19 April 2018

A Little Happy Tutorial ~ Poppsy Doodle Dandy Dresden Quilt

Today I'm going to share (at last I hear you cry!) how to make my Poppsy Doodle Dandy quilt, named after my gorgeous girl Poppy for whom this quilt was made for. 

I absolutely love making Dresden Plate quilts whether they be English Paper Pieced or by machine piecing using a Dresden Ruler.  This one is machine pieced and I used a Dresden ruler to accurately cut the blades.  One day last year I was pondering the idea of making one with tipped edges that gave the illusion of an inner circle....after a bit of trial and error this was what I came up with.

For my quilt, I used a bright and cheery mix of pretty Tilda fabrics from across various Tilda collections alongside co-ordinating Bella Solids.  The quilt measures 60" square.  I hand quilted mine using Aurifil 12 wt #2310 in a star burst, radiating out from the centre Dresden, a simple but effective idea for the quilting.  It reminds me of rays of sunshine, which really does sum up the almost always cheerful Poppy.

So, as promised, here's how I made it (and yes,  just in case you were wondering kits are available on my website, I'll link to all the Scrummy Supplies at the bottom of the post) ....

BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are  1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need help, please do get in touch!


For the Dresden Blades, from each of 30 different fabrics cut:
  • (3) 5" x 6 1/2" rectangles.  (you will have 90 rectangles in total)

For the tips of the Dresden Blades, from each of 9 different co-ordinating solids cut* :
  • (1)   4" square
  • (10)  1 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles (you will have 90 rectangles in total)
*If you have purchased a kit, here's a cutting diagram for you:

From the Background fabric cut:
  • (9)  21" squares
  • (9)  6 1/2" squares

PIECING INSTRUCTIONS....Let’s get stitching!

To start off with you will need to sort your 90 Dresden Blade fabrics each measuring 5" x 6 1/2" rectangles into 9 groups.  Each group will have 10 different fabrics. 

Allocate a solid colour to each group, put the solid 4" square to one side for the time being.

You will now work on one group of fabrics at a time, each group of 10 fabric rectangles will create one Dresden Plate.

With RST, sew a 5" x 6 1/2" rectangle to a solid 1 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangle.   Press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them, then press with the seams open.  This unit should measure 6" x 6 1/2".

To make the Dresden Plates, you will need a Dresden Ruler/Template that makes a 20 Point Dresden Plate that is a minimum of 6" tall, such as the EZ Dresden Ruler that I have used in the past for various projects.  However, rather excitingly, if you do not already have a ruler, I have had some specific Poppsy Doodle Dandy acrylic Dresden ruler and Circle template sets made up, which in addition to this pattern can also be used to make different sized Dresdens using the ruler marks etched on them ...watch out for more fun patterns in the future!

The Poppsy Doodle Dandy Dresden ruler includes a 1/4" seam allowance.  The nesting circles designed for the centre of the Dresden Plate are finished size and do not include seam allowances.

Place the Poppsy Doodle Dandy Dresden ruler on top of the rectangle.  Make sure you allow enough room to cut 2 blades.

The Poppsy Doodle Dandy ruler should line up exactly with the top and bottom edges and the seam line, aligning with the 4 3/4" BOLD line marked on the ruler, as indicated by the arrow on the picture below.

Carefully using a Rotary Cutter, cut two blades. 

Repeat this process with the remaining 9 Dresden Blade fabrics and 9 solid rectangles from the first group.  In total you will have 20 blades.

You're now ready to sew them together.  To create the point on each of the blades, fold it in half with RST as shown below.  Take care to match up the seam lines.  You may wish to pop a pin in to hold,  but normally I just fold and sew as I go.

Sew along the top short solid edge of the solid fabric..remember to use a 1/4" seam allowance.

Chain stitching is extremely useful here...so, as you finish sewing the first blade, stop the machine, place the second blade in position then continue sewing, repeat until you have sewn the top short edge on all 20 blades.

Then carefully snip the thread in between.

Turn through the solid fabric, ensuring that the seam is central.  Use something like a chop stick to push out the point, taking care not to rip the fabric or seam.

Then press, again taking care to ensure that the point remains centred, press the seam allowance to one side.

Layout the 20 blades into an order that you find pleasing.  It is easiest to sew the Dresden in two halves (10 blades per half) .....

Take two blades and with RST match up the seam line between the solid tips as shown.  Take your time and this is what will create a nice neat finish ....

.....then sew along one side edge, press on top of the stitches to ‘set’ them.

  Then open and press with the seam facing in the direction as indicated by the arrow. 

Repeat with the remaining blades, into two halves with 10 blades per half.  Then sew the two halves together.

