Letters to your teen
You can write wonderful messages for your child, without ever posting a letter.
Add words to a postcard quilt and Roman blind, and make her pyjama pants too
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.