Charlie

How to make your own headband for PPE or homemade masks.

As several of my friends work in the care sector, I am aware that it is very uncomfortable wearing a face mask for long periods of time, so I decided to make some comfortable, buttoned, headbands to improve their days/nights. I wanted to use products which were easily available to me, in fabrics which suited their wearers. This design works well with fabrics from our stash of cottons. While they are quick and easy to make, I have had great feedback from everyone I’ve gifted them to.

You will need:

  • 1 piece of fabric – 5”- 6” x 14” (13cm-15cm x 36cm)
  • 1 piece of fabric – 2¾” x 11” (7cm x 28cm)
  • 1 elastic 1” x 7” (2.5cm x 18cm)
  • 2 large buttons

and…. we stock everything you need: https://www.quiltdirect.co.uk/acatalog/Face-Masks.html

Method

Fold each piece of fabric face to face, length ways and create a tube by sewing a ¼” seam on the long edge.
Lay tube flat and press. Turn both tubes the right sides out way and press.

Feed elastic through smaller tube and stitch securely at each end.
Lay tubes face to face, wrap ends of larger tube around smaller tube and stitch securely into place. Repeat at other end.
Turn in correct way and attach buttons close to the fabrics joins.
Ta Da!
This design is ‘sew’ simple, a 10 year old could make it!

Rachel receiving a thank you card from a satisfied customer

So Rachel, tell us how you came to be working for Quilt Direct?

Well, you can blame Charlie for that! Charlie and I met at primary school years ago and have always been around one another with the ponies growing up and later when we had our children. (We both have two boys of similar ages). Then we have gone through the infant/primary/secondary school together, meeting up in the playground. Charlie asked me if I wanted a job lots of times and once the children were more independent I thought I would do one day a week… I now do four!!

Tell us about your family and hobbies.

Well, I am quite busy with the boys and their activities. I also have my horse who is called Roo, she is a 17.2hh Irish Sports Horse and I usually do showjumping competitions. I also have Esta who is an 18 month old baby sports horse who I will train and ride in the future.

What is your role at Quilt Direct?

I mainly look after the website. This involves listing all the new products that we have and adding and amending the content. I also design and edit all the sliders that you see on the website. I also help out with the warehouse when needed, picking, packing and posting.

Arry, Rachel’s Labrador with one of Katherine’s embroidered poppies.

What was the worse job you ever had?

Working in a milking parlour! I had to collect milk samples for testing and it was very smelly and mucky.

What is on your bucket list?

That one is easy! To have a horse for everyday of the week! There would be Monday… Tuesday…….

Tell us about your sewing experience.

Absolutely none when I joined Quilt Direct. You may know that Katherine does teach us as a group and sometimes individually. Katherine is teaching me how to use the Bernina Long Arm Q24 which I really enjoy and I like using the templates too.

Thank you for sharing with us Rachel.

Louise

An Interview

So, Louise, tell us about how you came to Quilt Direct?

I was a friend of Katherine’s and I used to run my own business some years ago, so Katherine and I had a lot in common . When my last job ended, Katherine asked me to join her at Quilt Direct.

Can you tell us about your background?

I have mainly worked in the travel and hospitality industry. I had my own travel company for many years where I specialised in horse riding holidays. I have ridden all over the world and have had many exciting adventures on my own and with groups of clients. I lived in Spain for two years and then moved to Portugal where I lived on my Quinta (farm) for seven years.

What about your family?

I have four children. Cameron is 32 and works in hospitality. Emily is 30 and she is a nurse at Derriford hospital. Joe is 14 and he lives with his dad in Portugal and the baby is Jorge who is 12 and he lives with me. I also have a granddaughter, Heidi who is 2!! I have a cat with mental health issues and a dog – I will tell you more about him in another blog.

What keeps you out of trouble in your spare time?

Well, I am quite busy with Quilt Direct weekdays. I help Ali with her garden at the weekend. I like to spend as much time as I can with Jorge – usually catching up with maths homework! But we do like to go to the beach and the cinema. I have some good friends in Tavistock and I like to meet up for a coffee and a natter. I also make cakes!!! Mainly for Quilt Direct for when we have our ladies on our courses in the Bernina Studio.

So, what is your role at Quilt Direct?

