Category Archives: Tutorials

Mini-Tutorial: No Waste Granny Square Quilt Blocks

No one likes waste, especially of fabric. When you’re making Granny Square blocks out of 2.5″ squares, a bit of waste isn’t really that big of a deal. But I bought 2 Summersville charm packs to use for huge Granny Square blocks, and the thought of throwing away all that background fabric waste was enough to persuade me to look for a better way.

In a way, a Granny Square block is a small on point quilt. The finished sizes of the inside ‘blocks’ determine what size triangles you need to make those outside components. Quiltville has an excellent article about the maths of On-Point quilts, which is where I got the information to make this block (& tutorial).

The ‘block’ size in this tutorial is 4.5″ square (finished) – if you are making yours larger or smaller, I recommend printing the Quiltville article. This quick tutorial is for using 5″ charms.

What you’ll need for one block:

  • {13x} 5″ x 5″ charms for the centre
  • {2x} 7 5/8″ x 7 5/8″ background for side triangles (I used black)
  • {2x} 4 1/8″ x 4 1/8″ background for corners

Cut the LARGE squares twice diagonally. Yield = 8 side triangles. Cut the SMALL squares ONCE diagonally each. Yield = 4 corner triangles.

Here’s the layout. Sew the centre squares together into strips, then add the side triangles. The middle (longest) strip will need 2 of the corner triangles, and then you can add the other corner triangles where you need them. The triangles are intentionally sized generously so you can trim to a generous 1/4″ on the sides. I promise you won’t have to trim very much.

Ta-Da! And with the On Point maths already worked out for you, you can adjust this mini tutorial to accommodate any size of square.

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crazy social application, my Google Friend Connect widget has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK Modern Quilt Blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Tutorial: Easy Wristlet

Hey, you can still sign up for the rainbow FQ Bundle giveaway! And Manic Monday Linky Party is still open too!

In case you missed my guest post on FairyFace Designs, here’s the tutorial I posted over there. I LOVE wristlets/zipper pouches of all kinds. They’re easy to make and depending on what fabrics you use, can suit any outfit, from casual fun to formal. I made this one out of some fun London by the Henly Studio for Makower fabric I bought recently – I’m always a sucker for anything with London or a Union Jack on it. This wristlet ends up being about 8.5″ x 5.5″, and you could easily make it smaller or larger according to your own needs. I’m currently using mine to house all my little knitting stuff.

For this wristlet you’ll need:

  • {2x} 6″ x 9″ pieces of exterior fabric and {2x} 6″ x 9″ of interior fabric
  • {2x} 5.5″ x 8.5″ of fusible fleece or fusible wadding
  • {1x} 2″ x 12″ for the wristlet handle
  • {1x} 11″ or 12″ zipper
  • Optional: 1 shape for applique – I drew around a cookie cutter onto Bond-A-Web and ironed it onto the back of a piece of fabric before cutting the shape out.
  • Basic sewing stuff – thread, machine, pins, etc.

Ok, I need to interject here – I forgot to trim my fusible fleece down to 5.5″ x 8.5″, so this is a case of Do What I Say, Not What I Foolishly Did. What you want to do is centre the fusible fleece onto the back of your exterior fabrics. Your exterior fabric should be 1/4″ larger than the fleece on all sides. Trust me.

If you want to applique a shape to an exterior piece, do that now by ironing it to the front and sewing around the edges to secure it.

Make the wristlet strap by first ironing it Wrong Sides Together (WST) in half, lengthways. Then open it up and carefully fold and press the edges in to meet in the middle:

 Pin and edgestitch along both edges:

Set the strap aside for now. Take an interior piece RSU (right side up) and lay the zipper RSU along the top edge. Pin in a couple of places to keep everything straight. Now place an exterior piece WSU (wrong side up) and line up along the top edge with the interior piece. Pin carefully and adequately to keep it all in place, then edgestitch with about a 1/8″ or so seam allowance all the way along the top.

 Press the fabrics away from the zipper, as shown below. 

Now repeat that process along the other edge of the zipper. Interior right side up, then the halfway done unit (the exterior you’ve just pressed will be facing up), then place the other exterior WSU along the edge. Pin and carefully sew along the edge. When you’ve pressed it away, it’ll look like this:

Pin the strap according to the instructions on the picture below, with raw edges aligned with the raw edge of the exterior. Make sure you only pin it to the exterior piece, NOT both the exterior and interior!

