Category Archives: Tutorials

FRIDAY ! FREEBIES A Selection of Free Valentine’s Day Ideas

What inspired this particular FRIDAY ! FREEBIE was this video from Art Gallery Fabrics. It just looks so fun…and easy. What do you think? It made me want to rush to my sewing machine. I always have a box of Strathmore Creative Cards ready to go. If you don’t have any, use some special paper and cut or fold it to card size.

How to make 3 cute Valentine's Day cards quick! Sew Crafty by …

Since valentines day is around the corner we want to inspire you to make cute and fun things! Check out this DIY tutorial where you will learn how to make cute valentines cardsFeaturing: Wonderful Things fabrics by going home to roost (Bonnie Christine)

Posted by Art Gallery Fabrics on Thursday, February 9, 2017


Here are some ideas from the Missouri Start Quilt Company. They use Pellon for the backing. If you’re going to stitch over top the hearts, I’d just use glue. However, if you want to put the pieces on without glue, try using Steam-A-Seam Lite 2. It will work well and allow you to move your pieces around on the card stock until you like what you have. Another tip is to save your left over bits of fabrics that already have Pellon or Steam-A-Seam or Heat n Bond. These projects use small pieces that won’t be useful elsewhere. This way, nothing goes to waste. I particularly like the hearts-tree card which you’ll see about the half-way point in the video.


If you want to make a heart-shaped bag, I recommend this video by Debbie Shore. You could make this bag in an hour or so for the little person in your life. Make a small one and fill it with chocolate for Valentine’s Day.

We have all your quilting needs at Sweet Pea Quilting. We look forward to seeing you in the store soon.

Happy Quilting!


MONDAY ! REVIEW: Paula Reid’s Borders and Bindings DVD

About a month ago I reviewed Paula’s “Fluff and Stuff” DVD. I was so impressed, I contacted Paula and she sent me some additional DVD’s which I’ll review over time. Today’s review is of her DVD “Borders and Bindings”. I found it immensely detailed, stuffed with useful tips and information.

Paula covers several different types of borders and bindings.

  1. Straight or butted corner bindings. These are the easiest and most common. Paula adds advice on rotary cutting, measuring and types of needles to use, in this section.
  2. .”Crumb catcher” – a bright shot of color that is very narrow. It creates an accent but has to be small to avoid covering points on the quilt.
  3. Borders with cornerstones. Detailed info on how to measure and decide on border width offered in this section.
  4. Mitered corners – if you’ve been avoiding these, you no longer need to. Paula’s instructions on how to calculate sizes with a “piece of mind allowance” is invaluable. She also offers advice on when to use them and how to do multiple borders at once.
  5. Border Treatments – This section offers advice on choose colors, creating hanging sleeves, and how to measure and cut. There are detailed techniques for pinning and sewing and how to piece fabric to make longer borders.
  6. Scalloped edges – I thought this would be extremely difficult but Paula’s advice makes it easy to get beautiful scallops.
  7. Prairie Points – Again, Paula not only shows you how to use them, when to use them, how to make them, and how to finish a quilt with these points.
  8. The final section deals with how to create hanging sleeves and samples of ideas using border.

The DVD comes with a PDF file with instructions on measuring for borders which includes diagrams. There is also a PDF file with a pattern and instructions for making the Fat Quarter Quilt demoed in the DVD.

I can’t recommend this DVD enough. It is packed with useful information that would be helpful to all but the most advanced quilter.

Where can you get it?
First of all, you can buy it directly from Paula at:

In addition, I found a copy at the Fraser Valley Regional Library so you might be able to get it through an inter-library loan. Details are: Publisher:[S.l.] : LiTen Up, Inc. Productions, c2004, Branch Call Number:DVD 746.46 BOR, Title: Borders & Bindings, Finishing Your Quilt with Paula Reid.

At Sweet Pea Quilting we have all the supplies you’ll need to make any of the borders and bindings you see in the DVD. We look forward to seeing you in the store.

Happy Quilting!




