Tuesday, 18 July 2017

How to make a cushion back with a zip.

I make a truck load of cushions with zips throughout the year and experience has taught me that making them with a double layer really helps to keep them nice and firm and maintain their shape. If you have found it difficult to make backs with zips, well let me make it easy for you . . . it really is much easier and quicker then making backs with buttons!

You will need some nice backing fabric and some cheaper homespun fabric, this won't get seen so you can use anything!

For a 18" cushion cut 1 piece of each @ 19" x 16 1/2" + 1 piece of each @ 19" x 5"

For a 20" cushion cut 1 piece of each @ 21" x 18 1/2" + 1 piece of each @ 21" x 5"

Take the larger backing and homespun fabrics and place them right sides together. Pin and machine sew along one long edge. Repeat wit the two smaller backing pieces.

Take the larger backing pieces, fold out the fabric so that the right sides are facing outward and press along the seam. Repeat with the smaller backing pieces. Top stitch 1/8" from the seam to only the larger backing pieces. (3)

Take the smaller backing pieces and place the zip, right side facing down onto the right side of the fabric lining up the top edge of the zipper tape with the seam. Pin in place. Using a zipper foot on your machine sew along the top edge of the zipper (about 1/4" from the edge of the tape)

Fold the zipper up and top stitch to hold down the seam - make sure the zip is not fold upward towards the zip!

To the back of the larger backing piece draw a line across the panel 2" up from the seam.

Line up the top edge of the zip (zip face down) along the drawn line as shown. Pin in place. Using the zipper foot on your machine, sew along the edge of the zip guiding the edge of the machine foot along the edge of the zipper tape. It is important to keep an equal distance from the drawn line / edge of zipper tape to ensure the stitching looks nice and straight from the front. Also note that the bobbin thread is what you see from the front so make sure you have loaded the correct colour onto the bobbin. 
TIP: if you are having trouble getting past the zipper pull, make sure your needle is in the down position, lift the machine foot and move the zipper down the zip past the machine foot. Put the presser foot back down and continue sewing.

You should now have a complete back with a nice folded flap covering the zip ready to be sewn onto your finished cushion top.

Follow your pattern instructions on how to add the back to the cushion front - this will depend on whether you are adding a binding or not. . . and make sure when you do sew the back on that you make sure the flap is positioned at the bottom of the cushion!

If I am adding a binding to a cushion, I quite often use a zip bigger then the width of the cushion back. It rids you of the worry of accurately lining up the zip ends and of sewing over metal bits when sewing on the back . . . you do however, need to make sure you have pulled the zipper into the middle of the cushion when you sew the back to the front. Its fine to sew over the zipper teeth (as long as they are not metal teeth obviously!)  

I hope that has made it all nice and simple for you! good luck and happy stitching!

x Claire

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Weekend Quilting Showcase

I have this friend called Jemima . . . you may well know her as she has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with in the quilting world. I met jemima 10 years ago when she walked into my shop with her mum and signed up to do a class (although she knew what she was doing and didn't really need a class) She nows runs a very successful pattern label & blog called Tied with a Ribbon and is now the author of her first quilting book Weekend Quilting . . . see, you do know her!

If you are new to quilting then this book is absolutely perfect. It covers all the basic techniques with good clear instructions and beautiful hand drawn diagrams. It is broken up into chapters detailing the most traditional block designs to get you started as well as covering, appliqué, English Paper piecing and foundation piecing. Even if you have been sewing for a while there are some fun designs that you can easily put together in a weekend . . . just like the book says!

I promised Jemima that if she should do a book blog hop then I would put something together . . . at that stage I didn't know I was going to need back surgery . . . 

However, a promise is a promise so with a little bit of help from a friend I picked a project and with me cutting, trimming and being the boss and my friend (Jemimas mum!!) a slave to the machine we put the quilt together.

So heres the thing with pretty pictures in books and being a little bit out of it cos the doctors still has you on a small cocktail of drugs . . . I either didn't read how big the project was that I picked or just didn't absorb it - I picked the really lovely Hearts on Fire quilt cos, you know, I though it was just a small mini quilt!! Um, no - its a really good lap quilt size and actually really so much much bigger then I was expecting!!

Anyway . . . It all came out really nicely and it only took two afternoons to put together . . . just like the book says! I haven't quilted it but I am hoping that as I am only 3 weeks post surgery you will all forgive me for that!