Now OPEN THE ZIPPER. Seriously. Do it now. Then, place the exterior pieces RST (right sides together) and the interior pieces RST and pin all around:

Start sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance where it says Start and finish where it says Finish. Backstitch at both ends so it doesn’t unravel. Trim the ends of the zipper. Then press seams open. Now you can fold it all right side out by placing your hand through that little opening.

Make sure you edgestitch that little interior opening closed so your stuff doesn’t fall through!

 Done! You’ve made a lovely little wristlet!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

Posted in Tutorials, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

New Spoonflower Quilt Labels & Tutorial

They’re here! I had forgotten I’d even ordered them! Yeah, don’t judge, I’m a bit empty headed sometimes.

I got 12 big labels for around $12, including shipping to the UK. It’s now printed on Kona cotton which is SO nice! Seriously, if you have been wanting to make labels for your quilts, don’t bother spending money on the printing stuff and the formaldehyde dye enhancer, just follow my suggestions and mini-tute and design your own! You can easily do it on Picmonkey for free.

Again, I can’t stress this enough, make sure you leave plenty of room for a seam allowance!

And just for shits and giggles, and my husband is gonna kill me for this, here’s a pic of our bed:

Can you tell whose side is whose? And yes, he sleeps wrapped up like a burrito in the ENTIRE superking sized duvet. And I sleep under quilts I’ve made. :p

P.S. Because the Google Overlords want to force the entire planet into using their crappy social application, my Google Friend Connect has been cancelled. But you can still get me in your Google Reader (or any other reader) by clicking on the Feedburner (RSS) link below. :)

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© J C Excell, 2012

Posted in Spoonflower Labels, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Tutorial: Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL – Dresden Quilt Block

{Manic Monday Linky Party is still open!} Holy cow, it’s the last tutorial of the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along! *sniff, sniff* I can hardly believe it – the ladies in the Flickr group have been SO amazing and I’m so proud of them. Many of them are totally new to quilting and Quilt Alongs and they’ve done some fantastic work.

So here it is, the Dresden block. Not anywhere near as tricky or difficult as last week’s QuatraStar. BTW, I’ve updated the QuatraStar pdf download to one that should print out at exactly 6″ square. It seems my printer interprets ‘borderless’ as ‘Let’s see if we can shrink this a bit’, so you guys were getting bigger printouts than I was. The wonders of technology. Sigh.

If you want to link to this page, that’s fine. But please don’t link directly to the pdf or the Word doc – link to THIS page and people can follow the link to the pdf. That way I get an idea of how popular it is, which enables me to provide more free stuff in the future. So it benefits you to play politely. And I’ll know if you’re cheating.

Print the PDF WITHOUT BORDERS and check the 1″ scale mark. Cut the Dresden template right on the line. As with all patchwork, the Seam Allowance is 1/4″ throughout.

Dresden_Template – the 1/4″ Seam Allowance in already included in the template. You DO NOT need to add 1/4″ to the sides.

Dresden Block Tutorial- Here’s a Microsoft Word version if you want to print and go.

Ingredients:

{1x} 12.5” x 12.5” Background Square

A total of {5}Dresden wedges

{1x} Quarter Circle Unit

A little of how dresdens work: To count up how many dresdens you’d need for a full circle, you need to know what degree the angle is on yourdresdentemplate/ruler. Ours is 18°. Divide 360 (there are 360 degrees in a circle, remember?) by the degree of your ruler. In our case that’s 360° divided by 18° = 20. And if you want to make only one block (which is ¼ of a circle) – like ours – you divide by 4 to discover how many blades you’ll need. Thats 20 divided by 4 = 5. So you need to cut 5 wedges.

The quarter circle: I have given you a quarter circle template. I recommend you trace it onto freezer paper. There are 2 lines drawn in a circular/arc shape, and a right angle. You need to iron that template onto the back of a square of fabric and cut along the outside edges. Then, carefully pull away the top of the circle from the fabric and trim the paper to the inside curved line. Now re-iron the template to the back of the fabric. Spray the whole thing lightly with starch and VERY CAREFULLY – SERIOUSLY, DO NOT RUSH THIS – fold and iron the edge of the fabric over the edge of the template. Set it aside – you’ll use it later.

Now move on to the blades themselves. As the photo caption says, fold the top edge of your dresden wedge in half, lengthwise, with RST. Sew ¼” seam and clip the inside corner (to make turning it out easier). GENTLY press the seam open. GENTLY!!!

