Tips & Tutorials

Sewing and pattern tutorials by fabric & flowers | Sonia Spence

Tutorial – Mini Charm Medallion Cushion, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the Mini Charm Medallion Cushion Tutorial! It’s a fun little project that doesn’t need much fabric – just one mini charm pack and one Fat Quarter (or you could raid your scrap bin!) and uses a lot of the basic quilting skills that were covered in #QuiltingTheory.

You can find Part 1 here where materials needed, cutting preparation and instructions are detailed.

Mini Charm Medallion Patchwork Cushion tutorial

Today, we are going to finish our cushion top (or mini quilt/table runner….whatever you fancy!) by adding the final borders.

Border 3

  • Take 2 (two) 2″ x 6.5″ strips. Place Right Sides together on opposite sides of the Centre Star, and sew. Press border pieces away from centre block.
Mini Charm Medallion Cushion Part 2, attaching the borders
  • Take 2 (two) remaining 2″ x 6.5″ strips and 4 (four) 2″ squares.
  • Place a square either end of each strip, and sew Right Sides Together. Press.
  • Place strips on the remaining side edges of the star and sew. To help with accuracy, nest the seams of the corner blocks, pressing them towards the strip.

Finished size: 14″ including seam allowance.

Border 4 – HSTs and 4-patch cornerstone

  • Pair 18 (eighteen) mini charm squares Right Sides Together with background squares and make HSTs using the same method as for the Centre Star.
Mini Charm Medallion Cushion Part 2, chain piecing HSTs
  • Sew 2 (two) HST strips to opposite sides of the mini-charm medallion top.
  • Arrange and sew together into 4 (four) strips of 9 (nine) HSTs – I like to chain-piece mine together in rows, as pictured above for speed and also so that I don’t lose my arrangement!

TIPS FOR SEWING HST BORDER: press the seams open to reduce bulk. Sew with the wrong side of the HSTs facing up – this helps to ensure that all the seams are open as you sew, as well as ensuring that your stitching line matches the bottom points of the triangles.

  • Take the 2 (two) remaining mini charm squares and background squares Measure and draw a line 1.25″ from one edge of either the mini charm or background squares (depending on which one will show the line better!)
  • Pair a mini charm and background square Right Sides Together. Sew 1/4″ either side of the pencil line on both squares (A).
  • Cut each pair in two by cutting along the pencil line, for a total of 4 (four) units. Finger press open. Draw a line 1.25″ from one edge at a right angle to the join to form squares and again sew 1/4″ either side of this line (B).
  • Cut each unit in half again along the pencil line to provide 4 (four) 4-patch units to go in each corner.
Mini Charm Medallion Cushion Part 2, joining the HST border
  • Place a 4-patch unit at each end of the two remaining HST strips and sew, before joining to the remaining sides. Press.

Finished size: 17″ including seam allowance.

Mini Charm Medallion Patchwork Cushion tutorial

And there we go – all finished!

I’ve made mine into a cushion with a hidden zip…….would you like me to pop back later in the week with a quick how-to for this? It’s one of my favourite, quick ways of achieving a lovely looking zip with minimum effort!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial – do let me know if you have any questions. And don’t forget to use #minicharmmedallion if you do make one!

S x

Today’s sky::: beautifully blue – it feels like summer might be on it’s way!

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Mini Charm Medallion Patchwork Cushion tutorial

Tutorial – Mini Charm Medallion Cushion, Part 1

Hello! So today we are starting the Mini Charm Medallion Cushion Tutorial. Have a read through the instructions first, and if you want some tips on choosing a colour scheme, do check out this post.

Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers

It’s a fun little project that doesn’t need much fabric – just one mini charm pack and a Fat Quarter, or you could raid your scrap bin to make it!

It also uses a lot of the basic quilting skills that were covered during the #QuiltingTheory series, so is a great way of trying out patchwork if you are new to it.

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Fabric Needed

  • 1 (one) mini charm pack or 41 (forty-one) 2.5″ squares
  • 1 (one) Fat Quarter of background fabric

Finished Cushion Top Size – 16.5″ square

Recommended Tools

You can read more about these on my Essential Tools post!

Cutting

Press fabrics before cutting (excluding pre-cuts!).

Using the planner sheet as a guide, for border 2 cut 13 (thirteen) mini charms in half to create 26 (twenty-six) rectangles (so 1.25″ from the edge).

TIP FOR CUTTING PRE-CUTS: generally, pre-cuts measure between the inner cuts of the pinked edges. Therefore, for accurate cutting, line up the cutting guides on your acrylic rules with the inner points of the pinked cuts.

