Tailored Apron with Proper Pockets Free Sewing Tutorial

tailored-apron-with-proper-pockets-sewing-tutorial-free-riley-blake-dutch-treat
Finished size: approx 53cm long x 76cm wide (21“ x 30“) plus ties!

Requirements:

80cm wide x 44cm long (31.5” x 17.4”) main apron fabric.

33.5cm wide x 31.5cm long x2 (13.2“ x 12.5“) fabric for the visible part of the pockets.

33.5cm wide x 31.5cm long x2 (13.2” x 12.5”) fabric for the hidden part of the pockets.

240cm (95”) of 18mm (1.5”) bias tape or fabric and bias tape maker to make this.

85cm wide x 13cm long (33.5“ x 5.2“) fabric piece for the waistband.

79cm wide x 9.5cm long x2 (31“ x 3.75“) pieces of fabric for the ties.


Step 1 – Cutting Your Fabric

Make up your paper pattern pieces as directed on the templates DO NOT CUT THE FABRIC UNTIL DIRECTED TO BELOW.

Take you main apron fabric, cut exactly to the size above, and fold it in half, so that the crease appears on the right.  Place the main apron template on top, so that the curve is along the left (open) side of the fabric (the template won’t reach all the way over to the crease on the other side).  Trace the curve on the left side of the template and cut through both layers of fabric.

Place the HIDDEN POCKET template on top of the still folded fabric and trace the curve of the pocket only.  Cut this shape out of both layers of fabric.

tailored-apron-with-pockets-tutorial-cutting-main-fabric

Put the main fabric piece to one side and take both pieces of your visible pocket fabric, cut exactly to the size given above.  Place one piece of fabric on top of the other, right sides facing each other, so you are looking at the back of the top piece.

Place the VISIBLE POCKET FABRIC template on top of the fabric, so that the curved edge runs along the left edge (the right side of the template won’t reach the right edge).  Trace the curved shape on the left of the template and cut out, through both layers of fabric.  You will now have two pocket pieces, facing in opposite directions.

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Take your hidden pocket fabric pieces and place together, right sides facing, so you are looking at the wrong side of the top piece. Trace the template on all sides and cut out, through both pieces of fabric.  You will now have two pocket pieces, each one facing a different way.

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If you haven’t already done so, cut your tie and waistband fabrics. 

 

Step 2 – The Pockets

Place the visible pocket fabric pieces in front of you, right sides of the fabric facing you, and then place the hidden pocket pieces on top, so that you are looking at the wrong side of the hidden pocket fabric pieces.

tailored-apron-pocket-pairs-of-pieces-2

Put the left hand pocket to one side.

Sew the right hand pocket pieces together along the two longest straight edges, using a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance.  Then trim the seam allowance back by half.

tailored-apron-pocket-pairs-of-pieces-sewing1-trimming

Turn the pocket out and iron, ensuring that the seams run along the creased edges.  Then sew the same two sides, again with a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance.  Turn the pocket out the right way and press – you have just created a French seam!

tailored-apron-pockets-finish-french-seam

Repeat these steps with the second pair of pocket pieces.

 

Step 3 – Bias Tape

If you are using ready-made bias tape jump to step 4.

Take your bias tape fabric and fold in half diagonally, then again in the opposite direction.

tailored-apron-with-pockets-tutorial-bias-tape-fold-fabric-triangle

Cut a line as close to one of the folded edges as possible (you are aiming to cut the fold off).

In the next set of images I have moved the folded triangle round, so that the top edge in the images above is the diagonal line in the images below, this just made lining the ruler up with the lines on the cutting mat easier J.

Measure along from your first cut, 3.6cm (3”), keeping the ruler parallel with the first cut, cut again, continue repeating this process, moving along the fabric, cutting 3.6cm (3”) strips as you go.

tailored-apron-tutorial-bias-tape-cutting-strips

Identify two pieces of tape that are long enough to run around the opening of each pocket (each approx. 40cm (16“) long).  Put these to one side.

You now need to join the remaining pieces together to make one long piece to run around the outside edge of the apron (approx. 160cm (63“) long).

