New Sewing Projects! Witch Hazel Halloween Pattern Collection

New! The fun, co-ordinating Witch Hazel Halloween Sewing Pattern Collection includes three easy-to-make sewing projects, perfect for beginners and beyond, which you can stitch up for the kids, just in time for Halloween. There are spooky-themed, fabric party bags, a trick-or-treat tote bag and a quilted table-topper mat that can be used year after year!

Halloween Party Set 1

You could use any Halloween themed fabric you like or even try solid fabrics, in oranges, greens and black! I used these fabulously spooky designs from the Witch Hazel collection, by October Afternoon, for Riley Blake Designs.

This collection is a great introduction to bag-making, patchwork and quilting. I’ve designed the projects so that they are easy to follow, with plenty of full-colour images to guide you from start to finish.

If you’d like to make these fun accessories, the pattern collection is available in my Etsy shop: The Witch Hazel Party Collection

My First Bag Making Project in Quilt Now Magazine!

Excited to bring you news of my first bag making project for Quilt Now magazine! Issue 5 is in the shops now and I’m delighted that Katy Jones (editor) has featured my new Rail Fence Bag sewing project. Perfect for using up fabric scraps from your stash, this bag is sure to delight any little girl.

Rail Fence Bag Project by Susan Dunlop in Quilt Now magazine

Issue 5 is all about those scrappy bits you can’t bear to see go to waste! From little projects to big beautiful quilts, like this issue’s cover star, you’ll find it all. There’s a brilliant range of patchwork and quilting projects suitable for all sewing skill levels. As well as all the great projects, this month’s issue also has plenty of interesting reading and fabric eye-candy to get you inspired.

Issue 5 Quilt Now magazine

Quilting Tutorial: Cathedral Windows Part 2 – Making the Windows

This is the 2nd part of my Cathedral Windows Tutorial. See the previous post for Part 1. In this post, I’ve completed the background panels and now I’m going to add the print fabrics and make the windows.

Cut 3” squares from your chosen fabrics. I used a load of different Liberty fabric scraps so that all my windows would have a different fabric but they’d still go together.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 16With a square wrong side up, hold two of the corners down with your thumb and index finger and press over the just the centre of the edge by approx. 1/4”. Be careful the hot iron doesn’t burn those fingers!

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 17Repeat with all the edges and then do the same with all your fabric squares.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 18Place the fabric squares, right side up, on top of each diamond shape of the prepared background panel as shown. Here I’m adding them to a small single row panel. Later on you’ll see my larger panel version too. Pin them to secure in place.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 19Fold each free edge of the background panel over each each of the square. A natural curve will be created due to the points of the background panel being stitched together (see previous post, Part 1). Pin through all the layers to hold firmly in place and ensure that the window is completely filled with the print fabric. Gently tuck the print fabric into the corners, if it’s not sitting right into them.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 20Repeat the folding/pinning process to make all the windows. This is when it starts to get exciting as you see the gorgeous windows forming!

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 21I decided to go one step further and cut small petal shaped pieces of the print fabrics to fill the gaps now formed in each corner of my panel. Aren’t I the show off! The thing is, once you get started on this technique, you don’t really want to stop.

Cathedral Windows technique 22Now it’s time to topstitch along the edges of all the folded over edges. I decided to do double rows around each corner petal shape and single rows around all the diamond shaped windows. Put your machine on a longish stitch, as there’s lots of layers and the stitches also look better when they’re longer. Carefully stitch all the edges, removing each pin as you get to it. When you get to the edge of each fold just continue stitching over to the next one, so you don’t have to continually keep stopping and starting and new line of stitch. Just try to keep the stitching as neat as you can, as you work your way around each one.

Cathedral Windows technique

Cathedral Windows technique 2

Cathedral Windows Tutorial Part 1

Now to decide what I’m going to use these panels for. I think they’ll be great made up into cushions with co-ordinating panels. What do you think? Have you made Cathedral Windows before or will you be having a go at making them for the first time?