Flip the pointed edge you’ve just made towards the back of the wedge (the wrong side). Try to centre it so the seam is pointing straight down, then press the edges in place.

Repeat for all 5 wedges.

Sew the edges of the blades together in your chosen order. When you are aligning them, match the tops and do not worry about the bottoms of the wedges. You will cover that in the next step. Press seams open to prevent bulk (to the side is probably ok too if you prefer it.)

Take the quarter circle you made earlier and carefully remove the freezer paper, making sure the folded edge stays neatly folded. Press it again if it needs it. Now pin the blades on their edges, and pin the quarter circle well too.

Using a sewing machine foot which allows you to see the needle clearly, sew carefully along the edges of the blades and the quarter circle. If you want, you can also baste the outside edges of the fan 1/8” from the edge. Just make sure you don’t baste more than ¼” from the edge or your stitches will be visible in the quilt top. DONE!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Tutorial: Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Diamond HST Block

Would you like to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open! I had a good response to yesterday’s knitting question and I’m still mulling over it. I’d like to do more videos, but we’ll see how the foundation piecing video goes this weekend. If it’s not a total nightmare, I may look into doing more, including knitting. That would be so fun, to knit with you all!

HST Diamond Block

For today’s tutorial, I’m going to try something a little different. Below you’ll find a link to the Word file you can download, so that if you want, you can print it off. I don’t usually do these because it makes it VERY easy for someone to rip off my work and I get very angry about it. But this is a fairly simple block, so I guess if (read: when) people steal it, I won’t be too upset. I’ve also published it in the normal way, so scroll down if you don’t have Microsoft Word or something that can read Word documents.

That said, all the same copyright stuff applies, and yes, there is a way I can check to see if someone has posted it. Feel free to link to the page though.

If you’re following along in the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along, I’ve added a few layout ideas to the Flickr group that you might like to look at.

HST DIAMOND QUILT BLOCK TUTORIAL

HST DIAMOND QUILT BLOCK TUTORIAL

By Jenna Excell, www.SewHappyGeek.co.uk

© Copyright J C Excell, 2012. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

For this block you will need 4 families of fabric. The graphic above shows grey, red, aqua and white. I’ve left blanks below so you can fill in your own colours. You can either use 4 fabrics, or you can use more than one print for each family, so the number of squares listed is the TOTAL you will need for that portion of the block. For example, my inner diamond and outer diamond fabrics consist of 3 different fabrics, so I cut 2 squares of each fabric (total=6). You can do whatever you want, use as many different fabrics as you want, but you need at least 4 and you need them to contrast when placed next to each other. I’ve left big blanks so you can fill in your own colours.

CENTRE COLOUR­­­­­­­______________________________________: 2 squares 4” x 4”

INNER DIAMOND COLOUR______________________________: 6 squares 4” x 4”

OUTER DIAMOND COLOUR______________________________: 6 squares 4” x 4”

OUTER ACCENTS COLOUR_______________________________: 2 squares 4” x 4”

 

You’ll be making a total of 16 HSTs (Half Square Triangles). If necessary, refer to the HST handout to refresh your memory of how to make HSTS (https://docs.google.com/document/d/17KQucBG_0bRN8nMxqMLfFCZ2x7TF0M2GN6w70_5hjQY/edit). In essence, you’ll draw a diagonal line on the back of the squares, then draw lines ¼” on either side of the centre diagonal line. Sew down those ¼” markings, cutting the centre diagonal line to reveal 2 HSTs. Remember to trim down to exactly 3.5″ x 3.5″ for your points to match up!!!

But you’ll need to match them up to the right colours. Here’s how:

Both (2) CENTRE COLOUR________________________ get matched with 2 of the INNER DIAMOND COLOUR_____________________________.

The other 4 INNER DIAMOND COLOUR_____________________________ get matched with 4 of the OUTER DIAMOND COLOUR___________________________.

The last 2 OUTER DIAMOND COLOUR_________________________ get matched with the 2 OUTER ACCENTS COLOUR___________________________.

That’s it.

Once you have your 16 HSTS, press the seams open or to the side (your choice – I use a small stitch length and press open), then trim them to EXACTLY 3.5” square making sure you use the diagonal line on your ruler to match up to the diagonal on the HST.

Then you just need to arrange them in place:

And sew them into groups of 4:

Next, form the 2 halves of the block:

And sew those 2 halves together:

Yay! You’re done!

