Author Archives: theboss

About theboss

Hi, my name is Claire and I own Prints to Polka Dots, share your thoughts with likeminded souls visiting our blog, and while your at it let us know what products you would like to see stocked in future.

Our Guide to Two Stitches Sewing Patterns – Modern Patterns for Children’s Clothes With a Vintage Twist

Great news all our favourite tested Two stitches patterns are back in stock, so I thought I would take time to review them as to their ease, areas to look out for and hints and tips.


NEW Pattern Zoe Dress

A traditional A-line dress with a gently curved bottom panel where the pockets are concealed, and a fully buttoned back. Whether you choose the short sleeve or sleeveless option, use contrasting fabric for the front panel or not, this is a fun pattern to add your own touch to.

The most difficult part of this dress is the buttonholes, sewing the curve and putting in the sleeves.

The pattern is rated with a difficulty level of 2.  My opinion is that anyone with a little experience should be able to make this.

If you cannot manage buttonholes then I would suggest using snap fasteners.                 (there really is no excuse for not giving it a try!)

The sleeves are not difficult just fiddly, but if you are going to make children’s clothes then you need to get used to fiddly!!!!!!

There is always the sleeveless option if you really don’t want to try the sleeves.

Most Popular Pattern Frida Dress and Swing Top

A classic dress with a twist, this simple A-line dress with a lined bodice has a pleated front which creates body and swing. The pattern includes a shorter version for a swing top.

It is really easy to make and looks very professional when complete.

This pattern is rated with a difficulty level of 1 and is really easy for a beginner. We have made this many times in an evenings class with complete beginners in an evening 🙂

Possible Pitfalls

Make sure you follow steps 1-4 carefully as this will create the pleats. Once pleats are sewn the neck of dress should be the same size as the neck of the lining.


Cute Charlie Hoodie

A modern version of the classic hoodie, this unisex pattern has a geometric twist with a triangular front panel, hidden pockets and a funnel neck hood to give a more contemporary feel. The pattern includes a longer A-line version for a tunic dress.

The pattern is rated with a difficulty level 2. I would say 2+ particularly if you are new to sewing with knit/jersey, I think anyone with a little experience should be able to make this.

The first hurdle I hit is pattern matching the front, the front of the hoodie looks like an upside down Y shape, sounds easy but it is really important if using a patterned fabric to have the front middle pattern matched as it is so prominent,
I decided to try again, this time altering the pattern to get rid of the join down the middle of the front – avoiding that tricky pattern matching!

I folded over the right edge of the front pattern piece (the side that becomes the middle of the front) by my seam allowance.  Then I folded the front fabric in half, right sides facing each other, and placed the amended pattern piece on top, with the folded over edge on the fold of the fabric. This meant I did not have to sew the two front pieces together and the end result was perfect!

Conclusion cut on fold method is best for patterned fabric, whereas Y shape detail is nice on a solid fabric so best not cut on the fold.

I do hope you enjoy making up this hoodie as much as I did.






Adorable Babygro

A baby basic – using fun jersey prints, or classic solids with a contrast trim, this sweet onesie includes snap fasteners on the gusset that open completely and a soft neckline for quick and easy access and comfortable wear. The pattern is rated with a difficulty level of 2 if you are new to sewing with knit/jersey and then I would classify as a 3. The most difficult part for me was topstitching the bindings and ensure I did get there, but it took a little practice with the knit fabric.

However, I did enjoy the challenge and the outcome was beautiful.


Classic Freddie Dungarees/Dress

A unisex dungaree pattern for babies and toddlers, with contrast facing for straps, bibs, pockets and turn-ups. Keeping practicality in mind the pattern features snap fasteners on the inner leg, an elasticated back waist and side buttons. A dress version is also included.

There is also a version for 2 years plus that does not have the snap fasteners on the inner leg.

The pattern is rated as a difficulty level of 3 and I would say that it is really suitable for the more experienced sewer , There are lots of steps involved in making both the dress and the dungarees but they are worth taking! I made both patterns in baby cord and my automatic buttonhole foot struggled with this fabric so I used snap fasteners in place of buttons on the dress. (except for the bib as there were no buttonholes here).


