Recently Debbie showed a pretty trivet that she received. Many years ago I learned how to do this technique, and finally I have had time to make this tutorial. It's a lot of fun, and not difficult. I will spread it over a few posts as there are lots of pictures - a picture tells a thousand words! - which will show the steps to making Somerset patchwork.
You will need to decide on fabrics. I used Christmas fabrics from my stash as I plan to use it on our Christmas table, but of course it will look good no matter which fabrics are used. There are four rows in the star and each row can be a different fabric, fabrics can be repeated, or more than one fabric can be used in a row. As you can see, my light coloured row uses two different fabrics - the colour tones are the same, but the prints are different. You will also need fabric for the backing and binding, and a piece of muslin for the base. The finished star can be used as a table mat, hot food trivet, pot holder, or on the front of a cushion or bag.
Fabric 2, first round: cut eight, 5in (12.5cm) squares.
Fabric 3, second round: cut eight, 7in (17.5cm) squares. I used two different fabrics for this row as I found that I couldn't get all eight squares from one fat quarter.
Fabric 4, third round: cut eight, 6in (15cm) squares.
Base fabric: cut one, nine in (22.5cm) square. Fold it into quarters and press, open out then fold diagonally and press. You will have four pressed lines. If preferred the lines can also be drawn using a ruler and marking pencil. This is inside the finished star and will not be seen.
Backing: you may prefer to wait until the top is finished before cutting fabric for backing, as you may wish to alter the size from the dimensions given here.
Binding: you may also want to wait before deciding on a binding width. I cut two strips 1 in (25.4cm) but only needed one for binding. In hindsight they could have been wider, say 1-1/4 in (3.2cm) or even 1-1/2in (3.8cm).
Thread: thread to match each fabric. Points are stitched down by hand so thread will need to match fabrics, outer edges are sewn by machine but as this thread won't be seen in the finished star the colour doesn't matter.
Depending in the fabric used, you may be able to finger-press; this will result in soft folds and points. For crisp sharp folds you may prefer to use an iron. I chose to press my fabrics using steam, as the gold metallic designs on some of the fabrics made them stiff.
Take one piece of fabric 1 and fold in half; press. Fold one corner to the middle and press; repeat with the other corner, to make a triangle shape. Make sure the point is on the folded edge, not the open edge.
Repeat with all squares. If using more than one fabric for a round you may like to layer the fabrics alternately to keep them in order.
Using fabric 1 and with the lines on the base fabric as a guide, set the four triangles with the points touching at the centre and the folded edges touching to make a square. Using thread to match fabric 1, stitch the four points to each other and to the base fabric. Stitching just inside the outer edge of fabric 1, sew a row of stitches by machine to hold the square to the base fabric. This row of stitching can be seen in the picture below.
Using fabric 2, start the first round. Place the point of a fabric 2 triangle 5/8in (1.5cm) from the centre and pin in place. Continue to place the remaining fabric 2 triangles with the points 5/8in (1.5cm) from the centre point, alternating placement so the points line up with the fold of the square below and with the join between the four sections of the square. Arrange the triangles so they alternate over and under each other. Using thread to match fabric 2, stitch the points to the base fabric, and machine a row of stitches just inside the outer edge as before.
Continue to place the next two rows as before. Using fabric 3, make the second round as previous row but with points 1-1/4in (3.1cm) from the centre point. Stitch points and outer edges. Using fabric 4, make the third round with points 1-7/8in (4.7cm) from centre point. The final row will be partly off the edge of the base fabric.
This is the time to decide on the finished size. I trimmed my star to make a 9in (22.5cm) circle, but any size from 8-9in (20-22.5cm) diameter would be fine. You can also trim the excess points and leave an octagon shape. If making a circle you will use bias fabric for the binding - if making an octagon or square, you can use straight binding. I used a bias tape maker to make fold lines on my binding.
Trim to shape and size desired. Cut backing fabric the same size - this can be placed on the back of the star, wrong wides together, and trimmed at the same time as the front. It is then ready for binding.
With right side of binding to right side of star, pin and stitch. Fold under 1/4in(6mm) on the end of binding so the fold will overlap the join. Stitch all around.
Because of the many layers of folded fabric, the edges are bulky. I trimmed some of the bulk away to make it easier to fold the binding to the back. Stitch binding down on the back by hand.
In hindsight I would have cut the binding slightly wider to make this step easier, and also for the appearance of the finished piece.
Now make a cuppa, sit back and enjoy your handiwork! When I looked at these pictures I realised that I had made a mistake in the light coloured row - the 'under and over' overlapping didn't quite go right at one point. But in the overall scheme of things it doesn't matter.
If you have any questions or comments I would love to have them.
Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Jennifer Richards of Bronze Wombat blog at http://bronzewombat.blogspot.com/ .