Week 3 – Stocking Sew Along

It’s Week 3 of the Night Before Christmas Stocking Sew Along! We’ve been working together to baste the hexagons for the Christmas stocking pattern and now we’re focussing on putting the stocking together.

If you’re new to the sew along, head to the main post to find out all the details. Then check out the posts for Week 1 and Week 2. I shared short videos on Instagram about cutting fabric hexagons, basting hexagons using the glue basting method, working on the layout of your hexies for your stocking front, how I stitch hexagons together, how the finished EPP panel looks, and how I remove glue basted EPP papers.

It’s been terrific to keep up with your work when you’re posting on Instagram with the #NightBeforeChristmasStockingSAL hashtag. I’ve been so thrilled to see your stitching! And it means a lot to me that you’re happy to join in at this busy time of year!

Week 3

WEEK 3 of the Sew Along runs from the 2nd – 8th December. We’ll assemble the stocking this week, talking about quilting, patchwork, binding and more.

Quilting the Front Panel

After basting the hexagons and securing the fleece to the wrong side of the hexie panel, it’s time for quilting. My pattern gives you instructions for diagonal cross hatched machine quilting.

However, you can choose to quilt the panel however you wish. One of my pattern testers, Gwawr from Patchwork and Me, chose to hand quilt the front and the back of the stocking and the effect is brilliant!

For my Christmas version, I might try some hand quilting too. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to think about what effect you are trying to achieve. The simple machine quilting on my Old Rose stocking holds the fleece to the hexie panel but because I used a light coloured neutral thread, the stitching isn’t a feature. This means the focus remains on the fabrics.

Gwawr’s use of black embroidery floss for her hand quilting means that the stitching really stands out! And for the front panel, she’s highlighting the individual hexagons too, which creates a lovely effect!

Adding a Pocket

One of the things that I didn’t include in the pattern, but am keen to try, is to embellish the pocket. You can follow the instructions in the pattern to make a plain pocket. However you could also choose to add some embroidery like a picture or a name, or an appliqué to the front. You’ll need to add these details before you even sew the pocket together. Just be sure to use some interfacing behind the fabric that will become the front of the pocket, so that the embroidery stitching doesn’t show through from the back.

Babsgolson on Instagram embroidered her grandkids’ names. Such a cute idea, right?

Making the Back Panel

My original stocking was created from 1/4m strips of the Tilda Old Rose collection. So I had to piece my stocking back.

Likewise, for my next version, the Christmas fabric I used is only 5″ squares. So I’ll need to patchwork the back panel to the size specified in the pattern (or at least large enough to accomodate the flipped pattern template). If you choose this method (instead of a single fabric piece for the back) be sure to press your seams open so they are flat. Or press towards the darker fabrics so they can’t be seen behind the lighter ones.

I think I’ll hand quilt this panel too, if time allows.

Putting the Stocking Together

Once the front and back panels are completed and cut out as per the instructions in the pattern, it’s time to put everything together. Stay tuned as I share more tips and tricks for this process over on Instagram this week.

Week 3 Prize

The team at Make Modern are sponsoring our week three prize with a 6 month subscription to their wonderful modern quilting magazine. Thanks to all the team for their generosity and support!

“Make Modern is a digital modern quilt magazine produced by a small team of passionate modern quilters in Australia, in collaboration with a huge team of talented quilt designers from all over the globe who contribute patterns and articles to each issue.” I have also contributed to Make Modern in the past, with my On Point Pouch and Stella Cushion.

If you’d like to be eligible to win the Week 3 prize, you’ll need to share a photo of your completed stocking (without the felt mouse; that’s next week!). Post the photo on your public instagram account and use the hashtag #NightBeforeChristmasStockingSAL so I can find your entry. Please consider following Make Modern Magazine to show your support. If you’re not on Instagram, never fear. You can email me your progress too. Use the CONTACT form, or send me a message at hello (at) mollyandmama.com.au. I’ll also be keeping you updated on Facebook, but you won’t be able to enter to win the prize there, sorry.

