Kick Off


  • Various scraps and plain Fat Quarters!

Finished Size

Made to measure

Skill Level


You can download a pdf copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Kick Off . The project themes are based on the England fixtures from the 2006 World Cup group matches, so they don't quite match this year's fixtures!

Each match day has two alternatives: if you’re a fan, there is a project to sit and sew while watching the match; if you need something to do whilst the rest of the household watches the match then there is a project/activity to occupy your time while avoiding the match. The choice is yours. (If this is the first you’ve heard of the World Cup, congratulations, feel free to skip to the next project!)


Figure 1: Spider Web block
Figure 1: Spider Web block
For Paraguay we have chosen a spider web theme. One of the handicrafts unique to Paraguay is a kind of lace called Nanduti. The making of the lace is a tradition begun by Paraguay’s Guarani Indians. The patterns spiral outwards from the centre rather like a spider’s web.
The spiders web block shown could be pieced by sewing the strips together on the machine and then cutting up and piecing into the block. To draft the block draw a square the finished size. It makes the measuring easier if is divisible by three. Divide the sides into three and then join the lines to make the basic shapes. Decide the width of your strips and measure this from the centre on all the lines and then join together. When piecing the strips, you will need to have three strips the same width and the final strip wider. Trace one triangle from the pattern to use as a cutting template. Mark the seam lines on the pattern and ensure these match the lines on your sewing before you cut otherwise the patterns won’t match.
Cut and sew together: first the strips, then cut into triangles, then sew the triangles together. The four triangles on the corners can be added at the end. Accuracy is important to ensure all the points meet correctly. If you get in a mess in the middle, then add a button or appliqué something to cover up the centre! For a quick version, use striped fabric. You could make the block to the size of a cushion pad you have spare, then use as a cushion cover. You will then have something to hide behind during penalty shoot outs or whatever they’re called or donate the block to Project Linus.
This should have taken you 90mins or less. With any spare time, go through your scrap fabrics and cut odd shaped pieces into squares and strips so they are ready for quick scrap quilts another day.

Hand sewing: Somerset folded patchwork

Somerset folded is one technique that you really cannot do by machine, it is almost more ironing and pressing than sewing.

Before the match

For a small drinks mat, cut strips 2in wide, in two or more colours. Fold down 1⁄4in along the long edge, WS together and press well. Cut into 31⁄2in sections. You need four sections in one colour for the centre, then eight sections for the next three rounds. We have used different fabrics in some rounds to add interest.
Working with the folded edge on the top and WS up, take the two top corners and fold so they meet in the centre, creating a point in the middle. Press well. Take a square of background fabric 8in across.
Fold in half and press and fold in half on the other direction and press, repeat to make folds on the diagonals too. If you are a quick worker then cut a bias strip 25in long for the binding before the match begins too.

Kick Off

  1. Sit comfortably with a tray or padded cutting board on your lap. Take the first four triangles and place in the centre. Use the pressed lines to check the triangles are lined up correctly, the folded lines on the triangles should match the diagonal pressed lines on your background.
  2. Pin in place and then sew onto the backing fabric with small stitches along the raw edge and catching the points down in the middle too.
  3. Repeat for the next rounds alternating the colours, measuring to ensure the points are equidistant from the centre each time and so that the stitching of the previous round is covered. Pin each triangle as you go so that if you jump up when England score you don’t have to start all over again.
  4. When you have all four rounds in place, the match may be over but you still need to bind the edge. This is easiest with bias binding to go round the curves. You will need a piece about 25in long. Cut a backing fabric and wadding and layer with the top, using a saucer or bowl from the kitchen draw a circle and cut out. Sew the binding to the front edge and roll to the back and hand stitch in place. The many folded layers mean that your table will be insulated, however hot the pot, but you may like to use insulated wadding for extra security.

