Tutorial: Liberty patchwork mini-Christmas stocking

If you are looking for a Christmas stocking that you can stuff lots of lovely gifts into, this is not the sewing tutorial for you! The final stocking is about 7in (18-19cm) in height, and is meant really for decoration, although there’s nothing to stop you putting a little present or two inside… I always imagine the finished stocking hanging from a beautifully polished brass door handle, against a lovely oak door… well, a girl can dream…!

liberty-patchwork-mini-stockings

 

If you haven’t used woven iron-on interfacing before, you might want to read my blog post with some tips and tricks that will give you confidence to work with this very useful fabric.

You will need

  1. Scraps of 8 different Liberty prints in coordinating colours. The scraps need to be gig enough for you to cut twelve 1 inch squares from them. Feel free to use more than 8 different prints if you want to, as long as you can cut a total of 96 1 inch squares. I used a Christmas scrap pack from my sponsors Duck Egg Threads.
  2. Approx 10in x 14in of linen style fabric, for the main outer. I used yarn-dyed Essex linen in flax, one of my favourite fabrics when I need a natural linen look.
  3. Approx 10in x 14in Liberty fabric for the lining and toe end pieces
  4. Approx 14in x 18in light weight iron-on interfacing – I used Vilene G710, a woven interfacing which brings body without stiffness
  5. 10in x 14in medium weight iron on interfacing – I used Vilene G700, again a woven interfacing
  6. 7 inch piece of narrow ribbon
  7. Neutral grey or cream thread for your sewing machine – here’s a piece I wrote about not trying to match thread to patchwork
  8. Print outs of the main stocking template and lining template. Make sure you open the templates in Adobe Acrobat Reader, and when you print, make sure that the ‘print to fit’ box is NOT ticked/checked. There is a 1 inch box printed on each template so you can check the templates are the right size.
  9. 60/8 sewing machine needle – I find a very sharp microtex needle works well, or a really nice new sharp Universal 60/8 would work too.

Cutting list

Cut twelve 1 inch squares from each of the Liberty prints. The easiest way to do this is to cut the scraps into 1 inch strips, then pile up the strips (up to 6 in a pile) and cut into squares. The squares don’t have to be very accurately cut, as long as they are not hugely too big or too small.

Fold the outer main fabric in half and pin the larger template securely to it, through both halves of the fabric. Draw round the template and then cut out the 2 stocking pieces from the fabric (if you have a small rotary cutter, you can cut round the template using that).

From the lining fabric cut 2 pieces measuring 2.25in x 3.5in for the toe ends. Fold the rest of the fabric in half and pin the smaller stocking template very securely in place, pinning through both halves of the fabric. As outlined above, cut out 2 lining pieces – here’s what you should end up with:

step-13-cut-2-lining-pieces

From the light weight interfacing cut 2 rectangles measuring 8in x 4in. Next fold the rest of the interfacing in half, and use the larger template to cut out 2 pieces, as you did for the main outer fabric.

Fold the medium weight interfacing in half and use the smaller template to cut 2 pieces, as you did for the lining fabric above.

Instructions

Step 1: Make the patchwork cuff pieces

Working on the smooth side of one of the 4in by 8in pieces of lightweight interfacing, draw a grid of one inch squares like this:

step-1-draw-the-grid

I use a soft pencil for this – it’s very important to use a marking pen that isn’t affected by heat (so no Frixion pens!). Make sure you can see the marked lines fairly clearly on the other side of the interfacing.

Take 48 of your prepared Liberty squares, and working on your ironing board, or on a piece of card or small cutting mat that you can carry to your ironing board, arrange the squares into four rows of eight.

Put one of the prepared pieces of interfacing, rough side facing up, on your ironing board and place the first 4 squares on the first marked column.

step-2-place-first-squares

Carefully use the iron to press into place – they don’t have to be really firmly stuck at this stage, so just a brief press will do. Use a piece of baking parchment to protect your iron from the sticky stuff.

step-3-place-second-row-of-squares

Repeat with the next column of squares, and then continue along until you have completely filled the grid. Don’t worry at all if some of the squares overlap a tiny bit, this will be sorted at the next stage. Once the grid is full, flip the interfacing over, and run a steam iron over it 5 or 6 times, or use a damp cloth and press for about 10 seconds, to make sure that all the squares are firmly attached. This is how it should look:

step-4-squares-all-in-place

Thread your sewing machine with a neutral grey or cream thread. Fold the piece of interfacing along the first short grid line, RST.

step-5-folding-the-first-row

Put a couple of pins through the fold to secure, making sure that the lines on either side match up.

