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Last minute quick to make gift idea

December 10, 2014
Posted by: Sharyn

If someone you know is getting an e-reader or tablet for Christmas here’s a quick cover that I made for my own tablet.  I  had sewn the sample fabric folders for our recent Handmade for the Holidays event and decided to adapt the pattern to fit this smaller device.




Here are the fabrics that I chose: two fat quarters of linen,
plus a medium-heavy weight interfacing.




Here are the instructions:

1.  Measure the tablet or e-reader.  Mine is pretty standard at 6.5 x 9.5.
From the outside cover fabric (arrows) cut a piece 18 x 11, and four 2.5 squares
(these are used for the corners that hold the tablet in place).
From the inside fabric (brown polka dot) cut one piece 15 x 10.5,
one piece 18 x 1.5 and one piece 10.5 x 1.
From the interfacing cut one piece 14.5 x 10.


Sharyn-folder-outside              Sharyn-folder-inside


2.  With wrong side up on the outside fabric, press a 3″ fold on the left side and hem the raw edge. Fold the four corner squares on the diagonal and press.  Then, right side out, position the triangles to the inside fabric, starting on the right hand side and matching raw edges.  I used my device to measure the correct spot for the two left hand triangles which is in fact the middle of the fabric. Once again match the raw edges top and bottom.  Baste all four corners in place.




3.  Press the long edges of the 10.5 x 1 piece and place this down the centre covering the raw edges of the two triangles.  Sew down both sides.


4.  Put the two pieces right sides together leaving the flap edge free.  Starting at the flap fold line sew around the other 3 sides.
Clip the corners and turn.  Press and top stitch if you wish.




5.  Insert the piece of interfacing and fold the flap piece over.  I slip stitched the top and bottom edge in place but you could also do this with a top stitch by machine.


6. For the fastening strap I pressed a quarter inch seam and stitched around all sides rather than fussing with turning a stitched tube.  I secured it to the cover with one small row of stitching on the outside spine and added Velcro to each.  Done!


20141209_123248       20141209_123618


This really only took one hour to make and
I loved working with this linen.  It was easy to sew and press.

Have fun making your own tablet cover!


WIP Wednesday – Jersey Knit Scarf

December 3, 2014
Posted by: Kaisa

Yep, you saw that correctly – I made another scarf!
(I kind of have a thing for scarves, can you tell?)

I was searching DIY Scarf videos on YouTube and decided to make
something like the stretchy blue one seen here:

I liked the curled edges, and thought it would be a quick, easy project.

While Laur’s scarf was ‘no-sew’, I wanted to give mine a ‘proper finish’. Since this was my first time handling a knit, I had to start by doing a bit of research. In the end I had to use a regular needle and foot, but I can see how the ball point needle, walking foot, and a serger would all be beneficial.

Of our three jersey knits, I adore NY Circuit in Ashen the most!


ny circuit


To make the scarf, I simply cut off a generous half-yard, trimmed all the sides,
and joined the short edges in a seam.

Creating the scarf was not quite as easy as I anticipated. Knits are tricky. And, the design wasn’t printed precisely perpendicular to the selvedge, so after some fussing I broke down and cut the fabric according to the mat, rather than the design.




My scarf is about 56 inches around, since I used the width of fabric. You can see it’s too big to wear without looping, but twice around is perfectly cozy and sleek.




Well, there you have it: a scarf that is SEW EASY to make!
Definitely a gift that is inexpensive, quick and fun.

Happy holidays, everybody!!


WIP Wednesday – Kaisa Quilts

November 19, 2014
Posted by: Kaisa

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein.

My motto this month was certainly ‘try new things, make mistakes, and learn a lot’.




Sharyn very generously offered to teach me how to use her Gammill quilting machine. I layered some Snow Flannel, batting, and a Holidays Panel (now on sale) to make a simple project that doubles as a shop sample. Initially, I pinned it all down too loosely, clamped the backing with too much bunching, and wound the roller too tightly. After all that was sorted out, we got the machine going on a sophisticated snowflake pattern that I think complements the panel nicely.




Unfortunately, I made a big mistake when it came time to roll the quilt to cover the second half. Too eager, I un-clamped and rolled the quilt before ‘registering’ the next starting point. As a result, there is a big bunch in part of the quilt. With a few tumbles in the washing machine it may become less noticeable… right?