For a professional finish the joins in the tape should be diagonal.  In order to do this, place two pieces of top of the each other, at right angles, right sides facing, with the diagonal cut edges lined up.  Fold the diagonal edges over by 12mm (1/2”) and iron the creases into place.

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Open out the pieces and move the top piece up so that the top and bottom edges of the folds are directly on top of each other.  Pin and sew along the fold.

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Open out the tape and iron the seam flat.  Trim away approx. half of the seam allowance and any excess fabric at the top and bottom of the tape.

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Repeat these steps until your tape is long enough to reach around the apron (approx. 160cm (63“) long).

Feed your tape through an 18mm (3/4”) bias tape maker, ironing the creases into the tape as you go (we recommend spraying with starch first).  Then fold the tape in half, trapping the raw edges in the middle, and iron.

It is a good idea to roll the tape up and leave it to set at this point, even if just why you have a cup of tea, it helps the creases firm up and looks really lovely!

tailored-apron-tutorial-bias-tape-joining-strips-4

 

Step 4 – Attaching the Pockets

Pin your right-hand pocket to the right side of the main apron piece, lining up the edges of the hidden pocket piece with the main apron fabric.  Baste the hidden pocket piece to the main apron fabric along the curve of the pocket opening (see image below).  REMEMBER – Do not sew through the visible/back pocket piece of fabric.  This line of stitching is to secure these fabrics while you add the bias tape, so the line of stitches should be as close the edge as possible to ensure it ends up hidden under the bias tape.

tailored-apron-tutorial-basting-pocket-to-apron-front

Repeat these steps with the left-hand pocket piece.

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Unfold one side of one of your shorter pieces of bias tape and pin along the basted edge, with the right side of the bias tape facing the back of the hidden pocket piece, lining up the unfolded raw edge of the tape with the raw edges of the pocket.  Sew together using your normal stitch length, in the first fold of the tape.

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Fold the tape over the raw edges of the pocket, onto the right side of the apron.  Pull the tape over far enough to cover your last sew line without unfolding the 2nd long edge of the tape, pin and then sew into place, close to the edge of the tape.

tailored-apron-attaching-bias-tape-pockets-front

Repeat these steps on the second pocket, trimming away any excess tape once pressed.

tailored-apron-with-pockets-finished-pockets

 

Step 5 – Finishing the Main Apron Piece

Unfold you remaining bias tape piece along one raw edge and pin onto the back of the apron, lining up the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edge of the apron, starting at the top of one pocket and running all the way round to the top of the second pocket.  Sew into place, sewing in the ditch (the fold of the tape) as before.

tailored-apron-with-pockets-attaching-bias-to-main-piece

Fold the tape over to the front of the apron, pin into place just past the last sew line, then sew the layers together.  Press and trim away excess tape from the top of the apron.

tailored-apron-tutorial-bias-tape

 

Step 6 – The Waistband

Iron a 1.2cm (1/2”) seam allowance over along one long side of your waistband.

Now fold the strip in half so that your folded edge meets the raw edge on the other side, wrong sides together.  Iron the fold into place.

tailored-apron-waistband-ironing

Open the last fold back up and line up the unfolded long edge of the waistband with the top raw edge of the main apron, right side of the waistband facing the back of the main apron piece, with an even amount of overhang on each side of the apron.  Sew into place using a 6mm/1/4” seam allowance.

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Fold the waistband up above the apron and iron the seamline.  Turn your apron over, so you are looking at the right side of the apron, and iron the seam allowance up, onto the waistband.

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Fold the short edges of the waistband in so that they are lined up with the main apron’s sides and iron the creases into place.  Fold the top of the waistband down along the crease you made earlier (the majority of the waistband will sit above the main apron piece.  The raw edge of the folded waistband should meet the raw edge of the main apron piece at the front, inside the waist band (see image below).

tailored-apron-tutorial-waistband-in-position

Sew the waistband into place using a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance, or less if you prefer (we use the side of our sewing machine foot as a guide, but switch the needle position to put it closer to the edge of the waistband).

