Looking at Vlieseline battings…

Vlieseline are well known as the leading brand for interfacings but did you know they do a range of battings too? I have been having a play with several of the Vlieseline battings in differing fibres, thicknesses and colours and I wanted to do a post to share these with you! This isn’t an exhaustive post about the Vlieseline battings so do head to their website to see more of the battings that they produce.

Before I launch into the different types of battings, I wanted to highlight how Vlieseline are taking a massive step forwards to be more sustainable in the products they create. Where possible, recycled fibres are used and they have a sustainability statement on their website available here which highlights their commitment to be more environmentally focussed and aware in the work they do.

So, let’s talk battings! There are 5 Vlieseline battings that I am going to cover in this post and I have made 4 patchwork and quilting samples to showcase these battings, their pros and cons, and how they feel (I didn’t quilt with one of the battings and I’ll explain why when we get to it!) I’ll also talk about loft in this post. When talking about a batting’s loft, this refers to how thick the batting is and how much puffiness it provides once quilted. This is generally only a guide as the puffiness of the quilt will also depend on the fabrics you used on the patchwork too and quilt backing too, but the loft guide is still good to know!

Batting 1: Vlieseline 266

Vlieseline 266 is a beautifully soft wool mix batting in a natural colour. It is 80% wool and 20% polyester which can be machine washed on a gentle spin (you don’t want to felt it!) up to 30°. It is a lightweight batting with a low loft (this means it isn’t very thick and so it doesn’t provide too much puffiness when quilted).

It quilted really beautifully and it can be quilted up to 10cm apart. I used it for quilting this Art Gallery Fabrics EPP Christmas Tree wall-hanging (fabrics are from Fine City Quilting) and I quilted an echo of the tree (both inside and outside the tree to make it pop).

I really liked how soft the batting felt, the natural colour and how it still offered a slight loft to the Christmas Tree without being too thick.

Batting 2. Vlieseline P250

Vlieseline P250 is a white, heavyweight batting which is made up of 80% recycled polyester and 20% polyester. The Vlieseline website says it is suitable for a range of products including quilts but I personally wouldn’t use it for a quilt (which is why I didn’t make the sample with it).

It is nearly 4cm in thickness so unless you have an industrial machine for quilting, I wouldn’t even attempt to use it for a patchwork quilt as it is just so thick. It would, however, work well for upholstery.

Batting 3. Vlieseline P120

Vlieseline P120 is a very soft medium loft batting in white. It is made up of 80% recycled polyester and 20% polyester. It is just under 1cm in depth so it offers a medium puffiness/loft to the quilting.

I used it to quilt an echo (or 3!) around my Cloud9 EPP Colourburst Hearts block using the Tinsel fabric collection.

It is a really nice general batting which works well for both smaller projects and larger projects.

Batting 4: Vlieseline P140

Vlieseline P140 is a thicker weight than the P120 with a depth/thickness of around 2cm.

It is high loft white batting made up of 80% recycled polyester and 20% polyester. The Vlieseline website says it is suitable for all projects. Personally, due to the high loft (and 2cm thickness), I found it a real struggle to use for a small patchwork project (such as this wall hanging) both with the quilting and the binding.

I had to quilt it incredibly densely to be able to flatten it enough to attach the binding.

That being said, and despite the struggle (and use of lots of thread with dense quilting), I liked the finished look as it offered a LOT of loft to the overall block which looked really effective.

It comes down to personal preference and balancing out how much you want high puffiness to make your patchwork pop versus having to do a lot of dense quilting to get it to be manageable.

Batting 5: Vlieseline HH650

Last, but not least, is the Vlieseline HH650. I LOVED using this batting on my patchwork wall hanging because you don’t have to do any basting…the batting does it for you! This is a fusible batting so I simply cut it to the same size as my patchwork block (if I cut it bigger than my block I would have ended up fusing it to the damp cloth so it is important to cut to size). I then placed it inbetween the block and the backing (NB. make sure you iron both the block and the backing beforehand). Then, using a damp cloth, I pressed the iron onto the quilt sandwich (not moving the iron or pushing the iron, sinply holding it on) for 15 secs to bond them together. I repeated this on the back of the work too to ensure it was all bonded well and lay flat.

