Friday, 27 March 2015

This is it! The Tuffet is finished!

Last week was such a big post, we didn't even have time to look out of the window! Let's make up for that right now and see what is happening around us.






Bustin' out all over I think just about covers it! Everything is looking new again and it really lifts the mood. Well, all's well in the natural world so where are we up to now?
As promised, we are putting the finishing touches onto the tuffet this week. Let's have a look at the story so far...



It is lovely to see the evolution of the project! Last week, we achieved an appliqued, quilted and patched top



and this time, it will be made up into something that you will treasure all summer and way beyond. Shall we have a teensy peek to see what it looks like? Here we go...



That didn't give too much away! Well let's make it happen.

I gave you a short shopping list last week and it is time to get those things out. Start by cutting a circle from the second piece of fabric just the way you did last time. If it is a bit hazy, you can see how we did it here. when that is done, put it aside for now.

Have you ever made piping? It isn't that hard so let's make some to give out tuffet a really professional look. Take the piping cord and choose a fabric. Cut some 3 cm wide bias strips, just as you would for making bias binding. They will look like this.....



On no account cut them on the straight of the grain! If you do, they will pucker when you try to fit them to the curve. Join the strips (you will need just under 4m of piping- it is easier to cut it down than make it bigger) and then place the piping cord into the middle of the strip....



fold it over and pin it ( I don't always bother to be honest...). The purpose of the piping cord is to give depth and structure to the piping although you can make piping without it.  

Now sew along the piping cord as close to the cord as you can - use a zipper foot. Now we have this....






You have already prepared the cushion top by tacking around the edge to keep the wadding and the top together at the end of last week's post. Now treat them as one piece. Pin the piping cord to the cushion top like so...



sew it on (also as close to the cord as possible). You want this to be solid and not floppy so you shouldn't see any of the side fabric when it is sewn, only the cord. Repeat on the bottom circle (that you put aside earlier) with the other piece of cord.

The side of the cushion is a piece measuring 11.5cm x 196cm. Join it if you need to. Place the right sides together and sew the end seam to make a closed tube and....sneaky bit.....when you do this, leave a gap in the middle of the side seam for turning out and also stuffing later because it is easier to sew up a straight seam than a curved one!

Pin one side of this to the top of the cushion and sew it on, again staying as close as possible to the cord. 



Done? Let's have a little peek at what we have then. This is not the right shape but you can see what I mean when I say that ONLY the cord should be visible....



Then, when it is stuffed properly, the cord will sit nicely and not flop over.
Repeat this to put the other circle onto the side bit. It may feel a little odd to sew all around but you have your gap in the side for turning out. And by the way, we don't need a zipper with this although you could put one into the bottom if you like. The whole this is actually washable because it is stuffed with polyester filling.
So everything is inside out now. Turn out through the gap that you have left in the side and have a look at your deflated looking cream puff! Time to give it some structure. Stuff it well with polyester filling - save money by using a pillow ( I bought one from a very well known Swedish furniture store). Cheaper to pull one of these to pieces sometimes than buy the ludicrously small 'craft packs' of toy stuffing!

I have slightly underfilled mine so that it is not rigid and it can be plumped up a bit. This means that it looks a little more wrinkly than a pouffe for example. The choice is yours. Here is what we have now...


How cute is that! It took us a while to get here but, to be honest, you could make this in a much shorter time and they are very handy if the seating in the house runs out.
Cuddle up and get a good book!  See you next time and than you so much for stopping by!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Friday, 20 March 2015

Week Four of the EPP Medallion Patch-along


Nearly there folks! We will finish the paper piecing part of our medallion patch -along this week and the applique. I thought that you could cope with two things this week!

But before we get going, I have another ta-dah! moment! Two in a row - this time the cover of Pretty Patches magazine. This time it is the grey and brightly coloured quilt. It is called April Showers.


11, Sewing Circles

Okay , back to the business of the day...finally we can  make the medallion project into something practical. You will be pleased to know that I have decided what to do with it too. I thought that we could make a tuffet - you know, as in little Miss Muffet?  Stay with me and you will love it I promise.