Versatile Eddie Blouse and Shirt Dress

A classic shaped blouse with a front yoke and gathered front panel. The choice of two different collars, lengths and sleeves makes this is a versatile pattern and a perfect addition to any girls wardrobe!
The most difficult part of this dress is the buttonholes, the collar and putting in the sleeves.

The pattern is rated with a difficulty level of 2, but I think anyone with a little experience should be able to make this. In fact we have made in class with beginners as with the Zoe dress snap fasteners could be used instead of buttons to avoid buttonholes. All this really takes to make is a little patience and to follow the pattern carefully.



Bonus Knot Tie Hat available as PDF only

A cute and quick make for any and all babies in your life. This hat is sweet and stretchy and can be made from small offcuts of jersey.

All you need is half an hour a sewing machine a half a fat qtr of fabric! So get sorting through those off cuts in your stash.




Patterns can be found at

Fabric Border Print Challenge

October has been an inspiring month so far with lots of new fabrics and challenges.

Border Prints were first in line, what to make to showcase the 4 border print fabrics Claire had given me??

Decision made – I will make a couple of girls dresses, a Christmas apron and a cushion.

I will start with the cushion, Michael Miller’s Foxwood border print fits a 45cm cushion perfectly.

The Foxwood Fabric made a lovely cushion – I chose an envelope style cover with buttons perfect for the beginner


Follow the link below for instructions on how to make an envelope cushion without buttonholes.






After looking at Michael Miller’s Holly Jolly Gnome fabric I decided to make a Christmas apron, I worked with the free retro apron pattern on our blog changing it slightly to a reversible apron with a frill, as I wanted to avoid bias binding ( making this easier for beginners}.

I just cut out two main pieces as per the pattern plus a long strip of the contrast fabric (about 1 5 times measurement of outside edge of apron x 2.5 inches wide) folded the long strip in half pressed and gathered on a long stitch, pulling gathers through so that it fitted around edge of apron. Then placed 1 main piece on table with right side facing up and matched raw edges of frill with raw edges around main piece of fabric, then placed the second main piece on top with right side facing down. (the frill should be sandwiched between the two main pieces and all raw edges should be together. Pin and sew round raw edges leaving top of apron open to enable you to turn apron through. Turn the apron right sides out continue following pattern for waistband and straps.

Follow the link below for the Original Free Retro Apron Pattern





There is no place like gnome for Christmas Lunch 🙂

As soon as I saw Michael Miller’s Swan Lake fabric I had a picture in my mind of the dress I wanted to make

I browsed the pattern websites and found just what I was looking for, the dress was called vintage Kate and it was designed and sold by The Freckled Pear on Etsy as a PDF. Perfect I purchased, downloaded and then cut and sellotaped pieces together.



Vintage Kate Dress in Michael Miller Swan lake Fabric

Really pleased with the result, the dress was not difficult to make, but I did spend time fussy cutting the fabric to make the best of the border, the finishing touch was the addition of white piping around the waist.

Fancy having a go at making it?  Then join us at our Intermediate childrens clothes workshop in December—dressmaking—intermediate-childrens-clothes-


Nova Meadow Main Fabric Border Print


Just Perfect

Last Fabric was an Art Gallery Print, I wanted to bring a second fabric into the next dress so decided on a Lily Bird design which has a small panel in 2nd fabric.

This dress is a beauty and reasonably easy for an intermediate sewer, the only tricky part was putting in the invisible zip.

This will also be available as a choice at our Intermediate childrens clothes sewing workshop here in Ducklington, just outside Witney in Oxfordshire, in December in any fabric you choose

That’s all four items made but I do have a remnant of Holly Jolly Gnome fabric so I have made a bonus skirt. The pattern is available free on our blog




All fabric now sewn, so its time to see what lands next to my sewing machine next!

I have enjoyed working with borders, they do make you think out of the box which is great at my age as I need to keep those grey cells working!


Cool For Cats!

