Regent Street lawn quilt

Often simple is best.

Start with a couple of charm packs (I used Moda’s Regent Street lawn) and two metres of a solid fabric (I used Bella Solid in off-white).

Fabrics for Regent Street charm quilt

Regent Street lawn quilt materials

Cut the solid into 124 individual 5 inch squares.  Sew the charm squares and solid squares together randomly into 16 rows with 13 squares in each row.  Then sew the rows together.

Regent Street lawn charm pack quilt

Regent Street lawn quilt

As you can’t always find a fence tall enough I had to photograph the finished quilt hanging sideways.   The quilt is 72 inches by 58 inches which is easily big enough for a single bed or as a large throw for the sofa.

Here is a close up showing the backing and detail of the quilt.

Regent Street lawn charm pack quilt detail

Regent Street lawn quilt detail

The lawn fabric is beautifully soft and silky giving the quilt a luxurious feel.  And the long arm quilting in Curlz adds a lovely texture.

This quilt design is based on the Lazy Daisy pattern by Jeni Baker.  It is a easy, simple pattern that is perfect for beginners.

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Message to Charlie

This will be an unusual post.  Yesterday I received an email from a lady called Charlie.  She wanted to know the pattern/cutting instructions for my “jelly patchy roll” quilt.  When I replied to her, the message came back as undeliverable because the email address was not recognised.

I don’t want her to think that I am the sort of person who doesn’t reply to emails so I am writing my reply here in the hope that she might see it.

For my scrappy jelly roll quilt, I used this pattern by Erica Jackman on Moda Bake Shop.  This quilt requires two jelly rolls.

The off-set coin quilt used one jelly roll.  There isn’t a pattern as such.  I used a tutorial by  Kristy @107 quilts.

Hope this gets through to Charlie and good luck with your quilt.

Sewing pom pom trim on an infinity scarf – the easy way

A tutorial for a cowl/infinity scarf with a pom pom trim caught my eye on The Daily Stitch blog some time back (can hardly believe it was back in late 2014!).   I was smitten with the tutorial scarf and bought the necessary fabrics.  Infinity scarves are great.  They stay put and are super easy to make – or so I thought.

Cutting out the fabric pieces was fine.  It was only when it came to attaching the pom pom trim that I ran into trouble.  My sewing machine and the pom pom trim did not get on.  Not at all.  Instead of a nice, straight seam, I found that I had uneven and skipped stitches.  I tried the usual suspects – new needle, re-threading, checking tension – all to no avail.  And so the half finished scarf was put to one side and there it languished for over a year.

Well, the scarf is languishing no more, all thanks to this sewing foot.

Single welt cord sewing foot

Piping sewing foot

Yes, it is a piping foot – or as mine is known – a single welt cord foot.  Originally I had bought this foot for sewing piping on cushions.  However that little grove on the back also helps hold and guide the pom pom trim as it is sewn and makes a neat, even seam.

Here is the finished scarf made in Cotton and Steel fabric and lined with Cambridge lawn in a bright peachy apricot.  Doesn’t it look great?

Pom pom trim cowl

Pom pom trim infinity scarf

Now that I have cracked sewing the pom pom trim, I’ll be whipping up more of these fab accessories.  Because we all know you can never have too many scarves…

Want to see my next scarves?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more lovely makes.

Alice in Wonderland cupcakes

One of my favourite aspects of cake decorating is the opportunity to make cakes that surprise and delight the recipient.   I love the oohs and aahs, and broad smiles that happen when people open the box containing their bespoke cakes.

Last week my niece turned 21.  Hard to believe when it seems like only yesterday that she was learning her first words and doing little more than crawling, feeding or sleeping.

Now that she is grown up she didn’t want a traditional birthday cake.  Instead she requested vanilla cupcakes for her party.  And rather than candles, she asked for her cakes to be decorated with an Alice in Wonderland theme.  What a great idea!

