Stitching News April 2018

Welcome to all my readers. I hope you have all had a very happy Easter.

What am I writing about in this month’s blog…?

  • One of this month’s sewing projects; a cover for an A5 ring binder file
  • Talking Threads DVD. This video was made about 8 years ago, but could have been made yesterday. It is a contemporary technique using mixed media where I am teaching how I stitch into tissue paper, and honesty seed cases.
  • I have also written a tutorial on creating “boxed corners”, for a pouch.


Firstly I would like to mention an interesting email I had from Sarah, one of my readers who lives in Plymouth. It was in response to the February Blog about the Hussif.  She wrote to say that she has her father’s Hussif and she has kindly given me permission to show the photographs of it here.

EAA83F1A-4674-4F8F-8C96-A112085763D0 HussifI love the design. When it is opened out, two spools of cotton are tucked into a purpose designed little pocket, specially for standard cotton reels. Behind them the user has a card of thread as well. They all fit together very neatly. There also seems to be a pocket behind the inside layer of the body of the hussif. Maybe that would have contained some patches, or a note reminding the owner of some simple tips…. some needles, still threaded, are pinned into this internal  layer, along with a couple of safety pins.




Here you can see it is rolled up so that it can be stored in the kit bag.Other people have been in touch to say they remember their father’s talking about their hussifs, and someone also told me that today’s soldiers must have one, too.


I like simple methods of storage which allows me to have what I need easily available!
DSC00746 (3)Several years ago, I made myself a quilted cover for an A5 ring binder. When I taught in College we were issued with A5 diaries for College use and I used to remove the hard-back covers of my diary, punch holes in the diary pages and insert them into the ring binder. I kept some poly pockets at the back as they are so easy for storing notes, reminders, or receipts etc in and I could slot these in between the appropriate pages within the diary. The ring binder is still very much in use, but I now use it to store all the relevant little projects I am using on an almost daily basis for sales table items for the charity workshop in September!

An addition I have made to the poly pockets, which works really well, is that I cut plain white card to fit snugly inside the poly pockets. This divides each pocket into two; a front and a back. I write the heading of one project at the top of one side of the card, and another project on the back of the card and can then store two projects in one sleeve! Economy and thrift! I like it.

Within the last couple of weeks I had to make a raffle prize for an Easter raffle at our quilting Group. It is a tradition that the committee members all make a raffle prize for a special Easter raffle at the quilt Group. I thought about this long and hard, and decided to make a ring binder cover for my raffle prize, this year.

A brief resume of my method.

Firstly I had to research where I could find an A5 ring binder folder! WHSmiths only had plastic ones, and I specifically wanted a board one. Eventually I found one in Office Outlet which seems to be a spin off from Staples. I took measurements of the folder I had bought, noticing that they were different from my last one, and wondering why, as they are both A5 folders made by the same company! possibly a conversion from inches to centimetres? Who knows!

I opened it out at full stretch, giving me the measurement of both front and back covers plus the spine. To this I added another 7½” for “flaps” which would wrap around the sides of the folder, to the inside. This gives a flap of 3¾” which the front and back of the folder slots into, holding the ring binder in place.


DSC00740 (2)

I cut a piece of pelmet Vilene, to this size, and also allowed an additional 3/4″ in total to the measurement of the depth; (top to bottom). This could be trimmed if necessary later. This was to be the foundation on which to support my fabric. Pelmet /craft Vilene has some body and “clout” which would give the cover long life given reasonably careful use!

I folded and marked the position of the flaps, and the centre of the spine.

The central panel here has one of my screen printed flower seed heads and small button flowers and I machine and hand embellished it. I had hand dyed the buttons using disperse dyes.DSC00734 (2)

Next I cut some appropriate strips of fabric and “stitched and flipped” them over into position increasing the decorative surface above and below the initial panel until I had created the full depth of the front cover, (plus a little to spare!)

The first strip was placed right sides together, with the central panel and stitched with 1/4 ” seam allowance, then flipped over to the right side and pressed, which helped to keep it in place. A second strip completed the main panel.

