Strudel quilt release and tips!

Strudel quilt release and tips!


And just like that, the STRUDEL QUILT is LIVE!  Yay!  Hurrah!  Hooray!  Cheers!  Mazel tov! Oo-pah!  Congratulations, I made it!

Since it’s taken me so long to finally get to this stage (if you’ve been following along with me on social media you’ll know how long…), let’s get right to it!

Strudel Quilt – 1 pattern, 12 options… and even more!

Strudel is a fun and fast design that showcases the beauty of 60° angles!  The quilt pattern offers a range of project sizes including runner, wall hanging, throw and twin sizes, as well as instructions for two different colour combinations – in total that’s twelve different project combinations in one pattern!  Say whaaaat?!

The size flexibility of the Strudel pattern is one element that I really love about it, and is why I made the ‘and even more’ comment in the heading above.  In the photo below you can see the different sized runners – two on the wall and one under the plant.  Whether it’s a runner, wall hanging, throw or twin sized project you can easily adapt the pattern to your specific requirements by adding or removing blocks from the length of the quilt.  This is particularly useful for the runner and wall hanging options!  For a table length runner, add as many blocks as necessary to make it the perfect length for your table, or if you just want a little trivet for under a plant remove as many as you want to a minimum of three triangles on either side.

Download the Strudel Quilt pattern today!

For members of the EU, for VAT collection purposes you can purchase the downloadable Strudel Quilt pattern in my Etsy shop.

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Bias Cuts?  

Answer: Not you, if you’re sewing a Strudel!

If the thought of dealing with bias-cut edges usually sends you running wildly with your hands in the air from any pattern that smells even slightly like it might involve sewing with them, then be warned, this pattern obviously does include bias cuts.  But you probably already guessed that from the fact that it includes triangles and 60° angles, right?

HOWEVER, the way I designed Strudel MINIMISES the impact of the bias on quilt construction, which, in my opinion, makes this kind of angled design much more approachable for the bias-wary creative.  Even though I have labelled it as an intermediate level pattern I would happily encourage confident beginners to give it a shot.  Just be sure to use lots of spray starch and follow the instructions carefully.

To help you on your way (regardless of whether you’re a quilting newbie or a seasoned quilting fanatic) the Strudel pattern provides clear cutting instructions and diagrams to help you prep your fabric and piece your quilt in the most efficient way possible.

Tips for quilting the Strudel quilt

Because this design does have bias cut seams it is important to take care when making the quilt sandwich not to stretch the quilt top out of its original shape.  The bias seams will give a little more than straight seams and you may end up with a wonky quilt top if you are too aggressive when pulling the quilt top taut through the quilt sandwich making process.  If this happens to you, don’t despair!  I don’t always have a perfectly squared up quilt at the end, even when I’m working with straight cut seams!  More and more I’m learning that perfection isn’t a sign of success.  Just enjoy the process, and chalk up your wonky edges to practice and learning!

When it comes to the actual quilting process, I have a particular appreciation for 1.5″ straight line grid-style machine quilting at the moment, which I used on the Carolyn Friedlander CF Strudel quilt on the cover of the pattern.  I feel like grid quilting is a nice option for Strudel because it brings a balance to the quilt when combined with the 60° angles, and I will definitely do that again.

My preferred finish is usually some sort of combination of machine quilting and hand quilting, and this is particularly effective for the wall hanging, as you can see in the photo below.  Hand quilting adds amazing texture to a quilt that you just don’t get with machine quilting, not to the same level anyway IMO. 

The added machine quilting is a bit like a safety net for me – it acts as permanent basting so I know nothing’s going to move around after I’ve finished off the hand quilting, and also adds a bit of extra strength to the quilt.  I feel like a quilt with this combination is more likely to survive a lot of lovin’, but maybe that’s just my anxiety about all my hard work being destroyed talking there?  If it’s a wall hanging or runner, you don’t really need to do the machine quilting as well, but it’s up to you!

If you like the idea of using a mixture of machine and hand quilting I recommend ‘stitch in the ditch’ for the machine quilting because it leaves you with a basically clean canvas on which to start your hand quilted design. 

Below is a diagram of the approach I used, which removes the need for burying threads (which is the absolute pits, if you ask me ;).  Just lock your stitch (backstitch) at the start and end of each row, just on the edge of the quilt where it will be covered by the binding.  

How to choose fabric for your Strudel quilt

As I mentioned early on, the Strudel quilt is a fast quilt top to stitch together, which is due to what I have called its ‘maxi-pieces’.  The throw and twin sizes use long strips of fabric that are 8″ wide, which happens to be perfect for those BIG and BOLD prints that smaller quilt designs don’t do justice to.

