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Tilda Bumblebee - Quilted Table Runner - Tutorial

Here at P&PD HQ we're very excited about this our latest free tutorial and the fact it has been created by our newest Blog Team member, Michelle, the creator behind Creative Blonde. We'll introduce you to her properly very soon, but for now, we can't resist sharing her wonderful work. We hope you love it as much as we do and please feel free to let us know what you think x

What you will need:

* Tilda bumblebee Fat quarter bundle  (this will be enough for the table runner and  6 placemats - placemats tutorial coming soon!)

* 1.5 metre of Kona cotton solids – snow white (this allows for 1 x table runner and 6 placemats)

* Wadding measuring 38in x11in (trim off excess later to measure 37in x 10in)

* 1in paper hexies x 42

* Graph Paper to create your own petal template

* Sewing machine, cutting mat, rotary cutter, pins, needles, quality threads, glue pen, scissors, erasable marker pen

* Light fusible interfacing, approximately 10in x 10in

* 505 basting spray

1 - Cut out 10 hexies from each of the green, pink and cream fabrics using your EPP 1in hexagon template and cut 12 of the blue. Leaving a quarter inch seam allowance all the way round.

2 - Using your glue pen, fold the fabric making sure you get crisp corners and edges all the way round.

3 - From the kona snow fabric, cut a piece 44in x 8in for the table runner's main piece.

4 - Preparing your flowers

Create your petal, use graph paper to get it symmetrical (mine are about 1.5in in length and 1in diameter. Fuse your interfacing to the reverse of the fabric and then cut petals to correct size and shape. You need 5 petals from each fabric design (as per below). I loved the bumblebees so much, I fussy cut these for some of my petals.

Here are all of my petals cut and ready to be attached to the Kona Snow main piece.

5 - Using your glue pen, fix your petals in place on the kona snow main table runner piece - see main image at the top to see where I chose to attach them onto the runner.

6 - Using a white thread, blanket stitch round each petal (below images show front and the reverse) to hold in place on the table runner.

7 - Next join up your hexies.

To achieve this without stitches showing on the front, put your individual hexies right sides together and use a ladder stitch. Pull your stitches tight as you go, and create a chain of 21 hexies for each long edge of your table runner.

8 - Top stitch your hexies and then remove the papers.

9 - Preparing the back of the table runner

Cut 5 pieces of backing fabric as per below, measuring 8.5in x 11in.

Sew your fabric in the order shown above, using a quarter inch seam allowance, right side together, then press seams.

10 - Next, using your erasible marker pen, draw your spiral pattern on the top of the white fabric.

11 - Baste your top and bottom fabric to the wadding to create a quilt sandwich, I use 505 spray.

12 - Free motion quilting

Drop your feed dog and attach the quilting foot to your machine, you can choose any shade of thread , I am using a bright turquoise for the purposes of illustrating the stitching, but later replaced with a white.

13 - Create the edges

Create mitred corners, by trimming the excess wadding and folding your backing fabric over twice, to seal your raw edges, and pin in place.

14 - Attach the Hexies; pin or baste your hexies in place.

15 - Then sew your two short binding egdes with a small whip stitch, and secure the corners with small stitches.

16 - Finally, sew each point of your hexies in place, using a small stitch sewn from underneath the edge of the fabric, so no stitches can be seen.

Bring out the tea and warm scones, for the perfect afternoon tea...enjoy!

Watch this space for the matching placemats tutorial coming soon…

Pin Sharpening - Pin Cushion - Step by Step Guide

We'd been thinking about dull pins a while back and had heard that wire wool could be a good solution. So off the back of that we decided to create our own pin sharpening pin cushion.

Fancy giving it a go too?

Here's how we went about it....

Tools / Materials you'll need:

Cup & Saucer (we got this one from a charity shop).

Small piece of fabric - amount will depend on the size of your cup.

Scissors, Needle & thread, glue gun and super glue, a little bit of toy stuffing and some wire wool.

Step 1

Draw a circle approximately twice the size of the cup you are using (see picture above).

