I'm proud to be a part of the third annual Sew Pink blog hop run by ByAnnie – to focus on Breast cancer for the month of October. Although its important every day of the year, I've taken part in each of these initiatives now as I believe in the importance of this raising of awareness – and funds to beat this thing!
This year when I went in for my bi-annual Boob check I ran into a friend coming in as I left. Not surprising – we’re all around the same age and demographic in a smallish town, so often you see someone you know. Little did I know that she was there for a dreaded callback – which resulted in a positive result and weeks of surgery, chemotherapy and years of anxiousness and checks to come. What surprised me most when we next caught up and discussed it was that it was the first time she had had a breast check. (she is early/mid 50’s). This is despite having family history - and it being free to have Breast screens here in Australia from age 40.
Why wouldn't she do it? because, like me, she is a busy small business owner, a mum, a wife, a charity organiser and everything else she cannot say no to. She provides to, mentors and coaches hundreds of children a week in her business and she didn't have the time to think about herself – only others. She knows she should have, she knows its easy and free, she knows everything she could have done – but we, as working mums and business owners just tend to put ourselves last on that ever growing list.
You know I preach about the therapy of stitching, and I get so many messages of personal stories saying how stitching my patterns has helped people get through traumas, challenges and life events, including cancer journeys – I can’t stress enough the importance of taking that time out for ourselves, to smell the roses and – get the boob check! Before you have to go through the journey that so many of our friends and family have endured.
But instead of a mesh on the outside pocket, I've used our EPP Iron-ons to make an English paper pieced ribbon in honour of the SewPink initiative. It’s quick and simple – but it sends a message – a reminder, to us all.
And I'm imagining that those are zebra unicorns there giving hope to all!
Here’s a quick little step by step of my ribbon process.
Cut them out keeping that 1/4” seam allowance on each one.
Next we use a fabric glue pen, a small line of glue along the edge of the paper and fold over that seam allowance onto the glue.
I arranged them onto a printout to see how I wanted to spread my colours around. (you can download that pdf here if it helps you)
Then you simply whip stitch them together as you would for any EPP. The difference with our EPP Iron-ons is you leave them in – yes they iron on, and stay in – if washed they’ll semi dissolve and just stay in as nice soft fibres.
Next you’ll cut a piece of cotton fabric (we used the zebra print) the same size as the mesh measurement in the pattern. Glue baste (we use small dots of Roxanne’s basting glue) it into place and then hand or machine stitch it down tucking in those tails as you go.
Then you’ll just continue to make up your bag as per the pattern.
I made Style 3 – with three pockets, splitting the bottom one. You get a voucher code with each pattern to watch the Add-on videos by Annie. They take you through step by step with so many tips to perfect her zippers, mesh, vinyl and more.
If you’ve never done EPP before and would like to try this checkout my YouTube channel for some help using our method.
If you’d like to make your own version, we’re including enough EPP Iron-on precuts to make your ribbon with each Pocket packer pattern ordered on any of our websites. We can also put together kits in the same fabrics we used – or of course you may have our own favourites.
We have a Giveaway
As part of the blog hop I have a $30 digital coupon to give away to one lucky reader – you just need to pop over to my Instagram feed and find the Sewpink post and enter to win. And remember, we’re giving you the EPP Iron-on 1” diamond papers when you grab the Pocket packer pattern.
BLOG HOP 2021 SCHEDULE
✂ Oct. 1 (Fri):Fat Quarter Shop - The Jolly Jabber
✂ Oct. 2 (Sat):Sallie Tomato
✂ Oct. 4 (Mon): Hugs ‘N Kisses
✂ Oct. 6 (Wed): Sewfinity
✂ Oct. 11 (Mon):Beyond the Reef
✂ Oct. 13 (Wed): Great Heron Thread Co.
✂ Oct. 15 (Fri): Love You Sew
✂ Oct. 15 (Fri): Emmaline Bags
✂ Oct. 16 (Sat): Meadow Mist Designs
✂ Oct. 18 (Mon): OklaRoots
✂ Oct. 20 (Wed): Suzn Quilts
✂ Oct. 20 (Wed): Teresa Coates
✂ Oct. 22 (Fri): Knot and Thread Design
✂ Oct. 23 (Sat): Shannon’s Studio
✂ Oct. 25 (Mon): The Littlest Thistle
✂ Oct. 27 (Thur): Mister Domestic
✂ Oct. 27 (Wed): Sookie Sews
And Don’t forget to go have that Boob check – no matter how busy you are.
The #SewPink Initiative was created by ByAnnie.com LLC to raise awareness for breast cancer throughout the year. Our efforts culminate in an annual blog hop during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote self-care, awareness, early detection, and support for those affected by breast cancer.