In the pink and orange Strudel quilt above, I used an Alexander Henry floral that I’d had stashed away for years.  I originally bought it because it reminded me of vintage sheets but the problem was that none of the quilts I was making were right for the design.  Too much of the floral pattern would have been chopped up and the beautiful design wouldn’t have actually been visible.  But Strudel allows those big prints to sing!  (NOTE: If you’re reading this, and you know you have a few yards of that fabric stashed away that you’d happily part with for the right price, let me know as I have had people asking about this print!)

If you’re looking for some big, modern prints, check out Nerida Hansen Print & Textile for a range of local and international designers who do big and bold beautifully (like local Gold Coast designer, Ellie Whittaker!).  Nerida also now stocks an organic quilting fabric range and it is luscious. 

I think this Holli Zollinger fabric would be PERFECT for a Strudel throw or twin sized quilt.  I’d use the top left floral for the triangles, top middle for the foreground and top right for the background, a matching soft pink solid for the binding so it blends in and then the tigers for the backing.  RAAAAWWWWWR!

I guess the thing about quilts is that they tell different stories, depending on what fabric you use.  To me, the large motif of the throw and twin sized quilts means it really lends itself to big and bold.  But when you size down to the runner and wall hanging it’s a whole different ball game!  I made the most of the opportunity to use a selection of prints from Carolyn Friedlander‘s Collection CF range, as well as some Essex linen in Oyster, which matches the collection perfectly.  I have to admit, I really have a soft spot for the small yellow runner – it will be going on the wall in my work area, for sure.  

Strudel Quilt Pattern Testers

I really want to highlight the important and very much appreciated role my pattern testers played in bringing this pattern to life.  You can check out their beautiful creations on Instagram by searching #strudelquilt and I’ve also included a gallery below, with their Instagram handles. 

While the initial idea and work for Strudel was mine, I feel it really came into its own with the input of my testers.  Sometimes when you wrestle with something it can be easy to just give up in order to get it out of your sight, but I knew that just wouldn’t have been good enough.  Having someone egging you on, telling you its missing something and offering you their opinion is exactly what is needed to get you over the line at times.  So, THANK YOU, my dear pattern testers!

Well, we made it!  But I have to be honest – for a while there I did wonder if this pattern would ever see the light of day…  The whole process took A LOT longer than I had anticipated.  But I’ve come to learn that as a stay-at-home-mum-of-four with a husband who travels a lot for work, I really need to set aside my expectations and go with the flow of life.  Because life is much more enjoyable and manageable for everyone involved (me AND the rest of the family) when you don’t go through it grumpy and annoyed because your expectations aren’t being met. *wink wink* 

Hello! I'm Xanthe...

Here at Wife-made you will find contemporary quilt and sewing patterns designed by me and inspired by mid-century modern design and the nostalgia of traditional handcrafts.  Have I inspired your creative journey?  Let me know in the comments!    

A test of perseverance…

A test of perseverance…

If you were a subscriber to my email list, then you’ll know that I recently wrote to you about my word for the year – perseverance.

Well, today I am facing the ULTIMATE test of perseverance. Ok, ok. Maybe that’s taking it a bit too far… How about PENULTIMATE? Still too much? Well, let me tell you more.

Today I deleted my entire email list.

Yep. The whole entire list. Not a single contact was spared. (Edit: turns out I managed to save a handful of my recent subscribers! Hooray!)

Sounds dramatic, hey. I know in the scheme of things it’s not the end of the world, but, well…

It is for me.

(At least until my husband travels overseas for three weeks and leaves me alone with all four kids. That definitely trumps email list deletion.)

But I have worked hard to build that email list. *sigh* And sure, it wasn’t the largest email list, or the most engaged email list, in the entire world. But it was my email list. And now it’s pretty much gone. (Except for the few that I just realised I managed to save by a last minute, skin of my teeth export. Thanks goodness Mailchimp isn’t that speedy at deleting contacts.)


And all I was doing was trying to be a good business person and save money by removing contacts that no longer wanted to be subscribed because I have to pay for my email list once it hits a certain number. Although now I’ve learnt I could have just archived them and saved myself a whole lot of pain.

Anyway, getting back to my initial point about my word for the year… This is another situation where I have been grateful for that little word. Grateful for what it means. Grateful for how it came about. And grateful that I have it as a reminder to keep going. When everything seems too hard and I want to give up…

I choose to persevere.

Leilani pattern testers call out | New quilt design

Leilani pattern testers call out | New quilt design

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been working on a new quilt pattern called Leilani, and I’m now at the point where I’m now looking for Leilani pattern testers!!