Step 2

Super glue your cup to the saucer

Step 3

Sew a running stitch the whole way around the edge of the fabric circle.

Step 4

Keeping the needle and thread attached, draw up the edges of the circle a little.

Step 5

Add a little bit of stuffing to the piece of fabric.

Step 6

Add the wire wool.

Step 7

Draw in the edges of the circle and sew together - fix the end and cut off the needle and remaining thread.

Step 8

Add lots of glue to the bottom of the cushion you have created and then stick to the cup and saucer.

Step 9 (Optional)

Add some embroidery scissors using some ribbon, to the handle of the cup. Now you have a pin cushion, little tray for holding other notions and some scissors all in one place - perfect!

Quick Wipe Clean Child's Apron - Laminated Cotton Tutorial

Quick wipe clean child’s apron designed and made by Louise Ambrosi, Sew Sofia

This is a quick and easy starter project for laminated cotton fabric. You don't need a special foot for this tutorial as most of the sewing is on the binding, not the laminate itself.

Tips for sewing with laminated cotton

1 - Keep pins to a minimum and in the seams as they will leave holes. You can use Wonder clips or small bulldog clips instead - or even a little sellotape - to hold seams down.

2 - Do not iron laminated cotton on the laminate side as it will melt. You can however iron lightly on the back of laminated cotton to remove any creases.

3 - Size 14 (or denim) needle is recommended.

Finished size: 16inch w x 20inch h

Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated is a quarter inch.

Materials:

1 FQ laminated cotton (we used Cloud 9 umbrellas)

1 FQ coordinating Kona cotton

2m bias binding

Basic sewing kit

Cutting instructions:

Apron ties -  cut 4 strips of 4 inch x 21 inch cotton fabric

Apron - cut one piece 16 inch w x 20 inch h

Pocket piece (optional) cut after the apron piece – 6 inch x 5 inch

Preparing the pieces:

Apron ties - Fold a 4 inch x 21 inch strip in half lengthwise and press to make a centre crease.

Open out, then fold and press each short end by 0.5 inch. Fold each long raw edge in towards the centre crease and press.

Fold again in half and press to make a 1 inch x 20 inch strip with no raw edges showing.

Topstitch around all four sides of the apron tie. Repeat with the other three apron tie strips and set aside.


Apron body – Fold your apron piece in half RST. Using a pencil or disappearing marker, mark 4.5 inch in from the fold at the top. Make another mark 6.5 inch down from the top unfolded edge (as per below image). Draw a line to join these two marks (it should be a line of 7.5 inch).

Cut along this line.

Open up the main apron body piece, which should now look like the below image.

Sew on bias binding – starting from the bottom right corner of the apron piece, open out the readymade bias binding and pin the raw binding edge to the RS of the apron piece as pictured. Leave a 0.25 inch tail of bias binding to fold in later (see below image).

Sew along the first crease of the binding at 0.25 inch, stopping 0.25 inch before the end.

Cut the thread only (not the binding!). Pin the binding to the long side of the apron and continue, stopping at each corner as before until you reach where you started, leaving another 0.25 inch tail to overlap at the end.

Fold the binding over to the wrong side (WS) of the apron and pin in place.


Sew at 0.15 inch to secure the binding in place taking care when you reach the corners.

Tuck the tails in at the end (that you can see in the above image) to cover raw edges and stitch in place.

Next you attach the ties.

Sew and backstitch two ties approximately 1inch in at the top of the apron.

Sew and backstitch the other two ties on either side at the corner points.

Optional Pocket: with the remaining laminated cotton cut a small pocket piece measuring about 6 inch x 5 inch.

Sew a strip of bias binding to the top of the pocket piece as you did with the apron body.

Tuck and finger press the three other raw edges in by 0.5 inch and secure with a few pins.

Set your machine to a longer stitch length and sew the three edges of the pocket.

Pin your pocket piece wherever you like to the apron body.

Stitch over the existing stitching and be sure to backstitch at the tops of the pocket.

Ta Da! You've finished your apron......stand back and admire!

