OCTOBER 2018 Newsletter

Posted by Donette Backlund on

YAY ! We finally have some cooler weather, and cooler weather is such a relief after a long and very hot summer. Time to settle down and relax and take a little time to breath. Besides sewing, I love to read. I try to read for relaxation every day. I love historical novels set in the Regency and Medieval time periods. I love reading the descriptions of the sumptuous clothing they wore, both men and women. Rich velvets, embroidered silks, handmade lace from France. I can visualize in my mind’s eye how wonderful it all must have appeared. But, I would not have been happy with corsets and stays and cinching in to the point of not being able to take a breath. That is the wonderful thing about reading, you don’t have to actually lug around all those heavy petticoats and skirts, passing out from lack of oxygen. You can just fantasize that you are making a grand entrance! LOL. I have often wondered how the seamstress during that time period managed to create so many elaborate pieces all by hand! This was before the sewing machine was produced. I am amazed at their talents and abilities.
I truly do love to sew clothing though, and as winter is on the horizon, reading about all those fantastic fabrics makes my thoughts turn to that very thing. I just wish I could get more apparel fabrics here in the shop. I am working on that, space is the biggest issue. Right now, I have a few rayon batiks, a variety of wonderful cotton knits in solids and prints, an array of beautiful cotton/linen blends (that sew, wear & wash like a dream), the always versatile cotton double gauze, sturdy heavy cotton denims, delicious suede and the ever popular Cuddle fabrics. There is just no way to beat the soft, cozy and comforting feel of the irresistible Cuddle. I have a large selection from rich solids to fantastic faux furs, 60” or 90” wide. It makes a fabulous backing for quilts, but it is also equally fabulous for apparel. Think cozy infinity scarves, snuggly bathrobes, warm vests or luxurious jackets. So many of you have asked me about the tips and tricks of sewing with Cuddle, that I thought it time to share the article about sewing with it again. Don’t miss the “Valuable Info” article.
This month brings Halloween and it can be sew much fun! Do y’all remember last year & the dynamic SuperNova digital print witch by Hoffman? Well, she is back.......................... and she brought her sister with her! Also, their friend the Scarecrow joins the group with his jack-o-lanterns. These dynamic panels are 42” X 42” and the most fantastic decorations ever! You can hang them in a window, frame them as they are, make a wall hanging or even a throw for your sofa. Everybody has just loved these panels. You have to see them to get the full luminous effect.
Don’t miss out!

Here in the Hill Country, there is an organization named “Warriors Heart”. They are a treatment center for physiologically wounded active military, veterans and 1st responders. Sometimes these wounds are the most long lasting because they are unseen. My son is a Firefighter/Paramedic and one of my sons-in-law did a tour in Afghanistan, so this is dear to my heart. You can check Warriors Heart out on their website. www.WarriorsHeart.com

In talking with them, I had the idea of a lap quilt Challenge. A lap size quilt to comfort those recovering there. Something made with love they could take home with them when they are recovered and maybe help them remember they are appreciated. So many of them don’t realize just how much we appreciate what they do and the sacrifice they and their family make. Let’s show them.

Starting October 16, you can purchase a packet containing 3 yards of fabric for $18.99. The fabrics will be in various size cuts, but coordinated within the packet. You can add to it from your own stash or purchase additional coordinating fabrics if you desire. You may choose any pattern you wish. These lap quilts must be no smaller than 44” X 58” or larger than 60” X 72”. Each quilt must be finished completely, (quilted, bound & preferably have a label about the person who made it) and returned to Little Cottage Quilt Shop before February 1, 2019. I realize this is a short time frame. Each finished quilt returned to Little Cottage Quilt Shop will be entered into a drawing for $100 gift card as well as receive a 30% discount coupon for backing and batting for your next quilt. All finished quilts will be donated to Warriors Heart in February.

(a full instruction sheet will be in each packet)


Grab Bag

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought an elegant Christmas wall hanging would be perfect for the Grab Bag this month. You have enough time to get it ready to hang or throw over your favorite chair by the first of December. The beautiful green & gold Christmas tree panel from Northcott is stunning, even more so when you glue Swarovski crystals onto the starbursts. I just love it. It’s my own design & I think you will enjoy making it and seeing it every year.



“Winter Texans” will soon be arriving. We welcome you and are looking forward to seeing y’all and hearing all about your summers. You always have great new ideas to share and adventures to relate. We hope y’all are well and enjoying life.

