Photo Quilt Cushion Cover Pattern

Photo quilt cushion cover

Photo quilt cushion cover

I’ve used this photo quilt cushion cover pattern as an opportunity to show you how to transfer photos to fabric.  You can use this technique for individual photos or text prints, or you can make a memory quilt using all your favourite photos.  The cushion cover I’ve made fits an 18″ cushion pad and I’ve used about 1 yard of the navy blue fabric, just over 1/2 yard of white fabric and about 10″ of the light blue fabric.

Cutting requirements for the photo quilt cushion cover

It’s a bit difficult to give these because it will vary depending on the size of the photo print that you use.  Broadly you need an 18″ strip of navy cut across the width of fabric for the back panel, an 18″ square of white fabric to line the front panel, a white rectangle about 11″ by 8″ for the photo print and varying strips of navy and light blue to frame the photo.




Soak the fabric

Soak the fabric

Treat the fabric

Cut a rectangle about 11″ by 8″ – roughly the size of A4 paper.  You can buy sheets of treated fabric to print your photo, but I find that my printer doesn’t like these so I usually make my own sheets.  You need to treat the fabric so that it will accept (and keep) the photo print.  I use something called Bubble Jet Set 2000.  Pour a little into a flat tray or bowl and soak the fabric completely.  The instructions say to leave it in the solution for 15 minutes, but I usually just leave it long enough to be sure that all the fabric has been soaked.

Scrunch the fabric up to squeeze excess liquid out and lay it on a towel to dry naturally.  Pour any leftover liquid back into the bottle – it’s okay to use it again.

Back with freezer paper

Back with freezer paper

Cut a sheet of freezer paper slightly smaller than the fabric.  You need to back the fabric because it will not go through your printer on its own.  If you haven’t used it before, freezer paper has one side waxy which acts as an adhesive when you iron it.

Iron the fabric to the waxy side of the freezer paper.  You need to do this really thoroughly or the two layers will separate somewhere in the middle of your printer – yes, it has happened to me.

Clip the top corners

Clip the top corners

Trim the rectangle so that the fabric and paper edges are in line.  I find that clipping across the two top corners helps the fabric to pass through the printer.

Add text if you want

Add text if you want

Print your photo

If you want to print a photo with text on it, I find a website called addtext.com very useful.  You can upload a photo and then it will give you options on size, colour and font for any text that you want to add.

For this particular project I just wanted text on a plain background, so I created a Word document, typed in the words and then printed that onto the fabric.  You need to empty the paper tray so that your treated fabric is the only thing in the tray.  I think that your printer needs to be inkjet rather than any other kind and it helps if it accepts different thicknesses of paper.

After printing, remove the paper backing and rinse the fabric in cold water with a bit of washing up liquid added.  Leave to dry naturally.  Trim to the size that you need.

Add the first border

Add the first border

Add the two borders

I used my first border to square the printed fabric.  I added a 2″ strip to each side which gave me a width of 10″ total.  My photo print is 5″ high so I needed to add 5″ to the top and bottom in total.  That means 2.1/2″ each on top and bottom.  Adding 1/2″ for seam allowances meant that I needed two lengths 3″ wide to complete the square.

For the second border I needed to make the panel 18″ square.  This meant adding 4″ to each edge.  I cut 5″ strips to be safe and sewed a length to each side first and then one to the top and the bottom of the panel.

Line the panel

Line the panel

Line the front panel

In order to protect the seam allowances and the photo print I added a lining of white fabric.  Cut an 18.1/2″ white square and pin carefully to the back of the cushion panel.

Turn under a double hem

Turn under a double hem

Make the cushion back panel

I’ve used an envelope closing for the cushion.  For this I cut a panel of the navy fabric 18.1/2″ by about 42″ – basically across the width of fabric.  Turn under a small double hem on each end of this strip on the 18″ edges.

Lay the panel on the backing strip

Lay the panel on the backing strip

Lay this strip of fabric down with right side up.  Locate the centre of both this strip and of the front cushion panel.  Lay the front panel down also with right side up, matching the two centre lines.

Fold up one end

Fold up one end

Turn up one end of the backing strip so that it partially covers the cushion panel.

