Quilting and binding things...

Ah, there we are:  I can do what I say I'm going to! No clothes (even though I now know that you would have liked them - thank you!). This was a custom order that I was working on last week. It is being modelled by Zebra-girl's own bear, which is, conveniently, a similar size to the sleeping bag's new owner (yes, bear is having a Goldilocks moment and sleeping in a stolen bed). A friend recently brought round her child's beloved comforter-rabbity-thing (I think it's a rabbit anyway...it is so well loved that it is now difficult to identify) and asked me if I'd make a sleeping bag for it for her little girl's birthday. This was such fun to make. It has a heavily padded pillow and then a is quilted back and front, and has ended up being quite a substantial little bed as it is so heavily wadded. I can't wait to go visiting and see what the real owner looks like tucked up in his bag.

I've written about this foot a few times in my articles on feet, but I wanted to show it to you in action here as it has yet another use. I usually use it as a hem guide or edge marker, but I've now found a new use for it - it was perfect for making perfectly parallel narrow quilting lines, without having to do any tedious measuring with fabric marking pens. Hurrah!

The little Teacakes arrived home, saw the sleeping bag and have put in requests for new bedding for their own bears...mmm. Dinosaur-boy has a birthday soon and so I'm looking forward to making a blue one.

The same friend also asked me to make her daughter a cushion for her wooden chair. It's so odd to watch how narrow quilting can harness and bring under control great volumes of fleecy wadding. I quickly realised that one layer of wadding would compress to nothing once quilted and so in the picture above my machine is coping with four layers of wadding under its foot. This is why I love this machine...it seemed that I was asking the impossible of it and yet it coped with it perfectly, despite the fact that the foot was at an odd angle (due to the compressed already-quilted fabric being to the left and the great uncontrolled wodges to the right).

Once I'd quilted it I applied a spotty red binding. The thickness of the wadding allowed me to make a really nice substantial square-edged binding.

I'm coming to love making quilted things - I love the time at the machine where I can mindlessly whizz up and down in straight lines and then finishing the binding is also becoming one of my new favourite tasks. We rarely watch television as it feels like wasting time when there's so many things that we want to do, but having some hand-sewing means that I feel completely justified in sitting down and having a little vegetable-time, as psychologically I still feel like I'm getting things done. Hurrah for binding...it's an excuse to laze.

I added little gingham ties to attach the cushion to the chair. This is how the finished chair looks - it's unbelievable how much the wadding has been condensed down, but it feels so densely packed that it's a really comfortable cushion to sit in...I found this out by getting half my bottom into the chair, before deciding that I was in danger of having a Goldilocks moment and thought better of squeezing the rest of myself on too.

So many other things to share with you, but for now my thoughts are turning back to clothing. The Great Plains catalogue arrived today - I always love their summer dresses, but they're all wrong for my shape and so I'm left trying them on over and over, hoping that I'll find one that has miraculously morphed on the rail to be just right for me (it's a depressing scenario that replays every summer), but today when looking through it there was none of that...I was looking through it purely for inspiration and came away plotting my own summer dresses that can be made for half the price...I think that the sewing fun may have only just begun...I can't believe how many years of this I've missed out on and am now feeling the need to make up for lost time.

Those of you not reading through bloglines may notice that I've added some pages to my blog on tabs at the top. I love these exciting webby things...it has a similarly exciting feel to having moved some furniture around in one's living room (something that we never do due to have ridiculously large sofas that will only ever fit in one place...but I imagine that's how it feels anyway).

Wishing you a happy Friday and the loveliest of half terms for those that have small ones. We have already earmarked one of the days for staying in our pyjamas and doing baking and crafts...Ginny's tutorial will hopefully be used and we are also planning to make houses from shoe boxes as demonstrated in Green Crafts. We have been looking through this book, which is one of our favourites,  for the last week planning our wish list of activities to squeeze in...if only we had longer than one week.



