Category Archives: patchwork & quilting

Gift making

Even though we are now past the season of Christmas, I find that I am still busy making gifts for upcoming birthdays. I have a large amount of the 12 oz fire-retardent wadding remaining from the Christmas makes and some very pretty novelty printed cotton fabrics so have continued to make double ended oven mitts and padded, quilted book covers. The fabrics for the projects below were purchased from Home Textile & Fabric thru’ Amazon (my go-to source of so many items!).

Red London Bus printed cotton

The quilting for the Red London Bus mitts was done in straight lines using the buses as guides.

Novelty Cat printed cotton

The wadding for the book cover is 80/20 cotton polyester blend purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop based not far from my home. The quilting for the book cover and the mitts was completed using the wavy line stitch pattern no. 2-18 on my Brother 4000D machine, settings width 7.0 and length 1.8/2.0.

Projects #4 and 5 completed 25th January 2023

Tamarack Jacket by Grainline

I have had the original pattern in sizes 0-18 for this quilted jacket a very long time! It has always been my plan to make a version to replace an original quilted jacket bought from Orvis which now sadly is too small.

Tamarack Line Drawing

According to the website the Tamarack jacket was designed with the transitional seasons in mind, it is a warm and stylish quilted coat perfect for spring and fall layering. Follow one of the two quilting designs included, or design your own to make your Tamarack totally original to you! You’ll stay toasty thanks to the inner layer of cotton or wool batting, while the roomy welt pockets will keep your belongings safe and your hands warm.

As it is a long time since the size 18 would fit, my first task was to grade out to a 22, even up the hem so that the back length is the same as the front. I reduced the bodice length by 2 inches and the length of the sleeves by 1¼ inches. Next I had located some pre-quilted and lined jersey fabric bought by weight from Abakhan Fabrics at least 13 years ago. This is really making from my stash with a vengeance!

Quilted & lined Fine Jersey Fabric

I basted the cut out pieces together and discovered that as per usual the shoulders were too wide so reduced them by ½ inch grading back to the armscye notches. In order to remove the gaping at the armhole I needed a small dart from the armscye to my bust apex. These were quickly completed and I moved on to the welt pockets. It is a long time since I constructed welt pockets so the instructions from Grainline were invaluable, as was the youtube video sewalong.

I had to wait for the delivery of the gingham fabric that I had chosen for all the bias binding so now was a good time to take a break. The gingham fabric which was sold as linen-look cotton was a little disappointing. A very loose weave so I do not think the fabric was top quality but it would serve on this first wearable toile.

The instructions for making the welt pockets were comprehensive and apart from the fact that sometimes I was stitching through 3 layers of quilted fabric (i.e. two outers plus wadding fill for each layer) the construction was straightforward.

First welt pocket completed

I decided to neaten the raw edges of the pocket bags and along the top of the internal welt seam with the contrast binding.

Neatened raw edges of the pocket bag

The next step was to overlock all the edges that would not be covered by the bias binding. Once that was done I completed the remainder of the construction.

Personalised Label

I applied a small ‘facing’ with my personal maker’s label to the centre back along with a hanging loop. The bias binding was stitched right sides together before hand slip stitching to the reverse and finished with top stitching from the right side. I made 5 buttonholes and used some neutral-coloured buttons from my stash.

Completed Trial Version of the TAMARACK

Conclusion: I love this jacket and will definitely be making another. There are a few changes for the next iteration. I will lengthen the sleeves back to just ½ inch shorter than the pattern. Next time I will curve the front edges, may well change to a rounded V-neckline and apply poppers rather than buttons and buttonholes. If I decide to repeat the welt pockets then I will apply a lining to the front bodice pieces to conceal all the ‘workings’ and pocket bags.

Project no.3 completed 21st January 2023

Memories of Yesteryear

Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters Group demonstrated, provided the pattern and instructions for these quilted, padded book covers. I found a single fat quarter of this charming print featuring Pheasants and farm buildings which reminded me so much of my early years spent in the Kent countryside and when my father was a part-time gamekeeper. I remember fondly when he reared 200 Pheasant chicks in the incubator set up in our brick outbuilding. The fabric called out to be made into a padded cover for my 2023 diary, I will be able to recall those long distant days everyday when I write in the diary – so here we are!

Front cover of 2023 Diary
Open Diary showing entire picture

At the Christmas Social meeting on Thursday 15th December there will be ‘button’ voting for the favourite one completed by the members. For once I decided to accept the challenge, hence this rather more elaborate book cover.

