bag

Make the body of the bag

Arrange the squares in three rows of three.  Alternate the squares with the stripes first horizontal and then vertical.  I have placed them so that the dark blue forms a staircase from the top left to the bottom left.  This forms the basic railfence design.  Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  This panel now measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make two of them.

Fold the strips lengthways

Fold the strips lengthways

Make the plaited straps

For the straps you need one 1.1/2″ strip each of dark blue, medium blue and light blue.  Fold the edges in towards the middle along the length of each strip.  Then fold the resulting folded strip in half.  This gives you a strip about 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide with no raw edges showing.  Sew along the length of the strip to hold the folds in place.

Plait the strips

Plait the strips

Pin the three strips together at one end.  Plait the three strips – simply take the right hand strip and place it over the middle strip and then take the left hand strip and place it over the middle strip.

Sew the ends and the middle

Sew the ends and the middle

Keep repeating this along the length of the strips.  My strip ended up about 32″ long.  Sew across the plaited strip at each end to make sure that the plait doesn’t come undone.  Find the middle of your plait and sew across it at two points about 1/2″ apart.  Now snip across the plait half way between these two middle rows of stitching.  This gives you two bag straps, each about 16″ long.

Pin the straps in place

Pin the straps in place

Assemble the body of the bag

I haven’t added the straps at the top of the bag because it would make the seam too bulky when I sew the zip in place.

Add the panel border

Add the panel border

Instead I have placed them on the railfence panel before I add the border.  Pin the ends of one strap either side of the central block.  Repeat with the second strap on the second railfence panel.  Now add the border: to each panel:  sew a 12.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ length of dark blue to the top and bottom.  Follow this with a 16.1/2″ by 2.1/2″ dark blue strip down each side.

Place the zip between the panels

Place the zip between the panels

Add the zip

Place one outer bag panel with right side up.  Lay the zip on it with right side down.  Add a light blue lining square with right side down.  The zip does not reach the ends of the two bag panels – it will be about 2″ short on each side.  I did this because I find that the corners of the bag can be very bulky if the zip reaches right into the corner.

Sew along the length of zip

Sew along the length of zip

Sew these three layers in place just along the length of the zip.  Your stitching is above the zip section.  If you have a zipper foot for your sewing machine then this will help you stitch close to the zip.  Open up the layers and press the two fabric panels away from the zip.

Add the second panel

Add the second panel

Now lay the second light blue lining  panel with right side up.

Place the zip on top of this with the right side of the zip facing upwards.  Now add the second railfence panel with right side down.  Once again the zip is sandwiched between a lining panel and a railfence panel.  Sew along the length of the zip.  Fold the bag panels away from the zip and press.

Complete the side seams

Panels joined by the zip

Panels joined by the zip

All the sections of the bag are now joined along the sides of the zip.  Fold at the zip so that you have the two railfence panels right sides together and the two lining panels right sides together.  You need to fold the zip in half lengthways to do this.  But first open the zip partially so that you can turn the project right side out after you’ve sewn the seams.

Sew the outer panels together

Sew the outer panels together

Sew the outer panels together first.  With right sides together, you need to sew across the small remaining section of the top then down each side and across the bottom.  You have now created the pouch of the outer bag.

For the lining sections you need to sew the short sections at each end of the zip and the sides only.  Don’t sew across the bottom of the lining squares.  These now form a tube with an opening across the bottom.

Turn the bag right side out

Turn the bag right side out

Hem the bag lining

Working from the gap across the bottom of the lining, pull the bag through to turn the project right side out.  Now you can hem the bottom of the lining.

Turn under a hem

Turn under a hem

Turn under a small hem on both sections of the lining and pin the two edges together.  Sew across the seam to close the bottom of the bag lining.

Push the lining back into the body of the bag, pushing out all the corners of the bag.  Lined zipped tote bag complete!  I have to admit that I’m really thrilled with this bag.

Here’s the video:

Thank you so much for all the helpful comments last week regarding my scissors.  I am really grateful that so many of you took the time to share your thoughts on them.

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum

My travels this week took me to Haden Hill House Museum, another hidden gem quite close to where I live.

