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.

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.

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.

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.

Four Corners Star Quilt Pattern

Four corners star quilt

Four corners star quilt

I’ve used three different blocks to create the Four Corners star quilt pattern.  The central block contains a star and then I have created a second star around it.  The quilt measures 60″ square, using 1.1/2 yards each of light blue and white with 2.1/4 yards of dark blue and 3/4 yard of yellow fabric.  I have made nine blocks which are all 18″ square finished size.

The central block is known as the four corners quilt block – I didn’t give the quilt its name based on the fact that it has four corners!  The blocks are all large which means that it is a very simple and quick quilt to make.




Completed four corners quilt block

Completed four corners quilt block

Cutting requirements for the four corners star quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  four dark blue, four yellow

6.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  six dark blue

3.7/8″ squares:  four each in yellow and white, four each in dark blue and white

9.1/2″ by 18.1/2″ rectangles:  four light blue

9.7/8″ squares:  four yellow, four white

18.7/8″ squares:  two light blue, two white

For the border you will need to cut six 3.1/2″ strips of dark blue across the width of fabric.

Make half square triangles

Make half square triangles

Make the half square triangle units

Use the 3.7/8″ and the 9.7/8″ squares to make half square triangle units.  Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal.  Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line.  This will produce two half square triangle units which are now either 3.1/2″ or 9.1/2″ squares.  Press the seam allowances towards the darker fabric and trim the two corners where fabric sticks out.

First stage of layout

First stage of layout

Four corners quilt block

I am showing the layout in two stages for the sake of clarity. Lay two blue rectangles in the middle.  Place a pair of small yellow/white half square triangles on each edge of this central area.  Lay these so that the two yellow triangles together form a larger yellow triangle pointing away from the middle.  Place a yellow square in each corner of this section.

Four corners quilt block layout

Four corners quilt block layout

Now add the outer frame of this block.  Place a blue rectangle in each corner.  Between these place a pair of dark blue/white half square triangles in the middle of each edge.  Note that the two blue triangles together form a larger dark blue triangle pointing towards the middle.  In rows two and five place a dark blue square at each end.

Sew the patchwork pieces together across each row and then sew the rows to each other to complete the block.

The block measures 18.1/2″ square at this stage and you need to make one only.

Second block layout

Second block layout

Make the second block

This is a very simple block.  Place two large yellow/white half square triangles so that the white triangles lie together to form a larger white triangle pointing down.

Above these place a light blue rectangle.  Sew the half square triangles together and then sew them to the blue rectangle.  This block also measures 18.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Completed corner block

Completed corner block

Make the corner blocks

The corner blocks are very large half square triangle units.  I haven’t made these in pairs as I did for the smaller units.  Simply cut an 18.7/8″ square along one diagonal and then sew a light blue and a white triangle together.

This block measures 18.1/2″ square and you need to make four of them.

Row one

Row one

Assemble the four corners star quilt

Sew the blocks together in three rows of three.  Make the first row with a corner block at each end and a block two in the middle.  Place the corner blocks so that the light blue triangles are on the outside, forming the corners of the quilt.

Row two

Row two

Form row two with the four corners star block in the middle and a block two on either side.  Place these so that the yellow triangles lie against the central block.

Row three

Row three

Finally make row three with a corner block at each end and a block two in the middle.  This time place the yellow triangles at the top of the block.

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

Add the border

Add the border

Add the quilt border

Use 3.1/2″ strips of dark blue fabric for the border.  You’ll need two lengths of 54.1/2″ for the top and bottom, with two lengths of 60.1/2″ for the sides.

That completes the four corners star 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:

Oxford High Street

Oxford High Street

Last week I paid an overnight visit to Oxford, commonly known as the city of dreaming spires.

The buildings are absolutely beautiful and this photo shows the entrance to one of the colleges.  Unfortunately the colleges that I went past weren’t open to visitors.

Bodleian Library reading room

Bodleian Library reading room

I don’t think that this building is actually on a slope, so I’m not sure how I managed to take a photo making it look like  a leaning tower.  I think that it’s the reading room for the Bodleian Library which was just on my right as I took this photo.

As usual I haven’t had time to sort out all the photos, but I’ll make sure to get the Oxford and Blenheim Palace photos ready for next Friday.

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.

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt Pattern

Wonky log cabin quilt

Wonky log cabin quilt

I have made this wonky log cabin quilt in its most simple form.  My main aim was to show you that you don’t have to use foundation piecing.  This simple rectangular quilt can be made with normal piecing – and it’s great fun.  I used it as a scrappy quilt and it ended up being a memory quilt as well.  As I rummaged through my stash I came across some lovely fabrics that I had forgotten about.

