How to make a sewing journal cover

Tuesday 29th July 2014, 16.15

Kim Niedzwiecki Cathedral window planner cover

Guest blogger Kim Niedzwiecki returns again, this time to show us how to a make a cathedral window planner cover. Plan all future sewing projects with this journal and never miss an opportunity to jot down an idea again. You can use all your scraps with this project or treat yourself to some new season’s fabric.

Kim tells us why she chose this project,

‘I wanted to make something that would be a great scrap buster, something beautiful, and something useful. The printed fabrics were the four inch squares (approximate measurements) treasures that were not used in the Lovetag quilt that I made last year. This planner cover has a secure closure and a zippered pocket to make sure that you have everything you need and that it will all stay put while you are on the go!’


Required items

An inexpensive planner measuring 8 ½ inches x 5 ½ inches


Solid fabric

Two 6 1/2 inch x 2 inch strips

Two 3 inch x 2 inch strips

Three 4 1/2 inch squares

One 11 inch x 5 1/2 inch (for zipper pocket)

One 13 inch x 3/4 inch x 10 inch (for the liner) or you can use muslin


Printed fabric

Fabric scraps for the scrappy cover I used 50 4 in squares

Three 2 inch square print fabric

Two 1 1/4 inch square print fabric

One 4 inch x 3 1/2 inch

Two 3 inch x 4 inch (for zipper tabs)



Lightweight fusible interfacing (I used all Pellon interfacing)

Two 10 inch x 5 1/2 inch pieces

Paper backed fusible web

Three 2 inch squares

Two 1 1/4 inch squares

Medium weight fusible interfacing

One 4 inch x 3 1/2 inch piece


Other bits and bobs

Thread ( for this project I used Aurifil 40wt)

Buttons of your choice

9 inch zipper

Snap or Velcro for your closure


Cathedral Windows Block

Firstly measure your cathedral window base fabric you will need 3 x 4.5″ squares.

Sewing journal Step 1 & 2

Fold each in half and sew the short ends closed.

Match up the center seams.

Sewing journal Step 3 & 4

Then sew the top, leaving a space in the middle to turn.

Next trim the corners, then using a turner or the back of a small paintbrush (that is what I used) try to get the points as nice a possible. Then give your square a good press!

Sewing journal Step 5, 6, 7 & 8

Press edges in to give you a guide for your center fabric.

To connect the windows, take two blocks and line the corners up.

Pin the tip and sew along the pressed line and repeat the process on the opposite side.


Sashing of the cathedral windows

Press the 2″ fabric strips under 1/4″.

Sewing journal Step 9,10 & 11

Pin to the back of the windows with the press mark lined up with the press mark of the window. Stitch into place and stop 1/4″ from the edge.

Take the other strip, again pressing under 1/4″ and pin it.

Open the cathedral window and sew along the seam making sure to stop at the edges of the window.

Flip the window edge over and sew the strips together making sure not to sew the window edge.

Sewing journal Step 12, 13 & 14

Attach paper backed fusible interfacing to the printed fabrics. The large background prints are 2″ and the smaller ones are approx 1 1/4″.

The edges for the larger blocks will be exposed and the interfacing will help to keep them looking tidy and in place.

Sewing journal Step 15

The window curves fall naturally into place when folded over. You can pin or glue baste them into place prior or just go pin free!

Sewing journal Step 16

You can see that the centers are not perfect and that is perfectly okay!

These are going to be covered by buttons so no worries about a little wonky. If you wish to not have buttons, you can hand stitch the centers of the windows together before you add the sashing.

Sewing journal Step 17

Trim the block to 7″ x 2 1/2″.

To finish the outer cover, dig into your Liberty print scrap bin and start piecing scraps together.

Sewing journal Step 18 & 19

Make enough of the patchwork squares to create a center action that measures 14 1/2″ x 12″. Two side flap sections that will measure 11″ x 4″ and 11″ x 3″ for the zippered flap. The back flap will measure 11″ x 5 1/2″.

Sew them all up until you have enough to measure 14 1/2″ x 12″.

Find you favorite buttons and hand stitch them on!


The Quilting

For the quilting, I chose straight lines with 40wt Aurifil. The 40wt gives quilting with a little more “show” and the straight lines do on compete with the beautiful flow of the cathedral windows. I used my presser foot as my guide that made for quick, easy and somewhat precise quilting lines.

Sewing journal Step 20

After the quilting trim this section to 13 3/4″ x10″.

Sewing journal Step 21


Zippered Pocket

The tabs are two 3″ x 4″ pieces of fabric. Press ends under 1/4″ and then fold in half.

Sewing journal Step 22 & 23

Fold over the end of the zipper and using a 1/4″  seam sew into place.