Rather then place the colours randomly I chose to run the colours in stripes as I love how they really make the heart shape sing right into the centre of the quilt.

( the photo is awful . . . it so needs quilting!!)

Jemima recommends in her book investing in some Bloc Loc rulers - I can back her up here as they are a game changer. If you struggle to get all your seams meeting perfectly, or even getting the blocks cut square with the seams coming right into the corners then this is the tool that you need . . . 

If you look closely there is a groove cut into the back of the ruler that sits neatly over the seam - genius!

 . . . a work in progress - laying the pattern to form colour stripes around the heart shape took lots of concentrating so Jemima's suggestion of placing the colours randomly is perhaps better for your brain!

I'm rather pleased with the finished quilt. I used the green and orange colour way from my PondLife fabric collection, although I think now (I'm blaming the drugs) that perhaps I should have used the orange and pink colour ways so it would look less like Victoria Beckham's carrot outfit (google it- its hilarious!!) 

Now seems a good time to say a few things about Miss Jemima . . . Jemima & I have had a working relationship for quite a few years now. We have run classes and retreats together and have been travelling buddies to quilt shows in Melbourne, America and New Zealand. It would be fair to say Jemima and I are are the ying and yang of the quilting world - complete and total opposites! She is neat, organised, a planner, a list maker, dedicated, competitive & has a dogged determinism . . . me on the other hand are none of those things - I must drive her bonkers but somehow we have just worked really well together and complimented each others teaching skills. I have watched Jemima over the past few years chase her dream of bringing this book together and I know exactly how hard she has worked. She has literally poured her heart and soul into the pages to make sure sure it is the very best version of herself and she has certainly produced a book she should be very proud of.

Thanks Jemima for letting me have a play with your book - you know how much I hate the monotony of sewing and trimming a gazillion HST but actually it wasn't that bad & I really love the design. You are a rockstar lady!

If you would like to see what everyone else has been up to with Jemima's Weekend Quilting book be sure to go check out all these other clever ladies.

Happy stitching x x 


Mon 29th May    Lisa Cox - A Spoonful of Sugar Designs
Tues 30th May    Robyn Shapiro - The Strawberry Thief
Wed 31st May     Melissa LeRay – Oh How Sweet
Thurs 1st June     Emily Dennis – Quilty Love
Fri 2nd June        Samantha Dorn – Aqua Paisley Studios
Mon 5th June      Nadra Ridgeway – Ellis and Higgs
Tues 6th June      Peta Peace – She Quilts Alot
Wed 7th June       Stacy Olson –Stacey Olson Design
Thurs 8th June     Sedef Imer- Down Grapevine Lane
Friday 9th June    Elizabeth Chappell - Quilters Candy Box
Mon 12th June     Suzy Williams – Suzy Quilts
Tues 13th June     Rachel Howard - Family Ever After
Wed 14th June     Amy Sinibaldi - nanaCompany
Thurs 15th June   Jodie Carleton – Ric Rac
Fri 16th June        Ange Hamilton – A Little Patchwork
Mon 19th June     Heather Andrus – Quilt Story
Tues 20th June     Elea Lutz – Elea Lutz Design
Wed 21st June      Lauren Wright – Molly and Mama
Thurs 22nd June   Claire Turpin – Claire Turpin Design
Fri 23rd June        Jennie Pickett – Clover and Violet
Mon 26th June     Fat Quarter Shop
Tues 27th June     Alisha Orlando – Ministry of Fabric
Wed 28th June     Minki Kim – Minki Kim Sewing Illustration
Thurs 29th June  Jemima Flendt – Tied with a Ribbon

My 'PondLife' fabric collection will be available in stores from July. Available wholesale through Ella Blue fabrics & Checker Distributors.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Budgies, toucans and the wonderful sound of bird chatter

If you follow my Instagram feed you'll know I bought budgies. I flew to the UK with only my youngest daughter and the day I left I bought two budgies as I thought they would be a distraction for my other two while I was away. . . my husband thought it was a dumb idea!

. . . it wasn't a dumb idea and now our house is full of their friendly chatter. OK, so sometimes we have to put them outside as they are louder then the TV and the dog still thinks we are going to give him one every time we go near the cage but they're very very pretty and it makes me happy to hear them sing.

