The Fat Quarter Club - November - By Emma Rodgers

The Fat Quarter Club - November - By Emma Rodgers

Fat Quarter Club Subscription: Reusable Cracker

November 2022

It’s beginning to look A LOT like Christmas and this month’s My Guilty Pleasure Fat Quarter Club box certainly got me in the festive spirit. Over the past couple of years there’s been a real movement towards more planet-friendly Christmas wares – everything from wrapping presents in fabric, re-giftable bottle bags (see last month’s make if you’re after a great pattern and kit) and handmade gifts – so I was delighted that this month’s pattern is for a Reusable Cracker.  I’ve seen a few examples of these online and was keen to give them a go, especially as you can fill them with whatever you want. Over the past couple of years, I’ve moved away from pre-filled crackers and opted for ones I can personalise with thoughtful gifts rather than plastic toys and min screwdrivers which so often end up being left on the Christmas dinner table.

A present by post

Each month the My Guilty Pleasure subscription box arrives on your doormat, filled with seasonal fabrics and a seasonally inspired pattern. I was intrigued by what I’d find in my box this month, especially as I’m an avid Christmas crafter and have tried most things. When you sign up to the subscription, you’re added to a private Facebook group with other members to share your makes, tips and excitement about the contents of the boxes. Members keep the box a secret until most people have had theirs delivered, but there’s often a few people sharing their delight of the contents without spilling the beans - this got me even more excited for my delivery. This month’s box contained:

  • 3x fat quarters from the ‘Secret Winter Garden’ collection by Lewis & Irene
  • Vlieseline heavy interfacing
  • Hook and loop velcro tape
  • Ribbon
  • Reusable cracker pattern sheet and instructions exclusively designed for Little Miss Sew ‘n’ Sew by Sew Cosy Patterns
  • Paper crowns and cracker snaps (luckily, no naff cracker jokes)
  • A chocolatey treat


Before you get crack(er)ing

In addition to your usual tools of the trade (scissors, thread, sewing machine) here are some essential tools for this make:

  • Iron – once you’ve cut out your fabric and stitched the panels together for the two sides of the cracker, you’ll then have a fair bit of pressing and attaching interfacing to do. Having an ironing board and an iron set up close to your making space will speed things up.
  • Heavy sewing machine needle – see section below so you avoid making the same mistake I did!
  • Glue pen (optional) - useful for securing the hook and loop tape in place before you sew. The pieces are quite thin once you halve them and could easily slip under your needle. A bit of glue will help hold them in place as you sew.

Avoiding the bad jokes

Even though I’ve been sewing for 4 years (which in sewing terms probably means I’m still in junior school), I always learn a new tip or trick with the Fat Quarter Club makes and this month was no different. There were a few mistakes I made as I went which are now logged in my brain to avoid in the future. To help you on your way, here’s what I learnt:

  • Check and check again – you'll start off by sewing your end, main and lining pieces together. Check you have your placements right before you sew and don’t purely go off the images on the instructions. You’ll be choosing your own fabric selection from the fat quarters included in your box, so the pictures included are just a guide. Work out how the structure works by reading through all the instructions first – this will help you avoid having to unpick your work.

  • A cracker snap, but not the one you want – if I’m sewing multiple layers of heavy fabric or interfacing then I’d usually change my needle to one for heavy fabric, but because I get a little too reliant on the instructions I forget about my own knowledge (and how grumpy my machine can be). My signature move is snapping sewing machine needles in my work and it’s amazing that I've made it 7 months as a Fat Quarter Club member until I broke a needle. When you get to step 9 of the instructions, change your needle to something a bit stronger to avoid breakages.

  • Do a stocktake – there's enough interfacing and ribbon included in the kit to make 1 cracker, but enough fabric to make a few crackers (as well as 2 hats and 2 cracker snaps), so if you’re wanting to make multiple in one go then check your stash to see if you have the extra supplies you’ll need. I cut enough fabric to make two crackers, but it wasn’t until I came to cut the interfacing with the pattern template that I realised I was going to struggle. Heavy interfacing is now on my shopping list!

A very merry make!

I can see these being a real talking point around the Christmas dinner table and I was surprised by how strong the hook and loop closing was – you really need to give it a good yank to split the cracker. The only downside is that my usual technique of twisting and pulling the cracker, to give me a better chance of winning the prize, might not work as well on these fabric versions. At least it should mean I don’t need to sit there with several paper crowns on 😊

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