Monday, 31 August 2015

And the winner is.....

Hello crafting friends! As promised, I am drawing the winner of the fat quarter giveaway today so this post with be short and very sweet for someone. For the lucky winner, here is your prize...

But before I do generate the number, I would love to take this chance to thank each and every one of you for your lovely and heartfelt comments on the backpack post. I am so pleased that you all loved it and your words made my day. I shall read over them each time I need a boost!

Okay, now and as they say, without further ado please welcome our true random number generator!

True Random Number Generator  15Powered by RANDOM.ORG

The winner is comment number 15 and on this occasion that lucky person is Subha S!  Can you drop me a message with your mailing address Subha and I will post your prize today.

Thank you to everyone else who entered; I just know that you will have a great time making this backpack. I wish that I had a prize to give to each one of you. 

Don't forget that you can buy these wonderful fabrics in all good stores and for a stockist near you check out this link.

Until next time

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Friday, 21 August 2015

Block of the month August 2015 - Easy-peasy cathedral window block

I have looked at cathedral window blocks again and again and I either don't like them because they are too fussy or the use fabrics that make them look old fashioned and fusty.

The second consideration is not valid - we can use whichever fabrics we choose and what one quilter loves will send another screaming from the room so feel free to ignore that bit. It is just that the fabrics have put me off the block somehow and I have consigned them to the not-for-me basket.

The 'proper' way of doing them still feels very fussy though. I am going to stand by that. A bit.

Well, I was looking around online the other day and I realised that there are a few easier ways to do them and quite a few faux methods around too.

So, as we quilters do, I have taken bits and pieces from all over the place and inspiration from a few and come up with something that is, to my mind at least, a little more user friendly. Here is my pared down submission...

It is going to get the job done with less fuss. And here is how I did it.

You will need four base squares of any size. I am using 12cm x 12cm because that is a nice working size and it is not too small and, well, fussy. Cut another 12cm x 12cm square from a third colour batik and put it aside for now.

Next, cut four contrast squares the same size as before. I am using batiks and a text print. I love text print and because this was supposed to be glass, the batik sort of jumped out.

Fold the contrast squares in half diagonally and then sit them on the first lot of squares with the open bits in the centre.

What we are going to do next is to fold the orange lot onto the turquoise one to the left of it with all of the layers trapped very neatly and the points aligned in the centre.

This is the unfolded example. When you come to sew, it will look like this...

The pin will help to keep all of the layers together because they do have to be quite accurate.

Open the seam and press it.

I know, I know, we don't open seams! Well actually we do when there is a lot of bulk involved. To press to the side is becoming a bit of an outdated notion left over from hand sewing and batting which wasn't ideal and just looking to creep out of any gap it could find. I love opening the seams because it makes the quilt top lay flatter and look better.

Open the two pieces out and you will have this...

It will be open on the bottom. Do the same to the remaining two pieces and then sew them together down the centre (it is actually a glorified four patch!).

Open the whole lot out, press the seams open and here is what we have now...

Now grab that extra batik square which you cut and put aside. place it over the middle of the squares...

The sides of the text print triangles is folded and also the bias edge. This means that it will curve nicely and sit flat when you fold it over the edge of the purple square. Fold the text print over and sew on the very edge, enclosing the purple square as you go.

And there it is in all its glory! As you can see, the glassy/watery look of the batik seems to say 'glass' and the text print gives a slightly more modern vibe. Grey would look good too for the 'leading'.

You need to do nothing more than to make this block as many times as you need and then simply sew them all together matching the points up as you go. That bit is actually important and it won't look great if they are off so take your time there.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial. Don't forget  that my August Fat Quarter Giveaway is still on. Either scroll down to the backpack post or click here for the link and leave a comment at the bottom in the comments section to be in the draw. The winner will be announced at the end of August. Good luck!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Friday, 14 August 2015

Pretty Little Backpack

Welcome again crafting friends! I have spent last Thursday at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham here in the UK and I have bought so much new fabric! You will see some wonderful new prints here on the blog in the coming weeks. I also caught up with some of my lovely editors and some friends - all of whom I do not see nearly enough. 

Speaking of the 'day job', any fox fans amongst you might be interested in the current issue of Quilting for You magazine. I have a cushion in there this time featuring free motion embroidery and a raggy edge applique fox. Easy to make and really effective - good for reducing the ol' stash too! You can find it here.

Picture of Fabrications Quilting For You September/October 2015

Well, this week I have a real treat for you. We are going to make a drawstring back pack and I have a fabric giveaway!! It is a fat quarter bundle of Makower 'Sophia' fabrics and they are the same ones that I am using this week for our backpack so you can make one of your very own.

How to win....

