Letters to your teen

You can write won­der­ful mes­sages for your child, with­out ever post­ing a let­ter.

Sew Ideas - - Contents - projects by DOROTHY LUBBE, KEVIN SWARTS and JEN­NIFER JA­COBS

Add words to a post­card quilt and Ro­man blind, and make her py­jama pants too

Post­card quilt

This quilt with its nos­tal­gic post­card de­sign is just the thing to spark teenage dreams about far­away lands.

Size: To fit a sin­gle bed gen­er­ously; fin­ished size should mea­sure ap­prox­i­mately 145 x 205cm

Dif­fi­culty: for the ex­pe­ri­enced sewer Time: two to three weeks

NOTE The walk­ing foot is for the quilting, the post­card’s spine fea­ture and top-stitch­ing the bor­der into place. The open-toed presser foot al­lows for easy view­ing while stitch­ing the Eif­fel Tower mo­tif.

Fab­ric tip for mo­tifs

If you are not able to find fab­ric that is suit­able for the postage and cus­toms stamps, you could use the front of a ready-made cush­ion cover. Have a look at Mr Price Home in their cush­ion range. Or you could de­sign your own postage and cus­toms stamps us­ing our mo­tifs on pages 76-77, or the botan­i­cal prints, il­lus­tra­tions and graph­ics of your choice, and have them trans­ferred onto cream­coloured cot­ton fab­ric us­ing the trans­fer method of your choice.

To make

NOTE A 1cm seam al­lowance has been in­cluded in all the mea­sure­ments. 1 From the white cot­ton fab­ric, cut out the front piece 210 x 150cm and the back piece 230 x 150cm. De­fine and fold the front of the quilt piece into 2 x 75cm sec­tions; the left-hand side is for the Eif­fel Tower mo­tif and the right-hand side is for the ad­dress sec­tion. Press the fold line in place. This line will be the spine line of the post­card de­sign and can be marked with a dress­mak­ing pen of your choice.

2 Now fold these two sec­tions once again from the sel­vage to the cen­tre to make quar­ters. Press the fold lines in place; these lines rep­re­sent the cen­tre of each sec­tion of post­card.

3 Turn to pages 75-78 for the tem­plates and en­large all mo­tifs to the re­quired size. Make a rec­tan­gu­lar pa­per tem­plate ap­prox­i­mately 75 x 10cm that con­tains all the letters for the ‘post­card’ word­ing. This will be your guide to place the spot­ted fab­ric letters for ap­pliqué as well as trac­ing the let­ter mo­tifs.

4 From the fusible in­ter­fac­ing cut a strip 75 x 10cm for the post­card letters and two squares to fit the postage stamp and the cus­toms stamp. Ap­ply the in­ter­fac­ing to the back of each piece of fab­ric.

5 Re­vers­ing the letters and us­ing the tem­plate, trace the letters for the ‘post­card’ mo­tif onto the re­main­ing pa­pered side of the fusible in­ter­fac­ing. Care­fully cut around each let­ter, keep­ing the rec­tan­gu­lar pa­per tem­plate com­plete as this will be used as a place­ment guide on the ac­tual fab­ric at a later stage.

6 For the Eif­fel Tower mo­tif, trace it onto the stitch and tear fab­ric us­ing a dressmaker’s pen of your choice. Find and mark the cen­tre of the mo­tif. Now find and mark the cen­tre of the front quilt piece top and bot­tom and place the cen­tre of the Eif­fel Tower mo­tif onto the marked cen­tre front.

7 Pin the traced Eif­fel Tower im­age on the stitch and tear fab­ric and the front of the quilt piece to­gether. Us­ing the black ma­chine thread and work­ing with the open-toed presser foot, metic­u­lously sew through the pinned sec­tion along the traced lines of the Eif­fel Tower, avoid­ing where pos­si­ble back or dou­ble stitch­ing along these lines. When com­pleted, re­move the stitch and tear fab­ric gen­tly by care­fully tear­ing the fab­ric away from the cot­ton fab­ric, mak­ing sure that you do not dam­age the black stitch­ing in this process. This com­pletes the left-hand side of the front quilt piece at this stage.

8 Re­fer­ring to the photo, start work­ing on the right-hand side of the front piece. Use the pa­per tem­plate for the post­card word­ing and the Eif­fel Tower as place­ment guides. Be­gin by plac­ing the flo­ral postage stamp at the top right cor­ner; now place the pa­per tem­plate with post­card word­ing across the cen­tre top be­low the stamp. Now place the cus­toms stamp at the lower right-hand edge, plac­ing it ap­prox­i­mately the same dis­tance from the bot­tom as the postage stamp is from the top.

