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

How to Plan a Quilt Colour Scheme

So, I started writing instructions for the Mini Charm Medallion tutorial, when it occurred to me: if you have been reading through the #QuiltingTheory series, and about to start your first project, you might be wondering where to start with fabrics and colours.

Today we’re going to look at how to identify the colours and style that you like, using a free app to ‘colour in’ a quilt plan and translating that into fabric.

How to plan a quilt colour scheme using a digital colouring app with tutorial for the Mini Charm Medallion by fabricandflowers

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

How to Choose Colours for a Quilt

I remember back when I started quilting, one of the things I was most fascinated/apprehensive about was putting colours together…..it seemed like a magical art (and sometimes, still does!)!

There is lots of information available on Colour Theory – and I am far from an expert.

Planning colour schemes for quilts by fabricandflowers

If you want to learn more about Colour Theory, I can highly recommend the Quilt Colour Workshop. It is a great book which talks you through the colour wheel, colour relationships and tonal relationships, as well as including some fabulous projects!

Having said all that, my top tip would be to go with what makes your heart sing! Try not to get too bogged down by the rules of what should and shouldn’t go together. Have a look on Pinterest/Instagram to see what quilts jump out at you and really look at them;

  • Do they have similar designs, use of colour, or fabric/colour combinations?

Once you’ve identified some common elements, try introducing some of these to your quilt. With each project, you will become more colour confident and soon will be throwing fabrics together with reckless abandonment!!!

For me, I love making projects that are high contrast (normally between background and ‘feature’ fabrics) using textured/tone on tone fabric and quite geometric designs.

Collage of quilt projects by fabricandflowers

To be honest, I didn’t really think I had a preference until I put together a collage of makes for a magazine – at which point I realised there were quite a few similarities!!! – so it’s quite a good exercise.

Choosing Fabrics and Colours

Pre-cuts/bundles are a great starting point if you are new to quilting as they provide a range of colours and patterns that play together nicely. To make a bigger project – such as the Mini Charm Medallion Tutorial – you can add coordinating background fabric.

How to plan a quilt colour scheme using a digital colouring app with tutorial for the Mini Charm Medallion by fabricandflowers

If you are using a candy charm pack, it’s a good idea to lay out all the squares to get an idea of what colours you have – quite often there will be duplicate prints within the pack.

Planning a Quilt Colour Scheme

One of the tools I often use when planning a quilty project is Recolor – Coloring Book, available as a free download through the Apple iTunes store.

It allows you to upload your own images to colour in. It’s a great way of quickly trying out different colour combinations to see what works!

If you’ve not used it before, here is what you will need to do after downloading the app;

You can now open the Planner Sheet image and chose ‘continue colouring’.

Tutorial for how to use a free colouring app for planning a quilt colour scheme and layout by fabricandflowers

In the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, you will see some little coloured dots – if you click on this, you can select the style of colours to use. Images tend to automatically open with ‘gradient’ whereas I prefer ‘solids’.

How to plan a quilt colour scheme using a free digital colouring app with tutorial by fabricandflowers

Chose the colour that you would like to use from the bottom menu (you can swipe across the bottom to choose different colours) and a little white dot will appear in the colour that you have chosen. Now, place a finger on the section of the picture where you would like that colour to go. And play until your heart’s content!

Colour Scheme Plans in Action

Having looked through the candy charm pack of fabrics, using the planner sheet (sign up to my Newsletter for a free copy) and having had a play with different colour layouts, I had decided on a rainbow center and outside, and a neutral second border (as there were conveniently 14 neutral squares in my pack!).

However, what looks good on the screen, sometimes still needs a little fine tuning when it comes to fabric! My initial pull just wasn’t quite right…

How to plan a quilt colour scheme using a digital colouring app with tutorial for the Mini Charm Medallion by fabricandflowers

I was really happy with the light-dark (tonal) graduation that I had with the purple and blue. The orange and yellow didn’t work as well, for me: the orange was too dark and the yellow jarred against the green. So I tried a couple of other squares and was much happier with the final layout.

Join me for the next post when we will be starting the Mini Charm Medallion Cushion Tutorial – if you would like to take part, all you need is one candy charm pack (or 41 2.5″ squares) and one fat quarter for the background.

And if you would like to try out your colour schemes, please join my Newsletter and get sent a free copy of the Quilt Planner sheet.

S x

Today’s sky::: overcast and raining. 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 plan a quilt colour scheme using a free digital colouring app for the Mini Charm Medallion by fabricandflowers

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.

Tutorial – the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag

Hello there! I’ve been away for a few days but have put together a drawstring bag tutorial which I’m calling the Stash’n’Go bag.  It’s a really simple DIY pattern that sews together quickly, and would make an ideal gift if you’re looking for some inspiration!

The StashnGo drawstring bag tutorial by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

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

I was inspired to make these after seeing some of the nifty make-up bags on the web – often called lay and go make-up bags. I love that it opens up to lay completely flat allowing you to see everything!

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…….

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!)

Finished Size:  17″ diameter

Make a Template

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.

Preparing your fabrics

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 (3) strips 2″ wide. 

  • Take two (2) strips and place the ends right side together. Sew. Repeat for the other strip. Press the seams open.
  • Fold the casing wrong sides together, matching the long edges. Press.
  • Square off 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’ve finished your drawstring bag!!!

The StashnGo drawstring bag tutorial 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. Don’t forget, you can check out my other tutorials here!

Back soon, 

S x

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

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.