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Double Tutorial Tue: Foundation Heart Mug Rug & Sew. Happy. Quilt. Block #9

Psst…did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? You still can! And don’t forget to enter my awesome giveaway, which ends Thursday! At least 3 fabulous prizes to be given away!

Woohoo! I’ve got 2 tutorials to share with you today! One is the next block in my Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt AlongChurn Dash Redux, which can be found here, and the other is one I posted last week on my good friend Melissa’s blog, SewBitterSweet Designs. She has an AMAZING array of Valentine’s Day themed tutorials in her Valentine’s Day Showcase celebration - so go check the others out!

My daughter Savi is pretty enamoured with this mug rug, and she’s always so good and cheerful that this Valentine’s Day I’m giving her this special handmade gift. I’m really lucky to have such a great and supportive family, and it’s so nice to have a full time cheerleader in my corner. Life hasn’t always been easy for the two of us, but I think our closeness has given us both strength when we needed it most – and there really were times when my 10 year old daughter held me together. I’ve always treated her like an adult and it seems to have helped her become a clever and brave tween. Thanks, Savi. Mummy loves you!

Ingredients:

  • one printed heart pdf pattern from Carol Doak’s free patterns page (just scroll down till you see Crazy Patch Heart)
  • OPTIONAL: an 8″ x 8″ scrap of calico or thin white cotton fabric to make a foundation
  • assorted scraps for the heart foundation/paper piecing block
  • 4 strips of fabric 1.5″ x 6.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 1.5″ x 10.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 2″ x 10.5″
  • 2 strips of fabric 2″ x 11.5″
  • Wadding 12″ x 14″
  • Backing for 12″ x 14″
  • 55″ worth of binding (need a binding tute? No problem!)

Finished size: about 10″ x 12″ depending on how big the foundation pattern prints. Don’t freak out if it’s not exactly 6.5″ square. Mine wasn’t and I think it looks ok anyway. :)

Ok, right off the bat when you look at the next picture you’ll be wondering if I’ve gone crazy. Of course I have, but it has nearly nothing to do with the sewing. Nearly.

I take a class with a lovely lady named Jackie Sparks. She doesn’t have a blog but she’s the chair of my local quilt group, Romsey Quilters. (BTW I do their website too – that’s why it’s so crap). Anyway, she showed me a way to eliminate all the faff of paper piecing by turning it into foundation piecing. All you need is some masking tape, a ruler and a pencil and some calico.

As you can see, I’ve taped my printout down to my mat, then over it I’ve taped a big square of calico, which is so thin you can see right through it. (So it doesn’t add bulk!) Then you simply trace ALL the lines using a pencil and ruler. Make sure you do the outside 1/4″ lines so you have a seam allowance. And I promise you the extra effort is worth it – it makes life SO much easier!

So I’ve drawn all my lines and numbered the spaces in pencil too. That’s important. Do that now.

Clearly, if it’s numbered, we’ll start with #1. ***#s 1, 9, 10, 11 Cut a piece of fabric that’s larger than the space – it’s a tiny space so a square of whatever will do. Place it RIGHT SIDE UP on the BACK of the numbered side and pin in place. See how I’m holding it up to the light to make sure there is plenty of seam allowance on all sides? You should do that too.

Now I’ve cut a big piece for #2. I’ve place it RIGHT SIDE DOWN (Facing down) on top of the #1 piece. See how the only thing actually IN the #2 space is a tiny little seam allowance? That’s because we’ll be flipping it Right Side UP after sewing that line. Also you need to make sure that when you do flip and iron the square of fabric will cover all of the #2 space plus at least 1/4″.

Do what the picture says. Start stitching about 2 stitch lengths before, and stop about 2 stitch lengths after the line.

This is important. You MUST iron after every seam you sew. That keeps it crisp and sharp, which is why you’re doing a foundation in the first place.

Now fold back the calico and trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. MAKE SURE you don’t cut the calico!!!

Now we’re getting to larger pieces. Here’s how to deal with them: 1) Make sure you cut a piece large enough to cover #3 plus AT LEAST 1/4″ on all sides. Personally I cut much larger then trim down. 2) Place it face down on the front, positioning it so the seam allowance is roughly 1/4″ past the line between #’2 and #3. 3) Then pin the line to test your seam before you sew it. 4) Turn it so you’re looking at the numbered side and hold it up to the light as shown above to make sure that once you stitch the line, there is plenty of fabric to cover #3. In this case there’s more than enough.