My wrinkly quilt coming off the Gammill.

I then learned how to make binding. Ohhh my, what a process.
I had to unpick or cut and re-sew numerous times – even after checking that the angle directions were correct. Thanks to Mum for all her patience during that lesson.




All in all, I tried a few things, made a LOT of mistakes, and learned a bit in the process.

* * *

In other project news…

Mom had a fabulous idea for scarves: mix our plaid flannel with floral Regent Street lawn. Look at how well these match!


Mm-mmmm, so fresh and cozy.

So, I cashed in on my learned knowledge from last month. Remember when it took me 5-6 hours to make my first infinity scarf? This blue one took me only two hours from start to finish. I’m really proud of my improved speed, and I love my new flannel scarf. Once washed, the lawn and flannel are super soft.




Feeling inspired? Pam liked the scarves so much that we’re making exclusive Mad About Patchwork infinity scarf KITS! They’ll be released in time for our special event,
Handmade for the Holidays, on November 29th.

Stay warm out there,

WIP Wednesday – Kaisa’s Scarf

October 22, 2014
Posted by: Kaisa

I have successfully completed my first clothing project!!

When we received Leah Duncan’s Gramercy collection, I fell in love and knew I had to make something for myself.  Inspired by Laura’s students and Anna Maria Horner’s Figure 8 Scarf, I decided to make a scarf. Mom guided me through the project.




If you begin with a two-yard piece (for the length around), you can cut your WOF in half or thirds. I decided to start by cutting off a third, giving me a 14″ width scarf. That way, if I found my scarf too slim I could go back and make a second one at 18″. If I did like the final width, then I’d still have enough fabric for two more scarves!
(And ohhhh do I ever have plans for those bits of fabric; You better snag your Gramercy yardage before I clear out the shop!)


20141020_222626   20141020_224033 (2)


I learned a lot of new things with this project: how to thread a bobbin (so that’s the purpose of that little knob); the side and direction of my pins matter; and, it’s important to remember to select my stitch size. That last lesson was learnt after sewing my first edge. Fortunately, I didn’t have to pick it back but it did make the seam slightly bulkier when I ironed it down later on.


20141020_223659   20141020_225828


A few decisions needed to be made when it came to closing up the ends. I machine sewed the ‘outer’ (light blue) fabric ends together. As for the last (yellow) seam, I didn’t machine sew it down because I wanted the scarf to be a tube – I felt that would allow for better volume, and it would just look better than having a flat section of scarf. That left hand stitching. I went with a slip stitch to make it as discreet as possible, and I’m pleased with my end result.




HINT: When hand stitching, it’s too easy to catch the other piece of fabric. Mom had a brilliant solution: simply place a piece of cardboard between the two layers! You just have to remember to slip it out before you close up the seam.




All in all, the scarf took me 5-6 hours over two days – and that was with assistance! It was relatively easy, but I can see a lot of mistakes I would have made without my mother’s guidance. If you’d like to make your own scarf, I highly recommend Laura’s class: Sew With Me Infinity Scarf. She has classes for different ages at different times.



Et voilà, my Gramercy infinity scarf!
The Art Gallery fabric is lightweight and so soft.


What I’m working on – Pam

October 8, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Not a lot of sewing time in September, unfortunately. But I did finish 2 more Schoolhouse Tunics.

Schoolhouse Tunic

I love this pattern! No button, no zips, so it’s easy to make. And a wonderful way to show off your favourite prints. This one is from Grey Abbey by Elizabeth Olwen for Cloud 9; her new collection is Wildwood and equally lovely.


My Dowry version. Pattern is currently out of stock, but should be in by next week.


This is a Union Jack block (free pattern from Tracyjay Quilts) for my Canadians Quilt bee-mate. Partially paper-pieced it wasn’t too difficult, but I was having trouble following Janet’s very clear directions on fabric choice. She requested no solids or tone-on-tones, which meant the first two blocks I made weren’t suitable. I obviously need to slow down a bit before I jump in. Still, I was happy to make this block and now I have two perfectly wonderful orphan blocks to turn into a mini quilt or pillow.