Repeat the process for the remaining 8 groups until you have made 9 Dresden Plates.

Using thread to match the solids not the background fabric, applique each Dresden to the centre of a Background fabric 21" square.  I used Aurifil 50wt thread, 80wt thread is also lovely for applique.

For the centre circles, using the 3" and 5" circular Poppsy Doodle Dandy templates* (or make your own circular templates),  prepare in your chosen method of applique: 
  • (9) 5" circles from the Background fabric
  • (9) 3" circles from the 4" squares of solid fabrics put to one side earlier,  make (1) in each colour
*Remember that the Poppsy Doodle Dandy Acrylic templates are finished size and DO NOT include seam allowances.

For my circles, I used the Interfacing Method of applique, for which you can find 'a little happy' tutorial HERE.

Once appliqued to the centre of the Dresden Plates, trim the background squares to 20 1/2" taking care to keep the Dresden Plates centred.  Then with RST sew them together in a 3 x 3 layout.

Layer with wadding and Backing fabric.  Allowing for a 4" overhang whilst quilting, you will need a minimum of 175cm if purchasing a wideback 108" fabric.  If you are planning on using standard quilting width fabric you will need double this as you will have to join two lengths.

Quilt as desired.

Finally add your binding.  On this occasion, I chose to bind using the same background fabric so that the focus remained on the pretty Dresdens.  You will need 1/2 metre of fabric.

Here's another picture of my quilt.....

Obviously I couldn't stop at just one quilt and the eagle eyed will have spotted that in addition to the 5" & 3" circle acrylic templates in the set, there is also a 1" circle... oh what fun can be had with that.......

I couldn't resist making a mini quilt, which equally could be cushion/pillow.  I used a pretty 'colour wheel' inspired mix of 20 Liberty of London Tana Lawns, tipped in Art Gallery Pure Elements in White Linen, appliqued on to Essex Linen in Putty.  Oh what a gorgeous combination of fabrics to sew with!

I made this using the method described above, all be it with 20 fabrics rather than the 10 and I cut my background square slightly smaller so I could cut it from a Fat Quarter.  So I cut as follows:

For the Dresden Blades, from each of 20 different Liberty fabrics (this is a great scrap buster) cut:
  • (1)  5" x 3 1/2" rectangle
  • (1)  2" Square
For the tips of the Dresden Blades, from a Fat Quarter of Pure Elements White Linen cut
  • (20)  1 1/2" x 3 1/2" White Linen rectangles
  • (1)    4" square White Linen
From a Fat Quarter of Essex Linen in Putty cut:
  • (1)    19 1/2" square (trimmed back to 19" after applique)
  • (1)    6 1/2" square 
  • (1)    2" square 

As you can see for my Liberty Poppsy Doodle Dandy, I used the 1" circle to add a third circle in the centre from the linen and made 20 circles using the Liberty which I appliqued just above the tips of the Dresden Plate......

For smaller circles I find the best applique method, is one that I saw Sarah Fielke demonstrate on one of her You Tube video's.  First off, you make some 1" cardboard circles.  I cut mine from an old cereal boxe and write the circle size on them,  I then keep and reuse them.  Cut the fabric approx 1/4"  larger than the cardboard circle.  Then using silver foil, make a little parcel wrapping the fabric around the cardboard circle, take your time with this.  Then iron, the heat marks a crease on the circumference and folds under the seam allowance, leaving you with perfect little circle ready to applique in place. 

In keeping with the colour wheel inspiration I then used 20 different colours of Aurifil 12wt to hand quilt, although it would look just as lovely hand quilted in my favourite shade  Muslin #2311.

I used my favourite Hera Marker to mark the crease line (which is what I also used on the main quilt).

All that is left to do is add the binding!

So there you have two different versions of the Poppsy Doodle Dandy quilt!  Below you can find a list of the scrummy supplies I used and talked about today.


A Quilt Top Kit which includes the Tilda, Bella Solids and Background fabrics I used, with the option to add the binding fabric is available HERE

The Poppsy Doodle Dandy Acrylic Ruler and Template set is available HERE

The EZ Dresden Ruler if you prefer is available HERE

I had my favourite Aurifil 50wt in #2311 in my sewing machine and I used the following shades to applique #2830, #2845, #2910, #5016, #2410, #4020, #2150, #5001 & #2720.  You can find these all HERE

I used Aurifil 12wt cotton in #2310, which is available HERE

You can find our pretty selection of 108" widebacks HERE

We've put together a 'Colour Wheel' bundle of Liberty of London Tana Lawns fat eighths HERE

The lovely White Linen Pure Elements fabric can be found HERE

The background Essex Linen in Putty can be found HERE

The Aurifil 12 wt colours I used for the hand quilting were #2260, #2277, #2230, #2150, #2214, #2975, #2130, #2110, #2908, #2882, #2888, #2845, #1148, #2710, #2720, #2783, #2520, #2410, #2479, #4020 and are all available HERE

Thanks again for popping by my blog and I hope that you enjoy making your version of the Poppsy Doodle Dandy quilt.  Make sure that if you share a picture, so that mum and I can take a peek, that you use the following hashtags when you share on social media:


See you again soon!