Anyway, they inspired me to get creative . . . .

The girls called out budgies Nibs and Slightly - apparently they are names of the lost boys from Peter Pan. Slightly is small and blue and male, Nibs is big, fat and female . . . so maybe one day we might get baby budgies!!!

. . . but every good budgie needs a friend and I always think a pair of cushions look much better on a bed or sofa
 . . . this is Tootles!

If you would like to make these for yourself the pattern is called "Tweets' and is now up in my Etsy store. It is available for wholesale through Creative Abundance who ship to every corner of the world but it is also available from Checker in the US

All the fabric for these cushions came from my Cotton and Steel collection.

Happy stitching!
x x Claire

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Pondlife fabric . . . the seed of an idea!

Pondlife has actually come to life and its a weird and wonderful thing. The journey of this fabric range started way way back in September 2016 when I bravely placed my design proposals in the hands of a fabric company. Thankfully they liked what they saw and gave me the green light to proceed.

It was quite the learning journey . . . although I have a design background, have qualifications in graphic and spatial design & I know my way around Adobe Illustrator, there was still a mountain I didn't know!

I didn't know how to successfully create seamless patterns, I didn't know that I needed to specify Pantone TCX colours (oh my word . . . trying to pic colours from a colour swatch about 1cm square!!!) and I didn't know that I could actually learn on my feet and that people could be so amazingly generous sharing their knowledge.

It took four hard weeks designing, tweaking, redesigning and doubting to finally get there. It was a challenge that let me drown in a creative wonderland and I loved it.

If I'm honest most of my design ideas start with a single moment. Last year when I was throwing concepts around in my head I already had an idea based on a painting that I absolutely adore by Becky Blair. I went to an exhibition when she was in Perth and she had done a gorgeous series of paintings of fish and ponds. Needless to say, I couldn't afford any of the paintings but they are what planted the seed of an idea.

. . . then when I was in Salt Lake city last year I came across goldfish snacks . . . hadn't seen them before but they made me giggle and the idea grew . . . 

. . . and when I was designing the fabric I kinda designed it especially for a redo of a quilt called Frogface. (my daughters nickname is froggy so this is for her!)

. . . but then there have been moments when actually I have wondered if I have just been eating too much chocolate!!

There's lots more to share in the coming days so keep an eye out and if you are at Quilt Market pop on over to the Ella blue stand, it will all be there along with all my new quilt and cushion patterns.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone will make.

Happy stitching

x Claire

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Bedtime Stories

Designing and making a new quilt is an fun journey. An idea sparks and then if the planets are aligned, the house is tidy, everyone in the family is in a good mood then it all just flows . . . this is one of those designs. 

I did a Goldilocks quilt for Homespun magazine last year and had always intended to expand on it. When my youngest daughter Heidi was a baby I had also made a Red Riding hood quilt to hang on her wall so she was always going to join the much larger scale quilt. 

Heidis quilt - no stereotypical girlies in our family . . . Red is definitely in charge of this big bad wolf!

Anyway, in discussion with my three girls we decided which of our favourite stories would make the design, I chose a colour scheme based around a beautiful floral print with lemons and lilacs & . . . ta-dah! . . . its a fairytale feast x x 

(terrible photo I know,  but it had to meet a shipment to America for Spring Market so you'll have to forgive me!)

Red Riding Hood makes her appearance . . .

. . . on her way to Grandmas!

Goldilocks and her chums are also back . . . 

. . . Heidi used to be a big Repunzel fan . . . not so much now though!

. . . and the Princess and the Pea is my favourite. Thumbelina and the Little Mermaid also feature in the design.

Hope you love it as much as we do - in fact my 14 year old has already put her name on this one!

Happy stitching!

x Claire

The pattern will be released at the up-coming International Quilt Market in St Louis and distributed through my global distributors Creative Abundance and Checker US. A PDF version for instant download from my Easy store will be available from June 1st 2017

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pondlife Fabric

This years International Spring Market will see the release of my first fabric collection for Ella Blue Fabric. Its a collection close to my heart but also has a light side that makes me giggle . . . I will post more photos and projects I have made using it in the coming week.

Hope you love it!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Homspun Magazine 'Going to the Zoo' month 2 - penguin tutorial.

