Using Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs and Layer Cakes

These pre-cut fabrics are a boon to busy quilters. They come in beautiful ranges of colours and patterns and make up into colourful quilts, runners and throws.

jelly roll quilt1

The single bed quilt above was made from a Jelly Roll of  Avant Garden from Moda. This is a real mixed bag of fabrics as it ranges from large flowery prints to dots and checks. It lends itself to a very jolly and bright single bed quilt which would look good in a child’s bedroom!

charm packs and quilt charm pack quilt1

This throw was made from one Charm Pack of Moda’s batik fabrics. It is really attractive and was so easy to do!

layer cake quilt 1

This quilt was made from a Layer Cake of batik fabrics from Moda. It is such an effective way of quickly achieving a very sophisticated quilt. And the colours in this Layer Cake lend themselves to colour patterning in the quilt design.

DSCF6032 full xmas charm pack quilt

A Christmas themed Charm Pack could quickly be made up into a runner, cot quilt or throw and only takes a short while from start to finish.  This would make a wonderful gift for someone or even a Christmas present to yourself!



Written by Val

Warm and wonderful fleece!

Fleece is the name of a fabric which has a pile, often a deep pile and is used for making various items of apparel such as sports wear and jackets; home decor items such as throws and rugs; and quilted items. It is a joy to sew with as it doesn’t fray and because of it’s composition mistakes don’t show. Well not as much as they would on cotton!

Fleece is so lovely and cosy that it makes you want to snuggle up in it! There are so many lovely colours and patterns that one is spoilt for choice.  I like to use fleece for backings on quilts, especially cot quilts as  this makes them so tactile and warm for a baby or toddler.  Also a cot quilt could be made using the raggedy edge technique where the seams are on the outside of the work and are brushed to form a ragged edge.  flannels

Another use for fleece is to back table mats and table runners to stop them slipping on polished surfaces.  And with wadding between the fleece and the top fabric they give the article a solid feel which for table wear is good!

I have used fleece to make slippers and scarves and these are so quick to sew. Scarves can be turned out by the dozen they are so quick to make.  Cut the fleece the length you want the scarf to be by twice the width. Fold it in half lengthwise and seam the open edges together. Turn inside out and stitch across the ends sewing a fringe on if wished to add decoration.  So quick!  And patterns for simple slippers can be found on the internet for free. Just do a search for fleece slippers! Other good things to make with fleece are mittens to keep those fingers warm in the icy weather and hats.  There are so many free patterns on the internet that you will be spoilt for choice.

And with Christmas just around the corner use some of the Christmassy fleece to make stockings for the kids or Santa Sacks to hold all the presents!

Reindeer flannel

This is one of the Christmassy fleece fabrics and it is such fun!  I can see it made into a warm and cosy robe for a little one to wear on Christmas morning! And other mornings of course!  And this and the other fleeces in the shop would be ideal for making hot water bottle covers.  A quick way to make a cover is to take a piece of fleece and draw around the outside of your hot water bottle with chalk leaving an inch for seam allowance.  That will be the back. Now draw around again but when you have drawn half way up the sides from the bottom on both sides move the bottle up 4 inches and continue drawing the shape.  Now cut out both your shapes. One will be larger than the other. Cut the larger one across about 1/3 of the way down.  On these two cut edges make a hem and stitch with contrasting thread!  Now lay the first bottle shape out with the RS facing up.  Place the top of the second piece RS down onto this first piece and then lay the rest of the second piece down overlapping it with the top piece.  So you now have two pieces of fleece right sides together with an overlapped piece on one side.  Sew all the way around.  Turn inside out!  Now put the hot water bottle inside throught the lapped opening.  The lapped opening will fit over the bottle so that it is all enclosed. This is such a quick and easy method that you can make lots of them for Christmas presents.  And if you applique animal shapes or flowers onto the bottom of the front kids will love them. Another idea is to applique the initial of the person on the front and then everyone will know which is theirs!   And for the men in your life why not make them in tartan fleece. Tartan is all the rage at the moment so you can’t go wrong!

flannel tartan

And this tartan fleece would make lovely capes and body warmers too!  Or even a onesie!  If you haven’t used fleece before do try it as it is wonderful stuff.  Even a beginner to sewing can have fun with it!  By the time Christmas day arrives you can have a plethora of hand made goodies to give away! Or even to keep for yourself!


