Tuesday, 24 November 2020

 Have you chosen what fabrics to use for the advent sewalong? You can find the cutting instructions here. If you need more inspiration here are some more fbric pulls from the team:

Lisa of Modern Quilt Club (@lisasew)

Lisa has chosen fabric from the range of Blossoms by The Tattooed Quilter in similar colours to mine but it will look very different.

Carol (@therunninghare)
Carol has chosen a stunning background fabric and the patterned fabrics she has chosen from her stash are going to really pop against the dark background.

Hannah (@quirkyhannah)
Hannah has chosen a background by Elizabeth Hartman paired with Libs Elliott's Phosphor collection. Gorgeous.

Gill (@surfseasew)

Gill is making a cushion for her sewing room and is pairing a Carolyn Friedlander low volume print with her own ice dyed fabrics for the background and punchy Alison Glass fabrics to contrast with a little grey linen thrown into the mix. 

Jane (@picosailors)

I have chosen a beautiful array of  scrappy Liberty prints for my project which will contrast beautifully with my white background I have chosen..

These fabric pulls are so inspiring and I am looking forward to the projects develop over December. Follow along on Instagram on the #scrapbagsampler hashtag. Not long to go now.

Visit our designers on Instagram to see their fabric choices : @getahashtagkim @JustSewSue @lisasew @metroquilter @picosailors @pippaspatch @quirkyhannah  @surfseasew @therunninghare

Tuesday, 17 November 2020


Its back, a FREE sewalong with #scrapbagsampler.
This time its an advent sewalong through December.

Here are the cutting instructions for the advent sewalong which starts on 1 December on Instagram. Each day a clue will be released on Instagram with a photograph of that day's finished unit(s) and the aim is to sew for about ten minutes every day in the lead up to 25 December. The theme is Valentines so that there is no pressure to quilt and finish the panel by 25 December. You can make a cushion, mini quilt or tote from the finished 15” panel. I have added borders to make an 18” cushion panel.

If you add a border to your piece, you will need half a metre of background fabric and scraps of other colours. You can go full on scrappy or not. I have used one fabric for the aqua, red and grey and scrappy for pieces N and S. The cutting took me less than 90 minutes and the sewing will take no more than ten minutes per day apart from day 10.








1 ¼  ” squares





1 ½  ” squares





1 ¾” by 3”





1 ¾” squares





1½” by 7” rectangle





2 ¼” squares





1 ½” by 5.5” rectangles





1 ½” by 6.5” rectangles















1 ¾” by 3” rectangle





1 ¾” by 3” rectangle





1 1/8” by 1 ¾” rectangle










2” squares

20 in total from 1 or 5 fabrics




1 1/8” squares





1 1/8” squares





1 ¾” squares


R same fabric as P&Q






Mix of pink and red


2 ¼” squares





13/16” by 3” rectangles










1½” by 7” rectangle





1 ½”by 3 ½” rectangle






1 ¾” by 5 ½”rectangle









Amanda (@metroquilter) loves Carolyn Friedlander fabrics and who can blame her. She stash dived for scraps and charm squares for the sewalong.

Here are her pieces all cut and ready to go with a linen background. 

Pippa (@pippaspatch) has channeled her inner sparkle for her choice of background. I have that red stars and spots fabric. I wonder if I used any of it in my project? Both Amanda and Pippa have sensibly chosen a dark grey, my original choice (not in my photograph) was too light and not enough contrast with the background.

Kim (@getahashtagkim) has chosen these gorgeous purples - not a turquoise in sight! She is making this as a gift for a friend, so has chosen a palette that her friend will like. Dots and fossil fern, you can't go wrong.

Do post your fabric choices on Instagram using #scrapbagsampler . Other people's scraps are always more interesting than one's own scraps.

Visit our designers on Instagram to see their versions of this block : @getahashtagkim @JustSewSue @lisasew @metroquilter @picosailors @pippaspatch @quirkyhannah  @surfseasew @therunninghare

Friday, 20 March 2020

We have finished our ten weeks of sampler blocks using our scraps and it’s now time to make something useful with your blocks. You can use any bag pattern you want to show off your piecing but Sue designed a simple bucket bag with webbing handles that you might like. The instructions follow. Do not be put off by the little bit of maths as once you have the numbers, the bag goes together quickly.