As always we continue getting lots of new and different fabrics and notions regularly. Be sure to drop in when you are in our area, check out what’s new and say “Hi”. We love to see and visit with you.

Keep on sewing and see you soon,


Don't forget, we have long arm quilting service and sewing machine service available at the shop


OCTOBER 2018 Calendar

Wed Oct 3- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE

Wed Oct 10- 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE

Fri Oct 1210 am “Creative Stitchers”

(2nd Friday each month). NO FEE

We will be continuing on with the new tutorial & stitches. Bring your sampler, floss, pearle cotton, Tiger Tape & pigma pen for permanent lines or erasable pen if you don’t want to see the lines.

20% discount on all supplies pertaining to your sampler project at the meeting only

Wed Oct 17 - 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE

Wed Oct 24 - 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE

Wed Oct 31 - 1 pm Open sewing workshop NO FEE

Happy Halloween!


Valuable Info

This was the “Valuable Info” in my newsletter about 2 years ago. I have had lots of questions about sewing with the Cuddle fabrics I have in the shop. It has been requested that I put it in the newsletter again.


Shannon fabrics blog “My Cuddle Corner”

April 1, 2016

If you've ever touched quality plush fabric, you've probably made this sound: "Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhh." You're also likely to have immediately stroked your cheek with this wonderfully soft fabric. Luxury plush goes by several names. Many people refer to it generically as Minky, but that is actually a brand name, much like Kleenex® is a brand name for facial tissue. For this article, we're referring to it as "Cuddle," which is the name given to the category by industry leader, Shannon Fabrics. The fabric gives a fabulous softness to a wide variety of projects, from toys to pillows to blankets and more (we loved using it for a soft fitted crib sheet). It's not a difficult fabric to sew with, but to create the very best results, it helps to have a few tips and tricks under your belt prior to jumping in. And doesn't jumping into a huge pile of Cuddle sound like a wonderful thing? "Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhhh!"

What is it and why is it so soft?

As soft to the touch as cashmere and mink, Cuddle is actually 100% polyester. The high quality and density of the nap is what distinguishes it from its standard fleece cousins. You can launder it over and over without compromising the softness, the brightness of its colors or the warmth. It traditionally comes 58" - 60"+ in width with the stretch along the width of the fabric. There is little to no stretch along the vertical (the grain line).


Types of plush fabric

The variety available is stunning. We could spend the whole article just showing you pretty pictures. Instead, the least overwhelming way to think about Cuddle is to organize it into four main categories: Solids, Prints, Embossed, and Double-Sided. Within each of the categories are dozens and dozens of options.

Solids and Prints

Solids range from vivid brights to baby pastels. Prints come in classic dots and chevrons as well as designer prints. Shannon Fabrics has many beautiful collections.


Embossed Cuddle is a favorite. You get softness plus a subtle design that pops up from the nap, such as the classic dimple as well as hearts, stars, paisley, and more. We used it on our Playful Stuffed Crocodile to simulate his scales.



The selection within double-sided prints is not quite as varied with mostly solids and just a few prints. This is a great option to create a fast blanket with just a single bound layer, as we did with our Teen Pretty Pack Sleepover Blanket.


Washing and cutting

As mentioned above, Cuddle holds up beautifully through multiple launderings. Cold water washing is best, and do not use fabric softener. 

Pre-washing Cuddle isn't necessary because it doesn't shrink. The one caveat is red. Polyester fabrics seldom fade or run, but red is always the exception to any rule. 

Some people have expressed concerns about drying the embossed fabrics, saying it can cause the embossing to lose its texture. We haven't experienced this problem, but we do choose to tumble dry on a cool setting or even to simply hang dry.

A rotary cutter with a standard or pinking blade is the best choice for cutting. The pinking blade adds a nice finish to your seam allowance. If you are working with a Cuddle that has a very long fiber, you may want to follow the recommendation for cutting faux fur, which is to cut from the back with scissors through just the backing. We have a full tutorial on Sewing with Faux Fur for more detail.

You will get lots o' lint when you work with Cuddle. It's simply the result of working with the deep nap that gives the fabric its ultra softness. You can't eliminate it, but you can minimize it. Have a lint roller on hand and keep a small vacuum nearby for post-project clean up. You'll also want to pay attention to your machine. Lint can quickly build up around the needle and presser foot as well as in the bobbin case. Take the time to clean as needed along the way as well as after you complete your project.

