Category Archives: stippling

Semi improv 9-patch quilt tutorial – block 2

Do you want to make this quilt?

Follow the tutorials

This is the second block in a series of 12 that make the Semi-improv 9-patch quilt.

Materials

  • 1 charm pack (a charm pack is typically a 42 x 5 in squares)
  • cream cotton fabric for the background
  • cotton solids scraps in matching colours

All blocks are a variation of churn dash or monkey wrench, a 9-patch block.

The finished block size is 12 1/2 inches. The finished size will be obtained after 2 improv patchwork iterations.

Block 2

Red = pattern charm square

Black = contrasting fabric charm square

White = background fabric

Cut

  • one contrasting fabric charm square to 4 1/2 in for the centre
  • four 4 1/2 inch squares of the pattern charm square fabric
  • two contrasting fabric charm squares to 4 7/8 inches for the corners
  • two  4 7/8 in squares in the background fabric for the corners

Important: Keep the tiny bits when trimming the charm squares to 4 1/2 inches. They’ll be used later.

Making the corner triangles

Place both pattern square and background square with right sides together.

Pin.

Mark a diagonal as per picture.

Stitch 1/4 in from the line on both sides of the diagonal.

Cut through the diagonal.

Open and press.

Place the cut pieces as per diagram above.

Stitch together on rows and then the rows together.

The second block is done.

Semi improv 9-patch quilt tutorial – block 1

Do you want to make this quilt?

Follow the tutorials

This is the first block in a series of 12 that make the Semi-improv 9-patch quilt.

Materials

  • 1 charm pack (a charm pack is typically a 42 x 5 in squares)
  • cream cotton fabric for the background
  • cotton solids scraps in matching colours

All blocks are a variation of churn dash or monkey wrench, a 9-patch block.

The finished block size is 12 1/2 inches. The finished size will be obtained after 2 improv patchwork iterations.

Block 1

Red = pattern charm square

White = background fabric

Cut

  • one charm square to 4 1/2 in for the centre
  • four 4 1/2 inch squares of the background fabric
  • two charm squares to 4 7/8 inches for the corners
  • two  4 7/8 in squares for the corners

Important: Keep the tiny bits when trimming the charm squares to 4 1/2 inches. They’ll be used later.

Making the corner triangles

Place both pattern square and background square with right sides together.

Pin.

Mark a diagonal as per picture.

Stitch 1/4 in from the line on both sides of the diagonal.

Cut through the diagonal.

Open and press.

Place the cut pieces as per diagram above.

Stitch together on rows and then the rows together.

The first block is done.

Show your semi-improv 9-patch quilt pictures at the Semi improv 9-patch quilt tutorial group.

Revisiting improv patchwork tutorials

A series of blocks and mini quilts made using improvisation techniques.

The techniques do not belong to any book. I just use my scissors and a vague idea in my mind of what I want to achieve which does not always correspond with what the final block looks like, but that’s where the fun is. I try to use 1/4 inch seams but sometimes the seams turn out slightly wider or narrower. I tend to press to the side the seam goes naturally though I also press open where there is a lot of bulk.

The process to create the blocks are demonstrated using lots of pictures.

  1. Free form, free motion patchwork
  2. Free form patchwork mini quilt – visual creative process
  3. improv / free form quilt block number 1
  4. Improv / free form quilt block number 2
  5. Improv / free form quilt block number 3
  6. Improv / free form quilt block number 4
  7. Improv / free form quilt block number 5
  8. Improv / free form quilt block number 6
  9. Improv / free form patchwork headboard cover
  10. Reversible tray cover

Embroidery tutorial round up

I tend to use embroidery mostly to embellish sewn items. Here is a list of items I have embellished using embroidery or where embroidery is the main element.

  1. French cuisine embroidery tea towel
  2. Reversible tray cover using improv piecing and embroidery
  3. Napkin embroidery
  4. Reversible tray cover using improv piecing and embroidery
  5. Love is the answer… hot water bottle cozy tutorial
  6. Embroidered eye mask tutorial
  7. Fabric keychain with embroidered flower
  8. Noel embroidery mounted on canvas
  9. Mini Christmas quilt
  10. Peace wall hanging tutorial
  11. Charm squares and embroidery tote bag
  12. Christmas quilted Noel wall hanging
  13. Elf quilted wall hanging
  14. Embroidered quilt tutorial: Part I and Part II
  15. Merry Christmas embroidery tutorial
  16. Embroidered hot water bottle cover

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.

If you’ve never done any improv patchwork, don’t worry, check out this 2 minute video and learn. Using paper as a stabiliser is optional:

Materials

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.

Embroidery

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.