Fancy & Fabulous Skirt


I’ve got a second finish amidst the chaos that is writing book and magazine stuff. Each time I make this skirt pattern I get a bit better at it; this time I am happier with the finish on the zip at the back. As with all the skirts I make, it has pockets- an essential feature for my clothes. Why don’t shop bought skirts have pockets more often?!
The fabric is from Fancy & Fabulous by Riley Blake and I bought it partly with dressmaking in mind, I wasn’t 100% sure of anything other than I really liked the print and colours.

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The pattern is Simplicity 2117- the longer version. Originally I was going to put an invisible zip in but it was misbehaving and actually a standard one is all the pattern called for, and it worked well as it turned out. Next dressmaking venture: a McCall dress with boat neckline and waist belt detail in Mori Girls Dachshunds…

This is a finish along quarter two finish!

FAL 2016


Festival of Quilts, Calgary


By Wayne Kollinger


I didn’t have a whole lot of time at the Festival of Quilts to see absolutely everything, but I got a fair number of breaks to wander around considering I was at work!

Heritage Park is a historical village reconstruction of what the West used to look like, It has a steam train (and paddleboat); there’s a bakery and sweet shop and it holds events. This show had quilts all over the place- inside buildings, under a marquee, on frames outside, etc so without a guide book it was hard to make sure you saw everything.



By Irene Campbell


By Vanecea Greene


Also by Vanecea Greene- these blocks are teeny!



More tiny piecing by Vanecea Greene. It appears I like her work!



By Janet Aspinall



By Rebecca Cleaver Burke


I came back with a small haul…

Secrets secrets


So it appears I took a blogging break, but it wasn’t a break from sewing by any means. This month I sold my sewing machine that I bought in January and bought the Brother PQ 1500S. I needed something faster because at the speed I’m FMQing for the book, the tension was struggling on the other machine. I also had to get a cheap Walmart machine so I can still zig zag and blind hem, so it turned out to be a more expensive exercise than I imagined it would be, and now I have two machines with just one desk. It has to sit on foam because it vibrates the whole room and I’m worried I annoy the neighbours.

I finished up the bee word for April (late) and I’m yet to start May… I have three “the”s to make, so chain piecing ahoy!

I made a baby quilt and halfway through another for magazines that I can’t show yet, both I used the Scan N Cut that I love so much. So much so, I was demonstrating them at the Festival of Quilts in Calgary this weekend. More photos from that to come on another post. Yes I bought fabric.

I also made a quilt and halfway through a smaller project for my book. I’ve even started writing actual words now! Today I plan to sketch out the illustrations for where I am up to.

DSCF1036I’m cutting out a dress (that will probably sit in pieces for ages). I also made a skirt but I’m going to do a post all on it’s own for that for the Finish Along. That’s right, two more posts in the works, I’m making up for lost time!

A finished quilt: Kananaskis

I finished the binding on a quick quilt a couple of days ago, so yesterday I took it out for photos. We went back to Elbow Falls; last time we visited, it was covered in snow. This time it was crazy hot and we brought Hank with us this time.


I made this within a week so I could rent the longarm machine at work. I needed something quick so I could practice. I panto-ed this in three hours- and that included unpicking a whole row and somehow managing to do a whole row with no thread.

Back to more photos from yesterday…

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The back…

It looks like I’ve only finished up one quilt this year but it’s actually two, nearly three. Too many secrets!

Size – 61″ x 57″
Number of blocks – 20 – 10 of two styles.
Time to make – Piecing a couple of days and quilting three hours- maybe a total of 14 hours including binding.
Fabric – Bo Bunny’s Trail Mix collection plus Kona Forest.
Backing Fabric – Anne Kelle Remix ovals and a bit of Jo Morton Leesburg to make up what I needed, both were 75% off so I paid about $4 a metre for them.
Binding Fabric – More Kona Forest.
Threads – Piecing with Aurifil 50 wt. Quilting with Wonderfil Decobob prewound bobbins (80 wt) and Isacord on top (40 wt).
Batting – 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom.
Quilting- English Oak pantograph from Urban Elementz on Bernina Q24.

Bee Blocks and Quilt Workout and Canada

Quilt Workout is (finally) go!

The first pattern – Shine Bright – is now available on Craftsy and walks through each round on this semi-medallion quilt which can be made with a bunch of fat quarters and a co-ordinating solid. It is priced at just $7 USD and there’s some other patterns in my Craftsy pattern store you might like too. It’s also listed on Payhip. The second Quilt Workout project will be an applique workout that looks a bit like this…

So far though, my version just looks like this and my priorities have had to change a bit recently, so I’m not sure of an ETA for this. Maybe the end of this year?

In Spelling Bee block news I have run out of the sandy coloured pearl bracelets print. It should say “yarnie” but so far it looks like pirate speak. This is the April block and I’m loathe to fall behind but I am waiting for it to be delivered. For Susan in May I am making three “the”s!

I’m queen for June and I want blocks for the provinces of Canada so I can make an 8-bit style map. It’s different to the improv lettering of the five turns before me so I made an example block. Saskatchewan!

