Thursday, 21 September 2017

How To Expand Your Quilting Work Space

Expand your workspace with sew steady tables

Quilting anything of size can be a problem on your domestic sewing machine. Gravity will pull the weight of your quilt down and cause it to drag, creating friction, which prevents good stitches from forming. After getting so far with your beautiful creation, now is not the time for things to go wrong!

Sew Steady Portable TableWe have found the perfect solution and it comes in the form of an extension table. Having a larger area of the quilt at the same level as the needle gives me more control over my quilt and helps to prevent drag. Many people have also found the table to have physical benefits by reducing tension in the back and shoulders whilst quilting, making the whole experience a lot more relaxing.

What is a Sew Steady Table?

The Sew Steady Portable Table is a clear Perspex top that can be cut to fit snugly around most sewing machines. The table surface is positioned flush with the free arm to create a larger work area.

Sew Steady
The clear perspex table not only gives you space level with your machine but also creates a free surface underneath for items such as scissors, pins, etc that can be kept easily to hand and be seen through the clear perspex table.

Its also perfect for classes as you only have to remove the feet and it will sit flat in your padded carry bag.

At Cotton Patch we really do believe these tables are an excellent product that really improve the quilting experience (and I can vouch personally too), but don't just take our word for it, check out these customer reviews... (you can more reviews on the products online)

Sew Steady tables are available in three different sizes from Cotton Patch; Junior (11” x15”), Large (18” x 24”) and Super (24” x 24”). Simply send us the make and model of your machine and allow 6-8 weeks for delivery, as each table is made to order! You can find all the Sew Steady Tables online here.

Sew Steady Tables, junior, large and super size

If this table sounds like just the thing you need in your life, read on to find out about some fab accessories that will make your quilty-life even more marvellous.

Sew Steady Spinner Tray

This spinner tray allows you to store all of your notions under your Sew Steady table and spin out whenever you need them. It also includes a magnetic corner to corral your pins and needles - so handy!

For anyone who is serious about their free motion or has discovered the joy that is Westalee rulers (you can find out more about Westalee here), the free motion glider is the perfect accessory to remove all bumps and dips on your sewing surface that have the potential to knock your stitching out of line or distort your shape (for example where the needle plate meets the casing). The white Teflon mat is positioned over the machine and extension table with pre-cut hole positioned below the needle to access the thread.  The Teflon surface allows the quilt sandwich to move about easily as you quilt. The special tacky backing holds it firmly in place, but it peels off easily and rolls up for storing, leaving no residue.

Free Motion Glider for Sew Steady

We also stock the Supreme Slider, a similar product, but in a smaller A4 size as well as Free Motion Cling, which is reusable and good value, although not as durable as the Teflon.

Universal grid for Sew Steady table

This Universal Grid attaches to the underside of any Sew Steady Portable Table and provides additional ruler guidance around the free arm. It gives you imperial measurements and angles to help you achieve seriously on-point quilting.

Successful machine quilting and free motion quilting is all about controlling the movement of the quilt sandwich. For maximum control we highly recommend these Machingers gloves which have coated fingertips for excellent grip with less resistance and drag on fabric.

Machingers fro free motion quilting on sew steady table
The gloves are made of nylon knit in the style of a true support glove, comfortable enough to
wear for hours. And because they're nylon, threads don't stick! They are lightweight enough to pull up bobbin thread, thread needle, clip threads, adjust fabrics, and add or remove
pins without having to take them off.

If you have any questions about Sew Steady tables and accessories, drop us an email at

If you already have a Sew Steady table, we would love to hear from you, so why not tell us about your experiences with it in the comments?

Happy creating x

Cotton Patch UK

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

10 Essential Tools Every Sewer Needs

10 essential tools every sewer needs; but this is not your standard mat, cutter, ruler list. This is a compilation of lesser known tools that may just change your life. Or at least improve your sewing a bit...

Read on to find out what tools made it into our top 10, then let us know what you think. Did you know about them all already? Are you the owner of a pretty exceptional tool that we haven’t mentioned? Leave us a comment and spread the wisdom!

1.Temporary Glue Pen

Temporary glue for even the most delicate of fabrics. It allows you to re-position your templates; embroidery motifs; hems; and appliques before sewing. I particularly like this Bohin pen (ref 11430) because the pink colour lets you see exactly where the glue has been placed but disappears when dry.