No pin basting, no crawling around the floor spray basting…it is all basted in 1 move by ironing them together. Now, I found it super easy to do on a small patchwork wall hanging and I am yet to try it with a quilt (and making sure there are no ripples or puckers when ironing both a larger patchwork quilt top and quilt backing together) but I really like how this one batting does the basting work for you.

It is 100% polyester which can be machine washed up to 30°. It isn’t suitable for heavyweight fabrics but it quilts beautifully with light to medium weight fabrics – perfect for patchwork then!

It has a low to medium loft and is a really fabulous batting to work with. I’ll definitely be using it again!

So, there we go! A look at a range of the battings Vlieseline offers! Don’t forget to head to their website to see the full range!

10 ideas for Christmas presents for you and/or the sew-er in your life!

Christmas is less than 2 weeks away and, in amidst all the madness, sewing can offer a real opportunity to slow down and to focus on being in the present moment. Whether you’re buying a new sewing gadget/haberdashery item for yourself or buying for a sewing friend, here’s a round up of 10 ideas for Christmas presents to suit a variety of budgets…

I’ve organised them in price order (from lowest to highest with the RRP included if I know it). I’ve included links to shops that stock the items where applicable as well as details of who to contact re finding your nearest stockists!

1. Trimits Festive Motifs

Trimits have released a range of Festive motifs that can be ironed on or sewn on. They’re washable up to 40° and come on plastic free packaging (yay!). There are 6 designs to choose from and they are a really fun way to add something extra to handmade/homemade cushions, make up pouches, tote bags and stockings! At a bargain RRP. of £1 per motif these are a fabulous stocking filler! To find your nearest stockists contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk

2.Trimits Festive Buttons

Trimits have also released these 2 packs of Festive buttons! These can be great additions to add as embellishments on Christmas cushions, stockings, wall-hangings, on bunting and even for your festive garments!

There are 2 mixed packs available. Each pack has a variety of button sizes with a range of festive designs! With an RRP. of £3.25 per pack, these are an affordable and fun sewing goody to get! To find your nearest stockists contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk

3. Hemline Buttons

If you want something without a Christmas theme that can be useful all year round then Hemline buttons are the perfect option!

Hemline produce more buttons than I could possible capture in 1 image!

They range from teeny tiny buttons through to large statement buttons, wood buttons through to shell buttons, plain buttons through to fancy buttons….and if you can’t find the perfect button for your project you can even make your own with their self-cover buttons!

They’re the perfect gift for anyone who loves fabrics, sewing, patchwork, dressmaking, and textiles! Minerva stock a huge (and I mean huge) variety of Hemline buttons:


4. Clover fusible bias makers

Stained glass patchwork is becoming more popular and it is a really fun way to produce a stand-out design that makes your fabric pop!

Clover have produced a range of fusible bias makers in a variety of sizes to help you when making lattice, meshwork and/or stained glass patchwork!

This is a really fun way to get a gift for someone who wants to learn a new technique or for a gift to yourself as a New Year’s resolution to learn a new patchwork skill. Clover also have video tutorials and projects on their website to accompany these products! Prices start from £6.20 (and vary according to the size that you buy). To find your nearest stockists contact clover@stockistenquiries.co.uk or head to the Minerva website:


5. Sew Easy 3 in 1 tool

Sew Easy have released a new 3-in-1 tool which is a needle puller, thread cutter and thimble….all in 1 tool!

This is a great little gadget for anyone who hand sews as it can easily fit in your sewing pouch and is super portable.

It has an RRP. of £6.99 and you can contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk to find your nearest stockists!

6. Hemline Thimble Organiser

What can you put these sewing goodies into? Well, the Hemline Thimble Organiser is a great option!

It is a rainbow-coloured thimble shaped container (measuring approx 12.5cm x 12cm) which you can fill with chocolates, sewing goodies, fabrics or as a desk organiser for pens/pencils/scissors etc!

The RRP. of the Thimble Organiser is £7.99 and it is a really fun alternative to a single-use gift bag. To find your nearest stockists contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk

7. Clover desk needle threader

This desk needle threader comes in 3 colours and has a solid base so that you can rest it on your sewing table as you use it (no awkward balancing act!)

