Patchwork in a Flash

Here is my super quick tutorial on how to piece patchwork in double time. This patchwork technique is great for beginners, fun for the young sewing bee or even something different for the patchwork perfectionist.

Below are step by step instructions on how create a block of patchwork, very quickly and easily. The patchwork block can be used to create a patchwork quilt, patchwork pillow, or any other patchwork creation you choose.

I hope you enjoy this speedy patchwork tutorial.

Please note: Children must NOT be left unsupervised with either a sewing machine or pressing iron.

Example Fabric Requirements

Contrasting fabrics are needed to create a block of patchwork. For the purpose of this exercise, and if this is your first time creating patchwork, you can use any scrap fabric that you have to hand.

However, strips measuring 3.5 inches wide x 15.5 inches long will give you a 15 inch block – suitable for a cushion cover or a first patchwork quilt block.

In this tutorial, I have used ‘Bare Branches’ by Moda.

Essential Tools required

Cutting mat, cutting ruler (minimum 18″ x 3.5″), rotary cutter, pressing iron, thread, scissors, sewing machine, fabric pins (if desired)

Step 1)

Cut strips to your desired size – these strips are 2.5″ thick, by the width of a fat quarter (18″).

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 1
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 1

Step 2)

Lay your second strip on top of your first strip. At this stage you may wish to pin the two fabrics together.

Notes:

Always lay the fabrics facing each other, so the wrong side of the fabric faces outwards.

If you use pins, please ensure they do not obstruct your sewing line! Therefore, pin on the opposite side to where you are sewing – this will act as a reminder to which side you are sewing, as you take your fabric to your sewing machine

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 2
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 2

Step 3)

Take your strip to your sewing machine and select a short stitch length approx. 1.2-1.4

Place the foot of your sewing machine a quarter of an inch from the top of the fabric, as it may gather under the needle/feed dogs. Lower your needle and sew 2-3 stitches and reverse sew 3-4 stitches to ‘lock’ your stitches. Sew in a straight line, a quarter of an inch from the edge of the fabrics and reverse sew 3-4 stitches when you get to the end of your strip.

Note: If your sewing machine does not have a quarter-inch marker for you to follow, you can draw a quarter-inch line along your strip with a fabric pen.

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 3
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 3

Step 4)

Open out your first two sewn strips of fabric, so the front side of the fabric is facing you.

Lay your next strip of fabric on top of fabric strip No.2 – face down.

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 4
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 4

Step 5)

Continue sewing each strip of fabric, in your desired order, using step 3 and step 4.

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 5
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 5
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 5.1
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 5.1

Step 6)

Now it’s time to iron those seams. This will give you a nice flat block of fabric, which will make it easier to work with.

Please note: Check the fabrics’ tolerance to heat on a scrap piece of fabric first. Do not use steam as this can distort the fabric, making it crooked and out of shape. Children must NOT be left unsupervised with either a sewing machine or pressing iron.

DSCN3912
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 6

Step 7)

Use your fingers to open up your seams, so as the front of the fabric is exposed.

Pressing a few inches open with your fingers/thumbs will make life easier for you, to carry along the seam with a pressing iron.

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 7
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 7

Your open seams will now look like this!

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 7.1
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 7.1

Step 8)

Transfer your work back to your cutting mat.

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 8
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 8

Step 9)

You will now begin to cut your strips width ways. At this stage you will start to see the patchwork take form.

Familiarise yourself with your cutting ruler again. From the left hand edge of your fabric, measure your desired width and begin to cut the block into equal strips.

Note: Make sure the cut is exactly the same width as your original strips in Step 1. (My original strips were 2.5″, so my cut will again be 2.5″)

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 9
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 9

Your block will now look like this!

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 9.1
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 9.1

Step 10)

Go back through steps 1-7, laying, sewing and ironing.

TIP! At this stage, make sure your you line up all of your open seams – Lay your second row on your first row and check that the edge of your ironed seams matches on both sides.

You will now have a full patchwork block to play with as you wish!

It’s always a good idea to ‘square’ your block, before adding to a project. Simply clean up your edges, by making small, straight cuts, measuring the block as you go – this will create an even block on all sides.

Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 10
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 10
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 10.1
Easy Patchwork Tutorial Step 10.1

I do hope you have enjoyed this Easy Patchwork Tutorial.

If you have any questions at all, please do ask.

I would also LOVE to see your project photos, which you can post on my Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/dandeliondream.co.uk

To see my work in ‘Bare Branches’ by Moda, please visit my Etsy store at www.dandeliondreamco.etsy.com

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Poppy Appeal

Red Poppy PincushionTo mark 100 years since the beginning of WW1, and to raise funds for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, I have created these darling, handmade, red poppy pincushions.

