Vlog #16 – October 9th 2017 – Thanksgiving

Here’s the latest update- a quick vlog with my Quiltcon progress, bench progress and my next pattern release!

I asked my Instagram followers what pattern I should come out with next, it was relatively close (so I need to get on with my next release soon), but the Horseplay Cushion won out and you can now get your hands on a copy for yourself! I swear it’s a lot simpler than it looks, no precision or curved piecing, and it is layer cake friendly. There’s a link below, or it is available on Etsy or Craftsy.

Tutorial: How to Reupholster a Dining Chair with Patchwork

I’ve said for a little while now that I would show you how I reupholstered my sewing room chairs. I actually have one more to do but there are SO. MANY. STAPLES. Plus, painting isn’t my favourite thing to do. If you want to have a go, here’s what I did for actually removing and recovering the seat area.

An old chair
A crosshead screwdriver (probably)
Something to help pull staples out – I used a combination of an awl, a screwdriver and a pair of pliers

Fabric scraps
0.7m of Pellon Shapeflex SF101, or some other lightweight fusible woven interfacing
Staple gun with staples

Please note that I reused the same foam and base cloth, but if you have really worn out chairs, you will need some new foam and some kind of lightweight cloth for the bottom. My chairs looked dilapidated, but the insides were actually very good still.

All chairs will be a little different, but the construction is mostly the same.

1)First of all you want to flip your chair upside down and unscrew any visible screws under the pad area.

2) Once the pad is separate from the frame, you can paint the chair if you wish. You need to remove all of the staples on the back that hold the base cloth in place.

3) Under the base cloth you will see the wood that makes the structure and shape of the seat, plus where the main fabric attaches. I had A LOT of staples to contend with here. Take them all out and you should have four separate layers – your outer fabric, the foam, the wood and the base cloth. My wood was actually stuck to the foam, yours may be in two pieces.

4) This step is optional. I stuck pieces of freezer paper together and drew around the existing fabric to make a template. I did this because I was making three seats, but you could use your actual outer fabric piece as the template and skip this step.

5) Use your template (or outer fabric piece) to cut out your interfacing at the right size. My seat was a little bigger than the width of the interfacing, so I pieced mine together in two parts, cutting out part of the template on one width, and the left over bit as a second piece. I didn’t join them together.

6) You want to now randomly piece your scrap fabric together until it is bigger than the template/original outer fabric/interfacing.

7) Lay your fabric with the wrong side of the fabric against the fusible (shiny/textured) side of the interfacing. Line up your join if you had to cut the interfacing in two pieces like I did. Press to fuse together using manufacturer’s instructions, some interfacings fuse faster than others.

8) Cut away the excess fabric around the interfacing.

9) Lay your fabric right side facing down, and position the foam and then the wood over the top. You want to ease the fabric as far round the wood as you can without forcing it too hard. It should be firm, but still have a little give. Staple the top, bottom and sides in place as a starting point.

10) Work your way round methodically in one direction, adding several staples to each side to keep it neat. Before you get to a corner, you want to see how the fabric folds before stapling too close in place. I start by folding the corner across the point flat, adding a staple, and then easing in the two sides equally, possibly stapling over the top if necessary. A corner usually uses up 5 staples.

11) Finish the stapling all the way round, and cut away any excess fabric if it covers the screw holes.

12) This is where reusing the base cloth comes in handy, because you can line up the holes with the screw holes in the fabric and then staple into place. If you had to make a new base cloth, fold the edges under as best you can by 1/2″ to 1″ and press. Then line up on the back and staple over the raw edges of the outer fabric. Next, you will need to poke holes in the cloth for the screws, you can do this with an awl once you’ve located the hole.

13) Reattach seat to the chair frames with the screws. This can be a bit tricky, so start from the back of the chair and work with it upside down. And then you’re done!

A Finish: Banana Candy

This is Banana Candy all done!

It’s all raw edge applique, appliqued onto Kona Parchment at the quilting stage. That is pretty much how I roll with applique always, whether turned edge or raw. It makes choosing a quilting design really simple too. I stitched around the very edge with matching colour thread, then echo quilted twice more. I’m not going to lie, I used a vast assortment of threads for quilting this to get the colours right without buying a ton of new threads. There was cotton, there was polyester, there were different brands, different weights. The polyester was better, especially on the tougher fusibles that I had used (I used a mix of what I had there too), there were thread breakages at times.

This is the first time I haven’t dared wash a quilt, I am scared of the edges fraying. I’m also not sure about the binding, I machined it on both sides and I went slow and it’s actually pretty good most of the time, but I did fall off the binding on the back at times, because I wasn’t folding it as tightly over as usual so not to cover the bananas up.

This is one of my favourite ever quilts I think. Do you think I should enter it in Quiltcon? I’m feeling like it will be an obvious no, for perfection reasons as well as the design being very regular, but I do love it for myself. I don’t want to enter if it will be a waste of money. What do you honestly think? My feelings won’t be hurt, I love it for myself.

