1601 Willow Lawn Drive • #108 • Richmond VA 23230 • 804-262-0005
Tue-Fri 10-9 • Sat 10-6 • Sun 12-5 • Closed Monday (Summer Hours)
The Friendly Shop for Everyone Who Creates with Fabric!
I know it’s been a few weeks since I posted anything here on the blog, but this time I think I have a pretty good excuse – it’s been crazy here at Quilting Adventures with all of the preparations needed for our move in just a few days. Because things have been so crazy here, I thought I’d give you a tutorial for a quick and easy project: this English paper pieced pincushion. This pincushion is a fun project that would be perfect for holiday gifts for your sewing friends. It’s also perfect for using the mini-charms from our Mini Charm Nine Contest.
English Paper Pieced Pincushion
- 20 – 2 1/2″ squares of fabric. You’ll need 2 matching squares for the center of each of the “flowers”, 2 sets of 6 matching squares for the “petals”, and 6 matching squares for the accent squares. For the batik version I used 1 pack of mini-charms, and for the Emma’s Garden version, I used 1/6 yard of the main print 1/8 yard of the accent.
- Paper Pieces – 1″ hexagons and 1″ squares. You could increase or decrease the size of the pincushion by changing the size of the paper pieces, just make sure that you always get the same size of both (3/4″ hexagons and 3/4″ squares, etc.). Please note that if you adjust the paper sizes, you’ll need to adjust the fabric requirements accordingly.
- 100% cotton matching thread – I prefer our Mettler Silk Finish or Fine Embroidery weight (50 or 60wt)
- Hand sewing needles – I like the John James Applique #11
- Wonder Clips
- Airtex Fiberfil polyester stuffing
- Doll needle
- Coordinating 100% cotton heavy thread – I used our Mettler Hand Quilting thread (40wt) – this is used to attach the buttons
- 2 buttons at least 3/4″ across
- Standard sewing supplies: scissors, etc.
Step 1 – Baste all of your fabric to your paper pieces. I prefer hand basting, as you’ll need to remove the papers as you assemble the pincushion. If you’re wanting to fussy cut your fabrics, see the section at the end about how to do so! You’ll need:
2 hexagons – 1 for the center of each side
2 sets of 6 hexagons – these will be around the center of each side
6 squares – these form the accent band that connects the two sides
Step 2 – Piece together all the hexagons to make 2 basic Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks. Once the blocks are completed, remove the paper from the center hexagon. Press these well with a hot, dry iron.
Step 3 – Attach the squares in the “V” shapes between the hexagons on one of the blocks. This will start to form the shape of the pincushion.
Step 4 – Start assembling the pincushion. Place the two halves right sides together. Because only one of the halves has the squares attached, they are not identical, and it may take a minute of finagling to figure out which piece goes where. Hopefully these diagrams will help:
The letters correspond to an edge and the two diagrams correspond to the two different halves of the pincushion. Keep in mind that the squares will fall in the V shapes between the hexagons, and the hexagons will abut each other. Sew all the way around, leaving open two edges to turn. I found it helpful to remove the paper pieces as I sewed. The rule to keep in mind is that you can remove a paper once all the seams around it are sewn (once it’s “surrounded”).
Step 5 – Remove the remaining papers and turn the pincushion right side out through the gap.
Step 6 – Stuff the pincushion firmly. Use small wisps of the stuffing to help prevent clumping.
Step 7 – Stitch the opening closed with a ladder stitch or whip stitch. If you like the look of the pincushion like this, you can stop here, however I liked the look of the buttons.
Step 8 – Thread a long doll needle with your hand quilting thread. Double and knot the thread. We will be attaching a button to the center of either side and pulling on the thread to make a dimple in the middle of the pincushion. To begin, make a small stitch on the center of one side underneath where your will place your button.
Step 9 – Come up through your button and go down through the other side. When you come out on the opposite side through the second button, make sure that your needle and button are centered!
Step 9 – Go down through the second hole in the button, coming up through the original button again. As you do this, pull on your thread and push down with your fingers to form a dimple. Pull as much or little as you want, just make sure to not break the thread!
Step 10 – Continue going through the buttons several time to make sure they are secured. Knot your thread, and you’re done!