Wrap your peepers around this Illustrator mock-up version, in the double size. I think I’d like to make this in a throw size. I’ve never made a quilt with a dark background before, and I’ve got some hand-quilting ideas I’d like to have a play with in a rust coloured thread which I think could work really well with this colour palette, maybe…?

What do you think? Would you like to be one of my Leilani pattern testers?

Wife-made Leilani Pattern

Leilani was a name we had on our list when we first started having babies. I loved the name from the first time I heard it – so gentle and feminine. I believe it’s a Hawaiian word meaning ‘heavenly flower’ and I think it’s such a perfect name for little girl. In the end we went with Rose, as you may know, but I’m glad I got to use it for one of my ‘quilt babies’ {hee hee!}.

Leilani is a modern nod to those beautiful kitchen splashback tile patterns from the 60s and 70s, often seen in mission brown and that really bright orange. {Aaaaah! My eyeeeeeeeees!} Which I have nothing against as colours on their own, but I think some things from the 60s and 70s can do with a bit of updating…

I’m intrigued by how the use of different colours and combinations of colours in the flowers and stamen petals give an optical illusion of movement or spinning in the floral motif. It makes me feel like I have wobbly eyes!

If you would like to be one of my Leilani pattern testers, you should know that the pattern includes curved piecing for the petals, plus regular straight edge piecing for the diamond motif and the stamen block in the centre of the flower motif. Despite what it looks like in the pic below, the pattern is not constructed in straightforward quilt blocks, which I’m realising is becoming a bit of a signature style for me (aka, I like to make things difficult for myself haha!).

Wife-made Leilani Pattern

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to send this pattern out my selected Leilani pattern testers. I have been thinking a lot about the services that pattern testers provide people like myself (in my case – a work from home Mum trying to make a few extra bucks to help with the family budget) and I’ve decided to start offering incentives such as free fabric, gift vouchers to fabric shops and discount codes. If you’d like to learn more about this and be kept in the loop about future Wife-made pattern testing opportunities, please sign up here.

If you’re interested in being one of my Leilani pattern testers, here’s what you need to know!

  • The Leilani pattern includes curved piecing.
  • Leilani pattern testing turnaround is 4 weeks.  Due date for completed test quilts is Sunday, 23 June 2019. 
  • First drafts of the pattern will be emailed to selected testers on Monday, 27 May 2019.
  • I am looking for 3 – 5 pattern testers who can offer services including testing key elements of the pattern, and providing photographs of WIPs and completed projects up to throw quilt size.
  • Incentives for testers will be determined based on the quilting and photography skills of selected testers.
Wife-made Leilani Pattern

If you are confident sewing curves, or interested in having the opportunity to learn how to piece curved quilts AND (most importantly!) you are able to complete your test quilt and provide feedback and edits by Sunday, 23 June, I welcome you to express your interest in testing this pattern by sending me an email to discuss. Please let me know which of the following testing services you can offer in your email:

  • A – pattern checks and edits + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories
  • B – pattern checks and edits + completed baby sized quilt + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories OR high quality WIP/completed project photos for use in stories and Wife-made Instagram feed and blog
  • C – pattern checks and edits + completed cot sized quilt + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories OR high quality WIP/completed project photos for use in stories and Wife-made Instagram feed and blog
  • D – pattern checks and edits + completed throw sized quilt + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories OR high quality WIP/completed project photos for use in stories and Wife-made Instagram feed and blog

Once I have a list of interested Leilani pattern testers I will approach 3 – 5 potential testers to discuss further.  The incentives I offer will vary according to the level of pattern testing and photography services provided.

I’m looking forward to hearing from interested Leilani pattern testers, as well as sending this new design out into the quilting world and seeing what everyone makes!

Patchy Wool Cushions | Art for your sofa

Patchy Wool Cushions | Art for your sofa

Art for your sofa – or your lounge or bed or wherever you want, really! That’s how I like to think of these Patchy Wool Cushions I’ve been making.

It’s been a few years now since I first started playing with wool scraps; chopping them up into smaller pieces and sewing them back together to create what I now call my Patchy Wool Cushions.

Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square
Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square

They are definitely a labour of love with all the cutting, piecing and stitching; but there is something about the colours and patterns in vintage/old wool blankets that speak to me and I love seeing them come together to create a new and unique piece.

Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square

Every single Patchy Wool Cushion I make is one of a kind, which is partly because they’re made with up-cycled, vintage wool blankets that I doubt I’d ever be able to find again, and partly because I could never want to make an identical pair. The thought is not at all appealing to me, firstly because I have a very short attention span, but also because I really like the fact that they all have their own little personality, kinda like humans. Some of us are bright and all over the place, like the rainbow styles below…

Wife-made Patchy Cushion
Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square

And some of us are a bit more relaxed and quiet, still colourful, but just a little less in your face, like these ones…

Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Little Lumbar
Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Big Lumbar

Bright and happy, soft and quiet; I love them all, and they all have their place. Tash from @thecolourtribe on Instagram has styled her rainbow Patchy Wool Cushion perfectly in her amazing retro house. It fits in perfectly and I love that it is being loved by someone other than me!

I like to think of these as ‘art for your sofa’ because I do spend a lot of time considering the colours and patterns I use in each cushion, as well as the placement and size of each wool piece to see how it interacts with the pieces around it. It’s a bit like a puzzle – but an enjoyable one, not like a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle that people appear to like torturing themselves with 😉

To celebrate the arrival of AFTERPAY in my webshop, I’m offering 15% off (no coupon required!) all ready-to-ship physical product! Which INCLUDES my Patchy Wool Cushions! Click over and take a look!

Wife-made Maker Spotlight: AJ Collective

Wife-made Maker Spotlight: AJ Collective

Since I started selling my wings patterns way back when (four years ago I think…???), I’ve had the wonderful privilege of seeing other people’s imaginations bring them to life in ways that I would NEVER have thought of. That’s the beauty of putting a pattern out into the world, and every now and then when I need a bit of a pick-me-up, I’ll dive into my Wife-made Instagram hashtags to see if anything new pops up. I’m rarely disappointed and it really is a fantastic motivator. So, to say thank you to those lovely people who have supported me by purchasing a pattern (or several!) I thought I’d start featuring makers on my blog and socials through a Wife-made Maker Spotlight.

For my first Wife-made Maker Spotlight, let me introduce you to Aimee Thannhauser from AJ Collective. When I first saw Aimee’s work, I was smitten. She has taken my humble attempts at blending vintage linens and modern fabric prints to a whole new level and her fabric combinations are inspiring! The wings she creates using my patterns are part of a collection of costumes for children, that includes animal masks, mermaid tails and king and queen crowns.

All about Aimee & AJ Collective

I’m Aimee, an almost 30 year old stay-at-home Mum to Poppy (6) and Oliver (2). Hubby and I have been married almost 8 years and we live in Mildura in a home we’re slowly trying to renovate amongst two dogs, a rabbit and little flock of 6 chooks.  AJ Collective is my little handmade hobby business, where I make kids dress ups!

AJ collective started with my sister (both our initials are AJ). As stay-at-home Mums we were looking for something to do. Originally we focused on art and graphic design, but life got busy and I eventually decided to go down this path solo. I was constantly making dress ups for Poppy and my nieces and nephews so it seemed like a natural fit to take AJ Collective in this direction.

My background is in visual arts, and for as long as I can remember I’ve loved drawing. My earliest memory is tracing the images I could see through the paper from the placemats at kindergarten. I’ve carried a drawing journal around with me ever since!

After finishing my Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) degree and having kids I was continuously looking for something to fulfil the creative part of me, and after dabbling in many things I have finally found something I truly love doing every day! My mum taught me to sew on her old heavy sewing machine (that she still uses today!) – I love to learn and pick up lots of new sewing tips and tricks constantly. 

I think everyone with young kids knows how crazy life can get sometimes, I have to try and squeeze in the creative part of my day wherever I can! It’s all just go go go. Generally the creative part of my day happens during Oliver’s nap time, but some days nap time is a battle I lose so it can also mean a few late nights (particularly if I have a market coming up where I need extra stock on hand). The best way to make myself feel like I’m achieving something though is to have check lists. I write down all my plans for the day, which also includes the boring stuff like washing the dishes, prepping tea or going to the gym. 

I usually try to have patterns cut out in the morning or the night before ready to have a solid sewing session in the afternoon during Ollie’s down time before school pick up.  When I’m sketching out new patterns or ideas it can be a great time to work in some activities with Oliver, like give him some paper and pencils too, or felt and fabric scraps he can play with.

I’ve definitely stumbled down my current path thanks to my kids. The dress ups all started with my daughters love for dressing up. When she was about 2 or 3 years old, I made Poppy my first ever masks, which she still has. They had hand-sewn details and were a bit rough but still sweet! And then I stumbled across the amazing Wife-made pattern and fell in love! I gifted Poppy my first pair of wings for Christmas and I haven’t stopped since. My nieces all received wings for Christmas the following year too! 

