Monthly Archives: May 2016

New Melly & Me Soft Toy Patterns Now In Stock!

Check out these lovely sewing patterns for soft toys from the undisputed queen of soft toy making, Melanie McNeice, the creative genius behind Melly and Me.

We love Melly and Me sewing patterns and have been championing them for as long as we have cheerleaded for Riley Blake designs, so you can imagine how excited we get when they collaborate on new fabric collections – Flutterberry, used to make Bonnie Blue Bird below, can be found in store today!

darla the deer-melly-and-me-sewing-pattern-soft-toy-uk-online-2

Which one will you make first?

Martha’s 5 Week Introduction to Sewing Course

Martha has now completed her 5 week introduction to sewing course, here in Witney, Oxfordshire, and look what she made!

Martha was a complete beginner in week one but has now made an envelope cushion cover, reversible bag, summer dress for her beautiful daughter and zipper pouch!

She has learnt to control the fabric through her sewing machine, how to thread her machine and all about tension, how to sew on the straight and curves, pivot turns, all about interfacing, box corners, zips the bias and bias tape making, not to mention pattern reading and achieving the perfect fit for children.

Click on the image below to find out more about our sewing courses – group and one to one sessions available 🙂

look what martha made 5 week introduction to sewing course witney oxfordshire 600

Penny Rose Cheddar and Indigo Now Available

Penny Rose’s Cheddar and Indigo collection is based on a beautiful set of antique prints. The patterns are reproduced in the original colors and patterns and the result is a collection of dainty but not fussy florals, with a classy, clean and understated feel.

Perfect for quilting and patchwork, homewares and clothing.

Click on the image below to view instore.

Buy by the mtr or yard, or precut in a wide range of quilting shapes and sizes, saving you time and helping you reduce the waste.

cheddar and indigo-bundle-penny-rose-riley-blake-cotton-fabric-quilting-patchwork-floral


Week 4 of Martha’s Introduction to Sewing Course

Week 4 of Martha’s Introduction to Sewing Course and look what she has made!

If you watch the Great British Sewing Bee you may have seen people struggling with the concept of the bias this week and Martha, who has only been sewing for 4 weeks, has already made her own bias tape and used it finish her first dress, covering arm holes and making spaghetti straps!


If you are local to Witney and want to learn to sew – check out or 5 Week Course on our website –


Not local? Checkout out series of guides to making and using bias tape on our blog –



Surf’s Up with Cool Beach Huts, Sail Boats and Lobsters

Riley Blake’s Offshore collection of coastal prints, including beach huts, surfboards, lobsters and more will take you right back to your favorite beach break.

The collection is fun, but not childish, making it suitable for makes for all the family and the home and it is just gorgeous.

We have already made a reversible sun hat and reversible dress and bags out of this one – what will you make?

offshore long

Bunting Sewing Kits Now Available In Store!

We are so excited to announce the launch of our bunting sewing kits here at Prints to Polka Dots.

bunting kit sample contents
Each kit includes everything you need (except cotton and needle!) to make between 3 and 10 mtrs of bunting, comprehensive instructions and one of our fab bunting themed storage bags to store your completed bunting in!

We think they are the perfect treat for yourself or a great present for the budding sewers in your life, and are a great alternative to a gift voucher for relatives or birthday girls/boys.

DID YOU KNOW?  You can order almost all our fabrics pre-cut as bunting triangles, so if you don’t see a pack that takes your fancy below, you can build your own kit by visiting the relevant fabric pages and selecting bunting triangles from the range of available cuts, and then adding our specialist bunting tape (it really does make sewing a breeze!) and a bunting bag from our bunting department.

Our current range of Bunting Sewing Kits is shown below….








If you have any ideas for new kits do let us know 🙂

What Do You Call a Collection of Piped Cushion Covers With Zips?

Fabulous of course!

We had a great time at our sewing lesson on Friday here in Witney, helping 4 talented ladies get to grips with making and sewing with piping cord, cutting on the bias and using zips to make almost invisible openings on cushion covers.

Want to find out more about our sewing courses?  Click on the image below..

