wall-hanging – step by step

A step-by-step following a request by restingwhippet . . . I hope it might be useful to a few other people too.  A “how to” make a wall-hanging, which I always find is a nifty way to finish off some of those small cross stitch projects we finish and stuff in a drawer.

I give no specific measurements, and I have assumed you have some basic knowledge of sewing.  Measurements will depend on the size of your project.  You’ll need a couple of fabrics that blend or contrast nicely with your cross stitch, some wadding/batting, cutting tools, sewing maching, sewing threads , some kind of wooden rod (I’ve used a Chinese chopstitck) and your faithful iron.

The first most important thing (and this is going to sound silly, but it isn’t) is to wash & iron your cross stitch piece to get rid of all creases, then slice it to size.  I leave a 3/4” border so that when sewn, my central panel with have a 1/2” border (it hasn’t been cut down to size in the first photo).  Then I always take time to place on possible fabrics and stand back, because you want to set off the cross stitch, without it being over-powered by the fabric.

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I was originally going to use the dark turquoise (lower left) as my main fabric, but it seemed to dominate too much

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So, as you’ll see, I went with a lighter one. 

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First step is to cut two bands for the sides.  Mine are 3” wide because my central panel is only about 6” square.  Lining up edges, right sides together, you sew a seam using a 1/4” foot (if you have one).

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I forgot to take a photo of next stage (oops) but . . . you press out both sides then cut 2 bands as long as your new width for top & bottom.  Again, you line up edges, right sides together and sew using a 1/4” seam.  Then press.

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Here’s mine, so far, just lying on fabrics ready to choose binding & backing fabric.  You’ll notice I have used a 3” band on the top, but a lot wider on the bottom.  The width of your fabric bands depends entirely on what you want, and also on how much fabric you have.  I was using a long quarter and needed to keep my pattern going the same way, so I cut 3” for the top and added 7” to the bottom.

I chose the solid turquoise for my backing fabric. So next stage is to cut a piece of backing fabric & wadding the same size as the front panel.  Make a sandwich: front panel (right side up), wadding, backing fabric (right side down).  Pin your sandwich if you need to, to keep layers from slipping, and back to the sewing machine. 

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I use my walking foot and sew a border, about 1/4” inside, onto my cross stitch fabric.  Cross stitch fabric is usually heavier and more rigid than patchwork cotton, so this just keeps the central square nice and flat before the quilting part.  You can miss out the quilting part, if your wall-hanging is only small, but it does give it a more “finished” look.  Still with walking foot, therefore, some simple quilting (but avoiding the cross stitched piece).

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And then you square up your piece.  You can keep your top with 90° corners, like this, or you can decide to alter the shape slightly.  I decided to slice off bottom corners for a pointy finish.

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And kept one of the triangles, sliced in half again for the back.  Now it’s time for binding.  I always make my own, but you can use shop bought binding.  For my binding, I cut a long band 2 and 1/4” wide, (length needed is going to depend on the size of your quilted piece) and pressed in half to have a length 1 and 1/8” wide.  I added a short strip of this binding along the long side of both triangles.  Then pinned into place.

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Then, turning my hanging over, I sew the binding (raw edges lined up with raw edges) onto the front of my piece, taking care to fold and turn at each angle.  I go back to my 1/4” foot for this but some people prefer to use the walking foot or the normal sewing foot.

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Front & back views after machine sewing the binding.  And then it’s time for some hand-sewing, folding the binding towards the back.

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The advantage of these little pockets on the back . . . it makes for an easy hanging system.  I have slid a wooden chop stick into place.  It will stop the hanging from drooping in the centre. 

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You can then add a little loop of ribbon, to hang.  And, if you want to add  a tassle for embellishment . . .

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Voilà! 

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tissue pouch – step-by-step

I said I’d do a step-by-step article, to show those interested how to make a very quick & easy fabric tissue pouch cover.  One that looks like the following.

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I made mine using a 1/4” seam allowance (that’s the patchworker in me) if you plan on using a wider seam allowance, then you’ll need to adjust measurements in order for pouch to fit a standard packet of tissues.  Here’s what you’ll need.