Simply leave a comment and I will draw the winner randomly. The winner will be drawn on 31st of August 2015 and you can enter right up until then. Here is what you will win. It is a gorgeous bundle of fabulous Makower fabrics containing 5 fat quarters. Bliss!

The prize draw is now closed but feel free to leave a comment anyway - I love to hear your thoughts!

And what are we making this time? This cute as a button drawstring backpack!

So, what will we need?
Makower Sophia fat quarters:
-1541/Q sophia flower
-1544/T sophia bird (teal)
-1544/P sophia bird (pink)
-1525/b2 linea tonal (teal)
-1543/S sophia leaf (grey)
-2x fat quarters grey spot on (830/S5) for the lining
-light grey Kam snap (#20)
-4m paracord or similar 

your usual sewing needs

There is no actual template for this pattern so nothing to print off but you can make one from brown paper using the measurements if you like. Otherwise, just follow along with me.

Firstly, cut two pieces of outer fabric 36cm x 41cm. Use a couple of different ones. Cut two more for the lining the same size.

Now choose another fabric and cut 4 pieces for your casing. They measure 9cm x 35cm. Here is what we have so far...

Now...the exciting bit (well, one of them), before we make the backpack itself, we are going to add a few other bits and pieces. Take the piece of fabric that you have decided for the front and we are going to add a pocket with a flap. 
Sort through the bits and pieces and find three pieces of fabric. One will be the pocket and measures 21cm x 18cm. The other two will be the flap and the flap lining. 

Take the pocket and fold the top over and iron. Sew along the top edge.
Now fold the other three sides under and press so that there are no raw edges. Position the pocket onto the front piece of fabric 8cm up from the bottom and in the dead centre

To find the centre, make a vertical crease in the front fabric and one in the pocket and then line the two creases up. Sew the pocket on...

Make the flap by cutting two pieces 20cm x 10cm. To get the round bit simply trace around something like a plate or similar and then cut out

Now with the right sides together, sew right around the flap leaving a gap for turning out. Turn out through the gap and close the gap. Iron the pocket and topstitch it

Add your snap in the middle of the flap

And the other half of the snap on the corresponding part of the pocket. Sew the flap to the top of the pocket - adding the snap first helps to align the pocket itself. Here is the finished pocket...

Next this to make are some fancy-schmancy tabs! These are a bit of fun and they are functional too. We need three; two for the bottom drawstring and one to go on the top middle. This one can be used for an embellishment or your keys. You can make the top middle one different from the others if you like.

Choose another fabric and cut a strip 27cm x 8cm. Fold in half lengthwise and iron

Fold the raw edges to the centre crease and iron. Now topstitch along both outer edges

Cut the strap into three equal pieces.

Okay, showtime! Attach two of the tabs on the bottom edge 4cm in from either side and in the very middle top (on that handy crease that you made earlier)....

The casing is made from the long bits. Place the pieces right sides together and sew the ends only leaving the long sections open

This prevents bulk and you won't see them because they too will be buried in the seam. Turn the casing pieces out the right way and press. Fold a casing in half lengthwise and pin it to the top of the front panel. Sew it on

Repeat for the back.

Now with the right sides together, pin a piece of lining to an outer panel and sew along the top edge only. Repeat for the other piece.

Unfold the two and pin lining to lining and outer to outer (right sides together). Match those seams and edges perfectly and leaving a turning gap in the bottom of the lining, sew all the way around. 
Turn the bag out through the gap and gently pull it into shape. Close the bottom gap neatly by hand or machine. Stuff the lining down into the outer shell.
Topstitch around the top edge to keep the lining down and here is what we have now.....

Cut the cord in half and thread one piece through the casing one way and knot it in the bottom tab

Thread the other piece the other way through the casings and knot it in the other side. Be very careful for fraying as some cords will try to disappear under your fingers. You can slightly melt the end over a flame and if using cotton cord, a good knot will do the trick.

How's that then! All done and you have a perfect little backpack. I love this because it has no wadding so it can fold up rather small and go into your handbag in case you need an extra tote when shopping or travelling. It is great for ballet things and, well just handy and pretty - the best combination.

Don't forget to leave a comment to enter the prize draw. It will be drawn on the 31st August 2015 and the winner will be announced here so keep watching - add your email address to follow me and you will get your notification by email.

One more thing before I go - if you love these fabrics and want to buy some (if you just cannot wait until the draw...) you can find retailers of the lovely Makower range here

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have fun with this. good luck in the draw!

By the way....did you know that I have a small Etsy Shop? It is quite new (September 2019) and it has a lot of bag samples from my books and magazine articles. These are the actual physical bags too, not just the patterns this time. Time to stock up for Christmas!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx