9 September 2017

A Little Happy Tutorial ~ How to make sweet labels and patches

Thank you so much for all your orders for the 'Pretty Handmades' fat quarter bundle....the original bundle sold out in a flash...in fact causing our website to do all sorts of strange things!!!  The second 'inspired' by bundle sold out before it even made it to the website, so today I'm sharing the third version, which I love just as much as my original choices!!!

As you can see I have now used the brown Little Heroines fabric by Lecien and I switched the labels on my pencil case, so you could see how lovely it looked. Whilst doing that I thought it might be useful to share how I make my labels...it's so easy, but so effective and they add something extra to your projects for really not very much effort...win win!!!

Here's some other examples of where I've added them to a project.....
On the next one, I made two labels to create a layered look......

Fun aren't they!  So here's how I make them......

First I fussy cut my 'label' fabric allowing a 1/4" seam allowance.

Then cut a piece of light weight sew in interfacing the exact same size.  I use Vilene Sew In Interfacing Light White L11/310, available on my website HERE.
Place the interfacing on to the Right Side of the fabric and sew all the way round with a fairly small stitch.  I use 1.8 setting on my Janome.  A little happy top tip.......I always start on a straight edge of the 'label' and when I get all the way round I continue over my original stitches just a smidge to make sure it will not come undone!
Then trim off the corners and cut a small cross in the interfacing, taking care not to cut the fabric underneath.
Then turn through, I use a chopstick to push out the corners.  Finally give a gentle press and you're label is ready to be added to your project.

For the pencil case, I added a little lacey loop underneath, I secured this in place before hand sewing the label on top.  As you can see from my previous pictures, sometimes I machine sew my labels and other times I hand sew them...it's really up to you!  As a final touch I added a sweet little wooden heart button, which I secured in place with a hand tied knot.

So here's the fabrics I have carefully cherry picked for the new 'inspired by' bundle they have the same feel of the original and I hope that you love them as much as I do!  You can find the new Fat Quarter Bundle HERE..... whilst stock allows. For the ribbon trim, my original Tommy and Riviera choices both by Ebony and Ivory would look lovely as would Bastille, Napoleon, Toscana and Tricolour, all available HERE.  Zipper wise, you'll need the 35cm size and both Light Blue and Ecru look fab and we will be restocking all the colours and adding more... find them HERE.

Of course to make the 'Posie Patchwork Pouch' you will need the pattern, which can be found in Laurens fabulous book 'Pretty Handmades' and hooray our shop copies have now arrived and can be found HERE!

That's it for today....I hope that you have a super weekend with a little time for some sewing!
Happy Stitches!

5 September 2017

Pretty Handmades Book Showcase

Hi everyone......today is my stop on the 'Pretty Handmades' Showcase, to celebrate the publication of Lauren's (of Molly and Mama fame) beautiful first book.  Lauren has written a really lovely book and I'm pleased to report that it really does live up to its name.... all the projects made using fabric and felt, are extremely pretty, with the most lovely photographs and importantly clear instructions are given, making it suitable for both the beginner and experienced sewer.  As you would expect from Tuva Publishing, the book is also laid out in the most aesthetically pleasing way, with a lovely matt finish which all in all makes it a must have!

As you can imagine I had a pretty hard time deciding which project from the 20 included to make, but in the end chose the 'Posie Patchwork Pouch'.  

Lauren is a girl after my own heart and like me, is a huge fan of hand stitches and I thoroughly enjoyed hand quilting the pouch in my favourite Aurifil 12wt.  I used #1158, #2260 & #2310.
I pretty much followed the pattern word for word, but decided to use ribbons for both the tabs and as the decorative trim across the top, instead of the suggested lace trim.  I chose a pretty mix of red, blue and cream cottons......the ticking stripe and red dot are by Lecien, with some Elm Cottage by Windham and finally some lovely Minick and Simpson and American Jane by Moda prints....along side some Essex Linen in Putty.  All of course chosen from my website (Edited 6th Sept I've been asked to put together a pretty bundle, which you can now find HERE, whilst stocks last).  I also added a decorative label to the front.......I've been waiting for the perfect project to use this Lecien Little Heroines fabric! 

