my cheaty appliqué “thircles”

Yes, you read right. Thircles. You may already know that a squircle is the shape somewhere between a square and a circle but what’s a thircle?

If you’ve seen my Opal Essence quilt you’ll notice that all the circles are made up in thirds. The first quilt was made by appliquéing the third of a circle on to a diamond shape. A simple way to make sure you get a smooth circle is to use a template under your appliqué piece. The great thing about using this technique with a thircle (tee-hee, it still makes me giggle!) is that you can easily remove your template and reuse it.

My template of choice for this technique is a really smooth, bump free freezer paper template. You trace your pattern piece on to freezer paper and cut it out very carefully.

My cheaty applique thircle how to…

1. Press your freezer paper template to the wrong side of your fabric. As you will be folding the fabric over the template to appliqué try to place the curved edge on the diagonal grain. The stretch that lies here on the bias helps to create lovely soft curves with less bumps and folds.

2. If you are fussy cutting and placing the paper on the bias isn’t possible, consider using the fabric in a larger thircle. A larger, gentler curve is more forgiving with stiff fabric.

3. Next, use a ruler with a 1/4″ marking to add your seam allowance to the straight edges of your thircle shape. Cut with a rotary cutter or scissors. I love using an Add-A-Quarter ruler for this step. Using scissors cut a generous 1/4″ seam allowance around the curve.


4. Use a fabric glue stick to keep the seam allowance tucked under. Use a fine line of glue, about 1/8″ away from the curved edge of the freezer paper. That will help when it comes to sewing the shapes down and will also reduce the chance of your fabric fraying along the raw edge.


5. Match the seam allowance of your thircle with the corresponding point of your diamond background. Pin or lightly glue your shape into place. I like to pin along both seam allowances where there’s no freezer paper.


6. Using a thread colour that disappears appliqué the piece down. Use small stitches and pull the thread a little to hide it.

7. Once the shape is appliquéd down, trim away your background with scissors leaving a generous 1/4″ seam.

8. Finally, whip out your freezer paper template to reuse. The less glue you use, the easier it is to remove and reuse the papers.


Now that your thircles are appliquéd down, you can piece your diamonds into a hexagon and fan your centre seam.


2013-08-26 14.51.09

I’ve been teaching workshops using this appliqué technique as well as the machine pieced thircles and most students are surprised by how much they enjoy the process. The smaller thircles are definitely less stressful if you appliqué them. The larger thircles can be rotary cut and machine pieced pretty quickly and painlessly. You can even mix both techniques in your quilt, maybe stick to one technique in each block though…

Hope that helps someone out there too afraid to try appliquéd curves. Let me know if you have any questions!




Desert to Sea: 10 Quilts From Australian Designers

images from book

So many exciting things happening around here lately, I’ve fallen behind and so I’ll start with the release of my Opal Essence pattern in Jane Davidson’s fabulous book, Desert To Sea. The book was self published by my clever friend Jane and is available to order right now from Amazon and Book Depository. I know there are a few local fabric stores who are stocking it or taking pre orders too, in most cases this can be a slightly cheaper than paying for the book + overseas postage. Contact Quiltsmith, Material Obsession, Cotton Factory Patches Indooroopilly and QuiltJane for more information.

Desert To Sea Book: 10 Quilts from Australian Designers

Desert To Sea Book: 10 Quilts from Australian Designers

There are 9 other gorgeous quilts in the book by Jane Davidson, Danielle Auckens, Betty Kerr, Cathy Underhill, Charlotte Dumsney, Rachaeldaisy and Jeannette Bruce. The book has well written patterns, wonderful photography and even colouring pages to help you plan your quilt.

You may have seen some photos on Instagram taken whilst teaching this pattern, it’s proving to be a very enjoyable day class and students are learning lots. Take a look at the #opalessencequilt hashtag to be inspired! You’ll see photos of my two other versions of the quilt too #undertheseaquilt and #pinkchampagnequilt.

Opal Essence IG

I’ve had acrylic templates made to help speed up the cutting for this pattern and will be listing sets in my shop next week. The acrylic templates set includes 6 pieces to help cut the diamonds and arcs for machine piecing, I’ll also include a full size A3 template sheet and a packet of pre cut freezer paper shapes to give the applique technique I teach in my classes a try. That will be for another blog post!

Template sets are $35 plus postage. I’m also getting 20 copies of the book to sell together with my templates for those who can’t find them locally. The set will be $70 plus postage.

