Monthly Archives: November 2016

Third Christmas Table Centre


Top of Table Centre

Yes, I made yet another Christmas Table Centre!

This time the design is more of my own original take on the pattern from Thimble Art. As a previous make stretched when sewing a curved petal border with satin stitch, I re-designed this one so that the outer edges are on the straight grain. I kept the holly leaf joining sections and repeated the appliques. To make this centre I used 2 fat quarters for the petals plus some scraps for the appliques. The reverse petals have been padded with fusible wadding and the appliques are interfaced with Vilene F220 fusible .


Reverse of Table Centre

This centrepiece is supposed to be for my coffee table but may well find its way to someone’s Christmas parcel!


Daisy Print Wraparound Skirt

               front   back

This is one of my favourite printed Cotton Poplin fabrics from New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fairground. I already have a dress in this print and colourway and to co-ordinate with several Mustard coloured tops, I decided to make a wraparound skirt.

I used my TNT pattern that originated in the “Dressmaker” book by Ann Ladbury, printed and broadcast on TV in 1976. Just goes to show what a classic design this skirt is. It is also very useful to accommodate my waist measurement as it goes up and down!

As this is a cotton fabric, I lined with anti-static lining for two reasons: 1 – it adds weight and warmth to the skirt and 2 – it prevents the skirt from sticking to tights when worn during the colder months of the year.

I simply mounted each panel of the skirt to the anti-static lining, machine basted the two layers together and then stitched as one layer. The seams and all hem edges are overlocked. The hem and overlap/underlap edges are hemmed with my usual twin-needle. The finished length is approximately 26 inches an ideal length for me as it comes just below my knees.

There is a long buttonhole just to the rear of the right side seam through which the tie belt is passed before tying in a knot on the left-hand side.

This is a quick sew and I am sure will be worn a great deal from now until the Spring when I plan to start making and wearing a new colour theme.

Another Christmas Table Centre

flat overhead view

This table centre was made using a design from Thimble Art as the starting point. Fabric was three fat quarters purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fairground plus some fusible wadding and fusible interfacing for the appliques. The changes that I made were to include satin stitching around each of the petals and also an applique Holly leaf on each petal. The shape of the petals was also extended at the centre point so that there is a resultant 6-point star shaped void.  The void could be filled with a floral arrangement, a piece of fabric or simply left blank. I found that the heavy satin stitching around the curves of the petals did distort the fabric slightly but the issue was resolved with a hefty blast of the steam iron. For the next incarnation I have changed the shape of the petal so that the outer shape is squared “on grain” and therefore will not stretch out of shape.

I have included a Disclaimer in respect of the use of a candle arrangement in the centre of the mat. Health and safety must always be a priority and in view of incidents in the past I want to discourage and avoid the use of candles anywhere near fabric and/or flammable arrangements.

flat side view

Autumn Leaves Table Centre

01 autumn wreath icarus

Inspired by the success of the Christmas Table Centre I surfed the internet for more inspiration. I found a pattern for a 6-piece-centre Holly leaf design from which I purchased along with a further 3 designs.

Using these as a starting point I then designed my own original Autumn leaf table centre which I stitched using scraps and remnants from my stash.

As I was using up odd pieces of fabric the reverse of the “petals” are made using two different prints, likewise the fronts. However this has worked out well and gives a good impression of the variety of colours found in Autumn leaves. The applique leaves are made from three different fabrics which had fusible interfacing applied BEFORE cutting out the shapes.

I top-stitched around each “petal” with a straight stitch before applying the applique leaves with a satin stitch. I then stitched the “petals” together using the 60 degree template supplied by Adrienne.

60 degree triangle

60 degree template for a 6-piece table centre

If using the same fabric for each part of the pattern I calculate that you need a Fat Quarter of print for the reverse, another Fat Quarter for the Fronts and then a Fat Eighth for the applique leaves. You will also need sufficient fusible wadding to be applied to the reverse petals and a small amount of fusible interfacing for the appliques.

02 autumn wreath

Again I count this design as a success and will be offering the pattern for sale and using it in classes next year.

