Flower Meadow Cushion with tips for sewing curves

Flower Meadow Cushion with tips for sewing curves

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it, which helps to keep the blog running. Thank you.

Today I’ve got a finish to share with you – hurrah! It’s been a fair while in the making as, although it’s not very big, I’ve been working on it as and when inspiration strikes, trying out different techniques and methods. It’s been quite fun!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The idea for this cushion originally came to me when I started working with my Drunkards Wheel templates. Whilst making the Candy Swirls Quilt, I started playing with the different ways in which the blocks could be tessellated……I kept thinking of flowers and couldn’t help grabbing some fabrics to make a mini meadow!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I love sewing curves – they open up the opportunities to make so many different patterns. Because of the segments in the Drunkards Wheel you can use lots of fabrics – always fun – and it’s a great way of using up scraps.

If you’ve never sewn curves, they can be a bit scary to start with – I remember reading up on it so much before finally having a go at it. And it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be, honestly!!! The trick is to experiment and find what works best for you.

Some Hints & Tips for sewing curves;

  • Use a smaller rotary cutter eg. 28mm for cutting the curves around the templates, with a max of two layers.
  • Do not use too smaller a stitch length (eg. Anything less than 2.4) – if you need to redo a seam, using a larger stitch length will prevent the fabric from stretching too much.
  • Sew at a slower speed than you normally would, until you are more familiar with the shape. You may also find stopping and repositioning the fabric as you work around the curve, will help to give you a smoother line (if you have one, a knee lift can be very helpful).
  • I like to work with the bigger curve (with the excess fabric) on the bottom.
  • Holding up the fabric as it is being fed into the machine can help with easing the bottom fabric into the curve.
  • The seam ripper is your friend! It can be used to help keep the fabric in place as the fabric goes through the machine and sometimes you will need to redo a seam – but the more you sew, the less this will happen!

The Flower Meadow is a great way of practising sewing curves together in different ways…….the purple flower (a tulip?!) was the trickiest because of all the seams in the centre: I found that sewing the blocks together in to pairs and then basting the centre seam of the two halves in position before joining them together helped with the accuracy, and is a great trick to use whenever you’re working with bulky/difficult seams.

Once the flowers had been made there was a small debate about what to make it in to……..I didn’t need three more cushions (Mr f&f is already moaning!) and then inspiration struck: if I used a king-size pillow, it would be perfect for my book-worm daughter to lean against whilst reading!!!!!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To make the cushion top I went improv and low-volume, adding fabric scraps until I reached the size I wanted (36″ wide x 19″ tall). I worked on each of the flowers individually before adding the panels together. I’ve added the cut measurements to give you an idea if you would like to make your own, but you can alter it to whatever size you want! Or maybe even make lots of rows and turn them in to a quilt?!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Can you see the yellow thread where I hand-basted the quilt layers together? I remember reading somewhere once that the best way of making a job you don’t like bearable, is to find the most fun way of doing it. I’m not a fan of basting quilts, so figured this would be worth try. It was certainly a fun way of doing it (although I’m not sure I’d be so keen on a big quilt!) and the layers kept together really nicely whilst I was embellishing it, so I’ll definitely do it again.

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Some bias binding strips for the stems, free-form leaves which were needle-turn appliqued and it was all ready for quilting! I used a mix of embroidery, free-form quilting, echo-quilting and kantha stitching (I ‘drew’ lines 1.5″ apart using a hera-marker so that I knew where to stitch. It was a great way of trying different techniques and the great thing with a small project is that because it’s not too big it’s easy to work with and doesn’t take too long to finish!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Do you ever make a project just to play and try new things? If you’d like to have a play with sewing curves, you can pick up my Drunkards Wheel template set here, or maybe have a go at a pouch or mug rug which are always great quick projects for trying out new things!

That’s all for now, back soon,

S x

Today’s sky:::bright blue but freezing cold!!!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do sign-up to my newsletter to have updates and news sent to your inbox. And to see my patterns you can check out my Etsy shop here.