Please contact me if you’d like to pre-order a set as I expect delivery in the first week of July.

book and templates


Social Tote Workshop at Material Obsession Saturday 27th June

Chuck Nohara Class at Material Obsession Friday 10th July

Chuck Nohara Class at Material Obsession Saturday 10th July

Lorena presenting at Friday Showcase at The Quilters’ Guild of NSW 7th August

Opal Essence Class at Quiltsmith 26th September

Opal Essence Class at Material Obsession Saturday 24th October


Opal Essence Workshops

It’s so exciting to finally have a pattern and some dates to teach my Opal Essence quilt! Writing instructions and coming up with something semi original is even harder than I had imagined. And very labour intensive. I’ve got some workshop dates booked and I will list them here once they are confirmed. The pattern will be published in a book of Australian quilters soon by Jane Davidson. The lead times for books are so long, but everything happens for a reason, there’s always another typo to correct.

Opal Essence was displayed at last year’s Sydney Quilt Show, since then it’s lead a fairly quiet existence on our sofa. It was in good company and much loved.

What a surprise to then see my quilt on TV as part of a news piece about the quilts hanging at the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne this weekend. What a thrill and honour it was for it to be selected to hang in a curated display showcasing where Australian modern quilting stands today. This was done via the MQG and much work from the Melbourne MQG and Jules McMahon from Canberra MQG. Thanks from those of us who couldn’t be there to help. Kathy Thorncraft also from our GWSMQG has her striking Subdivison quilt hanging too. Lots of great modern quilts, yay!

Opal Essence sofa

A bit about the pattern, my original quilt here was needle turn appliqued and then machine pieced using a y-seam construction. But I have also made this quilt with machine pieced curves. There are acrylic template sets available to help with rotary cutting all the pieces.

Below is a machine pieced version of Opal Essence that I have called Pink Champagne, it is a baby size quilt (41′ x 48″) using just 18 blocks.

Pink Champagne close up

I’ve got many more ideas for my Opal Essence template, stay tuned for the possibilities.

Workshop Dates:

May 30 Patches, Indooroopilly

May 31 Patches, Indooroopilly

June 7  Wandoo Lane, Gold Coast

June 13  & 14 Cotton Factory, Ballarat

September 26 Quiltsmith, Annandale

October 10 Fairholme Quilters at Cottage Quiltworks, Warriewood

October 24  Material Obsession, Drummoyne

I’m also happy to travel to your quilting retreat or guild to teach a workshop.

Please contact me for fees and available dates.

Lorena :-)

Classes update

I’m so excited about the Chuck Nohara classes I’ll be teaching at Material Obsession this year.

There are twice monthly classes scheduled, the Saturday class is full but there are two spots still available in the Friday class which starts 13th Feb. Contact for further information.

The classes are loosely structured to accommodate the students’ needs. We will be working from Chuck Nohara’s book 2001 New Patchwork Patterns. This fabulous book is bulging with inspiration and ideas. Most block patterns are  2.25″ line drawings that leave the sizing and fabric selection up to the maker.


It really is a great quilt to explore your style and colour sense. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful projects ahead.

Below is my interpretation of Block #74. I’ve used several techniques to make this block, applique, reverse applique and machine piecing. How would you have approached it?



Rainbow Reverb at Canberra

Rainbow Reverb 60" x 60"

Rainbow Reverb 60″ x 60″

What a wonderful foundation paper piecing workshop we had at Addicted 2 Fabric in Canberra last weekend! Canberra turned on its most splendid Spring weather two weekends in a row for me. And everyone at the shop was most lovely and accommodating.

I incorporated two commercially available foundation paper piecing patterns to make Rainbow Reverb; the centre is Janice Ryan’s New York Beauty Circle of Flying Geese and the four Poinsettia Star corner blocks are from Beth Maddocks of Piece by Number.

Both these patterns are fabulous and a great way to conquer your fear of foundation paper piecing. All the glorious, sharp points came to life in a wide range of fabrics. I love seeing how students put their own stamp on a project. Can’t wait to see them finished!

Fun and games at A2F

Fun and games at A2F

Addicted 2 Fabric have an extensive selection of solids and an interesting range of patchwork and dressmaking fabrics. I picked up some gorgeous Echino and a Tessuti pattern to make the Eva Dress. I’ll let you know how that goes 😉