Friday, February 19, 2016

"Organised Book Cover' Tutorial

A great little book cover with an 'in-built' pencil case!  What more could one want?  A pattern perhaps, and maybe a couple of diagrams to go with it?

With colouring books being 'all the rage', this is a great way to keep it all together.  Not into colouring? Perfect also for keeping your pencil, eraser, sharpener... headache tablets, all in the one place!

Please note, the measurements given below are for A5 size (standard small notebook).  There are a couple of little colouring in books out there, so if you making a cover specifically for one of these, reduce by 1" in both width and length, for ALL cutting directions.


2 x fat quarters (for main, lining and pockets)
10" x 14" piece of pellon or wadding scrap.
30cm med/ light weight woven interfacing (or scraps),
12" (minimum) zip (plastic teeth is possible so you can cut it to length).


cut 1 x (10" x 14")

cut 2 x (3.5" x 10")
cut 2 x (7.5" x 10")
cut 1 x (8" x 10")

cut 1 x (10" x 14")

cut 1 x (9.5" x 13.5")

med/ light weight woven interfacing;
cut 2 x (3" x 10")
cut 2 x (7" x 10")
cut 1 x (8" x 10")


Start by preparing all your pieces.

1.   On the wrong side of your main fabric, centre the pellon, turn over and iron in place (rough side is the glue side).  If you do not have an iron-on product, either use a couple pins to hold in place, or use a little spray basting glue.

2.   Take  (3" x 10") piece of interfacing and iron onto wrong side of (3.5" x 10") pocket piece, leaving a 1/2" gap along one long side as shown in photo. Repeat for 2 piece.

3.   Repeat with both  (7" x 10") pieces of interfacing with (7.5" x 10") pocket pieces, again leaving 1/2" gap along long side.

4.   Iron the (8" x 10") interfacing onto the (8" x 10") pocket piece, with right sides out, fold in half and press.

5.   Using the photo below as a guide, take both (3.5" x 10") pocket pieces, and place right sides together, ensuring the side with the interfacing gap is at the top.

6.   Now, take your zip, and sandwich between both pocket pieces, right side of zip facing down, zip head to your left, and line up all raw edges.  Because your zip is a little longer than you need, centre the zip, so the head and end are well out of the way.  Pin in place.

*tip   It is important to have it lined up in exactly this matter, facing the way indicated, otherwise you will end up with zip head upside down in your finished project (.... as I did in my prototype!)

7.   Now, sewing zips is not quite as scary as people think, especially if you have the head out of the way.  Zipper feet are great, as they allow you sew closer to the teeth, and a 1/4" seam allowance is a good guide.  If you don't have a zipper foot, use your 1/4" foot, and sew as close to the teeth as your foot allows.

8.   Flip these pieces out of the way (right sides facing out).  Once again, line up and sandwich the remaining raw edge of the zip with both (7.5" x 10") pocket pieces, ensuring the short sides are in line with the sides of the piece you have already completed. (so they both meet the zip at the same 'height'. 

9.   Sew in place as in step 7.

10.   Flip fabric out so both sides are now right sides out, with the zip in the middle (ish!).  

11.   I always like to do a top stitch next to my zips as I think it gives a night neat finish.  This is a little line of stitching about 1/8th inch from the seam.  Pin first, to make sure the fabric is pulled firmly and evenly away from the zip, then sew (still easier to use your zipper foot at this stage if you have one)  Your piece should now look like the picture below.

12.   With the right side of the zip facing out, fold 'pocket' in half.

13.    Flatten and pin to hold in place.  Put a pin either side of zipper head (refer to photo below), then pull the zipper head down a couple of inches.  

14.  Cut off each end of zip, in line with raw edges. 


15.   Place down main fabric piece, right side facing up.  Place the large pocket (one with zip),with  zip facing down on the right hand side, lining up the raw edges.  Place the remaining pocket on the left hand side, again lining up raw edges. 

16.   Now place your lining fabric, right side down, on top.  Pin around all edges.

17.   Sew around edges using a 1cm seam allowance (approx 3/8") leaving an approximate 3" gap bottom centre for turning.  If you have a walking foot, I would suggest you use it.  

18.   Clip the corners, Turn out. 

19.   Push out corners and seams. and pin close to the edge.  Top stitch around edge for neat finish, and this also closes the gap at the bottom.  Make sure not to top stitch more than 1/8" as you may make your cover a tight fit.   If you prefer not to top stitch, no problem, just close the gap using a little ladder stitch.  

*tip  it is always a good idea to test a book in the cover before top stitching just in case your fit is a little tight.  

As you can see in my original at the top of the post... .. I made my zip pocket 2 tone, probably because I was using up little pieces of fabric that I had.  So don't worry about the 'rules', just have fun!  (unless the 'rules' are measurements... then stick with the rules!)

Feel free to share this pattern around, the more people that use it, (and enjoy it) the happier I am!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Magazine Profile and off to Melbourne!

I know!  It has been beyond way too long.  And yes, I kind of gave up on my blog moved over to (seemingly) more popular Facebook and Instagram.  But I like blog and have realised that, here, I can 'do' and 'explain' things in more detail.  I'm hoping to add some tutorials soon, so please come back and visit.

So today!  Wow, I finally got the see the new Quilters Companion which was released today. It features my 'newspaper roses' quilt.  I was really pleased that they were able to show both the versions of this quilt that I made, as I always think it makes it look so different,.  What can inspire someone in one colour way, another may not look twice at which I always find fascinating.