On Monday the 9nd December, I will select one weekly winner and notify you by personal message, or email. If you are the selected winner, I’ll need your email address to give to Make Modern so that you can receive your prize. I may also share your winning photo. By entering via Instagram, you are also giving me permission to share your instagram handle (if applicable) and your first name on the Molly and Mama social media platforms.

The competition is open to all participants over the age of 18 who submit a photographic entry via Instagram or email. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook. 

Happy sewing this week, and I look forward to seeing your progress, Lauren x

Mini Master Pieces Book Tour

Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts very kindly invited me to join the blog tour for her recently released book, Mini Master Pieces with Lucky Spool. Welcome to my stop on the tour!

Alyce’s book teaches you the basics of quilting with lessons that cover how to sew twelve essential blocks. These skills can then be put into practice as you use those patchwork techniques to create a modern mini quilt for each block.

Alyce asked if I would join her book tour for the appliqué chapter, so I am sharing two appliqué blocks I made using slightly different techniques.

Raw edge appliqué is my thing, so I created the sample ‘orange peel’ block in the book using this technique first. The Liberty prints used here give it a dramatic look!

Then I also created a similar block but followed the instructions Alyce provides for using single side fusible interfacing to create a needle-turn appliqué effect. I love the dimension it gives to the delicate florals.

Next year Alyce will be hosting a sew along and I’ll be back to showcase the ‘Rising Sun’ mini quilt I will be making from the book. So stay tuned!

Thanks for joining me today. Happy stitching, Lauren x

Week 2 – Stocking Sew Along

Welcome to Week 2 of the Night Before Christmas Stocking Sew Along. Over the next four weeks, we’ll be working together to sew my new Christmas stocking pattern that features a hexagon front panel, a little pocket and a felt mouse to place inside.

If you’re new to the sew along, head to the main post to find out all the details. Last week was all about gathering supplies for our stocking (like fabric and felt) and our English paper piecing. On the Week 1 blog post I talked about fabric selection and my favourite tools for EPP. I shared short videos on Instagram about cutting fabric hexagons, basting hexagons using the glue basting method I love, and working on the layout of your hexies for your stocking front. I shared some good tips there so be sure to have a look!

Many of you shared photos of your fabric pull and supplies for the stocking, using the #NightBeforeChristmasStockingSAL hashtag on Instagram too. And Marcelle from @piwakawakapatch was selected as the week 1 winner!

I was so thrilled to see so many of you participating and joining in the fun. It really meant a lot to me too!

Week 2

Week 2 of our Christmas Stocking Sew Along runs from the 25th November to the 1st of December. This week we’ll officially start sewing our hexagons together to piece the front panel of the Christmas stocking.

If you haven’t had a chance to baste your hexagons yet, that will be your first job!

Basting Hexagons

My beginner’s tutorial and videos on Instagram show you how to baste hexies using the glue basting method, and of course there are details in the pattern too!

Arranging Hexies for Stitching

Once your hexies are basted and pressed, it’s time to place them on a flat surface and start arranging. In my short Instagram video I talk about what I try to consider when I lay them out.

Here’s some things to think about when arranging the hexagons;

  • WHAT’S UNDER THE POCKET? Make sure you haven’t positioned your favourite hexagons where the pocket is going to sit! They’ll be hidden away.
  • WHAT’S ON THE STOCKING EDGES? Did you create fussy cut hexagons that feature a special image or design? Be careful that these special hexagons don’t get chopped off on the edge of the panel. To help, you can assemble the stocking template and cut it out, then lay it over your proposed layout to see which designs will be cut off the stocking panel.
  • IS THERE AN EVEN DISTRIBUTION OF PATTERNS AND COLOURS? A clever trick I learnt at art class is to squint at your painting (or in this case, your hexies) to make sure the tones and patterns in your panel are balanced. This helps me decide which hexagons need to be rearranged!
  • ARE YOUR HEXIES UPRIGHT? I try to make sure that the fabric grain of all my hexies runs vertically and horizontally (rather than diagonally). That way they don’t warp and stretch when sewn together. The only exception is when I need to play with the direction of a print on a fussy cut hexie.