A new Clip’n’Pincushion

A new Clip’n’Pincushion

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it, which helps to keep the blog running. Thank you.

Oh, it’s been a busy few days! We spent the weekend in London which was amazing, but wow! So. Much. Walking!!!! By Saturday evening we’d managed a whopping 11.5 miles. I don’t mind admitting my feet were a little tired by the end of the day!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I’m working on lots of things at the moment – which I’m really excited about sharing with you very soon – but it means there’s not quite as much sewing going on or the project’s going slower than normal, so there’s not much to show! Today though, I needed to sit at my machine for a bit and decided to tackle a bit of a UFO and use up some left over blocks – a double bonus!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I had the remnants of a hexie EPP panel left over that I couldn’t quite bear to throw away (because, you know, Liberty!) but when my eyes landed on it today I figured it would be the perfect size for this little project!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I sew with a Janome Horizon (which I absolutely love!), the only frustrating thing being that my old pincushion doesn’t fit around the neck. I’ve been managing, but recently I’ve taken to sitting my clip’n’pincushion on the bed of the machine so that I can place my pins and clips on there as I go (clearly, reaching around to the other side of the machine is just a step too far!).

I used my Clip’n’Pincushion pattern guide, using the ‘Make it Your Own’ instructions at the back to make it rectangular – the pincushion top finishes at 2.5″ wide x 5.25″ long, the perfect size for fitting in the throat of my machine.

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I’m so pleased with it – not only did I manage to use up the remains of a perfectly good EPP block, I get to look at the pretty Liberty fabrics every day. And I don’t know about you, but I always find that doing little projects like this really help me get my sewing mojo back!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Anyways, lots to be getting on with. See you soon!

Sx

Today’s sky::: mostly blue with a few clouds, but quite chilly!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do sign-up to my newsletter to have updates and news sent to your inbox. And to see my patterns you can check out my Etsy shop here.

Tutorial – the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag

Tutorial – the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it, which helps to keep the blog running. Thank you.

Hello there! It’s been a bit quiet here hasn’t it – I’ve been away for a few days but did manage to put together a tutorial for the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag which I thought I’d share.  They go together really quickly and would make an ideal gift if you’re looking for some inspiration!

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I was inspired to make these after seeing some of the nifty make-up bags on the web – I figured they couldn’t be that hard to make! I’ve used a waterproof lining to protect it against any spillages and it can be chucked through a washing machine with ease! I think it could be used in so many different ways though – carrying around toys/snacks for a young child (this would have been so useful when my kids were little and I was looking for a clean surface for them to eat off of!!!!) or maybe even a project bag for some sewing or knitting?! So, shall we get on with how to make one……. 

Finished Size:  17″ diameter

Materials

  • 1 FQ for the Outer
  • 1 FQ of wadding
  • 1 FQ for the lining (I used ripstop which you can get in lots of fun designs)
  • 1 FQ for the cord casing
  • Cord (I used paracord)
  • Cord Stoppers (also available in lots of different colours!)

Preparing your fabrics

To start with, I made a template as I knew I wanted to make a few of these! I used an empty cereal box and, using a tape, measured 8.5″ from the corner up one straight edge. I then moved the outside edge of the measuring tape towards the other straight edge marking 8.5″ dashes at regular intervals. Join the marks to create an 8.5″ wide quarter circle. Cut out.

Use the template to cut out (1) outer fabric and (1) lining: fold the fabric in half, and then half again. Place the template on top, matching the straight edges with the folded edges of the fabric.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

TIP: if you are using ripstop, it can be quite slippery. After making a few of these bags, I have found that using wonder clips to secure the template to the ripstop in place gave a better result.  

For the cord casing, open out the FQ and press. The casing needs to be cut on the bias so that it will curve around the edge of the bag. To do this, cut a straight line at a 45* angle to the selvedge. Cut three strips 2″ wide. 