You can also take your larger cut pieces outside prior to sewing in order to give them a good shake. If you are sensitive to lint, make sure you don't have a fan running that can blow the lint around and consider using a dust mask. 

And my personal tip about lint: never wear all black when constructing a Cuddle project; you'll come away looking like you're turning into a stuffed animal!

Cuddle has a definite nap. You need to pay attention to the direction of the nap when cutting out your pieces so the nap is going in the same direction on any adjacent pieces. If your nap is going in opposite directions both the texture and the color will be different and ruin the look of your project. The image above is the same fabric with the nap brushed in two different directions.

When cutting pattern pieces, some people prefer working with pattern weights over pins because pinning through thick Cuddle layers can distort a pattern. We haven't had a problem working with pins, but it is something to keep in mind. Another option would be to flip the pattern and trace it onto the back of the Cuddle, similar to how you cut a pattern on faux fur


Machine set-up and stitching 

The number one tool to have is a Walking or Even Feed foot. Cuddle can be slippery, and the best way to combat it is with this type of specialty presser foot. It has upper feed dogs built in that work in harmony with the lower feed dogs on your machine. Your layers are fed in unison from both the top and the bottom. 

We like to work with quilting gloves  as an additional aid against the fabric slipping or sliding. 

Start a new project with a new needle. A 90/14 stretch needle  is the top choice as it has a slight ballpoint tip. We've also used a 90/14 universal needle  with good results.

Set-up the machine for a longer stitch length: 3.0 to 4.0mm. Test your stitching first on scraps to make sure the length and tension settings on your machine are generating the best results.

Thread the machine with all-purpose thread in the top and bobbin. Decorative or specialty threads will get lost in the nap of the fabric. 

We prefer to simply pin layers together, spacing them fairly close together – about every 1" for stability. Don't be afraid to use lots of pins. 

If you don't have access to a Walking foot or you simply find yourself getting frustrated with uncooperative layers, other options to hold things together include: hand-basting, using a fusible seam tape, such as Dritz Washaway Wonder Tape , or trying a basting spray. With a spray, make sure you protect the right side of the Cuddle prior to spraying.

Use a ½" seam allowance at a minimum. Cuddle has a tendency to curl, and the wider seam allowance helps stabilize it. It will also help decrease stretching. 

Cuddle doesn't fray so seam finishing isn't necessary, however, when mixing Cuddle with another fabric (see below), if the resulting seam allowance is too bulky, grade the seam by trimming away some of the Cuddle.

Topstitching a finished seam will also help reduce bulk and help the Cuddle lay flat. If you choose this option, always topstitch in the same direction as the nap.


Combining plush fleece with another fabric type

It's common to combine Cuddle with another fabric. We often use a quilting cotton as a binding for our blankets. And, we've seen some gorgeous quilts lately that have chosen Cuddle as the quilt's backing. It adds a lovely softness, and if you chose a Cuddle with a short nap, the quilting design does show up, adding texture, beauty, and softness to the quilt back. 

The main thing to keep in mind is that these other fabrics will likely behave differently in the wash than Cuddle. Pre-wash all fabrics you'll be using in combination with the Cuddle to avoid uneven shrinkage when laundering the finished project.

When stitching, work with the Cuddle on the bottom against the feed dogs for the smoothest movement through the machine. 

Another trick we've used on several blanket projects is to insert a layer of double-sided flannel between the layers of Cuddle. Because the back of the Cuddle is smooth and rather slick, when two layers are wrong sides together, as they would be for a blanket, they'll want to shift against each other. You can certainly add lines of quilting to hold the layers together, but sometimes that isn't the look you want, and with larger blankets  – unless you add lots of lines of quilting, the two layers can sometimes still droop or slide between the quilting. We've found the "grippyness" of the flannel helps keep the layers stable. 



Cuddle is 100% polyester so it can melt if directly exposed to high heat. In most cases, the rule is to simply not iron it at all. If you feel you must press a seam, do it from the wrong side and use a pressing cloth. 

The embossed Cuddle is especially sensitive to heat as it is heat that created the embossed designs in the first place, so excessive heat can take that texture away.

Placing the Cuddle face down against a plush towel rather than directly on your flat ironing board also helps preserve the nap. 

Our thanks to Fabric Depot and Shannon Fabrics for providing some of the background tips for this article. 

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