Stitching Hexagons Together

Once I am happy with the layout, I take a photo and print it out to refer to as I stitch. Here’s the Christmas version I am working on for the Sew Along.

When sewing my hexies together, I don’t like to have to stop and start my stitching. I always try and sew in a meandering (and sometimes spiral) way so that I cut my thread the least amount of times. That’s just my personal preference. Others like to sew hexies in rows and then stitch each row together. How do you tackle it?

I use fine 80 weight thread and cut a length of about 18 inches. If it’s too long, you’ll get knots. Too short, and you’re changing it too often! Find a length that works for you.

This week on Instagram and Facebook, I will share videos showing how I stitch hexies together and also how I remove the papers when the panel is complete. So please stop by and have a look if you’re curious about my process.

Week 2 Prize

This Sew Along isn’t all about prizes. I like to think of it more as building a community of like-minded people who are happy to share tips and ideas, their inspiration and questions too. But it’s also nice to create a little bit of excitement and some of my sewing friends have very generously offered prizes for participants.

Sharon from Lilabelle Lane has kindly offered her Indulgence Pin Cushion kit for this week’s prize pack. This English paper pieced project also comes with the acrylic templates and EPP papers too. In addition, Sharon’s new thread balm has just been released and we have added a tin of the vanilla scented balm to the prize pack! Sharon sent me her Spiced Orange thread balm to try and it’s giving me serious Christmas vibes too. I’m loving it already!

If you’d like to be eligible to win the Week 2 prize, you’ll need to share a photo of your hexagons being stitched together for the stocking panel. Post the photo on your public instagram account and use the hashtag #NightBeforeChristmasStockingSAL so I can find your entry. Please consider following Lilabelle Lane to show Sharon your support. If you’re not on Instagram, never fear. You can email me your progress too. Use the CONTACT form, or send me a message at hello (at) mollyandmama.com.au. I’ll also be keeping you updated on Facebook, but you won’t be able to enter to win the prize there sorry.

On Monday the 2nd December, I will select one weekly winner and notify you by personal message, or email. If you are the selected winner, I’ll need your residential address to send you your prize. I may also share your winning photo. By entering via Instagram, you are also giving me permission to share your instagram handle and your first name on the Molly and Mama social media platforms.

The competition is open to all participants over the age of 18 who submit a photographic entry via Instagram or email. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook. I think that covers all the legal stuff?

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to @stef_andthefabricpieces on Instagram for being selected as this week’s winner!

Thanks for playing along.

Happy stitching, Lauren x

Christmas Joy Cushion for Thermoweb

Being a Fabric Education Designer for the Thermoweb brand means that I’m regularly sharing tutorials for sewing projects I’ve designed. The brief for this month was Christmas Cushion. Sometimes having a brief helps to narrow down what you want to do. But sometimes it’s still difficult to decide!

I’m a self-confessed Christmas-aholic and I love everything about decorating for the holiday season. Last year I purchased a new tree and updated my colour theme to pinks and rose golds. I’m secretly a little bit obsessed!

I knew I wanted to create a simple cushion design that would complement my tree, but also match with my current lounge room decor. So I decided to stick with something simple and elegant. The pillow cover is made with neutral linen and features a bit of sparkle with a rose gold, glitter felt, appliqué. I chose the word ‘Joy’ because it sums up the holiday season but is also a happy sentiment for the whole year too!

The stunning rose gold, glitter felt, came from My Felt Lady. Candice has the most amazing range of wool felt products! It was the perfect choice for the appliqué and Thermoweb’s Heat’n’Bond UltraHold will keep it firmly in place!

I added a little bit of hand quilting for interest and made the back of the cushion cover with an envelope style of opening. It couldn’t be easier!

If you’d like to read the full tutorial to make your own cushion cover, please head to the Thermoweb blog. This is a lovely project for your own living room, or perhaps you’ll gift one to a friend this Christmas.