Trinidad and Tobago

What is the first thing you think of when you think of Trinidad and Tobago? I hope it is Carnivals as that is our theme for this match. For your match dodging project, get out some of those fancy yarns that are so trendy at the moment and try stitching them down in loops and swirls, experiment with different length and width stitches to see which captures them best without loosing the texture too much. If you like the sample you have made, then turn it into a needle case or coffee cup holder following the instructions below.

Where to buy

A variety pack of yarns is available from many places, this one came from Bags of Handles. Different colourways are available.

For your hand sewing project, make a small needle case or coffee cup cover

If you frequent those trendy coffee shops then take the corrugated card outer from a recent visit and draw round to use as a template. Allow 1⁄2in extra all round and cut two from wadding and four from plain fabric. Following the ideas here, draw lines onto two of your plain pieces to use as foundation lines. Layer the plain fabric with the wadding in the middle. Use the sew and flip method to add the fabric strips. As you are sewing through many layers you may find it quite tricky.
With RS together, sew the two outer pieces only along the outer lines. Trim away excess wadding and fold over the lining fabric neatly and slipstitch in place. For fun, you could add a ‘handle’ for your cup (but don’t use to pick up the coffee). Sew along the opposite edge as you did the first so you have a shaped tube. You may like to pin first to check the cup fits before you finally stitch the seam.
If it is a needle case, then sew a few pieces of felt into the centre along the seamline and bind all round the outer edges.

If you have lads in the house, you can make them the envy of their friends with a personalised beer bottle holder. Follow the instructions above, but measure the diameter of their favourite brand of beer bottle and make large enough so it is a snug fit, no more cold fingers!


Earlier this year, I was asked by Project Linus if I had any ideas of a block they could use at the Festival of Quilts to encourage quilters to make blocks or quilts for teenage boys. We all tend to donate quilts that are suitable for toddlers and girls and the boys are left out. So here is a simple block with folded triangles that turns almost into a football shape when the folds are turned back. We have taken Swedish national colours here, but, of course you could use other fabrics instead for your local team. This project could be done by hand or machine. You should have time in the 90 minutes to make more than one if you wanted.

Before the match

Cut out the following pieces for each block:

  • 6 1⁄2in centre in white or cream
  • Four 2in squares for folded corners
  • Four 6 1⁄2 x 2in strips for sashing
  • Four 2in squares for corners

If you have time, sew two 2in squares to the ends of two of the sashing strips.

Kick Off

Figure 2: England colours tablemat layout
Figure 2: England colours tablemat layout
  1. Sit down with the pieces laid out in front of you. Take four 2in squares and fold on the diagonal and finger press.
  2. Pin these triangles in the four corners of the centre square with the raw edges matching the corners. Take the sashing strips with no corner stones and sew in position on two opposite edges of the centre block. As shown in Figure 2. Finger press the seams open.
  3. Sew the two sashing strips with corner stones onto the other two sides and finger press as before.
  4. With a matching thread sew the folded edges of the triangles in place by carefully rolling them back to form a slight curve and stitch down with a running stitch or small hemming stitch, whichever you prefer. The stitches don’t need to go right through to the back of the work.
Figure 3: Sewing the back with England colours
Figure 3: Sewing the back with England colours

For those who are avoiding the match you can, with a bit of extra effort, turn the design into a tablemat to please any football fan.

Make the block as above and cut two extra strips 2 x 9 1⁄2in. Sew to two sides of the block to create a rectangular mat. For the backing we have a flag. Cut two 11 x 4in wide strips of blue and one 11 x 2 1⁄2in strip of yellow. Sew together with the wide strips to the outside. Cut into two pieces 4in and 7in long. Sew a yellow 2 1⁄2in strip in between to create the flag. For an England version the strips should be white and red and you will need to cut the strips into 5 1⁄2in lengths before adding the final red strip. See Figure 3.
Layer with the top and some wadding and bind. You will need to make sure you sew the binding with neat stitches on the back if you want the mats to be reversible.
Phew that’s it – no more football – well until the season starts anyway.

First published in Popular Patchwork July 2006