It is designed to be quick and easy to use and is compatible with a range of Clover needles. It has an RRP. of around £10. To find your nearest stockists contact clover@stockistenquiries.co.uk

8. Sew Easy Sashiko Tote Bag kit

More people are enjoying the slow, methodical motion of hand sewing such as that involved with sashiko. Sew Easy have released a Sashiko kit which literally has everything you need in one kit except for the scissors! This is always a massive plus as it means you can start sewing straight away!

The kit contains the fabric for making the tote bag, Japanese embroidery thread, gold-eye embroidery needles in a range of sizes, a Sashiko template, and a water-soluble fabric pencil as well as the instructions.

The kit has an RRP. of £21 and it is a great all-in-one sewing kit. To find your nearest stockists contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk

9. Gütermann Hand Quilting Thread Pack

This thread pack contains 10 x 80m reels of the most popular colours of the Gütermann hand-quilting threads. They’re 100% mercerized cotton so they have a silk-like lustre and they’re super strong. To find your nearest stockists contact gutermann@stockistenquiries.co.uk

10. Gütermann sew-all thread pack

Lastly, Gütermann have released a new sew-all thread pack which has a whopping 20 x 100m reels of their sew-all polyester threads in a range of colours.

The kit has an RRP of £27.90 which is a great saving as if you bought 20 reels individually (with an RRP of £2 per thread) it would cost you £40!

These threads are my go-to every time! They literally are sew-all! To find your nearest stockists contact gutermann@stockistenquiries.co.uk

Product review: Clover buttonhole cutter

I have been making a new dress this week: the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress using the Equateur 6 Lequilt fabric by Stof and stocked by Minerva Crafts.This dress has buttonholes. I’m not going to lie, cutting buttonholes scares me because what I always worry that my hand could slip, cut through the buttonhole itself and ruin what I’ve spent hours/days making!This weekend I have been using the Clover Buttonhole Cutter whilst making my vintage shirt dress.I used my Janome sewing machine to sew the buttonhole and it never fails to amaze me how clever the machine is at making a buttonhole to the size you need simply by placing the button at the back the foot!Then, I placed the cutting mat underneath my buttonhole (making sure the rest of the dress was well out of the way) and used the cutter to cut through the fabric with an ever so slight rocking motion forwards and backwards.I was surprised by how effective such a small cutter could be and also how clean the cut was!Using a seam ripper to cut the buttonhole is good too but it doesn’t give anywhere near as smooth a cut as the Clover buttonhole cutter!I can’t wait to start making lots of new dresses with buttonholes now!For Clover stockists information or if you are a retailer and want to stock Clover items then please contact clover@stockistenquiries.co.uk

Product review: Clover 45mm Rotary Cutter

Rotary cutters…for most of us who sew (especially patchwork and quilting), this is one of the first tools we buy and there are lots of sorts, sizes and prices out there on the market so what makes a rotary cutter a good rotary cutter?

Well, you want something that is not too lightweight that you lose your grip when using it but equally so you want something that isn’t too heavy that it is cumbersome and tiring to use. You want something that is comfortable to hold through the repetitive action of measuring twice/cutting once. You want something which is durable and isn’t going to break or blunt after a handful of uses. You also want something that looks good! The Clover 45mm rotary cutter has all of these features and more!

It is a really good size (sturdy but not too solid) which sits perfectly in the hand thanks to the soft-cushion handle and the lever can lock into place to either keep the blade exposed or keep the blade covered (it is really nice to not have to continuously hold a button in to expose the blade).

If you’ve ever used Clover products before you’ll know their products are high quality, durable, reliable and incredibly well thought out. What I really like about this rotary cutter is the fact it comes with instructions (I never ever thought I’d be excited about rotary cutter instructions but here I am!)

Why do the instructions matter? Because this rotary cutter has several features which are incredibly clever but which I wouldn’t have known unless I was told (hence the instructions!)

Firstly, this rotary cutter is suitable for both right handed use and left handed use!

You don’t need to buy special left-handed rotary cutters because this one has you covered! You simply unscrew the cover, reverse it and re-screw the cover and it becomes a left-handed use rotary cutter! So simple yet also so clever.