The Blog Showcase started on the 1st September and as you can see from the list below, a whole host of talented makers will be participating.......

                     1 Sept 2017     Lauren Wright             www.mollyandmama.com.au                
   2 Sept 2017     Jemima Flendt             www.blog.tiedwitharibbon.com             
   3 Sept 2017     Sharon Burgess          www.lilabellelanecreations.com            
 4 Sept 2017     Lauren Nash               www.transientart.com                          
5 Sept 2017     Sarah Edgar               www.alittlehappyplace.blogspot.co.uk
   6 Sept 2017     Ange Hamilton            www.alittlepatchwork.wordpress.com   
 7 Sept 2017     Elea Lutz                    www.elealutzdesign.com                     
  8 Sept 2017     Sarah Scott                 www.piccolostudio.com.au                   
 9 Sept 2017     Martina Bahre             www.avaandneve.com.au                   
10 Sept 2017   Heather Andrus           www.quiltstory.blogspot.com                
 11 Sept 2017   Faith Essenburg          www.saranaave.wordpress.com           
12 Sept 2017   Alisha Orlando            www.ministryoffabric.com.au                
13 Sept 2017   Bev McCullough          www.flamingotoes.com                        
14 Sept 2017   Stacy Olson                www.stacyolsondesign.com                 
 15 Sept 2017   Ali Phillips                    www.arabesquescissors.com               
 16 Sept 2017   Mollie Johanson          www.wildolive.blogspot.com                 
17 Sept 2017   Kristyne Czepuryk       www.prettybyhand.com                       
18 Sept 2017   Xanthe Grundy           www.wife-made.com                            
19 Sept 2017   Anne Oliver                 www.lolliandgrace.com                        
20 Sept 2017   Larisa Shurupov          www.stitchingnotes.com                      
21 Sept 2017   Sedef Imer                  www.downgrapevinelane.com             
22 Sept 2017   Wynn Tan                   www.zakkaArt.blogspot.com                
 23 Sept 2017   Veronica AM               www.VividFelicity.wordpress.com         
  24 Sept 2017   Minki Kim                     www.minkikim.com                               
  25 Sept 2017   Elise Baek                   www.eliseandemelie.com                     
 26 Sept 2017   Megan Price                www.dollyhenry.com.au                       
   27 Sept 2017   Nadra Ridgeway          www.ellisandhiggs.com                        
28 Sept 2017   Ayda Algin                  www.cafenohut.com                            
 29 Sept 2017   Jodi Godfrey               www.talesofcloth.com                          
 30 Sept 2017   Lauren Wright                  www.mollyandmama.com.au        

Lauren will also be hosting a giveaway on her blog, so keep your eyes posted for that!  Congratulations again Lauren for a really super book and thank you so much for inviting me to take part.  Thank you also to Tuva Publishing for sending me an advance copy.  Our shop copies of this gorgeous book by the way, should be arriving very soon  (Edited 6th Sep Hooray they've arrived and you can find the HERE!) 

Happy Stitches!

23 August 2017

Thank you!!

I just wanted to pop in and say a huge thank you to you all following on from my last post.  Mum and I have been so touched by all your comments that we received on here, Instagram and Facebook and by the number of emails that you sent to us......thank you!!!

I thought I should also share the answers to a few questions that we have been asked....

  • Mum and I are absolutely fine... thank you.... a few tears were shed whilst making the decision, but we know that we have done the right thing for us, our families and for Pretty Fabrics and Trims. 

  • Whilst our Ruskington shop will no longer be open on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning, we are not moving out of our lovely premises......goodness knows where all the fabric and loveliness would go!

  • We are therefore still at the end of an email or telephone call should you need to speak to us and we are always happy to help.  All our contact information can be found HERE.

  • We are not down sizing Pretty Fabrics and Trims in any way, purely focusing 100% of our efforts in to growing the business via our website.  We have lots of pretty new fabrics on order and new arrivals happening on a daily/weekly basis.  Find out what's coming soon HERE.