Quilting Tutorial: Cathedral Windows Part 1 – Preparing the Background Squares

I’ve long admired the Cathedral Windows quilting technique and was determined to learn how to do it. Well, at last, I’ve done it and I loved the result so much that I’m eager to share the technique here with you. If this is something you haven’t tried yet, I definitely recommend you do. It’s one of those techniques that appears really hard to do but, once you get to grips with it, it’s really not as difficult as it looks. Yes, it is time-consuming but it’s so rewarding.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial Part 1

Sneak peek of a Cathedral Windows panel I’ve made.

I used a cream background fabric with scraps of Liberty prints for the windows, which I just knew would make for a stunning effect (if I could complete it anyway!!). As you can see above, I did complete it and loved every minute of making it. So on with how to do it. There’s a lot of pictures but I felt this technique warrants lots of how-to images.


Cathedral Windows Tutorial 1These are the Liberty fabric scraps and plain background fabric I used, along with some prepared squares I did earlier.

To prepare the fabric squares: cut the plain fabric into accurate squares measuring, 10” x 10”. Then cut a piece of thick paper, measuring 9” x 9” – this will be used as a guide, see below, to fold over the raw edges by 1/2”.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 2Place the paper template onto the wrong side of a fabric square, leaving equal 1/2” gaps at all the edges. Fold over and press each edge of the fabric as shown.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 2Remove the paper template and fold the square in half, matching up the folded edges, press. Open up and fold in half again, the other way, press. Open back out.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 4Fold one of the corners to the centre point, press.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 5Fold the remaining corners into the centre and press. Try to do this as neatly and accurately as possible, ensuring that the folds butt up to each other and don’t overlap. Take your time, you’ll get quicker with a bit of practice.

SAMSUNG CSCRepeat the folding process, folding one corner to the centre point and pressing.

 Cathedral Windows Tutorial 7

Fold and press the remaining corners to the centre point, press. Pin through the layers to hold securely. Fold and press more squares in the same way.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 8Place two of the squares side by side and unpin the flaps next to each other. Pin them together.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 9Sew the flaps, along the crease marks, ensuring they’re aligned neatly.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 10Open back out and unpin the sewn together flaps. Stitch another square onto the panel, in the same manner. Add more squares if you want the row to be longer.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 11Press the sewn together flaps flat again. Make more rows of squares in the same manner.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 12To make bigger panels, join two rows of squares together: place side by side, unpin the adjacent flaps and pin together.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 13Ensuring they are aligned, stitch along the crease mark of the pinned together flaps.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 14Unpin the sewn together flaps and press them flat again. Add more rows together in the same way, if you want bigger panels.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 15Hand-stitch together, all four points at the centre of a square, so they stay securely joined at the points only. Repeat with every square. Do the stitches small and as neat as possible. Once you stitched the points together, you can remove all the pins from the panels.

That’s the background panels now completed. I just made one small panel with three squares joined together and another panel with six squares joined together. You can make your panels as big as you want. I just wanted to start off small whilst learning this new technique.

See the next post CATHEDRAL WINDOWS PART 2 for how to add the prints and make the windows.

New Sewing Magazines, New Projects on The Way!

Many of you will know that I’ve been writing for Sewing World magazine for a few years now. Whilst I’ll be continuing writing new technique features and bag making projects for this fab magazine (I love it so much!), I’m delighted to let you know that you’ll soon also find my project contributions in the new magazines Love Sewing and Quilt Now!

Love Sewing magazine and Quilt Now magazine

Love Sewing magazine recently showcased my new printed sewing patterns with a full-page feature. This was absolutely fantastic for getting the word out about the new patterns, which I’m really pleased to say are proving to be popular through my own website and shop stockists. The response has been wonderful and I’ve just sent off second and third orders to some of these shops. Here’s the feature:

SusieDDesigns Printed Patterns feature in Love Sewing Magazine

Watch out for some of my new projects coming up in the next few issues of Love Sewing. Here’s a wee sneak peak of some of the fabrics I’ve used for them.