I had a scrap of the ‘Pheasants’ fat quarter cotton fabric left after making the cover for my 2023 diary. I wanted to ‘ring the changes’ with the cover and so by combining with log cabin patchwork I inset a sheet of plastic on the front cover, to make a slip pocket over the fussy cut motif of a Pheasant.

Basic Cover showing Pheasant

The remainder of the cover was quilted with strips of coordinating Brown-toned prints from my stash. I also took the opportunity to experiment with some of the decorative stitches on my machine for the quilting.

Decorative Stitching

I have long been an admirer of paintings by Lucy Grossmith and this year have invested in several Christmas card designed by Lucy. The basic book cover features the Pheasant print which is under the plastic slip pocket.

Then there are three alternative prints, one of the cards is backed onto a piece of card that is covered with Light Grey fabric.

Nightime Hare set onto Grey fabric covered card

This has been centred onto the card and once installed into the plastic pocket can be left as is, or alternatively one of the other two cards can be inserted and obscure the other designs.

Daytime Hare
Evening Foxes

I am delighted with the cover which has turned out even better than I imagined.

Projects #57and #58 completed 8h December 2022

Quilted Book Covers

This year I am taking part in the Advent Dozen organised at Sprat & Winkle Quilters. The plan is that each member makes up 12 gifts, same theme but different fabrics, which are then wrapped and labelled. The organisers will distribute 12 different gifts, each labelled 1 -12 to each participant. From 13th December, we open a gift with the appropriate number.

For my contribution I purchased 12 soft back A5 lined notebooks and have covered them with quilted removable covers. I purchased 1½ metres of printed quilting cotton fabric from my local store – New Threads Quilt Shop at Weyhill Fairground Craft Centre and used it to cover 8 of the books.

Bookshelves printed cotton

Literary Associations print

The remaining 4 are covered with odd Fat Quarters from my stash. The quilting was completed in a variety of ways – vertical lines, horizontal lines and wavy lines. I hope that the recipients will be pleased their Advent gifts.

Fat Quarter Variety Prints

I am looking forward to participating in this slightly different take on the traditional Advent Calendar.

Twelve Quilted Book Covers

Project #51 completed 6th November 2022

Faux Clamshell Table Runner

For many years now I have owned a Sissix Big Shot die cutter. Although I rarely use it for cardmaking, I have several dies for patchwork fabric block cutting. One of my favourite set of dies are the two that can be put together to form ‘Drunkard’s Path’. I have used this set of dies in several different layouts and recently re-rediscovered that by putting together two ¼ circles with two ‘arcs’ a faux clamshell is revealed.

Using some remnant fabrics, gifted to me by a good friend, I made a new table runner for our coffee table. I cut out several sets of the block before arranging in a pleasing manner. The shapes are quick to assemble on the sewing machine with simple echo quilting I soon had a finished runner. The backing is plain calico from my stash and the binding was cut in strips from a larger remnant of fabric.

I have a sizeable number of Christmas-themed items and this runner now completes the collection.

Faux Clamshell Christmas Table Runner

Project #49 completed 4th November 2022

Chaos Quilt

I have a great many scraps of cotton fabric which are the remnants from dressmaking, bag making and general crafty sewing. I also have a Big Shot die cutting machine with ‘Drunkards’ Path’ dies. Back at the beginning of the year I decided to put those scraps to good use and make a quilt. I vowed that I would not be buying ANY fabric, wadding or backing for the project.

Die cutting: I sorted through the scraps and wherever a piece was at least 5 inches square, I ironed it flat and put to one side ready for a mammoth die-cutting session.

Construction: I set all the pieces in two piles – one of the 1/4 circles and the other of the ‘arc’ shaped pieces. With no thought about co-ordination, these pieces were then stitched into pairs in a totally random fashion. All the stitching was completed by hand whilst I joined in at the Friday morning sewing group.

Once I had about 100 squares I started to put them together into blocks – 4 individual squares per block. I used two different layouts. 1) where the ¼ circles were placed to the centre to make a complete circle and 2) where two of the ¼ circles were flipped to the outer edge of the block to make what I call ‘a turtle’.

Block layouts – Circles and Turtles

I started to lay out the blocks and decided that I would like to have the quilt made up in 6 rows of 6 blocks with sashing in between. I needed to make another 44 squares to give me the total 36 blocks required.

Layout: The completed blocks were laid out on the bed and photographed. After some switching around I came up with the final plan. I labelled each block before cutting the sashing. Using some calico from my stash (usually used for toile making) I cut strips 1 ½ inches wide and started stitching the rows together. I then cut more sashing to make the crosswise sashing plus a border.

