Thursday, 25 September 2014

Beginners Patchwork Tutorial

I have shown a few folk now how to do patchwork using pieces of paper templates.  I learnt it myself when I was quite young and have done bits on and off with it ever since.  So thought there might be someone out there who would like a quick photo guide to how it's done.

First of all choose your pattern, I would recommend you start with an easy one, like a hexagon or a triangle.   If you type Patchwork Templates into Google you will find a good few to choose from.

The next thing to do then is to print them out onto a thin card and cut out your templates - NEATLY, if they are not neat they will not go back together neat when you sew them.

Take one template and another piece of card, draw around the template about 5-10mm wider all the way around, cut this out (not using your good fabric scissors) and write "CUT" on it.  You only need one of these, this will be the piece that you cut your fabric to.

With that larger piece, place it on your fabric AT THE EDGE - I have seen way too many people plonk it in the centre of the fabric and waste loads.  Draw around it with a biro and cut it out.

Now take a smaller piece of card and place it in the middle of your fabric.  Using a bright colour thread, different to your fabric colours, put a good double knot in the end and start sewing the fabric to the card, tucking it in very neatly all the way around.  When you come to a corner, tuck it in neat too.  Use nice big stitches so they are easier to pull out later on.
Finish of with a little overstitch.

Make another.

Now put your two pieces front to front, and with a complimenting colour thread make tiny whip stitches across the top of the pieces, making sure you only catch the fabric and not the card beneath it.
Work all the way along and finish with a couple of small stitches on top of each other.

Open it up and you should barely see the stitches.

Work around your centre piece in the same way with more pieces until the centre is completely enclosed.  Don't worry about joining the sides yet as the card makes it tricky, just get the middle all joined up.

If you turn it over it should look like this.

Now, carefully, snip the large stitches in the middle piece and gently remove the card - it should just pop out.  Put this to one side to re-use again later.

Now you will find that your work will bend quite nicely, enabling you to sew up those side seams.

Now it is just a case of continuing.  'As each piece is enclosed, remove the card to make it easier to work.

What you make with your patchwork is up to you, you may go on to make a quilt, pad it, back it and bind it. Or you might wish to appliqué your work to a ready made tote bag or the back of a jacket.  The possibilities are endless.

Hope you have enjoyed this simple little lesson and I would love to see photos of your work, either email them to me at or pop a photo on my Facebook page.

If you would like to buy a starter kit with these instructions and the fabric shown in the photos, click HERE for the pack.

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