Sew a second row of top stitches along the top of the waistband, the same distance in from the edge – LEAVE THE SHORT SIDES OPEN!

tailored-apron-top-stitching-waistband-two-images

Step 7 – The Ties

Take one of your tie strips and iron in half along the longest side.  Then fold one of the short ends into a triangle and iron the creases into place (see images below).

Sew along the long open side and down the diagonal crease line – the second short end should be left unsewn.  After sewing, trim the excess fabric from the pointed end.

tailored-apron-tutorial-pockets-ties-sewing

Turn your tie out, taking care to make sure the point is pushed out.  Iron the tie and then top stitch around all the sides EXCEPT the short side you turned the tie through.

tailored-apron-ties-turned-out-top-stitched

Repeat these steps to make your second tie.

Insert a tie at each end of the waistband, making sure the pointy ends of the ties are both facing the same way!  We recommend inserting them approx. 2.5cm (1”) into the waistband. Pin into place and sew down the waistband to secure the ties and complete the top stitching.

tailored-apron-tutorial-inserting-the-ties

Congratulations, you have finished your apron!

tailored-apron-with-pockets-tutorial-finished

Fabrics used in this tutorial: Riley Blake Dutch Treat – click here to view in store.

Click here to download a printer friendly version of this tutorial.

Click here to download the templates.

 

Spooktacular Free Halloween Sewing Patterns and Tutorials

Apologies for the pun but we couldn’t resist!

With the children back a school the next main event on our calendar is Halloween – here is our pick of the makes from across the internet – all free patterns or sewing tutorials…

Spooky Cushion Free Sewing Tutorial – Kirs, Driven by Decor Blog

halloween-mummy-pillow-thats-a-15-minute-diy

Monster Legs Free Tutorial – Hallmark Blog

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Glove Monster – Handimania Blog

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Bat Wings Halloween Costume Tutorial – Etsy Blog

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Dragon Wings Halloween Costume Free Tutorial – Feelincrafty Blog

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Trick or Treat Tote Bag Free Sewing Tutorial – Simplynoteable.com Blog

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Fox Tail Free Tutorial – Bitsfashion Blog (this one is no sew but could be made easier by sewing!)

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Green Fairy Costume Free Tutorial – The hairbowcompany.com blog

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Mermaid Tail Free Sewing Tutorial – mesewcrazy.com blog

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Skeleton Costume Free Tutorial (sew and no sew options) – craftpassion.com Blog

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Superhero Costumes Free Tutorial – Lia Griffith.com Blog

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Visit our Pinterest board dedicated to all things Halloween for lots more inspiration!

View our range of Halloween and spooky fabrics in store today by clicking here.

 

Riley Blake’s Dutch Treat Collection by Betz White Now in Store!

Riley Blake’s Dutch Treat fabric collection was inspired by the colors and motifs of the Pennsylvania Dutch, with more than a hint of its own European Scandy roots.

The collection was designed by Betz White, it’s a quirky modern take on a classic folk style, featuring icons such as hearts, tulips, birds and flowers. Cheerful and sophisticated, these hand drawn prints play well together, mixing bold graphics with intricate detail.

Look out for our quilt block kits in this fab range later in September.

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To download Riley Blake’s free quilt pattern inspired by this range click here. 

DutchTreatFreeQuilt

Please do share pictures of your makes using this fabulous collection, tag is in on Instagram or send you pictures to us here on the blog or via our Facebook page 🙂

Dashwood Studio’s 2016 Christmas Fabrics Now In Stock!

Have you seen Dashwood Studio’s Festive Friends fabric collection yet?

It combines modern sensibilities with more than a nod and a wink to 1950s glamour – happy Christmas puddings and cats enjoying their Christmas party – what is there not to like!

dashwood studio festive friends christmas fabric collection long banner

Click on the image above to view in store.

If you are looking a pattern to use these fab fabrics with – check out or range in store (click here) and our free tutorials (click here).

Please tag us in to your makes in Instagram or send us images below or on Facebook, we love sharing your images 🙂

Christmas in August!