I then placed this in position on the Vilene, making note of placement from the pencil markings I had previously made.

N.B. The panel for the front cover must be placed near the right hand end of the piece of Vilene. I purposely say “near”, rather than “at” the end. If it is right at the end, part of it will be folded under for the flap! Before actually securing it in position, just carefully hold it in place, and wrap the whole piece of the Vilene around the ring binder, to check that it is indeed the “front cover” and is in position correctly!!

The photograph below shows that I have added the first strip to the right hand edge of the panel, and this piece actually wraps around the edge, and will be topped stitched, 1/8th of an inch from the edge from the top to the bottom. This will hold the fabric firmly in position  and give a professional finish. (Many apologies for the poor quality of the photograph. I was working in the evening, and forgot that electric light is no good for photos and also gives awful shadows!)

DSC00741 (2).JPG

I machine”quilted” everything before I cut the next selection of strips to be applied to the left side. They were varying width strips, and were applied in the same “stitch and flip” method. This time each one was machine “quilted” in straight lines, before I stitched the next strip in place. DSC00757 (3)This ensured that they stayed flat, and didn’t wrinkle before the next strip was stitched and flipped.

Strips were applied right across the vilene, in this method. The two ends were trimmed so that about 3/8ths of the last strip could be wrapped around the edge of the vilene and top stitched in place, from top to bottom.

The folder was then opened out, and placed onto the Vilene side of the work, so that a final size could be assessed before trimming. I needed to allow 3/8th of an inch above and below the top and bottom edges of the folder, before trimming. This was for ¼” seam allowance for the binding, plus 1/8th of an inch for “wriggle room” when pushing the folder covers into the flap!

I drew pencil lines where I was going to trim to; and checked everything a second time before trimming! The bindings were cut and machine stitched in place, right sides together with the edge of the folder, then hand stitched  on the inside, to complete the folder cover.

DSC00756 (3)

I am delighted to say that the recipient was thrilled that she was able to choose it, and I know it has gone to a “good home!”

Talking Threads is a DVD put together by Jamie Malden of Colouricious, probably about eight years ago now. She invited twelve textile artists, to take part in it. I was approached, and I spoke with her on the phone, to find out what would be expected of me!

After our discussion, I was happy to be involved, and delighted to have been asked. I was just asked to fill up my car with as much variety of my work as I could get in and given a date and address to go to! Jamie did tell me which particular aspect of my work she would like me to teach on the video, so I was able to make sure that I had everything necessary to explain and teach the workshop clearly.

The DVD begins with a very general chat about me and my approach to my work. This is followed by a teaching session when I had to teach Holly how to machine stitch onto honesty seed cases and tissue paper, creating a very simple design whilst going about it.

I showed her some pages of my work book, where I had done lots of sampling, and we discussed how I prepared the seed cases and the tissue paper before getting started.

DSC00758 (2).JPG

Holly was a complete natural. She had never ever done this before, and she was using my machine, (Bernina 1015). I purposely decided to take mine to use because I knew my chosen threads etc worked well with it, and I could set it up before Holly started stitching. She had maybe no more than five minutes to try out my machine, before filming continued!

Click on the link below to watch the video. (You will need to dismiss the ad that comes up first!)

How to Quilt – Quilting with textile artist Di Wells – Quilting Arts – YouTube

It was a thoroughly enjoyable, and a fascinating day! I think they were filming three or four artists each day, and I seem to remember that there were 12 of us in all. A DVD is available of all those of us taking part;

Last month in the March Stitching News, I wrote about pouches that I had made, and said I would show you how to “box corners” this month. Boxing the corners creates a kind of gusset at the base of the pouch, without having to sew a purpose cut strip of fabric in position.

Boxing the corners of a bag or pouch, to give shape and structure.