2. Ergonomic Thimbles

There is nothing more therapeutic than hand sewing, except for hand sewing with the worlds most comfortable thimble that even has little dimples to help guide your needle. (Prym Soft Comfort Needle ref 12627)


3. Mary Ellen's Best Press

This may well be the most well known notion on the list as it’s one of the most sought after products at shows and the reviews online speak for themselves. This clear, scent free starch alternative protects fabric from stain, resists wrinkles, makes fabric easier to work with and is particularly effective at helping to remove the middle crease out of fabric. Plus its comes in a non-aerosol environmentally friendly bottle. Win! (Mary Ellen's Best Press ref 11617)

4. That Purple Thang

The ultimate pusher, poker, stuffer and turner. This is one of those items that you can’t believe you survived without before you knew it existed, and all your friends will agree when you end up buying one for each of them too - purely to stop yours from going walkabout. Don't believe me? Check out this review. (That Purple Thang ref 6368)

5. Gunold Oil Pen

Go on, give some TLC to the sewing machine in your life. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes! And the Gunold Sewing Machine Oil Pen (ref 10862) is more than perfect for the job because the fine tip means you can get to all the hard-to-reach places with no fuss and no mess.

6.Bohin Chalk Pencil

I have found the Bohin Chalk Pencil (ref 11442) to be far superior to any other fabric markers I have tried previously. It marks the fabric consistently without dragging, it is very easy to keep the tip to a fine point, there are multiple colours because occasionally white isn’t quite right, plus it washes off without a trace. The chalk lasts for a really long time, it comes with a sharpener and can be used on a variety of materials other than fabric! I am a big fan and the reviews online really back me up here.

7. Zinger

Because even though you had them in your hands just one second ago, those sneaky scissors have managed to do the disappearing act. Again. (Handi Quilter Zinger ref 10191)

8. Peels

You may not have heard of Peels before but these funky little curls of silicone are one of my favourite product this year! A very simple solution to the nightmare that is tangled threads. The high quality rubber sits around almost any width of spool and holds the ends neatly in place, saving precious creative moments that may have otherwise been wasted on an untangling mission. (PeelsThread Stoppers ref 12519)

9. Schmetz Universal Sewing Machine Needles

To be kept as back-up because you just never know when that needle is going to break. (Schmetz Universal Sewing Machine Needles ref 836)

10. Seam Ripper

A sewers BFF. You probably own a seam ripper already, and may use it more than you’d like, so here’s two that have got a wee bit fancy in all the best ways. This ergonomic Undo Double Tip Seam Ripper from Smart Needle (ref 12521) sits very comfortably in the hand (essential for those major screw-ups) and has two different sized heads for varying thread widths and fabric types.

This Hemline Seam Fix (ref 11156) is also a good size to hold and has a rubber lid that very effectively picks those awkward little thread bits (please note that colours may vary).
Below is another great review from Sue O'Very on the Seam Fix.

That just about wraps up our Top 10 Essential Tools Every Sewer Needs. Remember, if you know of a tool that ought to have made it onto this list, share your secrets below!

Happy creating x

[Want to know which rotary cutter is the best for you? This post will help you decide]

[Think you can't do professional quilting designs on your domestic machine? Think again!]

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Friday, 8 September 2017

Introducing the Big Shot Foldaway

Don’t miss the latest machine to join the Sizzix family! Introducing the Big Shot Foldaway - a compact shape cutting and embossing machine that neatly folds away meaning it’s perfect for creating on the go and freeing up space.

It features…

  • Built in storage compartments - it's easy to store your wafer-thin dies and keep your favourites close to hand.
  • A release lever handle that allows it to fold in front of the machine for neat storage.
  • Cutting and embossing capability up to 6” wide and excellent pressure.

This brand new machine also comes with exclusive bonus content – a 5.5” x 6” paper pad, 4 pieces of felt and 4 pieces of fabric all designed by My Life Handmade, plus 10 Thinlits™ Dies and a Bigz™ die, so you can start creating straight away.

The Big Shot Foldaway is available from 18th September, but you can pre-order from Cotton Patch now by clicking here. It is priced £124.95 (RRP £149.95) and is post free in mainland UK.
You can find out more information about the Foldaway our range of Bigz dies in the latest edition of our Sizzix e-book. You can compare the different machines and find out more about the latest dies, with many containing video guides.

But first, check out this video to see exactly what the Big Shot Foldaway is all about!

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A Not-So-Serious Interview with Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe Fassett is creativity through and through. Even when signing his new books for slightly star struck quilters at the Festival of Quilts, he keeps his embroidery in hand, expertly crafting his new designs seemingly without having to look.

After bugging him for a quick interview I was delighted to distract him for a few moments with my less than serious, not-your-usual-quilting-interview-questions and had good chuckle at some of his responses. Here’s how it went...

[Anna]  You’re the newest colour in the crayola box, what colour would you be?

[Kaffe] Grey.

[Anna] Interesting, any particular reason why?

[Kaffe] In a world of so many different colours, sometimes you need a bit of grey. Plus it has more tones than any other colour.

[Anna] Deep. I need to write that one down. What’s your top jam for stitch and chill?

(Translate: what music do you enjoy listening to whilst you’re having a relaxing afternoon of stitching?)

[Kaffe] Oh I see! I love listening to Gregorian chants.

[Anna] *Nodding thoughtfully whilst trying to think of any Gregorian chant* If you could be any animal what would it be?