It was even cute in the WIP stages!

Size – 55″ wide x 66″ tall
Number of blocks – n/a… but there are 88 motifs and 352 bananas total.
Time to make – About 16 hours
Fabric – Background is Kona Parchment, the bright colours are all Rhoda Ruth by Elizabeth Hartman
Binding Fabric – A half metre of a yellow Rhoda Ruth print I picked up at A Sewing Sensation a week ago.
Backing Fabric – 
Not sure what it is called, but I bought it at Village Haberdashery in the UK when they had a huge sale. I think it’s a Japanese import.
Threads – Honestly there are many, there’s Isacord in there, there’s Mettler Poly Sheen, there’s Coats Moon, Isacord, Wonderfil Polysheen, whatever I had that colourmatched.
Batting – Hobbs 80/20 of course!
Quilting- Echo quilted shapes, three rounds in each banana.


2017 Finish Along – time for Q4… and Vlog #15 October 1st.

The end (of the year) is nigh! So what do I want to achieve by December 31st?

I’m not including Banana Candy here because that quilt despite being on my last quarter list is only a couple of hours from being finished, so I feel like I’d be cheating a bit. It has fallen in the gap between the two quarters, if there ever was such a thing.

It would be a great shame if I didn’t get my Canada themed quilt done this year. A second collection came out in the time it has taken me to not sew it together so I’m going to have to figure out making it bigger to include them…

I’d also like to finish my Log Cabin quilt. It’s huge and our spare bed is a just a pull out day bed, so I will have to convince my husband (who is distracted by the orange print in this) that it could go on our bed maybe. We have never had a bed quilt before. I’ve got as far as piecing half of the blocks together into the upper half of the top, the other half needs putting together. I also bought a backing when I found half price extra wide at My Sewing Room one evening. I plan to long arm it there too, it’s been so long since I rented the longarm.

My Quiltcon entry of course needs doing- I only have until the end of November to get it done and photographed. I have fabric and a plan so far.

Oh and of course, I have 3 chairs in my sewing room and one still needs painting and reupholstering. I’ve sewn the fabric together, so I just need a weekend to get on with it and finish the set.

I doubt much else will be finished with my classes and such going ahead, but there’s still my Lotus quilt. I did a bit in a Sunday day retreat type situation, and it’s all cut out and quick to put together, but because the quilt has no destiny, I’ve not bothered with it. It’s not my own pattern for sale, it’s not got a recipient in mind, so it stays there in a bag…

Linking up to the Finish Along!

Charm About You

Here’s the latest vlog, it’s very very short!

Vlog #14 – September 24th 2017 – New Fabric (and a lot more besides)

Hey, here’s my latest vlog! I bought a few fabrics lately (more coming in the post) and finished the Bear in the Log Cabin quilt, plus I made good progress on Banana Candy and I know the dates for my next classes too…

A Finish: Bear in the Log Cabin (for Bloggers Quilt Festival)

It’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival time again, and I love how Amy has simplified it. Previously you had to choose a category for a quilt that you entered, and then people would nominate and vote for a People’s Choice, which didn’t always seem like the fairest way of doing it- though I was surprised to be nominated one year. This year we just link up to the one post (go to see more inspiration!) and prize winners are randomly selected. Love it!

Here’s my entry, the long-awaited but finally quilted Bear In The Log Cabin.

There are 36 blocks, most of which have a different bear fabric fussy cut and then framed by the log cabin house block, but some of my favourites feature more than once. I collected these fabrics over the course of 2-3 years and ended up with way too many. It was time to finally put my idea together!

The roof parts are all from my ridiculous amount of brown scraps and hardly a dent was made, even though I made them the wasteful way! I made them that way so I could use thinner strips and have more variety of fabrics. Normally I opt for the four-at-a-time method, but these were made one by one.

The blocks were sewn together staggered style, column by column. I alternated whether I sewed the piece of sashing to the top or the bottom of each block to get that wiggly effect.

The backing is a snuggly flannel. I’ve never used flannel before but it’s so easy to quilt and it bastes really easily without puckers- warm, luxurious and not a PITA! On the subject of quilting, I just quilted the wood-y bits and the bias tape window panes.

Of course, I had to add a stripy binding, and this one was on half price sale! I machine stitched on the binding so that I could have it finished for this festival. I submitted it to a couple of magazines about a month back (when I had basted it) so far, but no dice just yet. If it doesn’t go anywhere it will be happy living on our sofa over the colder months.