With Selfridges unveiling their Christmas shop in London this week we thought it was high time we unveiled ours!  Full to the brim with Christmas fabrics, designed to suit all tastes and styles, from the fab Studio E Love Joy Peace, traditional, Scandinavian collection, to Riley Blake Design’s Pixie Noel with more than a hint of 1950s glamour, and Santa Express brimming over with fun – and who could forget Michael Miller’s Christmas gnomes!

Save 10% on all these fabrics until Sunday 14th August by using discount code yoyoyo in your basket before you go to the checkout!

Click here to view all or Christmas fabrics in one place 🙂

Studio E – Joy, Peace Love

A Scandinavian inspired treat of a Christmas fabric collection, in lush reds, crisp white and teal.

Suitable for: quilting, dressmaking, home decor projects, crafts.

100% cotton, 110cm (44″) wide.

studio e-joy-love-peace-christmas-fabric-collection

Riley Blake – Pixie Noel

Tasha Noel has created a beautiful Christmas fabric collection for Riley Blake, reminiscent of the 1950s Babycham deer, cocktail dresses and classic Chrismas movies!

Tasha has a way with combining sugary colors with rich colors to create an amazing palette. This holiday collection is no exception. The sweet pinks and aquas are paired with Christmas red and navy blue to create a very modern Christmas collection. Bottle Brush Trees and adorable rabbits are paired with pixies in candy-striped tights in this whimsical collection with a modern twist.

riley-blake-pixie-noel-christmas-fabric-collection-uk-stockist-cotton-quilting-dressmaking

Riley Blake Designs Santa Express

All aboard the Santa Express – a non-stop ride to a wintery wonderland of holiday delight by Doodlebug Design!

Join Santa and his friends in a collection so festive you’ll be giddy with creativity and delight. In classic Christmas shades and cheery winter icons these fabrics are perfect for crafting a unique gift or creating some seasonal home decor. So pack up some treats and grab a friend, cuz Santa Express is comin’ round the bend!

riley-blake-santa-express-christmas-collection-fabric-quilting-dressmaking-cotton-online

Don’t forget to share pics of your makes with us, we love seeing what you talented bunch do with these fab fabrics!

Quilting 101 – Maple Leaf Quilting Block Tutorial

quilting-101-maple-leaf-block-tutorial-main-image-prints-to-polka-dots-free

This block measures 25cm (10″) when sewn with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Use a plain fabric for the leaf, with a pattern for the background, or vice versa.  For a fresh, clean and bold look why not switch between the two styles to create a chessboard effect across the entire quilt.

quilting-101-maple-leaf-block-tutorial-reversed-image-prints-to-polka-dots-free

Getting Started

Print or trace the templates on the print out (at the end of this post) onto card and cut out.  Then trace the pieces onto your fabrics and cut out (the number of pieces required and fabric suggestions are shown on each of the templates) and the lines printed inside each piece represent the sew line when using a 6mm (1/4″) seam allowance.

Laying Out

BEFORE sewing we strongly recommend spraying all your pieces with starch and ironing them once more.  Spray starch is used by all sorts of sewers, but for quilters it is a total must.  The fabric will stiffen, helping to stop it stretching and making it MUCH easier to sew.

NOTE: You can buy specialist spray starch for quilting, but we find the one from the supermarket works fine 🙂

We normally recommend laying your pieces out in front of you before you start sewing, but that isn’t possible with this block until you have completed the first part of the sewing process.

Piecing Together

The first step of this block is to create your ‘half triangle squares’.  Match up a plain large square with a patterned large square, right sides of the fabric facing each other.  Fold in half diagonally and iron the crease into place (see below).

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-half-square-block-1

You are now going to sew down the middle twice, once in each direction. Treat the crease in the middle of the fabric as if it is your raw edge and line up your needle to create a 1/4″ seam in from the crease.  Sew across the block, keeping the crease lined up as if it was your raw edge.  Turn your block around and repeat this process down the other side of the crease.

quilting-one-o-one-maple-sewing-half-square-triangles

Your block should now look like the one below:

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-sewing-half-square-triangles-sewn-flat

Cut along the crease and iron the seams flat – you will now have two finished ‘half square triangle blocks’!

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Repeat this process with your remaining 2 large squares, you will end up with 4 half square triangle blocks.