The house is lovely but for me the wonderful part is that it is set in a huge area of parkland.  I couldn’t take advantage of this because it was raining when I went there, but I plan many return visits to explore the park.

To read more about it, click here or on the photo.

Haden Hill House Museum – Birmingham

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum

Haden Hill House Museum is another delightful museum that is a hidden treasure very close to where I live.  As with the Oak House, it is free to visit, but this one sits in a magnificent park of 55 acres.  I didn’t see much of the parkland as it was raining but I will definitely return for a nice long walk in the summer.

There are two parts to it – an old hall which is probably seventeenth century but was damaged in a fire, and the Victorian house. This is on the right of the photo.




Sculpture in the lake

Sculpture in the lake

This lovely small lake was the only part of the park that I saw.  As it’s between the car park and the house I couldn’t really miss it!

The library

The library

Inside Haden Hill House

The first room that you come across downstairs is the library.  This was described as cosy although I felt that it was very dark.  I think that the curtains were drawn to protect the furnishings from sunlight.  The model of a lady embroidering was very realistic.  In every room I was really impressed by the many activities for children.  It must get packed during the school holidays!

Bed in the servants' quarter

Bed in the servants’ quarter

The servants’ quarters looked really comfortable.  This bed had both mattress and pillows.  There were many Victorian items of clothing displayed around the room.

Treadle sewing machine

Treadle sewing machine

And also a sewing machine!  We didn’t have one of these with a treadle when I was small, but the machine itself looks really similar to the hand operated Singer that we used for many years.

Quilt Inspiration

Floor tiles

Floor tiles

Obviously I was on the lookout for quilt inspiration and these floor tiles will definitely be appearing in a quilt some time in the future.  The overall design was very Victorian and I was particularly impressed with the border tiles.  In one of the rooms there was a huge amount of William Morris design in both the wallpaper and the furnishings.  What a treat.

There was one gorgeous stained glass window that would make a great quilt, but my photo looks too shaky for me to display it here.

Scrappy quilt?

Scrappy quilt?

I was delighted to find a quilt on one of the beds.  While we would describe it as a scrappy quilt, this one probably filled the original point of quilts – using up fabric from old clothes to provide warmth.

Wedding dresses

Wedding dresses

They are licensed to hold weddings in Haden Hill House and one room was taken up with wedding outfits through the ages.

These were fascinating.

Overall I was thrilled to have found Haden Hill House Museum and will definitely be returning there.

Anvil Steps Quilt – Free Pattern

Anvil steps quilt

Anvil steps quilt

I’ve made the Anvil Steps quilt using three different blocks within the quilt and a different block for the border.  It’s the border that I’m most pleased with – something completely different for you to try.  The quilt measures 58″ square and I’ve used 1.3/4 yards of white, 1.1/4 yards of red, 1 yard of light blue and 1//2 yard of dark blue fabrics.   The blocks within the quilt are 12″ square finished size while the border blocks are 9″ square finished size.

You can buy the fabrics for this quilt at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the anvil steps quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  twenty dark blue, thirty six white, sixteen light blue

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty dark blue, thirty six white, sixteen light blue

2.3/4″ squares:  eight light blue, eighty white – these can be made with strip piecing

5.3/8″ squares:  twenty red, twenty white

For the border you will need to cut six 2.1/2″ red strips across the width of fabric.

Create half square triangle units

Create half square triangle units

Make the half square triangle units

Use both the 3.7/8″ squares and the 5.3/8″ squares to make half square triangle units in two different sizes.  Place a coloured square right sides together with a white square and mark a line along the diagonal.

Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This will produce two half square triangles.  Press the seam allowances away from the white and clip the two corners where fabric sticks out.

The blue and white squares are now 3.1/2″ square while the red and white squares are now 5″ square.

Anvil quilt block layout

Anvil quilt block layout

Make the anvil quilt block

I began this quilt with the idea of the anvil quilt block because it’s a simple four patch block that goes together really quickly.  Lay the blocks out in four rows of four.  There’s a white square in each corner and four dark blue squares in the middle.  On each edge of the central four patch place a pair of dark blue/white half square triangles.  Place these so that so that the dark blue triangles form a butterfly shape across two corners.  On the other two corners, the white triangles together with the white corner square form a larger white triangle.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block measures 12.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make four of these.

