GillyMac Magic Squares Pattern Download

It’s here ….below you will find my Magic Squares Quilt Pattern.

It was always my intention when I wrote this pattern that I would offer it for free.  The topic of free patterns came up when I met a fellow designer last month.  She fully believes that the sewing pattern market is devalued by patterns being offered for free, whereas I believe that offering some patterns for a short time for free is a good thing to encourage people to try something new.  So here it is. It is available until Christmas and will then be removed.  If I could ask you to do one thing …. if you download the pattern, then please sign up for my newsletters via the contact page on this website, and instead of sharing the pattern, please share this page and ask your friends to download it and also sign up for the newsletters.

Enjoy 🙂

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TipTuesday – Why I am a member of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles

This is a little bit different than my normal TipTuesday messages, but as we approach Christmas and I rack my brain as to what gifts I can buy my friends and family, I am constantly looking for new ideas and presents that will have meaning throughout the year. An annual membership of the Quilters Guild is a wonderful present for anyone interested in sewing, patchwork, and quilting whether they are beginners or have more experience. There are also packages for Teen and Young Quilters as well.

What I get out of the Quilters Guild is soooo much, so I thought I would list it in my own words…..

  • As this is a national organisation, I am able to link with other members of the Guild across the United Kingdom to share and gain ideas about my work and what I plan to do next. Sometimes just seeing other peoples work will inspire you – it does me! Now that the Guild has embraced social media this is such an easy way to see and share ideas.
  • The Guild is broken down into regions within the UK and each region has it’s own events making it a great vehicle for face to face meeting with new friends and learning opportunities during the year.
  • “The Quilter” is the quarterly magazine of the Quilters Guild which you will receive as a member and it is absolutely jam-packed with interesting articles and information about Quilting in the UK and around the world. I can honestly say that it is the only magazine I am guaranteed to read from cover to cover.
  •  Also, as a Guild member, you are able to join specialist groups – there are 5 groups, for Modern Quilting, Traditional Quilting, Minature Quilts, British Study Group, and Contemporary Quilting. What I have learned about these groups is that they are full of people just like me and you – not super duper experts. They are also very welcoming to new members and will provide you with lots of ideas and inspiration for your own work. They have their own meetings and ‘challenges’ which once again will augment your overall experience and learning.
  • As a Guild Member, you are able to show your work at their exhibitions within your region, nationally and internationally. It may be that you think that this isn’t for you. However, I can’t describe the pride you will have in showing your own work or that of a small group of you. It is fun and a good challenge. Don’t discount that you may want to do this.
  • As a Guild member, you will also get advance booking opportunity for the Festival of Quilts and all the workshops and classes there. This is invaluable. As the interest in patchwork and quilting booms, many of the classes at the Festival of Quilts sell out within the first days so being able to book ahead of everyone else gives you the choice of all the amazing classes on offer.
  • Also, as a Guild Member, you will get discounted prices for Guild events, the Festival of Quilts and many shops around the UK
  • I also enjoy knowing that my membership fees are going towards preserving quilting heritage, providing support for bursaries and awards as well as supporting the work of the Young and Teen Quilters in the UK.

All this is £46 a year … That is less than the average price for 4m of fabric a year or 1 1/2 Cappuccinos at Costa each month. It is also comparable with many of the commercial magazine subscriptions (and I definitely believe you will get FAR more from the Guild).  I have built my knowledge of Patchwork and Quilting over the past 5 years and have used much of the talent and the resources within the Guild to do so.

So if you are interested in joining this fabulous organisation – the link is below – for you to send to Santa!

Subscription form -> https://www.quiltersguild.org.uk/members/subscribe

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Making an Advent Calender

I am lucky to be in the position to see the advent panels from many of the fabric suppliers in the Summer months, which means I can order them ahead of time. Two weeks ago a bold of gorgeous advent panels arrived from Dashwood Fabrics. I have some new Junior Sewing Bees this year who will love making these up, but it is always good to have one ready-made for them to follow.

Most advent panels will be exactly like this – so if the one you have bought is a little different, the process is likely to be the same.