To learn more and see the calendar of events visit: https://www.ByAnnie.com/SewPINK
To find screenings available near you:
In addition to participating in the #SewPINK Initiative, Fat Quarter Shop invites you to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation with the goal of raising $10,000.
To find the Fat Quarter Shop fundraiser visit: https://fundraise.nbcf.org/FatQuarterShop
To learn more about the Breast Cancer Research Foundation visit: https://www.bcrf.org/
Time for a little maths lesson. Do you love English paper piecing but ready to move on from just hexies..
We have lots of die cut EPP Iron-on shapes being added to our inventory with our next order coming soon. So I thought it was time to have a little lesson on how they work together.
English Paper piecing is basically using paper templates (we use our Applique paper for our unique easyepp method) and folding fabric pieces over the paper to make perfect shapes.
Generally (although not always) the shapes tessellate to make a solid piece. This means that the shapes fit together perfectly with no gaps in between.
For this to work however, they either need to be all the exact same shape with an equal amount of sides or shapes in the same angle and size group.
So if you can remember back to school here is the basics of maths:
We’ll start with the simple hexagon. It has six sides. A full circle is 360degrees = so divide that by 6 and it gives us 60 degrees.
So shapes that will tessellate with a hexagon generally all need to be based on 60 degree angles (or could be 30, 90, 120 degrees).
And all of their derivates (as in you can chop a hexagon up into many smaller shapes.)
Just look at all the ways you can cut a hexie apart and put it back together again!
Of course you need to choose the measurement to match also (we’ll talk more about how to measure epp shapes in another post)
You can always start with any shape, cut it apart and know that it should go back together again, but what if you want to use different starter shapes and design a new motif or block with them?
Well just look at those angles and see if they might work together.
For example a jewel shape will work with the 60 degree hexie shapes.
But what about other angles you may ask? well back to maths and your 360 degree circle. What else can it be divided into?
An Octagon is a 45degree shape (8 sides 360/8=45)
and therefore works well with honeycombs and 90 degree squares.
and 45 degree diamonds
A pentagon is not so pretty to use – on its own it does not tessellate (ie: there are gaps)
but combine it with 72 or 36 degree diamonds and it can work.
See if you can work out the maths in these In The Round blocks below:
If you’d love to learn more about English Paper piecing and our unique Easy EPP method checkout our tutorials
Or you may wish to take our Scrappity Doo Dah 26 part EPP program.
That's enough for one maths lesson – happy epp’ing
I'm again participating in the ByAnnie #sewpink campaign for the October Breast cancer awareness month. Although I have so far escaped the 1 in 7 statistic, many of my friends have not and I have watched them battle and fight with grace and courage… hopefully by their side with support along the way. So it was certainly my honour to once again support this activity and bring a little awareness and reminders to our day.
There are many great designers participating in the blog hop, and I've put the links at the bottom of the post. We also may each have a prize to giveaway! yes, one every day if you visit each blog. To win mine, you just need to post a pic on IG and tag me @helen_stubbings using hashtag #sewpink. telling your friends and family to ‘check their bumps for lumps’. Don’t forget to tag me or I won’t see your entry. It would be great to also tag @PatternsByAnnie It can be a HNK or ByAnnie project you’ve made, some wise words or show your BC story, anything you like. Be creative and have fun.. You may win a $30 digital voucher from By Annie and another from Hugs ‘n Kisses.
Last year I had a bit of fun and made this little project – the Zip it up bag
and we held a wonderful and successful ‘Stitch for Sisters’ high tea event raising many funds for the cause.
Sadly that is not possible this year – so I have instead ‘interviewed’ three lovely friends who have all won the battle and have some tips to share. (note: photos and content provided & shared with their permission further down)
I have also made the lovely Day Tripper 2.0 Cross body bag from ByAnnie as I felt it was the perfect bag for day treatment visits.
I used the wonderful bag zippers from ByAnnie, (in hot pink of course) and the Wild Lotus Prussian fabric by Anna Maria. We also just received the lovely new black hardware from Annie, so of course I had to try that.. stock is coming!
I asked my friends what 3 things would they put into a day treatment (tripper) bag?
What are three things you wished you knew before going to your first treatment to take in your bag?
First and last treatments -
First treatment I was full of anxiety - Last Herceptin treatment (had to do this every 3 weeks for 12months, started with chemo) feeling happy it was all over
1. I wished I had prepared a small bag packed with a simple project to work on just at treatments, or sitting in waiting rooms. I was always walking out the door and forgetting to take some handwork and a lot of time was wasted in my own head worrying about stuff I had no control over.
2.I found taking comfy socks to wear during chemo kept my toes warm and me comfy.
3.Keep a diary/journal and write your story.