I also really like that safety has been considered in relation to changing the blades. There is a protective holder on your rotary cutter (and with the rotary blade refills) so that you don’t have to hold the blade directly when changing over. Again, this is something that is simple yet incredibly clever for considering practicality and safety in the same process.

Changing rotary cutter blades is something we often don’t do frequently enough and it makes a massive difference to have a sharp blade when cutting fabric. The rotary cutter blade refills come in packs of 1 or 5 and I definitely recommend getting the 5 pack as it’ll make it much easier to refresh your blades regularly!

So, what makes a rotary cutter a good rotary cutter? The proof is in this post – the Clover rotary cutter is the definition of a good rotary cutter! Strong, reliable, durable, clever, comfortable, easy-to-use and it looks beautiful with your fabric! What more could you want?

For stockists information or if you are a retailer and want to stock these items then please contact clover@stockistenquiries.co.uk

Product review: Vlieseline Creative Sample Pack

I have been doing lots of machine sewing this week which means I have had the perfect opportunity to start using the Vlieseline Creative Sample Pack from Lady Sew and Sew.

It can be ridiculously frustrating to start a new project and think you’re all sorted with your fabric and thread before then realising you don’t have everything after all because you need a specific sort of interfacing. Well this sample pack is the answer because no matter what your project, there is sure to be an interfacing for you within this pack!

There are 10 sorts of Vlieseline products in this pack (with 20cm of each). Not only is each Vlieseline sample clearly labelled so that you know what you’re using, but there is also plenty of information about how to use the sample and what products it is best suited for.

I love how accessible the sample pack is…you don’t have to sort through them trying to match the sample product to the correct name/information – all of the hard work is done for you!

There are also a range of booklets showing even more products made by Vlieseline!

I have been making the Sew Over It Doris Dress this week which requires a lightweight interfacing so I have used the soft fusible interlining from the Vlieseline Sample Pack.

This is used around the neckline and where the buttons are.

It worked beautifully! It ironed onto the fabric well, it was super soft to sew, and it provided enough strength for the multitude of buttons that I have used!

This is a great sample pack and I can’t wait to start playing with the other samples!

To buy your Vlieseline Creative Sample Pack, head on over to Lady Sew and Sew.

Sew Easy Pressing Ham

I am a little bit addicted to the Sew Easy pressing ham (which is very high praise coming from someone who actively avoids ironing clothes!)

The Tailors Pressing Ham (also known as a pressing ham or a dressmaker’s ham) is tightly stuffed with sawdust and is perfect for ironing curved areas of clothes such as darts, necklines, waistlines and shaping collars.

I’ve been using it for my latest make – a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress using Art Gallery Fabrics. I wanted to add some understitching to the neckline and you can see just how difficult it is to iron that curve on a flat ironing board…

It is possible, by all means, but why make life a fiddle when there are tools and gadgets to help make life easier?! The curves on the Sew Easy pressing ham mimicks the body’s contours making it so much easier to iron curved areas of clothing.

You can see how much easier it is to iron that same area by placing it on the pressing ham’s curves rather than placing it flat on the ironing board.

There’s also a Sew Easy Sleeve Pressing Roll.

Using the same principle as the Tailors Pressing Ham, the Sleeve Pressing Roll is perfect for pressing longer seams, hard to reach seams and sleeves!

It makes pressing/ironing/dressmaking so much easier and, dare I say it, I actually enjoy ironing more when I use it…! I can’t wait to show you the finished dress (with the perfectly ironed curves!)

The Sew Easy Tailors Pressing Ham is available to buy from Minerva Crafts here.

The Sew Easy Sleeve Pressing Roll is available to buy from Minerva Crafts here.

For stockists information or if you are a retailer and want to stock these items then please contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk

English Paper Piecing with Sew Easy templates

So I know it is only June but I wholeheartedly believe it is never too early to start Christmas sewing!

When I saw the new Sew Easy Template Sets I knew they would be perfect for using in conjunction with the new Makower Merry Christmas collection!

The Sew Easy Template Sets come in a range of popular shapes (squares, hexagons, triangle, right-angle triangles, diamonds and pentagons) with each shape set containing 8 templates of varying sizes. The templates have been laser cut for precision, they contain marking points, they come already on a keyring (so you don’t lose any!) and an additional 1/4″ seam allowance is added to each shape.