Fold the second edge down

Fold the second edge down

Then fold the other end of the backing strip down so that the cushion panel is completely covered.  The two ends overlap which provides the envelope opening on the back of the cushion.  Carefully check that all the edges are lined up – there are quite a few layers of fabric there now.  Pin and sew all round the edge of the square.  Turn the project right side out just to check that you have caught all the layers of fabric in your stitching.  Then turn it back wrong side out so that you can zigzag or overlock the edges to neaten up and prevent fraying.

Finally turn the photo quilt cushion cover right side out again and insert a cushion pad.

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/2fypAqYBTpc

 

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

While I was visiting New York I took a train down to Philadelphia.  What a beautiful city it is!  You can see my photos by clicking here or click on the photo.

Fabric Yoyo Lion Toy Pattern

Fabric yoyo lion

Fabric yoyo lion

My fabric yoyo lion is a sweetie.  I had seen fabric yoyo toys before now without ever working out just how they are made.  In fact it’s very easy to make them.  It took me a bit longer to make than I had anticipated, but it certainly wasn’t difficult.

I used three different fabrics all within a lion range:  brown,yellow, light brown, and I used two different sizes of yoyo.  I should probably have used a greater range of sizes but I was trying to keep it simple.  The circles that I used were 6.1/2″ and 4.1/2″ diameter and I think that it would have become too fiddly if I had tried to use smaller circle sizes.

You can buy the kit for this project at this week’s special offer.




Cutting requirements for the fabric yoyo lion

6.1/2″ circles:  six each in three different colours (eighteen in total)

4.1/2″ circles:  sixteen each in two of the colours and eight in the third colour (forty in total).  In addition you will need two more circles for the lion head.

Thin elastic (I used 1/4″):  about 1 yard.

Cut the circles

Cut the circles

Make the fabric yoyos

For the templates I just chose kitchen crockery that was roughly the right size.  Draw around them to make a paper template and then cut out the required quantity in each fabric that’s eighteen 6.1/2″ circles and forty 4.1/2″ circles.

Stitch around the edge

Stitch around the edge

Adjust your sewing machine to give the longest possible stitch length and sew round the edge of each circle.  Try to keep to about 1/4″ from the edge of the circle.  That really just means taking it nice and slowly and lifting the presser foot often in order to straighten out the fabric.  Leave a good 6″ thread at the beginning and end of the seams.

Pull the threads to gather the edge

Pull the threads to gather the edge

The seam will begin to gather as you are sewing the circle edges.  Now take the outer two threads and pull gently to continue the gathering.  Ease the gathering so that it is even all the way round.  Continue until the gathering is quite tight.  Tie the ends of the thread to hold the gathering in place.  I try to use a triple knot just to be safe.

Flatten the centre with fingers only – don’t iron the yoyo.  It should now look like the shape in the top right of the photo.  Keep going with all the circles, keeping the two sizes separate from each other.

Make the body for the fabric yoyo lion

Make the central holes

Make the central holes

Use the larger yoyos for the body.  Thread the end of the elastic on to a hair grip or a thick needle.  Begin to make the central hole in each yoyo.  For this I use a large needle, a very large needle and then a knitting needle.

Use a knitting needle

Use a knitting needle

You can judge the middle of the yoyo quite easily.  You want the needles to go through one layer of fabric only, so the needle needs to pass through the hole at the centre of the gathering on the back.  Push through the first needle and move it back and forth to create a small hole.  Then push through the next size needle to enlarge the hole.  Finally push through the knitting needle to enlarge the hole enough for the elastic to be threaded through it.

Body and tail section

Body and tail section

Now you can thread the elastic through the hole and push the yoyo up next to the others on the elastic.   Add all eighteen large yoyos in this way.  The first ones should be threaded with the smooth side on the left.  The final one should be threaded with the smooth side on the right so that you have a smooth end at each end.

Select eight of the smaller yoyos to use for the tail and add these to the elastic immediately after the larger ones which form the body.  Measure the length of this body and tail section.  Add 1.1/2″ at each end for fastening and cut the elastic to length.

Sew elastic loops

Sew elastic loops

Finish the elastic ends

My first instinct would have been to tie a knot in the elastic ends to secure them.  However this is not the best method as the knot could be pulled through the fabric, enlarging the hole and causing the whole thing to disintegrate.