  • We are considering having the occasional open days and also the possibility of standing at Quilt shows...... but just for now we're going to catch our breath.

We had an absolutely lovely holiday, although the days just whizzed by.   I had all good intentions of getting lots of sewing done and went appropriately prepared, although mostly I ended up simply watching the world go by.......

The little sneaky peeks are in preparation for some fun future projects here on the blog .... hopefully if all goes according to plan, you won't have to wait to long for them!

Something that has been said often to us in the last few days is "that you work to live and not the other way round", what sound advice.  Thanks again for being the best readers, customers and friends possible!

Happy Stitches!

18 August 2017

Important Announcement re Ruskington Bricks and Mortar Shop

We're back from a much needed family week away.  Before we left it is fair to say that both mum and I were completely shattered. We have been extremely lucky to see our online business grow at a pace over the last few years.  Along side this we have juggled our bricks and mortar Ruskington Shop opening hours, plus lots of behind the scenes sewing and fabric club preparation.  At all times trying to give an outstanding service to everyone.....but here's the thing..... in recent months there simply haven't been enough hours in the day to do everything....and what is more upsetting to both of us is that we do not feel that we have given our best to you our fabulous customers and that makes us very sad!  We're certainly not complaining, we are very thankful for all your support, but despite us thinking we were invincible.... it was inevitable that we couldn't keep working all the hours indefinitely.

We've been aware that something needed to change, our husbands have been telling us something needed to change, but in all honesty the holiday has given us breathing space to think about the right course of action for us to take.....for the business, for our health and for our families.   We  have already tried shortening our Ruskington shop opening hours and have toyed with various other possible solutions.  We have thought about employing staff, but our premises are simply not big enough for us to fit in another member of staff with another cutting table or packing station, alongside all our beautiful fabrics.  So it is with regret that we have come to the very difficult decision to revert back to our roots and become an online only retailer and close our Ruskington bricks and mortar shop.

We appreciate that this news will not affect the majority of our customers who are scattered across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world...although hopefully you will see our prompt turnaround time from ordering to receiving your parcels full of loveliness continue.  Plus we have lots of exciting new fabric arrivals, quilt packs and much promised projects and sew alongs in the pipeline that hopefully we will now find a moment to share!

For those of you who did come in to Ruskington, we know that this news will be disappointing and we are very sorry!  We would like to make it very clear that it has been a complete joy meeting each and everyone of you.  We have loved our quilty talks and seeing your fabulous projects!  Thank you for having taken the time to come and visit us!

Our Ruskington shop's last day opening will be Saturday 26th August.

Our website remains open as always 24 hours a day 365 days a year!

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of this, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Thank you again for supporting us!

7 August 2017

Introducing our NEW Block of the Month Club ~ The Potager Medallion Quilt

I'm am super excited today to share my finished 'Potager Medallion' quilt, which is our BRAND NEW Block of the Month quilt, starting this October!  Here's some more pictures of the finished quilt....

I started sewing the quilt back in early spring and it has pretty much been my constant companion ever since....I've enjoyed every little happy stitch!  As with my previous Block of the Month designs, it incorporates a variety of techniques..... from machine pieced curves (don't be scared, I'll share how I do it!)...... 

applique....I used my favourite interfacing method.....

English Paper Piecing.......
and general machine piecing ......   I carefully cherry picked a mix of fabrics from a variety of manufacturers including some Tilda, Moda, Lecien and Sevenberry.  The colours are soft and gentle..... delicate pinks, sage green, custard yellow, mustard, duck egg, ice blue and little touches of warm red, all set against a scrappy mix of low volumes including text, blender prints and Moda Bella solids.  I gave a customer in the shop a little sneaky peek the other day (thank you...you know who you are!) and she said that it was me all over...I hope that you agree!

I've been busy hand quilting mine using Aurifil 12wt, but there's lots of opportunities for some pretty special machine quilting should you prefer!

As I have done with our precious Block of the Month clubs, I thought it would be useful to share some general Q&A.......

What is a Block Of The Month (BOM) Club and how does it work?

