I LOVE PATCHWORK! And I hope that after you have tried it you will love it too. I am a keen sewer, both in hand and machine, but patchwork is my first true love, especially 'English paper piecing' which is sewn by hand. I will also show you how to quilt your patchwork and turn it into a finished project. You can use any fabric for patchwork but 100% cotton is recommended for the best results.
Traditionally patchwork was a great recycling aid as old or worn clothes were cut into pieces and then cut into shapes and re-joined to make warm quilts or clothing, it is also a good way of using up fabric that was left over from other projects or if you just bought too much (is there such a thing?)
Whether your fabric is cut from a couple of old dresses, or you have chosen and bought fabric especially for your project, it is important that all fabric is washed and ironed before you start and that you never mix different types of fabric (eg. do not mix old with new fabrics or satin with cotton etc. as they will not wear evenly).
'English Paper Piecing' is using shapes cut out of paper as templates, fabric is then tacked to them to keep the shape of the paper. These 'patches' are then sewn together to form a pattern. These patches can be any shape or size, and create numerous patterns. Once the pattern is complete it can be used as a whole piece of fabric to make clothes or soft toys etc but it is often backed with padding and a fabric back and then quilted to hold the three layers together creating quilted fabric.
There are a wide variety of designs available for patchwork but we will be making 4 different patterns called 'blocks', these will each measure 12 inches square (30cm) when finished. I will show you an example of a colour-way for each block, but remember it is only my interpretation of the pattern. You can choose to use 2 different coloured fabrics like I have for the nine patch block for example or use 9 fabrics and have a different colour for each patch. I will provide a sketch of each pattern for you to download and colour in, so you can decide which colour you would like each patch to be before you start choosing fabric or cutting. It will also give you a good idea of what the end block will look like.
The blocks can be made into a variety of projects such as a cushion using only one block or a large bed-quilt that will need a dozen or more blocks. I'm going for something in between by using 3 blocks to make a table runner, this will give you the basic skills needed so that you will then be confident to try your hand at other patchwork & quilting projects and maybe buy a book or sign up for a course.