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Two rectangles of lining fabric: 18cm x 9cm;  two rectangles of outer fabric, also 18 x 9cm; one piece of outer fabric approx 6cm x 9cm; one metal clasp and one pair of plastic poppers (you can also use velcro, sew-on poppers or a button & button hole if you prefer).

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Begin by placing your 4 larger rectangles one on top of the other to make a sandwich placing on the work surface (in order) print right side up, lining fabric right side down, lining fabric right side up, print right side down.

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Using a paper template with corners snipped off (as above) place the template on the 4 thicknesses of fabric and slice off angles.

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Separate the fabric so you have 2 matching pairs of print & lining and make sure the print is right side facing (right side of )lining.

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You’re going to sew a 1/4” seam ONLY along the top edges: angle, across the centre and second angle.  Do the same on both sets of fabric.

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You then turn that pointy end out, using your finger (or something not too pointy) to press out the tip as neatly as possible.  And press seams flat.   While the iron is hot, with the small rectangle of fabric, you make the “loop strap” by pressing in half  (keeping the 9cm length), then pressing in edges to the crease (see photo at the end of this post), and sewing 2 seams along the edges.

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For the assembly part . . . place your 2 pouch pieces one on top of the other (right sides together) so you can only see lining fabric on both sides.  Your loop and clasp will need to put in place at this point.  Slip the strip of fabric into the ring of clasp, fold in half.  Then place it inside the sandwich of your 2 pouch sides, with the clasp inside and the edges of strip just visible on the edge.

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You then sew around 3 sides of the pouch (not the opening), with a 1/4” seam.  I reinforced stitches at edges of the opening and across the loop fabric.  And forgot to take a photo of my seams.

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Once those seams are sewn, slice off the edges of loop to avoid excess bulk and turn your pouch the right way out.  I gave mine a quick press, at this stage, before adding the plastic popper.

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That way, I aligned the edges of opening, and used the point of my thread ripper to make a very small puncture hole.

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Simply sticking the point through both layers on both sides of the pouch – that way I am certain the poppers will line up.  You then insert the popper pieces like you would a pair of stud earrings and squeeze with the pliers.

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With the measurements given, and 1/4” seam this should give you a pouch that is a good fit for a standard packet of 10 paper tissues.  You could probably get away with fabric being slightly shorter length ways, but the 9cm for width is as snug as you can go.

Final photo of a quick sketch (to clarify any questions you might have).

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Not to scale, but to show you the basic shape you want for the body of the pouch.  And to show the crease lines you want to iron onto the small rectangle to make the loop strip.

zippy fun – how to

Way back in February, I showed you a monster zippy pouch I had made, following a pattern in a French magazine.

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I then went on to make more of the same, in different colours . . . and they were so much fun, I made some more!  Now, I don’t want to write a full-flung tutorial, since I don’t want to infringe on any copyright.  But I thought, I could at least show you some step-by-step photos, in case you were tempted to try this yourself.  I sewed by machine, but these could be sewn by hand, if you don’t have a machine.

I won’t give measurements, since it all depends on what size zip you use.  I’ll just say that I used a 5” zip and an A4 sized piece of felt for my main colour. Here is how easy it is.

First . . . you’ll need a zip, one piece of contrasting felt, a small piece of white felt cut into 2 circles (I cut mine free hand), two buttons, and (optional) a short length of ribbon.  I cut my felt in half, and then one of those halves in half again.

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Don’t forget to open the zip before sewing front to back (right sides together) so you can turn it the right way out.

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Next, you play around with your buttons.  Depending on where you place them, you can totally change the expression of your zippy monster . . . like this

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like this

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or like this

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I find these zippy pouches great fun to make.  They’re quick and inexpensive to make . . . and I think they make fun gifts.

the “lean green runner bean”

My 14 year old niece, a budding musician, received an electronic piano for Christmas from her parents, and asked if Auntie Claire could make a patchwork keyboard cover.  Auntie Claire said she would give it a go . . . and asked “what colour would you like?”  The answer “Green”.