These pincushions are limited edition and while stocks last.

£1 from every red poppy pincushion sold will go to the Royal British Legion Charity.

The red poppy flower is hand stitched with coordinating colours, and hand stitched onto a plump filled pincushion.

Please note: Main pincushion fabric may vary. However, all the fabrics used come from the same design collection, including; red daisy chain, green tea butterfly and lilac dandelion seed and are subject to availability. Please contact me for clarification.

To buy your limited edition red poppy pincushion, please go to www.dandeliondreamco.etsy.com

Buy British Day October 2014

Today sees the launch of Buy British Day!

The pre-launch, by Best of Britannia at the House of Commons, was supported by some of Britain’s top manufacturers and companies, who are supporting the day with great discounts and offers.

The aim of Buy British Day will be to encourage consumers to buy more British-made products, which is something we at Dandelion Dream Co supports with pride.

To mark this day, Dandelion Dream Co are slashing 20% off all pillow cushion covers, cushions, lavender sachets and accessories up to 11:59pm tonight. In addition, all UK orders will enjoy free shipping!

To see more, go to the Dandelion Dream Co Shop at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DandelionDreamCo or follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dandeliondream.co.uk

Buy British Day 3rd October

Bella Moda Bluebird

When I first began this creative journey, I spent many, many hours trawling the internet.

I searched and viewed literally hundreds of fabric designs, from manufacturers and fabric houses across the globe. The types of fabrics, the styles and the contrasts were overwhelming – and whittling down my wish list to a few ‘play around with’ fabrics was a challenge! It would have been easier to make a quick purchase, in plain fabrics, to create test patchwork designs – but hey, I’m a sucker for the ‘all or nothing’ way.

At this stage (and being new to the art of patchwork) I decided to plump for fabric collections, from the larger quilt weight manufacturers. And so, with the vast array of designs, US manufacturer, Moda Fabric, was a clear winner.

I instantly feel in love with Modas’ Bluebird Park design, but being based in the UK I was finding it hard to find a supplier. As this collection was only trickling into UK stores, there were only a few designs to choose from, so I had to settled for a charm pack. Looking back, this was probably a good thing, as charm packs are pre-cut – which saves both time and stress. The material is soooo nice to work with and looks totally amazing!

Based on New Yorks’ Central Park, this fabric has the cutest hedgehogs, squirrels and bunny rabbits ever! The ‘weave style’ background gives a raw, organic linen look which is offset by the soft, quirky floral designs.

In terms of stability, I would say the fabric retains its shape very well – so no fear of it stretching or going all wonky when ironing. (On the subject of ironing, I would suggest using a dry iron, as steam does alter the state of your fabrics – which is rather sole destroying.)

With the addition of ‘Easter Bunnies’, foraging squirrels and rambling hedgehogs, this fabric has a long season – meaning it is well suited to projects from the first signs of spring, right through to the autumn months. In addition, this collection is certainly suitable for both boys and girls, by grouping the grey, teal blue and grassy tones and the tangerine, yellow and grey tones. This material would also make a great kids clothing fabric and the individual designs could be used in other soft furnishing projects, without applying patchwork and quilting techniques.

So, here it is!

My first completed patchwork cushion cover, in Moda Bluebird Park… 🙂

 

Moda Bluebird Park Cushion

Raw edge, appliquéd patchwork cushion cover, in Moda Bluebird Park

Bluebird 2

One for the Boys

It’s been a while since my last post, but boy have things changed!

My fabric selecting, preparing, cutting, piecing and patching has come on leaps and bounds!

Creating my own cute cushion covers, patchwork pillow cushions and mini pillow cushions has reached such a level that I am now the proud owner of a new Etsy shop – Dandelion Dream Co.

However, during my experimental stage, of learning patchwork techniques, fabric cutting best practice and the all important maths, without which it would all go horribly wrong! I created two projects for my nephews. One of which was a patchwork cushioned wall hanging, the other a cute cushion cover.

For these projects, I chose a jungle themed printed fabric by Makower and created by Henley Studios. In this ‘Jungle Scenic’ collection there are ten different fabric patterns – Jungle Elephants, Jungle Birds, Jungle Noises, Jungle Clouds, Jungle Animals, plus the all important contrasting, accent fabrics.

For the boys, I selected Jungle Elephants and Jungle Animals, with Moda accent fabrics. The colour coordinated fabric, in Pistachio Green and Teal Blue by Moda, blended beautifully – and certainly fitting in a boys nursery, bedroom or playroom. The cute Jungle Scenic fabric used, depicts colourful elephants and jungle animals – monkeys, giraffes, lions, etc.