FRIDAY ! FREEBIES Valentine Themed Projects

Don’t be confused. There are two Friday freebies – one here online EVERY Friday called FRIDAY ! FREEBIES and one monthly in-store. The next in-store pattern give away is Friday, February 17th.

 Now, to today’s online version… I thought I’d have trouble finding Valentine’s projects. Not sure why I thought that but I was very wrong. It seems that free Valentine’s patterns are everywhere. I’ve listed a few you might enjoy. Some will take more time than others but you still have time to do some of the simpler ones before the big day.

Take a look and see which you’d like to try for yourself.

Valentine’s Block
You can download the pattern and the block image at the following links.

Emily’s heart block.


Emily’s Heart Quilt Block

Log Cabin Heart Quilt

Valentine’s Day Mug Rug by Jacquelynne Steves

One of nine free patterns from

Nine free Valentine’s patterns from

Nice use of applique

Valentine Clothesline Pillow by Amy Smart

Photo courtesy of

Michele Bilyeu – a whole range of heart shaped patterns

Photo courtesy of

Twisted Hearts by designer Avis Shirer

You’ll always find a warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting. We have all the supplies you need for the projects listed above. Drop in and see what’s new and pick up your creative needs.

FRIDAY ! FREEBIES Elegant Evening Bag from Scraps of Fabric

What can you do with tiny scraps? Today I’ll demonstrate with a free tutorial using scraps, Steam-A-Seam and decorative stitching. You may recognize some of these fabrics from last Friday’s bag.

The end result of all those scraps - an elegant evening bag.

The end result of all those scraps – an elegant evening bag.

Let’s get started.

You’ll need:

  • scraps of fabric that ‘go’ together
  • 12″ X 12″ Steam-A-Seam (you can use iron-on interfacing but you have to create it on the ironing board as pieces will fly as soon as you move them).
  • 12″ X 12″ lining fabric
  • 8″ X 8″ flap fabric, 8″ X 8″ batting, 8″ X 8″ sandwich backing fabric and 8″ X 8″ lining fabric.
  • Coordinating threads
  • Button or pin to embellish, if you want.
Step One: Organize and cut up your scraps.

Step One: Organize and cut up your scraps.


Be careful cutting the scraps. Without a ruler, it’s easy to cut yourself – as I did.

Step 2: Cut out a piece of Steam-A-Seam in 12″ X 12″. Fortunately, it comes in 12″ widths.

Step 3: Cut a backing fabric of 12″ X 12″

Step 4: Lay Steam-A-Seam on top of the backing fabric with the grid side up. Press lightly (important!). If you press too long you will destroy the second sticking effect of the Steam-A-Seam.

Press Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 on the wrong side of the backing fabric.

Press Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 on the wrong side of the backing fabric.

Step 5: Peel off the grid layer and you’ll feel that the top of your backing fabric is now sticky. Begin placing your scraps at random onto the backing fabric. One of the advantages of Steam-A-Seam is that you can reposition the pieces as you wish since it will stick again.

s10234Step Five: Once you’re satisfied with your layout, iron the fabric scraps on the backing fabric with a more thorough ironing.

5Step Six: Head to the sewing machine. Here’s your chance to practice your free-motion skills. You’ll see that mine aren’t yet that good but with all the fabrics, the lines won’t show too much….fortunately!


I used shiny gold thread to create a spiral on top of the free motion squiggles (the only word that can describe my messy free motion.)

I used shiny gold thread (on the front) to create a spiral on top of the free motion squiggles (the only word that can describe my messy free motion.)

Step 7: Prepare your flap. The flap measures approximately 8″ X 8″. Cut also batting and a backing fabric in the same size. Also, cut a lining fabric in the same size. To start, quilt the top of the flap. I used some straight lines in green and then did some decorative stitching in gold.

Under side of decorative stitching.

Under side of decorative stitching.

Continue step seven by placing the flap and lining, right sides together and sewing around three sides leave open the side that will attach to the back of the bag.


