Tag Archives: machine embroidery

Random-pieced machine embroidered scrap quilt in pink

The contents of my scrap box were starting to get a bit out of hand …. actually, I’ve got 4 scrap boxes, and they’re all overflowing! Time to do something about it!

I thought a little random-pieced scrap quilt might be just the job to reduce the levels a bit …. so I started pulling out bits and pieces, matching colours, textures and tones.

scrap quilt

I was lucky …. I had a little helper who was very definite about what went where, and knew what she liked and didn’t like! If you’re going to randomly piece a quilt, then you don’t get much more random than a 4 year old’s choices ….

I started hand-piecing it all together …. I decided fairly early on that I’d just take each piece as it came, and fit it on with the next piece …. it worked out fairly well, but did give me a lot of odd angles to work with. I put together this tutorial to show you how to piece curves and odd angles ….

Just keep piecing, just keep piecing, just keep piecing, piecing, piecing …

Until I ended up with a little over a metre square of pieced scraps.

I suppose it’s OK, but it’s not really what I was after … it’s a bit blocky, I think.

Scissors out!

I chopped the whole thing into strips roughly 10cm across, not worrying too much about keeping lines straight or where existing seam lines are. I rearranged the rows, switching them up, turning them round, swapping their positions, until I was fairly happy with what I’d got. Then I got the sewing machine out (gasp!) and zipped up and down to put it all back together again.

(Note: if you try this, don’t chop it until you’re ready to sew it back together, otherwise you’re going to end up with a lot of remedial stitching to do first!)

And then I switched it round sideways, and did the same thing again, and ended up with this:

That’s much more like it … but I wanted more from it. Time to get my quilt on ….

I’m not sure if it counts as machine quilting, or machine embroidery. It’s certainly free motion, and an awful lot of fun. A riot of flowers all over the quilt … in hot pink and vivid purple and lilac and pale minty green and the palest of baby pinks.

(Yes, I was using up all sorts of odd reels from my box).

(And yes, it did use up quite a few reels – I think probably the equivalent of 5 full reels).

(And yes, it took quite a while to do).

(But not as long as doing it by hand … and after Eve’s Garden I needed something a little less intense).

It was *so* worth doing …… I loved how it turned out, the way it disrupted the underlying blocks and helped pop those colours right out.

The back looks pretty cool, too, I think.

But I prefer the front.

Luscious as a bowl of cherries, and in my Etsy shop right now ….

Patchwork tote

We all know about the evils of plastic bags … aside from their inherent ugliness, and the fact that they cut into your hands something beastly when they’re full, the environmental impact outweighs all of these by some distance. Their manufacture is carbon intensive, they take hundreds of years to degrade in landfill, and they’re a menace to flora and fauna if dropped and left to blow around the place.

How about an attractive alternative?

Patchworked from reclaimed denim and corduroy jeans, this tote is a monochrome dream with a flash of purple to lift it out of sombre winter dullness … purple silk trim around the top and on the handles, and an abstract machine-embroidered floral design to complement the colour.







I’ve left pocket details from the original garments on each end of the bag … handy little receptacles for phones, keys, and the other small but vital bits and pieces that inevitably sink to the bottom of big bags!

It’s lined in a sturdy black cotton … I love the way the purple embroidery really pops colour on the black … and it makes the bag reversible, should you fancy a change of mood.

But would you want to, with these gorgeous, sweetly patterned, appliqued cotton jersey roses on the outside?

And look … another pocket on the front …

I love this bag … it’s costing me a real pang to part with it! But it’s available right now in my Etsy shop – a completely unique, one of a kind bag that’s practical, stylish and environmentally friendly.