A block of the month is a parcel full of loveliness that you will receive directly through your letterbox each month for a year. It will include all the fabrics* and if required, English Paper Pieces required for you to sew that months section of the quilt, plus of course, detailed instructions for how to piece each block will also be included. 

At the end of the year you will have received enough pretty fabric and instructions to make your very own 'Potager Medallion' Quilt Top.

*The quilt has has a very scrappy feel with lots of different fabrics used. Each month, you will receive all the fabrics that you need to complete that months block. These will be received as small strips and little pieces ready for you to accurately subcut as per the cutting instructions that will also be enclosed.

How big is the finished Quilt?

The Quilt measures 64" x 64"

How long will the Club run for?

The club will run for 12 months commencing in October 2017 and will run through to and including September 2018.

What techniques will be used?

The quilt combines a mix of Machine Piecing, English Paper Piecing and Applique*.

*Sarah used the Turn Through Interfacing method for the applique, but you could use Needle Turn or Raw Edge.... it is entirely up to you.

To assist with the different techniques throughout the year you will find a whole host of tutorials on our Blog HERE.

Will I receive exactly the same fabrics as used in the Sarah's quilt?

We will as far as possible send the same fabrics as Sarah used, if this is not possible then rest assured we will send something equally as scrumptious!

What threads did Sarah use?

Sarah used Aurifil 50wt thread, both on the machine and for all the hand stitching. These are not included. However a thread pack to co-ordinate will be made available.  More information on this soon!

What other supplies will I need?

Applique supplies depending on your chosen method, EPP supplies again depending upon your chosen method (but the papers will be supplied when needed), a 1/4" Bias Binding maker plus your usual patchwork and sewing related tools.

Will there be a Facebook group for Club members?

Yes......... we have a dedicated Facebook Group for our Block of the Month Club members! It is a private forum only open to Pretty Fabrics and Trims Block of the Month club members, somewhere where you could share your progress month by month, ask for advice from fellow club members, to share helpful tips and to make quilty friends.

Can I purchase the pattern on its own?

No, not at this moment in time......many hours have been spent designing this quilt specifically for our Block of the Month Club......Sorry!


Places for the club are limited and all our friends and customers from across the world are invited. 

If you would like to join, you can do so on the website HERE.

We will be asking participants to pay a £1 non refundable commitment fee to book your spot.

PLEASE NOTE ~ By signing up to the BOM club you agree to take part in the 12 month program and it is non cancelable.

How much will it cost?

The Monthly Club cost including postage is:

UK Club Price ~ £18.50 (Via 1st Class Mail)

EU Club Price ~ £21.50 (Via Standard Airmail*)

International Club Price ~ £23.00 (Via Standard Airmail*)

*Should you wish to upgrade to Priority Mail please do get in touch.

How will I make my payment?

The first months payment will be due on the 1st October 2017 and subsequent payments will be due on the 1st of each Month. Parcels full of loveliness will be posted within 2 working days of payments being safely received.

Payments will be made by a monthly subscription service via your Paypal account to us, for those of you already in our Flirty 30's Club or our previous Block of the Month Clubs will be familiar with this. By setting up a Paypal subscription to us your monthly payments will automatically be debited from your Paypal account each month. Once it is in place you do not need to do anything, with the exception of cancelling the subscription at the end of the Block of the Month. Don't worry we will remind you and should you inadvertently forget, we will obviously refund any over-payment without hesitation!

We will contact Club members to arrange this, nearer the time.

We are also more than happy for you to make your monthly payment to us from your Bank Account directly into our Bank Account, should you prefer this method, simply get in touch once you have signed up and we will provide you with all the required information.

I hope this pretty much covers all the questions that you may have, but obviously please do GET IN TOUCH if you have any questions at all, mum and I are here to help!

Andy, Poppy and I went to one of our favourite spots for a walk to take photo's of the quilt.  I must admit we did get some very strange looks from dog walkers and a man on his tractor!  We were also followed around by the most beautiful horse.....

So I think that pretty much covers it all.  Mum and I hope that you will join us in stitching along!

Happy Stitches!

