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


Friday, 6 March 2020

Week 9 and its the lovely Lisa's turn
Foundation Paper Pieced Log Cabin by @Lisasew

I’ll cover the basics of the foundation paper piecing (FPP) technique. I find this works really well when using very small pieces to give a really accurate finish. 

This block is a great way to start FPP, so whether this is your first time at FPP, you will hopefully find this an easy introduction to it, or if you are a bit more experienced you will know that this will give you a nice crisp block.

What you will need:
 1.25” minimum square (centre piece)
A variety of fabric strips a minimum of 1.5” wide, and up to 4.5” long*
A light box can be helpful (I don’t use one most of the time)

Pre sewing instructions:
Print out your template, make sure you print at 100%. Print on the cheapest printer paper you have as the thinner it is the easier it is to rip out at the end.

Reduce your stitch length, I usually use about 1.5. The stitches need to be small to  secure as you rip out the papers at the end. They act like a perforation in the paper.

When you are sewing, the template will be facing upwards so you can see the image and the fabrics will be underneath. 

Select your fabrics, I have used a contrast of low volume prints and scrappy colours. You can use any colour combination but I recommend a contrast to give you definition in the block. 
Here you can see a pink & blue combination as an example.
Begin Sewing:
Take piece one and place it so that it covers the block A1 on the reverse side of the template. The piece will lay with the wrong side on the paper and the right side facing out. Make sure that you have a seam allowance covering all the lines around A1. I secure this with a pin running along the line between A1 & A2.
Flip over the template and then with fabrics RST (right sides together), place A2 so raw edges cover seam allowance over A1/A2. Here I readjust my pin from the pattern side to secure A2 to A1. 
If you pin along the line you will be sewing then you can flip A2 to double check it will cover the area it is meant to, including the overhang to seam allowances.
Sew along the line. I like to start a bit before the actual line and carry on beyond. If you do this there is no need to lock the stitches here as the next round of pieces will secure these pieces.
Before I do any trimming I press the piece open and hold to the light again to double check it has covered the right space. (When doing trickier angles than we have here it is easy to misjudge the angle and find it needs moving).
When I’m happy it is correct, I fold A2 back to its sewing position to trim the seam allowance of A1 & A2. Normally I would trim back to ¼” but as this is quite small I would go just a little narrower than that, to avoid bulk. Then replace A 2 back to its pressed position.

Piece A1 is the only piece we place facing out, all the remaining pieces are now added in number order in just the same way we added A2.

Take A3, and place RST over the line covering A1/A3 and Pin from the pattern side. Again flip over the fabric to double check it is going to cover the area A3, then if happy, sew along the line. Press, check and trim seam allowance.

Continue until the block is complete.

I trim the block down making sure the final block measures 4 ½” and I would normally leave the papers in until I am ready to attach to the next block. If you find the block is an eighth of an inch smaller than 4 1/2 “ just square it up as you will have enough excess fabric on this final round.

Watch my stories on Instagram as I will have some more pictures on the pattern release and maybe a video if I dare! Good Luck, and thanks for joining us sewing along. Lisa 


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