Black and White and Red All Over Quilt (part 8)

Next in the Craftsy Block of the Month I made some Foundation Piecing blocks. These were really fun and relaxing to do; all you need to do is attach strips on top of each other randomly. It was really nice to get into the rhythm of sew-press-trim sew-press-trim without having to worry about the precise order or placing of fabric.

First, the String Block. It started as four squares with diagonal lines marked for the initial pieces. After each strip was added, it was pressed flat and a new strip sewn to it and the foundation square. Instead of going for totally random strips I divided my squares into red and black to create a focal square. This block would be pretty straightforward to make into a full quilt, maybe alternating the colours to create lots of different coloured diamonds.

spider boxString Block

spider crossBroken Spider Web Block

The Broken Spider Web involved a little more prep (ie. measuring 3 points on each triangle), but involved the same design-as-you-go process. This time the foundation triangle was only sewn to the initial strips and then cut away at the end; the resulting block is less bulky, and all the fabric used is seen, which is great for thrifty quilting.

This is one of my favourite techniques so far; it looks more complex than it is, and was very relaxing to create. There are two more sets of blocks to show you, meanwhile I am watching Leah Day’s Craftsy course showing how to free motion quilt the quilt, while I try my hardest to rest my knitting-injured wrist.

Other posts in the series:
Part 1 – Slashed Blocks 
Part 2 – Half-Square Triangles
Part 3 – Nine-Patch Blocks
Part 4 – Star Blocks
Part 5 – Dresden Blocks
Part 6 – Hexagons
Part 7 – Log Cabins

Printed Picnic Skirt


Yesterday was my birthday which means a new outfit! The purple t-shirt is my go-to jersey block with self-drafted cap sleeves, which probably deserves a how-to post at some point; it had been cut out last half-term break in a mammoth cutting session, so took under an hour to whip skirt

More exciting is the skirt! I got the floral denim at the big blogger meet-up (along with Shivani) and thought I really should make use of it before the next shopping trip this weekend. I’ll be honest with you, I wanted an easy make and didn’t want to faff around with fitting in the hot weather so decided to try a circle skirt (after loving the swooshiness of the Tiramisu dresses). To make things even easier, I googled and found an amazing spreadsheet that does all the maths to calculate the radius needed to get a circle to fit.


I folded the fabric into quarters (again because this was the easiest option) and used string and a chalk pencil to draw two curved lines at the distances specified by the spreadsheet. Simple. Except once I cut it out I realised I had no seams for a zip! I cut a seam, added an invisible zip, and then folded a long strip to be a waistband. The top of the waistband was finished with a purple dome button, chosen by twitter sewcialists.

The drafting, cutting and sewing (including finishing seams with bias-binding) took under an hour. What took longer, much longer, was the hem. I let the skirt hang for a day and then sewed a million metres (approx) of binding to the hem, stretching it into a curve before sewing (sewing the long edge of the binding to the skirt); then I turned the bias-binding under and hemmed the skirt with no ripples or wobbles. The hem and waistband were both top-stitched in light aqua that matched the leaves in the print.

circle skirt

I love the swishiness of this skirt, but perhaps the denim was too heavy for a full circle skirt; it isn’t quite as sleek at the waist as I would have hoped, but maybe that is because I like my waist lower on skirts than on dresses. Still, it was great for twirling!
sparkleWhat a full-circle skirt is not so great for is picnicking and pedalo-ing on a windy day – there were a few Marilyn moments! oops!

Tomorrow I will have recipes for some of the yummy picnic treats we ate in the park…



Black and White and Red All Over Quilt (part 7)

You may remember I explained that I wasn’t following the exact order of the Craftsy course, as I wan’t to cut all the precise pieces out before doing the scrappy quilts. Well here are the first random/scrappy quilts.

The log cabin in a quilt design that even a novice-quilter like me had heard all about. The first version was a modern log cabin that had no set measurements, and I really enjoyed this impulsive way of working. I added some forward-thinking, by deciding to alternate the prints with plain black; I love the impact of this block (despite seeing some wobbles and wonky grainlines :-S oops). This is definitely a block I’d love to make more of for a whole quilt.

log cabinModern Log Cabin Block


Wonky 5-Sided Log Cabin Block

The second log cabin was even more fun! Pick any strip of fabric, sew, press and trim, with no need for careful 90° angles. I even used a scrap half-square-triangle for the initial centre square to add to the chaos. To make a whole quilt out of this design I think you’d have to really think carefully about fabric choices, as it is a bit too dizzying even for me!

Other posts in the series:
Part 1 – Slashed Blocks 
Part 2 – Half-Square Triangles
Part 3 – Nine-Patch Blocks
Part 4 – Star Blocks
Part 5 – Dresden Blocks
Part 6 – Hexagons

Black and White and Red All Over Quilt (part 6)

Next in the Craftsy Block of the Month series are these English Paper Piecing hexagons. This is such a traditional-looking technique that always looked so tricky, but the use of paper templates made it much more straightforward. And it was a project that could be done while travelling. I made the hexagons on a couple of relaxing train journeys, and only sat at my machine to join the finished shapes to the background fabric.

For those who haven’t tried this technique before, it involves basting fabric to paper hexagons, folding the seam-allowance over the crisp edges of the paper. These are then pressed and slip-stitched together with the paper still attached, to keep the corners crisp. Only once all the pieces are joined securely is it time to remove the paper. Pretty straightforward.

hexagonsHexi Stripe Block

hexHexi Hex Block

For the second block I didn’t follow Amy’s design (multi-sized hexagons making a sunshine and grass scene) as I didn’t like the directionality of the block. Being a totally random quilt I wanted something I could be more flexible with when arranging the final quilt. Instead I made lots of hexagons and combined them to make a big hexagon/flower. I like it but not as much as the first stripe design.