Lace Zips & What to do with them.....

When people see our lace zips, they always love them..... it's hard not to right? They're so pretty!

However we're so often asked, how or what can they be used for?

So with this in mind we thought we put together a quick post with some of our favourite ideas, to help inspire you....

1 - Tea and a Sewing Machine - Purse with Lace Zipper

2. Beautiful Clutch Bag from Wonderful DIY

 

3. Lace Zipper on a top by Sewing Rabbit

4. Lace Zipper Pouch by Fort Worth Fabric Studio

5 - and not to miss our own recent tutorial and free pattern 🙂 - Sew Cherry 2 Lace Zipper Make Up Bag

Hope this helps get your inspired!

Happy 'Lace Zipper' sewing x

 

Sew Cherry 2 - Easy Make Up Bag Tutorial with Lace Zip

In my opinion, you can never have enough of these little purses. I've called this a make-up purse, but really this type of thing can be used to hold anything; it's incredibly useful and also makes the perfect gift.

This is an ideal project for a beginner sewer, but is also a great little project for more experienced sewers, looking for a quick hit project! Hope you enjoy, feel free to add any comments, feedback below!

What you need:

1 x Pattern - download here

1 x FQ - Outer Fabric

1 x FQ - Lining Fabric

1 x FQ - Fusible Interfacing

1 x 20cm (8 inch) Lace Zip

Rotary Cutter / board or scissors

Matching Cotton & Cotton

General Sewing tools (Sewing Machine, Pins, Pencil)

Instructions:

1 - Using the pattern template, cut out 2 pieces from your outer fabric, 2 pieces from your lining fabric and 2 pieces from the interfacing.

2 - Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the outer fabric - repeat for the 2nd piece.

3 - Place the lining and outer fabrics right sides together.

4 - Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew together the outer and lining pieces along the top edge (see images above and below to see the top edge). Repeat this for the 2nd pieces.

5 - Now press the seams together.....

.......and then press open the seams for both pieces.

(sorry I forgot to take a picture of the next step.....) You then need to fold along the seam, so that wrong sides are together. Do this for both pieces.

6 - Next pin the zip to the top edge of one of the pieces.

7 - Using a zipper foot, sew the zip to the top of the first piece of fabric (I decided to use some matching red cotton for this part of the make).

8 - Then take the 2nd piece of fabric and pin the top to the opposite side of the zip. Take this to your machine and again sew onto the 2nd piece of fabric. Remember if your needle is kept in the fabric and you lift your footer, you can move the zip pull along and out of the way of the machine needle for ease.

9 - Next bring the outer fabric pieces together (right sides together) and the lining fabric pieces together (right sides together). Then making sure that the bottom edges are perfectly aligned,  we'll then sew the outer fabrics together and the lining fabrics together. So, start by lining up the outer fabrics and using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew along the bottom edge as per below image.

10 - Next you will sew together the bottom of the lining pieces together. This time, you will need to remember to leave a gap of approximately 2 inches - this will be used to turn the project right side out, once we've sewn sides and corners.

So for now, line up the edges of the 2 lining pieces and sew (leaving that gap - my gap went a bit off centre, but it doesn't really matter).

11 - Next we'll sew the sides together. Before doing so, clip the two zip tabs flat.

12 - Next you sew along both sides using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

13 - So now both sides are sewn together we just need to finish off the 4 corners before turning the bag right side out. Bring the seams together on your first corner and clip in placing, making sure all the edges line up.

Sew this edge together following the line of the edge of the fabric. Repeat for the remaining 3 corners (2 in total for outer fabric and 2 for the lining).

14 - Now you can pull the outer fabric through the turning hole in the lining.

15 - Once you've pull the outer through, you can push in the lining and pull out all of the corners to get the correct shape. Then all that's left to do, is pin together the open seam in the lining and sew!

The finished article - perfect!


All hail the embroidery hoop. A whole lotta hoopla!