Alice in Wonderland cakes

Alice in Wonderland cupcakes

Her selection of cakes included a cheshire cat with a cheesy grin, a white rabbit, a gold pocket watch, a caterpillar with jaunty antenna, magic mushrooms and an Alice dress.  I managed to get this quick photo before the cakes were whisked off to her party.   Don’t they make a cute collection?  My niece certainly thought so.  Birthday cakes befitting a beautiful young lady.

Lined Clothes Peg Bag

There are few things nicer than the smell of laundry that has been dried outside in the warm sunshine and gentle breezes of summer.  I find the task of pegging out the washing quite relaxing at this time too – a great opportunity to be outside, listening to bird song and enjoying the perfume of summer garden flowers.

Of course pegging out washing implies that you have pegs but what to do with them?  Sure you can keep them in a utilitarian but boring bucket.  But I say if you are going to have something useful then why not have it beautiful too.

Hence my cuter than pie little peg bag that I made last week.

Lined peg bag

Lined clothes peg bag

For the clothes, I used a fabric appropriately called Dress me for the Playground.  I secured my chosen garments onto the backing fabric with Vilene Bondaweb and then sewed twice around the outline.  No fancy free-motion embroidery here.  Just careful sewing with my normal sewing foot.

Lined in white cotton with a fancy spotted trim, my little peg bag is the perfect place to keep my shark pegs and looks fab on the line.

If you’d like to learn how to make your own peg bag, then why not book on my forthcoming class.  The date will be 12 July and details will be on the Fabric HQ classes section very soon.

A country cottage style quilt

Fabric designs featuring large roses and pretty, soft colours make the perfect choice for a country cottage style quilt.  This is a quilt I made some time ago using Tanya Whelan’s Petal collection (sadly no longer available).

Shabby chic/country cottage style quilt

Quilt made in Tanya Whelan Petal fabric

The colours appear sun bleached and summery whilst the overblown roses are reminiscent of warm afternoons relaxing in a country garden.

For the piecing, I chose an upscale version of a pattern appropriately named “square in a box”.  There are lots of variations of this pattern however I kept it simple with a large centre square framed in either a spotted or checked fabric.  The layout I chose alternates between blocks framed in spotted or gingham fabrics.  Initially I alternated the two rose designs too however I quickly changed that to a random placement of the centre roses.  Symmetrical layouts really are not for me.

Roses quilting on shabby chic/country cottage style quilt

Roses quilting detail on Tanya Whelan petal quilt

The quilt was long arm quilted using a dense pattern of open roses.  It is a little difficult to see in this photo however I think you can make out one of the roses in the gingham square.

Pieced backing on shabby chic/country cottage style quilt

Pieced backing on Tanya Whelan petal quilt

In keeping with the country style of the fabrics, I made a pieced backing for this quilt featuring the large roses and two smaller rose designs not used on the front.  The pink gingham fabric makes a charming binding to finish.

This quilt has been washed to achieve that lovely vintage crinkly appearance and is made from 100% cotton fabrics, thread and wadding.  It will be on display at my Bucks Open Studio event in June.  I’d love to see you if you are able to visit.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing details of more of my quilts that will be on display in June.  Remember you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Lined drawstring bags

Over the past week, I have been busy making cute little drawstring bags in preparation for my Bucks Open Studios event.  For those who don’t know, Bucks Open Studios is the largest visual arts event in Buckinghamshire.  It takes place in June each year and allows members of the public to visit local artists to learn more about their work and the artistic processes involved.  I will be exhibiting my work at St Nicholas Church in Kingsey along with seven other artists.  We’d love to see you if you fancy an interesting day out.

To whet your appetite, here are a couple of the bags that you’ll see on my display.  Each bag is approximately 10 inches high by 7 inches wide  and is made from Jeni Baker’s fabulous pattern available at Incolororder.com  Jeni calls it the Everything bag and it really is suitable for everything.  Her little bag makes a great re-usable present wrapping, or a fabulous gift in its own right.