I enjoyed the calm of creating the hexagons, but the hand-sewing took a while so I probably wouldn’t choose to do a whole quilt in this design.

Over half-way in the blogging, but in real life I have 20 blocks ready to trim, sash and then quilt!

Other posts in the series:
Part 1 – Slashed Blocks 
Part 2 – Half-Square Triangles
Part 3 – Nine-Patch Blocks
Part 4 – Star Blocks
Part 5 – Dresden Blocks

Black and White and Red All Over Quilt (part 5)

I have just ONE block left out of the twenty needed for this quilt, so I need to get a move on with these posts.

The next blocks I am going to show you are Dresden blocks. I had read in the Craftsy comments that the printable template wasn’t quite right so I made my own; I folded a piece of paper around a centre point until I had 16 segments, then I added seam allowance onto one part to make my template. Easy. To make the classic Dresden you sew the top of each blade so it folds to form a nice-finished point, then sew them all together, and cover the centre with a circle. It is fairly straightforward but has a big impact.

Craftsy BOM 003bTraditional Dresden Plate Block

Craftsy BOM 005b

Modern Dresden Wheel Block

This modern block doesn’t have points and has a smaller centre-circle. I LOVE the combination of fabrics I used for this block! It really pops but might be a bit too bold for a whole quilt! I tried really hard to get the straight lines on the print straight with the template, but a few look a bit wonky in this picture (but it will disappear when it is quilted, right?!)

I didn’t hand sew either onto the backing fabric; the first one was attached using two rows of straight-stitch and the second was attached with zig-zag stitch.

Other posts in the series:
Part 1 – Slashed Blocks 
Part 2 – Half-Square Triangles
Part 3 – Nine-Patch Blocks
Part 4 – Star Blocks

Black and White and Red All Over Quilt (part 4)

Next in the Block of the Month course on Craftsy I made two star blocks. You might have noticed these are not in the order of the course; I did all the precise-measurement based blocks first and save the scrappy blocks for the end so I knew what scraps I would have left.

The Ohio star block was the simpler of the pair, once the quarter-square triangles were made. I love Amy’s methods of creating these triangles without fiddly cutting. Before starting this project I had imagined cutting out millions of precisely sized triangles, but this method involves sewing lines on squares and then cutting. I wish I had a fabric with a big motif to have a fussy-cut centre square, but this was the best I could find.

Craftsy BOM 002bOhio Star Block

Craftsy BOM 001bDouble Star Block

To quote Amy Gibson about the Double Star block “the cutting on this one is the most tedious part of the block.” There were lots of little squares and rectangles to cut out and mark to make the flying geese. I really like the overall look of this block, but can’t imagine making a whole quilt of these!


Other posts in the series:
Part 1 – Slashed Blocks 
Part 2 – Half-Square Triangles
Part 3 – Nine-Patch Blocks

Bargainous, Beautiful Buttons

A couple of weeks ago I needed to pop into John Lewis to exchange a zip I had bought in the wrong size. I was with my lovely friend M, but unfortunately she wouldn’t let me get distracted by all the pretty fabrics and sale yarns. I did however make a slight detour to the remnant bin by the cutting table and found a bag of random buttons for £3. How could I say no to that?!buttonsWhen home and opening the bag I discovered more delights than I expected:

  • 3 sets of 10+ buttons – teeny turquoise and brown buttons and chunky blue speckled buttons.
  • 6 big brown buttons
  • 7 medium greyish buttons
  • 3 big glitter shank buttons
  • 2 novelty buttons
  • lots of random odd buttons.

What a great addition to my button tin!

Have you found any surprise bargains lately?


My wishlist

A little bird may have told you that it is someone’s birthday at the end of the month, and by pure coincidence here is a selection of things I have had my eye on lately.


  1. Cake Hummingbird Pattern (skirt as seen in real life on SewLittleTime)
  2. Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat Pattern
  3. Colette Hawthorn Shirt-dress Pattern
  4. Cute Birdhouse Sewing Box
  5. Wooden Cantilever Sewing Box
  6. Birdie Embroidery Kit
  7. By Hand London Victoria Blazer Pattern (as sewn by everyone! I tried on SewDixieLou’s version and the style was great, not sure I’ll make mine tropical)
  8. Free & Easy Stitch Style (or similar free machine embroidery book)
  9. Storyland Cross Stitch
  10. Claire Schaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques

What exciting crafty goodies have you got your eye on at the moment?

Black and White and Red All Over Quilt (part 3)

I thought I was going to have a dress post, with photos taken at SewDixieLou’s little sewing get-together, but there was too much dancing for me to remember to get photos! Instead here is some patchwork that was done months ago…

Next in the Block of the Month course on Craftsy I made two nine-patch blocks. As the name suggests, these are made by making 9 little squares and joining them together.

The octagon block was so simple – 4 half-square triangles and 5 plain squares – so not much to say about it.

Craftsy BOM 006bOctagon Block

Craftsy BOM 007bGreek Cross Block

The Greek cross needed a bit more thought when cutting; instead of plain squares there are four blocks divided into rectangles that took a bit of extra measuring, but not enough to make it complicated. I really like the tiny gingham/checks in this block.

Both blocks could look great as a whole quilt, either with a design/feature in the centre of each block, or with different coloured corner triangles to create diamonds on the whole quilt. SO many possibilities from something so simple.

Other posts in the series:
Part 1 – Slashed Blocks 
Part 2 – Half-Square Triangles