[Kaffe] A Jack Russell; i’d like to be small and cute for a change!

[Anna] What clique were you in at high school?

[Kaffe] The nerdy art kids, mostly surrounded by very flamboyant girls. *Winks*

[Anna] Oh ey. Tell me something I don’t know.

[Kaffe] I was born on Pearl Harbor day, but maybe you knew that already.

[Anna]  Nope, didn’t, so that’ll work. What’s your party trick?

[Kaffe] Falling asleep at the dinner table.

*Queue chuckles from the small gathering of quilters around the table*

[Anna] What’s your ultimate pizza topping

[Kaffe] I like good, classic pizza, with pepperoni or salami. None of this pineapple nonsense.

[Anna] People have very strong opinions regarding pineapple on pizza. For the sake of good journalism, let’s throw in a couple of quilty questions. What’s your favourite ever quilt?

[Kaffe] That’s like asking who’s your favourite child! I don’t have a favourite quilt, but I can tell you that my favourite contributors quilt from the new book is Maple Leaf Medallion by Liza Lucy. The colouring is so subtle, it works beautifully.

[Anna] That’s my mum’s favourite too, which is a pretty big deal. What was your favourite location from your book shoots?

[Kaffe] Oh that’s a tough one. We have been to some really special places, but it would have to be Portugal, or maybe Malta. Actually one of my favourite shoots was in Portmeirion for Quilt Romance, that is a really magical place.

[Anna] You’re often sporting a shirt made from your woven stripes collection. Which is your favourite stripe?

[Kaffe] My favourite design is the Roman Stripe.

(Which happens to be the stripe he was rocking that day)

[Anna] Alright lets wrap this up with one more question. What’s your ultimate colour combination?

[Kaffe] I really couldn’t say, it changes depending on how i’m feeling at that moment but right now it’s 50 shades of grey.

*It takes a couple of minutes for us to collect ourselves. I must admit that reference caught me off guard coming from Kaffe Fassett*

[Kaffe] Seriously though I am genuinely annoyed that that woman got the title first. I always loved talking about how you can use different shades of grey to compliment colours in my talks but now i can’t bring it up without triggering a room full of sniggers!


That wraps up our little interview, thank you so much to Kaffe for being such a good sport, what a great guy! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, here’s a picture of me and my new BFF having a giggle…

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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Festival of Quilts - What To See Part 2

From 10th - 13th August, thousands of you will be joining us at the NEC in Birmingham for the biggest quilt show of the year, Festival of Quilts.

Welcome to Part 2 of What To See, where you can find out exactly what will be happening on our stands in this years show.

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

New Product Launch -  Needcraft


These new kits from NeedCraft are genius. We have lamp making kits in 3 different sizes, plus a table lamp, waste paper basket and clock, so that you can customise every room in the house! Check out this blog post to see just how easy it is to make a waste paper basket in your favourite fabric.

We will also be stocking a new selection double sided, foldable and rotating cutting mats in exciting shades of blue, pink and green!

Introducing the Compact Quilting Frame

New from Grace and exclusive to the Cotton Patch in Europe is the Compact Quilting Frame. Sizing up at just 5 foot long by 3 foot it really does live up to it’s name! This frame is the perfect solution for anyone who is on a budget and a bit short on space.

You don’t have to sacrifice the size of your quilts however, the innovative system means that you can still finish up those king sized quilts to absolute perfection! If this sounds like it’s exactly what you are looking for, swing by stand C20 for a demo and have a try for yourself.

Another Very Special Guest - Stuart Hillard

We are very very excited to announce that our favourite Sewing Bee hero, Stuart Hillard, will be on our stand signing his brand new book ‘Use Scraps, Sew blocks, Make 100 Quilts’.

We will be selling the book for the fantastic price of £20.00  (RRP £22.95). Stuart will be with us every day from 11-12pm so come along, have a chat and get your book signed. Find out more about Stuarts new book here


Click & Collect

Make sure you have your essentials ready and waiting for you by pre-ordering for Festival of Quilts. You can choose to collect your goods on any day by selecting your preferred day from the postage menu and, of course, it's free.

Plus, if you pre-order goods worth £20 or more we will include a £2 voucher for you to use at the show against any product (minimum spend £2) and that includes anything that is already on special offer! So, if you have a favourite wadding, notion or fabric that you need this is your opportunity to ensure that you get it.

Our Best Giveaway Yet

A big congratulations to the 9 people who won our Festival tickets giveaway, they are now on their way to you! Commiserations to everyone else who took part but didn’t win this time, we hope you will still be joining us next week at the NEC. Thank you to everyone who voted and we can announce that the most popular quilts were Whirling Stripes, Shadow Play and Road to Ireland.

If you don’t already; follow us on Facebook and Instagram to make sure you hear about our next giveaway.

We cannot wait to see all you amazing creators next week and really hope you will love everything we have to show you! See you there!

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