Image Credit

Have you ever considered using the humble embroidery hoop for anything other than humble embroidery?! We're in love with the idea of taking a hoop and covering it with fabric to create a fabulous memo board, and it doesn't stop there. These look fabulous as a collection with different coverings, and we found a couple of other uses for them to share with you too, if you're so inclined. But firstly...

To make your own memo board:

Step 1 - Using cork which can be bought on the roll, lay your hoop on top of the cork and cut around your hoop with approximately a 1 inch allowance the whole way round.

Step 2 - You'll need to cut approximately 8 notches around the edge of the cork to ensure it can be secured without any unsightly bumps.

Step 3 -Then place your desired fabric over the cork and cut to match.

Step 4 -Now place your outer hoop around the inside hoop including fabric and cork and secure the closure. Get pinning!

Here's a collection of other uses we found along the way which we think are equally fabulous. The full collection of embroidery hoops available from Poppies and Polka Dots here.

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Other embroidery hoop uses:

The Dream Catcher - This beautiful hoop is limitless in the adornments that can be added to it and is suitable for big and little people alike. We love the playful pom poms and invoking colour combinations. Image credit.

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The Reinvented Jewellery Box - A great way to store items and actually be able to see them! Image credit.

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The Card Organiser - This is so simple and so incredibly beautiful all at once. We love the idea of this for seasonal displays such as Christmas and birthday's to keep it special but it would work equally well for postcards of inspiration or reminders. Image credit.

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The Calendar - Quite frankly if this isn't the most adorable thing we've ever seen then I don't know what is and you get to show off your embroidery skills to! Image credit.

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The Clock - This is the most charming clock we've ever seen! No craft room is complete without! Image credit.

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Yours, with a now enormous to do craft list! x

 

Lampshade upgrade!

Lampshades

Be your own lampshade designer with our three size drum making kits.
Sometimes it's the smaller changes to a room that can make a big difference.
No need for a complete design overhaul, simply updating table lamp or pendant lampshades can be a really effective transformation for your space and a great excuse for fabric shopping! Statement fabric, co-ordinating fabric or contrasting fabric with other soft furnishings in the room can add a real injection of personality.

lampshade blog 1

Perhaps you've heard about homemade lampshade kits and felt intimidated by the very accurate looking seamless results. Fear not! We are here to answer any questions you may have and to give you an overview of just how easy the process is. And just for fun, we've pulled together some really bold prints that we think would work brilliantly as lampshade coverings. You'll be ready to get started on your very own professional looking lampshades in no time.
There are three different lampshade kits available:
Size small measures 20cm diameter x 18cm high (required fabric needs to be 65cm wide x 22cm drop).
Size medium measures 30cm diameter x 18cm high (required fabric needs to be 97cm wide x 26cm drop).
Size large measures 40cm diameter x 25cm high (required fabric needs to be 129cm wide x 29cm drop).

lampshade blog 2

Step 1 - Ensure your fabric is prepped and ready to go. Any lint should be removed, ironed so it's nice and crisp and easier to work with and this will also ensure a great finish once complete.

Step 2 - Position the adhesive, flat rolled drum over the wrong side of your covering. Don't remove the release paper yet. Ensure this lines up with the pattern repeat as desired and that it is in line with the grain and not slanting off at an angle. Mark the corners with vanishing fabric pen or similar so that you can easily line this up again once you begin revealing the release paper.

Step 3 - Once happy with your positioning, peel back the release paper and stick down the first 10cm, working on a clean, flat surface. You can then tease out the remainder of the roll, slowly unravelling and easing out the roll 10cm at a time to ensure no air bubbles and that your fabric stays flat and smooth. It sounds scary but it's actually very relaxing!

Step 4 -The full length of drum will now be attached and the release paper fully removed. You will need to trim the surplus fabric from your drum with a sharp knife along the panel edges and remove the strip of drum with perforated edges to the upper and lower edges of the drum.

Step 5 - Cover the two lampshade rings with the supplied adhesive tape and roll up along the two edges of your lampshade.

Step 6 - Tuck your edges in using the tool supplied.

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You will now have a beautifully made lampshade to adorn your home!