Fussy Cutting for English Paper Piecing
One of the things that makes this pincushion so much fun is how I fussy cut the fabric for the hexagons. I think I will be doing this a lot more often, as it really makes the block that much more beautiful (you may even be able to convince me to do a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt this way!). Because I had a limited amount of fabric, I was only able to do this effect on the front of the pincushion. What I did for the back is chose two motifs to fussy cut, and then just alternated them – I think it still looks pretty cool!
Cutting the Fabric
Choose the motif you’d like to use in your hexagons. Figure out how big your squares need to be to cover the hexagon you’re using. Measure your hexagon from point to point and then add at least 1/2″ to that measurement. I was using 1″ hexagons which measure approximately 2″ from point to point. I decided to add 1″ to that because I wanted extra room to adjust if necessary.
Cut out your motifs to the measurement found above, making sure to center your favorite part. Mine was the bee, so I made sure that it was perfectly centered under my ruler. The squares do not have to be identical, just close to the same.
Basting the Hexagons
Next step is to baste your fabric around the hexagon. This is actually the most important part. The only thing I’ve found that works is to use Wonder Clips to hold the fabric in place:
- Place the fabric right side down on a table. Center your hexagon over top of the motif you want to use. If your motif is symmetrical, make sure that the points of your hexagon fall on the same axis.
- Fold over the fabric on the top and bottom edges and finger press. Use Wonder Clips to hold the top and bottom edges in place. Flip the hexagon over and check to make sure that your paper is centered.
- If your design isn’t centered, flip the hexagon back over and shift the fabric and repeat the above steps.
- If your design is centered, flip the hexagon over and finger press the remaining four edges. Use Wonder Clips to hold those edges down.
- Thread baste as usual. Once you’ve completed 1, it’s easy to use it as a template for your remaining hexagons to make sure they’re all the same. Don’t get too fussy about them all being exactly the same – you can go crazy trying to get them all alike! I got mine pretty close.
Tada! Now, I’m off to work on some more stuff the for the move – please bear with me as I know the blog hasn’t been as active as we have been prepping for the move. Once we move I’m hoping to get back with many, many more Back to Basics, reviews, and some really fun tutorials!
Have you ever seen the movie You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Well, if you haven’t you should, and if you have, do you recall the time where they are talking about school supplies? Tom Hanks offers to send Meg Ryan “a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.” While I don’t have any kids, nor am I a teacher, I do love back-to-school time. And for me it’s all about the school supplies. The way they feel, they way they smell, how pristine everything looks. I’m sure there are many of you out there who getting in the back-to-school mode as well, although for different reasons. In that vein, I thought it was time to show off a fun pencil pouch for all the kids, young and old, who are headed back to school soon. So let me introduce to you the Sundae Scallop Sewing pencil pouches!
The Sundae Scallop Sewing pattern from Thimble Blossoms has two different pouch patterns + a pattern for a pincushion. While I think the intention was to have these be for sewing supplies, I think they’re perfect for your back to school needs (and oh so cute!). I made several of the shorter pouch, thinking it would be great for pencils and pens for your student. I was originally intending to make just a few, but then word started to get around the staff that I was making them and I got two more requests (hopefully the rest of the staff won’t read this and ask for more ).
One of the things I found especially appealing about Sundae Scallop Sewing is that it uses strips or charms for all of the scallops and fat quarters for the rest of the pieces. You need strips for the tall bag and charms for the short bag. I actually had part of a Botanics Coordinates charm pack left over from when I did the Busy City quilt for my paper piecing tutorial here on the blog, and I thought that would be perfect for these guys. I added a few pieces from some of our new lines Terra Australis, Up Parasol, Garden Party Tango, and the classic Pearl Bracelets for the main pieces of my bags. The bags are super easy to construct and one of my favorite parts was the quilting – the quilting gives structure and added detail to your bag and would be a chance to practice or try out new techniques or motifs.
Now, one thing I need to put out there is a small error in the pattern. The yardage requirements neglect to list that you need fusible web, too. I would use a lighter weight fusible, as there are a few layers on top of one another, and you will need to quilt through it. How much you need will depend on how many bags you wish to make – the fusible is used for the scallops only. The other thing I discovered, that isn’t really an error per se, is that the yardage requirements are a bit on the generous side. If you cut very carefully, you could probably get the outside and the lining of the short pouch from one fat quarter instead of two. The other thing is that if you, again, cut carefully, you can use the charms for more than one scallop – I was able to get 3 scallops from one charm square.