Repeat this process with other end.

Piece together two sections, one 11″ x 4″ and one 11″ x 3″ cut matching pieces of lightweight interfacing ( I used Pellon SF-101) and attach interfacing using the manufactures recommendations.

Sew each section to a solid piece of fabric using a 1/4″ seam.

Sewing journal Step 22 & 23

Time to put on your zipper foot.

Turn the fabric over and press giving a nice finished edge. Place the section on one side of the zipper. You can either pin or glue baste in place if you desire. Sew each side down along side the zipper using a stitch length of 3.3 or your preferred length.

Sewing journal Step 27 & 28

Your zipper pocket flap is finished!

Trim the zippered pouch to 10″ x 5″ and  lay the zipper front on the 10″ x 5″ piece of solid fabric.

Return your stitch length to about 2.5 and using a 1/4″ seam to sew around the entire rectangle, this creates your pocket.

Sewing journal Step 29

For the second inner flap, take the other 11″ x 5 1/2″ pieced rectangle, attach your interfacing and trim to 10″ x 5″ then put these two flaps aside.


The tab

Cut a 4″ x 3″ piece of fabric and a 4″ x 3″ piece of heavyweight fusible interfacing ( I used Pellon Craft Fuse). Attach interfacing using the manufacturer’s instructions.

Right side facing sew around two sides of the fabric to create a tube and trim the edges.

Turn the tube right side out and topstitch around three edges.

Sewing journal Step 30, 31 & 32

At this point you have a choice between fasteners. You can use snaps ( that was my choice) or you can use velcro. For my snap closure, I hid the male snap piece between the fabrics by using the opening at the bottom to wiggle it to the top. If you will be using velcro you can add this now and maybe try a decretive stitch to make it more fun!


Construction of the Planner

Lay the flap pieces right sides facing to the front and the back of the main panel and sew using a 1/4″ seam.

Leave a 2″ opening in the middle of the back flap to create a space for your tab to be inserted.

Sewing journal Step 33 & 34

Insert the snap on the right side checking to make sure of the correct placement and mark the spot for the placement of the female side of the snap or the Velcro.

Sew in place and trim the excess, next add the other side of the snap or the velcro to your planner cover.

Press seams toward the center panel and the lay the muslin or 13″ x 3/4″ x 10″  fabric on top solid fabric.

Sewing journal Step 35 & 36

Sew entirely around the panel starting on the back flap leaving a 4″ opening at the bottom so you will be able to turn the cover right side out.

After you have finished sewing, trim all the corners. Turn the sewing journal right side out and press.

Sewing journal Step 37, 38 & 39

Pin the flaps in toward the center, pin and then sew using a 1/4″ seam around the entire cover.

Make sure to trim or bury your threads.

Kim Niedzwiecki Sewing journal

Follow Kim on Twitter @gogokim

You can share your Liberty print projects with us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest by using #SewLiberty.

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Interview with Alissa Haight Carlton

Saturday 12th July 2014, 9.55



Handmade by Alissa is the blog of modern and minimalist Alissa Haight Carlton a quilter, author and mother. Alissa’s distinct contemporary style of blocks of colour was one of the reasons she started the Modern Quilt Guild which she co-founded in 2009. Creating a community to share projects online and in person. Along with her day job of casting stars for television shows she has a passion for sewing and making quilts. There is never a wasted minute and luckily Alissa had some spare time to answer a few interview questions for us.


Tell us about yourself?

I live in Los Angeles with my husband and two year old son. I am a modern quilter and designer, author and blogger. I’m also the Executive Director of the Modern Quilt Guild. I have written two modern quilting books, Block Party and Modern Minimal. I work part of the year at the career I’ve had since pre-quilting, casting Project Runway. I blog very sporadically and I enjoy posting on Instagram as so much is said with an image.

Have you always been a quilter and who or what inspired you to make your first quilt?

I have not always been a quilter at all – I have been quilting for six years now. But it’s been a very intense six years! When I starting quilting, I took to it like a fish to water and have made a lot of quilts since. I was first inspired to make a quilt in early 2008 when I came across the flickr group “Fresh Modern Quilts”.  For the first time I saw quilts that would fit into the design and taste of my home. The craft of sewing quilts appealed to me enormously and so seeing modern quilts made me want to dive in and try it myself. I bought Denyse Schmidt’s first book and from there I am self taught. I cringe when I look at that first quilt, but I have learned by doing!

You often work with blocks of colour and have a contemporary style, where do you get your ideas to make your quilts from?