For the background, you will need;

  • 24 (twenty-four) 2.5″ squares
  • 4 (four) 2″ high x 6.5″ wide strips
  • 4 (four) 2″ high x 11″ wide strips
  • 12 (twelve) 2″ squares
  • Use this diagram for the most efficient cutting of a Fat Quarter!
Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers

Centre Star (Making HSTs)

Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers

When working with small pieces such as these, the key to accurate piecing is careful cutting and seam allowances. Over such small pieces, a slight inaccuracy can make a big difference over the whole border.

For this cushion, I have used a scant 1/4″ seam allowance when sewing the HSTs together (read this post for how to work it out on your machine if you are not sure).

To make the Half Square Triangles (HSTs);

  • Pair 4 (four) mini charm squares Right Sides Together.
  • Pair 4 (four) mini charm squares Right Sides Together with 2.5″ background squares.
  • Using a pencil, draw a diagonal line on the Wrong Side of the top square (you can use a pin to hold the squares together).
  • With a Scant 1/4″ seam allowance, sew either side of this line on each pair of squares.
  • Cut along the pencil line to create two HSTs, for a total of 16 (sixteen).
  • Press the seams open (this will help to reduce bulk in the seams).
  • Trim the HSTs to 2″ squares – a rotating cutting mat can really help with this task!
Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers
  • Arrange the trimmed pieces to form a star and sew together in to rows.
  • Press the seams open before sewing the rows together.
    • Use pins to keep the matched seams together whilst sewing
    • By pressing the seams open, you are able to see where the diagonal seams join, which acts as a guide for the sewing line.

Finished size: 6.5″ including seam allowance.

Border One

Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers
  • Take 2 (two) 2″ x 6.5″ strips. Place Right Sides together on opposite sides of the Centre Star, and sew. Press border pieces away from centre block.
  • Take 2 (two) remaining 2″ x 6.5″ strips and 4 (four) 2″ squares.
  • Place a square either end of each strip, and sew Right Sides Together. Press.
  • Place strips on the remaining side edges of the star and sew. To help with accuracy, nest the seams.
Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers

Finished size: 9.5″ including seam allowance.

Border Two – Mini Squares

  • Sew the rectangles together Right Sides Together in to;
    • 1 (one) strip of 12 (twelve) pieces
    • 1 (one) strip of 14 (fourteen) pieces
  • Press the seams open.
  • Cut each strip in half to give a total of 4 (four) strips.
  • Attached the strips to the block and press;
Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers

Finished size: 11″ including seam allowance.

Tutorial for Medallion quilted cushion with tips for accurate piecing by fabricandflowers

Join me in the next post when we’ll add Borders Three and Four to complete our cushion top!

S x

Today’s sky::: largely overcast and cloudy, but the sun is trying to peek through!!!

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Mini Charm Medallion Patchwork Cushion tutorial

Tutorial – Mini Charm Medallion Introduction

Hello! Today, we’re moving to the final section of the #QuiltingTheory series, a tutorial for a fun project, ideal for beginners or experienced quilters alike – the Mini Charm Medallion.

Mini Charm Medallion Cushion Tutorial by fabricandflowers

My career – Before Children – was market research. So as you can maybe imagine, I like to do lots of reading and understand the details!!! #QuiltingTheory is all the information that I wish I could have found when I first started quilting, in one place.

The Mini Charm Medallion tutorial doesn’t need much fabric, making it an ideal starter project. It also gives the opportunity to try quilting skills such as a 1/4″ seam allowance, marking fabric for cutting/sewing and different piecing techniques that were detailed in the Technique section of the Understanding Quilting Lingo.

Alternatively, if you’ve been quilting a while, it’s a great way of using up some of the scraps that you might have accumulated!

Here are two samples that I’ve made – it can look so different depending on which fabrics you choose, especially for the background!

Materials needed

  • 1 (one) candy charm pack or 41 (forty one) 2.5″ squares
  • 1 (one) Fat Quarter of background fabric

To make it into a cushion or min quilt you will also need;

  • 1 (one) Fat Quarter of backing fabric
  • 2 (two) 2.5″ x Width of Fabric for binding (equivalent of 75″)

Alternatively, if you already have a stash of fabrics to hand, you can use that for the mini medallion, making it a perfect stash buster!!!

Getting started

I’ve been plotting and planning with a candy charm pack of Zen Chic Moda and linen for the background.

Aren’t they gorgeously bright and colourful?! I’m also thinking there might be lots of quilting opportunity in the background!