I’m also working on a project for an upcoming issue of Quilt Now magazine, which is a great new mag for patchwork and quilting enthusiasts. Again, here’s a wee sneak peek of the fabrics I’m using:

Fabrics for a new project for Quilt Now magazine

Watch this space, to see what I’ve made with these gorgeous fabrics and the upcoming issues the projects will be featured in!

Fabric Remnants Now Available From My Shop for Quilting and Sewing Projects

I’ve added a brand new section to my website, offering fabric remnants and scrap bags. All the fabrics are new/unused pieces from the designer collections which I use during the course of my bag making and general sewing. There are large pieces of about 1 metre, 1/2 metres (or 1/2 yards), fat quarters and scrap bags on offer. The scrap bags are full of good sized pieces, perfect for patchwork and small-medium sized sewing projects. All the fabric packs have free UK postage. Check out the new fabric listings often as they will change regularly, depending on what I have available at the time. Here’s a wee preview of some of the fabrics on offer.

250g (8.75oz) scrap bag of Comma by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda

250g (8.75oz) scrap bag of Comma by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda

Large remnants (1/2 yard and some smaller pieces) of Indian Summer by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs

Large remnants (1/2 yard and some smaller pieces) of Indian Summer by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs

280g (10oz) bag of good sized pieces of A Fun Day in The Jungle from Marcus Fabrics

280g (10oz) fabric scrap bag, full of A Fun Day in The Jungle from Marcus Fabrics

2 x 1/2 yards of Amy Butler's fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection

2 x 1/2 yards of Amy Butler’s fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection

Love Patchwork and Quilting – Review and Special Trial Offer

A while back, I spotted some trial issues of a new quilting magazine and really liked the look of it. So, I promptly signed up for a subscription offer. I’m so pleased I did! Now, on issue 5, I really look forward to the magazine dropping onto the doormat each month.

Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine review

Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine – issues 1 – 5

The thing that drew me towards Love Patchwork and Quilting was the fresh, modern look. I like to dabble in patchwork and quilting and would like to learn more, however I wanted something with a modern twist. As you know, I love to use vibrant fabrics in my sewing creations and I love the fact that the designs in the new magazine use lots of bright, modern fabrics in their projects.

As well as quilt designs to try, there’s also lots of new ideas for using patchwork and quilting skills to make a variety of craft projects too, such as homewares, accessories, toys and bags. There’s plenty of interesting projects to have a go at. If you want to take a break from sewing and put your feet up, the magazine offers a really good read too. It boasts regular features such as:

Love Life: shopping news – fabrics, homewares, accessories and more…

Stitching Notes: A monthly column, by the fabric designer Jeni Baker. Jeni gives amazing insight into the world of quilting and always has loads of interesting tips and advice to share.

Love Fabric: a round-up of exciting new fabric ranges available.

Feature: inspirational behind the scenes features, fabric designers, fabric shops, etc.

My Space: each month we’re invited into the work space of some very admiral fabric designers and sewists.

Techniques Focus: if you’re new to quilting techniques or still learning, a very useful guide is included each month. It covers all the basics and is extremely well explained.

Exclusive Subscription offer:

When I notified Future Publishing that I was doing a post about their fab mag, they very kindly offered a fantastic subscription deal to offer readers. So, if you’d like to see what all the hype is about, you can try the magazine out too. With Mother’s Day being just around the corner, this could be the ideal gift idea for a crafting/sewing mum.

