How I Learned to Create a Simple Patchwork Project

Until I developed a patchwork project for Stitch Summer 2012, I had literally never done any patchwork sewing. But I was lucky to have someone on the Stitch team, (Mary Walter, our technical editor) who is a quilting whiz and could teach me how to do some basic patchwork. I think that I have always had an unreasonable fear of patchwork, so it was good to have support!

The patchwork was so much easier
than I expected!

The idea to do a patchwork project developed when we sat down to brainstorm staff projects for the summer issue. I was very taken with starfish at the time, so I decided to do a starfish beanbag. Then I got the idea that I could use patchwork diamonds for the pointed sections of the star on one side of the starfish. This would allow me to play with patterns and fabrics to create something really fun. I ended up using a mixture of plaids, prints and polka dots.

I found a good star pattern and traced off  two stars. I saved one for the back of my starfish and cut the diamond-shaped patterns for the patchwork pieces from the other. Then I added a 1/4" seam allowance to the diamond (like most quilting projects, I use a 1/4" seam allowance for everything). I knew it was easy enough to sew the sides of the patchwork together, but my big question and fear was how to navigate the center of the star where the points met. Mary showed me how to handle this with aplomb.

–First, I pressed the seam allowances back 1/4".

–Then I pinned one piece at a time and sewed it, building the star as I attached and sewed each piece.

–At the place where the star patchwork sections met, I stuck a pin through the point on each diamond where I would have to stop stitching, about 1/4" inch from the edge. I backstitched at that point to be sure the intersection was secure. With careful sewing and checking, I was able to get all of the points to meet nicely. Then I pressed all of the seam allowances flat going in one direction. 

It really wasn't that hard at all, and even more importantly, it was fun! I realized that I could take almost any pattern and cut it up into patchwork pieces. My fear of patchwork was completely unfounded!

For lots of patchwork projects you can try, plus plenty of patchwork inspiration, check out the 10 cent download of I Love Patchwork available in the Sew Daily Shop for May 28 and 29.

Have you tried some patchwork lately? Have any tips? Tell us about it on the Sew Daily blog. And if you want to try the Scrappy Starfish Beanbags project, download it for free!

Happy stitching!


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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

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