Sunday, 26 February 2017

Homspun Magazine 'Going to the Zoo' month 2 - penguin tutorial.

Hopefully you have made a good start to the quilt and month ones' block is complete. To lay down the pond, rocks and mum and dad penguin follow the same principal as in month one using fusible paper and following the magazines fabric guide.

Once all the background has been done and stitched all you need to do is make three cute little penguins that can hop from one fish to another!

. . . and here is how to do that.

For the front of the penguins, iron 3 of the large black rectangles & 3 small rectangles onto some lightweight interfacing - you will need interfacing that can be fused.
Lightly press the large rectangles in half matching the two longest edges together to mark a centre line. This will help position the penguins tummy. 

Place the template plastic over the pattern template and trace the shape for the penguins body and the penguins wing and then cut along the drawn line.

To make the penguin wings, pair up the small rectangles. Each pair will have one rectangle with interfacing and one rectangle without. Place them with right sides together. Onto the interfacing side, trace around the wing template twice to make a pair of wings for each penguin.
Reduce the stitch length on your machine to 1.5 - this will ensure that the curve is nice and smooth and will not split once turned through. Machine stitch over the drawn curved line of each wing shape. Do not stitch over the straight line at the bottom of the wing!
Cut around the stitched line leaving about an 1/8in seam allowance. Turn the wing right side out. This can be tricky . . . place the end of a pencil into the tip of the wing then carefully roll the wing over the wing.
For a really nice smooth edge to the wings, roll the seam between your fingers working the seam right to the edge. Press firmly with an iron.
Repeat the process to complete 3 sets of wings.

To make the baby penguin bodies, trace the templates for the penguin tummies and beaks 3 times onto fusible web and cut them out roughly. Fuse the traced penguin tummies to the back of the white felt - make sure you use a heat mat over the felt. Fuse the beaks to the back of the orange fabric.

Cut the tummies and beak out along the drawn lines. To get a good smooth curved cut, move the shape into the scissors rather then moving the scissors around the curve. Peel the paper away from the baby penguin tummies and place onto the black fabric rectangles with the interfacing. Use the pressed line to help centre the tummies. Press in place again using the heat mat. Fuse beaks in place. Machine blanket stitch around the white felt and orange beaks with colour matched thread. For this project we matched the bobbin thread to the top thread.

Mark where the baby penguins eyes should be. Hand stitch a small cross stitch in place for each eye. Use three or four threads of standard embroidery floss to make the eye bolder or use a 12wt thread as we did.

Now that the front of the penguins have been done, turn over the fronts and on the back centre the template for the penguins body and draw around it with a biro. Make sure to centre the template over the stitch lines of the penguins tummies. Mark a 1 inch gap at the bottom of the penguin for stuffing. Cut out the shape of the penguins body along the drawn line. 

Once the three bodies have been cut out turn them over to position the wings. Line up the raw edge of the wings with the edge of the penguin as shown above making sure the wings are laying into the penguins body. Pin them in place. Its a good idea the tack them in place or if you are confident then you can leave the in pins for now. 
To the centre of the remaining 3 large rectangles which are going to be the backs of the penguins, hand stitch a hook fabric dot to complete the baby penguin backs. If you are using sticky hooks this can be a bit tricky as the glue likes to cling to the needle so it helps to use a thimble!

Place the front and back piece of the penguins with right sides together ensuring that the velcro dot is lined up with the centre of the penguins tummy.
Machine sew with 1/8in seam allowance around the shape making sure you start and stop at the marked lines at the bottom. Trim the shape. for a really smooth curve snip along the curved edge but be very careful not to clip the stitches. They actually work pretty well without snipping along the curve!

To turn the penguins right side out place your finger into the penguin and then place your thumb and finger together. Gentle fold the the penguin over your thumb. Once his head has poked through it should pull through with ease.
Run your finger along the inside against the line of stitching to push the seam out & then gently press along the seam with a warm iron. It helps the next step if you can iron in a nice fold along the gap ready for stitching.

Stuff the penguins with hobby fill and stitch up the gap at the bottom with black thread using a whip stitch.

Ta-dah! . . . three finished penguins for your little one's to play with in the penguin pool.