DSCN3176To create the star-shaped wall hanging I made a diamond-shaped template. In hindsight, I think I would have narrowed the diamond, in order to create a kind of, what I would describe as, a ‘jester hat’ effect. But I’m still happy with the end result, and I can save my ‘jester’ idea for another day.

So, one down, one to go.

It had been mentioned, in previous conversations, that new cushions had to be purchased, as my nephew made a little mess of the living room cushions. So, what better gift to make than a cushion cover, just for him!

Jungle Scenic Animals fabric by Makower Cushion Cover
For this project, I cut charm pack size square (5 inches) of the Jungle Scenic fabric and patchwork pieced them between the Moda accent fabrics, pistachio and teal. The pistachio is 2.5 inches wide by 5 inches and the teal is approx 2.5 x 16 inches. This will provide a nice plump fit for an 18 inch pillow form / cushion pad.

 

Jungle Scenic Fabric by Makower - Accent Fabric by ModaTop tip! I really like to use a fusible interlocking fabric, which I place on the reverse of the patchwork panel. This not only gives the fabric stability, it gives it a much better finish and prevents fraying and rouge strands of fabric from roaming around the inside of your washing machine, every time you need to give it a clean.

Anyway..I added a cute little ‘Handmade Just For You’ label on the back of the pillow case / cushion cover, which luckily coordinated with the colour scheme, and added touch binding to the envelope back. I do prefer the envelope style opening for cushion and pillow covers as there are no fiddly zips and it is much better for little fingers!

So, I hope you like my boys patchwork cushion cover and boys patchwork cushioned wall hanging. In the next post, I will be sharing more of my patchwork creations and providing hints and tips along the way, so don’t forget to follow and I will see you all very soon.

Oh, don’t forget to pop over to Dandelion Dream Co, for a sneak preview!

Dandelion Dreams

Well, here we are. April 2014.

A new tax year (ew!), spring has nearly sprung and new projects are afoot. So how did I get here? What is the purpose of my shiny new blog? Perhaps I should start at the beginning – well they do say it’s a very good place to start.

It all began only a few short weeks ago….

Orange curtains, my oh my, orange curtains, you really, really must go! As for you ethnic pictures, you served your decorative purpose for a while but now it’s time for you to make your début appearance on eBay. No, a change is a good as a rest and this place needs a revamp. 

So, after my initial internal mutterings, I began to search for fun, funky and light inducing furnishings, that brought a splash of colour and brightness to my open plan living room – diner – work space. Ikea is always awesome for ‘buy it now’ value, choice and design. I do love Ikea, I have spent hours trawling their website and I can recall the vibrantly named collections by sight alone! My trip to Ikea was planned (yes, I created a shopping list) and executed and I came home bearing beech effect flat packed marvels for a song…and other strikingly inexpensive items for the bathroom and kitchen.

Now it was time to don the curtain rails, deck the newly self assembled furniture and reanimate my bare picture hooks. First up, I searched for curtains and found myself looking at fabric designs…

CDandelion Clocks by Sandersonould I really make curtains? I don’t even own a sewing machine! Mmmm, a nice thought though. 

…No, that was far to ambitious, not to mention expensive! The fabric I was looking at, Dandelion Clocks by Sanderson, would cost a small fortune! I decided it was a much better idea to buy ready-made curtains, took myself off to The Range and found linen look embroidered curtains at a knock down price! I brought them home, opened the ‘Item cannot be returned if unsealed’ packaging and…

NO! They’re too short! 

Scissors in hand, it was time to get nasty with that hem! I set to work, and although it was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it did the trick and my dining room played host to said altered curtains. My second attempt to find curtains for the living room had me sensibly armed with measurements. I successfully sourced a pair of curtains not dissimilar to the Dandelion Clocks design, albeit in hues of red and taupe. I was a happy bunny.

Moda Bluebird Park

This fabric appreciation spurred, or rather reignited, my need to create and I had this sudden, if not urgent, need to buy a sewing machine. I had not even touched a sewing machine in over 25 years! I did not know where to start! I didn’t even know how to thread a machine, wind a bobbin or even sew a straight line! But I stuck to my guns. I took the plunge on a basic, inexpensive model and made a crude, yet not unpleasant lampshade cover, using an old pillowcase, guipure lace and patches of fabric which I had ink stamped with bird-cages and tree motifs. I was proud! I was hooked! I wanted to create MORE! I did have a penchant for patchwork and in particular (after many, many hours of surfing) I was drawn to working with Moda fabrics and found I could indeed piece together a rather reasonable cushion or two.

So, this my friends is my journey. My journey beyond the dream of contemporary dandelion designs and ready-made soft furnishings. I hope you can travel with my down this new road, where I will share my newly sewn creations with you and perhaps the odd tutorial to boot! (Note to self: Take pics and measurements mid creativeness)

Andrea x