Posts Tagged ‘patchwork’

So! Are you ready for some more sewing adventures? Yes? Good – It’s great to have you on board!

If you followed my last post carefully you should have ended up with something that looks a little bit like this:


Today we’re going to add the finishing touches and incorporate it into a really simple cushion design.

Ready to start? OK, grab yourself a half metre of a plain, hardwearing fabric and cut a square measuring 35 x 35 cms and two rectangular pieces measuring 35 x 25 cms.

Take your square and fold in half then half again and give it a little press with an iron – This shows you where the centre is.

X marks the spot!

X marks the spot!

Now you’ll need to position your beautifully crafted patchwork using the crease lines to help you. Once you’re happy with it’s position pin everything securely in place.


Now for a bit of sewing – Either using a zig-zag or standard straight stitch, carefully sew along the edges of your work, removing the pins as you go.


This part takes a bit of time and requires a lot of lifting of the sewing foot and re-positioning – Just stick with it; You’re nearly there 🙂

Now you need to find a piece of scrap cardstock which we’ll use to make the central piece of our patchwork. You’ll need to cut a circle of card that’s slightly bigger than that unsightly hole in the middle of your work, then cut an even larger circle of fabric – It doesn’t matter if it’s a bit rough; No-one’s going to see your wonky scissorwork.


Now take a needle and thread and place a line of running stitches around the edge of your fabric circle, put you card circle in the middle and pull the threads tight so that they gather neatly round it.


Press with an iron and take care NOT to burn your fingers. Remove the card and Hey Presto! – A perfect fabric circle to add to the centre of your work.


Now you’ll need to pin it into position…


And sew it into place.


This is the stage when it’s probably a good time to do another little happy dance and marvel at your completed patchwork. Do the Instagram, Facebook, Twitter thing too if you have to – It’s good to share your triumphs with others.

Yay! The front of your cushion cover is complete - Gone forever are those unsightly threads and frayed edges of fabric.

Yay! The front of your cushion cover is complete – Gone forever are those unsightly threads and frayed edges of fabric.

So we’re on the home run – Not much more to do until we’ve made our marvellous cushion cover.

First we need to turn our attentions to the two rectangular pieces of fabric that are going to make up the rear of our cushion. We’re not going to fuss with zips or get into a muddle with buttonholes, we’re just going to make a simple envelope fastening so start by hemming each piece.


Once your hems are sorted you’ll need to piece all the elements together – Remember! You’re creating an envelope fastening at the back so you need to overlap your two rectangular pieces. Pin everything into place. take a deep breath and get ready to do your last bit of stitching 🙂

Yeah I know! Get me with the snazzy label :)

Yeah I know! Get me with the snazzy label 🙂

Now it’s a simple matter of sewing around all four edges of your cushion cover. I usually make a second pass with a zig-zag stitch as this helps to prevent fraying and also ensures nice strong seams that won’t burst open any time soon. It’s also a good idea to snip the corners off to reduce fabric bulk and make it easier to turn your work.


And, speaking of turning your work, that’s the next thing you’ll need to do. It’s time for the big reveal! Are you as excited as I am?

Well? How does it look?

Time for a final press with the iron and then we’ll pop a cushion inner into our marvellous make. If you’ve followed this tutorial closely you’ll have made a cushion cover that’s just the right size to take a ‘Krakris’ cushion which you can buy at Ikea for the princely sum of £1 – Total Bargain!


Ultimately though, you’ve made something that looks like a million dollars; You should be dead proud of yourself 🙂

And now you know how to do it, what’s stopping you? Go on! Make a few more and give your home a little makeover – You’ve got no excuse not to 🙂

Happy Stitching Folks!


Plump up a cushion and come and join me for a chat…

You may well need to be sat down for this - Feel free to plump away ;)

You may well need to be sat down for this – Feel free to plump away 😉

After a lengthy hiatus I have returned with not one, but two, back-to-back tutorials which will hopefully see you making your very own soft furnishings just like the example pictured above.

What’s that you say? You don’t think you’ll ever be able to make such a thing? Don’t be daft – It’s easy! Let me show you how…

By the end of this tutorial you'll hopefully be looking at something that looks a bit like this...

By the end of this tutorial you’ll have created something that looks a bit like this…

Here’s the deal; By following this first tutorial you’ll have created the bulk of your first ever piece of Dresden Plate patchwork. You’ll also no doubt have had to stop a few times along the way to do a little happy dance as you see how incredibly easy it really is. You might even have to pause to post pictures on Instagram, Facebook and beyond. Either way, I guarantee that you will be bursting to share what you’ve made with your friends – Just you wait and see!


First of all, you’ll need to gather together your crafting arsenal – It’s a lengthy list to tick off…

You will need roughly half a metre of a plain, hardwearing fabric (This is more important in our next session so don’t worry if you haven’t got anything to hand straight away).