During the tutorial, we will cover how to sew Half Square Triangles (HSTs), tiny squares and practise a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, before looking at how to finish it up.

Each of the steps are detailed over a few posts so that it can be done at your own pace;

I hope you’ll be joining in with me – if you do, then please use the tag #minicharmmedallion.

If you sign up to my Newsletter you will receive a free download of the planner sheet so that you can make a start on planning colour placement before we make a start on the centre motif.

And if there’s anything, in particular, you would like me to cover then please do let me know!

See you soon,

S x

Today’s sky::: overcast but some blue skies peeking through!

If you would like monthly news and updates, please sign-up to my newsletter.
To check out my quilt and bag patterns, visit my Etsy shop.

For my favourite sewing equipment and tools, visit my Amazon store.

Tutorial – Easy fabric basket tray with handles

A little while ago, I was having a play and whipped up this easy fabric tray come basket (trasket?!) with built-in handles! It is a quick project, only needs a small amount of fabric, and is ideal for holding small bits and pieces.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Materials

Finished Size – 6″ long x 4″ wide x 2.5″ high
  • Outer Fabric: 11..5″ wide x 9.5″ high
  • Lining Fabric: 11.5″ wide x 9.5″ high
  • Medium Weight Interfacing: cut two (2) 11.5″ x 9.5″ pieces
  • Buttons, Rivets or Thread

Notes about materials

  • This pattern works best with non-directional fabric, which I didn’t do for the burgundy version but I figured a large scale print would be fairly unforgiving!
  • For the interfacing, you want to use one which is quite stiff. I have used a non-woven type which feels quite papery and helps to give the Trasket it’s shape and firmness.

How to Make a Fabric Trasket

Iron interfacing to the wrong side of both pieces of fabric.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

Place the pieces of fabric Right Sides Together. Starting on a short edge, and an inch from the corner, join the pieces together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Stop 4″ from where you started sewing, to leave a gap for turning.

Trim each of the corners – I like to cut at a 60* (ish!) angle so that when it is turned out there is not too much bulk in the corner.

Pull the fabric through the hole so that the right sides are showing. Use a chopstick or something similar, to push out each of the corners gently. Fold the edges in where you turned through and give it a good press.

Top stitch around the edge of the rectangle with a small seam allowance to close the gap and secure the layers together. I like to leave long thread ends so that I can knot them together and bury the ends so that they are not visible.

Taking one corner, fold the short edge Wrong Sides Together with the long edge to create a 45* angle. Clip in place.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

Using a ruler, draw a line at a right angle to the edge of the fabric, 2.5″ from the corner point. Repeat for each of the remaining 3 corners.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

Stitch along each of these lines to secure. I like to start/stop a little bit in from each end, but you can go all the way if you like!

Note: You could miss out the squaring of the corners if you wanted. If you added poppers instead it would make a tray that can be folded flat for storage. However, I found that stitching the edges of the tray made it stronger, making it ideal for everyday use.

Fold each corner in towards the short edge and they should overlap by approximately 1″. Clip in place. If using a button to secure the corner flaps together, I sew through both layers at the same time.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

To mark accurately – for example, to add a rivet – use a ruler to measure 1/2″ in from the corner point and halfway down, which is about 1/4″.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

If using a rivet, it helps to use a punch plier to create a hole in each fabric corner for the rivet to go through. I always like to dab a spot of fray-check on the hole before adding the rivet to prevent the fabric from fraying over time.

I also thought about embroidering an ‘X’ or a flower if there weren’t buttons to hand…….lots of options!

Fill with pretty trinkets and enjoy! I’d love to see if you make one – please do tag me and use the #fabrictrasket.

See you soon,

S x

Today’s sky::: some blue sky but largely overcast. Boo!

If you would like monthly news and updates, please sign-up to my newsletter.
To check out my quilt and bag patterns, visit my Etsy shop.

For my favourite sewing equipment and tools, visit my Amazon store.

How to make applique templates using an iPad!

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Hellooo! So, I’ve made a couple of things for Mr f&f lately with motifs on and thought it might be something that you would be interested in? So I’m going to show you how to applique using images traced from a tablet screen!!!

How to applique - making templates on an iPad and reverse applique coaster by fabricandflowers

Using your tablet (I have an iPad) find an image that you want to replicate in applique. Get the image to the approximate size that you want to copy on the screen, and take a screenshot.