Having a range of sizes within one set is really useful as it means you can easily adapt to use the shape most suited to the fabric you’re using! I wanted to fussy cut these reindeers from the Merry Christmas collection because they’re just so cute!

I could then place different squares on top until I found the shape that fit! These reindeers fit perfectly within the 2.5″ square.

Then, using my rotary cutter, I can use the template to cut around as it is made for strong, durable acrylic.

If you’re a machine patchworker then cut out a handful of these fussy-cut reindeers, attach the 1/4″ foot to your machine and you are good to go! I was on a roll but Misha always seems to want to get involved (and it scares the life out of me when I am holding a rotary cutter!) I am definitely taking this as another cat-approval though!

If, like me, you love a bit of handsewing and English Paper Piecing (EPP) then the sew easy templates are great for fussy cutting the fabric and for making your paper templates! So, if you wanted to EPP with the template set I would actually recommend using them slightly differently. A 1/4″ seam is perfect for machine patchwork but it is a bit fiddly for EPP. So I knew the reindeer fit within my 2.5″ square but I wanted a bigger seam allowance than the 1/4″ included on the template. Instead, I cut the fabric out using the 3″ square.

This just gives you a bit of extra wiggle room with your seam allowance when English Paper Piecing. Then, to make the paper template, I went back to my 2.5″ template (as that is the finished size for my reindeer) and placed it on top of a piece of white card.

Using my pencil, I could then draw a joining line inside the marking points so that I would know what size to cut the paper template.

Using my rotary cutter, I then used the edge of the template as a cutting guide to cut out a paper template measuring 2.5″ square.

By using those marking points inside the 2.5″ template I have disregarded the seam allowance and made a paper template that is precisely the size I want it to be for fussy cutting.

Then, I placed the 2.5″ acrylic template onto the wrong side of the reindeer square to make sure I had the placement correct.

Once I have checked the placement is right, I always let one edge of the fabric hang loose. Leaving this gap between the fabric and the sew easy acrylic template means it is easy to slip your paper template inbetween the 2 layers.

Using my nail, I then hold the paper template in place and remove the sew easy acrylic template. Then, I attach binding clips to hold the paper piece in the right place before folding the edges over and thread basting.

I definitely prefer using binding clips to pins for English Paper Piecing because it gives a stronger hold at various points which you definitely need when fussy cutting!

I love how versatile the sew easy templates are because they can be used for cutting, marking, fussy cutting, machine patchwork and English Paper Piecing!

I have made 4 EPP squares using the Sew Easy templates so far and I might make these blocks into a Christmas coaster! With a bit of Christmas green for the binding it will look adorable!

For stockists information or if you are a retailer and want to stock these items then please contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk

Product review – Trimits dressmaking pattern weights = 5*

I am really starting to get into dressmaking now and I recently got some new Trimits pattern weights.

Trying to get the pin through both the paper pattern and the fabric (or 2 layers of fabric if cutting on the fold) can be costly in time (it is a very time consuming, slow process), precision (it is so easy to move the fabric by accident when trying to get the pin through all the layers which means the fabric may no longer be lying flat or in the right place which is especially important if you are cutting directional prints) and durability (lots of pin holes in a paper pattern will no doubt weaken it over time thus its reusability is lessened).

These Trimits pineapple pattern weights are perfect because they remove the need to pin the pattern by simply laying the weights on top of the edges of your pattern pieces at varying intervals. They are deceptively heavy which means that they will hold the paper edges flat against the fabric so that there is no distortion and then you can start cutting straight away! Yay!

You can get lots of different pattern weight shapes but I particularly like the Trimits pineapple shape (more than the flat pattern weights) because you can easily move them about by grabbing the pineapple’s green crown – nothing fiddly about it!

Misha also gave it the big seal of approval as she could bop it about and the weighted bottom meant it wasn’t moving anywhere!

The Trimits pineapple weights come in packs of 2 so I will definitely be getting more because I have really enjoyed using them! For now, I am using Misha as an additional pattern weight…

You can buy these pattern weights directly from Minerva Crafts or contact groves@stockistenquiries.co.uk to find your nearest stockists!