UK Subscription offer + 6 monthly rates for overseas readers:
UK – Try 3 issues for just £3 when you subscribe today / USA, Europe and rest of world – special 6 month rates offer

Terms and conditions: This offer is for new UK/overseas print subscribers only.
You will receive 13 issues in a year. For full terms and conditions click here: Offer ends: 31st May 2014

Offer for North American / Canada audiences:
Try 3 issues for just $10 when you subscribe today

Terms and Conditions: This deal is for new North American print subscribers only. You will receive 13 issues in a year.
For full terms and conditions please email us at Offer ends: 31st May 2014

Subscription benefits:
– Make great savings on the shop price
– Receive a lovely FREE gift on every issue
– Subscription prices are inclusive of delivery
– Receive 13 issues a year
– Never miss an issue

Quilted Patchwork Cushion – a handmade gift

I had great fun making this patchwork cushion for my mum’s Christmas present. I took pics whilst I was making it, so that I could also show how it was made. I took the finished images once mum had opened up the parcel, so that I could convince her to be in the pictures too. So, outside we went to get some shots and here’s my lovely mum and the nearly as nice cushion…

patchwork quilted cushion

I used a layer cake pack in gorgeous red and yellow tones from the Simple Marks Summer collection by Malka Dubrawsy for Moda. Aren’t the colours just so rich and vibrant? My mum has plenty of cushions but I couldn’t resist making her just one more!

I arranged the squares into a layout I liked and took a photo to remind me how I wanted it to look.

cushion 1

To make the triangle sets, I laid one solid and one print square right sides together and drew a diagonal line from corner to corner. Stitched either side, 1/4” from the line and then cut along the line to get two triangle sets. I repeated this with the other sets.

When opened up, the seam allowances were pressed to one side – toward the darker of the two fabrics, so the seam wouldn’t show up on the right side.



I stitched the squares together to make each row, following the layout I’d planned, pressing the seam allowances to alternate sides so that they locked easily together when joining each row. The horizontal seams were then pressed to alternate sides.





I sandwiched the block with a layer of batting and lining, pinned together and did some simple machine-quilting – just some diagonal lines and some ‘in the ditch’.


I had a few left over squares which I thought would look nice as a border on the back of the cushion. I decided on doing a simple two part, overlapping cushion back. Once I’d added the patchwork border to the upper half, I added a layer of batting and a layer of lining fabric. I brought the lining fabric around the raw edges of the border to form a self-bound edge which I topstitched into place. (I’ll need to update later with a pic of the self-binding, as forgot to take one!!)


I finished off the cushion be placing the front and back pieces right sides together, with the two back halves overlapping each other and all outer edges matched up. The edges were all stitched with a 1/4” seam and then all zig-zag stitched to finish off the raw edges.


New Year’s Day Craft Blogs Roundup

Happy New Year! I hope 2013 has been a good year for everyone. I’d like to mark the beginning of 2014 with my new monthly roundup of some of my favourite craft blogs and shops. If you missed the first crafty roundup, back in November, please see my previous post.

First up is Isabel’s Needleworks. Isabel is a fabric artist indulging in her hobbies of knitting, sewing and embellishing her handy work with machine embroidery. She shares all her lovely makes on her blog and also includes some really interesting craft related articles with some background history. I particularly enjoyed reading Isabel’s recent post on Penny Rugs. Included in the post are some of the handcrafted items which Isabel has made, having been inspired by the Penny Rug techniques. Gorgeous work!

Isabels Needleworks

Another favourite blogger of mind is Michelle of SewnHenge. I really enjoyed reading Michelle’s blog when I came across it some time ago and I love all the sewing and quilting projects that she shares with us, including a fab collection of sewing tutorials. One of my favourite tutorials has to be The Stargazer Dress, it’s so pretty!


Yet another inspiring craft blogger, Esther of Make My Day Creative. Esther’s blog is full of tutorials, including crochet patterns and cooking recipes. She shares what she’s been making and tells us how to make it too! A very generous blogger, who makes gorgeous accessories. I love the crocheted Textured Cowl with matching Fingerless Gloves (see image below) which Esther shares the patterns for. Aren’t they lovely?

