Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Using Acrylic Cutting Templates for Fussy-Cutting

'Fussy-cutting' it's a funny term, but quite simply; it is cutting and using a particular motif or repeating element of a fabric print intentionally. When used with the precision of English Paper Piecing, it's a perfect fit and you can understand why it's so incredibly popular - and addictive!

Using acrylic cutting templates for English Paper Piecing in general is a life-saver and produces accurately cut fabric pieces ready to baste to your paper templates. People are often confused by them and think they use them in place of paper templates, but they are designed to be used alongside paper templates as they have the seam allowance added around the edge.

All of our Sew & Quilt acrylic templates come with a 3/8" seam allowance. Why you ask? 1/4" is the minimum you need for turning over, 3/8" is 1/8" larger so it gives you a little more wiggle-room - which you will come to love!
*I should note, our teeny acrylics - under 1/2" have a regular 1/4" seam allowance - well, they are tiny after all!

* Quilting cotton, which features a repeating pattern or motif
* Sew & Quilt acrylic cutting template
* Pen or water soluble pen
* Medium sized scissors or 28mm rotary cutter
* Paper Pieces (of matching size)
* Sewline Glue Pen

1. First gather your fabric and find your perfect motif! A pretty drawing such as this, stripes, repeating patterns that you can spin and and tilt all work wonderfully for creating a kaleidascope, fussy-cut effect.

2. Use a pen or pencil to draw around the acrylic template. More often than not I will use a regular Biro (call the quilt police!) as I find it easiest to see and I'm cutting on the drawn line so I don't need to worry about spoiling the fabric. You can also use a water-soluble pen, which I use sometimes too. 

3. Cut out your shape. I personally find scissors give me more accuracy, but you can also use a small rotary cutter too if that feels more comfortable.

4. Dab a dot of glue on the middle of the paper template, position the fabric shape on top centrally (the glue will hold it's place to stop it moving). Baste the fabric to the paper template, using your preferred method. 

5. Voila! Finished. Now see if you can stop yourself next time you look at a fabric in your stash, soon it will be swiss-cheese!
Fabric used: Liberty Sussex B Tana Lawn

If you're not fussy-cutting but still want to use an acrylic template, a speedy tip would be to rotary cut strips from your fabric, subcut them into the smaller squares or rectangles and then use the acrylic templates to trim off the edges to follow your shape.

At Sew & Quilt we offer them in set sizes that match your paper templates - no need to add the seam allowances, we do that for you to make it easy! So if you're working with 1-1/4" Honeycomb paper pieces, you will need a 1-1/4" Honeycomb acrylic template. Easy, peasy. 

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Petite Christmas Stars Mini Quilt - Free Pattern!

HELLOOOOOO! Hello blog friends! It's been a loong time hasn't it? Much too long I think. 

I think many of you will know my business has taken centre stage the last couple of years so it hasn't left me with much spare time for blogging, but more on that another time ;-) today I wanted to share with you this little mini quilt I made recently. I had a creative itch for stars, red, pink and some sort of christmas theme and this was my result! 

Free pattern as follows;

For the star blocks:
(6) 3-1/4" cream squares
(24) 1-1/2" cream squares
(12) 1-7/8" red squares 
(12) 1-7/8" pink squares 
(3) 2-1/2" red square
(3) 2-1/2" pink square

For the sashing, borders and cornerstones:
(4) 1-1/2" x 4-1/2" sashing strips 
(1) 1-1/2" x 14-1/2" sashing strips (please adjust this length if required)
(2) 3" x 9-1/2" border strips (please adjust this length if required)
(2) 3" x 14-1/2" border strips (please adjust this length if required)
(4) 3" square cornerstones 

Block Assembly
For each star block you will need the following: 
(1) 3-1/4" cream square
(4) 1-1/2" cream squares
(4) 1-7/8" coloured squares (either pink or red)
(1) 2-1/2" coloured square (either pink or red)

For each star block you will need 4 flying geese units. Please follow my diagrams below for assembly - this is the no waste method! 