Alternate block layout

Alternate block layout

Make the alternate block

For the alternate block I wanted a block that was similar to the anvil block but had more of a vertical shape rather than a diagonal shape.  So I played around with the same squares that make up the anvil block and came up with this alternate block.

Lay the squares out in four rows of four.  You still have the white squares in the corners and the four blue squares in the middle.  This time the half square triangles on the edges are placed differently.  On two edges the light blue triangles together form a larger light blue triangle pointing away from the middle.  For the other two edges, the white triangles together form a larger white triangle pointing towards the middle.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.  The block now measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four in light blue and one in dark blue.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the anvil steps quilt

Lay the blocks out in three rows of three.  Make row one with an anvil block at each end and a light blue alternate block in the middle.  Place the anvil blocks so that the diagonal lines point towards the middle.  Place the alternate block so that the pointy bits point to either side.

Second row

Second row

Make row two with a light blue alternate block at each end and a dark blue alternate block in the middle.  Place all three blocks so that the pointy bits point up and down.

Row three

Row three

Row three is similar to row one with an anvil block at each end and an alternate block in the middle.  This time the diagonal shape of the anvil block is pointing outwards.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete this section of the anvil steps quilt.

Strip piecing

Strip piecing

Make the border blocks

I’ve used a smaller block for the border. In order to make the four patch units in this block you need to sew together 2.3/4″ strips of light blue and white.  Cut these panels at 2.3/4″ intervals to make rectangles 2.3/4″ by 5″.

Border block layout

Border block layout

Lay four of the rectangles out as shown with the red/white half square triangles.  The red triangles form two corners of the block.  Place four of the light blue/white rectangles so that the light blue squares run along the diagonal.

Sew the rectangles together in pairs to make four patch units.  Then sew one four patch unit to each half square triangle.  Finally sew the two halves of the block together.  The border block measures 9.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make twenty of them.

Stepped quilt border

Stepped quilt border

Add the first quilt border

You need to make two strips of four blocks for the top and bottom of the quilt.  Rotate these so that the light blue squares form two peaks across the row.  The red triangles will then form one larger red triangle in the middle pointing down and one larger red triangles each side pointing up.  The strip for the bottom is the same but with the blue squares forming two V shapes.

Add the sides

Add the sides

That leaves twelve border blocks for the sides – two strips of six blocks each.  Lay the first two blocks so that the blue squares follow the same diagonal as the last block in the top row.  That means that around the top right hand corner you have three blocks with the blue squares running from top left to bottom right.  Then add two blocks where they form a V against the side of the quilt top.  Finally place the last two blocks so that the blue squares follow the same diagonal as the last block in the bottom row.

Add the final border

Add the final border

Add the final border

Finally I have used 2.1/2″ strips of red fabric for the outer border.  You’ll need two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 58.1/2″ for the sides.  That completes the Anvil Steps quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the beginner quilting section.

Here’s the video:

What are these used for?

What are these used for?

I have a favour to ask – can you identify what these scissors are used for?  They were in a box of scissors that my cousin gave me a few weeks ago and I’m curious to know what they are.  The top one only has one circle for a finger and the bottom one has a square in the middle – most odd.

Since writing this, I have had many suggestions that the top pair are thread snips and the bottom pair are buttonhole scissors.  I have also been sent this wonderfull informing link on how to use buttonhole scissors:

https://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Use-Buttonhole-Scissors-/10000000205702342/g.html

Back view of Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

My travels this week took me to Coughton Court – another National Trust property that is a delight to visit.  You can see more photos by clicking here or you can click on the photo.

Coughton Court – Alcester – Photos

Coughton Court

Coughton Court

For my visit to Coughton Court I managed to choose a day that was dry and not too cold.  It’s a National Trust property not far from here.  The Throckmorton family have owned it for hundreds of years – since 1409 in fact.  They were a very powerful family with many ties to the royal family.

Coughton Court is a Grade I listed building, a Tudor house that is brimming over with history.  The grounds are delightful and the interior is packed with treasures.