Stitch with a scant 1/4in seam. It’s important to be stingy with the seams because of the extra thickness that the Vilene adds to the fabric.

step-6-stitching-the-first-row

Continue, stitching all the short rows in turn. You will end up with something that looks like this:

step-7-all-the-short-rows-stitched

With a pair of sharp dressmaking scissors, trim off a tiny part of the seam allowance of each seam, close to the fold. This will allow you to press the seams open, and ensure that the seam allowances don’t get too bulky.

step-8-trimming-the-seam-allowance

Repeat this trimming process for each of the folded seams, and then open up the seam allowances and press very thoroughly. You will end up with something that looks like this on the back:

step-9-press-the-seam-allowance-open

I find the pointy end and the flat end of a Hera marking tool really useful for opening up the seam allowance and holding it open whilst I press. Here’s how it should look on the front:

step-9a-front-view

Next fold along the first of the long grid lines, as shown:

step-10-folding-the-first-long-row

Stitch a scant seam, as before, and then repeat for the other 2 grid lines. Trim the seams and then press them open, as before. Your finished patchwork piece should look like this.

step-11-long-rows-stitched-and-trimmed

Repeat this whole process with the other piece of interfacing and the Liberty squares.

I like to make one final step with the cuff pieces before I move on to the next stage – I stitch all round the edge of the patchwork about 1/8th inch away from the edge, just to keep stitches unravelling as I work on constructing the stocking later.

step-12-stitch-round-edge-to-prevent-unravelling

Step 2: Complete the lining pieces

Iron the medium weight interfacing to the lining pieces – 5 or 6 passes with a steam iron, or 12 seconds pressing with a damp cloth will be enough to fix it in place.

Then take one of the cuff pieces and place right sides together with the top of one of the lining pieces, aligning it centrally, and pin in place.

step-14-pinning-cuff-to-lining

Stitch and then press the seam upwards (I find this really helps when you are folding the cuff down, later on):

step-15-press-seam-upward

Use the main body template to trim completed lining section to size:

step-16-use-the-template-to-trim-the-lining-and-cuff-piece

Repeat these steps to finish the other side of the lining.

Step 3: Make the outer stocking

Iron the lightweight interfacing onto the 2 main body fabric pieces.Fold the template toe section along the marked line then use the template to mark the toe section line on the back (the interfaced side) of the 2 pieces.

step-17-interfaced-outer-and-marking-the-toe-piece

Take one of the marked pieces and put one of the 2.25in x 3.5in Liberty rectangles right side together with it, aligned as shown in the picture:

step-18-pinning-toe-piece-in-place

There should be a 0.25 inch overlap at the seam, as shown, and enough fabric that, when you stitch along the marked line, the fabric will cover the entire toe section. Stitch along the marked line, reverse stitching at either end. Fold the fabric right side out, and press:

step-19-toe-piece-stitched-and-folded

Top stitch close to the fold, then trim the excess fabric away:

step-20-toe-piece-top-stitched-and-trimmed

Repeat for the other outer stocking piece.

Put the two outer stocking pieces right sides together, and pin. Because I am entirely incompetent at stitching curves in a smooth way, I like to mark my stitching line on the curved section:

step-21-outer-pieces-rst-with-lines-marked

Stitch round the edge, reverse stitching at both ends of the seam.

To help the seams lie flat when you turn the stocking through, you need to clip and notch the seam allowance. Clip the concave section (the valley shaped bit!) and notch the convex sections (the hilly bits!):

step-22-notches-and-slashes-made-in-outer

Turn the completed outer right side out and press.

Step 4:Complete the lining section

Fold the hanging ribbon in half and position on the cuff section, just next to the seam between the lining and the cuff, as shown. The raw edges should be lined up with the edge of the cuff. A smidgeon of washable glue is really useful here, to hold it in place, but you can pin if you don’t have glue.

step-23-ribbon-folded-and-glued-in-position

Put the other lining piece right side together with this one, and stitch as you did for the outer, but this time leave a 2.5in-3in gap in the long back edge of the stocking lining – remember to reverse stitch at either end of this gap, and and at either end of your line of stitching (sorry I didn’t get a picture of this bit, but you can see the turning gap in the next picture). Notch and clip the curves as before.

Keep the lining section wrong side out, and pop the completed outer section inside, so that their right sides are together.

step-24-outer-tucked-inside-the-lining

The picture shows the top bit of the outer poking out, but you need to line up the two top edges, making sure that seams are aligned, and pin all round.