Look good, Feelgood workshops – celebrating end of first year of treatment
1.Ask how you’re having your treatment, mine was through a cannula in my hand and so I couldn’t really use one of my hands while I was having the chemo. So Music and an electronic book were better options than stitching for me, it was such a shame I had so much time I would have loved to have stitched. My days were a minimum of six hours long to an overnight stay on my first treatment.
2.I found everyone amazing and you are well informed about what to expect but when they suggested loose comfortable clothing I didn’t think about easy slip on shoes and socks! I liked to recline in the chair without my shoes, but I needed to put them on every time I went to the toilet which was often. You’re hooked up to a pump on a mobile pole and a cannula in one hand that they ask you not to use if possible so slip on shoes are invaluable. I took a pair of crocs in my bag. If you don’t wear socks take some. It may be hot outside, but hospitals are airconditioned and if you’re like me I didn’t like cold feet. It’s also not a fashion faux pas to wear socks with your slip on shoes, you also don’t have any hair remember.
3. A drink bottle that you only need one hand to open is handy and big enough you don’t have to get up too often but not too big that its heavy to lift. Your encouraged to drink lots of water and believe me it’s better to stick with that advice, dehydration, nausea, constipation are all much worse if you don’t drink regularly.
About to go into surgery – stitchery in hand to calm the nerves
Mandy due to her home location moved away from home to a residential facility to undergo her weeks of radiation treatment daily. The most valued things (packed in a bag by her good friend) to get through this period were:
1.A little new stitching project by Anni Downs,
2.MooGoo body cream & homemade sleeping and relaxation oils,
3. chocolate and magazines
What is one single piece of advice you would have as a survivor?
If you’re likely to lose your hair don’t panic and rush out and buy an expensive wig, you may never wear it, the head scarves I had were so much more comfy and pretty. The wig still sits in a box.
Try to be patient if you’re not that nature. Everything takes longer than you think it should. Tests to be done so you can start treatment, your treatment to be over, days to feel normal, your hair to grow back, your taste to return, to not need an afternoon sleep, to be able to concentrate and remember things, to like chocolate again , but before you know it it’s all over and you survived.
Have that regular mammogram when it’s due! I like many before and after me was symptomless and my little cancer friend was hiding and didn’t want to be found by regular monthly checks. It was an insidious little monster just growing away and I thank Breast Screen Victoria for their vigilance.
Remember to win a $30 ByAnnie digital voucher OR a $30 HNK voucher you just need to post a pic on IG and tag me @helen_stubbings using hashtag #sewpink. Don’t forget to tag me or I won’t see your entry. It can be a HNK project you’ve made, some wise words or show your BC story, anything you like. If possible – make it pink!
and ladies and gents – don’t forget to check those bumps for lumps!
Hugs for today – and go check those bumps!
✂ Oct. 1 (Thur): Mister Domestic
✂ Oct. 5 (Mon): Sewfinity
✂ Oct. 7 (Wed): Great Heron Thread
✂ Oct. 9 (Friday): Knot and Thread
✂ Oct. 12 (Mon): Snuggles Quilts
✂ Oct. 14 (Wed): A Bright Corner
✂ Oct. 16 (Fri): Susan Quilts
✂ Oct. 19 (Mon): HUGS'N KISSES
✂ Oct. 20 (Tues): Sallie Tomato
✂ Oct. 22 (Thur): Nancy Scott
✂ Oct. 23 (Fri): Meadow Mist
✂ Oct. 26 (Mon): LoveYouSew
✂ Oct. 27 (Tue): Teresa Coates
✂ Oct. 31 (Sat): Sue O'Very/Sookie Sews
The #SewPink Initiative was created by ByAnnie.com LLC to raise awareness for breast cancer throughout the year. Our efforts culminate in an annual blog hop during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote self-care, awareness, early detection and support for those affected by breast cancer.
To learn more and see the calendar of events visit: https://www.ByAnnie.com/SewPINK
To find screenings available near you:
To donate directly to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation visit: https://give.bcrf.org/give/31404/#!/donation/checkout
I use bias vines and stems so often in my projects and love that there are many ways you can make them very easily and accurately. However, I'm also aware from the oohs and ahhs at workshops and in classes that not everyone has seen or heard about these easy methods… So while I can’t be with you to show you how – I have made a little video to show you from afar.
What are bias vines and stems?
They are strips of fabric used generally in applique designs. Usually quite narrow – down to 1/8th of an inch – my standard is normally 1/4” – but you can do as wide as you like. Both edges of the strips are turned under – yes just like a turned edge applique shape, but there are much easier ways to pre-turn those edges.