I hope you enjoy making the Sundae Scallop Sewing pouches for you or for your favorite student. If you do make some, please make sure to post a picture in our flickr Show and Tell Pool so I can see them!
I’m going to switch things up a little bit for you this week and show you a cute find on the internet – the Snappy Mani Pouch by Noodlehead. Many of our fabric companies generously supply free patterns on their websites for you to use, and Robert Kaufman is no exception (in fact, I think they have some of the best!). The Snappy Mani Pouch can be found for free on Robert Kaufman’s website here. To download it, follow the link and then click Download this Pattern on the upper right-hand side. I made it out of one of our newest fabric lines – Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft. This fabric line is so beautiful and soft, without being too baby-ish.
The Snappy Mani Pouch is the perfect pouch for carrying anything you’d need to do the perfect manicure or pedicure while on the go. Whether you’re on vacation or just want to touch up your nails in between appointments, the Snappy Mani Pouch is great! It’s got 4 elasticized pockets that will hold your bottles of nail polish along with a zipper pouch for things like a nail file or nail clippers. It’s padded well, so you don’t have to worry about your bottles getting broken.
The pattern offers many options for interfacing the exterior, but my favorite was to use Soft and Stable. Soft and Stable is a thick, stiff interfacing, but because it’s made out of a foam-type material, it is light as a feather! It’s a great interfacing for any time you want to add body without adding weight to your project. It can also be quilted to add a beautiful texture, which is one of the options for this case. Right now we carry it in 1/2 yard packages, but we’re hoping to start carrying it on the bolt in our new location. If you haven’t used it before, it’s worth checking out.
I do want to make a note here about a small error in the pattern – in the cutting section, you need to cut 1 additional piece of the Lining Interfacing (Shapeflex Woven Interfacting). In addition to cutting the 2 pieces as directed, cut a piece 2″ x 9″ and fuse it to the wrong side of the Binder Piece (Fabric E). Also, make sure that when you print out the pattern pieces that you print them at 100% and not “Fit to Page”. There is a 1″ test square on the pattern page – make sure to measure this square. If it isn’t 1″ square, then your pattern didn’t print to the correct size. Make sure that you don’t forget any of the supplies you need: hook and loop tape, 1/4″ elastic, 1 – 14″ zipper, 1/2 yard of Shapeflex interfacing, and at least 9″ x 14″ of Soft & Stable interfacing.
The Snappy Mani Pouch not quite your cup of tea? Check out other free patterns on Robert Kaufman’s website, as well as some free patterns from some of our other fabric companies such as Timeless Treasures, Dear Stella, or Michael Miller Fabrics. Just a warning, though, some of the patterns on their websites are free, some of them aren’t, and they are made for a wide variety of skill levels, so read through the patterns first! As time goes on, I’m hoping to highlight more of the free patterns you can find from our companies and I’ll be showing off my favorite of the bunch.
Edited Tuesday, August 5th: I’ve chosen 5 winners – #17, 1, 5, 12, 8: Ann R, Evelyn, Judy H, Nancy, & Celeste. I will be emailing all of you so that we can get you your charm packs! Keep an eye out as we will be doing more giveaways as we get back into our fall blogging schedule in mid-September, along with following up on some of your wonderful suggestions! Thank you.
When we decided to do our Mini Charm Nine Contest to celebrate our 9th Anniversary this year, I immediately started searching for cute patterns to make with our charm packs. The Mini Blossom mini-quilt pattern immediately caught my attention. At Quilt Market I’d seen it made two different ways – one that uses just two fabrics, and one that uses a mini-charm pack. My version of the Mini Blossom quilt uses two of our Mini Charm Nine packs on a light colored background.
This pattern is so beautiful, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for the beginner quilter. Because it uses smaller pieces, the accuracy can be a bit difficult if you don’t have a few quilts under your belt. However, the techniques themselves are easy – a lot of sewing on the line. It comes together very quickly, and is a nice project if you want to make a beautiful wall hanging for yourself or as a gift. If the Mini Blossom quilt is not your cup of tea or if you are intimidated by the tiny pieces, we have many other mini-quilt patterns, some of which use smaller pieces (and mini-charms) and some of which use larger pieces.