Outside Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

Back view of Coughton Court

Coming out the back of the building, I couldn’t help feeling that this entrance was just as stunning as the front entrance.  This area must have been very sheltered and a real suntrap.  From here you could access the walled garden which was definitely the largest that I had ever seen.

The lake

The lake

The grounds are extensive and there were newborn lambs in a few paddocks close to the house.

As usually happens in National Trust properties, there were many walks marked out.  One of them led round this delightful lake – lots of daffodils gave a lovely splash of colour to it.

Inside the Catholic church

Inside the Catholic church

The Churches

There are two churches within the grounds.  I couldn’t get near the Protestant church as it was shrouded in scaffolding, but this is the interior of the Catholic church.  Very peaceful and relaxing.

Tapestry

Tapestry

The Interior

The interior of the court is stunning.  There were some beautiful tapestries and I was surprised at how well the colour had lasted on these.  Sometimes in these old properties the tapestries have become very dark with age.

In the bedroom

In the bedroom

Inside one of the bedrooms was a very comfortable looking four poster bed.  That woodwork at the foot of the bed is apparently an adapted set of antique library steps.

Beautiful rugs

Beautiful rugs

This time, the rugs were on the floor, not the tables.  I suppose when you have the sort of wealth that the Throckmorton family had, you have no need to show off your rugs on tables.

Stained glass window

Stained glass window

The Windows

One feature that really stood out for me was the stained glass windows.  I’m sure we’ve all made our own stained glass quilts, but the detail in these windows was way beyond anything that I would attempt!

The custom many centuries ago was to commemorate a wedding with a stained glass window naming the two families.  This particular window celebrated the wedding of a Catesby with a Throckmorton.  If you’re familiar with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 you’ll know that Robert Catesby was the ringleader of the plot.  In fact Coughton Court was one of the escape venues for the plotters.  This surprised me because I’d always assumed that everything happened in London, but I now know that there was quite a big Midlands involvement.

I had a wonderful day out – a lovely mix of history, pleasant walks and beautiful rooms to view.

Pleated Tote Bag – Free Pattern

Pleated tote bag

Pleated tote bag

I made this pleated tote bag because I feel that it is more secure than some of my tote bags.  The opening at the top is narrower than the rest of the bag.  It’s also very pretty and is very easy to make.  The body of the bag measures roughly 16″ wide at the bottom and about 10″ wide at the top.

The bag is 14″ long.  I made the first prototype 18″ long, but it didn’t look right.  That’s why I went for 14″ long.  I’ve used 1/4 yard of lilac fabric with 1/2 yard each of blue and of the lining fabric.  I’ve also added an applique butterfly peeking out from within the pleat.  You can buy these fabrics and the butterfly at a discount in this week’s special offer.




Use as a handbag

Use as a handbag

Or a shoulder bag

Or a shoulder bag

The bag can be used as a hand bag or as a shoulder bag.

Cutting requirements for the pleated tote bag

14″ by 6″ rectangles:  four blue, two lilac

14″ by 17″ rectangles:  two in the lining fabric

2.1/2″ strip cut across the width of fabric:  one blue for the strap, one lilac for the binding

Make two panels

Make two panels

Make the body of the bag

Sew together two panels of blue, lilac, blue rectangles.  Lay them with right sides together.  Line up the edges and sew round three sides to create a pouch.  This will be the body of the bag.

Sew the bag lining

Sew the bag lining

Lay the two lining rectangles with right sides together.  Once again line up the edges and sew them together on three sides to create a pouch.

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

Push the lining inside the bag

Push the lining inside the bag

Line up the edges around the top of the bag and baste all round to secure the outer bag and the lining fabrics together.

Make the pleat

Make the pleat

Create the pleats

Make a mark half way across the lilac strip.  This should 2.3/4″ from either side.  Take the blue/lilac seam on the right hand side and pull it across until it rests on the mark.  Put two pins in to hold the layers together.

Now grab the blue/lilac seam on the left side and pull it across to the midway mark.  The two seam lines will now rest against each other, covering the lilac at the top of the bag.  Pin in place.  Repeat on the other side of the bag so that you have a pleat on the front and the back of the bag.  Sew all round the top of the bag to secure the lining and the outer bag together and to secure the pleats.