Take the stocking to the sewing machine and stitch round the top edge. I find the easiest way to do this is to work on the inside of the stocking, pulling the top layer out of the way, and gradually easing my way round the top.

step-25-stitching-round-the-top-edge

When you have finished pull the entire stocking right side out, through the hole that you left in the lining. You should have something like this:

step-26-turning-the-stocking-through

Push the lining down inside the outer – a large size knitting needle or crochet hook is really useful here for pushing the lining into place.

Press the top edge of the outer, until you have something that looks like this:

step-27-lining-and-cuff-tucked-into-the-outer

Top stitch the top edge, close to the fold, again working on the lower part of the stocking and pulling the top half out of the way as you stitch. Fasten off the ends of the top stitching, thread the ends onto a hand sewing needle and pull them through between the outer and inner sections to get them securely out of the way. Then sew the turning hole in the lining closed.

Turn the cuff down and press again to finish.

liberty-patchwork-mini-stocking-tutorial

Starry Mini-Quilt Tutorial

Starry mini quilt by Very Berry Handmade 4I’ve recently completed this dramatic starry mini-quilt for a tutorial for my friends at The Sewing Directory. I used some gorgeous monochrome fabrics from Moda – The Wordsmith Collection by Janet Clare, provided very kindly by Eclectic Maker, and some low volume fabrics from my own stash. I have never worked with such a limited palate before, but I think they work so well with this design!

The mini-quilt is foundation pieced on paper with 2 inch triangles, and although it looks pretty tricky, is actually fairly straightforward because of the accuracy that foundation paper piecing gives you. I made my first one for a swap last year, using scraps of purple, pink and white fabric .

S&B miniquilt swap3

So it’s great for using up scrap fabrics too, as long as you have good contrast between the fabrics for the different parts of the mini-quilt.

S&B miniquilt swap2

If you fancy making the pattern yourself, the tutorial is now available in the Free Patchwork Tutorials section of The Sewing Directory website.

Starry mini quilt by Very Berry Handmade 3Hope you like it!

Mini-tutorial: Labelling an Artist Trading Card

I love making Artist Trading Cards for our Very Berry swaps, but I HATE labelling the back. I find it SUCH a chore and hardly conducive to creativity (well, not for me…). Recently I bought some Lesley Riley’s TAP – Transfer Artist Paper for a project that I have in mind, and whilst I was playing around transferring photos onto fabric, I had a sudden thought about a really fun and quick way to label up an ATC, so I thought I would share the process for ATC swappers who are similarly challenged.

Using Lesley Riley's TAP Transfer Artist Paper The TAP paper is brilliant stuff – it is a polymer coated paper which will allow you to transfer images printed, stamped or drawn onto it, onto lots of different surfaces, just using an iron. When ironed onto fabric, the image is very crisp and colourfast, and doesn’t crinkle or crack. The surface of the fabric takes on a slightly waxy appearance and feel, but it is still very easy to sew through, and you can write on it too.

Here’s what I did….

First I created a blank image in my image processing software (I use Paint.NET – excellent free software) – the image is 300 dpi and measures 2.9 inches by 2.2 inches, so I know it will fit on the back of the card, and allow for a bit of edging, with no problems.

Making Labels using TAP Artist Transfer Paper

 

I saved this image and then opened it in my favourite online image prettyfy-ing website PicMonkey – because I love their fonts. I could have just used the fonts in Paint.NET of course, but I love the PicMonkey options. I used the font Special Elite, size 46.

Making Labels using TAP Artist Transfer Paper

 

The next job is to flip the text around, because the transfer will be a mirror image. And I put a little black edge round it too, using the frame tool.

Making Labels using TAP Artist Transfer Paper

 

Finally I put multiple copies into a Word document:

Making Labels using TAP Artist Transfer Paper

And printed them onto the TAP paper. The papers come with full instructions, and are very easy to use – I just popped mine into my printer, and it printed with no problem. You just need to remember to print on the slightly shiny very white side.

I then cut out and carefully trimmed one of the labels very accurately round the black line, and ironed it on to the back of my finished card. And then all that remained was to write on my details (I used a Micron Pigma pen, but I also tested a Sharpie and a Biro, and they worked fine too).  It is much easier to write on the transfer paper than just writing on the fabric itself.

ATC card with transfer paper TAP label

And here’s the front…  I’m all ready to post!

Say Something Artist Trading Card by Very Berry Handmade