So, with that in mind, plus the dimensions of keyboard (14cm x 129cm) I put on my thinking cap.  “Green” covers such a vast range of shades, but I wanted to make something bright & fun, so I ordered in some of the “Dot Dot Dash” Moda range.  The hardest task was deciding on a pattern – something so long and thin needed quite small pieces, if I wanted to have a repeat effect . . . so I did a couple of sketches, a little bit of maths, and decided to do a braid, but in two segments, with a mirror effect in the centre.

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The following will be obvious to experienced patchworkers, but I decided to take photos as I went, to show any newbies how easy this design was to achieve.

I wanted my bands to measure 1.5” when sewn, so I cut 2” white strips and sewed to my greens (green fabric was almost 10” deep)

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and sliced that into 2” bands so that I had my strips ready for the front of the patchwork.

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I could have cut at 45° to avoid wastage, but I prefered to cut at 90° and worry about squaring up my edges at the end.

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It was then a question of sewing things together in the correct order, from right to left, and then repeating.  I started with a white 5” square on the far right for my centre.

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I made my “runner” in two halves and then simply decided on a “cut” line across the 5” square on both sides, which I then sewed together to make my centre.  And added extra white triangles to each end to give myself more than the required width.

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I then batted and backed before quilting

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And then cut everything to size before adding white binding.

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I kept the brighter, dot fabric for the back . . . but it’s the front I prefer.

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And here it is . . .my “Lean Green Runner Bean” –  the perfect size.  The very bright greens and crisp white making a lovely modern contrast against the black of the electronic piano.

a spooky sewing session

I’ve been doing some spooky sewing.  I bought a couple of stash packs a while ago: Timeless Treasures Glow in the Dark, from Pelenna Patchworks (one of my favourite on-line shops) and October seemed the ideal time to cut into them!

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First photo only shows you four of the prints in the pack.

I decided to document my sewing as I went.  I don’t profess to be any more than an enthusiastic amateur, but I thought some visitors might be interested to see how to make quick triangles (if they don’t already know).    So . . . I cut my fabric into 5” squares (and cheated, having bought some pre-cut white charms).

Next, I traced a line at 45° on each white square

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Then placing two squares right sides together I chain pieced my pile of squares, sewing 1/4” to the left of my line.

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Having a furry helper doesn’t make the job any easier, as fabric begins to mount up on the other side of the machine, but when you have cats, you adapt ^^

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Once the first seams were sewn, I snipped threads, and sewed the second seam, on the other side of my traced line.  Chain piecing again because it really is a time saver.

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Then it was time to cut along the pen line to obtain triangles

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And then iron fabric open, being sure to iron seams towards the dark fabric

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You can see the 6 different prints here – all very hallowe’eny ^^  However, I decided that, for the quilt I have in mind, the ghost print doesn’t quite fit in.  I’ve kept them to one side for a different project – they will not be wasted.  I had 16 new squares in each print . . . so then assembled into pinwheels.  The advantage of ironing seams to the darker fabric meant that seams were all lying the correct way for the pinwheel assembly stage.  It was Avis who explained to me the importance of seam direction – she walked me through my first pinwheel blocks and continues to offer encouragment and advice ^^

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This is the third time I’ve made pinwheels and I really enjoyed myself.  I knew exactly what I was doing so there was no anxiety or “what will go wrong?”.  What was new for me this time though, was keeping to a very limited colour range: black, white and a splash of red.

I love the fabrics!  The brightest fabric has little red spiders

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And I also love the skulls

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These fabrics are glow in the dark, so the white is more a creamy white than pure white, but I chose pure white for my solid fabric to really contrast with the black.

Next stage will be sashing.  However that won’t be just yet, as I have other projects demanding my attention.

quick & easy tree decorations

I’ve got blisters on my blisters, all because of my darn pinking shears, but it’s all for a good cause!  Title says it all . . . I’ve been a busy bee and begun my annual xmas decoration workshop.   I say annual – it didn’t happen last year because of the house-moving but for 2015 I’m back on track.

