Category Archives: Christmas

20-Blade ‘Christmas’ Dresden Plate

OK, I promise this is the last Dresden Plate block for a while. However, I have scheduled in to teach a class for this lovely patchwork block so there will be a few more appearing next month as I prepare the class materials!

None of these patchwork projects were in my September Sewing Plans and now I have only a few days left to complete what I should have been sewing! Outstanding are 2 dresses and covers for the chair in my sewing room. So far I have only managed to cut out one dress which will take a couple of afternoons of sewing therefore I will have to be philosophical and accept that none of my plans were set in concrete and it is of no great importance that the plans have changed.


On to tell you a little about this particular version of Dresden Plate. I found a picture on Pinterest of a similar 20-blade block worked in shades of Green and finished with a dramatic Red Bow. It looked like a Christmas wreath. As I could not decide on fabric for the large bow I have opted for a smaller version set on a well-padded centre.

The cushion is piped with some ready-made Ruby Red satin piping and has an envelope closure on the reverse. The cover measures 15 inches square and is well-‘plumped’ with a 16 inch pad.

Christmas 12-piece Table Centre/Wreath


At the latest meeting of Sprat & Winkle Quilters, Christine demonstrated how to make this fabulous 12-piece Table Centre/Wreath. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the meeting but having seen one that had been made by a member of our House Group I was inspired.

I had only Val’s brief explanation of “how to” and pictures on the internet to guide me on how to construct the wreath. I made up the twelve squares using two different Christmas prints (Plain Red and a Holly print Cream) and some fusible wadding. Using a Green thread in the needle and the bobbin I appliqued the contrast Green squares onto the plain Red-coloured side. This then gave an outline of Green satin stitch on the lighter-coloured print reverse. But what to do next?

Maths is not my strongest point and I had got as far as working out that an angle of 30 degrees (360 divided by 12) would be involved in some way. I referred to a friend with a better grasp of these things and she kindly supplied a template for both a 12-piece table centre and a 6-piece (60 degrees) table centre.

Screen Shot 2016-11-12 at 09.02.26

30 degree triangle for 12-piece centre

12 piece centre

12 piece layout

 60 degree triangle

60 degree triangle

6 piece centre

6-piece layout

I made a template in thick card (cereal box!) and then it was simply a matter of stitching the squares wrong sides together along the line traced from the template and tacking together the points of the “free” triangles. For the latter I used a Red thread and attached a Red bead and Gold sequin to each point.

003 sequin bead trim

I was delighted with the resultant table centre which is approximately twenty inches in diameter. I think that I will use it as a wreath on the front door. I need to add a hanging loop and some form of decoration for the centre. More pictures to follow in December!

Christmas Gift Sewing

Whenever possible I like to make gifts for my friends which have a theme that is special for them. You can guess the theme for the following two projects which I completed today. Firstly a Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover for which I used a pre-quilted White Polyester Cotton fabric  with an appliqued silhouette of a Cocker Spaniel.  I have used this design before (for floor mats and cushion covers) but on a much larger scale. This time I reduced the design to fit onto the side of the cover.  It was so quick and easy to sew with a fine zig-zag stitch that I am sure I will be repeating this design on other projects. The reverse of the cover  has an envelope closure but the cover is also open  at the top to facilitate filling and emptying. The only time one has to remove the cover is for laundry. I have found this to be the most convenient and comfortable design style of cover with no buttons, zips, ties or ribbons.

hot water bottle cover

The second project was a Kindle case. As I have one of these great gadgets I used my own to draft a pattern. The fabric was cut 6.5″ x 20″ long and then quilted with a 1″ trellis design. A simple lining, some topstitching, button and buttonhole and the entire project was completed within an hour.  Now I need to make another for my own Kindle which is looking sad and forlorn with NO cover of its own!

kindle case

Winter Weather

Brrr! It is cold outside but I have ventured out,  all be it very briefly. The weather over the last few days has been cold and frosty which reminded me of a few years ago when we had a terrific Hoar Frost. I spent a most enjoyable hour walking around our village and taking photographs. Here is one of the local Pilhill Brook which is just a couple of hundred yards from my home here in the lovely Hampshire countryside.