Take two strips and place the ends right side together. Sew. Repeat for the other strip. Press the seams open, before folding the casing wrong sides together matching the long edges. Press. Square of one end and cut the folded strip to a finished size of 54″.

Making the bag

Lay the outer fabric wrong side down on to the wadding and quilt as desired, I went for random wavy lines. Trim any excess wadding.

Take the cord casing and lay it right side down in front of you. Fold one end back (wrong sides together) by 3/8″ to create a hem and stitch. Repeat at the other end. 

Fold in half and place a pin on the central point. Fold in half again and place a pin so that you now have four quarters marked on your casing. Take the outer bag piece and fold in half, marking each side with a pin. Open out and then fold the pins together to match, placing a pin in the fold on each side again. 

Match the quarter marks of the circle with the quarter marks on the cord casing. Place the casing on the right side of the bag outer and pin in place matching the raw edges of the casing with the raw edge of the circle. Add extra pins if you would like. Sew around the circumference of the bag using a 1/8″ seam allowance.

Place the lining fabric right sides facing with the outer panel. If you are using ripstop, use clover clips to prevent marking of the fabric and secure in a few places. Start, securing the beginning stitches and using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around the edge of the bag, stopping when you are 3-4″ from where you started, leaving a gap for turning.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Pull the bag through the opening until it is the right way out.  On the outer side of the bag, fold in to position and pin in place (I don’t go through the lining so as to avoid pin marks on the ripstop).

Place the bag lining side up, and begin top-stitching around the edge – I like to start just after the opening and leave long thread tails so that I can knot and bury the threads.  If you take it slowly and pull the casing slightly as you work your way around the edge, you will get a lovely neat finish.

When you reach the turning-out gap, gently fold the raw edge of the lining under and stitch in place. Stop when you have completed stitching all around the bag. I like to pull the threads through to the front of the bag, knot and then bury the threads in the wadding.

Take the length of cord and trim to around 55″ – you may need to burn the ends to seal the threads and stop them unravelling. Place a safety pin through the cord close to one end, and begin to feed it through the casing.

Once the safety pin has been threaded all the way through the casing, feed the cord gently through a cord-stopper. I find it easier to thread through each end individually. Tie a knot with the two cord ends to prevent the cord stopper coming  off and Ta Dah!!!! You’re finished!!!

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To use the bag, pull the cords to gather it up, and the cord stopper to keep it closed. It will become easier to gather/open with continued use.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

These are quite quick to whip up – only a couple of hours – and a FQ can do the casing on at least three stash’n’go bags if you want to get in to production style sewing!

If you do make one of these, I’d love if you could use the hashtag #stashngobag so that I can see what you’ve made!

Back soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: mostly grey and very cold!!!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do sign-up to my newsletter to have updates and news sent to your inbox. And to see my patterns you can check out my Etsy shop here.

Zippy Pouch Along – finishing the Zippy Pouch!

Zippy Pouch Along – finishing the Zippy Pouch!

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it, which helps to keep the blog running. Thank you.

Hello! Are you ready for the finishing touches on your (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch?! The final step is adding the binding and, if you wish, a zipper pull.

I prefer a narrow binding of 2″ but if you like a thicker binding please alter to your own measurements. When attached the binding, it is important to remember that we are using a width of fabric strip around corners, so we need to ease the fabric in to get a nice smooth binding. I have found that the best way to do this, is by pinning the binding on from the front. Normally, I will pin in the centre of the curve first (where we marked for joining the front/zip band together) and then either side for the rest of the curve. 

Zippy Pouch Along - finishing the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To sew the binding in position, I will sew from the zip band side. This means that as I work my way around the corner I can stop, lift the presser foot and rearrange the fabric as I go to stop any bunching. When it comes to sewing across the bottom of the pouch, make sure to push the zip band/pouch down flat. Due to all the layers in the centre of the zip band, it is worth going slowly to achieve good stitching and save your machine needle! 

