At the weekend, the Saturday girls and I made reusable wipes as Christmas Gifts… The circles we used were 4″ in diameter. I created a video of the process to make the wipes and next week I’ll do the same for the bag. The idea is the mesh bag that is made to gift the wipes in is used to collect the dirty wipes and can later be put into the washing machine to hold the wipes as they are washed! Genius! 🙂
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.
How amazing … we got to Week 6… and wasn’t this week fun! Learning the bump back feather is a nice technique and and I think if you have some success with this type of feather, you can practise it over and over, challenge yourself to create it in different shapes, understand the value of seeing how other people tackle feathers in strange shapes (by seeing quilts at shows, or on social media and Pinterest) and ultimately it will give you the confidence you need to try other methods of creating feathers.
The sew up for this week is below. However, I just wanted to say a few things about this challenge.
I developed this challenge to keep my home sewing ladies engaged with sewing over the school summer holidays because for family reasons I wouldn’t be able to teach or hold my normal summer BBQ for the GillyMac Crew (an often raucous affair that Brian stays well away from). In the ridiculous heat of the early summer, I filmed the doodles and started sewing them up. I did worry if people would be interested.
The Challenge has given me hours of pleasure. The best thing has been the community YOU have created around the Challenge and the encouragement YOU have given each other. I have roared with laughter at the photos of Jupiter (Lindy’s cat), Billie (Carolyn’s friend’s horse) and Terry (Sue’s dog) all getting in on the action and thrilled that so many people doodled across Europe on holiday as well as being part of the core challenge. Unbelievably the videos have had >5000 views and this is still increasing.
One of you asked me why I did this for free. Well, I did it to try out delivering information by video (thanks for putting up with my learning steps) and I wanted to see if I could build a community. I hope that if you have enjoyed this, you will naturally tell others or share posts.
A few housekeeping things
- Doodle badges will be in the post on Monday or Tuesday … if you haven’t sent me your address – please do so…
- I have posted a survey on our Doodle Challenge Facebook Page – it would be great if you would fill it out (2 mins only)
- If you feel able to give me a facebook review on the main GillyMac Designs page (no obligation – I love you all anyway) then that would be great
Keep practising the doodles as we will use them in the October Fiesta 🙂 ….
Thank you all soo much for being brilliant…. See you tomorrow at 3.30pm for the final draw and some additional prizes 🙂
Only one week left and it is a good time to reflect on what you have learnt through the challenge before you forget it, and before we have some creative fun with feathers.
To start with you need to give each doodle a name – you can make your own up (or you can use my names – downloadable below) and then my suggestion is that you use this grid (also downloadable below). The grid has two axes. One is ‘how much you like the doodle’ and the other is ‘how hard it was’.
In the example below I have added in my (pretend) thoughts …So … I found doodles 1. 3. 5. 6. 7. 10. 11. and 12. EASY to Doodle and I LIKED them. I found doodles 4. 8. 9. 13. 14. 19. 20. and 25 HARD to doodle but I LIKED them. I found doodles 2.15. 16. 21 and 22 EASY to Doodle but I DISLIKED them and I found Doodles 17. 18. 23 and 24 HARD to Doodle and I DISLIKED them. I hope that from this example you can see how you can map your likes/dislikes and how tricky you found the doodles onto this grid. Now you can put your doodles numbers where they fit for you. Everyone’s grid will be different as we all liked different doodles and found specific ones harder than others.
From here it is really easy to make of plan of what to do next !! The chart below shows you what you need to do.
Some doodles you can just forget (bottom left) … others you should actively use now on your sewing to get them nailed in your free motion repertoire (top right), others you can continue to doodle until you find them easier (bottom right) and then there are some in the top left box that you may find a use for in the future so keep them on the back burner.
You may find that in 6 months time the place you have put the doodles in now has changed. So this is something you may want to revisit.
For now – here is the Sew Up for this week… My Ullswater Steamer Ferry … I hope you enjoy it … Next week – Feathers …. and also on Saturday (1st September), along with the final Sew Up, I will be announcing how you can get your GillyMac Doodle Challenge Pin and confirming the dates for what is next for those of you who have doodled with me this Summer – to qualify you to need have doodled for at least two weeks of the six weeks.
Well Done All xxx
Well done team !!! We are at Week 4 with two more to do. This week’s borders seemed to be welcomed as easier across the board – with a lot of love for the loops on Monday and my ‘lie-detector’ (too much ‘Homeland’) on Thursday. The sewing up this week reflects that these are border patters, or at least can be used in a linear fashion. I really like quilting borders. I think it means I am closer to the ‘Ta Dah’ moment of quilt completion … and also, typically, quilting the borders is easier because they are more accessible.
So this week I have sewn up the doodles in rows, as I see you using them. Below you will find two videos and a downloadable document.
- The first one is the video you are now used to with me sewing up our doodles. You can choose how large each of your border rows will be. I started in the middle with the stars row and found something to draw around (baked beans tins are very useful) and then worked my row sizes out from there.
- The next video is information to help you plan for doodling and sewing up corners.
- Then there is a downloadable PDF document which goes with this second video to help you plan your corners.
Next week we’re moving back to ‘all over’ doodle patterns which culminate in a picture to sew which is great fun. Then in Week 6, I will teach you how to doodle ‘bump-back ‘feathers and I know you will all love the sew up for that final week.
Talk to you all tomorrow when I will be doing this weeks prize draw 🙂
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.
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)*
- 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
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.
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