Sew the strap

Sew the strap

Make the strap

Cut the 2.1/2″ strip of blue in half to make two lengths about 21″ long.  Place these with right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam down each side to create a tube.

Turn the tube right side out by pulling one end down over the tube until the whole strip is right side out.  Press and sew a 1/4″ seam down each side again to hold the strap in place.

Pin the strap

Pin the strap

Pin one end of the strap to each side of the bag.

In order to do this, place the raw edges of the strap in line with the raw edges of the bag top.  At this stage the strap will be lying down the side of the bag on each side.

Make the binding

I often use facing at the top of a bag.  This doesn’t show on the outside of the bag.

Add the binding

Add the binding

For this pleated tote bag I decided to use binding instead.  That gives a good finish to the top of the bag.

Fold the 2.1/2″ lilac strip along the length and press.  Lay around the top of the bag with the raw edges of the binding and the bag together and the fold of the binding lying on the bag itself.

Sew all the way round, taking care to catch all layers of fabric in the stitches.  Join the two ends of the binding as for any quilt binding.

Flip the folded edge of the binding to the inside and sew it to the lining.  As an embellishment I sewed an applique butterfly to the lilac rectangle so it seemed to be emerging from the pleat.  That completes the pleated tote bag – I hope you like it as much as I do.

Here’s the video:

Unusual scissors

Unusual scissors

Last week I found a lovely museum not far from here.  It’s in a beautiful 17th century building and is called Oak House Museum.  These unusual scissors were among many delightful treasures within the house.  You can read more about my trip by clicking on the photo or click here.

Oak House Museum – West Bromwich – Photos

Oak House Museum

Oak House Museum

Oak House Museum is a wonderful museum quite near where I live.  I had never even heard of it, never mind visited it, before this week.  What a treat it was!  It’s a 17th century farmer’s house which is classified as a Grade II listed building.

Just look at those long chimneys!  Apparently they were not necessary – just built tall so that the house would dominate everything around it.  It certainly works, because you can’t help noticing them.

The plaque says 1488

The plaque says 1488

The house was probably built well before the 17th century.  I saw a plaque quite high up on the building which says 1488, although the guide assured us that it probably wasn’t correct.

Apparently there used to be a large oak tree in front of the building and it was surrounded by an oak woodland, so it’s likely that that’s how it came by its name.




Inside Oak House Museum

Wonderful chair

Wonderful chair

The interior amazed me – a total delight.  Lots and lots of wood panelling with the most amazingly intricate designs carved into both the panels and the furniture.  The inside the building remains dark – both small windows and dark walls, so my photo isn’t very clear.  However I hope you can see just how much detail had been included on the back of this chair.

Felted table topper

Felted table topper

I have never done any felting although I have seen some wonderful examples of it at shows.  This felted table topper interested me – it had such a lovely homespun feel to it.

You could make a lovely quilted wall hanging using that basic design.

Rug table covering

Rug table covering

Interestingly, most of the tables were covered in what we would assume were floor rugs.  (I hope that they hadn’t been on the floor first!).  Apparently rugs were so expensive that they were displayed on tables to show them off.

Parlour bed

Parlour bed

Oak House Museum beds

Many of the rooms were made up to show what they would have been like in years gone by.  The contrast in the beds was fascinating.

This four poster bed would probably have been used by the owners of the house or their family.  They had a rope base and then three or more mattresses on top.  Doesn’t it look snug and cosy!

Basic bed

Basic bed

Now take a look at the bed in the servants’ rooms.  This bed looks incredibly uncomfortable.  I hope that they had some kind of straw mattress or something to lay over the rope net.  Just think how welcome a quilt would have been.

In addition, this room had shelves of cheeses which were maturing and needed turning over every day.

I really enjoyed my visit to Oak House Museum.  All the rooms had audio or video explaining more about the room and how it was used.  The staff were enthusiastic, friendly and knowledgeable.  And the museum is free!  Well done Sandwell and Dudley Council.