You can now arrange your pieces according to the block pattern, don’t worry that the pieces don’t line up properly around the stem.

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-laying-out-1

The stem piece is made up of 3 pieces of fabric, 2 triangles and a stem.

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-laying-out-stem-pieces

Line the long side of the stem up with one long side of one triangle, right sides facing each other and raw edges lined up (see below).

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-stem-sew-line-1

Sew together and press the seam open.

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-stem-layout2

The next triangle will be too long for the space it needs to fill to make a square, but don’t panic, we can trim this back after we have sewn the square together.  Fold the sewn piece in half to find the middle of the raw edge you will be adding the next triangle too, and repeat this process with the triangle piece (see below).

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Place the triangle on top of the stem piece, right sides facing, lining up the raw edges along the sew line and the fold lines you just made in the middle of the pieces.

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-sewing-second-side-stem

Sew together and press the seam open.

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Place your template back on top of your mini block, or use your quilting ruler and cutting mat, to trim the block back to the same size as the smaller square template.

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Place the completed block back into the main block pattern.

NOTE: The bottom row is not laid out correctly in this image - check the images at the top or bottom of this post for the correct lay out (the triangles are facing the wrong way here!)

NOTE: The bottom row is not laid out correctly in this image – check the images at the top or bottom of this post for the correct lay out (the triangles are facing the wrong way here!)

You are now ready to sew the squares together into rows (the image below still shows the earlier mistake – the triangles in the bottom row are facing the wrong way!  I forgot to retake the picture are unpicking and re-sewing!).

quilting-one-o-one-maple-leaf-rowing rows 1

Sew the rows together, if your blocks are out of shape, it is a good idea to trim the edges you will be sewing straight before sewing them together.

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Press your block one more time and then trim the block back square – not sure where to start?  The easiest way to do this is to fold your block into quarters and iron the creases into place (lightly).  When you open up the block you will have the mid point of each side marked with a crease.

Place your square on your cutting board with the vertical crease lined up with the 10″ line on the cutting mat, making sure it is in line at the top and bottom of the block.  Now place your ruler over the block so that it runs along the 5.25″ line to the left of your crease, cut along this line.  Now line your ruler up with the 15.25″ line to the right of your crease, and cut along this line.  Turn your block 90 degrees and repeat the process.

Don’t forget to send us pictures of your finished blocks/quilts, via the blog, Facebook or by tagging us in on Instagram #printstopolkadots. We love seeing your makes!

quilting-101-maple-leaf-block-tutorial-reversed-image-prints-to-polka-dots-free
Fabrics used in our examples: Riley Blake’s Bloom and Bliss (click to view in store) and Kona’s White (click to buy).

Click here to download the templates and short instructions.

Put Sunshine on Your Pocket With These Glorious Fabrics

We have selected a range of fabrics that scream summer to share with you today.  Our picks offer sunshine and more muted ice cream tones, mini and large florals, sunshine bursts and animal prints, including butterflies and rabbits hiding in the tulips.  All these prints bring a smile to our faces and warmth to the heart!

Michael Miller’s Sea Holly Collection

michael-miller-sea-holly-fabrics-uk-stockist-dressmaking-quilting-butterflies-children-girls

Riley Blake’s Fresh Market

riley-blake-fresh-market-pink-large-floral-pink-quilting-dressmaking-cotton-fabric-main
   
riley-blake-fresh-market-pink-large-floral-white-quilting-dressmaking-cotton-fabric-main

Michael Miller’s Sommer Collection (Regular Cottons and Double Gauzes)

michael miller sommer fabric collection quilting cotton double gauze

Riley Blake’s Medium Dots & Honeycomb Reverse Dots

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riley-blake-reversed-honey-comb-dots-bundle-quilting-fabric-uk-stockist

Riley Blake’s Dream and a Wish Collection

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Did you spot the rabbits in the tulips?

Quilting 101 – Clays Choice Quilting Block Tutorial

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-front-page

This block measures 25cm (10″) when sewn with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Use a plain background and two fabrics to make the star punch out from the middle of the block, as in the sketch below, or reverse it, using a white fabric for the star and patterns everywhere else.