23 March 2018

Blog Hop ~ Vintage Home BOM

Today I'm sharing my block from the Vintage Home Block of the Month pattern designed by Jo Avery of the blog My Bear Paw which is published in the super popular Today's Quilter Magazine.  The very lovely Block of the Month started back in November and is being released over the course of year,  you can read all about it on Jo's lovely blog HERE.

Each month, Jo has designed to two blocks for the quilt, inspired by vintage home wears and kitchenalia,  this months blocks are inspired by plates.  At home we have a blue and white service that we have used day in day out for over 20 years.  It's called Indies by Johnson Bros and sadly is no longer made.  Like most loved and used china sets, I have lost various pieces over the years, however, thankfully up until now it has been replenished with various car boot and charity finds, but soon I will have to go back on the hunt, my desert plates seen to have taken a bashing lately!  It's like part of the family and l love it now as much as I did when I originally chose it.

Moving on to this months block, as generally speaking most plates are round, in quilting terms this therefore means the dreaded curve.   For her first block Jo has designed a gorgeous 'Fancy Plate', inspired by a Dresden Plate block, but I was very drawn to her second 'Side Plate' design a Porthole style plate block. Both blocks are accompanied by clear instructions and photo's, so please don't be put off by the curve .... and as you can see mine isn't perfect, but I love it all the same!
 The block is a combination of machine and hand stitches, but could easily be stitched all by machine.
I picked the gorgeous Liberty Betsy P as the 'star' print for my block.  I know you shouldn't have favourites, but the combination of mustard, dusty blues, olive greens and coral pinks is just divine.  I pretty much wear the same thing most days, a stripey Breton top, a tunic, dress or skirt and always a cardigan.  I must admit that I have a pretty collection.....I'm in the ' you can never have too many cardigans and stripey top camp'....anyway.... Mum and I always have a giggle when ever we open up new fabrics,  I nearly always lean across each new bolt and state which colour cardi would look lovely with it.... all I can say is that I think I could colour match every shade in this fabric, so watch out I see a new top heading my way!

Anyway I digress, I used a lovely Art Gallery Pure Element solid alongside Essex Linen in Black.  I'm not one for using dark backgrounds, but I think the black really makes the Liberty pop, don't you think?
I also think that an entire quilt top made with this block, would be stunning and a great way to showcase 'star' prints.....
You can find Jo's versions of the Side Plate and Fancy Plate block on her blog today and her clear instructions in the magazine which is landing, I believe, in UK stores today.  Subscribers may already have had their issues pop through the letterbox.

Thanks again Jo for asking me to contribute to the Blog Hop!


Finally, here's a recap of the pretty fabrics and threads I used today.

You can find our pretty selection of Tana Lawns HERE (new ones being added all the time!)
The Essex Linen in Black can be found HERE
As always I had Aurifil 50wt in my machine in my favourite shade Muslin #2311 which can be found HERE.
I also used #2311 in 80wt to hand applique the block to the background which can be found HERE using Clover Black Gold Applique/Sharp needles in size 10 which can be found HERE.
We have a selection of Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements on order which should be here soon.

16 March 2018

English Paper Piecing ~ Queens Walk Quilt

I'm really excited today to share my latest pattern and my first pattern that is 100% English Paper Pieced (EPP), it is called the Queens Walk Quilt.  I really love EPP and actually my first quilts were all made using this technique, I only started to machine pieced quilts a few years ago, although hand sewing remains my true stitchy love.  The original quilt design was inspired by memories of the beautiful tiled floor that I had in the house I lived in when I was first introduced to my husband Andy, a fair few years ago now!  It started out as rough sketch scribbled on a notepad by my bed after a sleepless night....I even dream about quilts and pretty fabrics!

The block measures 10" square and comprises of 5 different shapes, based around an octagon at its centre.  Within the block, I really wanted to be able to offer lots of opportunities to fussy cut fabric and by having the larger centre, this also gives an option to showcase some larger fabric designs which personally, whilst loving them, I find more difficult to use.