I hope that this quilt gives you the inspiration to get going on your Mini Charm Nine contest entry! Don’t forget that entries our due by the end of September. For all the rules and details about how to enter, check out our Mini Charm Nine blog post. Don’t forget that you need to use at least half of the charm pack. If you’re not sure what to do with your mini-charms, keep an eye out throughout the rest of the summer as I’ll be posting additional reviews and tutorials that use mini-charms.
Want to win a pack of our Mini Charm Nine contest mini-charms? Leave a comment below telling me what other products you’d like me to review next, what tutorials you want, or something you’d like me to cover in our Back to Basics series and we’ll pick five winners using random.org. The deadline for comments is 8AM EST on Tuesday, August 5. (If you are reading this on Facebook, please click here to leave your comment on the original blog post; Facebook comments aren’t counted towards the free drawing.)
Now that summer’s almost halfway over, I’m sure some of you are running out of ideas for entertainment for your kids. Why not help them commemorate all of the fun and amazing things they’ve done this summer with these cute felt badges? These are a great project for kids and it would be so fun for them to make felt badges to celebrate their achievements of the summer. Did they go away to camp for the first time? Did they learn archery? Did they do all of their summer reading for school (haha, yeah, right)? Did they learn how to start a fire? Anything! Heck, I didn’t do anything special this summer, but I’m thinking that I need some of these just to celebrate me!
The other thing that’s really cool about these felt badges is that you can use a variety of techniques on them. The directions here are all designed for hand embroidery, but you could also use fusible applique or even fabric paint! If you want to do fusible applique, you could have children (or adults!) cut out all the shapes they want, and then just fuse them yourself.
Basic Felt Badge Tutorial
Wool felt – I preferred darker colors, but you can use any color!
Embroidery Floss – I used our solid Presencia floss in an assortment of colors
Safety pins or pin backs
Permanent pen and tissue or tracing paper – I stole a piece of regular tissue paper from our wrapping supplies
Sewing supplies – pins, scissors, etc.
Embroidery designs – I used an assortment of designs that I designed myself or that you can find in two of my favorite embroidery books: Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection and Teeny Tiny Menagerie.
I’ve created a PDF that contains 3 basic badge shapes and a variety of designs to get you started. You can download it here. Make sure when you print it that you do not click fit to page. The small square should measure 1 1/2″ square.
Step 1 – Choose a shape for your felt badge. I did all of mine in geometric shapes – squares, circles, rectangles, ovals, triangles. Try not to pick a shape that’s bigger than 2″ on any side. Trace the shape onto your tissue paper with a permanent pen or fine-tipped marker.
Step 2 – Choose the design you wish to use for your badge. Trace this into the tissue paper as well, this time centered in your shape. Pin your tissue paper over the top of the felt, leaving a little bit extra all the way around the shape.
Step 3 – Embroider your design using your favorite stitches! Stitch right through the tissue paper, trying to avoid tearing it. I used 2 strands of embroidery floss on all of my designs.
Step 4 – Once your design is complete, cut the shape out on the solid line around the outside edge.
Step 5 – Remove the tissue paper. Tear it out carefully so you don’t distort your stitches. If you have any little pieces stuck under the stitches, use tweezers to remove them.
Step 6 – For the back of the felt badge, cut a second piece of felt the same shape and size as your front.
Step 7 – Take one safety pin and center it against the right side of your backing piece. Make sure that when the safety pin opens the pointed end comes out, and is not the side that is getting attached to your felt. Whip stitch the safety pin down with matching embroidery floss.
Step 8 – Place the two pieces of felt wrong sides together and stitch around the edges to hold your the pieces together. I would use a whip stitch, a blanket stitch, or a running stitch. Feel free to use either matching or contrasting thread. If you want to do this step on the sewing machine, you can, just make sure that you don’t accidentally sew into the safety pin attached to the back.
I cannot tell you how much fun these are – they may be my favorite of all the tutorials I’ve written! I’m addicted. Maybe I’ll show off all of my achievements… Or just make felt badges of all of the cute designs that I’ve been wanting to stitch.