Instead, fold the end of the elastic over to form a loop and sew in place.  This is shown on the left hand end in the photo.  Then flatten the loop by pressing down the middle to give a section of elastic on either side of the middle.  Sew this in place to form a bar of elastic as shown on the right hand end in the photo.  This provides a larger surface area which is unlikely to pull through the fabric.

One pair of legs

One pair of legs

Make the fabric yoyo lion legs

The legs are made in a similar fashion but they are made in pairs with a length of elastic between each pair of legs.  Divide the remaining yoyos into four piles of varying colours.  Thread eight on to the elastic then leave a gap of 2″ of elastic and add another eight yoyos.  Make sure that each leg has a smooth yoyo side at each end.

Cut the elastic and finish each end in the same way as above for the body.  Make another pair of legs using the remaining yoyos.

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Join the body and legs

Fold up the first yoyo of the body so that you can work on the second yoyo.  Sew the elastic between two legs across  the bottom of this second yoyo.  This joins the first pair of legs to the body.

Now fold up the last yoyo of the body – the one before the smaller yoyos of the tail.  Sew the second pair of legs to the second to last body yoyo.

Use a small amount of stuffing

Use a small amount of stuffing

Make the lion head

For the head cut two more 4.1/2″ circles from scraps.  With right sides together sew around the edge, leaving a gap of about 2″ to turn the head right side out.  Clip into the seam and turn right side out through the gap.  Add a small amount of toy stuffing through the gap – just enough to make the head softly rounded.  Slipstitch across the gap to close it.

Add facial features

Add facial features

I had planned to embroider the facial features but I ran out of time so I have just marked the head using felt tip for now.  I had also planned to make two ears and sew them to the head.

Sew the back of the head to the first yoyo of the body.  From scraps cut five small rectangles or circles and use them to cover the elastic ends on the legs and the tail.

That completes the fabric yoyo lion toy.  How could I have improved it?  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I think that I would have used a bigger contrast in the sizes of the yoyos if I was making this again – and I would have allowed myself more time so that I could embroider the head!

Here’s the video:

Globe Theatre

Globe Theatre

Last week I mentioned that I was going to London.  I saw The Play That Went Wrong at the Duchess Theatre.  It was very funny and we had a lovely evening.  The next morning we all met up for brunch at a restaurant just beside the Thames before moving on to a wine tasting festival.

On the way there I passed the wonderful Globe Theatre.  This amazing round theatre was built to re create a theatre where  Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.  The whole project was masterminded by Sam Wanamaker so we have a lot to thank him for.

Golden Hind

Golden Hind

Further along the riverside walk I came across the Golden Hinde.  This is a re construction of the galleon used by Sir Francis Drake in the sixteenth century to circumnavigate the world.  It is a fully working ship.  You can just see the figurehead of a golden hind (female deer) at the front of the ship.

What a fascinating city London is.  So much to explore!

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.

Cushion Cover With Piping Added

Cushion cover with piping

Cushion cover with piping

For this cushion cover with piping I have used a very simple pattern for the cover so that the piping stands out against it.  The cover is made for a 16″ cushion pad and I have used about 3/4 yard of silk together with 2 yards of piping.  I made two at the same time, so the photos switch between blue or pink covers.

Cutting requirements for the cushion cover with piping

4.1/2″ squares:  sixteen,   16.1/2″ squares:  one

11.1/2″ by 16.1/2″ rectangles:  two




Make four rows of squares

Make four rows of squares

Make the cushion front

Sew the 4.1/2″ squares together in four rows of four.  I have used both the right side and the wrong side of the silk and alternated them across the rows and down the columns.  Silk is a particularly good fabric to use both sides – there is usually a good contrast between them.  In one of the fabrics that I used the right side is apricot, wrong side pink.  For the other one the right side is green, wrong side blue.

Add lining on the wrong side

Add lining on the wrong side

I wasn’t going to line the front panel but the seam allowances started to fray really quickly so I have added a 16.1/2″ square to the back of the front panel.  It’s probably a good idea to add a lining to any patchwork cushion/pillow covers.  This protects the seam allowances.  Sew this in place as near the edges of the squares as you can.