30.5” by 8.5” unfinished panel of blocks

Bosal or similar to make the bag stand up nicely.

30.5” by 8.5” for the lining

10” square of bosal, lining fabric and outer fabric for the base

Two 15” pieces of webbing for the straps


You first need to quilt your panel and base of the bag using the outer fabric and bosal. Once quilted, trim the panel of blocks and measure. Don’t panic if the panel is smaller than you started with as that is the effect of the quilting

Width of panel                _____   (A)        

Using these measurements we are going to work out the radius of our base.

Finished size of panel    _____   (A)         - 0.5” for the seam allowance = _____   (B)             

Radius of base                 _____   (B)         multiplied by 7 divided by 44 = _____     (D)                                          

              Plus  0.25” for the seam allowance = _____ (R)  round to the nearest 0.25”


Width of panel                30.25”   (A)        

Using these measurements I worked out the radius of my base.

Finished size of panel    30.25”   (A)         - 0.5” for the seam allowance =  29.75”  (B)             

Radius of base                 29.75”   (B)         multiplied by 7 divided by 44 =  4.75”     (C)                                          

              Plus  0.25” for the seam allowance = 5” (R)         round to the nearest 0.25”

Cutting out

Take your rectangle of lining fabric and trim down to the same size as your quilted panel.

Set your compass to your radius measurement  (R) and draw a circle on both the quilted bottom and the 10” square of outer fabric. Cut out with scissors

Stitch 1/8” in from the edge of the quilted outer panel and the quilted bottom.

Phew you’re now ready to sew it all together.

Putting the bag together

1.       Stitch the lining together at the short ends using a ¼” seam and press open. Repeat for bag panel. Then sew 2 lines of topstitching parallel  to the side seam to keep the seam allowance open. I sewed about 1/8” away from the seam.

2.       Mark the following into quarters:

Bag panel at bottom of panel

Lining at bottom of lining

Quilted circle for bottom on inside

Circle of lining on inside

3.       Pin the quilted base of the bag to the bag panel using the quarter registration marks and then pin extensively as shown. I sewed the pieces together with the base closest to the sewing machine and the bag panel upper most. Take it slowly but surely.

4.       Repeat for the lining.

5.       Now we’re ready to put it all together. Unpick 6” of the side seam of the lining to enable us to turn the bag.

6.       Fold the bag in half with the seam of the bag panel as one edge. Find the half way point on both side and mark. Then mark 1.5” to either side of that marking. Line up the webbing for the straps to the outside of these marks with ends extending 1” above the edge of the bucket bag. Pin or baste in place on the right side of the bag panel.

7.       Insert the lining of the bag inside the outside of the bag, right sides together. Place the seam of the lining opposite to the seam of the outside to eliminate bulk. Hold together with binding clips and sew together with a ¼” seam allowance.

8.       Turn the bag right side out through the hole in the lining. Stitch the hole in the seam closed either by hand or machine.

9.       Roll the seam of the top of the bag to ensure the lining is now peeking out and use binding clips to keep in place. I then top stitched 1/8” and ¼” from the edge.

I hope you have enjoyed our fun little sewalong and do share your finished bags using #scrapbagsampler There will be instructions for a second bag on 16 March as I have more blocks than I needed. Thank you to you for joining in.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Can you believe it, we are there and this week we have a fabulous block from Gill.

Week 10 of the Scrapbagsampler

March was my mum’s birthday month and she would plant lots of the miniature Tête-à-tête narcissus in pots to brighten up her doorstep so this was the inspiration for my block design. 

Tête-à-tête Blocks by @surfseasew

I have designed Two 6 ½” x 6 ½“ square Tête-à-tête blocks: A beginners’ version and one a bit more advanced so take your pick or do both – I hope you enjoy sewing the block and it’ll be fab to see all your sweet flowers.