Happy stitching, Lauren x

This post was written by Lauren Wright and appears on Molly and Mama www.MollyandMama.com.au

Week 1 – Stocking Sew Along

Welcome to the first week of our ‘Night Before Christmas Stocking’ Sew Along. I’m so excited to be hosting my first ever event of this kind.

For an overview of the four week sew along and extra details, please see the orginal blog post HERE. But read on for this week’s focus and about our prize pack too!

Week 1 runs from the 18th until the 24th of November. It’s an easy week, where we make sure we have all our materials ready to go. So we’ll look at supplies and fabric selection. Then you might like to make a start on basting your hexies too.

Sourcing Supplies

The first place to start is to gather your supplies like felt, fabric and English paper piecing tools. Be sure to support your local quilting store if you can. They can offer you wonderful advice with your purchase. Otherwise, look online for stores in your country. I’ll happily share my suppliers, but keep in mind that freight from Australian stores can be expensive and take longer if you’re not based here.

You’ll also need the pattern. We’ll talk about fabric inspiration and more below.

Here’s a photo of some of my favourite EPP (English paper piecing) tools. I’ll explain them below. But if you’re new to English paper piecing and want extra details about the actual process of basting and sewing, see my beginner’s tutorial.

EPP Tools

  1. Precut EPP papers will increase accuracy and improve your finish as they are laser cut. If you’re making your own, light card stock (with a weight of 200gsm) is ideal. Just aim for accurate cutting! I love these ones from Paper Pieces.
  2. Short bladed embroidery scissors are perfect for trimming thread. These are from Amy Kalissa. Use large fabric shears or a rotary cutter and acrylic template for cutting the seam allowance on your fabric before basting hexagons.
  3. A needle minder is terrific to help ensure you’re not losing that fine needle when you put down your work. It’s magnetic. This one was a gift made with a fabric covered button and a magnetic back.
  4. I love to use fine thread when stitching EPP. And using neutral colours means that the stitches are better disguised in the seams. Aurifil 80 weight cotton thread is my thread of choice. This neutral tone blends into the seams well. You can also use 60 weight polyester bobbin thread. It just depends on your personal preference.
  5. Small quilting clips can be used to hold EPP shapes together while you stitch and helps prevent fatigue in your hands.
  6. I love to use a milliner’s needle for EPP. I like a long, narrow shank and a long eye too. These Size 9 needles are perfect.
  7. I love to glue baste my hexies and I explain the process in my beginner’s tutorial. Some people use an ordinary glue stick for glue basting but I get better results from products designed specifically for this purpose. I love this sewline glue pen!
  8. I always have replacement glue cartridges on hand. HOT TIP: If you live in a warm climate like Australia, many sewists keep their pen and replacement cartridges in the fridge!
  9. If you’re stitching for an extended period of time, I find a thimble really useful to avoid injury! I love these leather adhesive thimble pads. I always pop one on my middle finger, where I tend to press alot.
  10. I also use a thread conditioner to help my thread glide through the fabric while I’m stitching EPP. Sharon from Lilabelle Lane has a new product out that you’ll want to try, I am sure.

I hope these suggestions help. Please feel free to ask any questions for clarification.

Fabric Selection and Inspiration

Choosing fabrics for any project can be a fun process but sometimes daunting too! So where do you begin? With thirty-one 1.5″ hexies on the front panel of the stocking, there’s so many opportunities to showcase either an entire fabric collection or fussy cuts of your favourite prints.

For my first Night Before Christmas Stocking I chose to showcase the red and green shades of the latest Tilda Collection, Old Rose. The delicate florals prints were small, there was a range of different patterns and varying colours too. And although they’re not Christmas fabrics, the colours give it a Christmassy feel!

To keep things simple, I used solid fabrics in soft shades for the rest of the stocking. That way the Tilda fabric is doing all the talking, and not the binding and the pocket.

You can’t go wrong making a Christmas project from a Christmas collection either. So I’ve decided to make a stocking for this sew along with the ‘Sweet Christmas‘ range by Urban Chiks for Moda Fabrics. I love the traditional colours! This collection is ideal because there’s a range of colours, patterns, and details. It’s perfect for fussy cutting too (where you feature a small pattern like a flower or a snowman in the centre of a hexagon).

