Tag Archives: patchwork

Patchwork Cushion

9 Aug

I have written a whole blog post about the chair I made this cushion (it was a slight tangent, but a lovely nostalgic one for me). However my original intention was to write about the cushion. I have made many things over the years and not documented them, I used to be able to remember the majority, however I find I stumble across old photos and think, oh I’d forgotten all about that skirt/bag/jumper I’d made. So I’m making a more concerted effort to document things, which Instagram has made easier to do, but I also like to use my blog as a notebook to myself as to the challenges/issues I encounter and had to resolve along the way. That said, although I do plan most of my project, at least to begin with, there is a considerable degree of  let’s just give it ago and see what happens.

I love a bit of Patchwork, and although it’s time consuming I do really like English paper piecing, which I hadn’t done for while after finishing the mammoth task of my Mum’s quilt. However I thought this would be a little project. I sketched a few ideas quite small to begin with and once I found an idea I was happy with I enlarged it and drew it out on some wall paper lining. I quite enjoy the Maths involved with patterns and pieces, I probably enjoyed this process as much as the actual making.

Paper piece template cushion - Nettynot Blog

Once I had my piece draw, in theory all the same shapes should be the same size, so it shouldn’t matter which pieces I sew together along as they are the right pieces, however learning from previous mistake I knew I really needed to be putting the pieces back together in exactly the way I cut them up, as it only takes a few of them to be a millimeter or so out to make it really awkward sewing them together later on (& I’m only human after all). So I numbered each piece and took a photo on my phone, for reference, before cutting up the template.

I often struggle to find enough time to get stuck into a project like this in one big chunk, so I decided I’d try to do the tacking and sewing of 1 set of shapes each evening for a week, so that it didn’t feel like it took too long to complete.

English Paper Piece - round Cushion cover - nettynot blog

It took me longer to decide what to do with back and get my act together to complete it. That didn’t go quite to plan, but I made it work in the end (sort of). I think the errors here were not measuring and cutting properly. I sewed strips of fabric together and made a cardboard template for the triangular shape, which really isn’t accurate enough when using a rotary cutter  (lesson learnt).

Cushion Back - Nettynot blog

The seams didn’t match up on the back terribly well, so I unpicks a couple of seams and tweaked it enough that it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb, but in the process it had the central two hexigans wonky, I would have prefer them to be symmetrical as intended however it’s not too bad and everyone (hopefully) will be looking at the front and not the back. That said I did get the invisible zip in evenly, though not so invisible with the fabric stretched slightly.

Cushion Back with zip - Nettynot blog

I do like the finished result, and it is the bold eye catching design I had in mind, influenced slightly by the leather 70’s pouffes seen in many retro and vintage shops. However if I was going make one again I would make the cover larger, whenever I make a square cushion cover I make it slightly smaller as it makes for a better plump finish, no one wants floppy cushion, I applied the same principal here, wrongly as I think it looks a little too tight and puckered at the edge. I think even just an extra half inch all round would have made a nicer fit.

I also might try to be clever next time and make a convex shaped cover to eliminate the puckering on the back…..hmmmm the cogs are whirring on that one already.

Thanks for reading.


Small Quilt

27 Feb

A secret patchwork project, that I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post, can now be revealed. The squares I’ve been cutting and sewing together have been turned into a small quilt for a friends new baby. I have given new Mum and baby their gift so I can share the project without ruining the surprise. It went down very well and it’s being used as a colourful play mat.
Cutting fabricI have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the quilting process but I love patch work, even simple squares are satisfying to cut out and sew together. I like the speed of machine sewing patchwork, but don’t get on terribly well with machine quilting and prefer the look of a hand stitched quilt, but just the thought of hand quilting large items is enough to put me off. So making a small a quilt for a baby suited me very well.

I like the preciseness of cutting the fabric and how, if it’s done well, it makes sewing the squares together so easy. I made my squares 6 1/2’’ (with a ¼’’ seam allowance) making it super easy to sew as I have a very handy patchwork foot for my machine with a ¼‘’ guide. I made the quilt 6 x 7 squares making the finished size approximately 36’’ x 42’’ (92cm x 107cm). Which is a size not quite so daunting to hand quilt.
Close up of patchwork - Nettynot BlogOnce I’d bought the fabric, which I’d been doing sporadically since my friend told us she was pregnant (and washed, dried and ironed it), I cut the squares one evening, arranged the order of them and sewed them together in an hour or so another evening. The following night I pinned all the layers together ready for quilting and then did the majority of the top stitching in one afternoon at sewing group while nattering away, drinking tea and eating too much cake. I finished the last bit of top stitching and turned over and stitched the edges in another afternoon.