Make My Day Creative

A Daisy Garden is another inspirational craft blog to say the least and is full of sewing and quilting delights. A recent post of Daisy’s about a shoebox exchange really caught my attention. The participating crafters and quilters spend all year collecting fat quarters in the colors which their “secret quilter” has requested; two each month. They also add fun little items such as a pin cushion, ornament, sewing needles, and …chocolate! Such a wonderful idea and what a box of treats Daisy received!

A Daisy Garden

Well, I’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg so far with all the wonderful craft bloggers I have the privilege to follow but I will be rounding up more in about a month’s time. If you already follow the ones above, you’ll know how lovely they are but, if you don’t, I urge you to pay them a visit.

Happy New Year to all!

Susie 🙂

Look What Mum’s been up to at Quilting Class!

My mum recently began attending a quilting workshop and I was so impress with the blocks she’s been working on that I just had to share some pics with you. They are still work in progress but already looking so fab, I’m looking forward to seeing the finished results.

Quilt block 1

Quilt Block 2

Quilt Block 3

As well as sewing and quilting, my mum also loves to crochet. This is something I really must learn to do one of these days. Crochet went out of fashion for so long but I believe it’s now enjoying a massive revival. I can see why and I love all the different colours my mum has used in these blocks. I’ll update this post with the finished articles soon (no pressure mum!), so watch this space.

Crochet 1

Crochet 2

Cute Quilt for a little boy, including Self-binding Tutorial

A quilt top which I’d started on ages ago had been shouting at me to get it finished as it’s for a Christmas present. When I began making it, my 3yr old had kept saying how much he loved it and all the woodland animals. So, I decided I’d make it into a little gift for him. He’s still at that age where he appreciates cute things. I decided I’d use a self-binding method as an easy and quick way to finish off the quilt. There’s no hand-sewing involved and the quilt gets backed and bound all at the same time! Bonus, as I was fast running out of time. Here’s the quilt top:

A handmade quilt top with woodland animals.

Fabrics used are Les Amis by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller Fabrics – including Turtle Parade, Sweet Owlies and Socks the Fox (even the fabric names are cute).

I chose the Turtle Parade print for the backing fabric and some organic cotton batting (Hobbs) which I already had in my stash. I used to make little crib quilts from organically grown cotton and so also used organic batting. It’s lovely to use, nice and soft and easy to quilt through. As I’d decided to self-bind the quilt, I cut the batting 3/4” bigger than the quilt top, all the way around, and the backing 2” bigger than the batting, all the way around.

Quilt top with batting and backing fabric

Batting 3/4” bigger all round, backing fabric 2” bigger than the batting, all round.

The layers were all pinned together, ready for quilting. I did some criss-cross diagonal stitching through the larger squares and ‘in the ditch’ quilting (along the seams) around some sections.

Quilt sandwich quilted

To create the self-binding, fold over each corner of the backing fabric, so that the tips touch the batting corners and then trim off the corners of the backing fabric along the crease lines. Refold and press each corner, with the trimmed edges meeting the quilt top corners.

Fold over and pressed each side edge of the backing fabric, so that the edges meet with the batting edges.

Fold and press backing edges to meet batting edges.

Fold and press backing edges to meet batting edges.

Fold over and press all the backing edges a second time, to cover the batting and overlap the quilt top by 1/4”. Mitred corners are magically created at this point with very little fuss!

Backing fabric folded over again to overlap quilt top

Backing fabric folded over again and pressed, slightly overlapping quilt top. The folding process creates perfectly mitred corners with no fuss.

Topstitch all the inside edges of the self-binding, staying close to the edge (a scant 1/8” seam) and then zigzag stitch the mitred corners or hand-stitch the edges together, if you’d prefer the stitching to be hidden.

Inner edges of self-binding topstitched, close to edges. Corners zigzag stitched.

Inner edges of self-binding topstitched, close to edges. Corners zigzag stitched.

That’s it, one handmade gift completed! I’ll be looking forward to giving this to the little one, hope he still likes it as much!

Finished quilt - woodland creatures