Panels generally come with instructions written on them. Following these instructions will get you to the stage of the panel sewn-up with no wadding or backing. Normally the panel is split into two parts, one that has the background of the panel and the other which has the pockets ready to be cut out on it. For the pockets, depending on the design of your panel you will cut out a strip of pockets or a single pocket. For my 2018 Dashwood panel, I had 5 strips of pockets to cut out. Read the instructions carefully so that you cut around the right lines.

Once your pockets are cut out, the normal next step is to iron down a hem on the top and bottom of the pocket or pocket strip and then go on and sew them he down on the top of the pockets or pocket strips. Next, the fold in the pocket needs to be ironed in place. For a single pocket, all that may be needed is a hem ironed down on each side of the pocket (meaning all sides are now folded over with the top one also sewn down). If you have a strip of pockets as I did, you will need to create box pleats between each of the pockets (as seen below) and then the ends are simply turned under.

Whichever way you need to iron the pockets, the next stage is to pin them on the other background piece and sew around them (side-bottom-side).  If you are using pocket strips, you will also need now to sew a line to create divisions between the pockets on your strips. This is quick and easy to do and there is a printed line to follow.

With the panel now complete with the pockets on the background, you can now trim around the background as directed in the instructions.  It is important to keep the panel as large as possible when you trim it as it will become smaller again when it is completed.

To give the calendar more body I used fusible wadding to iron onto the back. I only ever use fusible wadding for small projects, like bags, purses and calendar. It is pretty useless for larger projects. Once the wadding is ironed onto the back of the calendar use this combined piece as a template to cut out fabric for the back of the calendar. I used a Dashwood Flurry in Cream as it is in the same colour range as the panel itself.

At this point, I also added in some ribbon to create loops to hang the calendar from. I used four 8″ strips of 3/4″ ribbon. I fold them in half and placed them equidistant along the top of the calendar with the loop/fold pointing inwards and down onto the calendar (opposite to the way you may think they need to go). The backing fabric is then placed on top, with right sides together, and then sewn around with a small gap left for turning. The calendar is then turned the right way out, pressed and then topstitch all the way around, tucking-in and closing-up the turning gap.

Voila!  We are ready to pop in some chocolate coins for each day of Advent.

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UKQU Continued Development Class 5/8/18 – Free Motion Applique – Follow Up Information

Thank you to all of the people who watched the Free Motion Applique Class live this morning on the UK Quilters United Continuing Development Facebook Group this morning. If you haven’t watched it, then please register with that group. An edited version of the class will also be available on the GillyMac Designs YouTube Channel later on today.

Requirements

The tools and materials you will need for this project are

  • A picture or idea -( The picture I used can be found at the bottom of this post as a downloadable sheet – along with an easy ladybird as well).
  • Background fabric (for  a small zipped purse size you would need a piece 10” x 8”)
  • Various small pieces of coloured fabric
  • Selection of coloured threads
  • Wadding or Foam (same size as background fabric)
  • Cheap fabric for the back of drawing (same size as background fabric)
  • Steam a Seam Lite 2 (double sided)*
  • Pencil
  • Frixion Pen
  • Sewing machine
  • Darning foot
  • Paper scissors

*Other products are available for the first fix – such as glue, Bondaweb, 505 spray,  as I discussed on the video

Design Considerations

For success, especially in the beginning, it is important to keep your designs simple. Even complicated subjects can be summarised in a few lines. This is easy to do when you practice. You will find some good starting points for many subjects can be found on Google Images.  Don’t be concerned about making drawings perfect. This type of sewing is not about perfection, it is about conveying the essence of your design.

Other Thoughts

A few other things that I didn’t mention may help you

  • It is possible to do this type of applique with a normal foot. In this case, the feed dogs would be moving the fabric and it would be a little slower, but perfectly possible. If you use a normal foot then turn the stitch length down to 1.4-1.6 and sew over your drawn design
  • I don’t use an embroidery hoop. I hold my fabric taught with the palms of my hand. You may want to experiment with using a hoop and make up your own mind.
  • Stamps to mark your fabric can be a good alternative to other ways to mark a picture. Any stamp can be used, with any ink – just make sure that you have covered the stamp print with thread and no one will ever know that you didn’t draw it yourself in the first place!

Finally .. if you have made up some samples and want to know what to do with them, then why not consider making a zipped pouch. Below you will find my easy instructions to make a pouch.

Happy Sewing, Gill x

Free Machine Appliqued Bags for Katie’s Hockey Friends

 

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