9 The space be­low the postage word­ing is for the dash lines. Us­ing your dressmaker’s pins with the straight head, pin five lines equally spaced apart in this space. Use the stamps as a guide to the outer mar­gins. When you are happy with the mark­ings, fuse the letters and stamps in place.

10 Us­ing the dressmaker’s pen of your choice, draw the dash lines in place. These dash lines must re­sem­ble the ad­dress sec­tion of a post­card de­sign when com­pleted. Re­move the dress­mak­ing pins. Em­broi­der over the guide­lines us­ing three strands of the black em­broi­dery thread, work­ing in small neat run­ning stitches.

11 Now com­plete the ap­pliqué sec­tions us­ing the ap­pliqué foot. Set your sewing ma­chine on a zigzag stitch with a short stitch length so it forms a satin stitch. It is a good idea to work a prac­tice sam­ple be­fore you be­gin the ap­pliqué work to make sure you are happy with the width of the fin­ished stitch.

12 Re­move the pen or pen­cil mark­ings on the quilt with the fab­ric eraser and also re­move any re­main­ing pins once the ap­pliqué mo­tifs are com­pleted. The front of the quilt de­sign has now been com­pleted.

1 Place the back­ing fab­ric with the wrong side of the fab­ric fac­ing up. Place the bat­ting on top of the back­ing. Now place the front of the quilt right side up on top of the bat­ting. Smooth out all the creases with the flat of your hand.

2 It is a good idea to pin these three lay­ers of fab­ric to­gether at ran­dom us­ing the curved dress­mak­ing pins. Us­ing a large nee­dle and brightly coloured tack­ing thread, work a row from the cen­tre of each cor­ner of the four sides to form a cross in the mid­dle. This will also help keep the bat­ting from slip­ping.

3 Thread the bob­bin with the white thread and the top thread with the black top-stitch­ing thread. Us­ing the walk­ing foot on your sewing ma­chine, top-stitch the spine of the post­card de­sign from the top edge to the lower edge.

4 Re­place the black thread with the in­vis­i­ble thread, still keep­ing the bob­bin wound with the white thread; be­gin quilting the Eif­fel Tower mo­tif. Work from the cen­tre of the mo­tif out­wards. Con­tinue in this way un­til the en­tire mo­tif has been quilted.

5 In the same way, quilt im­me­di­ately next to the dash lines to echo the hand stitch­ing. Work the cen­tre dash line first work­ing the quilting out­wards. In the same way echo the ap­pliqué stitch around the let­ter­ing, postage and cus­toms stamps to com­plete the quilting.

To com­plete

1 Re­move all the tack­ing stitches, tak­ing care not to cut into the ma­chine and hand stitch­ing. Re­move the curved dress­mak­ing pins. Trim the quilt to a pre­fect rec­tan­gle keep­ing the back­ing at least 5cm larger than the front, for the bor­der con­struc­tion. Do not press the main quilted sec­tion as you may lose some of the tex­ture.

2 Fold and press a 1cm hem around the four edges of the back­ing. Fold the hem over to the front of the quilt to cre­ate a bor­der and press in place. Work­ing one side at a time and us­ing the white top­stitch­ing thread, sew the bor­der in place through all four lay­ers of fab­ric.

TIP If you would pre­fer you could use a bind­ing in­stead of sewing the bor­der in this man­ner; se­lect a con­trast­ing colour that tones with the stamp mo­tifs.

To quilt

Chi­nese lanterns, flo­ral cush­ion and Scot­tie lamp from MRP Home. Books from Abode. Globe from Typo. Rug from Gon­sen­hausers Fine Rugs. Model: He­lena from Full Cir­cle. Hair and make-up: Lyn­dall from Su­per­nova.

Py­jama party

These com­fort­able py­jama pants are just the thing for sleep­overs with her friends in her pretty hand­crafted bed­room.