If you prefer the untraditional approach, even using a range of fun and brightly coloured floral fabrics like Liberty could create a very pretty stocking. I think I’m going to make a version in my favourite florals too. Ava and Neve are selling precut fabric hexagons ready for your 1.5″ papers, just for us. Please check them out!

When selecting your own fabrics, here’s some points to consider;

  • Who is the stocking for and what colours, patterns or styles do they like?
  • Will the stocking need to match in with the existing colour palette of your Christmas decor?
  • Does the fabric collection have a range of varying colours?
  • Does the print size vary?
  • Is there a mix of high volume and low volume prints? Are there spots, stripes, checks or geometric patterns to break up the fabric with prints, florals or detailed backgrounds?
  • Are their images or shapes that you can fussy cut to show off their details?

It’s really important to say here that whilst you can take time to consider your fabric selection and look at all the features of the collection, your final fabric pull will be based on what you like the look of. There’s no right or wrong, but I think it’s really important to work with fabrics you love. It’s easy to get excited about a project and stay motivated if you love looking at what you’re creating!

If you like the look of the Tilda Old Rose Fabric, both My Felt Lady and The Fabric Pixie have full stocking kits available in this material.

My Felt Lady is also my felt stockist and Candice has the most amazing range of colours (and glitter and metallic felt too) so it’s worth a look!

When sewing with felt, I prefer 100% merino wool felt. I explain all about it in my Felt Tips blog post.

This Week’s Prize

This Sew Along really isn’t about the prize for me. It’s about building a community and supporting one another. But I also wanted to add a fun element! So if you feel the same way, I’d love you to join me and be in with a chance to win a lovely prize provided by our generous sponsors for each of the four weeks of the sew along. So here are all the details for this week.

Quiet Play is proudly sponsoring our first week by offering a subscription to their Quiet Play Pattern Club 2019 which includes a total of 40 foundation paper pieced patterns, mixing 28 brand new patterns with 12 favourites from the archives. The winner will have access to all the patterns released so far and receive the last patterns sent to their email. Here’s some of the designs. Aren’t they inspiring? Thanks for the generous gift Kristy!

To be eligible to win this prize, I’d love to see a photo of your supplies gathered and ready for stitching. Post the photo on your public instagram account and use the hashtag #NightBeforeChristmasStockingSAL so I can find your entry. Please consider following Quiet Play to show Kristy’s beautiful business some support. In your post or email, tell me about your favourite tools, your fabric selection or who you’re sewing for. I can’t wait to find out. If you’re not on Instagram, never fear. If you would prefer, you can email me your progress too. Use the CONTACT form, or send me a message at hello (at) mollyandmama.com.au. I’ll also be keeping you updated on Facebook, but you won’t be able to enter to win the prize there sorry.

On Monday each week of the Sew Along, I will select one weekly winner and notify you by personal message, or email. If you are the selected winner, your email address will be required to email your prize, or to find out your residential address (to send you a physical prize if that’s offered in your week of entry). By entering via email or Instagram, you are also giving me permission to share your winning photos and your first name on the Molly and Mama social media platforms.

The competition is open to all participants over the age of 18 who submit a photographic entry via Instagram or email. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook. I think that covers all the nitty gritty?

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to @piwakawakapatch on Instagram for being selected as this week’s winner!

So What Are We Working On This Week?

Each week of the sew along focusses on a different stage in the construction but your weekly entry does not need to reflect the stage that I am at. You might be still gathering supplies, or you may be bounding ahead! There is no requirement each week to finish the stages outlined for the week’s preparation or sewing. We’re all at different stages of competence and we all have varying amounts of time available to us. My hope is that you feel encouraged and supported by sewing along with our community at the same time. Please sew at your own pace.

That being said, this week is a great opportunity to baste your hexagons, ready for stitching. I’ll be sharing my tips for that over on Instagram, so I might see you there later in the week. Stay tuned and thank you for playing along.

Happy stitching, Lauren x