Patchwork with Carolyn Forster


We are delighted to be welcoming renowned patchwork tutor Carolyn Forster to Made and Making.

Carolyn has written numerous books and appeared on our screens on such channels as Sewing Quarter sharing her skills. Now is your chance to meet and learn form the expert in the comfort of the Made and Making studio.

During the year she will be running several workshops with ourselves and the details can be seen below. Each workshop is totally different so there are plenty of skills and technqiues to learn.

Please see below for the  projects and then scroll down further to full details on each session. 

Tuesday 18th May - Traditional Manx log cabin

This style of patchwork is entirely hand pieced, and no measurements are given, as each piece is dependent on the size of the makers'own hands. These are used as a guage and all the fabric is then snipped and ripped. It originates from the Isle of Man, hence it's name of Manx log cabin. There is no wadding and the texture is created by th folds in the logs as you sew.

During the class we will stitch some blocks by hand and Carolyn will also demonstrate how to modify this technique for the sewing machine using rotary cutting and the use of Vlieseline Quick screen as a base grid. You will make at least two blocks so that you can practice joining the blocks together.  

Join Carolyn for a day of a different kind of quilt making.

You need to bring

  • Fabric for logs. Quilting cotton, craft cotton, dress weight cotton and/or washed and pressed fabric from old clothes you may want to recycle are all suitable. The design works well if there is a contrast between the light and dark logs of the block but this is not always necessary depending on what you have or how you want to interpret the design.  Any colour scheme is great! Fat or long quarters are best along with any scraps you may wish to incorporate. Each block has a circuit of four logs and you can use one light and one dark fabric throughout or four light and four dark fabrics, the design is up to you.
  • Fabric for the centre of the blocks. This is traditionally red but use whatever you are happy with.
  • Backing fabric. This makes up the back of your blocks and you will be sewing through it by hand. Cotton flannel or brushed cotton works well as it is slightly sturdier and soft. Craft cotton or dressmaking cotton fabric is ok too but Tana lawn, which is ok for the logs, is too fine for the backing. It will work best with something that will hold a crease and not fray too much.
  • Sewing thread to blend with the backing fabric.
  • Fabric scissors, basic sewing kit including small scissors, pins, thimbles etc. Hand sewing needles (eg sharps no 10 or 11)
  • Seam roller (useful if you don't want to use the iron)
  • Pen and paper

Friday 24th September - Siddi quilt

Siddi or Kawandi quilts come from the western part of India and are made by people of African descent who came to India through enslavement by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. Made to be slept on in hot weather, or under in the cooler monsoon season they are  traditionally  made using a sari base with appliqued patches of fabric built up on top, from a corner, the outside edges or the centre. The patches are held down with a running stitch and the overlapping patches are built up to cover the base cloth. Traditionally they are finished with a folded fabric square at each corner, known as a phula or flower, and some consider the Kawandi unfinished or undressed without it.

In this workshop we willl be making a mini quilt of approximately 19" x 25" to explore this technique using scraps of patchwork weight fabrics, personal cloth, labels or embroidery snippets. Essentially it is a quilt as you go technique as we will be sewing the patches to a backing and lining with the quilting stitches.

You need to bring:

  • Backing: Carolyn suggests a tea towel (loosely woven, washed and clean!) as the edge is already finished and ready to work with. If you wish to use a piece of patchwork fabric, cut 19.5" x 25.5" and we can turn the hem in the workshop.
  • Lining: Thin cotton wadding or cotton flannel work well, you need a piece 19.5" x 25.5". There will be some available to purchase on the day if you need it.
  • Top, fabric scraps: Bring fabrics you want to use for the top, scraps, jelly rolls or pieces that you are happy to cut up. The corner 'flowers' can be made from one fabric or different ones. The more fabrics you use the more interesting the quilt will be.
  • Thread:  Valdani cotton perle no 12, Aurifil 12wt, Wonderfil Spaghetti or equivalent. You can use a variegated thread, or solids and different colours to add interest. You will also need tacking thread.
  • Needles: Embroidery or Betweens no 6 is Carolyn's preferred option but please bring whatever you find easy to handle and can thread.
  • Thimbles if you use them when quilting.
  • Pinning: Fine patchwork pins, short applique pins or flat headed pins to hold scraps in place or a fabric glue stick
  • Finger Pressing: The scraps need to have a hem folded under, this can be done by finger pressing or by using a wooden or plastic seam iron or a seam roller.
  • Basic hand sewing kit: Including fabric scissors and thread scissors.