DSC00728 (2)

This was the particular pouch I was giving details of. I gave the dimensions of the finished pouch as: length (i.e. top to base) 7.5″; width 6.5″ at the top of the bag, and 5.5″ at the base; depth 1.5″, and explained that “boxing corners”  creates a depth and a roomy interior. The reason that the pouch is narrower at the base is because when I created the “box” at the corners it took up some of the pouch size and space; changing the shape at the corner.  This next photo illustrates the  results. DSC00729 (2)

The bulk of the work assembling the pouch or purse, is completed first, and the two linings are placed right side together and pinned carefully, and the two main pieces of the bag/pouch are placed right sides together and pinned. The zip lies between the two sections.

Then, the assembly continues by stitching around the edges, with a 1/4″ seam allowance, starting one side of a gap at the lining end (through which the bag will be turned through to the right side ultimately).  The stitching continues around to the other side of the gap.

The following photographs explain how to create the box when you have reached this stage. (The February newsletter, where I was showing how to put the lining and zip into a pouch, simultaneously, explains all the stages, up to this point).

You must decide how much “box” you would like to create. In the photo of the pouch lying on its side, you can see that there is “depth” to the pouch.  The finished width of the “box” was 1.5″, so I had to cut a corner square away, measuring 3/4″; i.e. half the finished required size. Had I wanted a 4″ box, I would have cut away a 2″ square.
DSC00722 (2).JPG

DSC00723 (2)

Although we are stitching with 1/4″ seam allowance, the measurement  of the square to be removed, is made from raw edge to raw edge….not to the stitch lines. This can be seen in the photos above.  The ruler is identifying a 3/4″ square. I drew a pencil line around corner of the ruler, and cut out the square on the line. This  was repeated at the opposite corner.

DSC00725 (2).JPG  The next stage is to open out the corner, so that the side seam and the base seam lie on top of each other. Notice how the seams butt up against each other, and lie flat.

This should be pinned securely, and then prefer to draw 1/4″ seam allowance  before stitching accurately on this line, as well as reinforcing the stitching at both ends.


It is important that you check that the seams in the opposite corner of the pouch lie similarly, as shown below.

DSC00726 (2)


The final photograph shows that the same procedures are then followed with the lining.

DSC00727 (2)

Please refer back to the February tutorial, to read about pulling the bag through the gap, and finishing the pouch neatly.

I follow Stephanie Redfern’s blog, and found the April one about collage and owls particularly inspirational this month;

It certainly inspired me to look at collage in a different light! I have read and re-read it several times, and have no doubt I shall come back to it several times more!!

Diary Dates:

Sat 28th April 2018 – Sat 5th May 2018. (Excluding Sunday)  10am – 4 pm.  George Room, Subscription Rooms, Stroud GL5 1AE. An exhibition of textiles by Pauline Cullimore, Janet Grist and Sylvia Hammond. “Three by 3:  Homage to Vivaldi”.  Part of SIT Select 2018   Admission Free. These are three very talented ladies, (ex students of mine),  who will have a very varied selection of work on display, and for sale.

Malvern Quilts Spring Show 17th – 20th May; Three Counties Showground Severn Hall MalvernWorcestershire WR13 6NW.  10:00am – 5:00pm (4:30pm on Sunday).

Festival of Quilts – NEC 9th -12th August

Cowslip Summer Fair – 21st & 22nd July. Cowslip Workshops Newhouse Farm St.Stephens Launceston Cornwall PL15 8JX.

Happy Stitching!









4 thoughts on “Stitching News April 2018

  1. Thanks Di. Not sure if it’s my equipment or if others have had same experience but when printing the last couple of newsletters, not all photos print. In this latest copy I couldn’t print two of them even when trying to print them separately to stick onto newsletters. Trusting feedback is helpful. Regards. Kay Bryant.

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Hello Kay,
      I know that a lot of readers do print off the newsletter, but I haven’t heard from anyone else about this problem. Perhaps this might trigger a response. It is helpful for me to know if readers are experiencing problems, because if I am able to do anything, then clearly I will!
      I will happily send the original photos to you so that you are able to print them off (as long as they were taken by me!)


  2. Hi Di, I am taking part in a course with Mary McIntosh and would like to use your work as one of my artists. You were recommended by Lynne Edwards and having looked at your work I find it interesting, especially the sizes that you use. Many thanks Yvonne Romain


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s