Next it was time to add the wadding and backing. Checking my stash of wadding I had only two pieces of polyester 2oz wadding which was stitched together with a 3-step zig-zag and produced just enough to back the quilt with a 1 inch border all around.

layering up

Backing – I knew that I did not have any cotton print that I was prepared to use for the quilt. A quick search through the spare bedding revealed a brand new King size flat sheet in Yellow – just right to back this quilt. I used 505 temporary spray adhesive and a few quilters safety pins to layer up the three fabrics – backing, wadding and top.

Quilting: I used the extension table fitted to my Brother 550SE machine, set up on the dining table. I ‘stitched in the ditch’ on each block before using one of the built in decorative stitches to run down and across all the sashing. The backing was trimmed back to 1 inch beyond the edge of the top, then folded and turned to the front of the quilt and top stitched in place complete with mitred corners.

Chaos quilt completed June 2022

Conclusion: I am pleased with the final result which is so very colourful and will be ideal for use in the conservatory. I think that this may well be my final large quilt project as there are only so many quilts that one can display. The grand piano already has a ‘wardrobe’ of quilts for each month plus some ‘specials’ for Christmas and Valentine’s Day! In future I will continue with quilting but it will probably be much smaller projects and maybe some clothing – I have a hankering for a patchwork quilted jacket!

Project #27 completed 27th June 2022

A Trio of Jubilee Union Jack Cushions

Lizzie, our illustrious chairman at Sprat & Winkle proposed that we have a project to celebrate and reflect the Queen’s 70th Jubilee. She suggested a cushion featuring our country’s flag – the Union Jack and that it be made using Foundation Paper Piecing.

Now this is a construction method that I have tried just once before and vowed never to repeat but after seeing a few versions of the cushion made up and having a copy of the detailed instructions, decided to ‘go for it!’

I used fabric purchased from the Sale rack at New Threads Quilt Shop and set aside an afternoon to make a cushion cover. The first rectangle took quite a long time and I did not particular enjoy the process. The second rectangle construction was quicker and by the third and final rectangle, I was loving the process!

I added a 2 inch border to the panel and some pre-made Red satin piping before completing the back in plain White fabric with a zip closure. I used a 50cms x 30cms feather-filled cushion pad and was absolutely delighted with the final project.

The following day I had another free afternoon so decided to make a second cushion cover, this time to send to my sister who currently lives in North Wales. I used the same fabrics but this time the backing is in the Red print fabric. I also used a new method to add a ‘flange’ to the perimeter of the cushion cover and was delighted with the ‘new to me’ method of finishing.

Now, for the third version I used different fabrics. I had found a small leopard print cotton poplin on eBay, available in Red and Blue colourways. Perfect. I repeated the method of binding the cover with a flange as this is my new ‘go to’ finish for cushion covers . When I took the cushion to the next meeting of Sprat & Winkle Quilters, this version of the Union Jack cover was the most popular.

Now on the hunt for other complimentary prints to use as I am ‘hooked’ on FPP! I have found some ‘Oriental’ theme prints and wonder how will they convert to this iconic British design?

Project #12 Completed 3rd March 2022

‘Secret Sister’ Cushion

I love attending the ‘Sewcial Retreat’ organised in March by Viv of Purple Stitches, Basingstoke. Each year we have the opportunity to join into a ‘Secret Sister Swap’. This year the project is to be a cushion cover. I received details of my ‘partner’ who had indicated that she would like an 18 inch square cushion in Blues and Aqua. She did not want a ‘Dresden Plate’ or WWII designs. That left me a lot to choose from!

I picked up a selection of 5 fat quarters from my local quilt shop – New Threads Quilt Shop based at Weyhill Fairground, Andover and then spent some time pondering what design to make.

I was reminded of the ‘faux’ cathedral window design (currently a quilt atop my husband’s grand piano) and decided to base the cushion cover on that. Using some 80/20 cotton/poly wadding, I quilted within the spaces around the outer patchwork pieces and added an applique heart to the centre space. I finished the cover with some medium size piping that I recycled from a new duvet cover (currently cut out as a toile dress). The backing is a plain Blue cotton (also from a new flat bedsheet) and has a zip closure. The finished size is approximately 16½ inches square.

Cushion covers really need a pad to show themselves at their best and I therefore added an 18 inch square feather-filled pad.

I am pleased with how this design has come out and hope that the recipient will be to.