Size one size only to fit size 10

Dif­fi­culty: easy Time: one day

To make

1 Draft the pat­tern pieces on page 74 onto dressmaker’s graph pa­per. Cut out all the pieces from the fab­ric and trans­fer all the pat­tern mark­ings. With right sides fac­ing sew the in­ner leg seam of the front and back pieces to­gether. Press the seam al­lowances open. 2 Plac­ing right sides to­gether, match the front and back pieces and sew around the curved crotch seam. To strengthen the crotch seam, stitch a line 7mm into the seam al­lowance around the deep­est part of curve (about 15cm). 3 Sew the outer leg seams. Press the seam al­lowances open. 4 Fold the raw up­per edge of the pants to­wards the in­side by 1,5cm and press. Fold again, this time along the marked fold line, and sew in place to form a casing for the elas­tic. Leave a gap in the seam to thread the elas­tic through. 5 Top-stitch close to the up­per edge of the pants. 6 Thread the elas­tic through the casing. Putting a safety pin on the end of the elas­tic makes it eas­ier to thread, as there is some­thing to grasp. Be­fore you cut the elas­tic, try the pants on for fit. Cut the elas­tic with 2cm for over­lap and se­cure well. To pre­vent the elas­tic rolling in its casing, sew the elas­tic to the casing at the back. 7 Sew up the open­ing in the casing, stretch­ing the elas­tic as you sew if nec­es­sary, so that the fab­ric lies flat. 8 To hem the pants, fold in the bot­tom edge by 1,5cm and press. Fold in­wards again by 3cm and sew in place. Top-stitch close to the edge of the hem for a neat fin­ish. 9 Make a bow out of the rib­bon and stitch in place on the front.

Say it with stitches

Be­fore you put to­gether this blind with its fresh, mod­ern look, you can first em­broi­der in­spi­ra­tional mes­sages on it for your child.

Ro­man blind

Dif­fi­culty: mod­er­ate to dif­fi­cult Time: one day

Tak­ing mea­sure­ments for the blind

First de­cide on the place­ment of the wall batten. It is best to place the batten above the ar­chi­trave, as win­dows are not al­ways per­fectly square. Placed above the ar­chi­trave, the blind can also be made wider than the win­dow frame. Once the batten place­ment has been de­cided, take the blind length mea­sure­ment from the up­per edge of this po­si­tion.

How to cal­cu­late the pleats

The depth of the pleats will de­pend on the size of the win­dow. For tall win­dows the pleats can be be­tween 20 to 30cm. Blinds for shorter win­dows should have pleats be­tween 15 to 20cm. De­cide on an ap­prox­i­mate pleat depth (for ex­am­ple, 20cm). Sub­tract 2cm from the fin­ished length of the blind (this is for the Vel­cro at the top edge), and cal­cu­late how many of the ap­prox­i­mate pleat depths will fit into the re­main­ing length. If the re­sult­ing num­ber is un­even, then di­vide the blind length by that num­ber to cal­cu­late the pre­cise pleat depth. How­ever, if the re­sult­ing num­ber is even, sub­tract one and di­vide the blind length by this num­ber to cal­cu­late the pleat depth. The goal is to di­vide the fin­ished blind length (mi­nus 2cm) into an un­even num­ber of equal length sec­tions (for ex­am­ple, 7 x 22cm sec­tions).

Place­ment of the dow­els

The first dowel is placed be­tween the first and sec­ond sec­tions, count­ing from the bot­tom hem. The fol­low­ing dowel is placed be­tween ev­ery sec­ond and third sec­tion, count­ing from the pre­vi­ous dowel.

Cut the fab­ric

• Cut the fab­ric 10cm wider and 7cm longer than the mea­sure­ments of the com­pleted blind.

• The lin­ing is cut 2cm nar­rower than the fab­ric width. To cal­cu­late the length, add 1,5cm to the length of the com­pleted blind, plus 2,5cm for ev­ery dowel that will be needed (for ex­am­ple, 7 sec­tions need 3 dow­els). TIP As a pre­cau­tion, the lin­ing can be cut 10cm longer than cal­cu­lated. The ex­tra length can be cut off once the lin­ing has been at­tached to the blind, just be­fore the Vel­cro is sewn to the top edge.

To make

1 On the front of the fab­ric, draw the words to be em­broi­dered with a wa­ter­sol­u­ble pen. The bot­tom 5,5cm and 5cm on each side of the fab­ric will be hemmed to the back, so avoid plac­ing the words in these ar­eas. Set the sewing ma­chine up for free mo­tion darn­ing (see the in­struc­tions for your ma­chine). Us­ing a dou­ble strand (two spools) of thread in the nee­dle, em­broi­der the lines and words in sec­tions by hold­ing the fab­ric taut and mov­ing it along while run­ning the sewing ma­chine. Stop and drop the nee­dle be­fore grip­ping the next sec­tion and con­tinue em­broi­der­ing.

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