I’d just finished a mini ‘Peppa Pig’ quilt that I’d embroidered the animals on for my youngest grandson, and was wondering what to make next, my daughter in law had got me a new Sissix die cheaply from a shop that was closing down, was there something that I could made with that I wondered? So there I was, sat looking, stroking, auditioning and returning my fabric into their boxes when I heard the post clatter through the letterbox and lo and behold when I opened the post there was a surprise package containing a Makower UK Little Sweethearts Layer Cake by designer Edyita Sitar for me to review.

My first impression was oooh! Er! Never used a layer cake before and red, pink & beige florals, stripes & spots not my usual colours or pattern choice, I tend to be taken by blues, greens, funky colours or kids cute fabrics however, one of my daughters was visiting for the weekend took a shine to it and badgered me to make a throw for her lounge.

I realised that I needed the right pattern to showcase these rich reds, deep pinks, of the darker colours and the beige, pale pinks and off white of the lighter colours. It needed to be big enough to allow the pattern of the fabric to bloom, as sometimes when cutting fabric into small blocks I feel you can lose the pattern on the fabric. Also as I was contemplating the fabric and flicking through my collection of quilting and patchwork books I found the perfect pattern, and it enabled me to used my new die – result!!

Some people say using a die cutting machine wastes a lot of fabric, but I find if you fold or place the fabric carefully over the cutting area you can actually lessen the wasteage. The die in question was trapezoid, therefore big enough to showcase the pattern and give a solid lump of colour.

With careful placing I managed to cut 2 pairs of the braid pattern from every piece of layer cake. I also made sure I reversed the material so that I had a mirrored pattern piece, otherwise all the pieces would have been facing the same way and would not have worked at all. I still had a decent piece leftover too, which could possibly be used joined together as a binding maybe!

I decided to alternate the braid light/dark, and having joined the first two together I reluctantly found I had to undo them as I’d stitched them wrongly (told you Iast time don’t rush things you only meet The Ripper!!) I started to add in the next colour, and as I added the next colours to the bottom of the previous ones it started to come together like a plait. I put 8 pairs in a row; the more I sewed the more I began to like the pattern & colours. Once I had 5 rows finished I started to join them together, here disaster struck as they looked awful, out came my friend Jack (the Ripper), & they soon came apart, it was then I had a lightbulb moment if I added a solid colour the coloured rows would stand out.

What a difference that made! Simply by adding a row of plain white braids the colours of the Layer Cake just zinged into life! With the top complete I realised that I didn’t have enough of anything to back it, I had some of the plain left, but maybe if I filleted in a bit in the centre, hmmm!? It might just work. I found the ideal piece in my stash as I realised that the 2 units for the braid were like little hearts I had the perfect fabric! It also complimented the Little Sweethearts. Once sewn & sandwiched, how was I to quilt it? I’m a straight line quilter, but I didn’t fancy doing stitch in the ditch! I picked a decorative stitch on my machine & quilted inside every pair, yes it was boring, but in the hot weather, sat at my machine in the spare bedroom with both windows open and a cool breeze wafting through it was sheer bliss!! With it quilted, I just needed to bind then bury my threads. I picked a plain red to bind to bring it all together as having added the plain colour in it’s made the throw bigger and the leftover fabric was not enough for binding.

My initial uncertainty to the fabric quickly disappeared as I put the throw together and it opened my eyes to be more open minded with my fabric choices, it was a joy to work with (as Makower fabrics always are). I actually enjoyed it in the end, do you think my daughter will mind if I keep it myself?????