Obviously as soon as the papers arrived, I couldn't wait to sew a test block .. and chose a mix of Liberty Tana Lawns (now available on the website woohoo!!) and Amy Sinibaldi fabrics......
For this 'test' version I used two different prints for the triangles that make up point of the star...so pretty.... oh the relief when all the shapes fitted back together again and the maths had worked!
...and as if by magic and the aide of a little technology,  I couldn't resist seeing what the start of a quilt would look like if you were to repeat the same fabrics across all the blocks.... I love all the secondary shapes that start to appear, the more blocks you add.
The quilt has a 30 block, 5 x 6 layout, which will measure 50" x 60", a nice throw size.  For my version, I knew I wanted the palette to be my usual scrappy mix of pretty colours, pink, red, blue, green, yellow, ivory and little hints of purple, but veering towards to the more aged side of things...soft and gentle...you know so it looks like something that you inherited from your granny! 

I've been using lots of Moda fabrics by designers including French General, Minick and Simpson, 3 Sisters, Brenda Riddle, Betsy Chutchian and new Moda designer Christopher Wilson Tate plus some of my favourite picks from across the shop...I can never resist adding pretty Lecien fabrics to a quilt!  

Here's a close up of the blocks I've made so far, I've had lots of fun adding some fussy cuts in to the mix.......

The living room floor, always makes a good impromptu design wall to see how it's looking... with Poppy in full drawing mode next to it.... how earth she can draw laying down I do not know!

I'm absolutely loving the fabrics all together and sewing each block.  Mum's also been joining in the fun too and has sewn some blocks for the quilt, the count currently  stands at 11 out of 30......
We've also had some acrylic templates made.  These have a 3/8" seam allowance included, which is my personal preference for EPP and  alignment lines and a centre hole to aide fussy cutting.    I can not tell you how helpful these are......they are not an essential and you can manage without them..... personally though, I think they just make the whole process so much easier and they definitely make fussy cutting and pattern repeating a doddle!  You can use them with a Rotary cutter, but as you know, most of my sewing is done on the sofa, so I draw around them and then cut out the fabric using scissors.
I'm glue basting (I use a Sewline Glue Pen and blue refills), but obviously thread basting is an option.  The trick with glue basting is not to over glue, I tend to sweep the glue pen firmly and with intent across the papers (not the fabric) just the once, the glue goes on blue and dries clear.   This way, I then have no problems removing the papers at a later stage.  Work around the papers basting one side at a time.  Make sure that you wrap the fabric around the papers tightly, if the fabric is too lose then this can cause seams, when you're sewing the shapes together, to go off and therefore the overall block will not join together neatly.    Also, this one is a 'do as I say not what I did' top tip...in my haste to get stitching I forgot.... but its really worth taking a moment to punch a hole in the centre of the papers before basting them, as this helps at the removing stage no end.

It's been a bit of trial and error to get the best layout out in terms of getting the seams to lay flat on the back, but I think I have now cracked it.  The picture below shows how the seams will 'nest' together and then I've added some more detailed photos of each shape showing the order that I've basted the seams around each shape.
So here's Shape 1, the centre Octagon..... you can see how by using the acrylic templates I am able to easily centre the paper piece and get consistent seam allowances all round.  You make one of these for the block.
Shape 2, which creates the band around the Octagon, I basted in two different ways, four of each.  When you sew these together you alternate between the two.
Shape 3,  is the triangle that forms the points of the star, these are also basted in two different ways.
Shape 4, is the kite shape that once added to shapes 1, 2 & 3, transforms the block back in to a larger Octagon
 Shape 5 is a quarter square triangle and once added completes the block and squares it off.
Now for the fun bit, how I sew the shapes together.   First off, lets talk about notions.  You really do not need very much which makes EPP such a great choice for happy evening stitches and for sewing on the go!  My thread of choice is Aurifil 50wt #2311,  I have generally stuck to my favourite neutral shade for all my stitches as I have been joining various coloured fabrics together, however, if I was working on a group of same coloured fabrics then I would colour match my thread shade to fabric shade.  I use a Clover Black/Gold Applique Sharp needle size 10, if you prefer a larger eye, check out our new Tulip Hiroshima Milliners Straw Needles #10 with a BIG EYE... I have received many glowing reviews for these and for some stitchers they use nothing else.  You'll also need a sharp pair of little scissors.   

If you are new to English Paper Piecing (EPP) here's how I sew the pieces together.  I've borrowed the pictures below from my 'A little happy Tutorial ~ English Paper Piecing ~ How I Baste and Sew EPP Hexie's' which you can read in full HERE, there's also more pictures on this post showing me glue basting, so well worth a look if your new to EPP.  For the sewing part, to recap, my top tips would be, to start stitching a smidge in from the end (can you see my starting knot on the left hand side of the hexie below) and then work to the edge and back again.  Make sure you use lots and lots of tiny little whip stitches, I think I average around 18/20 per inch, which literally just nip the fabric, try not to eat into the papers.