If the vines or stems are curved then these little strips are cut on the bias grain – that is 45 degrees – or a 45 degree angle from the straight grain or selvedge edge of your fabric. This means they will turn around even very sharp curves and still sit flat on your work (sometimes with a bit of help from a steaming iron).
Of course they are best cut from 100% good quality quilting fabric as this has a lot of movement allowing that easing around curves whilst still being very stable. It would be much more difficult to use a stretch fabric, and a polyester would cause issues with steaming into place.
They are very common in traditional applique designs
and used more and more in modern quilting techniques…
Designs by Kat Jones
Of course there are tools to help you with this – and although I’m not big on tools just for the sake of it, there are some, like a rotary cutter, ruler and mat, that I would never not use – and bias makers fall in this category.
My video will show you other ways – yes, without tools – and other tool options you may prefer or already have.
Checkout my video tutorial here
now go forth and make lots of lovely bias – it’s truly very satisfying..
hugs for today
I’ve done a quick photo tutorial whilst making up a second test prototype of my Le fer Tote bag as written instructions can be tricky for some parts of this bag and we have found people struggle with the lining particularly. This method will also apply to the Taffy Apple pouch bag which is made in a similar way.
1. fuse the foam strips (iron or spray baste) inside the two long zipper strips. Push the foam right up to the fold – there should be a 1/4” gap at the bottom raw edges where there is no foam. (note: if making the original le fer tote you will have already completed the embroider on the bottom part of this panel on linen)
2. Place the two folded edges evenly together – you may want to pin.
3. lay the 40cm lace zipper right side up over the two edges – the teeth need to sit exactly on the join where they meet. Have the metal end on the left sitting in the seam allowance (so you wont sew over it later and break your needle). Pin well.
4. Using a zipper foot stitch down both sides of the zipper close to the teeth. Move the pull out of the way, stitch past it, then close it back up out of the way. Once finished turn over and make sure you’ve stitched through both sides.
5. Cut out the top and bottom using Template A. (Note: if making the original le fer tote pattern your top will be pieced as hexies, cut the hexie panel to the Template A size.
Trim to size.
Stitch in the ditch through all layers through both seams.
6. Make the handle as per instructions. Hand or machine edgestitch. Place it in the centre of the back panel with both edges even and pin. Machine baste if you wish. It won’t sit flat as its a little longer than the panel.
7. Place the short edge of the zipper panel right sides together with the centre of your outer bag panel. (the zip side will be against the right side of the back panel) It will be 1/2” wider than the back part. Pin at the seam lines (1/4” in from both ends). Stitch from the first pin (1/4” in) to the last pin (1/4” before the other edge) – be careful when going past the zip not to hit that metal part.
7. now it starts to get a little fiddly. Turn the zipper panel at the clip point (the seam) so that it follows around the curved end of the outer panel. Pin the edges well so all the raw edges are even. Do the bottom of the bag first.
Stitch 1/4” around the pinned edges. I found it easier to stitch from the foam side – you can see where the end of your stitching row is at the seam (that 1/4” point) this is where you want your row of stitching to start – and yes you want to backtack to secure. You will finish when you reach the start of the stitching line on the other side.
Now you will have a half a bag with the lid or top hanging open. Open the zipper and repeat what you just did – joining the small part of the zipper panel to the lid (or other curved end of the bag panel)Smoosh it so you can get into that start point at the end of the side stitching line –fiddly yes..Turn the bag right side out and press out the seams really well with a steam iron.
8. now we are at the trickiest part. Attaching the lining.
Turn the bag inside out again – so that the fabric is inside the bag and the foam is showing on the outside.
Start by matching a fold of the lining piece to a seam line on the bag. (the seam line between the lid and the back piece of the bag). The right side of the lining will be against the fabric inside the bag. pin the first fold to the seam at the top edge of the bag. Now pin up around the curved edges of the lid – not too hard.
Now we have to pin the other fold to the bottom edge seam. See the first yellow arrove below? that pin is my fold line and it needs to go right down to that bottom seam corner.
then for the bottom edge you need to tuck the straight edges of the bag inwards and the lining has to reach down to the bottom as per the second yellow arrow. You have to squish and smoosh to get it down there all the way around the bag.
Then turn to the foam side and you are going to stitch around the edges on the same stitch line as before or as close as possible. You will leave a small opening in the side of one bottom edge.
Use a pair of clamps to reach inside your opening, grab the far end and carefully put it all through the opening. (you may want to clip the curves before you turn). Push out all the seams really well. If you did not get the lining all the way to the edges and some seam lines or raw edges are showing you can now adjust and slip stitch the lining better into place.
Pin and then Slip stitch the opening closed so that it covers the remaining seam allowance.
Or here’s the original version with embroidery and EPP Hexies. All ready for your mini iron.