Meetinghouse Square Quilt Block Pattern

Meetinghouse Square quilt block

Meetinghouse Square quilt block

The Meetinghouse Square quilt block is rather a large block but it is easy to make as it is such a regular block.  I have made it here as a 27″ square finished size so that the photos and instructions would be as clear as possible.  The secret to making the block is to look out for the larger shapes when you’re laying out the patchwork squares.

Cutting requirements for the meetinghouse square quilt block

3.1/2″ squares:  eight red, thirteen white, fourteen blue

3.7/8″ squares:  twenty red, twenty white

9.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  two blue

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangles.  Place a red and a white square 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 will produce two half square triangle units.  These are now 3.1/2″ squares and you need to trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

Nine patch centre

Nine patch centre

Central layout

Begin with a nine patch formation in the middle of the block.

Lay out two rows of red, blue, red with a blue, white, blue row between them.

First frame

First frame

Add the first frame around this central area.  Along each edge of the nine patch unit place two half square triangles with a white square between them.  Together with the red squares of the nine patch, these red triangles will now form larger red triangles pointing towards the middle.

Place a blue square at each corner of this frame.

Second frame added

Second frame added

Add the second frame

For the next frame, the squares are the same along each edge.

Place a red square in each corner with a half square triangle on either side.  These red triangles will now form larger red triangles with the red squares from the previous frame.  This time the larger red triangles point away from the middle.  In the top and bottom rows, place a blue rectangle in the middle.  Down the sides, place three individual blue squares between the half square triangles.  I have used squares rather than rectangles down the sides because it makes it more simple when you come to sew the rows to each other.

Meetinghouse square quilt block layout

Meetinghouse square quilt block layout

The final frame

Just one more frame now to complete the meetinghouse square quilt block.  This frame is very much a border rather than a continuation of the design within the rest of the block.

Place a white square in each corner and in the middle of each edge.  Between these white squares place three half square triangle units – so that’s two sets of three along each edge of the block.  These form two larger red triangles pointing towards the middle along each edge and two larger white triangles pointing away from the middle.  In the middle of each edge the white square and triangles together form a mountain shape.

First quilt idea

First quilt idea

Quilt suggestions

For a basic quilt I have shown four blocks sewn together in two rows of two.  I love that red diamond that forms in the middle – an interesting quilt.

Second quilt idea

Second quilt idea

My idea for a second quilt is more of a lap quilt.  I have simply used one block but surrounded it with three borders to make it really stand out.

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Paper Pinwheel Quilt – Free Pattern

Paper pinwheel quilt

Paper pinwheel quilt

The Paper Pinwheel quilt is made using two versions of the block of the same name.  It was the name of the block that attracted me – the design looks like those paper whirligig things that I can remember from my childhood.  The quilt measures 54″ square and I have used sixteen blocks which are all 12″ square finished size.  I needed 1 yard each of light blue, cream and red fabrics, together with 3/4 yard of red fabric.  The block is a simple four patch and I have used red in the middle and on the border to provide more interest to the quilt.

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




Completed quilt blocks

Completed quilt blocks

Cutting requirements for the paper pinwheel quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  four red, sixty light blue, sixty four dark blue, sixty four cream

3.7/8″ squares:  thirty two light blue, thirty two cream

For the border you will need to cut five 3.1/2″ strips of red across the width of fabric.

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place a light blue and a cream square with right sides together.  Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line.  Cut along the line to produce two half square triangle units.  These are now 3.1/2″ square and you need to trim the two corners where the triangle tips stick out.

Paper pinwheel quilt block layout

Paper pinwheel quilt block layout

Make the basic paper pinwheel quilt block

Lay the squares out in four rows of four.  Begin with four cream squares in the middle.  On each edge of this central section place a half square triangle and a dark blue square.  If you follow the edges of the block in a clockwise direction you’ll see that they always follow the same order – the half square triangle first and then the dark blue square.

In each corner place a light blue square.

Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.  It measures 12.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make twelve of them.

Alternate quilt block layout

Alternate quilt block layout

Make the alternate block

The alternate block is just as simple as the first one.  All I have done is swap one corner square from light blue to red.