Lined drawstring bag in Dashwood fabric

Lined drawstring bag in Mori Girls fabric

I love the little houses and apples on this one.  Fill it with a pretty tea towel, specialty coffee and homemade biscuits to make a great housewarming gift for someone moving into a new home.

Lined drawstring bag in Dashwood fabric

Lined drawstring bag in Fablewood fabric

This is one of my favourites.  Just love those little leaping foxes.  Add a baby-gro, a copy of Peter Rabbit and some dribble bibs (Hot Chop Threads makes some fabulous ones) and you have a great gender-neutral baby gift.  The little bag will get so much use later as it is perfect for carrying toys or a change of clothes.

Lined drawstring bag in Briar Rose by Heather Ross

Lined drawstring bag in Heather Ross fabric

Don’t you just love those sweet little knitting bees?  Pop a couple of balls of yarn and some knitting needles in this bag to make a lovely gift for a crafty friend.

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more lovely makes.

Swiss meringue buttercream flowers

Back in February I was at Faircake for their Buttercream Flowers Cake class learning how to make piped flower decorations using swiss meringue buttercream.    The class, which is jam-packed with content, includes how to make a variety of large flowers, succulents, leaves and smaller filler flowers.

Swiss meringue buttercream is light, not too sweet, has a lovely velvety smooth texture and is so irresistibly delicious.  Although not difficult to make, this buttercream is tricky to work with as it melts easily and is certainly not recommended for hot summer days.

Here are some of the pretty flower designs that can be achieved.  All these were made using a Wilton 104 nozzle, centres were piped using a Wilton No. 2 nozzle and leaves with a Wilton 352 nozzle.  Enjoy!

First up, everyone’s favourite – a large rose

Swiss meringue buttercream rose

Swiss meringue buttercream rose

Next a pretty open rose

Swiss meringue buttercream open rose

Swiss meringue buttercream open rose

And finally spring-time cherry blossom.

Swiss meringue buttercream cherry blossom

Swiss meringue buttercream cherry blossom

A feast for the eyes and delicious too.

Double gauze swaddle blanket – a tutorial

Spring seems to be the season for new babies  – baby lambs, baby birds and lots of human babies too.  A lovely present for a new baby is a swaddle blanket.  One that has been handmade makes that gift extra special.

Swaddle blankets are easy to make and take very little time.  You could easily whip one up in an afternoon.  They make a beautiful and practical gift for a baby shower or new mum.  Not just for swaddling babies (although they are great for that), swaddling blankets also make fabulous nursing wraps and pram covers.

Double gauze with its light, airy feel is the perfect fabric to use for a swaddle blanket.  Sarah Jane has just released a new double gauze as part of her Sommer range for Michael Miller.  Made from 100% cotton, it is deliciously soft, light as a feather and comes in a range of beautiful fresh colours.   At 52 inches wide it is more than enough for a decent sized swaddle blanket.  And because it is cotton, it is breathable and ideal for warmer weather.

So how do you make one?  I searched the internet so you don’t have to and found this great tutorial by Molly from Purl Soho.   This is my slightly modified version.

For a 44 inch square swaddle blanket you will need:

  • 1.25 metres of Sommer double gauze (I used Mini Painted Gingham in Mist)
  • 100% cotton thread (I used Aurifil 50wt in off-white)
  • 70/10 needles (not essential however I found it helpful to use a finer needle)
Double gauze swaddling blanket materials

Double gauze swaddle blanket materials

The gauze I used is helpfully marked with a grid of one inch squares (you can see them in the photo above as a line of slightly looser weave which is where the gauze layers are joined together).  These grid lines are much easier to see when the wrong side of the fabric is uppermost.  Using these lines as a guide, cut the piece of double gauze to 46 inches long.  I found it easier to use scissors and a single layer of fabric.  Don’t be tempted to cut a double layer of fabric.  That double gauze can be slippery.  And don’t follow the printed lines of the gingham when cutting as these won’t be on the fabric grain.  Leave the selvedges as they are for now.