My job is twofold, Marketing and Studio. I look after all the social media, so it is me that writes the blogs, does Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also look after other advertising and organise the shows that Quilt Direct attends. The other part is that I organise all the Bernina Studio classes, Guest Tutors, Lectures and Demo’s. I am currently working on week long Bernina Retreat. This is very exciting and I have potentially six ladies coming from the north of England to spend a week in our studio being taught by Katherine.

What was the worst job you ever had?

Collecting the winning bingo tickets in a bingo hall and calling out the numbers to the bingo caller. It was terrible but someone had to do it I suppose. I did not last long!

Do you have anything on your bucket list?

Oh lordy YES!! I have not been able to travel for a long while. If I could, I dearly wish to take Jorge to Costa Rica as it is amazing. We both want to do the Amalfi Coast and even though I’ve been to India three times, I would love to take him there too. However, those trips aside, if I could, I want to ride across the Andes from Chile to Argentina, that is a four week trek!! Eek!!

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Interesting…… be invisible? But I think that would cause me a lot of headaches and get me into trouble.

How are your sewing skills?

Ah, sadly somewhat lacking. I have tried to learn to sew many times in my life but did not really achieve anything. I am a complete beginner. Katherine does teach us all on a monthly basis. My ambition sadly does not match my ability, but I persevere! In fact I absolutely adore the quilts and the whole world that it has opened up for me.

Thanks for chatting with us Louise. Look out for our next staff member interview.

Three of us ladies here, (Charlie, Rachel & Louise) all have boy children.  The three eldest are all in the same year at College, whilst the younger two are close together at primary school.  With the half term holidays looming all three ladies pulled together to take it in turns for a childcare day.  Louise took them to the otter sanctuary and the beach.  Rachel took them to the movies and Charlie took them swimming. (I think Charlie got the short straw!).  It is also a tradition at Quilt Direct for Katherine to include the children for an afternoon in the Studio during holidays.  She had in mind a creative Halloween project. This was to make double sided motifs and hang them together to create a window garland for trick or treat night.

This is what we did:-

Katherine, Louis and Charlie had a lot of fun deciding which fabrics to use and there were  few “squeals of delight” when they hit upon another fabric find.  We had stars for the witch’s hats, spotty metallic for the spiders, silver metallic for the ghosts and various other contrasting fabrics for the circles.

We needed first to prepare the applique components and we did this by cutting “Steam and Seam 2 sheets” to match the size of the fabric.  We then pressed this to create a tacky side to the fabric and then put on warm and natural cotton batting.  Making a sandwich of two pieces of fabric with the batting in the middle.  We then steamed the whole piece together for 16 seconds.  Katherine stressed that it was important to steam the sandwich not iron it, at this stage,  as the steam is actually what sets the piece.

The boys then used a ruler and measured each die that we were going to use and calculated how many shapes they could fit into the sandwiches that had been prepared. Katherine explained the mathematical way to calculate this.  They used the Accuquilt GO Halloween Medley. They cut the motifs using the Accuquilt GO Big Fabric Cutter.

Much fun was then had by all assembling the garlands.  We found that stringing them together didn’t work too well at first and concluded that we needed a spacer.  Charlie was all for popcorn, but it was decided that pasta quills would work better as a spacer.  So off to the shops to get some pasta and some sweets.   Using a large needle and fishing line, Louise then strung them all together. 

We all think that they look amazing and so much fun.

Click on the link below to see all our Accuquilt products.

https://www.quiltdirect.co.uk/acatalog/Accuquilt-Go–Fabric-Cutting.html

https://www.quiltdirect.co.uk/acatalog/Accuquilt-Go–Fabric-Cutting.html

By Alexandria

I was staying with family in Tavistock and a visit to Quilt Direct and the Bernina Studio. I was given the opportunity to make something (anything I wanted), and the first thing I thought was of my friends newborn baby born 16th February at 27 weeks old. Tony and I had not yet found a gift to give to her and so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make something special.

At first I wanted to make a quilted blanket, however with such a short time frame (a matter of hours), I was wisely advised maybe something a little quicker would be more suitable, and so a pillow was decided upon.

The first step was to design something to go on the pillow, and her mummy absolutely adores cats, so that was the focus. I also wanted something that would stand out for her. A design was chosen on the Bernina Designer software and personalised.

Next was to choose a fabric – PINK OBVIOUSLY! We then watched in awe as the Bernina 700 embroidery machine ……… created the stitches on my chosen fabric as if by magic. It took around 45 minutes to complete the design and I already knew the pillow was perfect (PS  I have never picked up a needle never mind use a sewing machine).