1. You need (1) 3-1/4" cream square and (4) 1-7/8" coloured squares to make 4 flying geese units.
2. Sew 2 coloured squares to the white square. Draw a line diagonally through the centre. Sew 1/4" from the drawn line on each side. 
3. Cut on the centre drawn line. 
4. Press the coloured squares flat. Lay another 1-7/8" coloured square on top and draw a line through the middle and sew 1/4" either side as before. Repeat step with other unit. 
5. Cut through the centre on the drawn line. Repeat step with other unit. 
6. Press seams flat - you have made (4) flying geese units!

Once you have made your (4) flying geese units assemble your block as follows. 

Square up your star block to finish at 4-1/2" square. Make 6 star blocks total. 

Quilt Assembly
Assemble your quilt top following the diagrams below. 
1. Sew the short sashing strips to the star blocks alternating between sashing and block to make a unit of 3 star blocks. Make two units. Sew the longer sashing strip inbetween the two units. 
2. Measure your quilt top and adjust the border cutting measurements above if required. Sew the shorter border pieces to the top and bottom of the quilt top. Sew the cornerstones to the ends of the longer border pieces. Sew longer border units to sides of quilt top. 

1. Press your quilt top. 
2. Cut a backing fabric and batting 2" larger all around, than your quilt top. 
3. Make a quilt sandwich with your backing facing down, your batting and quilt top facing upwards. Quilt layers together following your preferred method. I hand-quilted my quilt using Aurifil 28wt in Light Beige and used a Tulip Hiroshima, Quilting needle size 8
3. Cut (2) 2-1/2" x WOF strips for your binding. Join strips together to form one continuous strip. Sew to quilt top following our favourite method.

Size: mini quilt measures approximately 19" x 14"

Fabrics used: 
Various fabrics for star blocks and borders etc all available from Sew and Quilt
Sashing fabric, border fabric, binding fabric

Now don't say I don't treat ya' ;-) happy sewing friends, it's so lovely to have you back again. Until my next post, feel free to follow me on Instagram @messyjesse1 and tag me with your #petitechristmasstarsquilt progress and finished articles! I'd love to see them. Comment below if you enjoyed this post and fancy making one! I promise not to leave it so long next time! ~ Jessie

Monday, 29 February 2016

1930s Farmer's Wife QAL - #47 Joy

Welcome to another stop on the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt-Along! I can't quite believe the time has come around so quick for my next instalment, so much so I was delayed in sending out this post today! Though it turns out I had already made this block yonks ago in prep for the blog-tour I'd just completely forgotten!? Not sure how I forgotten when it turned out to be one of my favourite FWQ blocks so far. I copied the colours used in the book almost identically, as I loved it so much. I'm definitely going to use this dark green, lemon yellow and red colour-scheme together again, it give such a strong effect. 

As with all my blocks, I have machine pieced and rotary-cut using the rotary cutting templates provided with the CD. I'm not as clued up as Kerry for the foundation paper piecing method unfortunately. You can find Kerry's version of this block on her blog today.  If you're a machine piecer like me, I posted some tips on a previous blog post here. I hope this helps. Looking forward to making some more of these soon! 

You can link up your blocks on social media with the hashtag #fw1930sqal, and with this block in particular; #joyblock #fw47joy
Fabrics: Kona Solid 'Leaf' and 'Red' from the 1930s Fat Quarter Bundle at Sew and Quilt.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Winter Wishes Christmas Table Topper Tutorial

It's my stop on the Riley Blake Stitch 'n Kitchen Christmas Blog Tour today, so I'm sharing my Winter Wishes TableTopper pattern which you can make in no time for your festive table this year. Learn how to make my *delicious* recipe for authentic Cornish Fairings biscuits as well, also known as the best ginger biscuits ever! ;-)

The Recipe:
Title: Winter Wishes Tabletopper
"Making" Time: One evening
Notes:  Please read through all instructions carefully. Seams are 1/4" unless otherwise stated. RST means right sides together. Press seams open unless otherwise directed. 