Go into your photos, and open up the picture that you have just taken. Get a piece of paper and place over the screen. It’s best to hold the screen at an angle to get a true light-box effect and hold the paper in position with your fingers just off the edge of the screen (I’ve found that finger movements are still picked up through the paper, which is why I take a photo of the image, otherwise it keeps resizing as you’re trying to trace!!).

Disclaimer: this technique is based on my own experience and not recommended by device manufacturers so should be undertaken at your own risk!

Use a pencil to lightly sketch the outline of your shape, being careful not to put too much pressure on the screen to prevent causing damage. Again, try and keep your hand off the screen to stop the picture moving around. When you have got the rough outline, take the paper off the screen, place it on a flat surface and draw over the lines again to make them more visible, and add in any extra detail that you need.

Cut the shape out. Now, you are ready to applique!

Reverse Applique: Punisher teapot coaster

This was Mr f&f’s Valentine present (how romantic am I?!). He recently got this teapot and joked that it needed its own special coaster. Who would be better to look after it than The Punisher?!

How to applique - reverse applique coaster by fabricandflowers

I wanted a slightly rougher, less refined look for this project. Having never tried it, I thought reverse applique – where the fabric is layered and the top one then cut away to reveal the one underneath – would be good, as over time the fabric edges would fray.

I placed the motif on the right side of the top layer of fabric. To draw around the outside of the shape, I used a Sewline pencil as it shows clearly on the dark fabric (or you can see my post here for other options).

Layer the fabric that you want to reveal under the front fabric (making sure that it is under the motif that you have drawn!) and secure in place pinning from the front. As this is a small project, I then put some wadding behind so that I would be quilting and securing the layers together at the same time. If I was working on a bigger project, I would probably use a glue pen or do a little stitching to secure the fabric layers together.

I free motion stitched the layers together, using the pencil lines as a guide. If you’ve never tried free motion quilting, a small project like this is a great way to have a go as it is easier to control a small piece of fabric, and also a ridiculous amount of fun! Everyone has a slightly different way that they like to set up the machine, mine is to;

How to applique - reverse applique coaster and tips for free motion sewing by fabricandflowers
  • Use an open-toe foot so that you can see where you’re sewing: this also means that the fabric isn’t ‘gripped’ as much by the machine, giving you more control over moving the fabric around.
  • Set the stitch length to ‘0’ as you will be moving the fabric around, which will determine the size of your stitches (and preserve your sewing machine needle!)
  • Some people like to drop the feed-dogs on their machine (the grippy bits that sit under the sewing machine foot). Personally, I like to leave them up as I find that it gives me slightly more control of the fabric as it can’t jump too much.
  • Generally, you will want to sew slower than normal to give you more control over the movement of the fabric – I have a digital machine and normally reduce the speed by about 50%!
  • Leave a long tail of thread at the beginning and end of your stitching so that they can be pulled through to the back and knotted.

When you are happy with your stitching, it is time to cut away the top layer of fabric. I pinched the back two layers (wadding and light grey fabric) with my left hand and the top black layer with my right thumb and forefinger before snipping a hole to start cutting (Note – if I do this again I will probably cut a little access hole in the top fabric before layering together as I was petrified of ruining my work!). I used a mix of little sharp embroidery scissors and duck-billed applique scissors which are great for cutting as close as you can to the stitching.

To finish the coaster, I trimmed the top to 5″, placed backing fabric right side together to the front and sewed around the edge, leaving a gap along one side to turn it out. With coasters, I always like to trim away the excess wadding and angle the corners so that when it’s turned out you get as sharp corners and smooth edges as possible.

Once turned through, a little press and some top-stitching and it was all finished. Ta-dah!!! Such a fun little project – probably only took a couple of hours all in, including taking the photos!

For standard applique – like the tie-fighter coffee cosy! – I cut the template into smaller pieces eg. wings, body, and window, for each of the fabrics I wanted to use for each section. Iron bondaweb – which is fusible on both sides, but with a bit of paper on one side – to the wrong side of the fabric. Turn your template pieces over (so that they were reversed) and draw around them on to the bondaweb before cutting out. Peel the backing off the bondaweb and arrange each of the pieces on to the fabric and iron in place. Decorate with stitching – I used free motion quilting as detailed.

How to applique - making templates on an iPad and reverse applique coaster by fabricandflowers

Now to decide what applique to do for his birthday….!!! I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and if you have a go at making your own templates then please do let me know – I’d love to see what you create!

Sx

Today’s sky::: bright but cloudy

If you would like monthly news and updates, please sign-up to my newsletter.
To check out my quilt and bag patterns, visit my Etsy shop.

For my favourite sewing equipment and tools, visit my Amazon store.