Hopefully you have made a good start to the quilt and month ones' block is complete. To lay down the pond, rocks and mum and dad penguin follow the same principal as in month one using fusible paper and following the magazines fabric guide.

Once all the background has been done and stitched all you need to do is make three cute little penguins that can hop from one fish to another!

. . . and here is how to do that.

For the front of the penguins, iron 3 of the large black rectangles & 3 small rectangles onto some lightweight interfacing - you will need interfacing that can be fused.
Lightly press the large rectangles in half matching the two longest edges together to mark a centre line. This will help position the penguins tummy. 

Place the template plastic over the pattern template and trace the shape for the penguins body and the penguins wing and then cut along the drawn line.

To make the penguin wings, pair up the small rectangles. Each pair will have one rectangle with interfacing and one rectangle without. Place them with right sides together. Onto the interfacing side, trace around the wing template twice to make a pair of wings for each penguin.
Reduce the stitch length on your machine to 1.5 - this will ensure that the curve is nice and smooth and will not split once turned through. Machine stitch over the drawn curved line of each wing shape. Do not stitch over the straight line at the bottom of the wing!
Cut around the stitched line leaving about an 1/8in seam allowance. Turn the wing right side out. This can be tricky . . . place the end of a pencil into the tip of the wing then carefully roll the wing over the wing.
For a really nice smooth edge to the wings, roll the seam between your fingers working the seam right to the edge. Press firmly with an iron.
Repeat the process to complete 3 sets of wings.

To make the baby penguin bodies, trace the templates for the penguin tummies and beaks 3 times onto fusible web and cut them out roughly. Fuse the traced penguin tummies to the back of the white felt - make sure you use a heat mat over the felt. Fuse the beaks to the back of the orange fabric.

Cut the tummies and beak out along the drawn lines. To get a good smooth curved cut, move the shape into the scissors rather then moving the scissors around the curve. Peel the paper away from the baby penguin tummies and place onto the black fabric rectangles with the interfacing. Use the pressed line to help centre the tummies. Press in place again using the heat mat. Fuse beaks in place. Machine blanket stitch around the white felt and orange beaks with colour matched thread. For this project we matched the bobbin thread to the top thread.

Mark where the baby penguins eyes should be. Hand stitch a small cross stitch in place for each eye. Use three or four threads of standard embroidery floss to make the eye bolder or use a 12wt thread as we did.

Now that the front of the penguins have been done, turn over the fronts and on the back centre the template for the penguins body and draw around it with a biro. Make sure to centre the template over the stitch lines of the penguins tummies. Mark a 1 inch gap at the bottom of the penguin for stuffing. Cut out the shape of the penguins body along the drawn line. 

Once the three bodies have been cut out turn them over to position the wings. Line up the raw edge of the wings with the edge of the penguin as shown above making sure the wings are laying into the penguins body. Pin them in place. Its a good idea the tack them in place or if you are confident then you can leave the in pins for now. 
To the centre of the remaining 3 large rectangles which are going to be the backs of the penguins, hand stitch a hook fabric dot to complete the baby penguin backs. If you are using sticky hooks this can be a bit tricky as the glue likes to cling to the needle so it helps to use a thimble!

Place the front and back piece of the penguins with right sides together ensuring that the velcro dot is lined up with the centre of the penguins tummy.
Machine sew with 1/8in seam allowance around the shape making sure you start and stop at the marked lines at the bottom. Trim the shape. for a really smooth curve snip along the curved edge but be very careful not to clip the stitches. They actually work pretty well without snipping along the curve!

To turn the penguins right side out place your finger into the penguin and then place your thumb and finger together. Gentle fold the the penguin over your thumb. Once his head has poked through it should pull through with ease.
Run your finger along the inside against the line of stitching to push the seam out & then gently press along the seam with a warm iron. It helps the next step if you can iron in a nice fold along the gap ready for stitching.

Stuff the penguins with hobby fill and stitch up the gap at the bottom with black thread using a whip stitch.

Ta-dah! . . . three finished penguins for your little one's to play with in the penguin pool.

Next month, Jemima will be hosting a tutorial on her blog tiedwitharibbon on how to perfect the quilting should you have got a bit behind with that!

Don't forget to send us your progress pictures, tag @tiedwitharibbon and @claireturpindesign in your BOM and #homespunzoobom #homespunbom2017 in your Instagram posts.

Happy stitching
x Claire