Closeup of the piping

Closeup of the piping

Add the piping

I used ready made piping rather than making my own.  If you want a particular colour piping you can always make your own by folding a strip of fabric around a cord.  Ready made is easier!  It comes with a flat edge to sew into the seam and a rounded edge which is the piping that will show on the cushion.

Piping faces downwards

Piping faces downwards

Cut four lengths of about 18″ each.  Lay a length of piping along one edge of the cushion front panel.  It will stick out about an inch beyond each end.  Line up the white (flat) edge of the piping with the edge of the panel.  The rounded part of the piping should face downwards on to the patchwork.  Pin in place.

Pin piping all round

Pin piping all round

Continue pinning a length of piping to each edge of the cushion cover.  At the corners the lengths will overlap each other.  I used to use one continuous length of piping and fold it at the corners, but I have found that using separate lengths is easier and provides the same effect at the corners of the cushion cover.

Whichever way you do it, you will still have to sew over one of the rounded parts of the piping at each corner.  For the moment, though, only pin.  I find it easiest to leave the sewing until all the layers are in place.

Turn under a hem

Turn under a hem

Make the cushion back panel

Turn under a small double hem on one long edge (16.1/2″) of each of the rectangles.  These will be the edges that form the envelope closing for the cover.

Add the first rectangle

Add the first rectangle

Place one rectangle with right sides together on the front panel, right sides together.  Pin all the layers together on the top edge only.

Add the second rectangle

Add the second rectangle

Now add the second rectangle to the bottom half of the cushion cover.  You should have an overlap of about 3″.  This will form the envelope closing.

Pin all the layers together along the bottom edge.  Smooth the sides and then pin them as well.

Use a zipper foot

Use a zipper foot

Sew the cushion cover with piping

Sew all round the edge.  For this stage it’s best to use a zipper foot on your sewing machine.  This will help you to get the seam line in close to the piping.

Even so, I still managed to miss one layer on a small portion of the seam.  So when you have sewn the seam, test it all round to make sure that you don’t have any gaps.

View of the back

View of the back

When you’re satisfied that your seam is complete with all the layers caught in, finish the edges either with a zigzag stitch or an overlocker.  This prevents fraying.

Turn the cushion cover with piping right side out through the gap in the back panel.  Insert a 16″ cushion pad.

Here’s the video:

Sandwell park

Sandwell park

This week I made sure to get out on plenty of walks after being stuck inside during the snow.  I found a park that I haven’t visited before – the Sandwell Valley Country Park.  I loved it and was very impressed with what was on offer.  So I was amazed when I looked up the website just now to find that I missed a huge portion of it!

There is a working farm that I completely missed.

Although the snow has disappeared from the streets I was surprised to see that parts of the lake were still frozen.  The whole white section at the bottom of the photo is ice.

War memorial

War memorial

Within the park there is a very attractive and eyecatching war memorial.

Outdoor exercise machines

Outdoor exercise machines

But my main memory is of the outdoor exercise machines.  You’ve probably come across them before, but this was the first time that I had seen anything like this.  What a great idea.

They were set in pairs at various points throught the park.

Butterfly Coloured Trapunto Wall Hanging

Butterfly coloured trapunto wall hanging

Butterfly coloured trapunto wall hanging

I made the butterfly coloured trapunto wall hanging to show you how easy it is to colour your trapunto. The idea of trapunto is that you place extra wadding behind some of the shapes in order to make them stand proud from the quilt.  It looks very effective when you see colours showing through the fabric of a quilt.  I have used a plain white cotton fabric for the background of this wall hanging, then added red felt behind the fabric.  It shows through as pink against the white fabric.

The only fabric used was 1/2 yard of white fabric – that’s enough for the front and the back of the wall hanging – together with four 6″ squares of red felt and 1/4 yard of pink butterfly fabric for the binding and the hanging sleeve.  I also needed an 18″ square of wadding.  You can buy these fabrics in this week’s special offer, but please note that I won’t be able to post it till Tuesday.




Pin felt behind the butterfly

Pin felt behind the butterfly

Prepare the fabric

Cut two 18″ squares in the white fabric – one for the front and one for the back of the wall hanging.  Print and cut out the template – if you want to use mine then you can download it from this link.