Well, unlike a lot of quilt designers, I’m not someone who says “I have a million ideas in my head all the time!” I have to work to come up with my ideas and designs, they don’t just show up all the time… My tried and true policy is to always just “make the next quilt.” I don’t worry about it being hugely different from the quilt before it. I never make the same quilt twice, and I always design my own quilts, but I wallow in a colour story and design ideas for a long time. I find that I end up making a series of quilts and while they are all very different from each other, I don’t stress about reinventing my entire design wheel with every single quilt. I allow myself to explore the same ideas over and over and this helps me a lot.

In terms of the nuts and bolts of coming up with designs, I use Illustrator and find that just sitting in front of my computer and dragging around this rectangle or that and mixing and matching colours… just playing around… leads me to new and interesting ideas.

Your quilts are always finished with diverse quilting techniques, what sewing machine do you use? Are you lucky enough to own a long arm quilting machine?

These days, I tend to only straight-line quilt my quilts. It’s a texture and look that I’ve fallen in love with and I don’t think that I’ll be back to the free motion for a time to come. We’ll see… I am very lucky to be a part of Janome’s on-loan program and I sew with their Horizon 8900. I love it. It’s very big and it’s fantastic for all of the (admittedly very time consuming) straight line quilting that I do.  I don’t have a long arm (we have a tiny house in LA, so it’s not realistic any time soon) but I don’t mind so much as straight lines are possible on my home machine.

How do you think your work has developed over the years?

My work has change enormously over the years.  If you look at my first quilts and my most recent quilts it’s a bit hard to see a through line.  But if you look at the work along the way, it’s there!  I have always worked with lots of solids and bold colours, but as my work has grown I’ve developed a more minimalist graphic aesthetic.

What do you do with all your finish projects?

I have recently slowed down a lot with the projects that I get completed (I’m so busy with so many other things in life right now that the time to sew has dried up a lot!) but when I do sew I tend to always be sewing a project with it’s purpose in mind.  It’s either for a baby shower I’m headed to the next day, or I might be on a deadline for a project for a publication. It varies!

Can you tell us if you have some exciting projects coming up?

Well the Modern Quilt Guild has QuiltCon coming up in February in Austin, Texas and that has me very busy these days. I also have a quilt in the recently released book, Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quiltmaking. From there, I’m just working at keeping up with the things I have going on right now!

Follow Alissa on Instagram @alissahaightcarlton

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The Liberty Design Studio Inspires Crowds at Hampton Court Flower Show

Wednesday 9th July 2014, 18.07




The lovely Liberty Design Studio creatives have designed a giant Liberty print-covered letter sculpture for the Hampton Court Flower show.

Last week three members from our lovely wholesale design studio spent a busy few days at the Hampton Court Flower Show, creating a beautiful and inspiring Liberty print patchwork letter ‘I’ to greet the thousands of visitors who will enter over the coming week.

Head of Design Emma Mawston said, “The interior and rear side of the letter represent over thirty years of Liberty history, and the classic designs Liberty is so famous for. The fabrics were arranged in a beautifully random way as we don’t work to specific colour stories when colouring the classics.

The front of the letter is created with blue, pink and purple swatches to blend with the colour the other letters were painted. We started with blues, moving into pinks and then purples. The designs were mainly from the fashion fabric collection with a few classics included. The purple  front of the letter being very apt as it represents the colour of Liberty.

The side on show has more of a graded colour distribution as our seasonal fashion fabric collections are created with specific palettes. The designs are placed to represent from the bottom upwards: earth, grass and flowers with the sky, clouds and sunshine at the top. Prints used were a selection of styles by the Liberty Art Fabrics design studio, The Liberty Archive and 25 artist and group collaborations including Grayson Perry, Rachel de Thame, John Malkovich, Florence Welch and Deborah Landis.”

Visit Hampton Court Flower Show this week to see the design studio’s printed masterpiece and tweet us your pictures @LibertyLondon.


How to make a Liberty print deck chair headrest

Saturday 5th July 2014, 10.26

Deck chair headrest Apartment Apothecary

Katy Orme from Apartment Apothecary returns again for another one of her ‘how to make’ sewing tutorials – this time it’s a summertime project. While the sun is high in the sky, why no bask in its rays with your new Liberty print deck chair headrest cushion for comfort.

Katy explains more about how she came up with this project:

‘I have had a bare deck chair frame lying around for three years and done nothing with it. Every summer I tell myself that I am going to bring it back to life and I have finally got round to it this year! I started by oiling the frame to give it protection and bring a bit of colour back to the wood. I made a sling from blue canvas – I wanted to keep it plain as I knew I wanted a feature head rest cushion in a pretty print (P.s. If you want to replace your deck chair’s sling, just copy the pattern of the old one – it is really easy).