  1. What adorable projects! Is that "cheater" patchwork, or did you piece it together? I can't tell from the pictures, but it looks perfect. I've been thinking about making cushions for our dining chairs, and this really inspires me!

  2. Thank you! Yes, it is 'cheater' patchwork - I hadn't been going to quilt the cushion at all, but the moment we picked out the fabric it just seemed obvious that it was crying out to be quilted, with all those perfectly formed straight lines already there. My husband bought me the fabric last year from Holland Fabric House...I would definitely recommend this way of quilting as it's so satisfying and easy (and yes, that's why it looks so neat!) x

  3. The sleeping bag and cushion are really very sweet...such perfect work! I too love when you can find new use for something, especially if it means that by doing so you save time. Now I want one of those feet! Oh, and I just wanted to tell you that I've really enjoyed your posts about dressmaking. I've been trying to improve my skills lately (though I have a long way to go to rival yours) and you have been very inspiring...Thanks!

  4. Oooh - you're just so clever. Both the sleeping bag and cushion are beautiful. I've never tried quilting. I'm so going to have to get one of those feet for my machine?!xx

  5. Both projects are adorable! I remember having little beds for my own toys when I was little. Nice to see things haven't changed that much.

    I would love to expand my collection of sewing feet.

    Can't wait to see what you come up with for making more clothes! I've spent the last few summers in a similar hunt for the perfect summer dress - maybe I should take a leaf out of your book, and think about making something myself...

  6. The sleeping bag is just lovely - bear looks so cosy, no wonder he wants his own. I'm sure the owner of the chair is sitting comfortably - like the beginning of 'Listen with Mother' which is much before your time!
    I, too, really want one of those feet to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  7. I think you have a Pfaff machine - and I have just got one myself, so am sooo pleased to hear how well it coped with the thick wadding. I love mine! Love the cushion - looks soooo pretty. And yes - we DO want more clothes please!

  8. I got a bit diverted there reading about machine feet! I've got your magazine article about them and they are both brilliant - and so useful. Thank you! You make it look so easy Florence; the results are always impeccable, the main thing is that you love the machine you have and aren't afraid of it. I'm certainly not at that stage with mine. I had to have a click on your new page tags; your web pages are so elegant and pretty - as is your shop, did you say before that your husband designs it for you? Very clever stuff - I love your signature! Very pretty quilting; it does look quite a big ask for an average machine I think. The little bed is the sweetest; I can quite understand your children putting in a custom request for one of their own. Couldn't help noting in your profile about Clever Polly (lots of laughing out loud at the silly wolf!)- along with My Naughty Little Sister they are absolute favourites of my own and daughters childhood. They are wonderful books to share.

  9. The cushion is beautiful.I am looking forward to your next dressmaking adventure.Have a good weekend.


  10. Wow! the cushion cover is so pretty. I've been following your blog for a while now, and I'm amazed at how perfect your work is. The sleeping bag is such a lovely idea, I'm sure my girls would love one each (maybe one to add to our wish list)

    Thanks for all your inspiration...

    Natasha x

  11. Very cute projects. Thanks for the tip on the hem foot. I'm learning so much from you!

  12. cute stuff! I love the bear in the sleeping bag. My grandma's name was Florence, I won't be forgetting your blog! :)

  13. I have just followed the link to the `feet` article. How helpful is that? I inherited my machine and have never been really sure of what they were all for. Coupled with the fact that I discovered it had a cutter after owning it for some 5 yrs or so, I am am truly liberated. Thankyou.

  14. Hi I love your blog so I've nominated you for a sunshine award see my blog xxb


  15. I love that cushion - I've been planning to have a go at something similar for my four kitchen chairs but haven't got round to it, am definitely inspired now though!

  16. Those cushions are sweet!! They very much inspire me to dig into the stash and make a few--much easier than the sew and stuff method I usually use (so difficult to get the fill just right)--and those straight lines look soothing to sew.

  17. Lovely quilting, and pleasingly pouffy! Sleeping bags are an inspired idea - have already had my two smalls peering over my shoulder and putting in requests!


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