Dashwood Studio’s Cool for Cats fabric collection is now available online – it is already proving very popular and it is easy to see why – which one is your favourite?

Leaping Cats on Grey…

Playful Cats on White

Funky Cats on Blue

Bohemian Cats on Mustard

Geo Cats on White

Having trouble choosing?  Why not go for a fat quarter bundle!


Its Playtime!

Introducing Dashwood Studio’s Playtime fabric collection – perfect for so many projects – from curtains and home furnishing to bunting, bags, tops, trousers and dresses 🙂

The collection includes robots…

Super girls!

Dinosaurs in Blue and Green…

and in orange and pink…


and of course unicorns!

Order online at – click on any of the images above to jump straight to the right page!

Interfacing Guide – Crafts, Home Décor Projects, Soft Toys and Bags!

Welcome to part 2 of our guide to interfacing, if you missed part one – click here.

Part 2 deals with core craft, home decor, soft toy and bag interfacings.  These all build on the core interfacings (light, medium and heavy-weight) covered in Part 1.

Fusible Fleeces

H630 – Is a low loft fusible fleece, less about adding obvious padding and more about adding a cuddle factor to bags, purses and soft toy parts, such as ears as well as zipper pouches and small projects that need to defy gravity to hold their shape!

H640 – Is a high loft fusible fleece for situations where you want the finished project to have a noticeably padded feel to it or where you want the structure to be stiffer (hold its own shape better) than H630 would allow- bags, some clothing, fabric boxes, tablet covers etc.. are great examples of places where you would find H640.

H650 – Is a double sided fusible fleece – simply iron you chosen fabrics onto each side of the interfacing and you have created your own quilted fabric!  Perfect for lightweight quilts and picnic blankets and for any projects where you want a combination of external fabric, wadding and lining.  Just bear in mind, it is best used where the raw edges can be finished with binding or bias tape rather than where you will be sewing pieces together in the usual way (in this situation you will still be able to see the raw edges inside your project and the wadding will add bulk).

Quilters Grid (Also Known as Pellon 820)

Whether you are making a whole quilt out of squares and strips, a panel for a bag or purse, quilting blocks to use in mix and match quilt design or other crafty make, Quilters Grid will make your life easier.

  • There is no need to pin your pieces together as they are fused to the interfacing.
  • Once you have plotted your design you iron it into place on the Quilters Grid – ensuring you don’t get bits mixed up between the table and the sewing machine.
  • Because the design is fused onto the interfacing it doesn’t get pulled out of shape during sewing and ironing processes.
  • You sew your patchwork together in lines, rather than pairs, speeding up the sewing time.

Click here to view our step by step guide to this product.

Heat n Bond Adhesives

We currently stock two types of Heat n Bond Adhesive and a third is on its way!

Heat n Bond is glue on a sheet, you can draw or print an image on the sheet, cut it out and iron it onto the back of your fabric.  You then peel the paper off the back and iron your shape onto your project.

Heat n Bond Ultra is a no-sew option, once it is ironed on you are done – your item can be washed and it won’t fall off!

Heat n Bond Lite is the option to pick if you want to stitch around the outside of the applique, the glue is designed to NOT rub off onto your needle so is better for your sewing machine.

Heat n Bond Soft Stretch is the version to use when adding your applique to stretchy fabrics – this one will help your applique stretch with the garment!


Flexi-firm will make your fabrics behave more like paper or card.  It was originally designed for use in those stiff flat pelmets you find above certain types of curtains, and in tie backs.

S320 is the lighter version,  loved by sewers of baskets, hats and bags, this interfacing adds shape to your projects without bulk.  Soft and flexible enough to easily ‘turn out’ of double sided project and to manipulate when sewing.

 S520 is the daddy of stiff interfacings!  Used across the world in bands, belts, bags, boxes and other creative handicrafts. This interfacing adds defined shape to your projects – we use it to create stiff bag bottoms that can still be washed!


Also known as stitch and tear, Stickvlies is the perfect embroidery and applique backing and is great for transferring and making topstitch work and patchwork.