I have never found deck chairs that comfortable; they always look so appealing, but when I sit in them it doesn’t feel quite right. Resting your head on taut canvas is actually quite uncomfortable. However, if you make yourself one of these headrest cushions you’ll never want to leave your deck chair again…’


How to make a deck chair headrest

You will need:

Cushion inner 50 x 30 m (You can chop a square cushion to this size and just stitch it up again)

Front piece in Thorpe – 52 x 32 cm

Two back pieces in Glenjade – 35 x 32 cm

Two tab pieces in Thorpe – 4.5 x 22 cm

Two tab pieces in Glenjade – 4.5 x 22 cm

Four tab pieces of light iron-on interfacing – 4.5 x 22cm

Two 15mm diameter self cover buttons and two 35mm diameter circles of Glenjade fabric

Needle and thread


Button hole foot for sewing machine

Stitch picker





Making the fabric covered buttons

Step 1 & 2 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 1:

Place the top of the button, which comes in two parts, on the wrong side of the 35mm diameter circle of Glenjade. Thread your needle and sew round the edge of the circle so you will be able to gather the fabric in around the button – pull as tight as possible to avoid wrinkles.

Step 2:

Press the bottom of the button over the gathered fabric, securing it in place.


Making the tabs

Step 3 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 3:

Iron the interfacing onto each of your four tabs (follow the instructions on the pack).

Step 4 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 4:

Place one Glenjade and one Thorpe tab right sides together and pin. Sew around three sides of the tabs (1cm seam allowance), leaving the bottom open. Repeat with the second tab.

Step 5 & 6 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 5:

Cut off the corners and excess seam allowance and turn the tabs inside out using a pencil to help you poke out the corners.

Step 6:

Attach the button hole foot to your sewing machine. Sew a button hole 3cm from the bottom (the open end) of both the tabs.

Step 7 & 8 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 7:

Rip open the button hole using a stitch picker – pin through the top of the hole so you don’t rip too far.

Step 8:

Sew the button 1cm from the top on the back of both the tabs (the Glenjade print side).

Put your tabs to one side.

N.B. If you want to make this project in a rush, you can use ribbon instead of making your own buttons and tabs.


Making the cushion

Step 9 & 10 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 9:

Press a 1cm hem on the right hand side of one of the back pieces and the left hand side of the other back piece.

Step 10:

Then turn over a further 2cm of the same hems and press again. Sew these hems.

Step 11 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 11:

Lay the two back pieces down, right side up, with the hems facing each other in the middle. Pin a tab on the opposite end to the hems on each back piece. The open bottom end of the tab should line up with the top edge of the back piece, Thorpe print facing up. The tab should be 1.5cm from the side of the back piece.

Step 12 & 13 Liberty print deck chair headrest

Step 12:

Sew both tabs on to their respective back pieces with a crossed square so that they are secure.

Step 13:

Lay the front piece down, right side up. Place the two back pieces on top, right sides together (they should overlap as this will form the envelope opening). The tabs should be sandwiched between the back and front pieces. Sew all the way round, cut off the corners and turn inside out and press.

Sit back and enjoy your new rejuvenated deck chair, just in time for the sun!

Finished Liberty print deck chair headrest

Follow Katy on Twitter @AptApothecary

You can share your Liberty print projects with us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest by using #SewLiberty.

For the latest news on Sew Liberty sign up for our monthly newsletter


Classic Liberty Print Fabric: Strawberry Thief by William Morris

Wednesday 2nd July 2014, 16.10



Strawberry Thief William Morris

This week we look at one of our most famous Classic Liberty prints and the creative genius behind it. William Morris designed the Strawberry Thief print in 1883, featuring a pair of birds stealing strawberries in a repeat. The inspiration for this print came after he found thrushes stealing fruit in his kitchen garden at his home in Oxfordshire. Liberty first produced the Strawberry Thief design as a furnishing fabric in 1979, and it has since been scaled down to be printed on Tana lawn in an ideal size for dressmaking. The Strawberry Thief design has been a classic fabric in the Tana lawn collection since 1995.

Born in 1834 in Walthamstow and named after his father, he was born into a wealthy middle-class family. William Morris was a designer of printed and woven textiles, carpets, tapestries and embroideries, as well as wallpapers, printed books, furniture, stained glass and tiles. His textile designs date from the early 1870s onwards, and include designs such as African Marigold and Windrush. He was a leading member of the Arts and Crafts movement and opened his own store Morris & Co just down the road from Liberty & Co on Oxford Street in 1877, two years after Liberty was founded.

William Morris was not only a textile designer he was also a poet, novelist, translator and revolutionary socialist; he also trained as an architect. One of his most famous quotes sums up his design vision ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

Strawberry Thief

Have you made something from Strawberry Thief? Share your Liberty print projects with us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest by using #SewLiberty.