Category Archives: patchwork & quilting

Drunkards Path Patchwork

When my sister and I go on our travels which has lately taken the form of a cruise, I always prepare a couple of kits of patchwork hand-sewing projects. This year we will be visiting the Caribbean for a fly-cruise so will have to reign back slightly on our packing.

After consultation with Catherine, we decided to tackle the Drunkards’ Path block. After browsing various Pinterest boards I came up with two very different arrangements for the blocks.

The first, ‘Drunken Birds’, I will be stitching myself, whilst Catherine will be working on a slightly more traditional arrangement.

We decided that as we would be in the Caribbean we would choose vibrant coloured fabrics to reflect our location. I visited New Threads Quilt Shop and purchased twelve fat quarters which combined with some equally bold prints would be used in our projects. The background colour for my quilt will be Blue and Catherine has chosen a Primrose Yellow.

After careful evaluation of the ‘birds’ I sorted my fabrics and started cutting the various parts. When cutting the ‘arcs’ there is always a lozenge shape of spare fabric and I thought that it would be ideal to use as the ‘heads’ of the birds. Once all the parts had been die-cut, I arranged the blocks

according to the inspiration to check how they looked together. I have used three different shades of Blue for the background ‘sky’ and arranged the blocks so that the lightest ‘sky’ is at the top of the quilt, grading to a medium Blue and then for the bottom row of birds, a much darker Blue. I hope that this will help to give the impression of perspective, that the top row of birds are further away. We shall see.

I cut the lozenge shapes in half widthways and placed on the appropriate Blue fan-shaped piece before using a fine zig-zag stitch to appliqué in place. Gradually all the ‘heads’ were stitched.

Well, now I thought I would stitch a sample/test block.

I was so pleased with the result that I could not stop…. now I have stitched seven blocks on the machine. This means that I shall have to make all 21 of the blocks on the machine as otherwise with some hand-sewn the result on the quilt may look a little odd. I don’t mind.

I enjoy stitching this block and as Catherine has in excess of 100 blocks to sew for her quilt I will happily assist by hand stitching some for her. What are sisters for?

Back to Basic Patchwork – Hexagons

The second Monday in the month is the morning for Patchwork & Quilting at Franklins in Salisbury. We are re-visiting the basics and this month we looked again at hexagons.

Using templates that came free with a quilting magazine and some scraps of cotton fabric, I made 6 hexies with 1 inch sides.

Using Emma’s detailed instructions, these were carefully placed on a quilt sandwich of a fat quarter printed cotton, thin wadding and another fat quarter of plain cotton for the backing. I would normally use a spray adhesive to keep the layers together but as this was a small piece and would be quilted very quickly, I simply basted with glass-headed pins.

Prior to stitching, the hexagons were kept in place with some fabric glue.

In Emma’s sample she had quilted in three directions through the middle of each hexagon. However, as I had ‘fussy-cut’ the print of some of my hexagons, I had to stitch around the edge of each individual one. I then quilted in two directions only as time was getting on, I wanted to have the project finished by the end of the evening!

I completed the bag with a Yellow zip and sugar bag bottom corners. The finished bag measures 15 inches across x 9 inches deep. A really useful item to showcase those hexagons!

Like a Chinese meal, no sooner have you finished making a few hexagons than you feel like making some more. They will have to wait until I have made the full circle skirt which is now cut out and ready to sew….. catch you later!

Blue Skies & Sunshine – Log Cabin Cushion

I needed a change from dressmaking. I had a quick look through the stash of UFO projects in the corner of my sewing room and came across two blocks of folded Log Cabin in Blues and Yellows. Just the thing – a small ‘pick-me-up’ before I tackle yet another Raglan-sleeved bodice project.

I had plenty of 2½ inch wide strips in the two colourways of Blue and Yellow. Each strip was pressed in half and the folded edge then placed around the outside of the central square. I stitched each strip in place with a ½ inch seam allowance. Further strips were placed just covering the previous row of stitching. The finished blocks were squared off to 8½ inches.

As each block had been stitched to a calico backing I thought that to apply another layer of wadding would be too much. The blocks were stitched together so that the Yellow strips are central with the Blues on the outer edges.

I used some donated fabric for the reverse which has a zip closure. The finished cover measures 17 inches and is well-stuffed with a 20 inch polyester-filled cushion pad.

A brilliant sunshine in a Blue Sky – now that is cheering!

Yet Another Dresden with a Difference

Next weekend I will be teaching a variation of the Dresden Plate block. Yesterday I did the final preparation for the workbook to accompany the class. This involved making up the project and taking photographs step-by-step.

As we are fast heading towards Christmas I used some seasonal fabrics from my stash. The result is this very jolly cushion.

Once again I am pleased with the design and it has inspired me to research more block designs based on this old favourite. I came across a Missouri Star video that featured a variation called ‘The Beach Ball Dresden’ by ‘My Sister and Me’.