Tack onto the reverse of your fabric to hold in place, sew or applique your motif and tear away the excess interfacing – it’s as simple as that!

Great for achieving accurate embroidery and snag free appliqué using the sewing machine.

Also suitable for transferring and sewing quilting motifs.

A Couple Of Extras!

Not sure these are technically interfacings but they behave like interfacings so we are including them in our guide:-)

ODIF 505 Basting Spray

Basting spray is a dream product for quilters!

I have to admit, if I am using traditional wadding, I always use this to glue my quilt sandwich together!

I find fabrics move too much when I pin and I don’t have the patience to hand tack the layers together.  I simply spray the basting spray onto my wadding, add my quilt top, then flip over and do the same thing with the backing fabric.  The glue is repositionable and stays good for a few months, so plenty of time to finish the quilting off!

Heat n Press Batting Tape

Batting tape is a super strong but very thin tape that you iron over joins in wadding/batting for quilts.  It is designed to be easy to sew through and won’t fall apart.  It allows you to make the most of your batting scraps, joining small pieces together to make larger, quilt size pieces of batting.

Visit our store to see a short video demonstration.

Waist-Shaper – Great for Bag Straps!

Available is a range of widths and designed with dressmakers and waistbands in mind, waist shaper is actually really great for bag straps.  It adds a lot of strength to your straps, stopping them sag and making your bag looking tired, but most of all it allows you to very quickly and accurately makes straps for your bags – with less fabric!

You simply iron it on to the back of your fabric, then fold along the perforated edges and sew shut.


Combining Interfacings

Did you know you can combine interfacings, just keep adding layers and ironing them into place!

We often combine interfacings when making bags and zipper pouches, our zipper pouch tutorial uses a medium weight interfacing on the outside fabric and H630 on the lining.

Our lined tote uses both medium weight interfacing, and flexi-firm for the bag’s base – no one likes a soggy bottom!

Many sewing bloggers often combine Vilene’s woven interfacing with H630, the woven interfacing gives a super smooth finish on the outside of a clutch or purse and the H630 fleece gives a luxury soft touch feel.

Sewer’s Guide to Interfacing – The Basics and Dressmaking

If you have ever walked into a fabric store and walked over to the interfacing section only to turn on your heels and walk the other way – you are not alone!

Interfacing can be baffling – rows and rows of rolls and boxes that all seem the same but promise to do different things for you.

Over the next couple of blog posts we aim to demystify the world of interfacing, in particular, the world of fusible interfacing – who has time to sew interfacing in when you can iron it on!

Today we are going to focus on the basics and dressmaking interfacing, tomorrow we will look at craft interfacings – perfect for bags, baskets quilts are more!

The Science Bit!

Fabrics are made by weaving cotton threads together in a criss-cross pattern. The way each fabric is woven, the type and weight of the threads used, and the way you cut the fabric affects each fabric’s drape and stretchiness.

Interfacing disrupts drape. By understanding the different types of interfacing and their impact on your fabric, you can use this disruption to your advantage.

Fusible Versus Sew In

Interfacing can be sew-in or fusible, woven or non-woven. We recommend using fusible interfacing as it saves you a step in the sewing process, but if you want to retain the true drape of your fabric you will need to use sew-in interfacing.

Woven v Non-Woven

When you fuse non-woven interfacings on to your fabric all the little holes between the woven threads are filled in, the fabric becomes stiffer and the fabric’s natural drape is lost.

If you are only working on a small section of fabric, such as around buttonholes or on a collar, the loss of drape can be unnoticeable, or is the desired effect – no one wants a cuff that drapes, you want it to stand stiffly at the end of the sleeve, and the same is often true when making cushion covers, purses and bags, you use interfacing because you want your project to look smoother and stiffer.

In situations such as these, if the interfacing is going to end up between layers of fabric, or inside a cushion cover, there is no need to pay more for woven interfacing.

Woven interfacing comes into its own when you:

  • want to retain the drape of your fabric,
  • will not be covering the interfacing up with more fabric (non-woven interfacing can be damaged more easily and is less attractive),
  • need to add a high level of strength through your interfacing – in a book bag for example.