Size – 53″ wide x 78″ tall
Number of blocks – 36
Time to make – Maybe about 35-40 hours
Fabric – An assortment of scraps, plus some woodgrain half yards I had in my stash, and Kona White background. The window panes are fusible bias tape, premade stuff. The backing is flannel, no idea what it is called!
Binding Fabric – A stripy print from Mangia Mangia by Stephanie Marrott for Wilmington.
Threads – Pieced with white Wonderfil Konfetti 50wt cotton, quilted mostly with brown Wonderfil Polyfast 40wt trilobal polyester.
Batting – My usual go to – Hobbs 80/20. It’s cheap and washes so well.
Quilting- Woodgrain style on all the wood parts, working block by block. I sewed the window pane lines down at the quilting stage too.

This was also a Finish Along finish for this quarter! The goals post is here.

A Quick Tutorial: How to put your Instagram pics on a blog post

I’m back today with a quick tutorial to show you how I get my Instagram posts onto my blog. It’s WordPress hosted, and won’t allow me to use the embed code, I just get a grey box, besides, you may not want it to look like you just pulled it off Instagram, with the frame and caption. Here’s what you do.

Oh I should mention, please only do this on your own images, or ones you have explicit permission to use. Please don’t steal other people’s stuff!

1) Go to www.instagram.com/YOURUSERNAME – putting whatever your username is in there, so for instance mine is www.instagram.com/pennydog. Click the picture you want to use to open it up.

2) Right click the photo and click View Page Source on the menu that pops up.

3) A page like this will open up, but don’t be scared! Scroll down until you see meta content and meta property. The on around line 58 (the lines are all numbered on the left) you should have a bit of code that says <meta property=”og:imagecontent=

4) Copy the entire URL between the speechmarks (“). I use Ctrl and C keyboard commands but you can right click and select Copy.

This URL is now ready to be pasted into your blog when it asks for an image URL, into a mosaic on Big Huge Labs or anywhere where you need an image URL, just as if it was hosted anywhere else on the internet. Here’s mine:

Please enjoy responsibly 🙂

Vlog #13 – September 17th 2017 – Finishing Stuff

I got a couple of smaller projects finished which I’m very pleased about! A Venti tote bag and another Blanche from my classes, plus I talk about events next weekend and the one after that. I’m now making my Banana Candy quilt finally too, using the Scan N Cut shapes I cut out. More on that next week!

I also got a different camera, I didn’t like the two camera set up from last week, so I returned it and got a more expensive one that does everything: HD, decent audio and without having to convert files just to edit them. Easier filming may mean I make more tutorial videos!

Kerry vs Chalk Paint

I’ve got to say it, I was nearly defeated! To elaborate on the chairs posted in my vlog a little bit more, I posted this picture on Instagram last weekend, (the seat reupholstered, but not yet back on the legs) and asked people what I should do about the state of the wood. These chairs were by the side of the road with a table for free, they’re filthy and covered in paint, I think they were part of a kids craft station before they were thrown out and we picked them up.

I kind of like the wood colour, but the damage on them was distracting to me and I felt like I had to fix it. My table is white, the scratches went too deep to be repaired and several people said to paint it with chalk paint so I wouldn’t have to strip off the varnish. It sounded perfect and easy! So I went out and bought a can (the brush applied type- I wanted spray but it was out of stock) of Rustoleum Chalked in Antique White. That was after already going to the hardware store twice to try different wood restore methods that didn’t work.

I applied three coats. Looks fine right?

Wrong. This paint was a total pain in the arse. Close up you can see my brush strokes and there’s globby bits and it was awful to apply because it dried SO fast.

So after work on Monday, I put a podcast on and sanded the brush strokes down as much as possible without it feeling like too much effort- those slatty bits on the back are not easy I can tell you. Then I added a tablespoon or so of water to the paint can to thin it out and mixed it in well. I think it looks better?

I could have left the sanding where it shows a bit of the darker colour coming through and call it distressed, but I wanted a clean look. That would have been easier! Cleaning the brushes is thankfully very easy, just water and washing up liquid cleans them up, which is also good news for my arms because they usually receive some paint splatters.

I wanted to wax them to finish them, using clear Minwax Finishing Wax, but of course Home Depot says 7 in stock online, but when I got there, zero. So I went with the Chalked matte varnish. This was because they’re dusty to the touch and I would hate for it to rub off on clothing. It may just be temporary while it cures properly, but I wanted to be certain. I applied that and it took a bit of the paint off. It also added a slight sheen which wasn’t quite what I was going for. Never mind.

I did one more, so just one chairs to go. Just got 9 billion staples to remove first. A tutorial on how I reupholstered these is coming shortly.

Vlog #12 – September 10th 2017 – Chairs and my new sewing room

This week I show you around my new sewing room and my upholstery project! Don’t forget, when you subscribe to my YouTube channel, you are entered in a draw to win your choice of precut! We are a quarter of the way there, yey! Tell your sewing friends!

I can’t remember if I showed the video of making pendants here, so I’m going to put this up here too. I have a fair few to choose from in my Etsy shop.