Can you see that even this example where I used black thread, the stitches are hardly visible... although bare in mind that the beauty of EPP is that it is handmade.  Those little glimpses of the stitches simply prove this.  There will be imperfections which just emphasise the love and time taken to make it!!!

For the Queens Walk block,  in the same way as I piece traditional hexies together, I started at the top (no1), stitched along the black arrow.  Then for the second and subsequent pieces I stitched along two seams in one go, as indicated by the blue arrow followed by the red arrow.  The important part is, that you take your time and line up your pieces that you intent to sew together accurately.

You'll find that you will at times have to bend the papers as you sew, that is absolutely fine.
Also note that when I knot off at the end of my stitches I like to leave a tail of thread approx. 1/2" long.
Once I added the first round of shapes to the centre Octagon, I then added four of the shape 3 triangles, if you refer to the layout picture above, you can see which ones from the two different basted versions I used.
Then to complete the inner Octogan, I sewed two of the Kite shape 4 pieces to the a remaining shape 3 Triangle.  You can do this as one continuous piece of stitching rather than breaking your thread at the pointed tip of the triangle, as indicated by the arrows.
I then added this trio group to the main block.  Again you can do this as a continuous line of stitching should you wish.  Make sure that you line up the corners on each of the intersections, as indicated by the circles, this will ensure that everything matches up nice and neatly.
Finally, all that is required to complete the block is to add shape 5, the corner triangles.  Ta Da a 10" square Queens Walk block.
Here's a picture of the back of the block, after I had carefully pressed it.  Can you see how by nesting the seams they are laying nice and flat.  When it comes to joining the blocks, I will need to press open the seams that are along the outer edge.

Just to clarify at what point to remove the papers, the general rule with EPP is not to remove a paper until it has something surrounding it on all sides.  I'm leaving the papers in until I have completed all 30 blocks, as this will help keep the blocks stable and stop the fabrics from fraying excessively.  If you're worrying about removing the papers if you have chosen to glue baste, I find that if you iron your work and then remove the papers whilst it still warm they pop out no problem.
I'm sure if you are an experienced EPPer this is all pretty self explanatory, but that being said, this is a totally doable block for a novice EPPer, so give it a go, although I must warn you it is rather addictive!

Once I have completed (with mum contributing too) all 30 blocks, I'll share a second post on how I will put it all together and finish it off.

You may recall from the beginning of this post (sorry, I know I've been rabbiting on for quite some time!) that the papers came to us cut as a block, rather than as individual shapes.  Having both been personally working on this, mum and I decided it was so much more convenient when it came to stitching to take a sheet and separate the 29 shapes within, as and when we were ready for them.  They are really easy to separate, a bit like when you open a jigsaw puzzle for the first time and split up the pieces.  With that in mind, rather than us sending you a bag full of  870 individual shapes, all mixed together, we have kept them 'as is' and packaged them in a flat 'pizza' style box.  We also thought this would come in handy for you to keep your completed blocks in as well.  The templates will also come carefully packaged in an appropriate size box.
In addition, should you wish to make a quilt using similar style fabrics and colours to mine, there is also a 'Starter' bundle on the website, comprising of 35 fat eighths inspired by the blocks that I have made.

To help you plan, a colouring sheet is included with every box of paper pieces.

I hope that you love the pattern as much as I do and I can not wait to see your versions in your fabric choices!  Remember to tag them with the following hashtags, so we can take a peek:


Here's another block I made, using fabrics from the super pretty Bunnies and Blossoms collection that has just arrived.  Imagine it in bright and cheery 30's reproductions or entirely from Liberty.....oh oh oh.......

So finally, here's a list and links to all of the Scrummy Supplies I've talked about today:

Queens Walk Quilt 30 Block Paper Piece Kit can be found HERE
Queens Walk Quilt 5 piece Acrylic Template Set can be found HERE
Glue Pens and Refills can be found HERE
Aurifil 50 wt thread can be found HERE
Clover Black/Gold Applique Sharp Needles #10 can be found HERE
Tulip Hiroshima Milliners Straw Needles #10 with a BIG EYE can be found HERE
Queens Walk Starter Fat Eighth Bundle can be found HERE
Liberty Tana Lawns can be found HERE
Amy Sinibaldi's pretty fabric collection can be found HERE
Bunnies and Blossoms fabric collection can be found HERE

See you again soon!