Zippy Pouch Along - finishing the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence
Zippy Pouch Along - finishing the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Fold the binding up and over towards the zip band. If you have added pockets, you may find it helps to trim some of the bulk out from the seams before wrapping the binding over. I slip stitch the binding in place, as I would for a quilt. 

Zippy Pouch Along - finishing the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

And Ta-Dah! You’re all done! If you would like, you can check out my Mini Macaron Zip Pull Tutorial or check out this tutorial for the fabric tassel that I added to this Not So Little Zippy Pouch. I’m even been looking at a few enamel pins which I think I’ll be adding to my Christmas wish list to put on the front, the bat is my favourite so far!!!! (click pics to find the makers!).

Enamel Pin ideas for quilters by fabricandflowers

I hope you’ve enjoyed this sew along and I can’t wait to see all your finished pouches. I have adjusted the timings slightly – all pictures posted by Midnight on the 4th December GMT using the hashtag #zippypouchalong will be eligible for the lovely prize from Rose Garden Patchwork, with the winner being announced on 5th December.

Don’t forget to follow @fabricandflowers and @rosegardenpatchwork and use the hashtag #zippypouchalong so that I can see all the fabulous pouches that you’re making! If you are looking for a copy of the pattern, check out my Etsy shop here. And please do sign-up to my newsletter if you would like any updates or news sent straight to your inbox.

S x

Today’s sky::: overcast, grey and raining. Boo!

Zippy Pouch Along – Joining the Pouch Together

Zippy Pouch Along – Joining the Pouch Together

Hello there and welcome back to the second part in the sew-along! By now, you should have all the different pieces of the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch (pattern available here) interfaced, quilted and pockets all made. Now, we’re going to join the zip band to the pocket/lining before sewing the two layers together.

Zippy Pouch Along - joining the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch together, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Adding the Pocket Sides to the Zip Pocket

When I attach the pocket side, I always like to start stitching at the bottom, working up towards the top.

I stitch until the needle runs off the end of the fabric, and then stitch forwards/backwards a couple of times. As the zip sits lower than the pocket side, it means that the zip is fitted very securely, the ends are completely hidden and everything is neat and tidy.

Joining the Zip Band to the Lining and Pockets

Sewing the pocket side to the zip band from the bottom of the piece will give better results. As the pocket side piece is angled, the first side sits nice and flat but the second piece will be a little bit bouncy! Pin in place – again starting at the bottom – before sewing to help keep everything in position!

Zippy Pouch Along - joining the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch together, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Sewing the bag together

This is probably the trickiest bit of the pattern to visualise – how do we bring it all together?! I did some videos on Instagram, some of which I have added below – click right to see – and will hopefully make it all seem a lot clearer!

If you would like to see all the video’s, then please check out the highlights ‘Zippy Pouch’ on my Instagram profile page @fabricandflowers.

Sewing the sides in positions

After basting the sides/pockets in place, we need to shape the corners. I trim around the template with a rotary cutter. Starting on one side, join the pouch together by matching corner mark with the corresponding mark on the zip band. Pinning from the front of the pouch will help to ensure that the fabric isn’t bunching up. Once the corners are in place, pin the rest of the seam in place.

When sewing together, I sew from the zip band side, to make sure that none of the fabric bunches on this side either! Take it slowly sewing around the corner, stopping to lift the presser foot and rearrange the fabric if needed, helps to give a smooth finish to the corner.

Zippy Pouch Along - joining the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch together, pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

And that’s it for today! Come back next time when I’ll share my tips for adding and stitching the binding!

Zippy Pouch Along timings

Don’t forget to follow @fabricandflowers and @rosegardenpatchwork and use the hashtag #zippypouchalong so that I can see all the fabulous pouches that you’re making! If you are looking for a copy of the pattern, check out my Etsy shop here. And please do sign-up to my newsletter if you would like any updates or news sent straight to your inbox.

Let me know if you have any questions – have a great weekend sewing!

S x

Today’s sky::: grey and cold. Brrrrrr!