Love the fabrics: From the top – Fancy Free by Riley Blake, Secret Garden by Dashwood Studio, Fine and Dandy by Riley Blake, Grey floral fabric – brought by student and very nice 🙂

piped cushion-sewing-school-lesson-workshop-witney

Cushion Cover with Piping and a Zip Sewing Tutorial

If you have mastered making envelope style cushion covers and want to take your cushion cover skills to the next level but don’t know where to start, this is the tutorial for you.  By the end of the lesson you will know how to make and sew with piping, and how to add an almost invisible zip to your cushion cover – with lots of professional tips throughout you will never need to buy a ready-made cushion cover again!

If you live in or near to Witney in Oxfordshire, and would prefer to learn with a teacher on hand, why not join us at our Sewing School where you can learn how to make professional level cushion covers in an evening  – click here for details!


Cushion Cover with Piping & a Zip Tutorial


Cushion pad.

Main fabric (1cm (1/2”) longer and 1cm (1/2”) wider than your cushion pad) x 2 pieces

Piping cord (size 4 or 5 works well – enough to go around all 4 sides of your cushion plus 8cm (3”).

Fabric to cover the piping cord (for a 45cm (18”) cushion a 40cm (16”) square is plenty) or enough ready-made bias tape to cover your piping cord.

Zip (same length as your cushion).

Step 1 – Making Your Piping

Measure the length and width of your cushion, add the two figures together, multiply by 2, then add 8 cm.  This gives you the length of piping cord needed:

Length of cushion           …………. (L)

Width of cushion            …………. (W)

L + W                          …………. (A)

A x2                             …………. (B)

B + 8cm                      …………. length of piping cord needed.


Step 2 – Covering Your Piping

You need to cut strips of fabric on the bias to cover your piping cord.  Cutting the strips on the bias will help ease the tape around the corners of the cushion cover, and give you a smooth finish.

For size 4 or 5 piping cord you need to cut your strips 4.5cm (1.75”) wide.

You can easily find the bias on your fabric using a quilting ruler, simply lay the 45 degree angle line on your ruler along the bottom of your fabric.  The long side of the ruler will be at 45 degrees (along the bias).  Draw your first line.


If you don’t have a ruler, fold the bottom left corner of your fabric up to the top edge and press the fold, when you open the fabric back out the fold line will be at 45 degrees (along the bias).  Draw your first line along it.

piping cord-finding the bias to markMove your ruler out from your first line, the width of your strips, and draw a second line (it will be parallel to the first line), continue moving your ruler across your fabric in this manner, drawing strips as you go.

Cut out your strips.

piping cord-finding the bias to mark-drawing all the linesYou now need to join the strips together.

Place two strips together, right sides facing, so that they are at a right angle to each other and the diagonally cut short edges are lined up (see images below).  Then move the top layer down, keeping the raw diagonal edges lined up, until the length of the straight edge of the top piece (side closest to the raw diagonal edge) measures the length of your seam allowance.


Sew the two strips together, along the diagonal edge, using your preferred seam allowance.  Open out to check the two sides are level.  When you are happy press the seam allowance open and then cut off the excess fabric sticking out of the top/bottom on each side.

joining piping cord tape sewing together and trimming
Once you have sewn all your strips together you can cover your cord.  Wrap the fabric around the cord, so that you are looking at the right side of the fabric, the long raw edges of the fabric are lined up and the cord is running through the middle.

Using your zipper foot, start sewing the two sides of the fabric together, close to the edge of the piping cord, STARTING approx. 10cm down from the start of the piping/fabric AND FINISHING approx. 10cm from the end of the fabric/cord.

sewing-tape-on-piping-cord-cushion cover with piping-tutorial

Step 3 – Attaching Your Piping

This is best done without pins, if you really can’t survive without pins then just put a few in down the first side.

Place the piping cord so that the unsewn part starts approx. one third of the way down one side of your main cushion fabric.  Match up the raw edges of the piping cord cover and the raw edges of the fabric (you should be looking at the right side of the fabric) and start sewing the piping cord into place FROM the point where the sew line starts in the piping cord.  Stop when you get a few cms from the bottom.

Use a ruler or seam gauge to measure up from the bottom of the main cushion fabric, the width of your seam allowance, and mark this point on the piping cord’s seam allowance, drawing a line across from the sew line on the piping cord to the outside (raw) edge.

