Category Archives: Welcome

front page of our blog

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.

Please do share images of your table runners with us #printstopolkadots on Instagram, or find us on Facebook at printstopolkadots.


Christmas Tree Table Runner Sew Along Day 3

Welcome to day 3 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 add the end pieces and tree trunks.  Then on day four, we will tackle quilting and binding.

By now you should have:

  • the main tree shapes all sewn together, with sashing strips in between the shapes.
  • the binding strips sewn together and put to one side for later.
  • a minimum of one 6.4cm (2.5″) square put to one side for each tree in your runner (for a standard runner you should have a minimum of 8 squares).

Part 3…

Trim the short sides of your table runner back straight (you will be cutting off the excess filler strip at each end).

Take your rectangle of filler fabric 20cm x 27cm long (8” x 11”).  Looking at the back of your fabric, place the template on top – it is really important that you are looking at the back of the fabric and that the template is on top with the writing on the template facing you.  Trace your template, then turn it around so it fits in the rest of the fabric, and trace around it a second time.

Cut the fabric pieces out and place one at each end of the runner to ‘square off’ the table runner.

Flip the left end piece over, on top of the table runner, the long diagonal edges should be lined up, you will find that a small nib of fabric sticks out over the bottom edge of the runner (see image below) this is correct.

Sew the fabrics together, iron the seam out flat.

Repeat these steps at the other end of the table runner.

Now is a great time to square everything off.

If you are new to quilting, this is the process of cutting the table runner straight on each side.  Make sure the corners are right angles and trim each side back straight.

Now we will move onto the tree trunks.  Start by cutting filler strips into the following sizes:

  • 6 x 21.2cm
    (If you have made a longer table runner you will need 2 more of these strips for every 2 extra
  • 2 x 22cm
  • 2 x 10cm

You will also need the 6.4cm (2.5”) squares you put to one side earlier.

Lay your tree trunks out in your preferred design, along the top and bottom of the table runner, and insert 21.2cm filler pieces between them.  At the wider ends add 22cm pieces, and at the short ends place your 10cm pieces.

Sew the trunk pieces to the filler pieces, creating two rows of fabric, one above the main body of the table runner, and one below.

TIP: Once you have sewn a few strips and trunks together, place your new strip back in your design and check the trunks are landing centrally at the bottom of the trees.  If you have had to trim your trees back harder than me, or if your seam allowance is less or more than 6mm (1/2″), you may find the trunks are not central – better to find out now and adjust your strip lengths, than wait until you have sewn all the pieces together!

Now you are going to sew your new strips to the main part of the table runner.  The trick is to line the middle of the tree trunks up with the middle of the trees.  Fold the left edge of the body of the runner over, so that the tip of the first tree is on the fold, then press.  Then fold the left edge of the tree trunk strip over, so that the two sides of the first trunk are on top of each other (and the trunk is in half) – press this fold also.

Unfold the two fabric strips and then place the trunk strip on top of the main tree strip, right sides facing each other, with the two creases and raw edges lined up.  Stick a pin in the crease line.  Now line the middle of the rest of the tree trunks up with the middle of each tree.  You can do this by eye, using a quilting ruler, or by creasing the mid points of all the remaining tree trucks and trees and lining them up as before – pin into place.

Add any further pins necessary in-between the tree trunks and then sew the trunks into place.

Iron the seam allowance out flat and then repeat the process on the other side.

Square off the ends (trim away any excess tree trunk strip fabric back in line with the rest of the table runner).

The top of your table runner is finished!  Tomorrow we will start quilting 🙂


Christmas Tree Table Runner Sew Along – Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of our Christmas Tree Table Runner Sew Along.

If you missed day 1 – click here to download the requirements, templates and instructions to get you up to the point where you have all your tree shapes sewn together and cut out.

Today we are going to sew our trees together then tomorrow we will add the and add the end pieces and tree trunks.  Then on day four, we will tackle quilting and binding.