5) Now reposition your pin so you’re not sewing it and you can sew that line between #1/#2 and #3. PRESS!!!

Here’s how it looks after you’ve added #4. I know it looks messy and awful, but you’ll trim so don’t worry about it. Just worry about the seams and making sure you have enough fabric. Just follow steps 1 through 5 as outlined above and you won’t go wrong.

Here it is after I sewed all the pieces. Doesn’t that look awful?

Here’s the back of that foundation piece. Now that looks all nice and neat, doesn’t it? AND NO TEARING (or tears!)!

Now you’re ready to trim the foundation along those outside lines and add your 2 6.5″ long strips to the sides. (Again, if yours printed out smaller, don’t fret. Just trim the edges of the strips and decide if you want to add more.)

Here she is all pieced, basted and quilted. I tried a fancy meandering heart FMQ. Some of it looks good, some of it looks like thread vomit as I showed you before. Now all you need to do is put the binding on and you’re good to go!


© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.

Posted in Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL Fireflies Block #6 – Guest Tutorial Melissa of SewBitterSweet!

Did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open!

I’m really thrilled to present Block #6 of the Sew. Happy. Quilt. Quilt Along! My friend Melissa agreed to do a tutorial for the Fireflies block, and I’m sure you are going to love it! If you’re wondering what I’m on about, here’s the Quilt Along information page. Most of the blocks are fairly simple, so anyone can join anytime.

Hi Everyone! My name is Melissa and I blog at Sew BitterSweet Designs. Last year I worked on a Vintage Christmas Sampler quilt and one of the blocks was the Fireflies block. When Jenna asked me if I would like to do the tutorial for her QAL – I was tickled and honored at the same time!

So here we go!

Let’s start with the cutting instructions:

Usually when I make HSTs I cut my squares larger, but for this block, I find my results are more accurate if I cut to these measurements and starch like crazy. (If you’re nervous about that, you can cut them 1/8″ larger than called for and then trim down. Eg cut the large red square to 7″ instead of 6 7/8″)

All seams: 1/4 inch

Start by Assembling your 6 blue & white HSTs – I like to chain piece. Sew section after section without cutting your threads until you are done.Then cut them all apart – for newer quilters – this will save you lots of time.

Next – take 2 of your HSTs and assemble your large triangle sections (make 2):

Next – take your large red triangles and assemble two 6.5″ blocks:

(Hint) – place the pieces right sides together – line up the points and sew – then trim down to 6.5″

Next assemble two 4-patch blocks:

Layout your block and sew together – voila – you’re done!

If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask! melissa (at) sewbittersweetdesigns (dot) com.

PS. If you are interested – I have a giveaway on my blog right now from Fat Quarter Shop – stop by and enter!

See? Wasn’t that easy? Ok, maybe not easy, but definitely not as hard as you might have thought. When you get your block done, pop a pic in the Flickr group!

Posted in Craft Tutorial, Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt. Tutorial #3 – Template Star Quilt Block

Pssst…Manic Monday Linky Party is still open if you want to leave a link!

Hello! Welcome to the 3rd tutorial of Sew. Happy. Quilt. From now on, we’ll only be working on one block per week. This week’s block is fairly simple to put together, but you’ll be using a template to cut it out, and there is a bit of a trick to getting it to come out right when you sew it, so I’ve put this in the Slightly Advanced Beginner category.

SewHappyGeek

I have a Lazy Angle ruler which for you North Americans is available at Fat Quarter Shop, and for those UK/Europeans, it’s available at Creative Grids. I’m not saying you HAVE to have one, but if you like the look of this block, it might be worth investigating it.

First, you’ll need to print these PDFs I made. I don’t think you need any special settings on your printer, but you can check they’re the right size by making sure they’re 6.5″ high. Make sense? Here they are:

***UPDATE: Apparently, I screwed it up (what’s new?), so DH has fixed it – So when you print this, make sure you’ve got things set to NO SCALING . You can easily check that it’s right by checking that the template pieces are 6.5″ tall. The large S is toward the top of the skinny template piece, and the large B is toward the top of the background piece. Please read the whole tute before cutting as there are more pictures to help you below. If you have trouble, please email me at jenna@sewhappygeek.co.uk If you want to link to the template, that’s fine, but PLEASE link back to this page, NOT the PDF. And I’ll know if you’re cheating.***

Star_Templates

Then you’ll need 3 fabrics – one for the inner star, and two for the background parts of the block. (You could do it with just one background fabric if you want.)