On each of the cut edges, fold over a 1/2 inch hem and then fold over another 1/2 inch to give a double hem.  Use your iron to press at each step when folding your hem (takes a little longer however the finish will be much better).  Pin the hem from the right side of the fabric and sew the hem with the right side of the fabric uppermost.  I used a 3/8 inch seam and a walking foot to make it easier to control the layers.  I also increased my stitch length to 3.  Sewing the hem from the front makes it much easier to maintain the correct seam allowance and it gives a nice neat edge on the hem.

Double gauze swaddling blanket hem

Double gauze swaddle blanket hem

Lay your blanket (hemmed top and bottom) on a table and, following one of the grid lines, cut off the selvedge on one  side.  Measure 46 inches from this cut edge across your blanket and cut your blanket to 46 inches wide, thus removing the other selvedge at the same time.  Fold and sew a 1/2 inch double hem along each side.  There is no need to mitre the corners.  Just fold them over as shown in the photo above.

Ta-dah!  Your swaddle blanket is now finished.  See, even Ted loves it.

Double gauze swaddling blanket

Double gauze swaddle blanket

I found the Sommer double gauze lovely to work with.  It didn’t fray and the sizing added to the fabric gave it enough body to make it easy to handle.  I hand washed my swaddle blanket in cool water to remove the sizing and gave it a quick spin in the washing machine to get rid of most of the water.  Shinkage was minimal – about 1% – and the fabric did become amazingly soft.

The mist colour way, a pretty light turquoise, is the perfect choice for a gender neutral gift or if the sex of the baby is unknown.  Other colours available include pink, blue and grey.  Fabric HQ, which is where I bought mine, has a good range of both the single and double gauze.

Happy sewing!

Polaroid blocks

Polaroid blocks are my latest obsession.  I love how you can use them to highlight the tiny details that might otherwise be overlooked in a busy print.  Take this pirate fabric as a case in point.  Did you notice the pirate shark, complete with eye patch and wicked teeth, in the main fabric?

Pirate shark patchwork block

Pirate shark Polaroid block

Polaroid blocks were all the rage a few years back and I think it is time they made a comeback.  I know that all the fussy cutting makes them greedy of fabric but I don’t care.  There are just so many adorable fabric designs that are crying out to be made as Polaroids.  Who could resist the cute little images from these Dashwood Studio prints?  (Oops!  Error alert – the pigeon fabric is part of the VeloCity collection from P&B Textiles.  This is what happens when you chop off selvages).

Polaroid quilt blocks in fabrics by Dashwood Studio and P&B Textiles designs

Polaroid blocks in fabrics by Dashwood Studio and P&B Textiles

And I adore these quirky illustrations from favourites by Heather Ross.

Polaroid blocks in Far Far Away and Tiger Lily fabrics

Polaroid blocks in Heather Ross fabrics

Aneela Hoey is another great designer whose images are perfect for Polaroid blocks.

Polaroid blocks in Little Apples fabric

Polaroid blocks in Aneela Hoey fabrics

Then there are these fab ones by new(er) kids on the block, Cotton and Steel.

Polaroid quilt blocks in Cotton and Steel designs

Polaroid blocks in Cotton and Steel fabrics

And if you really want to overdose on cuteness, you”ll love these sweet little images by Australian designer Natalie Lymer.

Polaroid blocks in fabric by Natalie Lymer

Polaroid blocks in Cinderberry Stitches

I love all these blocks however my absolute favourite from my latest batch of Polaroids is this little one.  A crow peeking in the branches from the Yoyogi Park collection by Heather Moore.

Yoyogi peeking Polaroid block

Yoyogi Park Polaroid block

Ok, I think that’s enough cuteness for one day.  I’m back to the cutting board as I have another 80 blocks to trim up.

If you’re inspired to make your own Polaroid blocks, then this tutorial by Capitola Quilter is a great one to use to get you started.