By now you should have:

  • your binding strips all cut, sewn together and put to one side.
  • a minimum of one 6.4cm (2.5″) square put to one side for each tree in your runner (for a standard runner you should have a minimum of 8 squares).
  • all your tree shapes cut out, using the template available to download in part 1.

Start by laying your trees out in your preferred design.

Cut 7 x 30cm strips of your filler fabric (put the off cuts to one side for later).

If you have made your table runner longer than ours, you will need one extra strip for every extra tree in your design.

Place one strip between each pair of trees in your design – DO NOT place any strips at the ends of the runner, only in-between pairs of trees.

Working from the left to the right, we are going to sew one strip to each tree shape.

Take the first tree on the left and the adjacent strip (this should be on the right of the tree).  Flip the tree over, so that:

  • the right side of the tree is facing the right side of the strip below,
  • the left hand long raw edges of the two fabrics are lined up,
  • 3cm of the strip fabric extends below the bottom left corner of the tree.

Sew the two strips together. DO NOT press the seam open.

Take a ruler and measure down from the tip, along the side of the tree without a strip attached, 1.5cm (5/8ths”) and make a small mark.

Press the sewn seam open.

Now trim the bottom of the strip back in line with the bottom of the tree.  DO NOT touch the top of the tree.

Place the tree back in your design.  Flip the next tree over onto the next strip, line the tree and strip up as before, remembering to leave 3cm of strip visible at the bottom of the tree.

Sew together and then press the seam open.   Now trim the bottom of sashing back in line with the bottom of the tree.  DO NOT touch the top of the tree.

Looking at the back of your tree, locate the bottom corner of the tree, on the side without the sashing and make a mark 6mm in from the corner (along the bottom edge).

Continue to work across your design, adding trees to strips, and marking 6mm in along the bottom of each tree.

When you reach the last tree you will not have a strip to attach – this is correct.  Turn the last tree over, so you are looking at its back, and mark 6mm in from the bottom right corner.

With the trees laid out in their final positions….

Fold the first (left hand) tree over onto the next tree, so that:

  • The right sides of the trees are facing each other.
  • The long raw edge of the strip is lined up with the long raw edge of the tree underneath.
  • The mark you made near the top of the top tree is lined up with the bottom edge of the bottom tree.

Sew the two trees together along the long raw edge of the top strip and then press the seam open.

Trim the strips back straight (in line with the bottom of the trees, both those facing up and down).

Now add the next tree.  This time make sure that:

  • The right sides of the trees are facing each other.
  • The long raw edge of the third tree is lined up with the long raw edge of the strip attached to the second tree (the bottom tree).
  • The mark you made along the bottom of the third tree is lined up with the outside edge of the table runner.

Sew the tree into place and press the seam open.  Then trim the excess sashing from the seam allowance on the back of your table runner and from the top of the table runner.

Continue adding the rest of your trees in the same way as the last tree.

Well done!   Tomorrow we will add the end pieces and the tree trunks 🙂


Christmas Tree Quilted Table Runner Sewing Tutorial – Free!

Christmas Tree Table Runner Tutorial
Approx. 109cm x 34cm (43” x 13.5”)


One x Christmas Tree Table Runner kit – click here, or….

9 x 6.4cm (2.5”) strips of fabric (110cm/44” wide) in a range of colours/non-directional patterns for the trees – we used Dashwood Studio Twists – Click here to view instore.

5 x 6.4cm (2.5”) strips of white fabric (110cm/44” wide) for the areas around the trees (we used Dashwood Studio’s Twist in white) – will refer to these strips as filler strips in the instructions!

20cm x 27cm long (8” x 11”) of the same fabric you used for the strips, to fill in the ends of the table runner.

115cm x 40cm (45.5” x 16”) of wadding, we used heat resistant wadding.