If you're not far from us here in Amersham, we are also running Lampshade Making Courses with our sister company Lampshade Parade, which are proving very popular. Spend a lovely afternoon, learning to make a 30cm drum lampshade, we'll teach you some of our top tips and extra little details to give your lampshade a truly professional finish. Enjoy tea & cakes whilst you do it and take home a gorgeous lampshade - handmade by you - at the end!

For more details click this link

As always we love to see your finished makes <3

Here are are a few of the latest ones we made to get you started 🙂

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Now for some fabrics that we think work brilliantly as lampshade coverings, we're feeling the Dashwood Studio love on this one!:

Print
Dashwood Studio - Fablewood - Tall Trees
CAND1156
Dashwood Studio - Cuckoo's Calling - Floral Medallions Mustard
Dashwood Studios - Novelties Cats
Dashwood Studio - Cuckoo's Calling - Clocks Navy
Dashwood Studio - Fablewood - Main
 Dashwood Studio - Cuckoo's Calling - Floral Orange
 Petite Street - Floral
 Yours, feeling like an interior designer x

A gift from us to you - Free Stocking Tutorial with pattern template

stocking-tutorialThe countdown has well and truly begun and we're getting ever so excited by the overwhelming choice of Christmas fabrics available. A really good way to not have to choose between them is to combine contrasting or complimentary patterns and a stocking is a great way to get started. Suitable for all abilities and can be embellished as much or as little as you like. Stockings also make an incredibly thoughtful gift too! If that's not inspired you to become a one person stocking-making factory this Christmas then read on because they really are satisfyingly clever to pull together...

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Without further ado I present you with your Classic Christmas Stocking with Cuff tutorial, courtesy of Louise Ambrosi of Sew Sofia fame.

First things first...

Stocking Pattern Template:

christmas-stocking-tutorial-2

Stocking Materials:

20 x 23 inch main fabric (this is just over one fat quarter. To make two stockings we used 0.5m of both the Christmas Puddings and Snowflakes and Stars from Festive Friends collection by Dashwood Studio)

20 x 23 inch lining fabric (we used Sunny Kona cotton cotton)

10 x 14.5 inch piece of contrasting fabric for stocking cuff

10 x 3 inch piece of contrasting fabric for hanging loop

16 inches of pompom trim, ribbon or ricrac (optional)

Basic sewing kit

Tailors chalk

Ruler

Iron

Fabric glue (optional for the trim)

Points to note before you start:

Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated: Quarter inch

Finished stocking measures 18 x 7 inches (45cm x 17cm)

RST is right sides together

WST is wrong sides together

SA is seam allowance

Backstitch at the start and finish of any sewing to secure stitching.

Stocking Instructions:

Print out the PDF stocking pattern pieces at “actual size” use the 1 cm square to check you have printed the correct size. Tape the stocking pieces together by overlapping the pieces as per the diagram on the pattern.

tape-pattern-pieces

Lay stocking pattern onto your main fabric, trace and cut then FLIP over the pattern piece to cut out the other side of your stocking. Repeat with the lining fabric so that you have four stocking pieces.

flip-pattern-piece-over-to-mirror-stocking

Hanging loop

Fold the 10 x 3 inch rectangle in half lengthwise and press to make a centre crease. Now fold the two long edges to the centre and press. Fold again to have a 10 x three quarter inch piece with no raw edges showing. Pin and stitch to close the open edge, then stitch along the other long edge. Set aside.

hanging-loop

Sew the Stocking

Pin the main stocking pieces right sides together (RST). Stitch down one long side, slowly follow the curve of the foot and toe, then up the other long side with a quarter inch seam allowance (SA). The top short edge is left open. Cut tiny slits on the curved part of the stocking, turn the stocking right side out and press well.

clip-curves

 

Repeat with the two lining pieces, leaving a 6 inch gap on one long edge. When you get to the foot and toe of the stocking, increase the seam allowance to ½ inch. This will prevent a baggy lining inside the stocking later! Trim seam allowance to one eight of an inch and leave the lining stocking wrong side out.