Finished Quilt - Nettynot BlogNot Knowing what the sex of the baby would be and knowing Mum wouldn’t want a pale or wishy-washy coloured quilt, I started with the green fabric with little foxes, houses and hedgehogs on, which I thought was really cute, then picked other bright and bold colours to go with it.
Close up Quilt - Nettynot BlogQuilt corner - Nettynot BlogAll in all I was quite pleased with how quickly I managed to create the quilt, breaking it down into manageable chunks makes it so much more achievable. This project remained enjoyable the whole way through; some larger projects have a tendency to become chores when they take so much longer than anticipated. I wouldn’t hesitate to make another small quilt, I also discovered a wonderful notion on Pinterest of quilting as you go, which I feel would be a much better way to approach big project and something I may have to try one day.

Get it Done February – Part 3

16 Feb

The only thing I’m find tricky with this challenge is having enough time to “Get things Done”, though I am keeping up the momentum…

Get it Done – Day 9
Patchwork project – I’ve had an idea up my sleeve for a while, it will be a gift for someone so I can’t say too much at the moment, however what I can say is that all the fabric pieces got cut out!

Cutting fabricGet it Done – Day 10
I fixed a much loved bracelet, simple I know, however it has been waiting for me to re-string it for longer than I can remember. I bought the bracelet about 10 years ago for £1 at a car boot sale and it has been well worn, I was relieved when the elastic eventually went that I didn’t loose a single bead. Phew! It is wearable again 🙂

yellow bracelet
Get it Done – Day 11
Another little bit of DIY. I’ve had a sad shelf in my pantry/under the stairs cupboard, it gets a lot of use as it’s where the cat biscuits live and every time I push the lid back on the tin I can’t help putting quite a bit if pressure on the shelf at the same time. Gradually the top screws have been giving way and I thought it was about time I sorted it out! Now it’s sorted!
Shelf fixGet it Done – Day 12
Patchwork project continuation. I got on and I have sewn all my pieces together. Again I can’t share too much here, but I can assure you there will be a future blog post!

patchwork sewingGet it Done – Day 13
Seizing the moment! I have arranged and booked train tickets to see friends and family in London, making the most of a whole weeks holiday I have booked from work. I find London a bit frantic (& a little stressful to be honest), so it’s sometimes too easy for me to make excuses not to venture to these places on my own, but it’s going to happen!
LondonGet it Done – Day 14
I didn’t get a whole lot done today in the spirit of my February ‘get it done’ theme, but it was a full on day, working 9-6pm, out for dinner with friends and a trip to the cinema for some sing-a-long Grease action! Lots of silly giggling at all the dubious singing and fun added graphics it was an entertaining and feel good evening!
Grease sing a longGet it Done – Day 15
More patchwork – I got the top stitching of my secret patchwork sewing project done! I can’t wait to finish it, it has all been rather enjoyable and I can’t wait to share the finished article.

Patchwork Star Cushion

26 May

So this time last year I was starting to think about my entries into the Lunesdale agricultural show, you can see my post about the show here! I was pleased last year to have won 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for some of my pieces. I also promised last year a post about my first prize winning cushion – an English paper piece patchwork star cushion.

Fabric - nettynot blog

The inspiration for this cushion came from 1 single fat quarter I picked up, quite randomly, at Hopkinson Vintage, Antique and Art Centre in Nottingham. I was drawn to the patterned stripes and at £2 I could hardly leave without it. At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but an idea quickly formed.

I love patchwork that plays with fabric pattern as well as patchwork shapes. Using stripes are one of the most effective ways of adding that extra element.

Patchwork - Nettynot Blog
paper pieces patchwork - Nettynot Blog

So that’s the approach I went for, a simple, but effective, star shape created from 6 fabric diamond. I cut all the diamonds out of my fabric so that the more dominant stripe went straight through the centre, so that when they were sewn together each piece would have a stripe going from the centre out to each point of the star. I sewed the diamonds together by hand and positioned them on my plain square of fabric and top stitched around the edge of the star with my machine.

patchwork star - nettynot blog

I then cut some of the stripes out of the fabric and created a boarder around the square of fabric to frame the star (the corners were tricky as I wanted the stripes to form a neat point (some are definitely neater than others). The one below I was particularly chuffed with.  I then sewed more plain  fabric strips around the square to finished the front, I didn’t do anything fancy here, just added straight pieces on to each side, like a log cabin.
Patchwork Corner - Nettynot Blog