The quilt measures about 57″ by 74″, requiring twelve blocks which are 17″ square finished size.  I used about 2.1/2 yards of the grey background fabric together with about 8 red strips (3/4 yard), 14 blue strips (1 yard) and a further 3.1/2″ strip of red for the central squares and 3/4 yard of a dark fabric for the border.  The strips are all 2.1/2″ wide, so that you can used jelly roll leftover strips if you wish.




Wonky log cabin quilt block

Wonky log cabin quilt block

Cutting requirements for the wonky log cabin quilt

3.1/2″ squares:  twelve red

2.1/2″ strips:  approximately 35 grey, 8 red and 14 blue

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

Make the first round

Begin with a red square

Begin with a red square

Log cabin blocks traditionally have a red square in the middle to represent the fire in the hearth of the log cabin.  I have used a red metallic fabric for this.  Sew a 3.1/2″ grey strip to the bottom of the square and a 5.1/2″ strip to the left hand side.

Cut a triangle off

Cut a triangle off

Place your ruler so that it runs from the bottom right hand corner of this section to a point 2″ up from the bottom left hand corner.  Cut this triangle shape off.

Add the remaining logs

Add the remaining logs

Now add a 5.1/2″ grey strip across the top and a 7.1/2″ strip down the right hand side of the red square.

The progression in the photo runs down the left hand side and then down the right hand side of the photo.  Cut a triangle from the left hand side, top and then right hand sides of the section.  In each case the triangle runs from one corner to a point 2″ from the next corner.  This completed section measures about 5.1/2″ or 6″ square.

Add the red strips

Add the red strips

Make the second round of logs

For the next round I have used red strips.  They are from stash so each side is different.  Begin with a strip across the bottom and then add strips in a clockwise direction around the section.

Speed piecing log cabin blocks

Speed piecing log cabin blocks

Speed piecing log cabin blocks

I am using speed piecing for the rest of the block so I am not specifying lengths here.  This involves taking one strip of red fabric and sewing several blocks to it.  Place the red strip with right side up and then place a block with right side down against the red strip.  When you reach the bottom of the block, place another block to butt up against the first block and continue sewing.  At the end of the strip repeat with another red strip until you have added another red strip to every block.  Separate the blocks by cutting across the strip between each block.  This means that you don’t have to measure and cut each strip so it saves a huge amount of time.

Trim the red strips

Trim the red strips

Continue until you have added red strips to all four sides of the section.  Trim a triangle from each edge.  In this case place your ruler to run from one corner to a point only 1″ from the following corner.  This section measures about 9″ or 9.1/2″ square.

One of the reasons that I have varied the size of the triangles is because I wanted the coloured frames to stand out well so that you can see how the block has built up clearly.  So I have taken 2″ triangles from the grey frames and 1″ triangles from the coloured frames.

Third round of logs

Third round of logs

Complete the wonky log cabin quilt blocks

For the next round of logs use 2.1/2″ grey strips.  Cut 2″ triangles from this round.  This section measures about 11″ square.

Add the blue strips

Add the blue strips

I have used blue strips for the fourth round of logs, cutting 1″ triangles from each edge.  At this stage the block measures about 13.1/2″ to 14″ square.

Add the grey strips

Add the grey strips

Make the final round of logs with grey strips.  Don’t cut any triangles from this round of logs.

As I was cutting triangles from the previous frames I wasn’t worrying too much about accuracy.  The final reckoning comes now with the final grey frame.  The edges of all my blocks varied between 17.1/2″ and 18″ long.  At this stage I trimmed all the blocks to 17.1/2″ square.  What size you use for your blocks doesn’t matter.  The important point is that all blocks need to be the same size as each other so that you can sew them together.

Sew the blocks in rows of three

Sew the blocks in rows of three

Assemble the wonky log cabin quilt

Sew the blocks together in four rows of three blocks.  Sew the rows to each other.

Add the quilt border

Add the quilt border

For the border I have used 3.1/2″ strips of a dark fabric to frame the quilt.  You’ll need two lengths of approximately 51.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of approximately 74.1/2″ for the sides.  Do measure your quilt edges as they may vary slightly from mine.

That completes the wonky log cabin 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:

Snow in my garden

Snow in my garden

I can’t bring you any travel photos this week as I have hardly left the house all week.  We haven’t had nearly as much snow as most parts of the UK, but I still didn’t feel it was worth risking slipping on icy pavements when I didn’t really have any urgent reason to leave the house.

I hope that wherever you live you are safe and warm.