Turn and press the flap and do an overcast stitch on the raw edge. I placed the flap about 3" down the back and in the center from right to left. Stitch, press and turn over. Then top stitch.

Turn and press the flap and do an overcast stitch on the raw edge. I placed the flap about 3″ down the back and in the center from right to left.

Stitch, press and turn over. Then top stitch. Don't top stitch all the way up or you'll not be able to apply the lining.

Stitch, press and turn over. Then top stitch. Don’t top stitch all the way up or you’ll not be able to apply the lining.

Step 8: Prepare the lining and, if you want, a pocket. Cut the lining the same size as the bag fabric, 12″ X 12″. If you want a pocket, create one now and sew it to the right side of the lining. Be sure to put it far enough down so it doesn’t conflict with the seam sewing the bag to the lining.

13Step 9: Create a strap for the bag. I couldn’t find a nice metal one so made one from a braid using two strands of necklace leather and one strand of white and gold ribbon. Mine is about 30″ long.

Tip for braiding without help - stick one end under your sewing machine needle and braid from there.

Tip for braiding without help – stick one end under your sewing machine needle and braid from there.

Step 10: Assemble the bag. Sew the side seams on the main fabric and on the lining. I left about 3″ open on one side of the lining so I could turn it inside out later. Attach the straps to the outside of the main fabric at the seams. Now, put the right side of the bag in the pocket made by the lining. The lining will be right side inside and wrong side (seams showing) outside. Be sure the strap, flap and everything is stuffed inside. Now, match the seams of the lining and main fabric all the way around. Sew.

Step 11: Finishing. Turn the bag right side out. Press and then top stitch all the way around the top of the bag. I broke at least one needle sewing over my straps so be careful.

Step 12: Embellish. I started out using a pretty button from my favourite button supplier, Mission Clay Works, but then wasn’t sure if I liked it. Here are some options using various sparkly pins. See which you like best…nothing is also an option since the flap is nicely decorated already.


Another view of the finished back of the bag.

17 18 19 20

Sweet Pea Quilting carries everything you’ll need for this project. I used Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 which provides the stickiness without the bulk. You’ll always receive a warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting.

FRIDAY ! FREEBIES – Cross body bag with quilted chevrons.

After last weekend’s bag making activity I got the idea to look for interesting bag patterns for our FRIDAY ! FREEBIES. I found quite a few excellent free online tutorials. I thought, for this week, that I’d focus on “How to Make a Cross-Body Bag | with Jennifer Bosworth of Shabby Fabrics.”

Screenshot from

Screenshot from

You can view this tutorial for yourself here. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Jennifer’s instructions are clear and very carefully illustrated. You can download a PDF file of all the measurements for the bag from Jennifer’s website here.

The bag you see in the background – turquoise with chevrons – is the one she is demonstrating here. I admit I was pretty surprised at how small it was. I made one error (maybe I made more) and cut the body a half inch short but the overall bag size is about 10″ tall and  8″ wide. That was much smaller than I expected. However, as an evening bag or fun light-weight summer bag, it would be perfect.

The chevron pattern uses a quilt-as-you-go method. You piece directly onto the fusible batting. I used fusible medium-weight interfacing in mine. You have to be very careful about matching the sides of the chevron.

Here’s the bag I made. I’ll explain a few modifications I made below.

My version of the bag

My version of the bag

I was lucky enough to receive some wonderful batiks (probably Hoffman since they came originally from Sweet Pea Quilting) from my sister-in-law at Christmas and decided to use them, and a fabric I created (mauve with flower stamps) to make this bag.  I made a few alterations. First, I accidentally cut the bag 1/2″ less tall. Secondly, Jennifer calls for a much wider straps. She cuts hers 6″ and I cut mine 4″. I like the size of strap I made as it fits with the ‘dainty’ character of the bag.

There is a pocket on the front of the bag but I also added one to the lining. To do that, after cutting the lining, I cut, interfaced and sewed a rectangle and then sewed it onto the lining about 2″ from the top of the back of the lining. I think every bag needs more than one pocket.