White fabric 1FQ
Red fabric (4) Fat Eighths
Green fabric 10" x 10" square
Binding 1FQ
Backing 1FQ

Cut the following;
* From each red 1/8, cut (1) 2-7/8" strip. Sub-cut into (5) 2-2/8" squares, you need (20) squares total. Cut (1) 4-1/2" square from each red fabric, you need (4) total. 
* From the green fabric sub cut your 10" square into (4) 2-1/2" squares. 
*From the white fabric cut (1) 2-1/2" strip, sub-cut into (8) 2-1/2" squares. Cut (4) 2-7/8" strips, sub-cut into (20) 2-7/8" squares. 

1. Draw a diagonal line through from one corner to the opposite corner of each of the 2-7/8" white squares. Place a white square with corresponding red square RST together, sew 1/4" from the each side from the drawn line. Cut along the drawn line. Open and press seams to the dark side. You now have two complete half square triangle (HST) units. 
Repeat steps for remaining squares to make 36 HST units. 

2. Assemble your block as follows. Your block should measure 6-1/2" square.

3. Assemble your blocks in two rows. Join rows together. Press all seams open. 

4. Cut an 18" square from backing fabric and batting. Make a quilt 'sandwich' with your quilt top, batting and backing fabric. Baste. Quilt as desired. I chose to machine quilt at 1" intervals diagonally through the centre. 

4. Cut (2) 2-1/2" x WOF strips for binding. Piece together. Press in half length lengthwise (wrong-sides together) to create your binding. Sew to quilt top, miter corners and fold and hand-sew to the backside to finish. 

I hope you've all been enjoying the Riley Blake 'Stitch'n Kitchen' blog tour. Hop over to the main page for all the details with lots more sewing ideas to make and Christmas recipes to enjoy. Thanks for stopping by, Jessie

The Recipe:
Title: Cornish Fairings Biscuits
"Making" Time: 30mins

100g Butter
225g Plain Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Ground Ginger
2tsp Mixed Spice
100g Caster Sugar
4 tsp Golden Syrup

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. 
Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets. Put the flour, ¼ tsp salt, baking powder, bicarb and spices in a food processor. Add the diced butter and mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl and stir in the sugar. 
  1. Gently warm the golden syrup in a pan, add to the mixture and stir to form a dough. Roll the dough into 16 medium-sized balls, and spread them on the greased baking sheets at least 2cm apart. Bake for 8-12 mins until golden. 
    Cool on the trays before transferring to a wire rack.

    Voila! Now enjoy that lovely Christmassy mixed spice taste! I eat them all year round too! (Thanks mum!) Hope you enjoy them too, Jessie

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Great Granny Twist with Lori Holt - Blog Hop

The 'Granny-Square' quilt block is absolutely one of my all-time favourite blocks, and today I'm sharing a super fun project using Lori Holt's Great Granny Mini block, with a twist! Quite literally in fact … 

I'm putting them on point! By adding some setting triangles and corner setting triangles the finished blocks are ready to turn into a pillow! I'll be showing you how to set any size block on point with the quilty maths. 

This is part of the Great Granny Twist Blog Hop, where bloggers have been invited to put a spin on a project from Lori Holts book. You can read all the details on the rest of the blog tour with Fat Quarter Shop here and find out what the rest of the bloggers have come up with. Such a fun idea, thanks FQS! As well Kimberly, from FQS has put together this video tutorial of her twist on the Granny Square block using appliqué circles. 

I pulled some crazy bright fabrics from my stash for this special project! The blue floral print used in the triangles is a vintage fabric I've been hoarding for *just* the right moment and I think it makes for quite a striking finish! I had lots of fun choosing the fabrics for the blocks for an eclectic mix of modern and old - I even fussy-cut the centre block with some vintage stichery taken from an embroidered tablecloth. 

I hand-quilted using Aurifil 40WT thread using the Fat Quarter Shop Finishing Set. It worked a treat! I'm so pleased I took the time to hand-quilt. 

First, make up 5 Great Granny Mini blocks, according to Lori's instructions featured in the book. Once you have your finished 6-1/2" blocks we need the following calculations to determine what size to cut our pieces. Adjust the finished block size to make any quilt block on point. 

Corner Setting Triangles

6.5" (finished block size) / 1.414 + 0.875 = cut size of square 
Cut square diagonally to make 2 finished (Half Square) corner setting triangles.

