Teapot pincushion

This is the cutest pincushion. The pattern is by Manuela of Join the mood

Warning: the spout and handle were difficult to turn inside out. I had to make the handle twice and make the tube slightly larger. In frustration I forgot to add the embellishments around the middle and top. Printing the pattern at 110% may make it easier to turn.

Still it’s a little pretty teapot!

The pattern and instructions are by Manuela of Join the mood.

Other pincushions I have made

Heart pincushion tutorial


Flower pincushion

Quilt-as-you-go improv patchwork school bag

The patchwork technique used in this bag was inspired by Oh Fransson. I didn’t use a backing fabric for my panels which I’m not sure was a good or bad idea. I wanted to use lining with a pocket so I thought I’d skip the backing.

Bag sides

  • 2 pieces of batting measuring 15 x 15 1/2 inches
  • fabric scraps

Side of bag

  • 1 strip measuring 42 x 3 1/2 inches


  • 2 pieces measuring 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches of contrasting fabric
  • 1 piece the same size of medium weight fusible interfacing


  • 1 strip measuring 26 1/2 x 1 7/8 inches of fabric for the inside of the strap
  • 1 strip measuring 26 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches from the same fabric as the side of the bag
  • 1 strip of medium weight fusible interfacing measuring 26 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches


  • 2 rectangles of cotton fabric measuring measuring 14 1/2 x 15 inches


  • a magnetic snap closure

Watch a 2 minute demo of the QAYG technique:

Making the quilt-as-you-go improv patchwork bag panels

The bag is not square but I started with slightly larger rectangles of batting to allow for trimming.

From now on freely choose scraps of fabric and add to the batting quilting as you go.

The first piece is different to the others. Just quilt the piece.

No need to worry about the raw edges as they will be covered with subsequent pieces.

Now, measure the width of one side of the starting piece, mine was 5 inch square. Cut another piece that is the same width and place it on top with right sides facing together.

Stitch on the edge leaving a 1/4 inch allowance.

Just fold the piece over and quilt it like you did with the first piece.

How to work out the size of the next piece quickly

When you do this sort of improv patchwork you don’t know the size of the next piece to cut. This should be a no brainer. Use your ruler as per photo to measure the length of the next piece and cut the width any size you like.

You can cut it slightly longer if you like. It doesn’t matter as the next piece will hide the longer edges.

And so on.

You can use 2 strips pieced together beforehand.

How to work out quickly how much fabric you need for each piece when using more than one fabric in the strip

As you piece grows you can use more than piece of fabric to make the strip.

Cut a piece, then place it on the batting, place the ruler as per photo adding 1/4 inch at the end, e.g. A is 3 3/4 inches in this case, B is always 1/4 so you need to cut a 4 inch piece.

If using straight lines quilt in the direction of the last strip added.

The first panel is done. The batting lost some of its shape. This probably wouldn’t have happened if I had used a backing fabric. It didn’t matter because I had made some allowances for shrinkage.

Do the next panel in the same way.

Both panels are done now.

Trim to to 14 1/2 x 15 inches.

For accuracy use the trimmed panel as template to trim the second panel.

Give the bag some shape

I’m going to show you how I used unorthodox methods to cut the panels of the bag using a quilter’s ruler and kitchenware.

Take a 12 1/2 inch ruler and place the top edge at 1 inch from the panel’s edge (see picture). Then move the bottom of the ruler at an angle towards the edge of the bag until it reaches the end of the panel. Cut off the side of the bag following the ruler’s edge.

To make a round corner, I took a 4 inch wide ramekin and placed it on each bottom corner of the panel.

Then I drew the shape.

Place panel over panel with batting side facing together and pin.

Cut around the marked curved line.

Do the same on the opposite side.

Now let’s cut the top of the bag into a curve.

Fold the panel as per picture to make the curve symmetrical.

Use an oval plate to cut the top. Centre the oval plate on the panel’s fold at about 2 inches from the panel’s top.

Draw around the oval dish.

Pin before cutting so the fabric won’t move.

Cut along the line.

Now place the cut panel over the other panel, pin, and use as a template to cut the other side.

The depth of my curve is 2 inches.

Making the lining

Fold the lining fabric right side facing together as per picture.

Place panel on top to serve as a template.

Cut the two pieces of lining.

Adding pockets to the lining

Do this before you stitch the lining to the sides.

I made the pocket using three 5 inch charm squares stitch together and a strip of lining fabric for the back. I made a tube and turned inside out. Then I stitched around 3 sides and on each seam making 3 pockets.

Attach the lining side strip to the sides of the lining. See below how to cut the lining side strip.

Leave a 3 inch opening on the bottom of one of the panels to turn the bag inside out once the lining is attached.