First things first
As the pattern involves sewing together small pieces of fabric I shorten the stich length on my sewing machine to around 2. I also use a scant ¼” seam allowance. To check the accuracy of your seam width sew a test piece of spare fabric using either a ¼” foot, if your machine comes with one, or a normal foot, and once sewn measure your seam allowance with a ruler.  You may need to adjust your needle position to get an accurate ¼” seam 
On my Janome the ¼” needle position is set at 8.3 but I tend to move it to about 8.9 – If you don’t have a ¼” foot don’t worry as you can adjust your needle position and use the edge of your standard foot as a guide or use some tape to mark on your needle plate or use a magnetic guide

Beginners’ Block
Cut out your required pieces – I have used scraps of Green and Yellow fabrics but any colours with a good contrast will work well - just have fun with your scraps – Try and use similar shades to differentiate between the stalks and the flower petals with a mix of light, medium and dark fabric.
Marking and Sewing
You can mark your sewing line on the squares by either folding and creasing with a roller or using a Hera marker or pencil

On the reverse of the (6) 2”x2” flower petal squares
mark, crease or draw a diagonal line from corner to corner across the square

With RIGHT sides together and following the diagram place (4) of the marked squares lining up with the top edge of:
(2) 5”x 2” rectangles
(2) 3 ½ ” x 2” rectangles
Also, place the remaining (2) flower petal
squares with (2) of the 2”x2” Green Stem squares

Either pin or clip the fabric pieces RIGHT sides together to stop them slipping whilst you sew on these lines – I usually chain sew pieces and start sewing using a small scrap of offcut fabric so that the thread doesn’t catch or bunch-up under the needle.

Join the pieces by sewing directly on the marked diagonal line.


Using an ‘Add a Quarter’ ruler or other measuring ruler place it so the ¼ “ line is directly on top of the sewn line of stitching and the edge of the ruler is ¼ “ away then trim the excess with a rotary cutter as in the diagrams 

Press open the seams on all 6 pieces of fabric and lay out all your sewn pieces together with the (1) remaining unsewn 3 ½ “ x 2” rectangle and the (2) unsewn 2” x 2” squares.

Following the diagram sew the pieces RIGHT sides together using a scant ¼ “ seam as shown to get (4) 6½ “ x 2” strips

Finally, sew the (4) strips Right sides together using a scant ¼ “ seam

 And Voila – hopefully you will have your completed block

Intermediate Block

This block is very similar in design to that of the Beginner block but uses narrower pieces of fabric and although it looks complicated the piecing follows the same steps with an additional initial step of joining fabric strips to make the ‘stem’ pieces.

Cutting Out
*Read through before cutting out* as you may want to chain piece long 1” strips together from your stash beforehand and then cut to the smaller sizes
From your stash you will need the following pieces for your stalks
(4) 5 ½ “ x 1”
(4) 4 ½ “ x 1” (6) 3 ½ “ x 1”
(4) 2 ½ “ x 1”
(4) 1 ½ “ x 1”
(3) 1 ½ “ x 1 ½ “

And the following contrasting coloured pieces for your petals
(9) 1 ½ “ x 1 ½ “

Marking and Sewing
With a scant ¼ “ seam sew together the matching lengths of 1” wide strips in pairs so you get:
(2)  4 ½ “ x 1 ½ ”
(3)  3 ½ “ x 1 ½ ”
(2)  2 ½ “ x 1 ½ ”
(2)  1 ½ “ x 1 ½ ”

Press seams to one side
Follow the beginners’ pattern by marking a diagonal line across the reverse of all the (9) 1 ½ “ x 1 ½ “ petal
In the same way as with the beginners’ pattern place (6) of the petal squares Right sides together across the
top width edge of:
(2) of the 5 ½ “ x 1 ½ ” rectangles
(2) of the 4 ½ “ x 1 ½ ” rectangles
(2) of the 3 ½ “ x 1 ½ ” rectangles

And the remaining (3) petal squares Right sides together with the (3)  1 ½ “ x 1 ½ “ stalk squares

The marked diagonal line should run from bottom LEFT corner to the top RIGHT corner

Sew directly on the marked line of all (9) pieces

As described in the beginners’ pattern measure
the ¼ “ seam and trim off of the excess  

Press seams open

Following the design and with Right sides together continue to join the strips together in rows and then the
rows together using the same scant ¼ “ seam allowance pressing your seams open as you go to reduce bulk with such small fabric pieces

Give your block a good press and sit back and admire your pretty flowers


And can you believe that's the end of the blocks for our 10 week sewalong. Come back next week for the instructions for the sewalong bucket bag or use any bag pattern to showcase your lovely blocks.

Visit our designers on Instagram to see their versions of this block : @cotefleurie @getahashtagkim @JustSewSue @lisasew @metroquilter @picosailors @pippaspatch @quirkyhannah  @surfseasew @therunninghare