From your inner star fabric, cut a piece measuring 6.5″ x 8.5″

From your background fabrics, cut a piece of each measuring 6.5″ x 10.5″ (or one 6.5″ x 21″)

A word about templates: if you were doing a whole quilt using these templates, I’d recommend you buy the plastic template sheets that are designed to do jobs like this. But you’re only doing one block, so I don’t think it’s necessary. Since you’ll only be needing to cut one side, you could use a little double sided tape or tape rolled up on the paper template piece. Then you can ‘stick’ the template to the fabric and use your regular ruler to make the cuts necessary. Then transfer the tape to the other side to make the next cut. This will make more sense when you’re doing it.

So here’s how you cut for the star. If you’re right handed, you’ll start at the left hand edge and cut 4 pieces, rotating the template piece to upside down so they come out like this. If you’re left handed, start at the right side. You may have an extra bit leftover from the 8.5″ length. That’s ok.:

Do the same with the larger piece on your background rectangles (6.5″ x 10.5″). You’ll need two of each fabric. You might have a bit leftover after cutting them, too. That’s ok.

You’ll need to sew the star pieces to the background pieces like this (Right Sides Together – I’m not sure if you can tell the from the picture & my crazy orange fabric). But there’s a trick to getting it to line up, so keep reading and reference the pictures below.

You only want the TOP (dog ear) of the STAR piece just barely above the top of the BACKGROUND piece:

And the bottom dog ear just barely goes past the bottom of the background piece, with the background just barely peeking out. If in doubt, use a long stitch so you can undo it. When you’re happy with it, stitch over it again with a smaller stitch setting.

When you’ve stitched it, press the star portion and seams to the right.

Repeat until you have 4 pieces:

Stitch them together into twos:

And stitch again, making sure to line up the middle seams:

That’s it! You’re done! You totally rock!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.

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P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog, UK quilt blog, UK sewing blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sew. Happy. Quilt QAL Week 1 – Woven & Snowball Block Tutorials

Whoa! I can hardly believe it’s here! I’ve been looking forward to the Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL for so many weeks it kinda seems unreal. I really hope you like the first two blocks and for those beginners out there, I hope you find them fairly easy to construct.

SewHappyGeek
N.B. Seam Allowance in quilting is 1/4″. The better you are at maintaining a precise 1/4″ SA the better your blocks will turn out. Also, I use spray starch on all my pieces before I sew them because it makes precision MUCH easier. Try it!

First up is what I call the Woven Block. Like most of the blocks in this QAL, it’s made of four identical parts. Here are the cutting measurements:


4 background squares 3.5″ x 3.5″

From each of four fabrics: {1} 3.5″ x 3.5″ square and {1} 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle

Construction: Lay out your fabrics and decide on placement. Sew your 3.5″ x 3.5″ background squares to the 3.5″ x 3.5″ feature fabric square next to it.

 Then you’ll sew those pairs to the rectangles.

Then sew those rectangles together as above.

And sew those rectangles together. Done!

Here’s the back – I gently press my seams open.

A WORD OF CAUTION FOR BEGINNERS: Let’s talk about what you do with your seams in quilting. When I say I GENTLY PRESS them open, I really mean gently press. You know how when you’re ironing your socks and underwear (isn’t that what people use irons for when they’re not quilting?) you use a back and forth, sweeping motion? You don’t do that when you’re piecing quilt blocks. The fabric is kinda flimsy and can easily stretch, which is what you really DON’T want! So if you are gentle and trust that the heat of your iron will do all the work, your patience will pay off. Now, many quilters will tell you that pressing your seams open is asking for disaster. The thinking is that if you press them to the side, there will be fabric underneath the seam. So if there’s any stress on the seam, the 2 layers of fabric under it will take most of the stress and the seam stays intact. What I don’t particularly like about pressing to the side is you always get this kind of fold thing. I’d rather everything lays flat, and it makes it easier for me to line seams up for blocks so they’re perfectly matched up.  So I guess it’s best to experiment to find what you prefer.

The next block is the Snowball Block.

You’ll need 4 fabrics.

From the snowball fabrics, cut {2} 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares of each as shown above.

From the two other fabrics, cut {4} 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares of each (for a total of 8 squares).

Draw diagonal lines across your squares and pin them in place as shown.