This block also measures 12.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Rows one and two

Rows one and two

Assemble the quilt

Sew the blocks together in four rows of four.  Place four basic blocks in a row for rows one and four.

Rows three and four

Rows three and four

Use the alternate blocks in rows two and three.  Make row two with a basic block at each end and two alternate blocks in the middle.  Place these so that the red squares are together and at the bottom of the row.

For row three you need a basic block at each end and two alternate blocks in the middle.  This time place them so that the red squares are together and at the top of the row.

Sew the blocks together across each row and then sew the rows to each other.

Red for the border

Red for the border

Add the quilt border

I have used 3.1/2″ strips of red for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the paper pinwheel quilt top.  It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding.  Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section.

Here’s the video:

I want to apologise to all those of you who have tried to email me or leave comments on the website.  I have upgraded the website so that it has security clearance – the beginning of the address is now https rather than just http.  However this seems to have meant that a lot of my links don’t work – even though I was told that it was a really simple operation!  Please believe me – I am not ignoring your comments and emails – I’m just not receiving them.  I have spent many hours this week on the phone with technical support teams and if it hasn’t been fixed when you see this quilt pattern I sincerely hope that it will be sorted out really soon.

In the meantime I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Reverse Applique Cushion – Easter Bunny

Reverse applique cushion Easter bunny

Reverse applique cushion Easter bunny

I’ve made this reverse applique cushion using the Easter bunny and four Easter egg shapes.  It’s a very simple cushion cover but I wanted to show you not only how easy reverse applique is but also that you can have more than one colour showing up in the applique.  If you haven’t come across it before, reverse applique is made by cutting into the top layer of fabric rather than adding an extra layer of fabric as you do in normal applique.

This pillow cover is made to take an 18″ cushion pad.  I’ve used 1/2 yard of yellow, 1/4 yard of purple and 3/4 yard of brown fabric.




Back view of the cushion

Back view of the cushion

Cutting requirements for the reverse applique cushion

Yellow fabric:  16.1/2″ square

Purple fabric:  two 4.1/2″ by 8.1/2″ rectangles, two 4.1/2″ by 16.1/2″ rectangles

Brown fabric:  one 8.1/2″ square, two 1.1/2″ by 16.1/2″ strips, two 1.1/2″ by 18.1/2″ strips, two rectangles 18.1/2″ by 12.1/2″

To download the templates click here.

Make the backing panel

Make the backing panel

Make the reverse applique backing panel

Lay the 8.1/2″ brown square in the middle and sew the small purple rectangles above and below it.  Sew a large purple rectangle on either side.

Lay the yellow square on top

Lay the yellow square on top

Place the yellow square on top of this with right side up – so both panels are right side up.

Line up the edges and pin along the edges.

Mark the applique shapes

Mark the applique shapes

Mark and cut out the qpplique

Cut the templates in paper and then mark them on the yellow square.  I have put the bunny in the middle over the brown fabric with an Easter egg across each corner.

My original plan had been to place the eggs along each edge.  When I was placing the templates I decided that they looked better across the corners.  This means that there is a small triangle of brown in the purple eggs.  When time allows I plan to use brown thread to quilt or embroider more shapes on the eggs to give them a festive look.  If you prefer, you could make the eggs slightly smaller so that they fit on the purple.  You can feel the seams under the yellow square so that you can tell where the brown ends and the purple starts.

Cut through the yellow fabric only

Cut through the yellow fabric only

Cut around the markings on the yellow square only, making sure that you don’t catch the brown or purple underneath.  I tend to use embroider scissors for this stage.  They are small, sharp and have a curved edge to help you follow the marked lines.

Sew around the shapes

Sew around the shapes

Sew the shapes in place

You need to sew around each shape just as you would for normal applique.  This secures the two layers of fabric together and stops the cut edges of the yellow fabric from fraying.

You could use either zigzag or one of the embroidery stitches on your machine.  I used a blanket stitch embroidery and that worked quite well.

Use brown for the border

Use brown for the border

Add the frame

As a border for this cushion cover I have used 1.1/2″ strips of brown fabric.  You’ll need two lengths of 16.1/2″ for the top and bottom with two lengths of 18.1/2″ for the sides.