Next month, Jemima will be hosting a tutorial on her blog tiedwitharibbon on how to perfect the quilting should you have got a bit behind with that!

Don't forget to send us your progress pictures, tag @tiedwitharibbon and @claireturpindesign in your BOM and #homespunzoobom #homespunbom2017 in your Instagram posts.

Happy stitching
x Claire

Sunday, 19 February 2017

First Quilt ever made!

I am on a quick trip back to the UK to catch up with my family when yesterday my sister-in-law kindly uncovered the first quilt I ever made. I was grateful she still had it and hadn't chucked it away (although she was a bit vague about its where about when I asked if she still had it!!)

. . . anyway, she did still have it and I'm pretty convinced I have learnt A LOT since I made it 16 years ago!

I made it for my niece Tilly . . . seen below with her favourite Aussie auntie! ;-)
I took a traditional applique pattern and change pretty much all the blocks. I am fairly convinced had I not come across fabric by the truly amazing Jan Mullens I would never had bothered.

It hasn't quite stood the test of time and the corners of the binding are decidedly dodgy but hey, I was a beginner!

Anyway - a big shout out to my brother Matt and my best friend and super sister-in-law Amy, thanks for having Tilly as she has unintentionally led me to where I am today!

x x Claire

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Finally the cat is out of the bag or should I say the monkey is out of the cage! . . . my big project that consumed hours of my time last year is finally out in the world! I am very proud to say I, along with my sewing bestie Jemima from Tied with a Ribbon have designed this years block of the month for Australian homespun magazine!

We had quite a clear directive from the magazine to design a kids quilt with an interactive zoo theme - from there Jemima and I brainstormed some ideas and not content with producing just a plain quilt we had the crazy idea to turn the thing into a play mat come toy bag thingy and why not make it a weird shape whilst we are at it! Thankfully it turned out brilliantly & I am pretty sure even a relative beginner will cope making it. We have incorporated an interactive element into each month so as well as perfecting your appliqué skills there will be some toy making too.

We designed the quilt as a quilt-as-you-go so hopefully by the end of the year you will a beautiful quilt ready for christmas. It was a great project from start to finish and I hope that lots of you get on board and make one for yourself. There are plenty of stores around the country that are running classes and a full list is in the february edition of the magazine.

Over the next ten months the instructions and patterns to make the quilt will be published in Homespun. Jemima and I will also be sharing some helpful tips, instructions and other surprises on our blogs so keep an eye out. 

Jemima kicks off month one with a tutorial on how to make the softie train so head over to her blog feb 1st at

If you are on Instagram please keeps us up to date with your progress by hash tagging your picture #homespunzoobom 

happy stitching

Claire x

Monday, 10 October 2016

Goldilocks - Homespun Magazine Oct 2016

A long long long time ago I was asked by Homespun magazine if I had anything I could contribute for this years children edition. Now, I always have a stack of designs waiting in the wings as I am much better at getting ideas on paper then I am at getting them made!

Goldilocks has been sitting on my computer for a year or so just waiting for the right time to surface and as my brief was to do something with not a lot of appliqué in nice soft colours it seemed as though it was her time to wake up and go exploring!!

Its not like me to do something with such gentle colours but Amy Sinibaldi's Paperie fabric was just the perfect find for it. I added in some soft linens and a few touches of bright orange here and there. My Bloc-loc came in handy for the trees and I quilted around them to make them puff up! I also quilted in the shapes of the porridge bowl, chair and bed - evidence of Goldilocks crimes!

The pattern is available in the October 2016 edition of Australian homespun. If you get around to make one for yourself I would love to see a picture.

Happy stitching!

x Claire

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Pinpal's,Mystery projects and Retreat for 2017

It has recently been retreat time in my world. Twice a year I run a sewing retreat with my sewing pal Jemima of Tied with a ribbon fame. It is always a fab and creative weekend sandwiched between lots of late nights! There are always new faces to get to know but always some regular faces who I have really come to look forward spending time with. A shared passion always warms the soul!

anyhow . . .

. . . at retreat Friday night is Mystery Project night!

Its a non compulsory event that has become secretly very competitive to be the first one to the finishing line! Over the past nine retreats we have come up with some cool projects and some, not so cool but there have been a few winners. My challenge is always to come up with something that can be made in an hour or so, that we can kit up easily and everyone can follow the instructions even if a few glasses of wine have been consumed! . . . 