There are no new pieces to learn, only using two that we already know quite well. This time, it is all about the hexie and the small diamond.

Here is what we have achieved up to this point...



The next bit is to add some more hexies to make a pink and white (in my case) border and then we will finish with six more diamonds.

Begin by covering your hexies. As I said, mine are pink and white but it will depend on your fabrics. The hexie border is quite a big feature so I would avoid green and go back to the star and look at that. Pink features and so does white so that is how I made my choice.

You will need 18 hexies like these...



You also need six diamond and these are exactly the same as last week....



We begin by adding the hexies. It doesn't matter which one you start with or where you put it. I have chosen a pink one and I am starting in the middle....



Next comes white (not easy to see and you have the paper showing through but don't worry about that).....



And so on until you have a ring of hexies alternating colours like this....



Now you will also start to be aware of the positions for the last diamonds.....



Sew those in too and that is it! Let's have a look at what we have now....



And that is the EPP bit finished! Obviously you can keep going and make it huge but we will stop there and get ready for the next bit....

I love the pretty fondant colours. Okay, very sweet but not much use to anyone in its present state. The next thing to do is to make it up. As I said, a tuffet is just the thing and that is going to begin right now! 
Carefully remove the papers from your medallion. Be very careful to preserve the shapes on the outside. It will look a bit sad and deflated for a bit but don't be disheartened. 

Choose yourself a piece of fabric which coordinates but does not clash with the medallion. I am going with a lovely blue and cream spotted upholstery weight fabric. Plain is good too because it will make the medallion jump out. Basically, the medallion is the big feature so 'audition' a few fabrics to make sure that you have the best supporting act for your star.

You will need to have 70cm x 70cm of thin wadding and enough of your fabric for TWO 61cm diameter circles. The reason that I am not giving an actual meterage is that you might want to mix and match the fabrics. You can have a different one on the top to the bottom. Maybe an oil cloth bottom so that it doesn't get damp outside.
Anyway, cut the chosen fabric into two 61cm diameter circles. Put one aside.
Do you know how to cut big circles? No? It is easy. Take a piece of fabric about 2-3cm larger than your circle so outs might be 63cm x 63cm. That gives a little bit of working room. Fold the fabric in quarters....



going from the centre, measure 30.5cm (half your end circle). Use a water soluble marker to mark this measurement all around the quarter like this....sorry that the dots are not easy to see, they will be more apparent in the next shot...



join the dots to make an arc....



Now cut it out and unfold it. Ta da! A large circle! Don't cut the wadding though. Place the fabric circle onto the untrimmed wadding. Find the centre of the circle and find the centre of your medallion. Pin your medallion to the centre and then pin it all around so that no movement is possible in any direction. This is what you will have now.....



We will begin the applique process by quilting (strangely enough!). The method behind this particular bit of madness is that if you quilt from the centre out, you smooth as you go and avoid puckering which is ugly. Fabric moves and you cannot easily stop it. Start quilting in the ditch (hand or machine) in the very centre like this....



You can see how the needle is in the dead centre of each seam? This will make the patches themselves rather than the quilting the main event. The quilting will be invisible. 

Sometimes I quilt by hand because I like it and I have more control. Not only that but it preserves the portable nature of the project. But machine is faster and if it is all invisible anyway.....

Keep going unto the whole medallion is secure and then make a neat overcast stitch around the outside to anchor it down. THAT is better done by hand I find. Now stabilise the edge with a running stitch and trim the wadding to match the circle and this is what you will have.....



I found a wonderful button just crying out to be used in the centre too.



Next time, we will finish the tuffet. Make sure that you have some 2-3mm piping cord (about 4m), some polyester stuffing and fabric for the sides (25 cm strip). Choose a fabric from one of the ones in your medallion to cover the piping cord too. I am going with the stripes from the star.
You already have the bottom circle put aside. The bottom fabric can be the same as the top or different, it is up to you. I have gone with the top, bottom and sides the the same and then striped (one of the medallion fabrics) for the piping.

Whew! That was a big one! Well thank you for bearing with me and I will see you all next week for the final stage.