So the next stage was to machine stitch the backing fabric on (which I chose a lovely rainbow design, almost like a rainbow sky).  I also promise I am happy on the photo above, this is absolute concentration face. Katherine helped and guided me through the next steps of cutting the fabric to the right size, and setting up the Bernina 570 sewing machine to attach the back to the front.  The next step was to get straight lines (and for someone who can’t even walk or drive straight this was a challenge), however Katherine attached a seam guide on the machine bed which helped to ensure the lines were straight giving a perfect finish.

The pillow then needed to be stuffed before being hand finished (waaa).

A coffee was needed at this stage, made by the lovely Ali. The pillow was stuffed and then hand sewn using a ladder stitch (demonstrated by Katherine first) and was fairly easy to follow.

We also decided to add a label, so Mia could always remember who made the pillow for her!  The writing was stitched on machine… and the border was made using a pattern on the machine, giving these lovely little hearts!

And voila! The finished product. I can’t believe I actually managed to make something that was so lovely and I know will mean so much to my dear friend. I am certainly not saying it was easy, but was made far more doable thanks to the help of Quilt Direct! Thanks again, I am sure we will be visiting again soon (from Newcastle Upon Tyne).

Propducts used for this project:

Bernina 700E

Bernina Designer Software

Aurifil 50W Threads

Robison Anton 40W Threads

Bernina Midi Hoop

Bernina Foot 97D ¼” Patchwork Dual Feed

Bernina Patchwork Seam Guide

Lynn Graves Purple Thang

Clover Stuffing Tool

Recently new in, we are very excited about our new Crafter’s Edge Crossover range and have been eager to try using the new range of FAB dies with the Accuquilt Go! conversion kit. As the kids are on holiday from school, we decided it would be lovely to involve them and do a fun, bright project with the flag pennant and the super funky monster dies.

Starting with the Crossover Flag Pennant die, we cut 24 bright pennants, 12 of which we attached medium weight Vilene to give the finished product more structure. We found that using the pennant die took some thought. The die had to be laid flush against the edge of the folded fabric in order to create the perfect pennant.

Then we got the kids in for the fun bit, creating quirky monsters from a selection of coordinating fabric to which we had applied Steam A Seam. The cutters are so easy to use that the kids were able to cut to their hearts content and the Crossover dies fussy cutting capability meant that they were able to position the dies precisely on patterned fabrics as well as use up tiny off cuts for the smaller pieces.   They loved how versatile the FAB dies are and created clouds from the sheep die set, hats from the snowman die set and much more. Then Riley took his place at the pressing station and tirelessly pressed the monsters onto the pennants.

Then the really exciting bit, being let loose on the sewing machines, and not just any sewing machines but Bernina ones ! With help from the “grown ups” the boys joined the pennants with a quarter inch seam and top stitched a border to create our funky bunting.

It was also Riley’s birthday this week and Charlie used the finished bunting to decorate at home. Little did Riley know, the Bernina sewing machine he had been using for monster making was actually his birthday present!  A Bernina 135 Plus, refurbished by Rick our Bernina Doctor. One very happy Birthday Boy !

Using the same techniques, we upcycled an old denim bean bag with monstrous noughts and crosses and created a monstrous pair of jeans!

If you fancy trying your hand at some monster creations, then we are currently offering a free monster die when you purchase a Crossover Accuquilt Go! Conversion Platform to use with your existing Accuquilt Go!

Using this method we learnt about using:

  • Crafter’s Edge FAB dies with the Accuquilt Go! by using the Conversion Platform Set
  • Bernina binder attachment to make bias binding
  • Bernina Edgestitch Foot 10V

Here are the products which we used during this project:

Bernina Foot 10V Edgestitch

Crossover Accuquilt Go! Conversion Platform Set

Crossover Flag Pennant Set of 2 Dies

Crossover Peplum the Monster Set of 6 Dies

Crossover Bobbin Monster Set of 6 Dies

Crossover Eyelet Monster Set of 6 Dies

Vilene Stabiliser

Steam a Seam2 Lite

Aurifil Threads

OESD Perfect Embroidery Press Sheet

To give our Ladies’ Room at the Bernina Studio the personal touch we embroidered a set of hand towels using the Bernina 700 Embroidery Machine and the new Bernina Midi Hoop with ratchet closing.