. . . this retreat Jemima put together a cute fold over clutch bag. This is my version using a selection of totally gorgeous liberty fabrics from the Strawberry Thief. These would make great Christmas pressies. Nobody struggled with it as a project thankfully, and no one broke a needle trying to navigate the metal zips! (Jemima has a tutorial on her blog here)

a few retreats back we all made this little gem - a pouch for your embroidery scissors.

and this is actually a gem . . . a Tiffany diamond coaster!

A few retreats ago I put together a pin cushion with an attached thread catcher - I think I was trying to 'work tidy' myself at that point and thought I'd spread the love. I'm pretty sure it was Jemima's idea as she is the master at 'work tidy' and I am shamefully lacking in that talent! It was one of the cooler projects we put together with everyone making their own amazing version.

anyhow . . .

. . . at the last retreat we launched the pin thingy as a Sew-Along pattern out into the world and we had a little competition to name it. 

. . . and the winner is - 'PinPal'!

Our Pinpal Sew-Along pattern is totally cute, totally easy to make & totally available in all good patchwork stores and my Etsy shop as a PDF download. 

(how cute does this one look in Tula Pink fabrics sitting next to Jemima's Tula Pink sewing machine!) 

If you would like to come and see what Mystery project we are doing in 2017 then bookings are opening for our September retreat next week on Monday October 3rd (my birthday!!) We are only doing one retreat next year as we have a few other exciting things happening. If you are keen to come along check out the details on our Sew-Along blog and on my retreat page here. Bookings are made with Jemima at

Happy stitching

x Claire

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

All The Hens

I had a blast with this new quilt! . . . mostly because I got to dip into my Liberty fabrics as well as maybe sneaking in a few extra ones!
Everything was cut on my Brother Scan N Cut & machine appliquéd onto a linen background. All the appliqué fabrics are Liberty and having not ever used Liberty to appliqué with I was pleased with how surprisingly easy they were to use. The nature of the design means that it can be made bigger or smaller by simply adding more or less blocks. I am about to make another one but this time I think I might raid my Kaffe fabric stash!

24 hens, 1 rooster + 1 very sneaky fox!

there may not have been much thought given to the placements of the rooster & his 'friend'!!

The fun extended to a pair of cushions . . . 

Both patterns are available in plenty of stores across Australia and everywhere else. I have spied some shops putting together some fabric kits too.

Pattern are available wholesale through Creative Abundance + Checker distributors in the US

. . . if you can't wait, they are also in my Etsy store here.

Hen house Appliqué Quilt pattern - buy here
Chooks Cushion pattern - buy here

happy stitching x x 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Salt Lake City

I never got around to post about my trip to Quilt Market . . . came home and just about collapsed for five weeks and reacquainted myself with my family.

The Trip was AWESOME!

Salt Lake City was surprising. . . genuinely a fabulous place to visit, Quilt Market was surprising . . . I though the show was going to be much bigger, but grateful that it wasn't. I got to meet some really gorgeous people, got to hear some wisdom from some very clever designers at School House, got to meet some lovely people that actually like my stuff and buy it for their shops (thank you). I managed to pick up some cool fabric bargains from Sample Spree & of course I had a blast with the all talented team in the Creative Abundance group.

This was me!
View inside the booth with some new designs. I redid my Birdsong Quilt in fabulous bright fabrics from Emma Jean Jansens new range 'Matilda' - fabric is about to hit stores very soon!
I also had a a mad moment and made a whale and shark cushion - pattern is called 'Whaleshark'

The quilt that was a bit of a favourite was 'Hen House'. Unfortunately a fox got into the hen house so not sure how well those hens are going to do!! I also made two cushion to go with it called 'Chooks' and a pair of foxes.

I made sure they knew why I had come from ;-)

'Catface' lap quilt using Karen Lewis Textiles fabric + 'Fantastic'

My 'Count on Me' quilt got to hang out with Jodie Carleton over on her booth at Ella Blue Fabrics. It was made with her new fabric range Bunny trails.

Just some stuff from around the show . . . there were some amazing things to see x