Study Bursary Finalists with The School of Stitched Textiles

I am so excited to have been chosen as a finalist to receive a Bursary to study with the School of Stitched Textiles.


Finalists are now needing votes – winners will receive a Bursary which will cover the study fees. To be awarded a Bursary would mean so much to me as unfortunately I am not in the position to afford the course fees.


Please could you spend just a minute to place a vote for your favourite finalist (I am under my full name – Heather Anne Waller). There are some fabulous entries, all deserving of a Bursary Award. Voting is simple, no name or personal details etc. required. Click this link to vote for your favourite finalist.


Thank you so much xxx.


AW Hat

The projects that I entered were my felted, quilted and embroidered coral reef hat


AW Earth Laughs Quilt small

and my patchwork hanging embellished with hand made ribbon flowers.

Monochrome Patchwork Picnic or Table Mat Created with Tattered Lace Deep Dish Dies

This makes an ideal small picnic mat or table topper (finished size 18.5 inches). It would also make a lovely front to a tote bag or cushion cover. Alternatively you could fold 3 corners into the centre and seam the edges together to make a lovely envelope style bag.

I was instructed to make a sample using Tattered Lace dies in a monochrome colourway. I was really pleased with the results using this mix of dark indigo prints (from the Craft Cotton Company). A little splash of colour would also look lovely. Red thread for quilting, or red embroidery or applique would give it a classy looking lift. It would look completely different if made up in coloured prints – think that I will try that.

The deep dish dies make cutting out the shapes a dream and you can cut up to 6 layers of quilting cotton in one go – so quick and easy.

AW quilt draped

AW Step 9 - Quilt top finished

What You’ll Need

· 1 100% cotton fat quarter in white or white-on-white print (approx. 18 X 20 inches)

· Set of 5 monochrome print 100% cotton fat quarters (1 in lighter colourway for inner border)

· Approx. 20 inches square fabric for backing (can be less expensive Polycotton)

· Offcut of thin wadding (approx. 20 inches square)

· 2m of 1.5 inch wide dark fabric for binding (can be straight cut strips – bias not needed)

· White polyester sewing thread

· QF116 Nested Squares – Deep Dish Die no. 4 (2.5 inch square)

· QF113 Nested Half Square Triangles – Deep Dish Die no. 2 (2.5 inch square when joined)

Step 1

AW Step 1 -Fabrics

Collect fabrics together and press. If they have been prewashed, starching will help prevent them from stretching while sewing. Choose a lighter print for the inner border (to make it stand out), and a dark one for the outer border (to frame it). I chose fabrics No. 4 and 5 from my stash.

Step 2

AW Step 2 - fabric cuts labelled

Cut half square triangles: X32 white, X16 each of two printed fabrics (fabric no.2 &3). Cut squares X4 from another fabric (fabric no.1). Cut X4 1.5in wide strips (fabric no.4 – inner border) and trim X2 strips each to 12.5in and 14.5ins. Cut X4 2.5in strips (fabric no.5 – outer border) and trim X2 strips each to 14.5in and 18.5in (note: you will need to cut these from the long edge of the fabric).

Step 3

AW Step 3 - Chain piecing

With right sides together stitch each white quarter square triangle to a patterned triangle using a quarter inch seam allowance. For speed stitch them continuously to make a long chain (chain piecing). Use the cut off triangle corners as a guide and a quarter inch seam foot if you have one.

Step 4

AW Step 4 - squares stitched

Snip the thread between the triangles to separate them and press open and flat with the seams towards the darker fabric. Take care not to stretch the seams.

Step 5

AW Step 5a - Block 1

Layout 2 sets of 3X3 squares to make a nine patch (block 1). Stitch the squares together, first in rows of X3 (top, middle and bottom) then join the rows. Again use a quarter inch seam and try to match seams as you stitch.

AW Step 5b - Block 1 stitched

You should now have 2 blocks like this measuring 6.5 inches square (Block 1). Press seams open and flat.

Step 6

AW Step 6a - Block 2

Next layout 2 sets of 3X3 squares to make block 2 and stitch together as before.

AW Step 6b - Block 2 stitched

You should now have 2 blocks like this measuring 6.5 inches square (Block 2). Press seams open and flat.

Step 7

AW Step 7 - Panel stitched

Now join the 4 nine patch blocks to create the centre panel. Join blocks 1 and 2 to create the top row, then 2 and 1 for the bottom row, then join the rows. Press seams open and flat. Your square should measure 12.5 inches.