As you can see, once again I used a decorative button to finish the project. I like this bag much better than I thought I would. Measuring takes a bit of time but it was worth it.

A few more photos of the bag and fabric.

Back of Bag

Back of Bag


Front Pocket


Simple inside pocket. You could add two if you wanted.

My hand-printed fabric.

My hand-printed fabric.


FRIDAY ! FREEBIES – Perfect Mitered Corners

Happy New Year Quilters! Just think of all the wonderful projects you can do this year. When I first came to quilting I noticed that a lot of quilts were finished with side bindings and then bottom and top bindings. I was more used to using mitered corners on projects. If you’re struggling with perfect mitered corners, then I have some videos to share with you. All of these are free and offer excellent and clear instructions.

The first video, one I used recently, is by Kimberly of the Fat Quarter Shop. I like this one because it’s very clear and also tells you how to do multiple borders all at once.

While I think the first video is the clearest, you may find something additional in this one from Fons and Porter. Again, they mainly talk about adding mitered borders.

The next video tells you how to add a mitered binding. It’s by Sara Gallegos of Baby Lock. Again, the instructions are very clear and I like the way she ends the binding – easier than some other methods I’ve seen. I wish I’d seen it before I did some placemats recently. This method is easy and will give you a very professional looking finish.

Hope these videos encourage you to try some mitered corners. Enjoy and happy quilting!

Ask Alvina or Go to Gail – By Appointment Only

Happy New Year Quilters!

Introducing, Ask Alvina or Go to Gail one of a number of new events we’re offering at the store this new year. This particular event will be available monthly.


When is it?
The first Ask Alvina or Go to Gail (you can see we love alliteration) will be on Thursday January 26th.

What is it?
Either Gail or Alvina, both expert quilters, will be available to help you with any quilting issues you are having, whether it be forgetting how to do something, not knowing how to do something, wanting to learn to do something (all quilting related of course – no cooking or origami classes), we will help you. Think of this as having your own private quilting tutor.

How to do you arrange this?
Just call 250-586-1050 or email us at and book an appointment. The sessions will be three hours in the morning from 9 am to 12 noon, or three hours in the afternoon from 1 pm to 4 pm. You can book sessions from 1 to 6 hours. It’s up to you.

$15 per hour of expert tutoring.

We hope this will help reduce the UFO’s and get moving forward with your quilting. Give us a call, we are happy to help. If you haven’t spent time in our store, you’ll love the friendly atmosphere and our store mascot, Spicey.  Happy New Year of Quilting!

Note: After a lovely holiday season, we’re back with our regular schedule of posts. Watch for us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as well as here on the blog.

View from the front door of Sweet Pea - Can you see Alvina way in the back working?

View from the front door of Sweet Pea – Can you see Alvina way in the back working?

FRIDAY ! FREEBIES Winter Themed Projects

Good snowy morning to everyone – well at least those of you, who, like me, are experiencing a very snowy morning. Where I live, this is the first real snow fall. We had a bit of a flurry a few days ago but now it’s snowing in earnest.

A quick note about our seasonal store hours. We will close at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday the 24th and Saturday the 31st. We will be closed on Sunday, the 25th, Monday the 26th and Sunday the 1st and Monday the 2nd. Otherwise, we will be open our regular store hours of 9:30 to 4:30 M-F and 9:30 – 4:00 on Saturdays.

Today’s snowy whiteness has inspired me to offer some winter themed FREEBIES. The first is a classic attic window snowman quilt tutorial. See the whole thing here. It’s rated Intermediate.

Attic Window Snowman Quilt

Attic Window Snowman Quilt

I LOOOVE this next one, the Zigzag Snowflake Patch Pillow from designer Pat Sloan. I think it would work well in both green and red, even some other color to match your seasonal décor. You can find the detailed tutorial here. It requires a fusible bonding product but I think the result is worth the trouble of gathering all the necessary parts.

Zigzag Snowflake Patchwork Pillow

Zigzag Snowflake Patchwork Pillow

Next – you can download a whole 10-page ebook from McCalls at: It’s free but you have to give them your email address. My favourite from this book is “Mr. Snowman.” It says you can make it up in a night. Put a flower on the hat and you can have a Ms Snowman.

mrsnowmanAnd finally, this adorable wall hanging entitled, Tweety Snowflake. We need red in winter when it’s dull outside. You can download the free pattern here.

Tweety Snowflake

Tweety Snowflake


Hope you enjoy these patterns. Do let us know if you have a chance to make any of them. Happy Quilting!


FRIDAY ! FREEBIE Napkin-inspired decorative pillow

Hi Everyone. On Monday I showed you photos of my two napkin-inspired pillows made after watching Quilting Arts TV Series 600. I loved this process. So easy and fun to do. Here are detailed instructions for you to follow. Post what you make on our Facebook page.

Purple Pillow Paper Napkin Collage

Purple Pillow Paper Napkin Collage


  • 2 pieces of fabric cut to 17″ X 17″  for front and back of pillow (depending on your pillow form size of course)
  • 1 piece 17″ X 17″ fusible fleece or plain batting and spray fabric glue. Recommend either 505 for temporary work or 606 for permanent fusing.
  • 1 medium sized dinner napkin – approximately 6 1/2″ X 6 1/2″
  • One border fabric to outline napkin. At least 4″ wider than the napkin. In mine, I used a 9″ piece.
  • 1 – 16″ square pillow form
  • If you do not have 606 spray glue (permanent), then you’ll need some fusible web (like wonder under) to applique the napkin.
  • Decorative threads – perhaps some metallic.
  • Parchment or baking paper.
  • Piping, 2 yards or just under 2 meters for this size pillow  – buy or make your own.




Audition Fabrics

Audition Fabrics. I chose to cut the red/white fabric on the diagonal to reduce fraying and to create a candy cane effect.


Audition Fabrics

Important Note: You will be taking only the thinnest layer of the napkin so the outline color (in photo above, the beige) must not be something that will show through and destroy the look of the image on the napkin. Nothing too busy or too dark.

Pressing and Cutting:

Press your selected fabrics and the napkin.

Cut out a 6 1/2″ X 6 1/2″ section of the napkin that has the best overall design.

Cut all of the following:

  • fleece or batting (same size as front)
  • front and back fabric pieces (17″ X 17″ or adjusted to your specific pillow)
  • outline fabric (approximately 9″ X 9″)
Mark position with chalk pencil

Mark position with chalk pencil


To layer all pieces:

Gently peel away napkin backing so you are left with only one layer.

Gently peel away napkin backing so you are left with only one layer.

I suggest using parchment paper to protect your surface while spraying glue. It also made stitching around the flowers super easy. You may not need it if you’re going to use a free motion foot. If you do not use glue, you will need to use fusible web to applique each piece.

Here are the layers, bottom to top:

  • Bottom – parchment paper or plain cotton to protect your machine from any residual glue.
  • Fusible batting
  • Front of pillow
  • Outline fabric
  • Napkin piece (be sure to remove the second layer of napkin – see above)
Spray gluing layers

Spray gluing layers

Fixing the layers:

If you use the 606 glue, you can spray both top and bottom of napkin which acts as a protection for the top of the napkin. However the 505 can cause problems as it is VERY sticky and I had to throw out my first napkin; it got wrapped around my fingers and wouldn’t let go. My suggestion – first use fusible web to position it and then spray on top of it. Cover with parchment/baking paper and  iron.

So, now you have a napkin ‘sandwich’.


I started by using a metallic thread and a wide, long stitch to attach the napkin. If you don’t want to cut the paper, use a stitch that will not perforate the paper, hence the long stitch.

I then appliqued the outline piece by using another colorful decorative stitch. The design is up to you here.


Trapunto effect by stitching around the flowers and flower centers.

Closeup of stitches

Close-up of decorative applique stitches

On the purple pillow I added rows of quilting around the outline fabric to give a more finished appearance. You can use your imagination here.

Once you’ve done your decorative stitching and quilting, you’re ready to assemble your pillow.


  1. Carefully pin your piping on the right side of the top of the pillow, fat side facing inward, around the edge of the pillow. I chose to have the piping begin and end at a corner. Sew as close to the piping as you can using your zipper foot and moving your needle as close as possible to the fat part of the piping. I suggest a half inch seam allowance here. It will make the next step so much easier.
  2. Now, carefully (and I mean this – I had to redo one pillow because of carelessness) lay the back of the pillow right side down onto the right side of the top of the pillow, piping carefully tucked inside. Pin around the edge being sure to keep the piping in the seam allowance.
  3. Sew very carefully and leave open about six inches of one seam to turn the pillow.
  4. Turn and push out the corners.
  5. Insert the pillow form and slip stich the final seam closed.

Here are Sweet Pea Quilting in Parksville, we have the following fusible  and glue products in stock:

  • 505 spray
  • Clover Item #514 Temporary Fabric Adhesive Stick
  • Aleene’s  4 oz. No sew temporary fabric glue
  • Aleene’s Fabric Fusion  – Permanent Glue
  • Aleene’s No sew Fast drying Glue Pen
  • Roxanne’s Glue – Baste- It in a ½ oz. bottle as well as in 2 oz bottle
  • Steam A Seam Lite 2

If you need more details on how to assemble the pillow, you can check out this video from Quilters Club.

Try one of these for a special Christmas touch.

Paper Napkin inspired Christmas PIllow

Paper Napkin inspired Christmas Pillow

Don’t forget Sweet Pea’s Sample Sale on Friday December 2nd and Saturday December 3rd.





MONDAY ! REVIEW Free Motion Quilting Tutorials for Beginners

As I’ve been reviewing resources for quilting, I’ve become more and more intrigued by art quilts and other uses of free motion quilting. I went out and got a free motion foot for my Husqvarna and like most everything, decided I could learn without reading a single instruction. Can you tell I’m of the ‘trial and error’ method of learning? Needless to say, it went badly. LOL

Vanessa, The Crafty Gemini in the 6th Free Motion Tutorial

Vanessa, The Crafty Gemini in the 6th Free Motion Tutorial

So, I decided I needed to learn more about the technique. In my search for material, I came across a six-part online tutorial on Free Motion Quilting given by Vanessa of The Crafty Gemini.  Vanessa is delightful and her instructions are clear and very easy to follow. The filming is clear and well produced and she shows lots of close-ups of the work.

Video 1, gives information on settings for free motion quilting and is very specific. You can start the viewing here. I would definitely recommend watching these six videos in order.

Video 2, entitled, “Beginner Exercises” starts by showing you how to use a fabric/quilt ‘sandwich’ from two fat quarters and a layer of batting for your practice.  Vanessa also demonstrates how to start and stop your line of stitching to make the cleanest possible finish on your project. You can view this video here.

Video 3, “Straight Stitch Exercises” demonstrates exactly that. View here.

Video 4, “Practice Designs for Straight Lines” expands on what you learned in Video 3. See Video 4 here.

Video 5, “Stippling and Meandering Stitches” obviously teaches you about using stippling. Vanessa shows three different sizes of stippling and gives instructions on how to adjust your machine speed to accommodate the different sizes of shapes. See it here.

Video 6, “Practicing Curvey Stitches” builds on the learning in Video 5. Vanessa shows alternate ways to move fabric through your machine and offers tips about how to get the effect you want. You can view it here.

Who would enjoy these tutorials?
They are not for the advanced free motion quilter. They are definitely for beginners and for novices who want to improve their technique.

Vanessa is delightful, clear and the videos are professionally done without becoming too slick.

The only one I can think of is that I enjoyed them so much that when I’d viewed all six, I wished there were more.

Where to find them:
I’ve given the direct links to them above. You can also go to Vanessa’s website at to learn more about her other tutorials and paid options. If you love crafts, you’ll find something there to enjoy.

Happy Quilting!