Quilting, Open Toe Embroidery Foot and Easter Wreaths!

Easter week is upon us already and I haven’t even made my Easter runner yet. Four days left, better get cracking (sorry couldn’t resist that one!). The holidays are always an opportunity to get some sewing and crafting done with my own children, and ensures that I test run everything that I try with my students! So this is what we have been up to. Quilting, open toe embroidery/free sewing, discovering heat resistant wadding plus a little bit of Easter crafting too. I found a lovely fabric in IKEA which is only £5 per metre and is full of leaves. I thought it was nice and spring like and the large shapes make it ideal to practice sewing with an open toe foot on your machine.

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Typically this foot creates fear in some. It involves removing the shank on your machine to fit it and dropping the feed dog, but once you get it right it is good fun, even for kids. You can pick them up fairly cheaply on Amazon. So tips I have learnt along the way with some help from my Twitter friends…when sewing freely on fabric without wadding, your fabric must be stiff or stiffened with interfacing, otherwise it will look a mess. I tried using an embroidery hoop but it wouldn’t fit under the foot. Then ensure that your feed dog is down. Most machines have a knob at the back of the machine, sometimes you have to remove the arm of the machine to see it. This will drop the feed dog. Older machines or cheaper modern models will have a plastic or metal plate that you can clip on top of the feed dog instead.Thread as normal, leave tension as normal and away you go! If you have to change thread I found it affected the tension, so I had to lift the feed dog back up and drop it again to get it back to a nice tension.

Here is what we have made, we lined with heat resistant wadding and backed with curtain lining. Then used the veins in the leaves as our guides.  I did the middle one, the others were done by my children. 

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Another IKEA fabric seen here I used just to practice on but I bet that would make a nice quilting project too! 

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My grown up students have been quilting too! Here are some of Vicky’s creations and Nicky’s. Fabulous aren’t they? They tried out the walking foot for these creations.

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Lastly had to mention these as they are such a success, for less than £1 on Amazon you can buy wire florist’s wreaths. Cut all your scraps, or tear them to save time into 1 inch wide strips about 5 or 6 inches long. The tie with a single knot all around the wreath on both wires. It takes a lot of knots and about 1 1/2 hour of time, then fluff up and trim with scissors. These are the first ones my children made last week. They are beautiful and make a lovely Easter centre piece or on the door. I will be making some more as gifts and for Halloween and Christmas too!

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Have a wonderful Easter xxx

Patchwork Envelope Cushion Tutorial

Today I am going to show you how to make a patchwork cushion. Firstly you have to cut your squares. All the squares need to be the same size. It doesn’t matter what size square you use so long as they are all the same. I have used a square that is 4 1/2 inches on all sides. Next you need to zig zag all squares that you have cut. I zig zag so that the fabric doesn’t fray when we wash it. You need to try to sew the zig zag stitch close to the edge so that you can’t see it when you put it together.

Once that is done, pin your squares, two at a time, good side to good side, with the pins at a 90 degree angle. I do this so the sewing foot can hop over the pins. Sew with a straight stitch (running stitch), remembering to go forwards and backwards at the beginning and the end. Line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot when you sew.

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Then add your squares together until you have 4 in a row (unless your squares are a different size). Iron out the seams like in the picture, and then attach all your rows together. I used 12 rows. When you put your rows together, line up the corners of the individual squares so that they look nice. Pin your rows good side to good side, and then sew together, lining up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot.

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Iron your patchwork flat, before folding the edges down twice at both ends like in the picture. Sew the seam at both ends. Lay out your fabric so that it fits the cushion like the picture. Make sure it is inside out. Pin the edges together and sew the two open side seams, remembering to go forwards and backwards every time you do a straight stitch. Don’t worry if the edges don’t meet up exactly so long as your stitch line is straight and you sew from the narrowest point in a straight line so that there are no holes in your cushion. Turn it the right way around, iron it and then insert your cushion. I hope you like it, my Oma loves this one I made for her. Bambino Bobbin xx

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Dotty Bobbin and her Bambinos!

Things have been a bit chaotic these last few weeks, my sewing classes have taken off, especially my evening and weekend classes. This week I will focus my blog on some of the children I teach. So up first in the photos is Niamh and Jodie. This was their second ever sewing lesson and from an old IKEA pillow case they have made these lovely pinny aprons. Lovely don’t you think? We cheated with the gathering as it was their second lesson and gathered them using tensioned elastic and a wide zig zag stitch then placed the band over the top.

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Laney made a wonderful full fronted apron but unfortunately I forgot to capture that one on camera! (sorry Laney!). Anne Marie, who is more used to sewing tiny clothes, sleeping bags and accessories for Simon the bear (who is about 20cm tall!)  made an apron for her Granny, we used a butchers apron as a pattern and she has lined it in a nice waffle fabric. She was going to finish off the straps at home. The waffle lining fabric gave it a lovely weight.

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Lucy made a gorgeous apron in her second sewing class, which she is modelling below. And Olivia made her first box bottom oil cloth bag with zip all by herself!

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We have had great fun creating things with the children and it is lovely to show them a new skill that will stay with them forever I hope.

I would like to finish off by sharing with you that during my last Wednesday evening class, I did a live twitter feed with #handmadehour whilst I was teaching, updating them with what we were doing, and guess who replied……………the one and only Lynda from the Sewing Bee. I was so excited.

I hope you all make some wonderful creations over the next couple of weeks and I hope you share them with me! In the meantime I have been making a pop up gazebo cover. I have even stolen my living room curtains to use as fabric! Good excuse for another trip to IKEA I think! I will let you know when it is finished, it is a big project with about 25m plus of fabric, but I hope to use it for childrens sewing parties.

Dotty Bobbin x