Then use a fabric marker to draw round the template four times on the white square.  Pin a red felt square behind each butterfly drawing.

Sew the shape of the butterfly

Sew the shape of the butterfly

Working on the front of the wall hanging, sew all round the shape of the butterfly.  Some quilters use a soluble thread so that they can wash it off afterwards, but I have used a pink thread to match the zigzag stitching that I will use to outline the butterfly later.

Cut the felt around the stitching

Cut the felt around the stitching

Cut the butterfly shapes

Working on the back now, cut the felt squares as close as you can to the stitching.  You’ll need a small, sharp pair of scissors and a lot of care.  The obvious risk is that you will snip the white fabric accidentally.  I try to position one finger between the scissors blade and the fabric and take lots of small snip rather than trying to cut the felt too quickly.

In the photo in the previous paragraph you can see that the two butterflies on the left have been cut out but the two on the right have not.

Zigzag the outlines

Zigzag the outlines

Returning to the front of the wall hanging, stitch all round the butterfly shapes again, this time using a close zigzag stitch.  I used stitch width 2 and stitch length 1, using a pink quilting thread.

You can see that I have added a couple of lines to mark out the body and one line around the bottom of the head.  This made the butterfly more realistic but also it meant that I could do all the zigzagging in one go without having to sew over any lines twice.

The foot on the right works best

The foot on the right works best

With my zigzag stitch I was following the original line of stitching marking out the butterflies.  I found it quite difficult to keep to the line at first so I swapped to a different sewing machine foot.  The foot on the left is the one that I usually use.  The foot on the right was much easier for this work because I could see through the plastic and it had a much wider open section to help me see the line that I was following more clearly.

Layer the wall hanging and quilt

Layer the wall hanging and quilt

Layer and quilt the coloured trapunto wall hanging

Lay the second square of white fabric with right side down, add an 18″ square of wadding and then lay the wall hanging with right side up.

Pin the three layers together and quilt.  I drew a small flower in the middle and did not quilt within the petals so that they stand out a little – but not as much as the butterflies.  The blue you can see is my fabric marker pen:  I was using white thread for the quilting.

Micro meander quilting

Micro meander quilting

Then around thie flower I used a very small meander quilting to really flatten the fabric down.  I think it’s technically known as vermicelli quilting, but it’s basically just micro meander quilting.

Swirls around the edge

Swirls around the edge

This obviously takes longer than larger quilting designs so I changed to a larger swirl design around the edge of the wall hanging.  This served two purposes – it stopped me from getting too bored with the micro quilting and it made a nice frame for the wall hanging.

Bind the wall hanging

Bind the wall hanging

Finish the wall hanging

Finally I trimmed the edges, added binding and a hanging sleeve.  Full details on binding are given here and how to make a hanging sleeve is given here.

Here’s the video:

 

Church in Moseley

Church in Moseley

I love visiting churches because they always feel so peaceful and restful.

They can also provide some great quilting ideas.

Adjoining church in Moseley

Adjoining church in Moseley

These two churches drew my attention because they are so close together.  They are both large and are just the other side of the road from each other.  They are in an area of Birmingham called Moseley and unfortunately they were both closed when I noticed them and stopped to take photos.  So I can’t even tell you if they’re similar to each other inside or not.

 

Travel Jewellery Roll Pattern

Travel jewellery roll

Travel jewellery roll

This travel jewellery roll pattern was requested a long time ago and I feel ashamed that it has taken me this long to make one, but here it is at last.  I think that the problem is that I don’t wear much jewellery myself so the pattern took a while to rise to the top of my to do list.

I’ve made the roll small enough so that it doesn’t take up much space – about 3″ by 8″ when rolled but there’s plenty of padding for the jewels and I think that it is a very secure roll.




Jewellery roll wrapped up

Jewellery roll wrapped up

Cutting requirements for the travel jewellery roll

Two rectangles 17″ by 12″ – one in top fabric and one in lining fabric – I’ve used two cotton fabrics

One rectangle 9″ by 12″ in wadding

Two rectangles 4.1/2″ by 13″ in a contrasting fabric for the compartments – I’ve used red.

