20 February 2017

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt ~ Introduction

I'm so excited to today to finally reveal my next 'A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Home Sweet Home'! Thank you so much for baring with me, I know I've been sharing sneaky peeks of this on social media for what seems like months!

Just like I did for the Christmas Sew Along, I'll be sharing the FREE pattern along with step by step instructions on how to make it,in weekly blog posts starting on Friday 3rd March....... how does that sound?

For my version I have used a gorgeous combination of Essex Linen, Mochi Dots, Frou Frou Cotton Lawns, Chambray and Woven Wool......PLUS I've added some pretty lace, velvet ribbon and a shell button.....so it has lots of interesting textures and the colours are so lovely and rich.......perfect for some winter stitches!

The finished quilt measures 15" square.

I know many of you have already pre-ordered a kit, which, with the exception of the threads, contains all the fabric, trims, wadding and backing fabric required to make your own version, just like mine.  If you contacted me to reserve one of these, expect an email from me later today.   Don't worry if you haven't pre-ordered, we will have a some additional kits available to order HERE.  These will all be posted later this week.

Obviously this project would also be an excellent opportunity to do some scrap busting, so go and gather!  Cutting instructions will follow in the first Sew Along post on the 3rd.

All of the hand stitches on mine were made using Aurifil Lana Wool, which if you haven't used before is a dream to sew with.  I use it for all my wool felt projects too.

I have put together a Thread Pack which contains the 11 colours I used and I'll also list all the individual thread colours in the Scrummy Supplies list at the bottom of this post, so if you already have some in your stash, you can add them seperately.  I do appreciate they are an investment, but rest assured, once you've tried them there is no looking back.  Embroidery floss, would be a great alternative.
For those of you who have followed me for a while, will remember some of these appliques from my Little Kitten Homemade days.  The little toadstool house was one my best sellers and I really enjoyed recreating this version in woven wool rather than in wool felt.  (If you're stash busting and don't have any woven wool....don't worry, wool felt would look fab!)

So what's woven wool? I hear you ask.......... it's best described as a piece of fabric, with a weft and warp, just like normal cotton fabrics, but rather than cotton is made from 100% wool thread.  When it arrives at the shop it is gorgeously soft and would be lovely to use for many sewing projects......but to make it suitable for applique as in this project, it needs washing and drying to turn it into felted wool.  For all the kits that we're selling, I have carefully washed and dried the wool it at home so it's soft and plump and good to go!   The biggest difference for me between woolfelt and woven wool and what makes it aesthetically pleasing, is that it retains the woven texture and whilst it has been felted, there is still a teeny weeny bit of fraying caused by the threads, but for me this just adds to the charm!

So here's the schedule........

Week 1 ~ Friday 3rd March ~ Cutting Instructions and Piecing the Background
Week 2 ~ Friday  10th March ~ Appliques and Embroidery
Week 3 ~ Friday 17th March ~ Finishing Touches

Obviously the aim of the Sew Along as always is to have fun and whilst there is a schedule by all means sew along at your own pace!  Don't worry, this will be a FREE project in the sew along section on the Blog HERE so you can return to it at any time.

As promised, here's a list of the SCRUMMY SUPPLIES I used:

'Home Sweet Home' kits (excluding threads) can be found HERE
I used Aurifil 50wt thread in #2311 to piece my background and can be found HERE
Lana Wool Thread packs can be found HERE
Individual Lana Wool Threads can be found HERE, I used the following colours: #8328 #8083 #8730 #8762 #8950 #8965 #8240 #8225 #8442 #8552 #8551
The Heart Hanger I used to display my mini can be found HERE

I hope you fancy stitching along with me!

14 February 2017

A little happy Tutorial (of sorts!) ~ Tilda Bumblebee Heart Mini Quilt

Oh what fun I had last night.  I decided late afternoon to finally cut into some of the new Tilda Bumblebee fabrics that I had bought home from the shop.  It's such a pretty collection don't you agree?

For my little project, I picked some of the lovely green and pink fabrics and then added in an Essential Dot by Moda and a Ticking Stripe from Bespoke Blooms by Brenda Riddle (also an extremely pretty collection!)