As I finished making up this block, the Discover Canada range arrived at work and I had to buy the panels, even though I’m really not a panel person. I liked the vintage-y advert style.

So I will have two maps of Canada eventually it seems. I even planned a layout in EQ7…

Mine will have better bears though, I’m going to buy this block pattern and make it 10″!

I finished a thing!

My Hank-esque hanger on the stairway now has something hanging on it!

I think the block is called Grandma’s Star and it uses just a few charm squares, I used Doe by Carolyn Friendlander and added the rest to my scrap drawers. The triangle at the bottom is a bit wonky but I’m trying to see past that. The quilting is just edcho quilting using my walking foot. This was the first time I had attached it to my machine and it works really nicely.

The binding (from a CF fat quarter- I think it’s from Botanics) and hanging sleeve were finished up at a coffee shop in Churchill Square in Edmonton last weekend. Alex was doing an exam and I had checked out of our hotel, so I needed something to do while I waited. An iced tea and a smoothie later and I finished it up!

It’s approximately 20″ long and 6″ wide.

This is a finish along quarter two finish!

FAL 2016


Brother Scan N Cut – Adding seam allowances and cutting fabric for piecing tutorial

The Meadow quilt class last week was awesome, but the cutting for the pattern is a bit laborious. There are 80 shapes that have two curves, and 40 pieces that are sort of like a smoother version of the Star Trek logo. There will also be 20 long ovals but I think they will be too big for the machine so I’ll do those by hand (the CM650 model should be able to do them though as it can take mats twice as long). Here’s an example of what I mean:

I cut these pieces on the Scan N Cut, but only after I had already cut out the templates in the class itself. It has made things much easier! Unlike die cutting machines like the Accuquilt Go or the Sizzix Big Shot, you can specify your exact requirements for your project (rather than standard triangles, hexies, etc) and add seam allowances and get as many on one sheet as possible to make the process as economic as you can with unusual shapes. You choose the project and then make the Scan N Cut work for you, rather than trying to make a project up around existing dies and the shapes they produce.

So here’s another semi-tutorial today for those who are new to the machine, like me, which will show you some more things you can do with the machine building on the tutorial in my last post. I’m not sponsored by Brother, I genuinely just like this machine. This machine was borrowed so I could learn more but I have gone out and bought my own since!

Put the template you’re working with on the standard mat and scan to cut data.

I then used region detection – as a guide the top is outline detection, the middle is region detection and the bottom is line detection. I found region detection was best for this application because sometimes the outlines weren’t connecting up to make a full shape.

Then select the darkness detection thingy (technical!)…

Then Ignore Object Size…

Then select a size that makes sense- the number indicates what size drawings/lines/objects are ignored. I went for 3/4″ square.

Save the file. Find it again and open from the pattern screen. Then go into the top left shape menu and click select all. Deselect the shapes you want to keep and keep all of the extra scuzzy bits highlighted. Press the trash can delete option.

Now add the seam allowance to the shape so that it can be pieced rather than appliqued. To do this, go to the size screen (still within shape menu)…

And click the bottom right option which shows a box within a box. This is your seam allowance.

You can check it is 1/4″ by pressing the settings (spanner) button and scrolling through the menu.

You can also make several duplicate shapes whilst in the menu with the seam allowance setting. Click the + option beside ‘number’ to add more shapes.

You can drag out the new shapes to other areas of the mat space on screen. Press OK to go to the initial screen. Press the triangles (object arrangement) option on screen.

You have three options for arrangement on this screen. The top will arrange it in the most space efficient way possible, but will not take the grain of the fabric into account. The middle will arrange on the vertical or horizontal, flipping upside down as needed for best fit and the last option is good for cutting from directional fabric as the shapes are positioned as closely together as possible but without rotation. I chose the middle option!

You can resave over the top of the original scanned file if you wish to access the cleaned up and seam allowance-d shapes regularly. Apply the high tack fabric sheet to your mat. This is where having two mats is handy, or if you have a scanning mat, using that just to import files, as this sheet makes it a lot stickier and therefore you can’t put paper on it anymore.

Load the mat and go to the cut option…

And then once cut, unload the mat and peel off the excess and lift off the cut shapes. When the tacky sheet is fresh, you may need to curve the mat slightly to get better purchase on the shapes. Remember to pick threads from the mat with tweezers and keep the surface well covered for mat longevity.

My next mini-tutorial (when I get round to it) will cover importing designs from the computer. The high end model will do this wirelessly, so I’ll be showing you on the CM100 (basic model) that I bought!

Finish Along – Quarter 2

It’s Finish Along time again and I’m sort of taking part this quarter.

As I work on my book I plan to do a bit of other stuff in between projects, so finish a book thing, work on another project, finish a book thing, work on another project, you get the idea.

My other projects will need to be small though otherwise I’ll never get anything done, so instead of seeing my Baby Jane and log cabin WIPs yet again, this quarter I have smaller targets…

DSCF0742My little wall hanging is glue basted ready for quilting, binding and a hanging sleeve.

DSCF0744Same deal with my polar bears, but I think I’m just going to put hanging corners on the back, not a sleeve.