Sew along the diagonal line of each of the smaller squares. Then trim the excess to 1/4″. Press those squares to the outside as shown.

Sew the little snowballs together to make a bigger block.

When you’re lining them up to sew the two large pieces together, check your middle seams to make sure they’re lined up perfectly. Because that’s the centre, that’s where the eye will be drawn so you want to get it as close to perfect as possible.

Ta-Da! Remember to pop a pic into the Flickr group!

You’ve finished them both! I think they’re really quick to put together – even with all the picture faffing I was done fairly quickly, but I’m interested to know how you get on with them. So if you get a chance, leave me a comment letting me know! That makes future QALs easier to plan, time-wise.

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© Copyright J C Excell, 2011. You are welcome to use any SewHappyGeek tutorial for personal use. You are even welcome to make a couple to sell, but you are not given permission to use my pictures or my words without giving me credit and linking back to the original. You are NEVER allowed to copy an entire tutorial or post.
Sometimes my pictures have my family in them and they are never intended for public use. Also, I work very hard to provide free tutorials for my lovely readers, and anyone copying or selling my tutorials is guilty of copyright infringement.
This website is protected by Copyscape and is checked regularly, which means I WILL find you.
Posted in Quilt Block Tutorials, Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Guest Tutorial: Janet’s Somerset Star Folded Card Decoration

Did you want to leave a link on Manic Monday Linky Party? It’s still open!

Today I’m very pleased to share Janet’s tutorial with you. Janet blogs over at Stitch N Sing. I actually know Janet in real life; she’s a student in my Patchwork and Quilting class at the college and she’s helping Savi to sing a verse of ‘O Holy Night’ by herself on Friday night in a concert in Fareham. Janet is very talented, both in sewing and in singing. The other day we were at her house while she practiced Il Bacio and Savi and I were totally blown away by her unbelievable voice and talent.

These beautiful greetings cards make wonderful gifts and are an ideal way to display your patchwork! It looks complicated but it’s actually easier than it looks. There is not much skill needed to make this. This is a traditional patchwork design called Somerset Star in the UK. It’s made by using small pieces of fabric folded to make triangles. Here is the instruction of making the Somerset Star Christmas card.

Materials:
  • a piece of white or cream backing fabric , 7″ x 7″
  • a 6″ embroidery hoop
  • white fabric cut 12 pieces , 1.5″ x 2.5″
  • blue fabrics cut 16 pieces, 1.5″ x 2.5″
  • white thread
  • needle
  • a circle aperture card- circle 96mm Dia

Step 1

Turn under the top edge of each rectangle by 1/4″


Step 2

Fold the top corners to the middle to form a triangle.



Step 3

Create 12 white triangles and 16 blue triangles.
Tips: Use 2 different colours of fabrics to show the contrast.


Step4
Divide the fabric into four and draw a line from left to right and from top to bottom.



Step 5
Using an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taut so that it doesn’t pucker.
Step 6

Position four triangles.


Step 7

Sticth the triangles at the centre.


Step 8

Stitch the triangles according to the order of numbers. Number 4 will be go back to the center on another piece of triangle.


Step 9

Stitch all the four triangles.


Step 10


Take your second set of blue triangles. Build up the next round of four triangles, placing them 1/4″ below the first.

 




Step 11

Build up another four of blue triangles overlapping the first.



Step 12

Take your third set. Repeat the same step as Step 10 for another round of triangles.



Step 13

Repeat the same step as Step 11 for another round of triangles.

Step 14

Continue to work in rounds, spacing the triangles over the previous round and in between until the design is complete.
.

Step 15

Complete the final round.


Step 16

Remove the star from the hoop and iron it on the ironing board.


Step 17

Trim off the extra bit and now you can create your card!


Step 18

Ta da! Here is your Somerset Star Christmas Card!


You can even play around with it by using different materials

or
in different pattern!

For more designs please visit here!
Thanks so much Janet! I hope you guys have fun making very special cards for your loved ones too – and if you do, add a pic to the I’m a SewHappyGeek too! Flickr group.

P.S. Because I write a non-Blogger blog, I am one of those unfortunates who will lose my Google Friend Connect widget soon. I really value you as a reader and follower, and I’d like to ask you to consider following me on BlogLovin’, a free service built specifically for people to follow their favourite blogs, or by Feedburner, which is an RSS feed. Thanks!! :)

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© J C Excell, 2011

Posted in sewing tutorial, Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments