How Not To Do A Tutorial and Some Pillow Talk

You might remember me saying I’d got just a little bit ‘into’ paper piecing’ and it’s still true.  I like the designs you can achieve and it gives me a better shot at accuracy.  In last year’s F2F quilt block swap, Avis sent me a gorgeous block featuring a dog – perhaps she thinks I’m a doggy person, can’t think why😉  I thought I’d give it a go myself and ordered the PDF pattern by Sew Fresh Quilts.  Anyway, because Avis is very clever, she managed to adapt the rectangular block into a 12.5 inch square in order for it to be suitable for the F2F quilt.  I am not very clever, so mine remains a rectangle.


Before I go any further I will tell you that the pattern is not a paper piecing one but a stitch and flip one.  What is ‘stitch and flip’ ? I hear you ask.  I daresay nobody is asking but I’m going to tell you anyway and so, when I started making the above block, I started to take step by step photos for your delight and edification.

Everything in stitch and flip is made with squares and rectangles which you join together to make other shapes.

Here follows a (very) short tutorial which you are advised to take absolutely no notice of at all.

dsc_0009-6Step One:  Take a rectangle and a square, place right sides together, draw a diagonal line.

dsc_0010-1Step Two:  Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance cut along the diagonal line.

Step Three:  Do the same thing on the other short edge of the rectangle.  Then flip the triangles open.

dsc_0012-5Step Four:  Realise you have made a hideous mistake – do those look like ears? – abandon any thoughts of enlightening anybody on stitch and flip and concentrate on what you are doing.

Stitch and Flip PatchworkThen you might get it right.

stitch and flip dog cushion

Anyway I got there in the end in my own befuddled manner and made it into a cushion for a raffle prize at the annual fund raising event my friend hosts for Dog Rescue Carcassonne  (we made over 2000 euros in total which will be used to install proper fences around the pens where the dogs can have a proper play and spend some time outside of their concrete kennels.)

Tardis Cushion reverse

I don’t know what I was thinking of when I bought this strokeable fabric – Tarzan’s loin cloth? –  but I knew it would come in handy one day.

Hand made leather mini satchel

Mr. Tialys made this mini leather satchel for the raffle.  I didn’t really want to part with it but a woman can only have so many bags (he says) and there is a limit to the amount of times I’ll be able to get away with saying ‘I’ll test run it for you’ before he realises he never actually sees the bag again –  apart from over my shoulder.

stitch and flip dog

I really like the stitch and flip method – it’s easier than paper piecing though not quite as intriguing – and I made another dog for myself.  This time I think I will put a border round it as I was a bit worried the face didn’t stand out enough on the first one.

Talking of pillows (or cushions as we say in the old country), you might recall my Dr. Who’s Tardis which was a paper piecing project.  It is now completed as a cushion and lives in London with Mlle. Tialys the Elder who is a big Dr. Who fan.

Tardis CushionI thought the spots could be little planets (albeit unbelievably evenly spaced ones).

TardisCushion (2)Avoiding zips wherever I can – hence my current mission to make all clothing using knit fabrics – I made an envelope back edged with more of the Police Box ribbon.

The only problem with stitch and flip – as with paper piecing – is you do end up with quite a few small scraps and, bizarrely, as I’m not at all mean with money, I am very parsimonious with fabric and this sort of thing upsets me.

Stitch and Flip ScrapsI know I could use them to make something even scrappier but, what can I tell you?  – I won’t.




I did make the first cushion (the top anyway) with scraps so can, finally, join in with Gun and Kate’s monthly Scraphappy project and you can see the other participants’ work here:

Usually has a scrappy post:

Kate at  (in English only)

Titti at (in Swedish only)

Heléne at (in Swedish only)

Eva at (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Sue at (in English only)

Nanette at (in English only)

Norma at (in English only)

Lynda at: (in English only)

Birthe: (in Norwegian only)

Turid: (in English and Norwegian)

Cathy: (in English only)

Jodie Zollinger: (in English only)

Susan: (in English only)

Helena: http://www.helenaå  (på svenska)

Debbierose: (in English only)


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  1. #1 by sew2pro on September 14, 2016 - 11:47

    Oh the doggies are so sweet: I could easily fill my house with cushions like yours. And praise not just for the designs: they have nice filled corners. I gasp in horror when I see saggy-cornered cushions sold for fortunes in the shop.

    One thing you could do with those scraps is offer them to local schools for art projects. My daughter used to help herself to mine.

    • #2 by tialys on September 14, 2016 - 12:28

      Wait until you see my fox!
      I usually make my own ‘inners’ – due mainly to the fact that I go maverick with the size of the actual cover so can’t buy ready made ones to fit.

      Good idea to offer the scraps to schools. I know some people are very good at using almost every single scrap but I can’t abide too much fiddliness – although I do have a whole box full of selvedges which I use as ribbon round packages but only for ‘sewing people’ who would appreciate such things and not for ‘outsiders’ who might think I’m just being cheap😉

      • #3 by sew2pro on September 14, 2016 - 12:42

        Selvedges are so pretty and very useful. I wanted to fundraise by selling bundles of boys’ comics with camo selvedges but never got round to it.

      • #4 by tialys on September 14, 2016 - 12:53

        So many good ideas, so little time😦

  2. #5 by nanacathy2 on September 14, 2016 - 11:55

    Love those cushions and Mr Ts bag is smashing!

    • #6 by tialys on September 14, 2016 - 12:29

      Thank you – I’ll pass on your compliment.

  3. #7 by katechiconi on September 14, 2016 - 15:00

    Stitch all those little scraps together, you know you want to! It’ll make a lovely random scrappy block for a pincushion or something. Lovely scrappy post, and I think you’re the first to be ready for ScrapHappy day!

    • #8 by tialys on September 14, 2016 - 22:03

      I have decided I’m not saving anything smaller than 2 inch squares unless they look as if they might make useful paper piecing scraps. I’m trying to be organised and cut, label and store the scraps in sizes but it’s easy to let it get away from you as I’m sure you’re aware so I’m not going to beat myself up too much about letting go of some of the smaller stuff.
      First for ScrapHappy day! – well, that’s a first (and probably a last).

      • #9 by katechiconi on September 14, 2016 - 23:15

        Two inch squares is about as small as I want to go, even if I have to confess to a smallish bag of smaller scraps I can’t bear to let go because I loved the fabrics so much. It is indeed far to easy to let it get away, and I’m seriously disorganised in the scrap department despite using so many for the Grey Nomad quilt. One of these days… and other unrealistic promises!

  4. #10 by Chez Shea on September 14, 2016 - 21:46

    This is gorgeous work! My one and only attempt at paper piecing ended in tears.

    • #11 by tialys on September 14, 2016 - 22:05

      Don’t think there haven’t been plenty of those along the way – well, perhaps not tears but lots of very bad words and flinging of fabric.

  5. #12 by Susan on September 15, 2016 - 02:31

    I always finish your posts with a smile on my face. I love your sense of humor. Your dog pillow is wonderful, and I like the red one even more. The first time you throw those little scraps away, it’s excruciating, but it gets easier each time.

    • #13 by tialys on September 16, 2016 - 07:33

      I think I should maybe get a bin with a lid on it so that, if I do throw any away, I won’t be able to see them looking up at me accusingly.

  6. #14 by sewchet on September 15, 2016 - 11:12

    I can SOOO empathise about the tiny scraps dilemma – I have different bags labelled “6 inch squares”, “4 inch squares”, “2 inch squares” and “less than 2 inch scraps”!

    • #15 by tialys on September 16, 2016 - 07:32

      I do too but, at the end of a project, I look at the scraps and think ‘can I be bothered/do I have the time/is it worth it to trim all those bits into usable pieces. If I don’t do it then and there, they lurk on the corner of my cutting table until I either do it or fling them in the bin out of sight so they can no longer make me feel guilty and make the room look untidy.

  7. #16 by claire93 on September 15, 2016 - 13:07

    I absolutely love your tardis cushion finish – those polka dots were just was the Dr ordered lol.
    As for your puppy patchworks – really cute – and your tutorial gone wrong will have me laughing all day, so many thanks for that.

    • #17 by tialys on September 16, 2016 - 07:29

      Thanks Claire. I was annoyed with myself when I made the mistake but laughing at the same time so I thought I might as well share.

  8. #18 by poshbirdy on September 15, 2016 - 16:40

    These are wonderful. The tardis looks even better now it’sd been made up, and I love that dog pattern

  9. #20 by Magpie Sue on September 16, 2016 - 19:47

    I would be happy to take that puppy pillow home with me! DH’s bag too; that’s gorgeous. I enjoy the flip and sew method (don’t even talk to me about paper piecing!) but I know what you mean about the off-cut bits. I have a bag of pinwheel and Broken Dishes blocks I’ve made out of those triangular scraps. Someday they will become a pillow or quilt of their own. Someday. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to justify tossing the triangles that are less than 2″ on a side… (we appear to share the same frugality gene!)

    • #21 by tialys on September 17, 2016 - 09:13

      I think both raffle prizes went to good homes. I was sort of on winner with the dog themed cushion as it was a fund raiser for the dog shelter😉

  10. #22 by Kim Hood on September 18, 2016 - 19:13

    I have been pretty ruthless with my scrap whilst working with clients but I suspect once retired (counting down!) and quilting I will succumb to scrap bags. I love your doggy cushions!

    • #23 by tialys on September 19, 2016 - 10:46

      I am usually not at all tempted to keep scraps from dressmaking but quilting fabric is a different matter entirely as you will not doubt discover😉

  11. #24 by jendavismiller on September 19, 2016 - 18:13

    Love the doggies! And your tutorial made me laugh, and why am I the only one commenting on Tarzan’s strokeable loin cloth? Perhaps I need some counseling? The whole post was fun, the Tardis pillow is wonderful, your daughter surely loves it.

  12. #25 by tialys on September 21, 2016 - 07:40

    I don’t know why you’re the only one commenting on Tarzan’s loin cloth Jen – maybe it’s just you and me who get jungle fever😉

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