If you are planning to make a quilt by repeating this block over and over, consider rotating the 3 fabrics in the block, giving each one a chance to be the background, central square and star.

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-sketch

Getting Started

king-s-crown-quilting-block-step-1-cut-out-templates

Note: These pieces are not for this particular block!

Print or trace the attached templates onto card and cut out. Now trace the pieces onto your fabrics and cut out (the number of pieces required and fabric suggestions are shown on each of the templates).

Laying Out

Lay out your pieces in line with the pattern.  Don’t be alarmed that all the pieces don’t line up – this is due to the seam allowances for each of the pieces being visible at this point, it will work in the end!

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-block-layout

We strongly recommend spraying all your pieces with starch and ironing them once more BEFORE sewing.  Spray starch is used by all sorts of sewers, but for quilters it is a total must. The fabric will stiffen, helping to stop it stretching and making it MUCH easier to sew.

NOTE: You can buy specialist spray starch for quilting, but we find the one from the supermarket works fine 🙂

Piecing Together

This block is made up of 4 identical mini blocks, each making up one quarter of the finished block.  Start by sewing the two small squares in each mini block together.

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-2-finished-block-squares together

Now you need to sew the other three parts of each mini block together, making rectangles (as below).   This is a little trickier than you might think, but work through the steps below the next image and you will get there without pulling your hair out!

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-2-finished-block-strips

I am only joining three pieces together- how hard can it be, I hear you cry!  Place the two pieces you are sewing together, right sides facing, lining up the diagonal raw edges and you will discover that the shapes are actually different sizes and won’t line up.

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-sewing-diagnol
Place the middle shape in front of you as shown to the right.  Then place a triangle on top, right sides facing each other, so that the bottom diagonal sides are lined up, from the bottom corner, out along the long diagonal side THEY WILL NOT LINE UP AT THE TOP CORNER.

Sew the two pieces together and when you iron the seam flat and turn over, the pieces should be lined up perfectly!

 

 

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-second-triangle
Now turn your shape around, so that the sewn side is at the top of the middle shape and the raw diagonal edge of the middle shape is at the bottom.  Repeat the above steps.

 

 

 

 

Now sew the two squares you completed earlier to this shape, completing each mini block.

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-2-finished-block-mini-blocks

Now sew the top two mini blocks together.

At this point I find it helps to check that the bottom edge of the new, larger, block is straight, and trim it back if not.

Then sew the bottom two mini blocks together, making sure the top edge is straight and trimming back as necessary.

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-2-finished-block-rows

Now sew the two rows together.

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The final step is to square off the block.  The easiest way to do this is to fold your block into four and iron the creases in lightly.  When you open up the block you will have the mid point of each side marked with a crease.

Place your square on your cutting board with the vertical crease lined up with the 10″ line on the cutting mat, making sure it is in line at the top and bottom of the block.  Now place your ruler over the block so that it runs along the 5.25″ line to the left of your crease, cut along this line.  Now line your ruler up with the 15.25″ line to the right of your crease, and cut along this line.  Turn your block 90 degrees and repeat the process (if you like the block we used for the images this part of the tutorial (below), it is called King’s Crown – click here to view the tutorial).

king-s-crown-quilting-block-triming back-tutorial

 

Ta dah!

quilting-one-o-one-clays-choice-block-tutorial-2-finished-blocks

Don’t forget to send us pictures of your finished blocks/quilts, here on our blog, on Facebook or by tagging us in on Instagram #printstopolkadots. We love seeing your makes!

Fabrics used in our examples: Riley Blake’s Bloom and Bliss (click to view instore) and Kona’s White (click to buy).

Click here to download the templates and short instructions.

Quilting 101 – Piecing Your Quilt Blocks Together – Top Tips

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Block Pattern/Templates Tips

  • king-s-crown-quilting-block-step-1-cut-out-templates
    If you are using one of our block patterns
    – Print it directly onto card. Your pattern pieces will be easy to trace onto your fabric and over time you will build up a library of reusable quilt block templates.
  • If you are creating your own block patterns – Draw your block pieces directly onto template plastic or card and you will have pattern pieces you can use time and time again. Don’t forget to include your seam allowance!
  • Write the names of each block on each piece, together with the total number of pieces needed for the pattern – ‘kings crown, 1 of 4’ etc… and if appropriate the seam allowance to use.