Now draw a diagonal line on the piping cord fabric from the inside edge of the line you have just drawn (the end near the cord) down to the point where the piping cord fabric meets the corner of the main fabric (see below).

piping cord on to the main fabric dealing with the corner

Cut along the diagonal line, taking care not to go over the stitches.

Now turn your piping cord around the corner, so that the raw edges of the piping line up with the raw edges of the fabric and begin sewing again.

Repeat these steps at the next three corners.

STOP SEWING WHEN YOU ARE APPROX 10cm from the start of the piping cord.

You now need to join the piping cord ends.  Push the piping cord out of the way and place one strip of piping cord fabric on top of the other.  Mark where they meet, mirroring the shape of the diagonal cut end of the top piece.

joining-tape-on-piping-cord-cushion-cover-1- with piping-tutorial
Measure along from this line DOUBLE the width of your seam allowance (eg. If you are using a ¼” seam allowance, measure along ½”), moving towards the cut end of the piping fabric, and draw a second line (when the two pieces of fabric are on top of each other this second line will not be visible).

Trim along the second line you drew, and then pin the two layers of piping cord fabric together, so that the diagonal raw edges are lined up, and the top of the bottom layer is sticking up the length of your seam allowance (just as you did when you joined the lengths together earlier).

Sew the two strips together.  Open out the seam allowance and lay the fabric back out on your main fabric, it should lay flat.

Lay your piping cord on the top of the piping cord fabric and trim the cord so that the two ends butt up against each other.

cushion cover with piping and zip joining the fabric cover

Fold the fabric over the piping cord and sew to the main fabric as before – you will now not be able to see where the piping started and ends!

joining-tape-on-piping-cord-cushion-cover-3- with piping-tutorial
Trim the excess fabric from the top two corners.

You now have three layers of fabric running around the edges of your cushion cover, and this will become four when you add the top layer of fabric.  To reduce the bulk, peel back the first layer of fabric and trim the next one away (you will be cutting away the bottom layer of the piping cord cover).

trimming corners off-cushion-cover- with piping-tutorial

Step 4 – Adding the Zip

Place your second main fabric piece on top of the first and pin the two layers together, making sure all the sides are properly lined up.  Sew 5cm in from the left and right edges, on the side you are planning to add the zip (usually the bottom).

Open out your fabric.  Look inside your cushion cover through the gap you just made by sewing 5cm on each side.  On the side with the piping, from the bottom, you will see the main fabric, followed by the piping and then the seam allowance from sewing the piping on – we will call this bit the bottom fabric.

cushion-cover-zip-piping-cord-anatomy-sketchWe are now going to sew the zip onto the bottom fabric, on the side of the cushion cover with piping attached.

Lay your fabric down with the cushion cover closed (two sides right side facing each other, the piping on the bottom side).  Fold back the zip opening on the side without piping, so you can see the piping.  Position the zip across the opening, so that the teeth of the zip are butting up against the piping cord, and the long edge of the zipper tape is lined up with the raw edge of the bottom fabric on the piping side of the cushion.

Don’t worry about lining up the other side of the zip yet.

Sew the zipper tape into place, close to the zip’s teeth.  You will be sewing through the bottom fabric on the piping side of the cushion cover and the back of the zipper tape only.

Line the second side of the zip up with the second main fabric piece.  The long outside edge of the zipper tape should line up with the raw edge of the main fabric on that side. Sew the zip into place, close to the zip’s teeth as before.

Once you have sewn a few cms you may find it easier to undo the zip to complete this step.

Turn your cover over, so you are looking at the right side of the fabric, and check the zip works.  Iron the fabric and top stitch along the opening on the side of the cushion cover with no piping.


Put the two sides of the cushion cover on top of each other, lining up all four sides, and pin together.  Sew around all 3 open sides.

Trim the excess fabric away from the corners, taking care not to go over the sew lines.  Finish the raw edges with pinking shears or a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.

Turn your cover out the right way through the open zip – Ta Dah!







An almost invisible zip!  You can now use your cushions both ways round 🙂

We used Riley Blake’s Bloom and Bliss fabrics for our cushion – click here to view in store, with white Kona to cover the piping cord.  Click here to view our range of Kona colours – perfect for covering piping!  Click here to view our range of piping cords.

Click here to open a printer-friendly version of this tutorial.

Click here to view lots more free patterns and tutorials!