You’ll also need plenty of fabric scraps that measure at least 5 inches long by about 3 inches wide; You’re going to need twenty separate pieces to make up the circular part of your patchwork, plus one extra piece that we’ll be using to make the centre. For my design I chose ten different fabric prints but ultimately it’s up to you how many you use; One, two, twenty… you decide.

Coordinating thread, a sewing machine, pins, scissors etc

A dresden plate ruler, rotary cutter and mat. Scissors and a card template work just as well but it’ll take three times as long to get everything ready.

A Dresden Plate ruler - Handy if you've got one but not essential to the task.

A Dresden Plate ruler – Handy if you’ve got one but not essential to the task.

Don’t forget to find something blunt to help turn any corners inside out – It’s tempting to use scissors but really annoying when you push too hard and burst through the fabric!

Right! I think that’s about it; Let’s make a start.

First things first you need to cut out twenty separate pieces of fabric that are all five inches in length. You’ll see that they resemble a wedge shape with a wide top that tapers to a much narrower bottom; From now on we’ll refer to these as ‘blades’. Once you have all your blades, start laying them out in a circle and have a little play around at mixing your different fabric designs and colours until you’re happy with the way they look.

Don't be too worried about changing your mind at this stage - Nothing is set in stone until we start stitching...

Don’t be too worried about changing your mind at this stage – Nothing is set in stone until we start stitching…

Gather your blades together into a neat little pile and now we’re going to start sewing…

Take your first blade and fold the widest end in half with the printed design on the inside.

Make suret hat the fabric design is kept to the inside...

Make sure that the fabric design is kept to the inside…

Sew down the folded edge but don’t break your thread – Let the machine sew a few blank stitches and then sew your next blade…

Just keep sewing - No need to break your thread after each blade.

Just keep sewing – No need to break your thread after each blade.

Keep on sewing until you’re left with a little ‘blade bunting’ – That way everything’s kept in order ready for the next stage.


Use your scissors to remove the first blade. By stitching down the wide end we’ve effectively created a corner which we’ll neaten up by first snipping off any excess fabric and then turn to reveal the point…

Snip any excess fabric away which could create bulk in the corner - Don't go too close to your stitching!

Snip any excess fabric away which could create bulk in the corner – Don’t go too close to your stitching!

Turn your corner inside out...

Turn your corner inside out…

Use something blunt to achieve a neater finish...

Use something blunt to achieve a neater finish…

Press each blade with an iron for crisp, clean corners.

Press each blade with an iron for crisp, clean corners.

Still with me? By now you should have twenty stitched and pressed blades arranged in some kind of order that works well for you – If you still need to play around then now’s the time to do it; In a moment we’re going to start sewing everything together so you can’t change your mind!


OK – Now it get’s really exciting.

Take your first two blades and place them so that their right sides (the printed bits) are facing each other. Match the sloping edge of each corner point and the side pieces together and stitch…

It's important to make sure that the sloping edges of each corner and the long side of each blade match up accurately...

It’s important to make sure that the sloping edges of each corner and the long side of each blade match up accurately…

Keep working 'in the round' stitching each blade together until you run out..... then stitch the two ends together and do a little happy dance!

Keep working ‘in the round’ stitching each blade together until you run out….. then stitch the two ends together and do a little happy dance!

It’s at this point when you might find yourself breaking off every few minutes in order to admire your handiwork. Just keep joining each blade and enjoy taking a sneaky peek at how it’s all beginning to come together. Heck! Put that sewing down and have a little happy dance – You’re making something that looks awesome – Way to go, you!

Have you sewn everything together? Have you joined the end pieces together to make a circle? Aren’t you just the happiest little bunny on the block? Give yourself a pat on the back and do your first reveal to the world…

Whooo Hoo! I made a circle thingy with lots of thread sticking out all over the place...... Is it supposed to look like this?

Whooo Hoo! I made a circle thingy with lots of thread sticking out all over the place…… Is it supposed to look like this?

Your final task for today is to give everything a little press with the iron. First, you’ll need to place your work face down and pull any excess threads down and into the centre… we don’t need to trim anything off – It’s all going to be hidden away in our next session…

Now press your work so that all the seams are facing in the same direction…


Time to make yourself a cup of coffee and celebrate all your hard work with a round of biscuits. Most of the fiddly stuff has been done; In the next tutorial I’ll show you how to complete your patchwork by incorporating it into a simple, but effective cushion cover design…


Until then, Happy Stitching Folks! It’s great to be back 🙂

This week I’ve taken the first tentative steps towards a new VW themed crafting project as part of my October focus on ‘Making Memories’.

So for the next few days it’s all about cutting out endless squares from old pairs of jeans that I’ve worn at numerous festivals and on many camping trips over the last four years – minus the mud, grass, oil and beer stains that they’ve accumulated as a result! 😉

The first batch of denim squares – With many more still to cut out!

I haven’t got very far at the moment; I think I need a couple of hundred at least before I can really make a start! Still, one leg down and a good few more to go……. 😉

Hopefully more will be revealed next week………

Last week I said I planned to make something nice to show off the new stitches I’ve been practising – but I’m so completely enamoured with feather stitch that I haven’t had time to attempt anything else!