leave-gap-in-lining

Sew the Stocking Cuff

Fold the 10 x 14.5 inch piece in half RST matching the shorter edges. Pin the short edges together and stitch, then press open the seam allowance. Turn this tube right side out and press again. Tuck half of the tube inside itself and press again.

press-open-seam-on-cuff

If you are planning to decorate your cuff, this is a good time to do this. I added a cute red pom pom trim to the FOLDED edge of the stocking (the raw edge of the cuff will be disappearing soon!). The pom pom trim is quite elastic and fiddly to pin, so I stuck it in place with a thin strip of fabric glue before sewing it on with a zipper foot, this can also be sewn on by hand but be sure to tuck in the edges that join around the cuff.

decorate-cuff-add-loop

Fold the hanging loop in half to make the short edges meet and pin to the top raw edge of the cuff piece about half an inch in from the side seam and with a quarter SA. Backstitch a few times to secure.

 Add the cuff to the main stocking

Take your finished cuff piece and slip over the top of the main stocking so that the side seams match and pin in place. The hanging loop needs to be pinned down flat on the cuff and on the ‘heel’ side i.e. the opposite side to the toe! Sew all around the top edge with a quarter inch SA.

stitch-cuff-to-stocking

Final assembly

Now slip the whole stocking still right side out inside the lining which is wrong side out. Match the side seams, pin in place making sure that the hanging loop is still down between the layers and that the main stocking toe is pushed into the lining toe! Stitch all around at a half inch SA.

slip-stocking-into-lining

Pull the main stocking through the gap in the lining. Fold and press the seam of the lining gap and stitch closed.

pull-stocking-through-gap-in-lining

Tuck the lining into the main stocking, press well and edge stitch the top of the cuff to finish it off. Now all you need to do is get, or make, some stocking fillers!

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Variations:

Personalise your stocking by adding a name or initial with embroidery or applique to the front stocking piece or cuff piece before assembly.

Make a patchwork effect by cutting different fabrics for the toe piece and shaft piece adding half inch to the seam allowance to sew them together.

Add a cute pocket in contrasting fabric to the front of the stocking.

We hope that's got you focused if you were wondering where to start. Happy Christmas Crafting everyone!

Yours, by the fire x

 

Dashwood Studio - Quilted Advent Calendar - Your step-by-step guide

advent-calendar

Festive Friends Quilted Advent Calendar

Tutorial by Louise Ambrosi, Sew Sofia

Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated: 0.25inch

Materials:

1 Dashwood Festive Friends Advent Panel

1 FQ coordinating fabric for the backing

1 FQ wadding

3.5inch x 13inch piece of fabric for dowelling pocket

2 decorative buttons

2m bias binding

11inch piece of narrow wooden dowelling

2 small metal or plastic rings (I use Prym 16mm café rod rings)

0.75m ribbon

Basic sewing kit

Ruler

Iron

Poppies & Polka Dots have a ready made kit with virtually everything you'd need to make this Advent Panel check it out here

Points before you start.

Consider using a contrasting thread like mint green.

A Rotary cutter and long ruler can help with precision cutting.

A walking foot is recommended for any decorative quilting at the end but not essential.

Backstitch at the start and finish of any sewing to secure stitching.

Seam allowance is 0.25inch throughout.

 

Cutting instructions:

First iron the advent panel to remove any creases. This will help with more precise cutting of all those pockets!

Cut along the central dotted lines of the panel piece to separate the backing panel from the pocket strips.

 

Cut around the back panel piece leaving a 0.25inch seam allowance all around in the pale mint green.

 

Preparing the pockets

Cut the 5 pocket strips horizontally leaving a line of mint green and a line of white above the pocket strip (we’ll call them the seam allowance) and leave just the white seam allowance below each pocket.

pocket-strips

Fold over the top green edge of the pocket strip and press.