Woven interfacings are created in the same way as fabric and so have their own natural drape. When you fuse these to your main fabric you retain that drape.

They are stronger than non-woven interfacings, are harder to damage, and are pleasing to the eye.

How to tell the difference in store? Woven interfacings are more expensive and so will have the word woven in their title. They have the appearance of very fine fabric with the pattern of the weave visible to the naked eye.

Getting the Weight Right

Non-woven interfacing is sold in three weights, lightweight, medium weight and heavy weight.

There are two factors to consider when choosing the right one for your project:

  1. The weight of your fabric – lighter weight fabrics such as silk, should be used with lightweight interfacing, regular cottons should be used with medium weight interfacing, home decor weight fabrics need heavyweight interfacings.
  2. How much control you need – although you should stick to the right weight for your fabric, you can move up the interfacing weights in order to increase the level of stiffness you want to add to your fabric, or down the range to minimise the impact of the interfacing.

Specialist Dressmaking Interfacings

The core interfacings for dressmaking remain light, medium and heavy weight interfacing, woven or non-woven.  Whether you are strengthening a buttonhole or stiffening a cuff, these are the interfacings you will be directed to use.

However, there are a few newer interfacings that can take some of the hard work out of dressmaking that are well worth knowing about…

Fix-a-Band / Waist Shaper

Waist shaper does what it says on the tin!

This fab interfacing comes in a number of widths.  Simply iron it onto the back of your fabric and then fold the fabric along the perforated edges in the interfacing.

You will end up with a very crisp waistband, perfectly sized, and strengthened by the interfacing – we also use this one for bag straps!

Edge Tape – For Non-Stretchy/Woven Fabrics

Edge tape can be applied to any cut edges to stablize them, given them strength and stability during the sewing process and beyond.

It is very soft and low-stretch and is easily ironed into shape. It stabilises front edges, armholes and lapels on jackets and coats. Other application areas include pocket openings, vents, hems and other edges. Washable and dry cleanable.

Edge tape is designed for use on non-stretchy or woven fabrics NOT stretchy fabric and NOT around curves, for tapes for these fabrics and situations read on…

Seam Tape – For Stretchy Fabrics

If you iron regular interfacings onto stretch fabrics they will most likely break and fall off in use.  If you sew regular interfacing onto stretchy fabrics you may not find it breaks, but it will stop your fabrics from stretchy the way they are designed to.

This interfacing will stabilize your fabric’s structure whilst still breathing with the fabric as it moves.

Vilene’s Seam Tape is designed for use with stretchy fabrics, from velvet at one end of the spectrum through jersey and knit fabrics and all the way over to the Lycras at the other end.

Simply iron this tape onto the back of your fabrics around areas that will be subject to the greatest amount of stretch in daily life – around pockets, buttons and buttonholes etc..  and on areas of your garment that could become permanently stretched out of shape during the sewing process – typically around any curves, hems, and necklines.

Bias Tape – Not Your Regular Bias Tape (Stay Stitching on a Roll)!

Whilst I get why Vilene called this one bias tape, it is made from interfacing cut on the bias, I really wish they would come up with a better name as it can be off-putting and confusing!

Think of Vilene’s Bias Tape as a seam tape for curves or stay stitching on a roll!

You will often find patterns instruct you to ‘stay stitch’ areas of the pattern pieces.  You do this because when the fabric is cut but not sewn it is prone to stretching, you may not even notice this stretch until you have finished your garment, but it can have devastating consequences, a neckline can be floppy or other parts fo the garment appear limp or out of shape, and there is nothing you can do at this point to rescue the garment.

Carefully stay stitching – sewing around the edges of the pattern pieces using a large stitch, close to the edge, will stabilise your fabrics and this is why it is recommended, but even the action of staystitching can result in stretching if you are guilty of pulling your fabrics through the sewing machine 🙂

Vilene’s Bias Tape is a heaven-sent little tape that does the job of stay-stitching for you.  The tape is just 12mm wide and has a stay stitch running down one side.  Iron the tape into place and your fabric will be stabilised and you will be ready to start dressmaking.