Written by Val


Still time to make for Christmas!


This booklet from Traplet publications is full of good ideas for making patchwork projects for Christmas.

book close up cover

There are twenty five projects which will provide something for all abilities. In fact they are so good that you will want to make them all. My favourites are in order; the Christmas cards, the Christmas Bunting, the Snow Angel and the Christmas Stars throw.  And with all the lovely Christmas fabric it will be hard to know which one to make first and what fabric to use.  I love the glitter fabrics as they make any project look good and used in conjunction with Christmas prints they are a sure winner.

book cards book bunting book angel book star quilt

These fabrics will make your mouths water!

colourful glitter fabric xmas layer cakes etcSanta Claus fabric etc

Have fun mixing and matching whether you are making Christmas sacks or stockings, table runners, card holders or tree skirts. And don’t forget all the trimmings that one can add such as beads, lace and ric rac!  There is still plenty of time to get them finished.  Have fun!


Written by Val

A girl’s (or man’s) best friend….her sewing machine! Part 1!

If you are like me then your sewing machine is your best friend and as such it is important that you have chosen the one best suited to your needs. Here at the Sewing Studio in Redruth we have an enormous selection of sewing machines and there is sure to be just the one for you!  At the moment there are lots of offers on and your dream machine might be cheaper than you think!  There are several new models in which are well worth looking at; especially the Pfaffs and Husqvarna machines.

long view machines machines to window

The machine you choose should be suited to the sewing you do. A quilter will have different needs to a dressmaker and an embroiderer will require more than both dressmakers and quilters.  And you might be all of these so your machine will require quite a few features to make it useful to you. On the website the information on each sewing machine is fully documented so that you can see at a glance what features each machine has.  Make a list of the things you would like a machine to be able to do and then as you read the very informative pages you can tick off the machines that most match your list!

The most important thing for anyone who does a fair amount of sewing of any description is that the machine has the facility to change the stitch width and length manually and these arn’t programmed in.  This might be useful for someone who does little sewing or isn’t very confident but is totally frustrating for the average sewer.

Another important feature in my book is the ability to drop the feed dogs. But then I am an avid free machinist and this might not be of importance to those who just want to sew a fine seam. However if you are starting out and wanting to learn and do as much as possible then bear this in mind because you might want this feature in the future.

Many machines are able to control the needle with an up or down needle feature. Especially useful for quilters and for doing applique. And also there is a thread cutting feature which is very useful especially when one wants both hands free.

My favourite brand of machine is Bernina. I love Bernina’s because they still retain the vertical bobbin which as far as I’m concerned  makes free machining so much easier.

Bernina QE750 Bernina QE550

These two machines are especially designed for quilters but would suit any form of sewing.

Bernina sewing machines have been one of the market leaders in the sewing machine world for many years. They are to the sewing machine world what Rolex is to the watch world or Rolls Royce is to the automotive world! Quality, classy, elegant, refined, sophisticated are the words that spring to mind. Bernina are offering a 7 year warranty on new machines bought before the end of 2014.

The Bernina QE550 is £1750 and it does all of this:

Automatic buttonhole

Manual buttonhole

Button sew-on program

Needle stop up/down

Reverse sewing

Mirror Image

Total number of stitches 187

22 Practical stitches

155 Decorative stitches (incl quilt stitches)

24 Quilting stiches

10 Buttonholes (inlc eyelet and button sew-on program)

4 Alphabets

Creative consultant

Character/stitch pattern combination view horizontal

Pattern repeat 1-9

And has a knee lift to leave your hands free for manipulating your fabric!

At the offer price of £2695 the Bernina 750QE has more options and is able to have an embroidery attachment added to it for an extra £900! Check it out!

Britannia machine

This little machine is at the other end of the price scale with an offer price of £449. It has a lot going for it for the money.  And an embroidery unit can be added for only £299.

It includes the following features:

One Step Button Hole

65 Different Stitches

Max Stitch Length 5.6mm Max Stitch Width 7mm

Handy Stop Start Button

LED Sewing Light

Drop Feed Mechanism For Free Motion Embroidery / Darning

Hard Cover

A very useful little sewing machine!

pfaff no number lotus fold up

As well there are new Pfaffs in stock and Elna Sewing Machines in store including the very popular Elna Lotus at the offer price of £649. This is Elna’s most popular machine!