My aim for this week was to replicate the heart featured in this great tutorial from A Simple Quilter:

But once I’d sat down and started I decided that I had to make a few changes to my original plan as the very first line of turquoise feather stitch immediately reminded me of Sally in a Nightmare Before Christmas……

Sally Finkelstein – Seamstress extraordinaire.

I think it’s the patchwork that did it. At any rate I decided not to opt for additional stitches or seed bead details but instead plumped for feather stitch to delineate the patchwork sections and blanket stitch to edge the outline of the heart. To finish, I chose to use a die cut pleatherette flower, assorted loops of ribbon and a flower shaped mother of pearl button. I’ve also included a ribbon loop for hanging and filled it with micro aroma beads which I’ve fragranced with ‘Baby Powder’. Here’s the results:

‘Sally’ heart by Big Blue Bully Bus 🙂

So, it’s another week of me feeling very pleased with myself; It’s also been a very productive process as it’s given me lots of inspiration for how I could adapt the idea further to incorporate different fabrics other than felt to create the newest addition to my repetoire – ‘The Sally Heart’.

I think that both her and my Gran would heartily approve of my efforts 😉

Officially, it was a 100 days until Christmas 2012 yesterday – So let the nightmare begin!!!!!

A very quick post this week again I’m afraid……….

This month’s theme is sewing; my machine has gone into overdrive recently with assorted strings of bunting, cushions, bags, patchwork etc flying out at a rate of knots. It’s been manic!

Here’s a few of my favourite makes of the moment…….

Felt Union Jack Cushion

Floral Micro Bunting – Perfect for decorating your favourite ride….

Patchwork Bags – Tanglewood Style

I love this! It’s called the ‘Tanglewood’ bag and the pattern and full making up instructions are available to purchase from here –

‘It’s a little bit hippie, a little bit preppy. It’s a little bit country and a little bit Liberty. It’s embroidered yokes and dangly earrings. It’s blackberry crumble, balmy nights, and piccolo solos. It’s picnic quilts spread out, corner-to-corner on the concert lawn. Bring on starlight: You’ve got the perfect bag for it now, honeygirl.’  Alicia Paulson – Posie, Rosy Little Things Blog.

Machine patchwork – Cool!

Tanglewood Bag Detail

Phew! I said it’d be a quick post didn’t I? It’s back to the sewing machine for me I’m afraid – no rest for the wicked! I’m destined to end up like this young man if I’m not careful….. I certainly know the feeling!

Banksy’s ‘comment’ on the use of child sweatshop labour currently being exploited in the name of the Golden Jubilee and Olympic celebrations – something a lot of us handmade in the UK crowd have been pointing out for the last few months……

Continuing with my retro crafts theme, this week I thought I’d introduce you to a few more cool crafting gizmos and show you how to make quick and easy Suffolk puffs.

Classic Puff Patchwork Cushion

Sometimes referred to as ‘yo-yos’, a Suffolk puff is a little gathered circle made from a scrap of fabric and as such can be a brilliant stash buster when you need to use up excess resources. Traditionally, they were used in patchwork and quilting where they were joined together, edge to edge, and were incredibly popular in the thirties, forties and fifties, when out of thrift and the necessity brought about by hard times, people would use up every last scrap of fabric and recycle all their clothing in the ‘make do and mend’ culture.

Patchwork and puff perfection.

These days, with a resurgence in the popularity of all things patchwork, Suffolk puffs are once again in vogue and are often used  as embellishments, but also feature strongly as decorative elements in homewares, soft furnishings and even clothing.

Bjork sporting a coat made entirely of Suffolk Puffs.

They’re incredibly easy to make – particularly with a yo-yo maker or two to hand, and are also fairly portable which is why I often end up taking a stash of fabric circles, needle and thread on the road with me during the summer.

This week’s collection of gizmos and gadgets.

So let’s get down to the knitty gritty of how to make some…

We’ll start by using a couple of yo-yo makers which are basically circular discs with sewing guidelines. I’m using two different sizes with diameters of 45 and 60 millimetres and my fabric of choice is a selection of lightweight cottons.

7. Repeat the whole process again, using contrasting fabric and a smaller yo-yo maker.

Now it’s time to make a covered button before finally assembling each element.

9. Stack the two puffs and use a few stitches to join them together; add the fabric covered button as a finishing touch before stitching on a brooch back and Voila! A lovely brooch that would make a pretty gift for Mother’s Day 🙂

A really pretty, hand crafted gift for Mum!

Suffolk Puffs are great to use as embellishments. Why not invest in a couple of yo-yo makers and have a go at making some yourself? You’ll soon become hooked!

Puffs a’plenty on bags and purses – great little gifts to give to family and friends 😉

If you want to join in with my crafting adventures next week it might be wise to start sorting through your wool stash now. Until then, Happy Crafting!