Everything You Need to Know About Bias Tape!

This week is all about haberdashery and sewing equipment here at Prints to Polka Dots and today’s focus is on bias tape – choosing and using ready-made tape and making your own!

Ready-made versus homemade

Sewers are often discouraged from making their own bias tape, it seems like a lot of work and you can buy ready-made tape in a wide range of colours cheaply and easily.  So why would you bother?

We love ready-made bias tape when it is used properly and in the right context,  When your bias tape is going to end up hidden on the back of your make the ready-made tape really is hard to beat, it is cheap and more importantly, thin, so doesn’t add bulk to your makes.

We sell bias tape by the meter and by the roll in a wide range of colours for this purpose – click here to view in store.

BUT we do not recommend using bias tape for either hanging bunting (our bunting tape is so much better for that) or where the bias tape will be seen in the finished make.  Ready-made bias tape tends to be quite see-through so you will see your main fabric through it, and if you don’t line the main fabric right up into the crease, you will also see the wobbly raw edge of the fabric trapped inside your bias tape.

There is of course always an exception to the rule, we have seen some premium ready-made bias tapes that are made from thicker fabric which is not see-through, so you could decide to search these out if you don’t want to make your own, but these are not the standard bias tapes, which are thinner for a reason!

Making your own bias tape is really very easy and the folding and pressing of the creases into the tape is made into a fun activity with the addition of a bias tape maker – click here to view in store.

To find out more about bias tape download one or more parts of our Comprehensive Guide to Bias Tape:

Bias Tape Guide

Part 1 – What is bias tape? Which type should you use in which situation.  Homemade versus shop bought.
Part 2 – Sewing with single fold tape and how to turn single fold tape into double fold.
Part 3 – Sewing with double fold tape.
Part 4- Making your own bias tape – both strip and continuous methods.

Quick Quilting – Making an I Spy Quilt With Quilter’s Grid

Pellon the quick way to Quilt

I decided to make an I spy quilt for the grandchildren, it was great fun gathering the different fabrics, but when it came to sewing squares together I panicked. Would I be  patient enough  to sew 63 squares together and keep them perfectly  square ?.

I spoke to Claire about my concerns and she introduced me to Pellon a new grid paper she had started stocking to enable easy square quilting (also known as Vilene Quilter’s Grid).

Perfect just what I needed, now everyone thinks I can sew perfect squares!!

I have detailed the steps I took to make my I spy Panel below.

Step 1
Cut Pellon to the size required for your completed Quilt


Step 2

Lay Pellon sticky side up and lay your squares right sides up raw edges together


Step 3

When happy with design Iron squares onto Pellon

Step 4

Fold and pin across Horizontal lines

Note lines should be the size of your square apart
Example 5” squares line should be 5” apart


Step 5

Sew each line with a 1/4” seam allowance

Repeat step 4 to 5 with vertical lines

You will now have a piece of fabric made from different fabric squares. This can be used to make many things. I turned mine into an I Spy quilt.

I used 3 inch strips to make a border

I then cut piece of fusible fleece the same size as the backing fabric to go in between the panel and backing fabric. (I used Vilene – Fusible Fleece 3 Fusible on Both Sides H650 as this does not have to be stitched through to hold in place).

I then cut a piece of backing fabric the same size as the quilt front (including border)

This was all sandwiched together with fusible fleece in the middle of the sandwich

Next step to iron both sides of quilt to ensure wadding is stuck to both sides

The final step was to bind the edges and hey presto I had my I Spy quilt

No further sewing required as the fusible fleece does not break up like wadding.

Here I have made a drawstring bag using a small section of patchwork made with Pellon mixed with normal fabric – if you are local you can join us for a fun evening making one of these – click here.

This is a quick efficient way to make a squared  patchwork panel for those of you (like me) do not enjoy the challenge of Pure quilting.

Good Luck and Enjoy


Christmas Tree Table Runner Sew Along – Part 4!