DSCF0748I’ve cut out pieces to make another of my favourite skirts- this is the same pattern as the one I used for the red dog skirt and the Mixteca sparrows. I may even make a dress from the Mori Girls dachshund print from Dashwood Studios, but that might be going too wild.

DSCF0746And on the subject of wild, I’ve cut out almost all of the pieces for my Meadow quilt on the Scan N Cut (another post on this coming up). I have the background pieces to cut which are Kona Eggplant and I honestly don’t think this will get done, but if I manage a couple of blocks I’ll be very happy.

Linking up with Helen

FAL 2016

Brother Scan N Cut – Applique Pattern Tutorial


I recently borrowed a Scan N Cut machine from Rebecca at work (I know you are reading this- hello!) with the promise that I’d teach her stuff after I’d used it and learned a bit more. So it makes sense to share what I found here too for anyone who has just bought a Scan N Cut and are a bit nervous as to what to do next.

I tested it out with a new mat and an applique pattern that I bought (part of the Canadian Mystery Quilt series by Shania Sunga for Cantik Batiks), but you could save files from EQ7 and other computer applications such as Adobe CC instead of scanning them in, use the Scan N Cut Canvas web program to convert to cutting lines, put them on a USB stick and cut your applique patterns from the file.

I’m going to say now that yes I have used my fingers on the screen and yes, there is a stylus provided, I think with touch screen phones and stuff that we are used to, it’s easy to fall into that habit!

Scan the pattern by sticking it to the Standard mat, pressing the mat load button and then the Scan option, followed by Scan To Saved Data and the Go button that will light up green when ready.

This model is the CM550 Scan N Cut, which can only scan 12″ x 12″ mats, the pattern sheet was longer than this so I had to scan half, rotate and scan the other half to make sure I got all of the pieces. The Scan N Cut 2 (CM650) can scan 12 ” x 24″ which is handy. These will then save to the memory on the unit itself, or a USB stick if you have plugged one in and you choose that option.

Next, fuse Wonder Under or another good fusible product onto the back of the fabrics you want to cut from (everything but the background). Press well as you don’t want the fabric to separate from the adhesive when you come to peel your shapes from your mat!

To recall your saved scans, press Home and go into Pattern, Saved Data…

Locate and select the saved file you want to cut from…

Now we will refine the shape for cutting and get rid of any extra fragments that scanned in that you don’t want, such as text and fluff. When the file is open, click the top right “Edit” option…

Then “Selection” – the three red boxes…

“Select All”

Select the parts you want to keep- so in this example that was just the bear shape…

Press OK, then the dustbin icon…

A message will ask if it is OK to delete selected data- yep, sure is! Now all that’s left are the shapes you want! You can save the design and overwrite the existing file if you wish.

I have found that the mats don’t last quite as long as I would like, so instead of cutting with the fabric side down and the fusible web up, I mirror the images and stick the paper to the mat because that way there’s less fluff and lint getting on the adhesive surface. Here’s how I did that.

Go into the resize screen…

I started by rotating the bear as I wanted the grain of the fabric to run top to bottom and left to right, and initially the bear was angled on the bias…

Select the mirror image icon (it’s the same as the mirror pattern button you might have on your sewing machine)…

Click OK once you’re happy with what you have. You can move the applique design around on this screen too by selecting and holding it with the stylus/finger, then dragging it to its new location.

Smooth your fabric with the backing side down onto the standard mat if it is old and losing it’s stick, or onto a low tack mar, covering the area shown on the screen that will be cut. Those inch square marks are really handy. (BTW: if you are wanting to use a high tack mat, don’t mirror your design and put the fabric side down, you’ll thank me later)

Time to cut! Load your mat. I have the blade set on number four. Sometimes I find the blade needs setting one higher than it actually recommends in the manual to make sure I don’t have to snip any extra areas. Click cut and then the Go button should light up green. Deep breath and press it!

Once cut, press the mat load button to eject the mat. This is where your pressing skills with the fusible web will show their level… Peel off the excess fabric, then prose up the cut out shape with the provided spatula. Make sure to get under the paper, not just the fabric. I found I had to curl the mat back slightly to get better purchase on it.
Et voila!

Now its ready for the backing paper to be peeled off and to be fused on my project. I repeated this with all of the pieces in my block (including the background because I’m dim sometimes, so I just fused the whole thing to batting).

Another tutorial coming up in my next post – how to use the Scan N Cut to cut out fabric for piecing, and adding seam allowances. We are selling these machines at work for $240 for the basic model so I think I’m going to have to get my own!

Introducing the Marielle bag pattern – Craftsy store now open for business

So I’ve decided to reopen my Craftsy pattern store now that I’m settled this side of the Atlantic, and I’m launching with a new bag pattern as well as uploading the three quilting patterns I had previously listed, including the complete English Country Garden BOM. This is Marielle….


The pattern is just $6 USD and I’m also going to have the first Quilt Workout pattern out as soon as that has been reviewed also- yep, it’s finally written up. I have plans to reissue a few patterns that are now out of print from magazines a year or longer ago. That will happen much later in the year.

Thank you very much to Mary for helping test this pattern and making it much better!

Go to my Craftsy store here.

Also available on Payhip!