Now that the OMQG is back in action I’m hoping to take advantage of the sew-in days to get some serious sewing machine time. My City Sampler blocks still need sashing and I’m working on blocks for the Color Therapy quilt. I’d also like to complete some smaller projects (too ambitious?) to share next month.


Until then.

Laura’s Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress

September 10, 2014
Posted by: Laura

On Sunday we celebrated my daughter’s third birthday with a fabulous outdoor party on a lovely day. She likes pink.  She likes horses.  She likes sprinkles, and we had it all.  The main highlight, other than our beautiful girl of course, was her dress.  I used the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress Pattern (View A) and put it together with some spectacular Heather Ross Far Far Away Unicorns in purple.  I’ve made some other Oliver + S patterns before and I love that they are easy to follow, well explained and have lots of diagrams to check as you go along.  The dress is fully lined and features gathered tulip sleeves, a fitted bodice, gathered skirt, accent belt and peter pan collar.


Although it took longer than anticipated, it was all worth it.  And now she has a unicorn dress found in the best of fairy tales. I’m already wondering if next year I can convince her to have an Alice in Wonderland tea party and make her another of these in blue…Only time will tell!


September Projects — Pam

September 3, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Pink postage stamp quilted

This one is just back from quilting by Krista — I still need to add the binding. Scrappy, I think. It’s a little one so it shouldn’t take long.

Plaintain shirt unfinished

My Plaintain shirt is nearly done. Laura and I got together one night to work on these, and it went together nicely. Only problem is that at 5’7″ I am slightly above average in height and the shirt is a bit short for my taste. Laura suggested I add a band to the bottom and I still need to do that. Next time I would lengthen the pattern pieces to get the fit I want.

I also had a sewing day with Bonnie to work on my Schoolhouse Tunic which was a great success. No pics but I have worn it to work a few times, and have plans to make another. CitySample More Blocks

I made some progress on this long-standing project (Tula Pink’s City Sampler). I finished 16 blocks on the long weekend and now have enough (70) to make my quilt. I am so excited to see this one come together!

Crossover Bag

I picked up a pattern for a simple cross body bag to take to the Ottawa Folk Festival later this month.  I haven’t decided on fabric .. maybe the Mochi Dot in Charcoal?

Until next time …


Introducing … Sharyn

August 27, 2014
Posted by: Sharyn

And last but not least:

My name is Sharyn and I am the new kid in the shop, although it’s been a very long time since the word “kid” has been linked to my name. I work part time at Mad About Patchwork and live on the property where the shop is located, so have an easy commute to work and am only late if I stop to pull weeds in my pathway garden! I started quilting 35 years ago but with raising a family and a busy career there seemed to be no time for quilting. I continued to collect fabrics and patterns but it seemed that my sewing machine was only used for hemming jeans. I retired last year, joined a Victoria’ Quilts group in Stittsville and that has inspired me to return to quilting with a mad passion!

It is a sweet torture to work surrounded by beautiful fabric collections and my first question is usually “what has arrived since the last time I worked”.  Sometimes it’s a new line that catches my eye as soon I walk up the stairs and by the end of the day I’m leaving with a few half yards or fat quarters of something irresistible.  Such was the case a few weeks ago when I saw Arcadia by Sarah Watson.  Who could resist this:

Arcadia scraps

Went home and found a free pattern from Windham Fabrics called Bella’s Bird that I liked, the photo showing directional prints used in an interesting way.   The Arcadia collection also featured some directional prints, so rotary cutter in hand away I went.  An easy pattern to follow, centre block with four strips attached, similar to  log cabin construction. Possibly daydreaming a bit, clearly not paying close enough attention to the cutting measurements I cut all of the strips at 2 1/2” instead of one at 3 1/2”. I started to piece, still not having realized my error.  The blocks are rectangular, yet in the photo they seem to be square.  Only when I finished sewing my second set of 4 blocks using one of the directional prints, in what I thought was a clever way, did I realize the error of my ways!!  How were these two blocks ever going to join up with others:

Arcadia Blocks

Should I buy more fabric and start over using the size specified or should I scrap two blocks and continue.  The latter option of course, especially considering that I was making this lap quilt for no one in particular.  A few more hiccups, mostly to do with paying closer attention to those (expletive) directional prints and some discussion with Pam about what to use for borders and I was done.  Here’s the pieced top.