This machine features the following:
















In my next write up for the blog I will have a look at Brother and Janome sewing machines plus some of the other delights in the sewing machine world including accessories.  With Christmas coming up put a new sewing machine on your present list. I’m sure Santa will oblige!  🙂


Written by Val

The sun is shining but time is rushing by!

This is proving to be a wonderful Autumn with lots of sun and thoughts of Christmas seem far off. However time is rushing by and now is the time to think of Christmas sewing and gift making.

xmas table best

At the Sewing Studio we have a new table of Christmas goodies. They are so lovely that they make one’s mouth water and how to choose one over another is very difficult.

hessian fq x4

There are bundles of hession and linen fat quarters for £12 which would make lovely bags for giving presents in or table mats or runners. With four lovely designs to choose from the options are legion!


Lots of bundles of stiffened ribbon. The colours are just right for Christmas but could also be used for immediate projects and being on the tough side would make wonderful bag handles or hanging cords for wall hangings and pictures.

stiffened cotton lace green

This stiffened cotton lace is 6 inches wide and there are 1.8 metres on a roll. It costs just £6.95. A bargain!  I can imagine this lace made into napkin holders or flower pot coverings for the flower arrangement on the Christmas dinner table!

star lace snowflake lace

These fancy laces are so lovely. The stars are just gorgeous and the snowflakes could even be draped over the Christmas tree. And I love the old fashioned wooden reels that they come on!  I would buy them just for the reels!

xmas tags close up xmas gift tags

And if you are short of gift tags these innovative tags will be just the job! Lots of designs to choose from and not expensive at 85p each. They look like wooden tags with a hession tie and have button decorations. I love them!

xmas ribbons in box narrow xmas ribbons

Lots of Christmas ribbons in various sizes and designs. Lovely for using as braid. Why not sew some on the top of Christmas stockings or around a tree skirt!

xmas shape packs

And why not add some Christms shapes to the stockings or tree skirt or make a Christmas picture to hang on the wall. Choice of reindeers or snowman with robins. The hard work has been done for you. Just pull off the backing paper and iron onto your chosen fabric.  Such fun!

And don’t forget the Christmas felt. Extra thick and some with stars. So useful!

starry felt

And if you are like me you will be starting to think of gift ideas. These work boxes make ideal gifts and not just at Christmas. Why not put some essential sewing equpment in one and give it to a child to start them on their sewing adventure! There are so many to choose from that there is sure to be a design for everyone!

shelf of workboxes sewing items workbox x 2 large owl workbox

Or even a work box stool to keep you company while you watch television!

workbox stool

Visit the Sewing Studio to see all these wonderful things and start on your Christmas sewing early!


Written by Val

This and that!

The summer is nearly over and the kids are back at school. Now is the time to think of doing a class or two. The Sewing Studio offers a variety of classes to suit all.  With Christmas on the horizon why not sign up for a workshop making Christmas items.

Mary Bradley is offering a workshop on a Christmas wall hanging or a Celtic cushion. This is on the 2nd October from 10 – 1 and is £11 per person. It will be great fun and focuses on a stained glass effect using narrow bias binding. The finished results are amazing!

christmas candle stained glass


celtic cushion

Or there is a Christmas Workshop on the 4th October from 10-4 costing £15 per person. In this workshop you can make an Advent Calendar or a Christmas Stocking. Or perhaps a table runner with matching table mats, napkins and napkin rings. There will be Christmas fabrics available in the shop including Christmas panels. There are samples to view in the shop!

And here is a sneak preview of some fabric just in from Moda called Avant Garden. It isn’t on the website yet but it will be soon. I thought it was quite delicious and this piece especially was reminiscent of the work of Clarice Cliffe.

new fabric new fabric advent garden

This link will take you to the Moda Bakeshop where you can see a finished quilt using the Avant Garden fabrics complete with quilt pattern,

Have fun and enjoy!

Written by Val

The wonderful Jelly Pointer template!

I have been having a lot of fun with this template and I’m really glad I bought it.  It makes the most wonderful shapes so quickly and easily.