Bag and lining side strip

The panels are attached to each other via a strip and so is the lining. The strip is narrower on both ends.

Do the following for the lining as well though skip the fusible interface for the lining.

Cut a 42  x 3 1/2 inch strip of fabric and another of fusible interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to the strip.

Then, as you did with the sides of the panels, trim each end.

Start by placing your ruler 1/2 inch from the top edge.

Then move the bottom of the ruler to the edge of the strip as per picture and cut.

Do this on both sides.

Then do the same at the end of the strip.

Attach the strip around the panel as per picture. You may need to trim the end off a bit.

Stitch around it carefully around the corners.

Do the same to attach the other panel.

Making the closure

Cut 2 fabric rectangles and one fusible interfacing rectangle measuring 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches.  Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the fabric rectangles.

Find the middle of the flap and mark a poing at 1 1/2 inches from the edge.

Attach a magnetic snap closure as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Now place both rectangles with right side facing together and draw two rounded corners on the bottom edge. The bottom edge is the edge where the snap closure is closest to.

Stitch around the edge leaving 1/4 inch allowance and around the drawn corners. Trim the corners and make some nips so that when turning around the corner is crisp.

Iron flat and top stitch very close to the edge.

Centre the flap on one side panel as per picture.

Stitch along the top.

The flap is ready.

Making the strap

This strap uses two strips, one larger than the other, so that the inside of the strap has some outside fabric showing on each edge. It’s easy to do and it gives are more careful finish look to the bag with little effort.


  • 1 strip measuring 26 1/2 x 1 7/8 inches of fabric for the inside of the strap
  • 1 strip measuring 26 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches from the same fabric as the side of the bag
  • 1 strip of medium weight fusible interfacing measuring 26 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches

Fuse the interfacing to the narrower strip of fabric.

Now stitch the strips together.

Turn inside out. Iron flat making sure the larger fabric overflows on both sides of the narrower strip.

Top stitch very close to the edge and then at 1/4 inch from the edge.

Now pin the strap to the sides of the bag as per picture. Leave 1/2 inch allowance to the strap.

Attaching the lining

Place the bag inside the lining with bag and lining right sides facing together.

Pin all around the top.

Stitch around the top edge.

Find the opening in the lining.

Turn the bag inside out through this opening.

Topstitch opening.

Put lining inside the bag.

The bag is finished.

You can reinforce the stitching of the strap by topstitching along the strap seam using a decorative stitch.

Detail of the strap.


Valentin’s Day sewing

Patchwork heart pincushion tutorial

This pin cushion has two different sides to it. It was made with the heart cutout from the hot water bottle (tutorial below).

Love is the answer… hot water bottle cozy tutorial

Zig zag pattern hot water bottle cover with embroidery and ribbon gathering.

Scrappy heart potholder tutorial 

If you have never done paper piecing this is the project for you. Very easy and quick to make.

And just in case you missed my last tutorial, here it is!

Groovy heart mug rug

Groovy heart potholder

This fabric manipulation is one I left out of my Textured quilt sampler series of tutorials.

Here is a closeup that shows both layers of fabric that have been cut.


  • fabric scraps in reds and pinks
  • batting


Heart shape: Love is the answer whatever the question appliqué (pdf). I’m reusing the heart pattern from “Love is the answer” hot water bottle tutorial.


  • One 10 inch backing fabric square
  • One 8 inch fabric square for the appliqué
  • Three 7 3/4 inch fabric squares for the texture and background fabric
  • One 8 1/4 inch  batting square

Place the backing fabric on the mat, then add the batting piecer and then place the first of the 3 pink squares in the same size from lighter to darker pink.

Align well with the previous square.

Add the last square.

Now draw diagonal lines starting from the centre at 5/8 inches intervals.

Use a pen that will self erase.

Now pin all layers together.

Stitch along the lines using matching thread. I choose to use light pink.

The stitching is done.

Take a pair of scissors and making sure you only pick up the last two layers, start cutting through the middle of each section as per picture.

Make sure your cutting line is straight.

The texture is done. You can now just “comb” the texture to the sides vigourously to lift it up.

You can use a bit of steam from your machine and your hand to raise the texture more.

Heart layer

Now let’s do the heart layer.

Download and cut out the shape. Pin to the centre of the top square.

Cut out the shape.

Whether you choose to use the more raised texture.

Or the flatter one, place the heart piece on top of the texture and pin.

With a pair of scissors make some small cuts around the curves.

Just a tiny cut.

Now turn fabric inside and baste around the heart. Use a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Top stitch around the heart shape.

The heart is done.

Time to self bind the potholder:

This one minute video shows how to self bind a quilt.

The potholder is done!

And here you have some closeup of the texture.

It works well with 2 layers but a third one would have worked well too.

Another closeup.