115cm x 40cm (45.5” x 16”) of backing fabric (you could get away with using 110cm wide fabric if you are happy to lose a few cms from each end in the final trim).

You will also need our tree and filler templates – click here to download.


Making a longer table runner

This pattern uses half of the tree fabric strips to make the trees and half to make the multi-coloured binding around the outside of the table runner. 

If you only use the tree strips for trees, you can double the number of trees you can cut from the same amount of fabric.  Simply add another fabric to your requirements list for the binding – you will be cutting 6.5cm (2.5”) strips from the binding fabric, and need enough strips to go around the outside of your runner, plus 15-20cm (5” to 8”) – don’t forget to increase your filler strips (allow 75cm for each extra tree), your wadding and backing fabric!



Cut one 6.4cm (2.5”) square from each of your tree strips.

You need one per tree in your table runner, so if your table runner has more than 10 trees in it, you will need extra 2.5” squares, you can cut two squares from each strip without affecting the number of trees you can cut out.


Lay the remainder of the strips (the longer parts) out in front of you and decide on your layout (each tree will include 5 fabrics).

To replicate our design the layout should be:

1.       Red spots                   6.      Red swirls

2.       Blue swirls                  7.      Green spots

3.       Green spots               8.      Gold swirls

4.       Pink swirls                  9.      Orange spots

5.       Brown spots              10.    Mustard swirls

Place the bottom two strips on top of each other, right sides facing each other, and sew together along one long side.

Place your sewn strips back in your pattern and then place the next strip in the pattern on top of the top sewn strip.  Sew along the long raw straight edge.

Continue adding strips in this way until you have sewn all your strips together.

Now iron your seams out flat.

If you are making the same size runner as ours, you now need to cut seven, 6.4cm (2.5”) wide strips from your patchwork.

If you are using a separate fabric for your binding, cut that into sufficient strips (6.4cm/2.5″ wide) to go around the whole of your table runner, plus approx. 20cm (8“).

You now need to sew your strips together to make one long strip (this will be used to bind your table runner later on).   Take two of your strips and place them on top of each other, right sides facing each other, with the strips arranged to ensure that the two squares on top of each other on at right end are not the same.  Sew together along the short edge and then press the seam open.

Continue adding the rest of your strips to your chain.

Finish by ironing your tape in half long ways (so that the long raw edges meet).

Roll up your binding tape and secure with a pin for later.

Place what is left of your patchwork back in front of you and start drawing your tree shapes out.

Bear in mind that the tip of the triangle will disappear in your seam allowance, so you need to include a lot of the top fabric in your tree if you want to be sure to see it.  We found it useful to draw a line along the 5th fabric down, halfway down the strip, to use as a baseline for the tree template.

Work across the fabric, flipping the template up and then down, until you have filled the first five rows with triangles (if you are making our standard size runner you will have 4 trees drawn at this stage).

Move down to the second half of the patchwork and draw another line, this time halfway down the bottom row of fabric.  Draw your tree shapes as before.  You should now have a minimum of 8 trees drawn out.

Cut your trees out and lay them out to create your preferred design.

Tomorrow we will sew all the trees together!


Two Stitches Charlie Hoodie Sewing Pattern Road Test

Feeling excited about my new challenge to test out the Two stitches Charlie Hoodie sewing pattern, a great pattern for boys and girls upto age 9 – click here to view instore.

Claire sent over the fabric, Rico Woodland Camping and it went straight into the washing machine.

Fabric dry so time to set about the new challenge.

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, you can see it below cutting right through the Reindeer.

This was my second attempt as I had not thought about pattern matching on the first cut and ended up with reindeer head along with half a squirrel on a boat on the other side of the sew line!

The rest of the pattern worked like a dream the end result looked so professional, despite being so easy to make.

As we are going to add this to our children’s capsule wardrobe sewing workshops 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.

My choice of fabric this time was Rico Magical Summer Unicorns in Party Hats!

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 fold.

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