Fold over the short edges of each long strip, press, then fold over the white edge and press again.

fold-under-pocket-strips

Pin and stitch close to the edge along the top of each strip.

topstitch-pocket-strips

I sew on the right side to make sure I’m not sewing over any pictures.

topstitched-pocket-strips

On the advent panel instructions they suggest making pleats using the dotted lines as a guide. I find it simpler to cut along the dotted lines … it also means you can place the pockets wherever you like and not necessarily in numerical order.

pocket-pieces

Press under the sides of each pocket, then pin on to the backing panel.

cut-and-press-pocketspin-pockets-to-panel

Sewing on the pockets

I find it easier to manoeuvre the panel by sewing from the bottom right corner. Starting at the top right corner of each pocket, sew down one side till you reach the bottom, raise the foot with needle still in the fabric, pivot, lower the foot and continue sewing the bottom and other side of each pocket. Remember to backstitch at the top of each pocket to ensure it is secure.

sew-pockets-onto-panel

Prepare the Backing

 Dowelling pocket

Fold the 13inch x 3.5inch rectangle in half lengthwise and press to make a centre crease. Open out, then fold each short edge in by 0.25inch, press and stitch. Fold in half lengthways, then fold in each long raw edge to the centre. You will have a 12inch x 0.75inch piece with no raw edges showing. Pin and stitch to close the open edge.

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Position the dowelling pocket 2.5inchs down and centred on the right side of the backing fabric. Stitch in place along the same stitching.

pin-dowelling-pocket-to-backing

Layer your quilt sandwich

Lay the backing fabric wrong side up, place the wadding on top, then place the advent pocket panel right side up on top to make a sandwich. Pin or use wonderclips to secure the three layers together. Baste stitch using a longer length stitch all around to secure.

layer-quilt-sandwich-and-baste

Quilting the advent calendar

If you have a walking foot, now is the time to use it! With contrasting thread stitch along the solid lines that frame the advent. Get creative by using a decorative stitch below each line of pockets. Make sure you don’t sew over the ends of the dowelling pocket when quilting…!

sew-along-lines

Binding

Open out the bias binding and with right sides together pin along the raw edge of the calendar. Sew along the first fold line leaving a 0.25inch space at the corner edge to help ease the binding around to the next side. Continue until you reach the last corner. Cut the binding about 0.5inch off from the edge so that you can fold it under and hide the raw edge on your last stitch.

open-out-bias-binding-pin-and-stitch

Now fold the binding over to the backing side of the calendar, pin in place and stitch in place, taking care to ease the binding around the corners before sewing. Take your time, this can be quite fiddly but worth the end result!

fold-over-binding-and-stitch

Finishing off

Cut an 11inch piece of dowelling and insert into dowelling pocket. I slip stitch each end of the pocket just to make sure the dowelling doesn’t come out.

Hand stitch two small rings 1inch in on either end of the dowelling pocket

sew-on-rings

Hand stitch two decorative buttons to the front of the calendar at the top corners.

sew-on-buttons

back-of-advent

Thread through a length of ribbon, tie into a pretty bow and your calendar is done! Now all you need to do is fill it!

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'Colour Me' - Basic Tote Bag - Tutorial

So it's the summer holidays and given the 'changeability' of the British weather, we've had plenty of opportunities to try out some different crafts and activities here at P&PD HQ.

Not long ago, we took delivery of the fabulously fun 'Colour Me' range from Michael Miller designed by Hayley Crouse, if you haven't already seen our previous post on this, then check it out here.

One rainy day last week, I decided it was time to test out this fabric with my children and one of their friends. So I cut out a half a metre of each design and set them to work colouring.....

Colour_Me_Tote_Bag_Tutorial_Colouring_In_1

We already had some fabric colouring pens to use, but if you don't then these are readily available on-line.
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The children range in age from 3yrs to 9yrs, boys and girls (but a 12yr old has also since requested some of the fabric!), so I think the designs are pretty versatile.

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They took it very seriously and were really excited by the prospect of having a major input on the final design of their bag!
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Having promised 4 new tote bags by the next day, that evening I set to work!

The bag pattern is incredibly simple and would be an ideal project for anyone new to sewing. The bag can be embellished with trimmings, fabric floral brooches, buttons etc. to turn it into a unique and wonderful creation of your own.