pilhill brook 2009 + border

Latest Reindeer – Leaping

Following on from a previous post – here is the latest Reindeer silhouette applique. So far I have only applied the polyester cotton print applique to some natural-coloured 100% linen. The next step is to run a fine zig-zag stitch all around the applique before adding some narrow piping and making up the cushion cover using my favourite method of a contrast button band and reindeer button closure on the reverse.  The cover should finish as a 15″ square for a 16″ cushion pad. I like all my cushions to be plump and well-filled!

leeping reindeer

Three of a Kind – Christmas Cushions

Over the years I have made many, many Christmas cushion covers. Most have been sold when I was trading as Carousel Cottage Crafts but here are just 3 that have been left. The original patchwork block design was listed as Weathervane but I like to call it Christmas Cracker. I made the second version without referring to the instructions and therefore inadvertently put it together in a different way which necessitated the addition of some extra square pieces to make up to the correct size. The third cover is made using all Half Square Triangles and is actually hand quilted – just to prove that I can do some sewing by hand!

cracker weathervane

Christmas Cracker Weathervane

weathervane version II

Version II

christmas star hst

Christmas Star -Half Square Triangles & Hand Quilting.

Santa’s Reindeer

As many of my friends are aware – Reindeer are my theme for decorating at Christmas. I have already posted details of my favourite Reindeer head silhouette applique cushion but thought you might like to see a few more of these delightful creatures. Here is one of our chairs draped with a Blue fleece throw (handy for wrapping up when it gets REALLY chilly) with co-ordinating cushion. The throw is approximately 40 inches square and has 8 raw edge applique reindeer in lovely christmassy print cottons. There is also a twin needle stitched border in Red – just to finish it off.

reindeer throw and cushion

Fairisle Cross Stitch Heart Cushion

I am fortunate to own some specialised software for digitising Cross Stitch to be sewn using my Brother 4000D machine. Inspired by the lovely designs in “Cross-Stitch Samplers” by Marjorie Massey I spent an afternoon digitising this fairisle-theme heart design. I stitched out the design using Red thread onto a White textured damask fabric. This was then edged with jumbo red ric-rac and used as a central panel on a cushion cover. The reverse of the cover has a Red buttons closure with the overlap also edged with ric-rac trim.

fairisle cushion frontfairisle heart reverse

Christmas Bunnies

The daughter of a friend of mine has recently acquired a pair of rabbits which gave me lots of ideas of what to give as a Christmas gift. In addition to a decorated mug, I decided to add a cushion which she can display in her bedroom. The rabbits are one in Black and one in White appliqued onto an attractive floral print cotton with a Blue background. Although I lined the White Rabbit fabric with extra stabiliser I notice there is just a very slight show-through of the print but otherwise I think that they sit well on this background. I  used a light fusible wadding for the front of the cushion and quilted 1/4″ around the edges of the rabbits plus a row of echo quilting to make the bunnies stand out. The reverse of the cover has a button closure with my favourite method of print binding on the buttonhole band. The cover measures 15″ and the cushion pad is polyester filled.

rabbits cushionrabbits cushion reverse

Reindeer Portrait Silhouette Cushion Cover

I don’t know from where the original design came but I fell in love with this applique design several years ago when the Reindeer motif was just becoming popular. I made a cushion cover and it was immediately snapped up by a regular customer of my website trading company. Since then, each year I think about making another cushion just for me. Finally, I have got around to making a new cover using 100% cotton fabric for the applique on a 100% a natural-coloured linen background. The applique is applied using Heat & Bond Lite and then stitched with a narrow zig-zag in Dark Forest Green thread. The reverse has some more of the cotton print as a border on the button closure which I think just finishes off the cover nicely. The cover is rectangular in shape and approximate measurements are 13.5″ wide x 15.5″ high.  The pad is slightly larger than this to ensure a plump, well-filled cushion.

portrait reindeer silhouette front   portrait reindeer silhouette reverse