Welcome to day 4 of our Christmas Tree Table Runner Sew Along.

If you’ve missed it so far here are some handy links:

Today we are going to tackle quilting and binding to finish your table runner!

By now you should have:

  • the top of your table runner all sewn together.
  • the binding strips sewn together and put to one side for later.

Part 4…

The Quilt Sandwich

In a moment we are going to create your quilt sandwich, but first you may need to join several fabric pieces together to create your backing fabric (if it is not already wide enough to cover the whole of your table runner).

Cut one piece of fabric approx. 5cm deeper than the depth of your table runner, this will go in the middle of your table runner.

Measure your table runner and add 5cm to the answer.  Now take away the width of the piece of fabric you have already cut.

Divide the answer by 2 and then add 1.5cm (1/2”) to the answer (this is to allow for the fabric that will be lost in the seams).  Cut two pieces of fabric this wide, as deep as the piece of fabric you have already cut.

Place one piece at each end of your main backing fabric piece, and sew into place – the idea is to avoid having a join in the middle of your table runner,  and to have a balance of fabric on each side of the seam lines (even if it means having more seam lines).

Now you need to create your quilt sandwich – comprising of your backing fabric, wadding and table runner top.  There are lots of different ways to do this, we recommend using Odif 505 basting spray as it saves lots of time pinning and repining!

If you are using basting spray, lay you wadding on the table (we used insulated/heat resistant wadding), cut slightly larger than your table runner, spray with basting spray and then position your table runner on top (in the middle), smoothing out any creases.

Turn the runner over and spray the back of the wadding with basting spray.  Place your backing fabric on top (it should be approx. the same size as the wadding) and smooth any creases out.

You are now ready to quilt.


If you are an experienced quilter then go for it – using the pattern of your choice.  If you are new to quilting here is our quick guide…

Make sure your bobbin thread works with the fabric on the back of your table runner and turn your stitch length up to 3.

If you have a walking foot for your sewing machine, put it on now, if you don’t have one, don’t panic, you can use a regular foot, but will find you get fewer creases and the fabrics move about less with one – we recommend trying this project with your regular foot, and if you fall in love with quilting, go out and get a walking foot for your next project!

We recommend starting by quilting ‘next to the ditch’  the ditch is any seam line on your quilt.  Many quilters sew ‘in the ditch’ when quilting, to emphasis patterns or stop the quilting pattern from detracting from the piecing, but this is less forgiving than sewing ‘next to the ditch’, as a wobble when you are in the ditch will really show, next to the ditch and a little bit out is almost undetectable.

To sew next to the ditch, you are going to sew around the outside of each Christmas tree shape, accentuating the shape and magically making the joins between sashing strips less noticeable.

Position your table runner under your sewing machine foot ready to sew up the tree trunk (from the raw edge of the table runner up to the join with the main part of the tree).  The middle of your foot should be lined up with the ‘ditch’ – the join between the tree trunk and the filler strip. Move your needle to the side position, so that it is on the filler strip, just off to one side of the ditch.

  1. Sew up the edge of the trunk, stopping approx. as far away from the bottom of the tree as your sew line is from the side of the trunk.
  2. With the needle down, lift your foot and turn your fabric, so that you are heading along the bottom of the tree, still on the filler fabric. Go slightly past the end of the tree, by the amount your sew line is from the edge of the tree.
  3. With the needle down lift your foot and turn your fabric so you are sewing up the side of the tree.
  4. Continue in this manner until you get back to the bottom of the trunk, then stop sewing (you don’t need to sew along the bottom of the trunk).

Check the back is looking good and then move onto the next tree.

Once you have sewn around the outside of each tree you can choose to stop quilting, and move onto binding, or you could go back and sew ‘in the ditch’ between each piece of fabric that makes up each of the trees.   

Binding Your Quilt.

If you have a walking foot, leave it on for the binding.  You can use the edge of the foot for your seam allowance, when you see 6mm mentioned below, you will need to change this is your revised seam allowance.