As this was a rather spur of the moment make I didn't take any 'in progress' photo's, but I thought you may like to know how I made it, so I thought I would talk you through the steps..... hopefully it will make sense!

From each of the 6 fabrics I had chosen, I cut a 10" long strip, but I varied the width of each.  I've given the width measuresment that I cut them at below......

With RST, I then sewed the strips together along the 10" length edge.  I then made a large heart template from some A4 paper, which I traced on to some light weight interfacing (I use Vilene L11 30).  I then placed this on to the right side of the fabric strips, machine stitched on the drawn line, and then cut out the heart, allowing for a rough 1/4" seam allowance all round.  More pictures and details on this process can be found in THIS BLOG POST.

Once turned through, I then machine sewed some pretty lace across the heart, allowing a little excess (aprox 1/2") either side, which I tucked under, when I appliqued it to a 12 1/2" square of background fabric, which by the way, was Essex Linen in Natural.

Once layered up with wadding and backing fabric, I hand quilted around the outside and across the heart in 3 places.  For this I used Aurifil 12wt in a pretty Teal shade #2845, which picked up on the teal Bumblebees and flowers rather nicely. 

To finish, I added some pretty vintage Mother of Pearl buttons from my stash and before adding the binding (which was a super crosshatch gingham, again by Brenda Riddle) I sewed some more cotton lace around the edge.

There you go, a really easy and super quick project.  I'm thinking how lovely would a quilt be made up of lots of these 12" blocks or maybe make the background fabric a little larger and turn it in to a cushion/pillow....must resist...must resist.........I hope that my instructions make sense, but as always if you have any questions, please do not hestitate to ask!

Scrummy Supplies

This really would be a great project for hitting that overflowing scrap basket, but if you fancy making one like mine, I've put together a pretty money saving fabric bundle which includes a FQ of the 7 fabrics I used to piece the front, plus a Long Quarter of the Binding fabric.   You can find this on the website HERE.

The full collection of Tilda Bumblebee, can be found HERE.

The 12wt thread I used can be found HERE and I had 50wt Aurifil in Muslin #2311 in machine which I used for both the piecing and quilting, you can find that HERE.

and for pretty lace, take a peek HERE.

That's it for now, see you again soon!

9 February 2017

Farm Girl Vintage ~ Baby Chick Mini Quilt


As you know, I like to juggle lots of balls..... owning a quilt shop, pattern writing, block of the month prep, sew along prep, just a 'few' long term sewing wips and obviously and most importantly being a wife and mum.......whilst it is extremely good fun and believe me I wouldn't change a thing, every now and then I need a little 'me' time.  'Me' time normally means me saying that I'm going to my sewing room for an hour and only disturb me if there is an emergency (and can I just clarify that "mum I'm hungry, what is there to eat?" does not count as an emergency!).

Last week, I was in need of some 'me' time and fancied a quick project.  After making a cup of tea, grabbing a biscuit (don't judge) and perusing the book shelf, I pulled out the always fabulous 'Farm Girl Vintage' book by Lori Holt and decided to make up the Baby Chick block in the 12" size.   It's been on my radar to use the 'Chicken Wire' fabric from Farm Fun by Stacy Iest Hsu for Moda Fabrics since it arrived and could there be a more perfect block?  I also chose some cheery ditsy florals and blenders and away I went.  The block came together really quickly and to finish, I added a 1" border all round.

I decided to machine quilt in a cross hatch.  To do this, I used my Hera Marker to make a diagonal line from each corner to corner as my starting point and then quilted at 1 1/4" intervals using the quilt guide attached to my walking foot.

Once machine quilted, I felt it needed a 'little' something extra, so I added a smidge of hand quilting around the heart, for this I used Aurifil 12wt in red #2250.  I also used the brown 12wt #2360 to embroider the legs.

All in all I felt 'much' better after a little 'me' time!

Scrummy Supplies

If you fancy making one like mine, I've put together a pretty money saving fabric bundle which includes a FQ of the 6 fabrics I used to piece the front, plus a Long Quarter of the Binding fabric.   You can find this on the website HERE.  I know from emails that this is something that you've asked for, rather than having to add them separately to your basket, so I hope you like this.