I’m a traditional quilter not a modern quilter so this was slightly out of my comfort zone but I am pleased with the results and am thinking of a solid backing with various sizes of hexies randomly placed using up some of these beautiful Arcadia scraps.

Two charm packs for a toddler’s quilt is next.

Introducing … Kaisa

August 20, 2014
Posted by: Kaisa

Hello world, my name is Kaisa. This is my first blog post for Mad About Patchwork, so please go easy on me!

My first sewing experience came at a summer camp I attended when I was about 12. My favourite part was drinking pink lemonade and eating ginger cookies during our break each afternoon. (Hahaha … who doesn’t love food?) Despite my interest in the sugary treats, I did complete some projects! My first piece was a small wall hanging displaying jars of forest critters.

Kaisa Bugs

A few months ago Pam hired me to assist her in the shop. A temporary placement has turned into a full-time job, and sparked my renewed interest in sewing. I come from a visual arts background, so when I enter the warehouse, I see the fabric as mini artworks. I look for a variety of colours, unity in designs, and most of all, I seek out prints that display different textures. I love texture, be it visual or tactile.

Kaisa Stash 2

Can you see what colours I’m drawn to?

Since I currently live with my parents, my mother (with her many years of expertise) has been teaching me to sew again. Anytime I am excited about a pattern, print or new collection, I know she’ll reciprocate my enthusiasm. I’m so thrilled to share fabric with her (like this container of scraps).

Kaisa Stash

To my wallet’s chagrin and my mother’s glee, I am becoming a fabric-aholic. My unorganized stash is tucked on a closet shelf for now.

Kaisa Shelf

I feel incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful fabric every day at work. Does it get any better than that?!

Until next time…

WIP Wednesday — Pam

August 6, 2014
Posted by: Pam

This is the first in a regular feature on work in progress. The whole Mad About Patchwork team — Kaisa, Sharyn, Laura and myself — will be taking turns with this feature. You’ve already met Laura and myself through the blog, and if you’ve been to the loft you’ve likely met Kaisa and possibly Sharyn.

Granny Squares Front

I’m kicking things off this week with a bit of an introductory post. I’ve been quilting for about 18 years, owner of Mad About Patchwork for the last 7 years. I started out as a traditional quilter, and have followed the modern quilting movement since I opened the on-line shop. Mostly self taught, with a few workshops here and there, I consider myself an expert at straight line piecing, and a novice in most other areas. I’m trying to stretch myself and add paper-piecing and applique to my tool kit. I look for inspiration in books, magazines and blogs. I usually follow a pattern (or at least a block tutorial) but am comfortable adapting those as I like. I try to find time to sew weekly, and don’t like having a lot of unfinished projects about. My favourite color is blue, although I never met a colour I didn’t like. Denyse Schmidt is my modern quilting muse and I was thrilled to take her improv workshop at QuiltCon 2013.

Denyse Schmidt improv

Almost all my quilts are long-arm quilted by others, although I can manage some straight-line quilting if needed. I would love to have a long-arm machine and time to develop some free motion skills of my own, but that will have to wait while I focus my energies on the shop. I avoid making too many commitments when it comes to quilting (I don’t like to work under pressure) , but I do enjoy being part of an on-line bee with a group of fellow Canadian quilters.

String X

July was my month as queen bee, and I plan to finish this String X quilt top in August. This block is adapted from Block Party — A Modern Quilting Bee, a book I often refer to when looking for inspiration.


I’m also working on the City Sampler blocks I started almost a year ago. With 55 blocks done I need to make another 15 and then put them together as a twin size quilt.


This block of the month quilt that I finished up in June is ready for binding. It’s just back from long-arm quilter Carol Darou who did an amazing job in adding texture and interest with her free-motion quilting.


And finally, these are two pieces of fabric I’ve put aside to try my hand at garment sewing — Shape of Spring Petal Print in Twig for a Schoolhouse Tunic, and Mary Thistle Knit in Midnight for a Deer and Doe Plantain T-shirt.

You’ll meet Laura, Kaisa and Sharyn in the coming weeks and I’ll be back with an update in September.

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