Up to this point I had completed the idea I had, I still however had to turn it into an actual cushion. I don’t usually put too much effort into the back of a cushion particularly since it rarely gets seen. My preferred method for all  the cushion I’ve made for myself have been to just have two piece of fabric that over lap on the back, creating a sort of pocket effect to put the cushion in (sometimes I add a popper if it gapes a little). However for the competition piece I decided to put a little more effort in and although I did do my usual over lapping fabric effect I added a decorative strip of fabric to the exposed edge and added 3 self covered buttons and made matching button loops.
Button band detail - Nettynot Blog

I really enjoyed making the cushion and thinking on my feel a little for this project and I was rather pleased with the result. I must admit I was a more than a little surprised, but also thrilled when I won on the day mainly because the other entries were very good, including an lovely layered Chenille cushion which must have taken ages and looked very effective. I can only imagine that it was my attention to detail in the finishing that sealed the win.

Finished Patchwork star cushion - Nettynot Blog

If you like paper piece patchwork but can’t bring yourself to do a whole quilt, a cushion cover or other small project like a tote bag could be the perfect creation for you – why not give it a go!

Now it’s time for me to get thinking about whether to enter another cushion into the show this year. I’m going to go and browse back through my Pinterest board of patchwork and quilt of pieces that I love and have inspired me, you can also check it out here, if you like.

Quilting an Heirloom

24 Mar

There has been a major project under wraps in my house recently, which for the past few months has absorbed my time and took over the living room. This endeavor is the beginning of the end of a family heirloom.

To put into context I have always been interested in sewing and making things. I have a vague memory of trying to make an outfit for a Barbie with a scrap of fabric and some elastic – it wasn’t terribly successful but it sparked something an interest in sewing and I’ve continued to dabble ever since. Some projects have been successful, others not so – but I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

I have also become a fabric magpie too – I have SO much fabric, it is a little ridiculous, some pieces I’ve bought on a whim because I loved a pattern, other bits were bargains from remnant sales, car boots and vintage fairs. A lot I have acquired over many years, from friends, my Gran and a few select bits from my Mum.

The stars starting to stack up.

The stars starting to stack up.

Amongst the bits I found in my Mum’s stash of fabric was be the beginnings of an English paper piece patchwork item. There were lots of diamond shapes, some already sewn into stars. I first discovered them about 15 years ago rummaging through my mum’s wonderful trunk of crafty items.

Along with the colourful stars were loads of navy ones - I made the assumption they were intended to fill the gaps between the stars and went for it.

Along with the colourful stars were loads of navy ones – I made the assumption they were intended to fill the gaps between the stars and went for it.

Having collected up all the diamonds and stars they sat amongst my collection of fabric with the vague idea of continuing with the stars and turning them into a quilt some day. They stayed in my collection until several years ago, when a few of my knitting friends and I decided to also have regular sewing meet ups. I thought this would give me the perfect opportunity to continue with it.

The coming together of all the diamonds.

The coming together of all the diamonds.

For the past few years I’ve been making slow and steady progress until I decided about a year ago that it’d be a lovely idea to finish the quilt and give it back to my mum as a gift on her 60th Birthday this year, which happened last weekend.

The finished patchwork top - painstakingly all hand sewn - but well worth it - this photo makes be very happy!

The finished patchwork top – painstakingly all hand sewn – but well worth it – this photo makes be very happy!

I have been dying to write a blog post or two about the quilt as I’ve been making it but I also wanted it to be a surprise and my Mum reads my blog (Ello Mum)! So now I can shout all about it! I did underestimate the amount of time that it would take it complete and even thought I have spent almost all my spare time working on it for two months I didn’t complete it in time. However I wrapped it up in its unfinished state and gave to her. It has almost become a trademark of mine to give my family unfinished gift and it did raise a laugh as I announced it wasn’t finished yet.

The home stretch - I just have to finish the actual quilting - which fortunately I am able to do on my sewing machine, then edging.

The home stretch – I just have to finish the actual quilting – which fortunately I am able to do on my sewing machine, then edging.

I think I will enjoy working on it more now, without a looming deadline. It will also give me a chance to improve my quilting skills (I’m not convinced what I’ve done so far it that great). I much prefer the patchwork part of a quilt but I appreciate the overall effect of a finished quilt so I know it will be worth all the effort.

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