We've also had a restock of the fabulous book, which you can find HERE.

The 12wt threads can be found HERE and I had 50wt Aurifil in Muslin #2311 in machine which I used for both the piecing and quilting, you can find that HERE.

For the eye I used a Black button from my button jar, but THESE ONES are very similar.

Find a Clover Hera Marker HERE.

I hope that you have a wonderful few days full of Happy Stitches!

27 January 2017

Happy Flower Quilts Blog Hop

Thank you for joining me today for my stop on the Happy Flower Quilts Blog Tour.  I really am SO excited to share my make from the book.  I have been a huge fan of Atsuko Matsuyama for many years and I have coveted collection of her pretty fabrics in my stash. It is true, I regularly do that classic thing of looking and stroking them rather than cutting in to them....you do know where I am coming from, don't you?!  So you can understand when I say that I was extremely excited when I heard on the grapevine that Zakka Workshops were publishing an English version of the elusive 'pink book' and even more excited to discover an email from the lovely Lindsay at Zakka Workshop advising:

  1. That in addition to Lindsay, Kristyne Czuperyk from Pretty By Hand, (one of my favourite bloggers), is one of the technical editors....so I just knew it was going to be good
  2. That my Quilt Shop 'Pretty Fabrics and Trims' is listed as one of the resources in the book....and
  3. That they asked me....yes me... to be on the Blog tour
I must confess that I whooped extremely loudly ....so much so that even my nearly teenage son, raised his head from his tablet to ask if I was ok.....those with nearly teenage children will know that it is no mean feat to draw their attention away from gadgetry!

Before I share more information on my make, I just wanted to clarify that 'Sew Flower Quilts and Gifts' is the UK edition of the book and is, with the exception of the front cover, exactly the same as 'Happy Flower Quilts'.

As you can see, I chose to make the Windmill Passport Case from Page 23.  I decided to embrace my inner Atsuko and with the exception of machine sewing the binding to the front and the lace trims, I  hand sewed all of it, which was just so relaxing.

The first step was to make my templates for the windmill block.  For those without a copy of the book, these are provided on pull out sheets at the back.  Having run of template plastic at home, I simply traced these on to Freezer paper which I ironed on to a cereal box and then cut out.   I then removed the freezer paper and in addition to labelling them (A, B,C & D) as per the pattern, I also marked the outer four right angle corners and finally their individual placement within the block (e.g on piece A, I marked the two inner sides that butted up against pieces B & C).

The hand sewing method requires you to draw around the template (which excludes the seam allowance) on to the wrong side of the fabric.  Then you cut out and at this point include a 1/4" seam allowance..... I must admit that I eyeballed my seam allowance and cut out using scissors.   I used a Frixion pen to mark.  None of this process is difficult, but there are a couple things to bare in mind........

Remember that because the shapes for the windmill block are irregular, you need to make sure that the template is placed right side down on the wrong side of the fabric.  This would not be necessary if for example, you were cutting out a square or a hexie where there is no obvious right or wrong way.

You also need to ensure that the template is placed allowing for the correct grain line of the fabric. On the Windmill templates I established this from marking the right angle corner on each of the four templates.  Effectively what is either the right or left hand side of each template i.e above or below the right angle corner (marked by the circle) is what I used to position in line with the fabric grain/selvedge....hopefully these pictures and the explanation below will help...

On picture one, you can clearly see the markings I talked about, but the placement is wrong because the template is right side up.

On picture two, the template is right side down (correct), but it has been placed without thought for the grain line of the fabric (wrong).

On the third picture, the template is right side down (correct) and has been placed allowing for the grain line...see how one of the outer edge below the right angle corner (in the circle) is running parallel to the selvedge.  I also allowed space around all 4 edges for the 1/4" seam allowance

The 4th picture shows the clear lines left by the Frixion pen which I used to draw around the template.  You want to be able to see these lines when it comes to sewing the pieces together.

On the fifth picture I've turned the fabric to the right side, with the template on top so you can see how the placement on the third and fourth picture translates once you have cut out the shape.  This also shows the added 1/4" seam allowance.

