Tag Archives: patchwork tutorial

Brick Wall Quilt Block

Started work yesterday on the first of the blocks for my project … Brick Wall (or Brickwork, or Old Garden Wall).

I’m going to need four little blocks to make up the ‘Trip Around the World’ pattern, and I’m working pretty small – each block is a titchy 15cm x 15cm, as the whole cushion is only going to be 30cm x 30cm.

Trusty ruler and scrap paper into action, to draft the pattern … with a little not-too-taxing maths thrown in to get scale and proportions correct.

I’ve numbered each of the blocks so I know what order to work in, and so I know where each of the different fabrics goes – the shading on the edges is so that I know where the join goes, so I don’t sit there at the end of the process scratching my head trying to remember what goes where 🙂

Time for a rummage in the scrap box … I’m having a real ‘colour’ phase at the moment, and the brief was hot, reds, oranges, with black contrasts, and I thought this selection fitted the bill pretty well …

From right to left:

1 – remnants of a dark crimson shot silk

2 – vivid orange indian calico with embroidered detail

3 – dark crimson indian cotton with embroidered detail

4 – remains of a silk dress left over from another project!

5 – red and black lining from a suit jacket

6 – dark crimson wool upholstery fabric – I like the colour, and though I like varying up textures, I’m suspecting that it’s going to be too heavy for this little piece … we shall see

On to the cutting and stitching … working from the centre outwards, cutting out the piece from the block draft, position on the fabric, cut fabric, allowing approx 1/2 cm seam allowance, baste over the block.

remembering to do nice mitreing in the corners …

Right sides together on the basted pieces, and overcast to join them together ….

I am handsewing everything, mostly because I enjoy the process of pulling needle and thread through fabric, and partly because it’s such a small block. It would be perfectly reasonable to use a machine basting stitch for the piecing, and join them together with a little zigzag … if I wanted to go faster, and the pieces were larger

It all joins up quite nicely, progressing in colour sections across the block …

And because it’s so small, it’s come together quite quickly … the first block is done:

The piecing papers and basting are still in place at this stage … they’ll come out later. A little unevenness on the bottom edge, but I’ve got enough in seam allowances to straighten that out when the papers come out.

And I was right to have reservations about that upholstery fabric … it’s far too heavy for this little block, and actually, the colour isn’t right either. That’ll be coming off this afternoon, to be replaced with … I’m not sure what, yet …

I’m off for another rummage through the scrap boxes to see what I turn up. I think it needs to be a cotton, or something of similar weight to the other fabrics, but we shall see what turns up 🙂

Now you show me yours!! Post a comment with a link to your block … can’t wait to see them 🙂

Anatomy of a miniature patchwork project

I get so much satisfaction working with textiles, it’s an activity that absorbs me completely and that I enjoy so much – taking something from conception to completion and solving all the problems of design and material and construction along the way, and the opportunity to learn new techniques, to refine old ones and to get a better understanding of how different textiles handle under different circumstances and in different combinations fascinates me.

I’ve spend a good part of this month working a tiny patchwork in my spare time – it’s just under A4 size but I’m very pleased with the outcome and don’t begrudge the time it’s taken. Sometimes it’s nice to take a time out from working for other people and to do something for myself.

Frontispiece 02I started with a sketch of what I wanted to do – a combination of square, wild goose and hexagon patches and drew it up properly measured out.




Frontispiece 05I had a lot of pieces of blue and complementary colours from a patchwork piece I did from children’s clothes a couple of years ago. (Yes, I am the most dreadful magpie when it comes to hoarding fabric). I cut out and pinned the measured paper pieces to the fabric. Each piece of paper was numbered and had an arrow to show right way up . . .


Frontispiece 10This was necessary because when I get to this stage – all the little pieces cut out – I would otherwise have no idea where they all went!!



Once I got to this stage, the next task was to baste all the pieces onto a backing fabric – in this case a remnant of light cotton from a set of curtains. I make this difficult for myself because I like to preserve the detail of the original garment if I can, so pretty hems and buttonholes and pockets have to be incorporated rather than chopped out.

And so the patchwork starts to take shape – I am too impatient to take the path of virtue and baste everything before I put it together – I like to see it all come together as I’m working through. Regardless of method, I am happy with how the different elements work together and the textures and colours of the fabric:

Frontispiece 11

When I’d completed the patchwork itself, I framed it in strips of old white linen salvaged from an antique napkin that was on the verge of disintegration and backed the whole thing onto a page made from old calico curtain lining – ivory, though in retrospect I think white would have looked better – hemmed in chevron stitch.

And then, because I can’t leave well enough, I played with some lettering and did a combination of different techniques to put my mark on it!

Frontispiece 12

M – embroidered satin stitch, lettering comes from a Calligraphy Source book I adore.

A – beaded letter – the beads were salvaged from an old junk-shop necklace – very pretty blue glass but with lilac inners . . .

G – not terribly clear, but the piece of lace suggested the letter so I appliqued it in place with very tiny stab stitches so they don’t show at all!

Frontispiece 13

The ‘P’ is a yo-yo, with the tail just a gathered oval in the same fabric

I – a small strip of vintage beaded trim that came out of my gran’s sewing box . . .

E – embroidered, shaded satin stitch, tho I didn’t change colour . . .

S – used buttons to form the letter shape, all from stash.

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L – stem stitch embroidery

A – I love this little piece of pleating. *Such* a fiddle to do, but I’m really pleased with how it came out.

U – simple back stitch embroidery, punctuated with French knots at each end.

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N – two shirred strips from a piece of cotton voile out of stash

D – a cute ruffle from a piece of salvaged muslin and another yo-yo from a thicker piece of linen with a lilac check.

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R – stuffed applique, the denim is leftover from one of the dresses I’d used in the patchwork.

The ‘Y’ I am probably least happiest with. I used an offcut of a nasty amethyst polyester satin to make a double row of flounces (I’d bought it to make Honey a princess dressing-up outfit). It didn’t cut well. I wanted a nice pinked edge, but the fabric snagged in the shears and fluffed it more than I would have liked, and because it was so small the flounces didn’t quite stand up the way I wanted them to. Ah well, we live and learn, tho I think that adding the beading redeems it, and it still looks sweet and in character with the rest of the lettering.

And – ta-daaaaa – here’s the finished article. I’m happy with that – it rather neatly conveys a picture of what I’m about and what I do – what do you think?

Frontispiece 22