28 July 2017

Faded Red, White and Blue Log Cabin Quilt

Last week our delivery of Snowberry by 3 Sisters for Moda Fabrics arrived.  I have been waiting with baited breath for this beautiful collection, as I've been planning a red, white and blue quilt for my conservatory.  I've also been saving fabrics from my stash and cutting snippets from the shop, in readiness for the project.  

I wanted my quilt to have an aged, antique feel, so I've gone for faded reds, cool blues, duck egg blue and soft ivory and I've picked fabrics from across makers and collections.  So in addition to the Snowberry, I've added in some French General and Minick and Simpson all by Moda, plus a healthy dose of Lecien from the Durham Quilt Collection and Kate Greenaway and some pretty duck egg blues from Elm Cottage by Windham.  From my stash again there's a mix of Moda and Lecien from collections dating back quite a few years.  I don't know about you, but it's so easy to hang on to your favourite fabrics and be reluctant to cut in to them isn't it, but this project is just a perfect opportunity and I will get to enjoy them for many years to come!  Whilst I'm aiming for an aged, antique feel, I still wanted to keep the quilt feeling fresh so I've also included some sweet red text prints I'm loving the edge that they give to the quilt!
Each log cabin is made up of a traditional light and dark side, but by the very nature of the fabrics I've chosen it's not one of high contrast, but when there's a few blocks together I think this will show up nicely.  I've also decided to have a red centre to each of my blocks, which symbolises the hearth of home and for this I've chosen Faded Red by French General...it's absolutely one of my favourites ever!

Each of the log cabins starts of with a centre square and I have chosen to then construct my log cabin blocks using the same method as I did HERE, rather than pre-cutting the pieces for each block to size prior to sewing.  There is something very liberating to this process!  So effectively what this means is, that other than cutting the centre square (a) to size at 1 1/2" square, the remaining fabrics were simply all cut into strips measuring 1 1/2" wide by the length of the piece of fabric.  I then divided them in to lights and darks. Than at random, I chose a dark fabric strip (b) which I sewed using a 1/4" seam allowance to one side of the fabric square (a), then trimmed away the excess and then finger pressed the seam towards the dark strip away from the centre square.  Then rotating clockwise, I added a second dark fabric strip (c) followed by a fabric (d) light strip, then a second fabric (e) light strip and carried on as shown in the picture below.... repeating two darks, followed by two lights.  The finished block measures 9 1/2" square.  Once I sewn the whole block I then gave it a good press.

This is what the back of the block looks like....

To help with the randomness, because actually I find doing random really hard.....I found it useful to put the remainder of the strips that I cut off as had sewn them in to two new piles (one dark and one light) and kept sewing log cabins blocks until I had used all my fabrics and then I started again.

As to how big the quilt be.... at this point I don't really know.  I'm just going to keep sewing for the time being as and when I have a moment, in between other projects.  It really envisage this project being good for when I want to sew, but I don't really have the brain power or energy to sew a project that needs a great deal of concentration...do you know what I mean?

I shared my completed blocks earlier this week on my Instagram and Facebook feeds and I was completely blown away by the response ..thank you so much!  I then had quite a few emails asking if there would be quilt packs...thank you again!!  So, as I am unable to do exact replicas, I had great fun creating an 'inspired by' bundle, which are always so much fun to do....... here's what it looks like.....

Mum and I decided rather than fat quarter bundles we would cut them as fat eighths, so if you love the fabrics but don't fancy making the log cabin quilt, this would give you more flexibility.  Just thinking...they would make a stunning 'Half Square Triangle Quilt', 'Brick Quilt' or 'Patchy Heart' for which tutorials can be found HERE!!

Anyway, here's a recap of the Scrummy Supplies I've talked about...

Snowberry by 3 Sisters for Moda, can be found HERE
'Make it' Sarah's Faded Red, White and Blue Log Cabin Quilt Bundle, can be found HERE
I've been using my favourite shade of Aurifil 50wt #2311 to piece my log cabin blocks, it can be found HERE

Thank you again for all you lovely comments, it really is a complete joy to be able to share my creative endeavours with you and also to receive your orders at Pretty Fabrics and Trims.  Thank you so much!!  

Have a super weekend and Happy Stitches!