Sorry, I didn't take any in progress photo's of how I sewed the templates together, but you will find some very good instructions with photographs in the book.  Here's the finished outer cover before I quilted it.  I love how all the drawn lines match up.  If you have never hand sewed using this method, I really urge you to give it a go!

I pretty much followed the instructions word for word, my only deviation being to omit the inner case lining.  The pattern calls for the outer cover to be layered (windmill piece / wadding / backing fabric) and then once quilted..... (I hand quilted the cover using Aurifil 50 wt in a very pretty pale pink #2410) .... you then add a separate inner case lining which is what you effectively see under the pockets.  I decided to use the quilted piece as is and have my quilting visible from the inside rather than have this additional lining.

When it came to the pockets there were templates (minus seam allowances) provided for these too.  With the exception of Pocket C, which has the curved upper edge, rather than using these, for the pockets that were simple rectangles, I simply measured the templates, added on a seam allowance and used my quilting ruler and rotary cutter to cut these out.
I couldn't resist adding a little fabric label which I made using a rubber stamp I had in my stash and stamping on to some linen. I ironed this to 'set' the ink and used light weight interfacing (Vilene L11 30) to turn it in to an applique.

I used a mix of Lecien fabrics from the shop, I love how all their collections mix together so prettily!

All in all, it took me a couple of evenings and a Saturday afternoon when I got home from work to make and every stitch was extremely enjoyable.  I can not wait to see what my fellow bloggers make, they're all so ridiculously talented.....here's the schedule which includes their instagram accounts and blog names:

23    Kristyn    @prettybyhand     prettybyhand.com   
25 Lisa         @aspoonfulsugar aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com
27 Sarah @prettyfabrictrims alittlehappyplace.blogspot.co.uk
30 Minki @zeriano      minkikim.com
1 Heidi @fabricmutt fabricmutt.blogspot.com
3 Clara @claralovestosew Instagram Only
6 Ange @alittlepatchwork alittlepatchwork.wordpress.com
8 Erin         @whynotsewquilts whynotsew.blogspot.com
10 Lauren @transientart transientart.com
13 Sedef @downgrapevinelane downgrapevinelane.com
15 Ayda @cafenohut cafenohut.blogspot.com
17 Renee @sewnwithgrace sewnwithgrace.com
20 Heather @vintagegreyhandmade vintagegreyhandmade.blogspot.com
22 Melissa @ohhowsweetco ohhowsweet.com
24 Greg @greydogwoodstudio greydogwoodstudio.com
27 Stacy @stacyolsondesign stacyolsondesign.com
1 Wynn @zakkaart zakkaart.blogspot.com

You can also search using the hashtags: #happyflowerquilts & #happyflowerqal

Oh and have you heard, there's going to be a Quilt Along starting on the 6th March  to make the uber gorgeous Sampler Quilt from the book.  The Quilt along is being co-hosted by Kristyn at Pretty by Hand, Wynn at Zakka Art and Melissa at Oh How Sweet .... so if you haven't got a copy of the book already,  go and get one...you will not be disappointed. (Don't forget friends, there are copies on my website HERE)

In addition, Zakka Workshop are generously giving away a copy of Happy Flower Quilts by Atsuko Matsuyama, to my readers. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and tell me 'what is your number one project on your wish list to make'......Big or Small I'd love to hear.  The Giveaway is open Worldwide until the 17th February 2017* . The winner will be announced here on this post, (I'll also try to contact you by email, so make sure is poss that you're not a No Reply commenter) so make sure you pop back and check. Good Luck!


I'll be announcing the winner on Moday...yay.

I hope you enjoyed reading this VERY long post and found it helpful.  Thank you again for visiting!

20 January 2017

Block of the Month ~ 'A Little Happy Christmas!' ~ The Big Reveal!

Ta da.........  I am so happy to share my latest quilt design which we'll be running as a 9 Month Block of the Month Club, starting next month.  I can honestly say that I had SO much fun designing and making this.  Inspired by happy memories of Christmas...which like many of you I'm sure, include.....hanging the stockings on Christmas Eve, making gingerbread, a Christmas wreath on the front door and of course eating figgy pudding on Christmas Day....the design draws on these and more.