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Friday, 13 March 2015

Week three - English Paper Piecing for Beginners Medallion Patch-Along

Nature is moving on apiece in Norfolk. Still on the cool side but we are starting to get LEAVES! 



A splash of green and a bit of blue makes all the difference  and that brings me nicely to this week's addition to our patch-along!

Well, anyway, back to our sewing. Well wow! Week three already! And this one is a smaller post in every sense of the word. This time we are going to tackle 3.5cm (1 1/2 ") diamonds. Now normally, bigger is better when it comes to diamonds but bear with me here, they need to fit into the gaps on our medallion!

So here is what we have so far...



Looking rather good I think. Remember what I said about choosing fabrics last week? If not, take a look here. So far, the little hexie in the centre is getting a bit lost so we will revisit that fabric and bring it back into the diamonds.

Before we do anything, here is your template piece for the week...



If you need a refresher for basic English Paper Piecing, you can find it here in the first post of this series. These diamonds are a little smaller than the other pieces that we have been using so they are more fiddly. But don't be put off. Learning smaller pattern components is not impossible, just another step on the journey. Go slower and be precise.

You will need 6 diamonds and remember, they will have tails at each end because of the sharper points there. This is not a sign that you have done it wrong. Just poke them out of the way when you sew the pieces in. Here is a covered diamond...



Here is one placed into the gap in the pattern. See how the tail goes behind?



When it is sewn in, you will not see the tail at all.



See how the repeated use of this fabric echoes the original hexie?



A diamond goes onto each point on the original star. Sew all of the diamonds into place and you will have this....




It is a bit crinkly as yet because of the paper but rest assured, it will all work out. By the way, you can remove the paper from the striped diamonds now if you like because they are completely surrounded and won't distort. 


News Flash News Flash News Flash News Flash 
Starting this month, I am introducing a block of the month! These blocks are in the Block of the Month drop down part just under the main title and there is a link back to the tutorial for each one under the photo so it is super easy for you to navigate. Look for this new feature right now! Don't forget to subscribe by email and never miss a post.

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Week two of the beginners English Paper Piecing Patch-along


Before  I get going this week, may I be allowed a bit of a ta-da moment? My pink and blue baby bag made the cover of Quilting For You magazine! Love it when that happens and it never gets old! 


Picture of Fabrications Quilting For You March 2015

In other news...Spring is starting to, well, spring in England now and everything is looking very pretty. Out of the bare earth, flowers are struggling to be seen and I can really see how ancient people dwelling here saw this as evidence of new birth and new growth. I mean, compare this



to this...



Or this



to this



Now I am famously no fan of the sun - probably jealous envious because I cannot go out in it but I can see the point of using it as a mood enhancer!

And like the spring sunshine starting to grow in strength, we are now up to week two of the mystery Patch-along. Here is the star centre of our medallion as it started out last week...



And this week....drum roll....we are going to add some hearts! The great news is that you will use the  diamond shape again which can be found in the original post here.

You will need to cut twelve of these diamonds and then cover them with the fabric as you learnt in week one. They will look like this...



One question is worth posing at this point - how do I choose the fabrics? This is actually quite a bit deal because a lot of work goes into these projects and the wrong fabric can sink the whole thing. 

But there is an easy answer. Can you see how my main  fabric (the stripe) has some green in it but not much? That is how I chose the green hearts next. Look at your main fabric and then go for the colour used the least for the next main bit. That's it!

Now, in week one we had the diamonds points outwards. This time we will sew them together so that the points are together. See how the tail tucks under?



Sew them down the long side to make the heart. How cool is that!



Remember the 'tails' from last time?  Just tuck them out of the way as you sew. The next thing now is to attach each heart into the space very kindly provided by the design....



And then repeat for all of the others so that we now have this effect



Pretty!  You know, the more I look at this design, the more it screams 'tuffet' at me so I am thinking that we might make a nice big patio cushion out of it when we are done. You know the sort? With piping and big enough to use as a floor cushion. Yum!

Next time, we have a new shape and it is a teeny, tiny one to test your skills!

'Till then, thank you so much for stopping by and keep on patchin'!


Love and hugs
Debbie xxx