new patterns and a ‘mini-adventure’

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Hello again!

I’m back after my summer blogging break and I have been working on some new patterns that I’m super excited about.

I also joined the wonderful quilting community on Instagram – if you haven’t tried Instagram yet, I recommend it wholeheartedly!  There are so many lovely and talented quilters on there who freely share their ideas and advice – I find it such an inspiring place to be!  My username is @sewingroomsecrets if you want to follow along , I’d love to connect with you there!

It was on Instagram that I first came across the idea of a ‘mini wall’.  Let me explain – a ‘mini wall’ is a dedicated wall where you showcase all your mini quilts!  You simply display all your minis in a mosaic fashion to make a feature wall. And me, being a sucker for all things small and cute, I was hooked straight away 🙂  (Click here for an awesome example of a mini wall by the very talented Camille Roskelley – couldn’t you just die!)

I’ve had the most fun designing a trio of whimsical style minis and am super excited to share two of them with you today (number three is coming soon!).

First up is this little mini entitled ‘Love Lives Here’.

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This one was inspired by a little block I made for a charity quilt. I had so much fun with this wee project and love how it turned out! And judging by your feedback on Instagram and Facebook you guys love it too!  Thank you so much!

Finishing up at around 20.5″ square, the pattern uses easy raw edged applique techniques and a simple patchwork border to create this sweet little quilt.

Heart.

banner

tree

IMG_8938

tree2

Next up is ‘Woof!’

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Now as minis go, this one is definitely on the larger side (22″ x 27″), but still cute! See that little pup in the top right ? … he’s the cheeky one! 🙂

tongue..

Raw edged applique is used on this one too, along with a few basic embroidery stitches, making ‘Woof’ and ‘Love Lives Here’  suitable projects for even a relative beginner.

nose

And guess what? I’m planning a ‘mini wall’ in my sewing room – won’t that be fun! I think this may be the start of a ‘mini adventure’! I’ll be sharing pictures of all the minis I make in future posts and would love to hear what you think as my mini wall evolves!  I’m hoping to include some ‘pieced’ minis (all patchwork) as well as the whimsical style ones I’ve been working on. I’ll be utilising my own patterns as well as minis from some of my favourite designers, so there should be a good mix.

Well now, how about a mini-giveaway? I’m going to give-away a mini quilt pattern to one lucky reader on each of my Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as here on the blog.  That’s 3 chances to win!

For a blog entry, simply leave me a comment telling me which pattern you would like to win i.e. ‘Woof! or ‘Love Lives Here’.  Then pop over to Facebook and Instagram to enter there too if you like!  The giveaway is only open until tomorrow evening (that’s Monday, 7th September) at 6pm (GMT), so you need to be quick! I’ll pick a winner tomorrow night, but if you don’t want to wait until the giveaway ends you can grab your copy from my ETSY shop now.

Good luck and happy stitching!

Natalie xx

P.S. have you made any minis yet?  Leave me a link in the comments and I’ll pop over for a peak! 🙂

one way to bind a quilt

There are lots of ways to bind a quilt, but there is usually one way that we each turn to as our ‘go to’ method.  One way that works well for me is the technique that I am about to show you – I hope it is helpful for those of you who are just starting out on your quilting journey and are perhaps a little unsure of how best to frame your masterpieces 🙂

I’m using my little Zakka style butterfly table topper quilt to demonstrate, but the method works for any size of quilt, large or small 🙂

The first thing I do is trim the edges of the quilt

Trim sidesThen I calculate the amount of binding that I will need by measuring the perimeter of the quilt. In this instance, I am binding a small table topper quilt measuring 12.5″ x 21″, so the perimeter is the sum of all of the sides i.e. (12.5″ x 2) + (21″ x 2) = 67″.  Then I add about 10″, to allow for turning the corners and overlapping a little at the start and finish (I like to call these extra inches ‘wiggle room’ – love that expression!).  For this quilt I will need 77″ of binding.

Next I cut enough strips of fabric, which when joined together will give me one long strip of binding equal to the length I need. Now, this is where I differ a little from the norm in that I cut my binding strips 2¼” wide as opposed to the more widely used 2½” width. The reason I use 2¼” wide strips is because I like a ‘scant’ binding that sits snuggly against the sides of the quilt and I find that this width gives me the best finish.

For a large quilt I would cut the strips across the width of the fabric (from selvedge edge to selvedge edge), but for small projects, like this one, I sometimes cut strips from a fat quarter – it doesn’t really matter how you get there, so long as you make enough binding to go around the perimeter of the quilt, plus 10″ extra and without too many joins along the way!

Sew the strips together by placing two strips at right angles to each other, with right sides facing.  Draw a line diagonally from left to right like this …

Join strips

Then stitch on the drawn line and trim away the excess fabric leaving a ¼” seam at the join

Trim diagonal seam

Press the seams open so that the binding will lie flat when you apply it to the quilt

Iron seams openOnce you have joined all the strips together in this way, press the entire thing in half lengthways, wrong sides together.