Trim back the excess wadding and backing fabric and then square your table runner off once more – you will be amazed how much everything grows and moves when you quilt!

Now unroll your binding tape.  Place one end, still folded in half along the long edge, in the left-hand top corner.  Keeping the tape’s raw edges lined up with the edge of the table runner, place a pin in the tape approx. halfway between the first two trees – this will be where you start sewing the tape on.

If you like pins, pin the tape down to the next corner – BUT NO FURTHER.

Sew the tape into place from the first pin to 6mm BEFORE the next corner.  Then take your table runner away from the sewing machine to do the next bit.

Fold the tape back to form a triangle on top of the part of the binding tape you have just sewn into place – the unsewn part of the tape will extend up, in line with the next side of the table runner.

Fold the part of the tape which is extending above the table runner, back down the table runner, covering the triangle you made in the last step.  Pin the tape into place (making sure the raw edges of the tape are in line with the edge of the table runner on the next side, and the fold you just made is in line with the top edge of the table runner).

Sew down the next side, starting at the fold, stopping 6mm from the bottom of this side.  Repeat the folding process from the last corner and continue round until you are approx. 18cm (7”) from where you started.

Now for the join…

When you bind a quilt with tape made from one fabric, we recommend making your join on the bias (along a diagonal line, as it is less visible in the finished quilt) but because this tape is made up of squares sewn together, a straight line join is best – it will simply look like part of the existing design.

Fold both your pieces of tape back so that the folds butt up against each other in the middle of the gap.  Iron the creases into place, then pull both the pieces of tape away from the edge of your table runner, unfold them and pin them together, right sides facing, so that the creases are on top of each other.  Sew together along the crease.

Fold your binding back up and place it on top of your table runner.  If it lays flat, trim the excess tape away from the seam allowance, and then finish sewing the tape into place as before – if your tape is too loose, go back and sew another seam, if it is too tight, try stretching it a little, if it still won’t lay flat, you will need to unpick and try again.

Once the tape is all sewn into place, fold the tape up, away from the table runner.  Run around the edge with your iron, pushing the tape away from the table runner to get a crisp line.

Flip your table runner over and fold the binding tape onto the back.  You are going to hand sew the tape into place, just below the sew line from the other side.  If you want to pin the tape into place do that now, either with traditional pins or quilting clips, I find it easier to work without pins and would recommend giving it a try!

Thread a medium to long needle and tie a knot in the bottom of the cotton.  Make your first stitch into the back of the backing fabric, above the binding sew line (to hide the knot), DO NOT go through to the front, only through the backing fabric.

We are now going to create a ladder stitch to bring the binding down onto the backing fabric, quickly, and just where we want it.

Insert the needle back into the backing fabric, a few mms below the sew line from the other side of the binding DO not go through to the front, you are looking to make a stitch approx. 1-1.5cm (1/2”) long, that runs under the backing fabric, bring the needle back up out of the backing fabric.

Now take the needle straight up into the binding, you are looking to get the needle inside the binding’s fold, not all the way through both layers.  Run the needle along the fold 1-1.5cm (1/2”) and then bring the needle back out of the binding.

Now take the needle down into the backing fabric and repeat the process.  Continue going up and down, from the backing fabric to the binding, and before long you will have created a ‘ladder’ of cotton between the two fabrics.

Pull on the thread, the binding tape will come down to meet the binding fabric and all the stitches will be hidden!

Continue creating a few stitches, pulling them down and creating more, until you get near to the corner (a few inches/5-10cms away from the corner).

Manipulate the corner fabric to create a mitred (diagonal fold) edge.  I find it helps to pin into place for a few minutes, when I take the pins away everything stays put long enough to sew into place.

Sew up to the corner, then repeat the same stitches working up the fold of the mitred edge, sewing the top fold down on to the piece of binding underneath (the space is so small, one stitch up and one down usually does it).  Then continue around the rest of your table runner.

When you have finished all four sides, knot your cotton and trim away the excess thread – ta-dah!

Download a copy of this tutorial by clicking here. 

Don’t forget – you can buy this table runner as a kit in store – click here.

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