I love new skills, especially in crafting.  I have done so many courses in different areas over the year, and although my skills don’t lie in knitting or crochet there is still so many other things I can learn. I know my skills lie with a sewing machine and fabric, so this year I decided to learn a new skill each month. Here’s what I’ve been up to this year – perhaps it will inspire you to try something crafty?

January – Patchwork Quilting

In January I decided to go on a patchwork quilt course over one day with the brilliant Heather Chalkley.  As I had already done a basic quilting course with her last year, I decided to step things up and learn how to do diagonal patterns. These are pretty in patchwork quilting as you can stretch the fabric out of shape if you are not careful. So I spent the day learning how to make a half square triangles and flying geese which in turn made a ‘maple leaf’ block and a ‘Sawtooth star’ block.   

First we had to choose our fabric and I went for purple and green – clashy but great.

Fat quarters of amazing fabric

First you have to make these half squares. This is what they look like after you’ve sewn them together, before the whole quilt has come together:

maple leaf taking shape

To sew all your blocks together,  you sew the top row together then the next row and so on in a pattern.  Then you sew the big rows together and viola, it shall look like this. Easy right?

all sewn together Sawtooth star

Et voila! That’s my Sawtoothed star.  I really enjoyed the one day course (particularly as it came with tea and cake too!), and it’s definitely a skill I want to continue with in 2015.  If I am honest I would love to do an evening course so that I could learn all the skills week by week and at the end have a finished quilt, so I shall be investigating local courses in my area.

Want to learn the basics on quilting? Check out our nifty tutorial!

February – French Seams

Clemence skirt from Tilly and the Buttons

This month I learnt how to do French seams and make a skirt using my very own pattern.  This was a different type of learning as I didn’t go on a course, and instead I followed instructions from  Tilly and the Buttons book. Her website has lots of great projects and ideas as well, so it’s a great place to learn from.  I decided to make the Clemence skirt from Tilly’s book which is a gathered skirt, with an invisible zip and french seams.  As I learnt how to do invisible zips in one of her other skirt projects, it was easier the second time and so I could concentrate to learning the new skill – French seams.  

French seams are super easy to do and they look great on the final item of clothing.  They cover the raw edges of your fabric so you get no loose threads making your clothing look way more professional – and it’s much easier than it sounds to do.  

To make a French seam, you:

  1. Sew a 5mm seam with front and back pieces wrong sides together and press.
  2. Turn the fabric right sides together and press down the seam.
  3. Sew the seams right sides together with a 10mm seam.

And there you go – all the raw edges are hidden.  Such a simple but easy way to do seams.  

If you want to start from scratch and learn to sew, we have a tutorial for that too!

It’s two out of two months in 2015 of crafty learning, and I am really happy with my new skills. Perhaps my experiences will inspire you to pick up a book or go on a course to start learning this year?

Have you learnt any new skills so far in 2015?

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