Smitten Quilt progress::: tips on always being ready to slow sew!

Hello everyone! How have you been? As we head towards the summer, I’m thinking about my Sewing Projects that I can fit in around the children and holidays that will be going on.

For me, this means that I pull out my slow-sewing project (slow being the operative word here, as it generally only comes out during the summer……but it will be finished, one day!)

Tips for always being ready to slow-sew on the go

One of my favourite ways to slow-sew is with hand-piecing, but these methods would work just as well with EPP, the key is around organisation and prep!

My Slow-Sewing Project – the Smitten Quilt

During one of Amitie Textiles pattern sales, I bought the Smitten Pattern by Lucy Kingwell and some templates from Amazon (they were a really good price but if you order them please be warned that they come from the States so take a little while to arrive!).

My plan is the make this quilt mostly using Denyse Schmidt fabric as I am a huge fan and have been collecting ever since I started quilting! Although I may add in the odd blender here and there.

I’ve made a start on slow sewing over the past week and thought I would share my processes with you, just in case you’re interested. I’m prepping the blocks in stages so that I can fit it in around the kids and then have blocks ready to grab and go as I’m heading out the door!

Check here for more tips for how to plan and make time for quilting each day.

Planning the blocks

Choosing fabrics is always the bit that takes me the longest so I like to play with different selections of fabric over a few days until I’m happy with my combinations, generally working on around four blocks at a time.

Tips for always being ready to Slow Sew by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Once a block has been decided, I cut all the pieces out and then to keep them together, I pack each block into its own bag. I’ve been using up the zip-lock bags that I’ve had to hand, but will be buying these next to be more environmentally friendly.

Alternatively, check out my Flexi-Sewing Case design which includes see-through divided zippered pockets for organising block pieces and a design board for sewing on the go!

Marking the pieces for sewing

Next up, is marking the pieces for hand sewing. This is the bit I’m finding trickiest (read: boring!) at the moment, but I don’t trust myself to be able to eyeball the seam allowances well enough, so I’m persevering!!!

A while ago, I made myself a design board using Lori’s fabulous tutorial and on the reverse side I stuck a sheet of sandpaper (this is a trick that I picked up from the lovely Jen Kingwell: if you lay fabric on the sandpaper it doesn’t shift around whilst your trying to draw the seam allowances on).

My board measures around 9″ x 10.5″ and is the perfect size for holding six small pieces at a time.

Tips for always being ready to Slow Sew by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

First, I mark each of the dots on the template using either a silver gel pen or pencil (depending on the colour of the fabric – see this post for other options).

For this shape – template H – I can move it down slightly to match up three of the corner points (as pictured) and draw on my sewing line.

I repeat this for the other 5 shapes then pick up the board, rotate it 180* and repeat the process.

The sandpaper is so good at gripping the paper that I found the easiest way is to just tip the board upside down so that all the pieces come off!

Then they all go back into the ziplock bag so that I have a project bag ready to go!

Sewing on the go

It did take a while to get the mini project bags all prepped but I’m now all set for a few weeks of slow sewing! I can just grab a block and go!

For sewing on the go, I can grab a prepped block, spool of thread, needle and scissors and I’m all set!

Recently, I’ve also added a roll-up travel design board (you can find a tutorial here!) so that I can keep a block laid out in the right order.

Smitten Quilt - tips for always being ready to Slow Sew by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

It all fits perfectly inside my Not So Little Zippy Pouch too, perfect for sewing on the go and keeping me occupied whilst I’m taking the kids to various holiday activities and in-car sewing!!!

Making Progress

I’ve made quite a few blocks now! Once I’ve worked my way through my pre-prepped blocks, I start on the next batch.

Every now and then I like to lay out all the blocks so far and see if I need to balance colours a bit more. On such a big project though, I don’t think this needs worrying about too much at this stage!

Would you like to see some of the blocks I’ve completed so far….two Large Hexagon 1’s and one Small Hexagon 3….

Smitten Quilt - tips for always being ready to Slow Sew by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence
Smitten Quilt - tips for always being ready to Slow Sew by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence
Smitten Quilt - tips for always being ready to Slow Sew by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I hope you’ve found this useful and if you have any other tips to share with me for hand-piecing or slow-sewing, I’d really love to hear them!


Today’s sky::: blue skies and cloudy. Could almost feel spring in the air today!

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  1. I Love insights into processes. What a great way of doing and preparing. I might use it for my Camelot quilt blocks. Many thanks!

  2. Fabulous blocks! I got a little 1" ruler that I use to mark my 1/4" seam allowances. Since I'm doing so much hand sewing it has become one of my most treasured notions!

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