Project #10 completed 23rd February 2022

‘Baby’ Quilts

As a member of Sprat & Winkle Quilters I am often included in the call to make small quilts for use in the Special Care Baby Unit at Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester. These quilts are used as covers for the incubators and can be any colour and design with a maximum size of 24 inches. The 80/20 polyester cotton wadding is supplied by S&W but the patchwork and backing fabrics are supplied by the quilter.

I tend to make my contributions using scrap fabrics from my dressmaking plus odds and ends of Fat Quarters that I have picked up during my visits to various quilt shows and the local fabric store.

For quilt #one I had a large sized remnant from a pin tucked tunic top (Butterick 6024) that I made back in April 2021. There are many colours in the print which made it ideal to combine with a selection of sample squares that I picked up at Oswaldtwistle Mills many years ago. I matched up the size of the sample squares to squares of the print fabric. Once completed I then spent some time trying to decide how to lay out the individual blocks. I find it best to lay out the blocks according to my plans and then photograph the options before numbering each square in order 1-49.

Construction was quick and simple with these basic block. I used a remnant of Beige/White checked fabric for the backing and yet more of the print for the binding. Quilting was a simple trellis design also completed very quickly using my walking foot, quilting machine needle and stitch length of 3.5mm. I am particularly pleased with the completed quilt to which I added my ‘trademark’ appliqued heart shape.

For quilt #two I found a piece of Green background cotton fabric with motifs from the story ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and decided to use this as a central square for my log cabin blocks. Thus the colour scheme of Green and Yellow/Cream was decided upon. After a rummage through my various bags of remnant fabrics I located sufficient (including the pretty sheep print used as a lining for my recent ‘Jane’ pinafore dress) to make up 16 blocks with a finished size of 6 inches. I cut 16 squares of calico as a base for the blocks and got stitching!

Once completed I then spent 24 hours trying to decide how to lay out the individual blocks. In this case I decided on option 2 and went ahead to label each block numbers 1 -16 (but changed a couple around) so that they could be sewn in the correct order. I added two ‘trademark’ applique hearts before setting the quilt top to one side whilst I researched a quilting design for log cabins.

I decided to quilt in a spiral design, sewing across the centre square of each log cabin, travelling in a clockwise direction until I had stitched across the final log of each block. Once completed I discovered that this type of quilting design combined with the log cabins can have a strange affect on the eyes which makes the squares appear to be ‘on the squiff!’ I won’t be using that quilting design again.

I am pleased with my two quilts and although I plan to make a third, will have a break and do some dressmaking for a few days.

Project #8 completed 17th February 2022

Drunken Bird Orphan Patchwork Blocks

For the year 2022 I have promised myself to finish off all those UFO projects in the ’roundtoit’ box! The best way to achieve this will be to alternate new projects with UFO’s. Let’s see how I get on.

When my sister and I visited the Caribbean in 2018 we took with us some hand sewing patchwork blocks to work on whilst the Cruise Ship travelled from one island to another.

I completed the quilt once we were home but that left some half-a-dozen ‘orphan’ blocks that I put away and promptly forgot all about!

I rediscovered the blocks around the 14th January and found that some had already been put together in ‘quilt sandwiches’. Around 3 or 4 had been quilted but the remainder were just the plain blocks. I added some 80/20 polyester/cotton wadding and calico backing before spending a few hours quilting in the same designs.

I put 9 blocks together using the method of butting the blocks and then joining with strips of sashing cut to 1¼ inches wide. As the backing calico sheets were not all the same and the reverse of the quilting left a little to be desired, I covered that with a large rectangle of Taupe/white check fabric that was a remnant from a polyester cotton duvet cover used for a dressmaking project. I used the same fabric as the sashing to make a binding for the quilt. The finished size is 24½ inches square. Then I added a sleeve and is now a colourful wall hanging for our cloakroom.

I still had 4 ‘bird’ blocks left and these were combined to make the front of a cushion cover. I used echo quilting on the plain sections so that the ‘birds’ were more pronounced. The 6mm thick piping is covered with bias cut check fabric (the same as the backing for the wall hanging). Backing of the cushion cover is plain calico with a lapped zip inserted for the closure. The cover is approximately 16 inches square and filled with a feather pad that I have re-purposed.

Conclusion: I am very pleased with the end results and have been inspired to make more blocks with the Drunkards Path dies using my Sissix machine. Watch this space for the next patchwork project that has already been named ‘Chaos’!

Project #5 completed 17th January 2022