Turn under a hem on one edge

Turn under a hem on one edge

Make the cushion back panel

Turn under a small double hem on one long edge of each of the large brown rectangles.

Right sides together

Right sides together

Lay one brown rectangle on the reverse applique panel with right sides together.  Line up the edges and pin across the top.

Add the second rectangle

Add the second rectangle

Now add the second rectangle to the bottom of the cushion cover.  Line up the edges with the bottom of the cover.  The two brown rectangles overlap by about 6″ or so.  This provides the gap for the envelope opening at the back of the cushion.

Zigzag the edges

Zigzag the edges

Pin all round the edges and sew around the whole edge of the cushion.  Make sure that you are catching all the layers of fabric in your stitching, particularly at the overlap sections.  When you’ve finished sewing, it’s a good idea to check that all the layers are caught in the stitching.  Then you can zigzag or overlock the edges to prevent fraying.

Finally turn the cushion cover right side out through the gap in the middle of the back and insert a cushion cover.

I hope that this pattern has shown you that you can use multiple colours in reverse applique projects.  You can either use a pieced backing as I have done here or you could have different coloured layers of fabric.

Here’s the video:

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

Last week I promised photos of Blenheim Palace and I have put these in a separate article.  Click on either Blenheim Palace or on the photo to see this wonderful palace.

Visiting Blenheim Palace – Oxford – Photos

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

Visiting Blenheim Palace was an extraordinary treat for me.  I lived in Oxford for a small time many years ago, but somehow I didn’t manage to visit the Palace.  It was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and the grounds were designed by Capability Brown.  It is beautifully preserved and full of wonderful treasures.

Victory monument

Victory monument

History of Blenheim Palace

So first a bit of history – Blenheim Palace was built for the first Duke of Marlborough to celebrate his victory in the Battle of Blenheim.  The first duke was John Churchill and the palace was later the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill.  Construction of the palace began in 1705.  This photo is taken from the steps of the palace and way off in the distance you can see the Column of Victory dedicated to the first duke.  It was raining the day I visited so I didn’t get close enough to the Column to take a clearer photo.




The interior

The interior

Inside Blenheim Palace

Wandering inside the palace provokes awe.  Imagine having rooms such as this one to live in!  Visiting on a rainy day meant that there weren’t too many other visitors.  It was a real treat to be able to wander in these rooms at my own pace.

Wonderful curtains

Wonderful curtains

These curtains appealed to me.  Actually they are probably better described as blinds.  At the top lies a semi circle of gathered fabric.  Beneath this the curtain/blinds drop in gathered sections – really eyecatching.

Tapestry chair

Tapestry chair

Obviously the furniture in the palace was exquisite.  I have never tried any tapestry but my first feeling on seeing this chair was that I would be afraid to sit on it.  Imagine thinking that you were wearing away such extraordinary workmanship!

I also passed many huge and wonderful tapestries hanging on the walls.  I would have brought you photos of them, but the rooms were quite dark and the photos didn’t show the tapestries very well.

Dresses of the time

Dresses of the time

The route around the palace follows a trail through the downstairs rooms.  This display of dresses showed the most beautiful dresses – but imagine having to wear them every day!

Upstairs in the Palace

The route around the upstairs was very unusual – and totally riveting.  In each room we saw a short video narrated by the first Duchess of Marlborough’s maid.  She explained what happened in each room, becoming a ghost as the years passed.  She would ask questions of the people living there in her future.  This formed a really unusual way of explaining the changes at the palace over the years.  Very effective.

The Cascades

The Cascades

Visiting Blenheim Palace – the grounds

The grounds of the palace provide just as fascinating an experience as the palace itself.  Well laid out walks take you through some of the sections of the grounds.  The Cascades are designed so that the fall of the water is broken by strategically placed rocks.  The water forms a pattern as it falls rather than just falling straight to the bottom.

The Palace always dominates

The Palace always dominates

The formal gardens just outside the palace can be seen from the windows and must have provided wonderful quiet walking areas for the Churchills through the years.  Wherever you walk, you can always look back at the grandeur of the palace.

As you can probably tell, I was fascinated by my visit to Blenheim Palace and enjoyed every minute of it.