Breast Cancer Awareness FPP Block

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It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and this year it is also the first anniversary of the death of the mother of my daughter’s best friend.  I unfortunately didn’t get to know her very well before she died as the girls had only been together at school for a little over a year. My daughter’s friend and her dad have coped incredibly well and I feel honoured to have been there to help.  But I want to do more. I don’t want others to have to lose their mother, wife or daughter. 

For my small contribution to the cause, I have designed a Foundation Paper Piecing block.  It’s the iconic pink ribbon (an international sign), symbolic sometimes of loss and sometimes of success.  This block is free to download here

I would like as many of you lovely people as possible to make this block in October and share it on social media with a link to how to check your breasts such as this to make others aware.  I have tried to make this catchy with the slogan ‘Make + Share = Aware’ in the hope more will social media users will pay attention and join in!

I would like you to tell your sewing friends and get them to do the same.  Just doing this will be enough but if any guilds or groups would pool their blocks and make a quilt that could be auctioned or raffled or donated to someone in need that would be amazing. 

If anyone would like to donate any money for using the block, I have set up a Just Giving page.  This money will go to Macmillan nurses in the UK as that is the charity that our friend wanted any money, raised in her memory, to be donated too.  

Fractured Skull Panel Sew Along

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HELLO and thank you for joining me here. I’m doing a sew along for the Fractured Skull Panel …eek! I am so excited to see some more skulls in fabric combinations I’m sure I will have never thought of.  And to be sewing another myself!!!

I only released the pattern last week and decided to do a sew along on Saturday so still doing some planning so bear with me.  I want to do some ‘live’ chats each week to introduce what we’re going to do and answer any questions you guys have.   

I plan to do these on a Saturday night 10PM GMT so 5pm EST or 2pm PST or 8am (Sunday) AEDT.  I will confirm the platform this will be on but most likely Zoom or Instagram/ Facebook Live.   

Most of you guys use Instagram but a few of you are Facebook users so I have set up a Facebook group found here.  Those of you who use both please could you post on both. 

I will endeavour to help any of you struggling with anything and respond to any direct messages as soon as possible but with 2 young kids and ME/CFS my free time can be unpredictable.  I also welcome any suggestions and feedback but it must be delivered with kindness.  This leads me to the boring bit…

The Rules

1-    Be nice or don’t say anything, 

2-    Have fun!

This sew along will be super chilled.  If you start late, no problem. Or if you don’t keep up, don’t worry! … Loads or a little participation is great!!!

I will send out more detailed info on a Thursday night confirming what we will be doing and giving details of live chats or updates. 

Timeline

Week 1 – 10th October – Introductions, Colouring & Fabric pull

Estimated time required: 10mins to 10hrs depending on how quickly you can make fabric decisions.

Week 2 – 17th October – Most of the Sewing

Estimated time required: 8 to 10hrs depending on how quick you sew.  If you think you will be slow or short of time this week, I would suggest starting to sew in week one. 

Week 3 – 24th October – Joining Sections & Finishing

Estimated time required: 2- 8hrs depending if you will just finish the panel or make it into anything?

FINAL DAY – Halloween 31st October – The Big Reveal 

I will pick a winner (not exactly sure if it will be my favourite or randomly) in the first week of November.  I don’t want anyone to feel left out or excluded if they are struggling because of the technicality or due to life getting in the way, so you will be eligible as long as you have signed up and done something.  Prizes are still being organised so will be announced as we go along!

Lastly, if you have not already got yourself a copy of the pattern link to shop is here.

And if you’re on Instagram please post to your feed the sew along ‘I’m in’ image so your friends know you’re doing it and can join before it’s too late. 

How to Foundation Paper Piece – Part 4

HOW TO FOUNDATION PAPER PIECE, Uncategorized

TOP TIPS

These are my top tips for foundation paper piecing some of them will be familiar if you have read the previous 3 parts of my “how to foundation paper piece” guide.   Read them here – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Everyone paper pieces differently; you get some really accurate piecers, and you also get some slightly more “It will be all right on the night style piecing”! I tend to land somewhere in the middle of these two styles. I really like to use every scrap of fabric and of course sometimes I get things wrong and fudge them and that’s ok in my eyes!   

1 – Make notes on the paper. Some patterns are confusing and it can be tricky to remember which fabrics go where.  To make the process quicker either write a word or mark a colour on the pattern to help you sew the right fabric next. 

2 – If you are using more than 3 fabrics or colours are similar make a reference page with swatches stuck or sewn on and labelled to refer back to and check scraps against.

3 – As a beginner and for complex blocks pin the sections to a board or design wall to see how they will eventually be sewn together.  This helps you to keep an overview of how they will go together and I like to see my progress.   

4 – Glue basting first and last fabrics.  When I learnt about this it was a game changer. I was not stabbing myself with pins or warping seams when unbasted fabric shifted while sewing.   I use a super cheap kids Pritt stick and I try to use as little as possible.

5 – Use fabric efficiently by folding over paper pattern backwards along seam to check you have enough fabric and you are not creating much waste.  This is difficult to explain in writing so I have done a video.

Alternatively, I’ve broken it down into little steps to help you understand.     

  • Fold the paper pattern back on itself along the seam line so the printed sides are touching. 
  • Select a scrap or section of fabric you think will be big enough.
  • Hold the fabric finished side to finished side against the block.
  • Line-up the new fabric to the seam allowance.
  • Holding fabric and block with both thumbs and first fingers I flip backwards and forwards to check the fabric covers the whole area. 
  • If the pattern it is large or I’m struggling to see through the copy paper I make sure I have folded the pattern where the next seam will be and hold my fingers where the fabric needs to finish as I flip backwards and forwards

6 – Prep and piece multiple areas at a time either on one section or multiple sections.    This means you save a little time not going back and forth between the cutting mat and sewing machine.  I suggest only doing this once you are confident and when areas on the same section are not next to each other. 

7 – Fray Check – I occasionally screw up a little and don’t allow quite enough fabric.  The area I want is covered but after use the fabric might give on the seam.  Obviously try to avoid this but sometimes you only notice once it’s too late or don’t have enough fabric to redo … shhhh… don’t tell anyone.  A small section of lightweight iron-on interfacing can also help after the paper has been removed. 

8 – When joining sections, line up the important/obvious fabric intersections first and not corners.  If the corners are slightly out it doesn’t matter much as long as you take any difference into account when sewing a perpendicular seam to the one which is out.    

9 – Don’t be afraid of Y-seams! To be honest I have never had a problem with Y-seams but I think it’s because I didn’t know they were scary and didn’t mind un-picking and do a lot of pinning/ clipping and taking it slow! I have done a video showing the making of my nice iced ring back block which you can see here if you want to know more.  Happy Sew Lucky also has a good video here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pyDBxy6bFk

10 – A victory lap round the block when you finish helps to ensure seams stay flat around the edge and do not pull apart.   If I’m not going to be quilting much over the panel, I also like to iron a lightweight interfacing on once I have removed the papers.  I do also love to starch from the back (before interfacing) to make my block nice and crisp!

11 – Scrap bin for each project.  If I’m working on multiple projects at once, I like to have a scrap bin for each where I store any offcuts (unless smaller than ½” or 1.5cm) in case I have a purpose for them.  I then also don’t have to hunt through too many scraps.  Then when I have finished the project I can easy sort those scraps into my main scrap storage. 

12 – The seam ripper is your friend – don’t be afraid you use it!  It’s ok to get things wrong. If you’re not happy with a block, take a section apart or just part of a seam. I have done “surgery” on my blocks many times as you will have seen on my Instagram stories if you follow me!