 

Multi Coloured Hawaiian Applique Wall Hanging

Palm tree Hawaiian applique

Palm tree Hawaiian applique

The multi coloured Hawaiian applique wall hanging comes as a result of my recent visit to the Canary Islands.  I was fascinated by the variety of palm trees.  I’ve made Hawaiian applique before, but always in one colour only.  I decided to experiment and see easy or difficult it would be to use several colours in the applique.  Cutting out the applique was slightly more difficult when I had to cut across the seam lines, but apart from that my experiment worked well.  I’ve ended up with yellow in the middle for the sand, then brown for the tree trunks surrounded by green for the palm leaves.




Cutting requirements for the multi coloured Hawaiian applique wall hanging

28″ square of sky blue fabric

3.1/2″ squares:  one yellow, one each in two different browns

9.1/2″ by 3.1/2″ rectangles:  one each in two different browns

4.1/2″ by 9.1/2″ rectangles:  one each in two different greens

17.1/2″ by 4.1/2″ rectangles:  one each in two different greens

8.1/4″ square of paper

1/2 yard of Mistyfuse or similar double sided fusible interfacing

There are full instructions for drawing the template below, but if you wish to use mine you can download it here.

Mark out a triangle

Mark out a triangle

Make the template

I began with a sheet of A4 paper which happens to be 8.1/4″ wide.  Mark a line 8.1/4″ from the top to create a square.  Mark the diagonal line.  I’ve shaded the bottom section and the top triangle which won’t be needed so that you can see the triangle to be used for the template.

Mark a point 4″ from the left corner on the bottom line of the triangle.  Draw another point 6″ from the left corner on the diagonal line.  These marks show where the brown ends and the green begins when you draw the palm trees.

This template will mark out half of the palm trees because the fabric will be folded when it is cut.

Draw the palm trees

Draw the palm trees

Mark a small triangle in the bottom left corner of the triangle.  This will give you a small star in the finished applique.

Begin with the diagonal edge and draw a line about 3/4″ from the line as far as the 6″ marker.  This is the trunk of the palm tree.  Then branch out and add three palm tree leaves along the rest of the diagonal line, finishing with a line into the corner.  On the bottom edge of the triangle (showing as the right hand edge in the second photo) draw a line for the tree trunk to the 4″ marker point and then add three leaves and a point at the top.  Cut out the template.

Add the brown for the trunks

Add the brown for the trunks

Make the square for applique

Begin with a yellow square (the sand).  Sew a brown square to the top and bottom followed by a brown rectangle to each side.

Add the green

Add the green

Now add a 9.1/2″ green rectangle to the top and bottom followed by a longer green rectangle to each side.

Press all the seam allowances away from the yellow square.  The square measures 17.1/2″ square at this stage.

Add the interfacing

Add the interfacing

Press a layer of double sided fusible interfacing to the back of this square.  I use Mistyfuse, but you can use whatever you prefer.  The important thing is that it’s fusible on both sides as this will mean you can press the final shape to the background square to hold it in place.

Fold the applique square

Fold the applique square

Cut out the template

Begin by folding the applique square in half once and then in half again.

Place this square so that the yellow square is in the bottom left corner.  The bottom and left hand edges will be folded while the top and right hand edges are raw edges.  This step is really important to make sure that your applique comes out as one piece rather than several disjointed pieces.

Pin the template to the fabric

Pin the template to the fabric

Fold the top left corner down to the bottom right corner to form a triangle.  Carefully place the paper template on top of this triangle and pin in place.

Cut around the template

Cut around the template

Using a sharp pair of scissors cut round the template.  This takes a bit of effort when you are cutting across the seam allowances – there are a lot of layers of fabric at these points.  However, the result is well worth the effort!

Applique section

Applique section

Complete the multi coloured Hawaiian applique top

Unpin the template and carefully unfold the multi coloured Hawaiian applique.  Fold the blue background face in half twice so that you have fold lines and can locate the centre where the two folds cross.  Place the applique shape on top of the blue background square and smooth gently.  Make sure that the small star in the middle is placed on the centre of the blue square.

Press carefully, beginning in the middle and pressing along each palm tree.  This will hold the applique in place until you are ready to sew round all the edges to hold the palm trees in place securely.  Layer, quilt and bind as for any quilt.

I am so pleased that I managed to make a project using multi coloured Hawaiian applique and I hope that this has given you lots of ideas for similar projects of your own.

Here’s the video:

Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura

Last week I promised you some photos from my trip to Fuerteventura.  I wrote a separate article and you can see it by clicking here or on the photo.