I thought you might be interested to see how I go about things, although it’s all very simple. So took photos along the way.  First, (for those of you who are new to my xmas decorations) . . . I don’t send out Christmas cards.  It’s been quite a few years, in fact, since I sent xmas cards, as I prefer to send out little tree decorations.  I’ve used different techniques over the years, but what is really important for me is to have something flat & light, so it can be posted as a letter . . . and because my address book is quite full,  it also has to be something quick & easy to make.  I avoid anything too fussy, and don’t add embellishments, but that’s because I worry it would clog up the automated postal machines.  Charms, buttons, etc could easily be added to make these decorations a bit more special.

The following is a technique I’ve used for several years. The only things that differ from year to year are the fabrics. Yep, even xmas fabrics go in and out of fashion, so each annual batch is made with a new lot of fabrics.

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These cat prints, for example, are a few years old and were hiding in the bottom of my drawer, so I’ll use them to explain how I do things.  First, therefore, you need some pretty xmas fabric.  If you can find “vignettes” like these then great, if not other prints will do.  I iron my fabric onto to iron-on interfacing  and then slice up

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Then (and this is the blister part) I cut down to size with pinking shears.

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If you can’t find these vignette type prints, then an option is to use xmasy print and make your own template . . . a heart, for example

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Very easy to draw on the wrong side, even on dark fabric, because of the interfacing.

Cut out (I did that again with pinking shears).

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You’re going to need felt.  Since it’s Christmas, I tend to go for traditional xmas colours, which match my fabrics and won’t look out of place in a tree . . . and you’re going to need ribbon.

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I cut mine into pieces, all ready to grab a length . . . I like variety, which explains the lot here ^^  Even though I’m “mass producing” my decorations, I do like each one to be unique.

Next part is simply to sew a fabric piece to a bit of felt, remembering to fold the ribbon in half and slide the two raw ends between the fabric and felt.  I like to match my thread to the felt colour, which means it doesn’t necessarily match the fabric on the front.

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Felt doesn’t need to be this big, since it’s going to be trimmed down to size

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And same thing with the heart shape

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You could use a proper appliqué stitch – I just whizzed around with a straight stitch.

So there you have it.  I can’t give you any sizes since it all depends on your fabric and what shape you want to make. The essentials you’ll need are: xmasy fabric, iron-on interfacing, felt, ribbon, thread and a pair of scissors or pinking shears.

I’ve made around 50 so far Rire  and that was with green thread in my machine and green felt.  I’m now off to change green for red, and start making some more.

And, just for fun . . . here are photos of batches from previous years . . . in 2013

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in 2012

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in 2011

more getting ready for xmas

There’s no stopping me lol . . . another piece of printed Christmas fabric and some more tree decorations to share with you. This time, I had my camera to hand for step by step photos though, so you get the enjoy my entire creative session.

First of all . . . a piece of fabric with lots of nice printed squares . . . so I cut out  squares and lengths of ribbon.

Folded ribbon to make “loop” and pinned to centre of one piece, making sure it was hanging down with edges of ribbon on edge of fabric.

Next (and this is something I learned from patchwork club) . . . in order to make sure pieces were properly aligned, I placed fabric right-side together and stuck a pin in each corner or one fabric square, then into corners of the second fabric square. If corners are spot on then all sides will be aligned too.  (Also moved the pins holding ribbon so that pins were all on one side.

First part of assembly was to sew three sides of the square. I did this by machine because it’s so much quicker, but of course, it can be done by hand. The main thing is to remember to leave one side open. I chose to keep the “bottom” open so began stiching with my open end (with ribbon showing) away from me and just zoomed round 3 sides. (sorry about bad lighting)

Next step was to cut off odd straggling threads, turn inside out (making sure to push corners out properly, stuff lightly and fold fabric in at the opening before pinning

Then, with a thread that matched fabric, a quick whip-stitch to close the last seam, and voilà

I had something of a production line going this morning, having allocated myself 2 hours sewing time and since I had 18 fabric squares, I made up nine of these decorations but of course I could have made 18 if I’d used a plain fabric for the backing lol.