Those of you who know me well, know that I loves to make quilts that incorporate lots of different techniques (I think it could be an indication that I have a poor attention span and need the variety!) and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVES hand stitching..... is there a better way to spend the evening I ask!  This quilt certainly doesn't disappoint and includes lots of hand stitches with English paper piecing, applique and embroidery featuring, along with of course, some machine piecing.

Here's some more pictures for you.........

The fabrics I used are mainly a mix of Moda, Tilda and Lecien, carefully chosen to give the quilt a warm and timeless feel.  I really hope that this quilt will be enjoyed and cherished for many years to come....a new family tradition maybe as it is unpacked each year?

I thought it would be useful to share some more information about the Block of the Month club, so I've done it as a Q & A .............

What is a Block Of The Month (BOM) Club and how does it work?

A block of the month is a monthly parcel full of loveliness that you will receive directly through your letterbox. It will include all the fabrics and if required, English Paper Pieces for you to sew that months block, plus of course detailed instructions for how to piece the block will also be included.  We'll also be sharing handy tips on the blog to help you along the way.

The 'A little happy Christmas!' Block of the Month, is a 9 Month subscription running from February 2017 up to and including October 2017.  Leaving you time to quilt (Sarah chose to hand quilt hers in Aurifil 40wt thread) and bind your quilt in time for Christmas!

At the end of the term you will have received enough pretty fabric and instructions to make your very own 'A little happy Christmas!' Quilt Top.

How big is the finished Quilt?

The Quilt measures 44" x  53"

How long will the Club run for?

The club will run for 9 months commencing in February 2017 and will run through to and including October 2017.

What techniques will be used?

The quilt combines a mix of Machine Piecing, English Paper Piecing and Applique*.
*I used the Turn Through Interfacing method for my applique, but you could use Needle Turn or Raw Edge.... it is entirely up to you.

Will I receive exactly the same fabrics as Sarah used?

We will as far as possible send the same fabrics as Sarah used, if this is not possible then rest assured we will send something equally as scrumptious!

What threads did Sarah use?

Sarah used Aurifil 50wt thread for both the machine piecing and for the EPP and applique.  Aurifil 12wt thread was used for the embroidery.  We will be putting together an Aurifil thread pack to co-ordinate, more information to follow.

Will there be a Facebook group for Club members?

Yes......... we have a dedicated Facebook Group for our Block of the Month Club members!  It is a private forum only open to Pretty Fabrics and Trims Block of the Month club members, somewhere where you could share your progress month by month, ask for advice from fellow club members, to share helpful tips and to make quilty friends.

Can I purchase the pattern on its own?

No, not at this moment in time......Sorry!

How do I join?

Places for the club are limited and all our friends and customers from across the world are invited to join.

The monthly Club cost including postage is:

UK Club Price ~ £18.00 (Via 1st Class Mail)
EU Club Price ~ £21.00 (Via Standard Airmail*)
International Club Price ~  £22.50 (Via Standard Airmail*)

*Should you wish to upgrade to Priority Mail please do get in touch.

You can join via the website HERE.
When and how will I make my payment?

The first months payment will be due on the 21st February 2017 and subsequent payments will be due on the 21st of each Month. Parcels full of loveliness will be posted within 2 working days of payments being safely received.

Payments will be made by a monthly subscription service via your Paypal account to us, for those of you already in our Flirty 30's Club or our 'A little happy year!' Block of the Month Club will be familiar with this.  By setting up a Paypal subscription to us your monthly payments will automatically be debited from your Paypal account each month.  Once it is in place you do not need to do anything, with the exception of cancelling the subscription at the end of the Block of the Month. Don't worry we will remind you and should you inadvertently forget, we will obviously refund any over-payment without hesitation!

We will contact Club members nearer the time to arrange this.

We are also more than happy for you to make your monthly payment to us from your Bank Account directly into our Bank Account, should prefer this method, simply get in touch once you have signed up and we will provide you will all the required information.  

We are sorry, but Vouchers or Coupon Codes cannot be used to purchase a subscription.

The monthly bundle cannot be shipped with other shop orders or other Subscription/Block of the Month parcels, we're sorry for any inconvenience!

I hope that you will join us and if in the meanwhile you have any questions unanswered, please do not hesitate to get in touch!