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!

Autumn “Chasing Leaves” Quilt

I am aiming to make a series of quilts that are used to throw over my husband’s grand piano and provide a little protection for when our cat decides to observe the comings and goings in the room from her position atop the piano.

a quilt in situ

So far there are quilts for Valentine’s Day, the Spring, Summer, Christmas and a few non-themed quilts. The current beautiful colour of the leaves outside in the garden and around the local countryside have inspired me to make a quilt using two charm packs from Moda – Forest Fancy and Perfectly Seasonal, both purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fairground.

I have combined the charm squares with co-ordinating fabrics from my stash and worked a 3-dimensional bow tie block using plain calico as the “knot” to which I then added “cathedral window-style” contrast squares. The finished blocks are 9 inches square and arranged in a graded colour range so that the lightest block is at the top left-hand corner and the darkest in the bottom right-hand corner.

b top left hand corner

Top left hand corner

c bottom right hand corner

Bottom Right hand corner

The machine quilting was done in one afternoon using my Brother Anniversary Innovis 10A machine (usually referred to as “My Baby Brother”) together with the extended table and a walking foot. I used random thread in shades of Gold thru’ Brown. The quilting design is circles that interlock between the “cathedral window” squares.

brother machine

My “Baby Brother” machine

The finished quilt is approximately 60 inches square having been finished with a co-ordinating border 3 inches wide and a narrow binding using more fabric from my stash.

a quilt on the floor

I was so pleased with how this quilt turned out that I used some spare fabric to make a co-ordinating lap quilt that is 4 x 4 blocks. It is not quite finished yet so more about that in a later post.

Landscape Print Dress

front view

Something strange is happening to my photographs. The one above has come out very green and is not really a true reflection of the colour of the printed fabric. The fabric is 100% Cotton Makower’s ‘Landscape’ Print Fabric Material (Mustard) colourway.

cotton print

Hopefully this picture gives a better impression of the colour.

I really like this fabric – so much so that I inadvertently ordered it twice from two different suppliers! Once through eBay and the second time from Textile Express. 

I overlocked the raw edges of each length and have laundered them before then using one piece to make the refined bodice pattern from “Back to Basics” I had another go at making a dress. This time with a gathered skirt.  I lowered the neckline and shortened the sleeves. However, not enough – more of that below.

 I have to admit to being a bit “gung ho!” when making up the dress and this attitude came home to roost when I had completed the dress and tried it on. The bodice is too big and the sleeves are too long – what I have ended up with is that the hem of the sleeves is in line with the fullest part of my bust which makes me look very w i d e ! So, nothing for it, some unpicking to be done.  Frustrating, as all the seams have been overlocked – that will teach me to be over-confident!

I will settle down and make the alterations, but maybe not for a few days.

More spots before my eyes!


Using the refined bodice pattern from “Back to Basics” I made yet another dress featuring spots! Firstly I must say that I do not count this dress as a particular success. There is nothing wrong with the fit or construction only that so much light tan and white simply does not suit my complexion. However as this dress has longer sleeves it will be suitable for wear with tights and a gilet during the colder months of the year.

The fabric is a 100% cotton from Fabricland and was pulled from my stash so that I could audition the longer length sleeves combined with a hack bodice from the Back to Basics shift dress. Apart from the fact that the colour does not suit, the neckline is also close to my throat and in the short time that I wore the dress I found that it rode up and was very constricting.   There is little more to say but bearing in mind the amount of fabric used in the full circle skirt it may well be re-cycled into something a little less “in your face”.

Keeping busy stitching

Regular readers of my blog are probably wondering what has been happening as there have been no new posts since the end of October. I have been busy stitching and have tried to take photographs of completed projects but my camera is ancient and some of the resulting images not so hot. I hope to get up-to-date with posts over the weekend and that readers will forgive the rubbish pictures. Perhaps Father Christmas will hear my pleas and send me a new camera….  but meantime here are a few quick tasters of what I have been stitching

FRONT VIEW   02 autumn wreath icarus