Binding Collage

You are now ready to apply the binding to your quilt! Before you start any stitching, open the binding strip and bring the top right hand corner down to meet the bottom edge of the strip like this

Open out

Fold the strip back together again.  This forms a little ‘flap’ into which you will tuck the end of the binding later …

Fold down

I usually start applying the binding at around the midpoint on the bottom edge of my quilt.  Place the raw edge of the binding against the raw edge of the quilt top and pin.

Pin to bottom centre edge

Next, I mark ¼” from the corner edge like this

quarter inch marker

To stitch the binding on, I use a walking foot and a 1/4″ seam.  I start sewing about 3 or 4 inches from the folded end and continue to sew towards the first corner. Now comes the important bit – stop stitching ¼” from the corner edge (your marker will guide you). Backstitch a few stitches and fasten off (but don’t cut your binding strip!)

Start applying binding 5 inches from point

Now I fold the binding strip straight up forming a 45˚ angle, then I fold it down over itself to create a corner and align the raw edge of the binding with the next edge of the quilt.

Pull up

Pull down

Corner

Start stitching at the top (backstitching a few stitches at the start), through the folded corner and all the way down the next side, stopping as before ¼” from the next corner like before. Continue to attach the binding in this way until all four corners are completed and you are a few inches from your original starting point.

Corner collage

Trim the end of the binding and tuck it inside the folded end that you started with like this, so that it overlaps by a couple of inches

Tuck end in

Fold the flap back down again and continue to sew over the original starting stitches,  backstitching to secure and fasten off.

Join.

Now turn the quilt over so that you can stitch the binding down to the back of the quilt.

It doesn’t really matter where you start, just fold the binding strip over from the front of the quilt to the back until it’s PAST the 1/4″ seam line that you made sewing the binding onto the front.

I use a ‘blind’ stitch to hold the binding in place at the back of the quilt. I hide the knot on the underside of the binding and bring my needle up through the fold in the binding

Hide knot Collage

Next I insert the needle through the quilt backing and tunnel into the wadding for about 1/2cm just under the folded edge of the binding. Then I bring the needle back out and into the binding, as shown below

Stitch technique

The secret to ‘blind’ (hidden) stitches is to catch only 2-3 threads with each “bite” of the binding and to take the stitch slightly under the edge of the binding fold. Aim for evenly-spaced stitches (½cm – 1cm apart works well). Be careful not to sew through to the front of your quilt!

Tip** You may choose to use clips or pins to help you hold your binding in place as you sew –  it is not necessary to place a large number of them at a time, just enough for the next section ahead. Personally, I usually just hold it in place with my left hand as I go (I’m right-handed).

Continue to blind stitch the binding in place until you come to a corner.  At the corner, fold the adjacent binding strip over to form a miter. Now bring your needle up through the backing to where the two binding strips intersect and make a stitch right in the corner by pulling the needle through both layers of binding. Make a few more stitches along the diagonal fold to secure the mitered corner.

Corner stitch Collage

Starting from the corner, blind stitch the binding to the next side of the quilt

Make few stitches in corner to secure

This is how the corner looks on the front

Corner 2

Continue in this way until you have stitched all your binding neatly in place.

Finished binding

Butterfly table topper2

That’s it – you’re done!   Time to start another project 🙂

Natalie x

 

 

zakka butterfly

Butterfly table topper2

The patchwork group that I attend are hosting a BOM this year, with different members of the group demonstrating a technique or a block that they have enjoyed doing and are happy to share with everyone.  The idea is that you can either make a quilt with all the blocks or you can just do particular blocks that appeal to you and make them into cushions, mini quilts or other small items of loveliness 

I have been asked to host a demonstration on my preferred method of applique for the March block. Oh the pressure! Yikes! This wee butterfly block is what I intend to go with.  What d’ya think?

Applique butterfly

The finished blocks will be 12″.  I wanted to use my block to make a table topper, so I stitched six 2½”  squares either side of the butterfly and added a 3” inch strip of the grey linen that I love so much.  Then I finished the whole thing up nice and neat with some gorgeous aqua binding.

Squares3

Butterfly table topper3

I quilted some simple blooms here and there, adding a cluster of beads to some of the flower centres for a wee bit of sparkle …

Squares

Applique3jpg

Back2

Applique1

The method of applique that I use is often referred to as the ‘freezer paper and starch’ method.  I like this method best, because I like how the pieces hold their shape as I work with them and I can get pretty smooth edges too 🙂

Butterfly head

Applique4.jpqI used fabric from my stash, because I wanted the finished quilt to co-ordinate with the little Zakka style nesting boxes that I made for the bathroom.

bathroom set.

And what do you do when you finish a quilt and get that lovely fuzzy feeling of accomplishment?  Yep, you make a nice cuppa tea, settle on the sofa with a quilting book and dream about your next sewing project! 🙂

Afternoon tea

Happy stitching everyone!

Natalie x