“Never Been Stitched: 45 No-Sew & Low-Sew Projects” is out!

This is quite exciting for me.

Yesterday I received a complimentary copy of Never Been Stitched, a crafts book with 45 no- and low-sew projects to which I contributed the Merry no-sew ornament and the suggestion of a quilted Christmas ball, both made only with folded fabric pinned to a polystyrene shape (see pictures of the projects above).

From the Barnes and Noble site:

Imaginative, inventive, and filled with beautiful things to make, Never Been Stitched is the ultimate collection of no- and low-sew projects. Thanks to fusible webbing, fabric glue, grommets, and other fun materials and techniques, crafters barely need a needle. Forty-five fast and simple items range from a folded market bag to a cute kid’s apron to a plush pillow. A short basics section plus templates help even beginners create quick and stylish garments, home décor, and other accessories.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book a quick search will take you to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The publisher, Lark Crafts, is also giving away free downloads from Never Been Stitched.

No sew Christmas ornament tutorial


This project is made with fabric folding techniques.

  • 2 squares of 2 1/2 inch wide ribbon for each side in sparkly red
  • 1 1/2 yards of ribbon 1 1/2 inch wide in gold. Use ribbon that has malleable edging
  • 1/2 inch red ribbon
  • a 2 1/2 inch polystyrene ball
  • headpins

Take one 2 1/2 inch square and pin to the ball as per picture.

From the gold ribbon cut 18 1 1/2 inch squares.

Fold in a triangle once.

And then again

Place the triangle against the edge of the red square and in the centre and pin on each side.

Do the same on each side.

Now fill in the gaps.

Continue to do another row placing the triangle points in between each triangle bellow.

When you’ve pinned all triangles do the other side in the same way.

There will be a gap in between both sides.

Now take the rest of the ribbon and mark it at 1/2 inch intervals.

The markings will be your guide to make the box pleats.

Check out my tutorial on peekaboo pleating for a guide on how to make the pleats.

This is what the edges of the pleating looks like.

If using malleable ribbon you don’t need to stitch the pleats so that they stay into shape.

When you have done enough pleats to cover the ball, about 9 1/2 inches, wrap the pleated ribbon around the ball to cover the gap and pin on each pleat. Then place a narrow red ribbon on the middle and pin to the pleated ribbon all around the ball.

Now, look at the picture and fold each opposite corners of each pleat as per photo. To achieve this effect, your gold ribbon has to have malleable edges so that the corners stay in place after folding.


View from the top.

Using the red narrow ribbon, make a couple of loops with it as per picture and then a larger loop to hang and pin to the ball.

The ornament is done.

If you are interested in fabric folding, check my other fabric folding tutorials.

Reversible tray cover using improv piecing and embroidery

This tray cover is made using patchwork improv blocks as well as embroidery. The cover is reversible.


Scrap fabrics in coordinated colours.

Embroidery pattern

Embroidery stitch: stem stitch (watch video).
Measure your tray
All the measurements are for my tray. Yours will likely be different so you will have to measure it in the following way.
First measure the inside width and length.

My tray has different heights around the sides so I need to  measure both sides separately.

Measure from the base of the tray all around on each side. One of the sides on my tray has a bump and it is higher. This is where I will measure the height.

Then measure the height on the side.

The measurements of my tray:

  • 12 1/4 x 16 1/4 inches for the base
  • 12 1/4 x 5 for the higher side
  • 16 1/4 x 3 3/4 for the lower side
All the measurements from now on are based on the measurements above. You will need to adjust yours.
Making the embroidery side of the cover 
For the embroidery only side cut:
  • one rectangle 12 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches for the base (I added 1/2 for the seam allowance)
  • 2 rectangles 12 3/4 x 5 1/2
  • 2 rectangles 16 3/4 x 4 1/2
Trace the words in the middle of the larger rectangle. “L’heure du thé”: Tea time.

And embroider them. I chose a variegated thread to add some interest.

Making the improv blocks

The foundation of the improv blocks is based on the size of the embroidered words.

Given the size of the tray, I worked out that I needed 4 improv blocks: 6 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches each.

To start cut 4 rectangles to fit the 4 words in them:

  • tisane: 5 x 2 1/2
  • thé: 4 x 2 1/2
  • chai: 4 1/2 x 2 1/2
  • infusion: 5 1/2 x 3 1/4

Now is when you start building the blocks. I basically just added strips around the main rectangle starting with a little strip on the opposite direction to give the blocks some interest.

Start cutting wonky strips. The length of my strips were 10 inches. Always use inches longer than required for your final rectangle so you will be able to trim your blocks to size.

You can see the process that I followed in the next photographs.

First I added some strips to the main rectangle to make it a full piece and then added the strips to the sides.

I used fabrics with lots of contrast.

My blocks are not big enough so I kept adding strips to each side until the blocks were big enough that could be trimmed to size, i.e. bigger than the required 6 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches each by at least 1 to 2 inches.

When you reach the required size, stitch the blocks together.

The embroidery is placed alternating longer and shorter words so that the visual result is more balanced.

Stitch all blocks together.


Do the embroidery before trimming.

Trace the words on to the middle rectangle.

Embroider the letters using matching thread. I used a hoop because the results are a lot neater. I find a small hoop easier to use than a large one.

The embroidery is finished.

Embroidery closeups

Quilting the sandwich

Do not trim the rectangle yet.

Cut a piece of batting as large as the rectangle.

Pin in place. No backing fabric is used.

Quilt. I used stipple quilting.

Then trim to size.

Trimming the back of the cover

Now that the front and back rectangles are done, we need to assemble the cover.

First trim the embroidered tray cover side using the quilted side so that both rectangles are the same size.

Adding the flaps 

Take the rectangles you cut at the start.

Pin them to the side and stitch.

Do the same with the other sides.

Press seams open.

Do the same with the improv side.

Sew and iron with the seams open.

Adding the ties

Cut 8 pieces of ribbon 9 inches long each.

Place both sides of the tray right side facing together.

Place one ribbon about 1 inch from the edge on each of the 8 sides as per picture below.

Pin well.

Stitch all around leaving a 3 inch opening to turn cover inside out. Trim the corners.

Turn inside out.

Iron well.

Top stitch on the seam line around the rectangle and then top stitch around the outer edges as close to the edge as possible.

The tray is finished.

The reverse side of the cover.

Both sides are quite different. The improv side is rather busy whereas the other side is quite the opposite.

I don’t know which side I prefer.