Check it out now or wait and see what I make next week!

12 Blade Dresden Plate Cushion Cover

I am in the home straight of preparation for classes. I have completed the final sample being the above 12 Blade Dresden Plate block. I have chosen these ‘chunky’ blades and only 12 of them so that students can achieve a patchwork block quickly. If like me, they find themselves ‘hooked’ on this block there will be time to try more intricate blocks with many more blades.

For this cushion I again visited my Green-themed scraps. I am particularly pleased that once again I ‘fussy cut’ the butterfly motif on the centre. The patchwork was appliqued onto Natural-coloured calico and backed with some 2 oz polyester wadding. I echo quilted around the block before adding some coordinating narrow piping. I used a 16 inch polyester-filled pad for the cushion cover which has an envelope closure and measures 15 inches square.

Dresden Plate Decorated Peg Bag

Apart from last week, it is a long time since I made peg bags. Here is the latest version which is the result of some research and the desire to make things simple enough for the project to take no more than 1 hour to complete. I still wanted to incorporate some form of decoration in the form of a patchwork block or applique but the construction needed to be easy and by using the ‘envelope’ method I have achieved this.

For this ‘trial’ version I used yet more ‘re-cycled’ calico (previous toile of dressmaking) and a selection of cotton print scraps for a half-dresden plate block. The child-sized hanger was Green and I co-ordinated the patchwork in this colour. The binding was a strip of poly-cotton sheeting left over from making a duvet cover.

The peg bag did take just an hour to complete. More versions may well find themselves wrapped as gifts, meantime I will be using this design when teaching a class at New Threads Quilt Shop.

Plans for October 2017

Despite going ‘off plan’ with several projects in September I did manage to complete some of the items on my list.

The Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan was completed and with the remnant of fabric I made a co-ordinating tee shirt. The Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend was also completed and again another tee shirt for me from the remnant of fabric. I did not get to the Cobra corsage lawn dress but I have today washed the plain Black lawn that I will use for a lining so maybe that project will finally make it to completion. The other dress using a Lewis & Irene cotton print, ‘Our friends in the garden’, was started in September but was not completed until earlier this week. But still with tights and a cardigan it should get some airings until the really cold weather sets in.

Whilst I have made several samples for the classes to be taught in the Autumn and Winter terms, there are still a few outstanding plus the workbooks to be prepared. The final outstanding item from September is the Sewing print linen-look seat covering. That should not take too long as is basically a shape with elasticated hem so hopefully that will also make it to completion in October.

Now, let’s think about sewing plans for the coming month, the list looks like this:-

  1. Cover for sewing room chair in sewing theme linen-look
  2. Samples for classes – Coat hanger peg bag, Scissors Case, Dresden Plate Blocks (2) and Zip top Window Project Bags.
  3. Cobra and Corsage print cotton lawn dress. Style as yet undecided.
  4. Cobra and Corsage print luxury scuba top with asymmetrical hem & cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from Sewisfaction. Absolutely yummy!

    5. Paisley print jersey trapeze tunic with cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from         eBay. Fine weight with a good drape.

  5. Coat with waterfall collar.                                                                                                                                         This is probably too much considering that we are already 7 days into the month but still it is good to have targets!

Strip Patchwork Storage Bin

Whilst surfing the worldwide web I came across instructions for this charming and useful storage bag made from scraps of cotton fabric. The scraps are cut into strips measuring 1½ inches x 5 inches. The base of the bag is a single rectangle and then the lining is cut from a co-ordinating fat quarter. I needed only a small piece of wadding and the end result is a charming storage bag measuring 5 inches high x 5 inches wide x 3 inches deep. The bag is an ideal size for storing a variety of items or as a gift. For the next version I intend to increase the size. As I had originally intended to make window project bags for my friends for their Christmas gifts but with time passing at an alarming rate, they may eventually end up with versions of this storage bag.

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.

Valentine Heart Dresden Cushion


Free Pattern from

I did say that I was hooked on the Dresden Plate block design!
After a browse on the internet I found the pattern for this delightful 'Valentine' Dresden block free on the website.
I knew that I wanted to use stripes to radiate from the centre of the design and the only narrow striped fabric I could find in my stash was this 100% cotton which has been overprinted with some 'crazy' chickens. In the finished result I quite like the 'picasso-esque' nature of how the design has come out.
The block is easy to make providing that you ensure you keep to a ¼ inch seam allowance. Once the blades had been stitched together I backed the block with some plain White cotton and with right sides together, stitched around the outside. I turned through using the centre before applying the central heart motif. The block was then appliqued onto some plain Pink polyester cotton fabric. 
I used some bias binding to make the piping which I prefer to plain cushions. This cover has an envelope closure on the reverse.
The finished cover is 15 inches square and has a 16 inch polyester-filled pad.