Preparing Your Fabric

  • king-s-crown-quilting-block-step-2-cut-out-fabrics-and-spray-with-startch-tutorial
    Most quilters do not prewash their fabrics, preferring to wash the fabrics once the quilt is finished, any shrinkage adds that slightly crinkly, aged, feel to your quilt.
  • Spray all your fabrics lightly with starch before you start. The starch will help preserve the shape of the fabric pieces whilst you sew them, and will help seams to lay flat when sewing pieces together (you can buy specialist quilting starch but we think the one you get in the local supermarket works fine).

Your Sewing Machine

quarter-inch-sewing-machine-foot
Invest in a quarter inch sewing foot. Standard feet are 5/8ths of an inch wide, and it might not seem that reducing your seams down by just 1/8th of an inch will make a big difference, but when you are sewing a lot of small pieces together (piecing them together) you will be surprised how quickly your blocks shrink into the seam allowance – for example if you sew a square made from 2.5” squares, and you sew rows of 5 blocks, that extra 1/8th of an inch will add up to over half an inch by the time you get to the end of the first row!

Getting Started

  • quilting-101-piecing-laying-out
    Once you have starched your fabrics and cut your shapes out, it is time to layout your block. Don’t panic if it looks like some pieces are too large or too small, it is all to do with the number of pieces making up each part of the block and accommodating their seam allowances.  If you are following a pattern, the likelihood is that this difference will disappear once you start sewing all the parts together.

 

  • quilting-101-piecing-laying-out-2
    If you are using one of our block tutorials there will be detailed instructions on our blog, showing you the order in which to sew everything together. If all you have to go on is a picture of the block, working out what order to sew the block in is simpler than you might think. Look at the block and divide it up into smaller squares, triangles and rectangles, each made of pairs of pieces (see example below).Once they are sewn together arrange these larger pieces into squares, rectangles, triangles and rows made up of your larger sewn pieces, and sew these together.  Keep repeating this process until you have a completed block.
  • Each time you sew two pieces together trim the seam allowances as shown in the image below, this will help the seams lay flat and stop fabric bunching up at the corners.
  • Once trimmed iron the seam allowance out, either to one side (the darkest fabric side) or equally onto each side, as in the image below.

quilting-101-piecing-seam-allowances-ironing

  • IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT IRONING: This rule holds true whenever sewing, but becomes critical when quilting, as the pieces of fabric are at their most fragile when cut on all four sides and you need them to hold their shape to produce precise blocks.  The golden rule is that you should PRESS rather than push the iron.  The act of pushing the iron back and forth across your fabric pieces WILL push the fabrics out of shape.  Simply lift the iron up and down, across your shapes, to set the seams, and this will eliminate this problem.  We also recommend using a pressing board rather than ironing board, as ironing boards have spring built in, which when quilting, can push shapes out – pressing boards are cheap to make and convenient, as you can keep a small board next to you as you sew – see our blog for our tutorial.

Keeping Going

  • We recommend keeping your block laid out on your sewing table, each time you sew two pieces together, place them back in your block to check everything is OK and identify which pieces need adding next, and where.
  • Don’t panic if your pieced shapes are perfectly square. It is very hard to maintain perfect shapes as you piece together, two triangles that start out looking perfectly shaped and equal in size, should turn into a perfect square, but you don’t have to be very out, or push the iron very hard to push the fabric out of shape.  Before you know it your square starts looking more like a diamond!  Resist the temptation to bin it and start again, or to trim the shape back into a square UNLESS the shape is very wrong.  Wait until you have sewn a number of pieces together, or if possible have formed rows, before considering trimming your shapes straight – or that quilt could turn into a cushion cover or even worse, a pin cushion!

 

 
quilting-101-piecing-your-quilt-together

Finishing Your Block

trimming your quilting block when finished
If your finished block looks less than square, don’t be disheartened, simply place your block on your cutting mat and trim it back to your desired size.