To use it cut 5 inch strips of fabric or sew two jelly roll strips together with a very small seam. Then fold the fabric in half or along the seam line.

heart cutting

When the fabric is folded place the template along the fold line as shown in the picture above. Cut around the shape and then open up. In the picture above a heart has been produced.  In the picture below pentagons have been cut. The pentagon can be cut as a large shape or the inner pentagon can be cut out and used as a small pentagon or the large pentagon can be used with a hole in the centre. This could be most useful for picturing images!

cutting pentagon

As well as pentagons and hearts different sizes of ovals can be cut. These can be used singly or a flower could be made out of them. There are so many different uses for all these shapes.

oval shapes

The star is the least easy shape to use. I found that instead of using my rotary cutter I marked around the shape with chalk and then used scissors to cut it out. It made a lovely star but was not as quick as the other shapes to do.  The picture below shows all the shapes that can be cut with this template.

all the shapes

The folder that the template comes in gives full instructions for use as well as lots of ideas for usage! With Christmas now in view I think these shapes will be most useful for table mats and runners.  The heart is my favourite shape and I shall try cutting it out in glittery fabrics to add to stockings and even to sew two together to hang on the tree. With beads sewn to the edges it would make a most eye catching tree decoration!

Have fun!

Written by Val

Lots more fabrics and other things!

There are so many lovely new fabrics in the Sewing Studio that I am awash with ideas as to how to use them.  And what to do first?  The pictures below don’t do these lovely fabrics justice. They are so soft and flowery and just look so right for a light and airy quilt to finish off the summer.

new fabric labelnew fabric 2 new fabric 1  And then with thoughts of Autumn in the air these fabrics also are inspiring me to do something autumnal. The thing is what?


new fabric autumn colours

Such lovely autumn leaf colours. And the range will mix and match so well.

And as if the fabrics weren’t making my mouth water I thought this dear little bunny would make a delightful present for a child or even a new baby!



Isn’t she cute! A small girl would really love her!

And more delicious Christmas fabrics. I’ve already started on making Christmas things and these lovely leafy prints will be a good addition to my stash. The pre-cuts are so useful and come in handy when one wants just a few fabric prints at a time!

xmas holly leaves xmas fir tree fabric xmas layer cake

I then treated myself to the template below. This template is used specifically with jelly rolls or strips of fabric. It makes the most delightful cut out shapes and I can’t wait to use it. However I will have to wait as we are off to Harrogate tomorrow for the Northern Quilt Show where we are exhibiting. However when we come back I shall play and I will put up pictures of the things that one can do with this template. So watch this space!  There is no shortage of jelly rolls at the Sewing Studio so it will just be a matter of making a choice. Now what could be easier! 🙂

template precuts layer cakes

And last but not least can I tell you about Falmouth Progressive Quilters first exhibition. This will be held on Friday 5th September and Saturday 6th September at the Bosvale Community Centre off Hillside Road which is off Boslowick Road, Falmouth. There will be lots to see and tea and buns!  Do come!

Written by Val

Hot July Days and thinking of Christmas!

Isn’t it wonderful to have such a lovely hot and sunny July. The weather has been remarkable and now it is so hot! This is the time to turn one’s thoughts to Christmas! To frosty patterns on the windows, ice encrusted puddles, snow on the trees and crisp frosty air. Doesn’t that make you feel cooler!  Here at the Sewing Studio we have some lovely Christmas fabrics which have just come in.    Some lovely designs to get you inspired for making goodies for Christmas present giving and for general use at Christmas. Now is the time to start, to make sure that everything you want to make is finished in time. Make one item a week and you will soon have a sack full of goodies ranging from Christmas stockings and tree decorations to Christmas table runners and table mats. Scroll down to see some of the delicious fabrics in store.

xmas selection

xmas trees

geometric xmas trees

These fabrics will mix and match beautifully while some of the more ornate patterns will make fabulous quilted stockings and table mats.

xmas cottage

This is a gorgeous fabric as it is covered with glitter and really sparkles. The pictures don’t do it justice! I feel cool just looking at it! 🙂

xmas cottage fabric

xmas fabric recipe and writing

xmas fabric recipe and writing2

xmas robins

This panel caught my eye immediately. I love height charts and have recently made one for a new addition to our family. I wish this had been available then as I love owls. If my daughter in law ever presents us with a grandchild then this will be the one I’ll choose for her as she loves owls!

owl height chart full

Written by Val