A few points before I get started with the tutorial:

1 -Apologies for the lack of pictures at some steps and the mixture of fabric designs that feature. I was rushing through 4 bags and wasn't 100% focused on the images that might later be required - sorry!

2 - This pattern works for any fabric that doesn't have a specific direction. If you are using a design which needs the fabric to face a particular direction for the bag, see the bottom of this tutorial for a couple of tweaks to the pattern*

3 - We wanted to get started on the colouring straight away, but you could definitely make the bag first and then give to someone to colour in and personalise. You might just want to tell them to put a piece of cardboard or something similar, inside the bag when colouring, to avoid any of the colours bleeding through to the other side of the bag.

What you'll need:

1/2 metre of fabric - we used the Colour Me and the Elephant Tumble by Wyndham Fabrics. Matching cotton. Rotary cutter and mat or Scissors. Pins. Iron and ironing board.

Step 1 - Cutting the fabric

You will need to cut the following pieces:

2 x pieces - 3inch (7cm) x 22inch (56cm) - for the handles

1 piece - 14inch (36cm) x 36inch (90cm) for the body of the bag.

Step 2 - Making the handles

Take one of the handle pieces and with the wrong side facing up, press each length of the fabric in 1/4inch (just over 0.5cm) along both sides. Then fold the entire length of the piece in half to create the handle.

Stitch along both sides of the handle 1/8inch (0.3cm) from edge on one side and the same from the fold on the other side.

Repeat this entire process for the second handle.

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Step 3 - Attach handles and hem top edges

Place the main piece of fabric - pattern side up and one of the shorter sides at the top, ready to work on.

Next you need to pin the handles to the shorter ends of the bag (which will later become the two top sides of the bag).

Take one of the handles and pin one end of it 3inches (17.5cm) from the side of the fabric - with raw edges together. Then ensuring the handle isn't twisted, pin the other end of the handle 3inches (17.5cm) from the other side of the fabric - again with raw edges together.

Now turn the piece of fabric around so that you can attach the 2nd handle to the opposite end of the fabric. Repeat the above step, being sure to check that your handle isn't twisted.

Using a zig zag stitch, sew along the top edge of the bag, attaching the handle in the process and also creating a neat hem.

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Repeat this step for the other side of the bag, attaching the 2nd handle in the process.

Next, turn the fabric over so that the wrong side is facing upwards.

Now fold over the top edges of the bag by 1 1/2 inches (approx. 4cm) at both ends and press. Pin the handles in place, making sure they are perpendicular to the horizontal sides.

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Sew this fold down with a 1/4 inch (0.5cm) seam allowance from the top edge and then with a second seam 1/4 inch (0.5cm) from the bottom zig zag stitch.

Repeat for both ends of the bag.

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Step 4 - Sew together the bag

Fold the body of the bag in half, so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other and the handles are now together at the top of the bag. Pin the sides of bags together, ensuring that the top edges of the bag meet perfectly.

Sew together the 2 sides of the bag using a 1/2 inch (1cm) seam allowance.

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Snip off the bottom corners.

Zig zag stitch both raw edges along the sides of the bag, to give neatly finished hems which won't fray.

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Turn the bag right side out and push the corners out and press. Hooray....it's complete!

Here are the children the day after, on an outing to the cinema - feeling very proud with their new personalised bags!

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*If you are using a fabric which is directional (like the Colour Me - A Royal Life Panel - as seen in some of the pictures above), you will need to cut the main body of the bag in two different panels. In which case, simply cut the two handle pieces as per above, plus 2 x 13.5inch (35cm) x 18.5inch (47cm) for the back and front of the bag - be sure to check which way your pattern needs to face for the bag before cutting. Then follow the steps as above, but instead of one panel which you attach handles to both ends, you have two pieces, which need to have handles attached to the top edge of the fabric. When you get to step 4 - simply pin all three sides of the bag and sew around each edge as per above.

Any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at hello@poppiesandpolkadots.co.uk