Side Setting Triangles

6.5" (finished size of block) x 1.414 + 1.25 = cut size of square
Cut square diagonally twice, to make 4 finished (Quarter Square) side setting triangles. 

Assemble your pillow top as follows. (Navy squares are your finished Granny Square blocks.) Piece together in rows, then add the corner setting triangles to the each corner. 


These measurements finish slightly oversized triangles so you have lots of wiggle room to square up your quilt top. I have a tutorial from a few years ago on how to finish your pillow with an envelope closure

Granny Square 'mini' block by Lori Holt, adapted with permission by Jessie Fincham.
You can purchase the book from Fat Quarter Shop here, and if you're in the UK you can purchase the book from me at Sew and Quilt

Monday, 30 November 2015

1930s Farmer's Wife QAL - #23 Charlotte / Rotary Cutting Tips

I'd completely forgotten how much I loved making these little Farmer's Wife blocks! It was such a pleasure rummaging through my scrap bins and stash auditioning different fabrics for each one. Thank you Kerry for inviting me this week on the 1930s Farmer's Wife Quilt Along, I don't think I would have got round to making one if I didn't have a special post to write. 

The big stack of blocks above are all from my original Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt, which I happen to make in 1930s reproduction fabric, so it's completely fitting for today's QAL blog post - so they made an appearance ;-) I started making these quite a few years ago but still haven't got to the finish line with it, I thoroughly enjoy making them (which can be extremely labour intensive), so I'm in no hurry! I'm all about the sloooow sewing…

I really love the new addition of the miniature diagram thats included on the pattern page of each block. How fun. I know this is used for foundation paper piecing directions, but I thought it might be a nice memento for a quilt journal with some watercolour paints perhaps as well? 

Says the girl that hasn't even finished all the blocks from the first quilt? I know, I know. 

I digress, back to the #23 Charlotte block, which you can find on page 182 of the book. I rotary cut and machine piece, as I have done with all my FWQ blocks. There are rotary cutting templates provided, in addition to the foundation paper pieced ones. Just print them out on regular paper (they have a 1inch size guide on the page so you know you're printing out at the correct size, which of course I didn't on first time, oops. I succeeded on second attempt by selecting the US Letter page size in my printer - you might want to also use something like 'do not scale' etc). 

Most often I will dig through my stash as they are such tiny pieces you really don't need much. If I use yardage I'll rough cut a strip larger than the template and rough cut a larger shape than the template. I will often fold the strip to double over, depending on how many pieces are required for that fabric/shape. 

I usually stack about 2-4 pieces (depending on how sharp my rotary blade is) and trim off the excess, lining up with the edge of the template. Turn and cut, turn and cut, being careful not to shift too much. I use a mini rotary cutting mat that spins, not sure why it didn't make the picture? 

Once you're all prepped you're ready to go. Chain piecing makes life much easier here. Once I'm done with the chain I'll bring it straight over to my iron for pressing (without too much handling) and trim the threads while at the iron station to save time going back and forth. 

And here she is all finished! I went for a different colour combo than the book version. I used Corn Yellow Kona solid, which is a really bold yellow that packs a punch, alongside an old Mother's Melodies print I used to sell a few years back in the shop. The opposite side is my favourite green, Aloe Kona solid and a matching Pretty Posies print by Darlene Zimmerman. I have a popular Kona bundle I put together for Sew and Quilt, which is a complete FQ bundle of all 22 official 1930's Kona solids. They are perfect for this QAL!

Of course I couldn't leave without sharing some 1930's repro eye candy from Sew and Quilt with you! *plug, plug, plug*. On the left is the delightful Pretty Posies FQ bundle, it's subtle and sweet without bring over the top, plus it's 10% off ;-) On the right is a special Farmer's Wife FQ bundle I put together for the release of Kerry's QAL. What a great bunch hey?!

If you fancy joining in VeryKerryBerry's QAL, you can find all the details here. Kerry has lots of helpful tips and information on making the blocks using the foundation paper pieced method and other bloggers have been hosting to share their tips on the different methods of construction also. There is also a very useful errata page thats kept up to date so do take a look. (I reported no problems with my block).

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!