Poppy’s current future career dream, bless her imagination, is to be a mermaid, so she gives me a lot of ideas. I love that a child’s dream can be so magical, I hope my dress ups can give children that little bit of whimsy they’re searching for. Oliver isn’t quite into the dress ups yet (although he does love to wear Poppy’s tutus occasionally) but I’m sure when he is older he will have a few requests of his own!

Creativity is something that’s always been a part of my life. I do have a bit of a fabric obsession, so when I have beautiful fabrics to use it’s easy to create as I can’t wait to see how they turn out! I also love experimenting which helps keep things interesting!

I have lots of ideas for AJ Collective, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of making dress ups! There are a few products I’d like to add to my range, but right now it’s just finding the time to bring those ideas to life as it takes me a little while to develop a new product.

I’m constantly dabbling in other mediums, but nothing has ever really stuck like sewing and drawing! I’d love to combine the two, and I have done drawings on fabric in the past with small hand-stitched details. I loved them and I’d like to get back to those, or even release a range of prints relating to my products in some way.

Follow Aimee on Instagram and Facebook or purchase one of her lovely items through her Etsy store!

If you would like to be featured in a Wife-made Maker Spotlight, send me an email!

Hello 2019 & Hello Change! | New branding

Hello 2019 & Hello Change! | New branding

If you’re a regular Wife-made follower on the Instas or Facie, you may have noticed there’s been a few changes around these parts.  The most obvious change is the new branding – which I LOVE! – but also, deep down inside ME there’s been a lot of changes happening too.  (Not pregnant.  Soz.) 

A change in inspiration

Last year I noticed a change was happening in me creatively.  My direction was changing course because my muse was no longer my baby girl (because she’s not a baby anymore! Wah!). 

My Rosie – no longer a baby

Instead, it became our home and the people (my family) who filled it.  It became about filling that little space inside me that yearns to create.  Try new things.  Be stretched.  And to be honest, it just became more about me. My own personal style and my desire to make our house a home, in a way that reflects who we are as a family, as opposed to stringently following the latest fashion trend or what a design blog says is in vogue.  And even though that doesn’t sound like a huge change in direction, it has been for me. 

It all started when I was asked to participate in something in the sewing community, which I was very happy to do and excited about.  But, when the parcel arrived and I opened it, my heart sank.  I literally felt like crying.  And it was in that moment that I realised things had changed. It wasn’t that what I’d been sent wasn’t stylish or nice to look at. It was just that at that moment I realised that my personal style was no longer reflected in a lot of what I have made through Wife-made and my blog in the past, and it was time to move on.

Wife-made Pilea Peperomiodes

I realised that I had no desire to make all the pretty things anymore. I didn’t have a little girl to dress anymore, or thinking about what a little girl might like to play with. It’s no longer where my interests lie or where I find my inspiration. And while this is all sounding very sombre and sad, it’s actually been really wonderful! It’s time for change, to focus on new things and to set a different course for Wife-made.

New branding

In the second half of last year I worked with Tabitha Emma to come up with a new and exciting (for me!) look for Wife-made. My main requirement was that I didn’t want to be restricted creatively by my branding. I wanted to be able to change directions and pivot without needing to change my branding again. The branding needed to work in lots of different genres, wherever my creative muse was leading. The new branding also had to reflect my personal style, which is quite eclectic, a bit retro, and colourful but with a neutral base.

And in my opinion, I think we nailed it.

The main logo, above, is simple, a little bit retro and that little heart very much speaks to the tagline and sentiment I try to express in everything I do with Wife-made – “With Lotsa Heart”. And I have secondary logos, like the one at the top of this blog, that I can use in different circumstances. I also have blocks set up for social media which make my life so much simpler. Now I don’t have to waste hours trying to make a meme suit my feed.

Wife-made Meme

What’s ahead?

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about what’s to come for Wife-made. There’s going to be lots of different stuff. No real plan, just plodding away at doing what I love – sewing, designing, drawing and painting. And hopefully it will all come together in the end!

So, I hope you’ll stick with me as I fumble around in the dark, so to speak, of this new creative phase. My intention is to send out a monthly newsletter, updating all my email subscribers about what’s been happening in the Wife-made corner of the world (on the blog, on Insta and Facie and just in my life in general), and also spontaneous emails regarding new products and give-aways etc. (And on that note, stay tuned for new product releases and give-aways in the next couple of weeks! You can see a hint in the top image of this post…)

What about you?

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been through a similar change of direction, creatively. How have you managed it? Let me know if it had an impact on you when you realised things needed to change. Has it been for the better?