Step 8

AW Step 8a-Centre panel quilt guide

Diagram showing borders and quilting.

Now stitch on the borders. First add the shorter inner border strips to the top and bottom, then add on the sides. Repeat for the outer border. Press seams outwards from the centre (i.e. towards the darker fabric).

Step 9

AW Step 8b -Quilt back

Quilt back showing the quilting pattern.

Cut backing and wadding slightly larger than your quilt front and pin layers together. Quilt as desired or follow the quilting diagram (red lines in step 8 pic). Extend the quilting lines out across the borders at the seam junctions (as above).

Trim off excess wadding and backing to make square (should be 18.5 inches).

Finally attach binding, lining up raw edges on the front and stitching with a quarter inch seam allowance. Fold binding over the edges and to the back and hand stitch in place. You will have approx. ¼ in binding showing on the front and ¾ in to the back.

Patchwork Bag Created from Vintage Fabric Lyon Silk Samples

I made this bag a little while ago but thought that I would share. A friend gave me a lovely fabric pattern book of samples containing beautiful embroidered vintage silks from Lyon (c 1960’s ?).

Stunning fabric samples but how was I going to use lots of smaller offcuts? I decided to create a patchwork bag. I hope that you like it.

vintage bag Finished

Firstly I cut out 22 X 4.5 inch squares using a quilting ruler and rotary cutter. Every square was a different combination of background and embroidery colour, many with a cream background and others with a variety of pastel colours. The embroidery also varied from pastel shades through to intense browns, greys and purples. I laid them all out to decide how best to combine them together. I also decided to alternate the embroidered flower orientation – just thought it looked better.

Vintage bag layout

Next I joined rows of the squares stitching with a quarter inch seam allowance, creating 4 inch finished patchworked square blocks. I stitched them on my overlocker to ensure that the seams were well finished and edges enclosed. Silk can fray easily and I needed it to be hard wearing for a bag. Many domestic sewing machines will also have a version of an overlock stitch for finishing the seams.

Looking at the picture I joined the top left squares to create a row of 2 blocks. Working down from the top left I then stitched a row of 4 squares, then 2 rows of 5 squares, another row of 4, and finally a row of 2 squares from the bottom right. Next I joined the rows lining up the seams to ensure neat aligned junctions where the points of the squares join.

Vintage bag quilting in progress

To make the patchwork fabric more robust and stable to function as a bag I then pinned it to some cotton curtain interlining (think it is called cotton bump) and added quilting. I used a variegated embroidery rayon and quilted swirling contour patterns following the outline shape of the embroidered elements. To achieve this I dropped the feed dogs on my machine and used free machine embroidery/quilting with a fine polyester thread in my bobbin.

Vintage bag quilting in progress 1

On the upper left of the pic is a sneak peak of some other embroidered fabric samples in my stash – I really must make something with them soon.

Quilting around the embroidered elements made them puff up slightly. This then gave me the idea to accentuate this. I made small snips in the backing fabric and stuffed the back of the embroidered flowers with a little polyester stuffing. I then hand stitched the holes with herringbone stitch to hold in the stuffing. Finally I trimmed away the excess cotton bump from the edges.

Vintage bag quilted close up

Vintage bag quilted texture

I made a quilted lining in cream fabric to match the shape of the front fabric. I added some pockets for the inside.

I sewed small leftover blocks of fabric together to create the handles, 2 inches wide by approx. 20 inches long. Again I quilted these using cotton bump as a backing. I cut strips of lining to match and stitched them together with right sides facing, and turned them through (finished size 1.5 inch X approx. 20 inch).

Vintage bag construction process

The construction of the bag is not what you might expect. I got the idea from a lovely book by Sue Hawkins (Heavenly Handmade Bags 2006). Looking at the picture: First join edges A together, again with a quarter inch seam, repeating for each bag side. This forms the base of the bag. Then join D to D leaving block edge E free. Finally join B to B, and C to C – stitch across as one seam. Repeat on each side. You now have the bag shape.

I constructed my lining shape in a similar way but left one of the A to A sections unstitched. With right sides together and handles in position at the points on the bag top I then stitched the bag and lining together and turned through the gap left in the lining. The gap was then hand sewn using a ladder stitch (so not visible).

I was delighted with my bag and being able to show off those lovely vintage fabrics.