Making an heirloom – a quilting workshop

When I turned 40 last year, some of my girlfriends gave me a voucher for the Make Lounge (they know me well – thanks girls!). Nearly a year later, I hadn’t managed to get to one of their classes so I decided it might be really nice to buy some fabric and make a quilt as a keepsake of the occasion instead.

(I’ve just noticed that the Make Lounge have closed down. They have posted a long list of other similar resources in the UK which has meant several hours of surfing have ensued since I innocently went to grab that link!)

Shortly after buying a stack of gorgeous fabrics, I noticed a feature about quilter and author Cassandra Ellis in Molly Makes. A mention of her workshops in London caught my eye. I was very taken with the idea of doing something a little bit more free form and less traditional. I also thought that a workshop would help to kickstart a big project that might otherwise remain “in stash” indefintely.

Cassandra’s lovely book Quilt Love describes her style as “freeform design techniques, which rely in part on intuition and improvisation, to enable you to create your own contemporary heirloom”. I was really inspired by most of the projects in the book so I was really looking forward to the workshop.

We were asked to bring only the fabric we wanted to use. On the day, there were just two of us in the class. My fellow student Emma was making keepsakes from her Grandfathers shirts. During the workshop she decided that instead of making mini quilts she would make small patchworks to frame. This is one of the projects in the book (Forget Me Not Artworks) and is such a lovely idea.


Cassandra’s loft workshop was a little oasis set up for sewing, with great workspaces and heaps of natural light (studio envy, moi?).


After chatting about design options and looking at some of Cassandra’s amazing quilts for inspiration, I decided to wing it and go totally free form.


For someone who doesn’t really deviate from patterns or recipes at all, this process was so liberating and fun!


Cassandra set us up at a bench with these super cute sewing machines and we went for it!

sewing machine

These machines are really basic but get the job done. They’re quite slow compared to my old but trusty machine, but are much smaller and lighter. I’m definitely going to get one in one of the colour block options for when I teach Miss S to sew (I can’t wait!). They’re a total bargain too – they look like toys but they’re real!


It was such a wonderful afternoon and I would love to attend one of Cassandra’s workshops again if I had the chance. She has another book coming out later in the year called “Cloth”. After having a sneak preview of some of the images and projects I can’t wait for it to come out.

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