Three safety fasteners – I call them pressed studs.

Cut the corners off

Cut the corners off

Make the basic roll

Lay the two largest rectangles out with the 17″ edge along the top.  Mark a line 4″ in from each side.  These two lines are down the rectangle.  Mark a line 3″ down from the top of each rectangle and another line 6″ down from the top.  These two lines are across the rectangle.

The lines will now mark out a 3″ by 4″ rectangle in the top two corners of the rectangle and also a 6″ by 4″ rectangle in the bottom two corners.  Cut these corners out so that you are left with the central shape shown in the photo.

Layer the rectangles

Layer the rectangles

Lay the rectangles out with the wadding first then the lining fabric with right side up.  On top lay the main fabric with right side down.

Leave a gap in the stitching

Leave a gap in the stitching

Sew the three layers together around the outside edge of the shape.  Leave a gap of about 3″ on one side so that you can turn the project right side out later.  You can see the trailing threads on the right of the photo showing where I left a gap.

Clip across the corners where the angle is outwards and clip in towards the stitching on those corners where the angle is inwards.

Pin the gap

Pin the gap

Turn the project right side out through the gap, gently pushing the corners out.  Turn under a small hem across the gap and pin – don’t sew it yet.

Add the compartments

The compartments are formed by a red rectangle pinned to the top and the bottom of the main rectangle.  Turn under and sew a small hem on all four edges of the red rectangles first.

Pin the red for the compartments

Pin the red for the compartments

With the right side up, pin the first red rectangle to the bottom of the lining rectangle.  Line the ends up with the edges of the lining fabric along the sides.  The red rectangle is slightly longer than the main jewellery roll rectangle.  This is intentional, so that you can have some space to place your jewellery in at the top of each compartment.

I need four compartments so I have pinned the red to the lining at three places across its length – roughly at 3″ intervals.  Each time I have used two pins and raised the red fabric slightly between the two pins.  At the bottom of the red rectangle flatten this spare fabric to form a mini pleat.

Add the second red rectangle

Add the second red rectangle

Repeat with the other red rectangle at the top of the jewellery roll lining.  You now have four compartments at the top and at the bottom.  They all open towards the middle which I felt was the most secure way to place them.

Sew all round the edge of the main rectangle of the project – don’t include the tabs in this seam.  This secures the three layers of the main rectangle in place, secures the red rectangles on three sides and also closes the original gap left from when you turned the project right side out.  So it’s quite an important seam!

Roll up fabric for the rings

Roll up fabric for the rings

Make the ring roll

I wanted to make a separate section for rings so that there was no chance of them slipping out.

Use a spare rectangle of fabric – I used one about 5″ by 7″ from the outer fabric.  Turn under and press a small hem along the two long edges.  Fold the two short edges in towards the middle and roll the fabric up.  This gives you a roll about 7″ long.

Secure the ring roll

Secure the ring roll

Slipstitch the edge of the roll so that it doesn’t unroll.  Position the roll so that it’s midway between the top and bottom edges of the jewellery roll.  Sew one end to the red fabric.  Sew a snap fastener on the other end to make a closure for the other end of the ring roll.  Now you can undo the snap fastener to place your rings on the roll and then fasten it to stop them slipping off.

Fold the jewellery roll

Fold the jewellery roll

Finish the travel jewellery roll

Fold the sections of the jewellery roll to give its final layout.  I fold the left hand panel first, then the two panels on the right.

Fold the tabs down or up and secure them in place with a snap fastener on each tab.  You could use ribbon or buttons to secure the jewellery roll closed, but I felt that snap fasteners were the easiest and most secure way to do it.

I hope you find this jewellery roll pattern helpful – one of those projects that would make a great gift.

Here’s the video:

Birmingham's oldest statue

Birmingham’s oldest statue

There are loads of statues in Birmingham but I was quite surprised to see which one of them was considered to be the oldest.  This one is of King George I who died in 1722.  The statue was commissioned by the City of Dublin who then sold it 200 years later to the Barber Institute of Fine Art in 1937.  You can just see the edge of the Barber building on the right of the photo.

 

It’s a lovely statue and provides a great welcome to anyone visiting that section of the University.

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.




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.

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.