They also did a 'little' profile on me (which I didn't find until a couple of hours later!), which I'm way too embarrassed to read.  They have also popped in a photo of my forever loved "Aunt Millie's Garden" quilt, a pattern by "Piece o'cake".  

So tomorrow, feeling all pumped and raring to go, I'm off to Melbourne to the annual Australian Quilt Market.  It is literally better than being a kid in a shop, and I nearly need to wear a bib for the amount I'm drooling!

I promise to be back and share some photos.. 


Friday, June 27, 2014

I'm back......

It has certainly been awhile, and without boring you with long descriptions, I have been exploring a little business venture which has taken away my time, and put energy into another area. 
After our little trip to Bali last year an opportunity was placed in my lap (literally too good to pass up) and I opened up an online Batik Fabric shop, called 'Batik Trader'.  So I have been madly putting together beautiful batik quilts, and subsequent kits to have available in my shop. 

While I have enjoyed this new challenge, I have felt a little boxed in.  I have desperately missed designing and working with 'all'  fabrics that really make my heart sing. 

You know how sometimes the universe tends to align, and this just fall into place?  Well, I feel that I have been blessed for this to happen to me over the last few months.  I have had some wonderful encouragement from amazing people and a couple of opportunities have come my way.  I will now be teaching at 3 different shops in South East Queensland.  I will continue to teach at The Quilters Corner, but will also now teach at The Patchwork Angel on the Sunshine Coast and Peppermint Stitches.  I can't tell you how excited I am about spreading my wings and my head is buzzing with lots of new ideas, not to mention techniques to teach.

As I am taking this new direction, I will no longer be working behind the counter at The Quilters Corner and am so pleased that I will still be able to see all the wonderful customers, whom so many have become friends, while I continue to teach there.

While the jury is out on what I'm going to do with 'Batik Trader', I feel strongly that I have been pointed back in the direction of Lemon Jellie, and I'm excited to share to journey with you.

Thankyou all for your support and encouragement,

Squeezes, Michelle

oh... and finally finished this baby last week!

Monday, September 2, 2013


I promised to show you another project I have been working on.  If it looks familiar that's because I have shown a much smaller version of it before.  This is the project that began when I went to the workshop in Sydney with Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and wonderfully inspirational quilting artist from New York (... who has a studio 'loft' in the city.... sigh.....). 

I decided almost straight away that I wanted to have a play with some templates for this quilt and decided on 'Sunburst' being a design I have always loved. 

I still have one border to go, but can't, as yet, find the 'perfect' one.  But this is what it looks like so far.  Wild and out there and I love it!  It has been so much fun to make.

I have another project to share still following the same concept, will show it soon. 

Have a great week,

Michelle x

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hexie Pyramids finished!

I may not have blogged lately, but I have been getting on with a few projects. 

I finished my new version of pyramid quilt.  This time by simply replacing some of the pyramids (triangles) with white (or any 'background' you choose) you create giant hexagons.  I really love the effect. Straight line quilting isn't my favourite, in terms of actual sewing, but sometimes this is all a quilt really needs and I really wanted to accentuate the hexie design.

I will post the other projects during the week, wouldn't want to overwhelm you now would I?

Have a great week,
Michelle x

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pyramid hexies?

I know it sounds weird, but its true!  I fiddled with my 'pyramids on parade' pattern, that's all. In fact, that's not entirely true as it's not the pattern that was altered, just the fabric layout. 

With all the paper piecing I have been doing lately, I realised that my pyramid pattern could form hexies as well, just by adding a background colour which I did. 

I love the end result, well nearly end, if I would get off my proverbial and baste it!  Not quite sure how I'm going to quilt it yet.  An 'allover' is the easy option, but I'm thinking I want to make the 'hexies' stand out.

The fabric is a beautiful range called 'Crazy Love' by Jennifer Paganelli.  I fell in love with it (pardon the pun, but I did) as soon I saw it.  It is so incredibly vibrant and happy.  Not sure if I can let this one sit in the shop for too long, might need to snuggle under it for the rest of winter. And in Queensland, we don't have too much winter so I can't waste time. 

Squeezes, Michelle

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Handprint in time.....

So!.... Sally did a BIG clean out of her room which resulted in 3 quilts being pulled out from under the bed (I know I know, wrong... on so many levels!). 

One of these quilts was one I made Sally when she was a toddler, Bowtie Bears by Debbie Mumm.  So 'in' at the time.  I loved it, and the colours are very typical of what I was making at the time (around 1998 or 99 I think). 

I used to do a lot of hand quilting back then.  I loved it, and I only knew how to machine quilt in the ditch which isn't too good for borders.  So on this quilt I quilted flowers on stems all around the border (which I had forgotten about because they are so hard to see on this print, but more visible on the back... all the little lessons you learn on the way).  Picture shows front and back


My lovely little find?  Well, after washing the quilt I was laying it on the clothes airer, wrong side up, and saw my flowers around the edge.  What was that in the corner??  I little hand print.  Slowly the memory came back, I had hand quilted the outline of her little hand in the corner of the quilt.

I had completely forgotten about it.  It warmed my heart, I couldn't believe it, I just kept looking at this little hand print, thinking of my little smiley Sally Wags.  It also always makes me feel sad, thinking of how quickly time has gone by (but lets not go there, it really does make me sad!)

I wish I had kept this up, what a great way to add to the 'specialness' of a quilt.

Have a great week,
Michelle xx