The key to trimming your block is to getting it centred on mat first.  Fold your block into quarters and lightly press, then place your block on your mat, lining the crease lines up with the vertical and horizontal lines on the mat.  Work out from the middle, half the width of your block, and the point you reach is your cutting line, place your ruler along the line on the mat and trim. Repeat this process on all the sides.

By finding the middle and cutting equally on all sides, all your blocks will remain even, and if you are using the same block over and over by cutting the smallest block first and making the rest that size your finished quilt will look like it should always have been that size.

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of this guide.

Love the fabric!  It is Riley Blake’s Bloom and Bliss collection – click here to view in store.

If you are local to Witney in Oxfordshire and would like to learn to quilt, visit our website to find out all about our quilting courses – Click here for more details.

Autumn Sewing School Programme of Workshops Announced!

sewing school booklet front
We are pleased to announce our programme of sewing classes and workshops for the Autumn season.  All the classes are held here in Witney in Oxfordshire, between September and December 2016.

This season’s programme focuses on makes that will help you learn to sew or expand your skill set.  Many of the projects would make great Christmas gifts for magical handmade Christmas.

We love meeting you are sharing our experience, and hope you can make it.

Sewing Lessons – Overview

lined-tote-bag-sewing-lesson-course-workshop-witney-oxfordshire
Lined Tote Bag a great introductory lesson, tackling straight lines, using lining, box corners and top stitching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Applique Masterclass a fun evening messing around with applique – during this course you get to try your hand at applique away from your precious stash of fabric and without risking your latest make – you can take home your work from the evening and incorporate it into your next project.

 

 

 

 

christmas-apron-sewing-lessons-workshop-course-witney-oxfordshire
Retro Apron a great gift for yourself or family and friends, this retro apron covers bias tape, gathering fabrics and patch pockets.

 

 

 

 

 

pyjama bottoms workshop
PJ Bottoms for Ladies – a great introduction to dress making, covering reading patterns, tracing pattern pieces, adjusting length, sewing with elastic and treating raw seams.

 

 

 

 

 

bust adjustment workshop sewing school witney
Bust Adjustment – most patterns are designed for B or C cups, if you are anything else you will struggle to get clothes to fit properly, and if you are going to make your own you might as well get them to sit right!  In one evening we will make and adjust a vest top pattern and then go on to make the adjusted top – a skill for life.

 

 

 

christmas SEWING CLASSES workshop
Christmas Workshops – following our successful workshops in 2015 we are running two this year, the first will focus on making a fully lined stocking for the mantle piece, the second will be a free-flowing workshop, with lots of patterns for quick Christmas makes and fabric to play with.  Book one workshop or both and save money!

 

 

 

get to grips with zips sewing lesson workshop witney2
Get to Grips with Zips – If you have always shied away from sewing with zips, this is the course for you – we cover sewing zips into clothes and types of zip, before making a zip up pouch to put those skills into practice.

 

 

 

 

 

learn to sew in 5 weeks
Learn to Sew in 5 Weeks – Our best selling 5 week introduction to sewing course is designed for the complete beginner – over the 5 weeks you will make bunting, a cushion cover, apron, reversible bag and zipper pouch.  You will learn to sew straight and round curves, all about the bias and bias tape, everything you need to know about interfacing, how to make pockets and how to sew with zips!

 

 

owl-cushion-sewing-class-workshop-lesson-witney-oxfordshire-children
Owl Cushion – This is a really fun make, we make the front of the cushion in the same way as patchwork is pieced together, tackling sewing opposing curves on the way.  Then attach the back of the cushion, stuff and hand sew to finish.

 

 

 

 

cushion-covers-level-2-piping-and-zips-sewing-lesson-tutorial
Cushion Covers Level 2 Making and using piping and zips for a professional finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sewing-school-reversible-bag-course-witney-oxfordshire
Reversible Bag – Back by popular demand!  This reversible bag is very practical and has a stylish shape, we cover using interfacing and sewing curves, together with top stitching.

 

 

 

 

 

Download a copy of our programme here.

Visit our website for full details of all our courses, group and individual lessons – we hope to see you there!