It’s all in the preparation! We printed a template of the design (or you could use a stitch out of the outline) then used a ruler and a fabric marker to mark the centre point of the design on the towel.

The next task was to apply the stabiliser to the back of the towel. We chose OESD Cutaway. We lightly sprayed the cutaway with 505 Spray Adhesive and smoothed it onto the back of the towel making sure we had covered the full design area. Then the hooping….we placed the bottom hoop with ratchet open wide on a non slip surface and the inner hoop with template next to it.

Placing a towel in the hoop is made easier with the new style deeper hoops with a ratchet system, but the principle is the same whichever hoop you are using (there are other methods for hooping that we can show you in the future). Pick up the towel & inner hoop with the template aligned with the center marks on the towel and carefully place inside the outer hoop with out losing the centre alignment of the template and marked centre on the towel (we know, easier said than done). Ensuring the towel is flat and smooth but not too tight in the hoop, tighten the ratchet. It is important to ensure that the inner hoop and towel is set a few millimetres deeper than the outer hoop, this stops the outer hoop vibrating on the bed of the machine leaving your design etched on the bed of your machine.

Because the towel has a deep pile, it was necassary to cover the towel surface with a water soluble stabiliser so the pile did not poke out through the stitches (more on the Washaway Stabiliser soon). Now we were almost ready to stitch….over to the machine and the Creative Consultant.

By using the Creative Consultant and choosing the type of embroidery followed by the type of fabric, we were presented with the best settings and needle size to use for optimum stitch out. We used a new Bernina Ball Point needle size 80, and 40wt threads (R&A Rayon, Mettler Polysheen and a Superior Polyester).

Now for our design, we downloaded this from the internet onto a USB stick. You need to use a small capacity USB formated as FAT32 and for most Bernina machines the design needs to be in .exp format.

Almost ready….first of all we opened the design on the machine by going to the Open a Design folder. Selecting the USB Option, we then located the design on our USB which we had inserted.

Once the design was selected, we did a little shuffle on the editing screen to align the centre of the design to match the cross hair on the towel… told you hooping was never easy! We also had to mirror image the design so the deer had his feet towards the bottom of the towel. Finally we selected the stitchout tab and in order to ensure that the washaway stabiliser stayed in place, we selected a basting box around the design .

The basting box needs to be stitched out slowly ensuring the water soluble stays flat and in place. We used Washi Tape and we also recommend OESD washable tape to encourage the washaway to stay put – we used OESD Washaway Toppping and Madeira Avalon to the same effect. We were only using one colour of thread in our design so the choice of bobbin thread was easy! We matched top and bottom the same rather than a bobbinfil.

The most important bit, the sewout, can be seen in our video below.

After removing the embroidery from the hoop, we trimmed away the cut away stabiliser surrounding the design and then trimmed a few connecting stitches.

Most of the water soluble was removed easily around the design but a gentle spritz of water helped with the removal of excess and placement marks.

Our embroidered towel design was complete. All we had to do then was wash and dry them……sigh. If you come to our Bernina Studio perhaps you will see the towels for yourself !

We hope you feel we have given you enough information to have a go at a stitch out a design on a towel. We are available for one to one tuition in the Bernina Studio or you can join us at one of our Bernina Tuition Days.

Tips: Do not use an adhesive backing on towels as peeling away excess will pull the pile. Always use water soluble on the top of your design to keep the pile from peeping through on the finished embroidery. Keep the design fairly simple but dense, or the pile will creep through the stitching over time. Monograms work really well. You can test out a design on an old face cloth. The embroidery designs we have used are from the Embroidery Library. Choose your thread with the way you wash towels in mind. Some threads do not like biological washes or high temperatures.

Happy stitching!

Products we used for this project:

Bernina 700E

Bernina Ball Point Needles

Bernina Midi Hoop

Maderia Avalon Film Wash Away Stabilizer

OESD Washaway Topping

R&A Rayon Thread

Mettler Polysheen Thread

Superior Rainbows Polyester Thread

Nifty Notions 4″ Double Bend Embroidery Scissors

OESD Embroidery Wash Away Tape

Clover Trace’n Mark (Extra Thick Air Erasable)

Handi Quilter Long Arm ‘Leader’ Pin

Omnigrid 18″x 3″ Ruler

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