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Sampler Studio 2023

10feb10:00 am3:00 pmSampler Studio 20232nd Thurs each month with Helen Draper10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Event Details

Bookings for regular tutors are taken by phone. Please call 4464 3387. For images of the tutor and types of projects that have happened in class previously, scroll down past the class description. 

This class is a new twist on making a sampler quilt using our very own Starting Blocks System. The class will be eye opening, productive, fun and will allow you to have fun unleashing your inner creativity, making choices and playing with fabric. Your sampler will be anything but old fashioned! Your blocks and resulting quilt can be as contemporary as you like to make it.

Using our Starting Blocks System,  you can dive right in, make the blocks that take your fancy and suit your level of experience. Then you’ll choose a size and layout from the sets that we have already worked out and you’ll be off and racing! You could make a handful of blocks organically and turn it into a project when you’ve had enough block making.

Make it bright, bold and funky or make it calm and traditional. Make it in two colours or make it a rainbow; whatever you choose, you’ll learn interesting things about the construction of individual blocks and go on to have a play making your own combinations.

This is a flexible ‘choose your own adventure’ style class where you could make the entire quilt by hand, using nothing but a pencil, scissors, needle and thread OR you could make it quicker with templates, a rotary cutter and a sewing machine. Yes machines and hand sewing will coexist in this class. Both methods will be taught by Helen Draper a popular and experienced teacher. You might like to try both methods and see which works for you.

You might be wondering how long this project will take? Our short answer is ‘how long is a piece of string? We do not plan this to be a ‘quick piece’ project with a requirements sheet that you cut out first then sew together in a weekend, rather, we plan for it to be an organic process of mediative piecing where blocks are made, picking up fabric as you progress. You can choose to make 9 inch blocks or 12 inch blocks depending on how much cutting and piecing you’d like to do.

The photographs of the sample quilts below show our approach to fabric choices. The quilt with the 9 inch blocks and the pale sashing was made from a palette of scrappy fabrics with a range or coordinating solids and choices about fabrics and placement was made block by block. Similarly the sample quilt with the 12 inch blocks was made with an organizing principle of bright floral fabrics, occasional fussy cutting in each block to get a particular effect, contrasting old fashioned prints and always featuring a floral central block.

In our experience everyone makes individual choices that result in an amazing and unique project. You will have the support of Helen who has plenty of experience making fabric choices and can help you out. Choosing and designing borders is a specialty of Helen’s and when you get up to that she can help you decide which if any is suitable for your project.

Helen is a delightful, relaxed and popular teacher who enjoys getting to know her class members and sharing her love of hand stitching, fabric and quilt design. Participants in Helen’s classes, including this one, are all working on their own projects at their own pace so you are able to join Helen’s class at any point in the year, subject to availability.

Stitching by Hand: When hand piecing, the block is cut out, often with scissors, seam allowances are marked and it is then stitched together by hand rather than machine. There are a few tips and tricks to learn to make your patchwork durable and accurate and there are a few ways to incorporate templates when making multiple blocks that are all the same but once learnt, you will be able to make anything anytime with only a pencil, ruler, scissors, needle and thread. It’s a very portable technique to know. While Helen loves to hand stitch, she knows that many of you don’t! This system is totally adaptable for machine.

How class is structured:

Participants in this class will work on their own project at their own pace, with Helen’s guidance. May take several months to get to the stage when your quilt top is complete depending on how fast you like to work. Or you could choose to dip in out for a few casual lessons at a time (space permitting), work through the techniques and book back in when you’re ready for sewing it all together, or ready for deciding on borders and sashing.

The class is suitable for absolute beginners or new quilters of any level who are interested in learning one of the approaches to patchwork that does not necessarily require loads of equipment or anyone with any level of experience who wants to up their hand piecing game or who would like to learn a few new approaches and have fun sewing in happy relaxed company!

Whilst most people book into Helen’s class on a regular consecutive month basis (and access a discounted rate), It is possible to book in for one or two casual classes (where vacancies exist) to explore a new technique or to begin an ongoing project.

2023 Class Dates: 

9th Feb, 9th March, 13th April, 11th May*, 8th June*, 13th July, 10th August, 14th Sept, 12th Oct, 9th Nov, 14th Dec

* Helen is away on these dates overseas and class will be taken by shop owner Sharon Thomson

Images of Class and Projects:

Helen Draper with her tools of trade.


Helen Draper, your friendly experienced teacher!

Our two sampler class samples in progression on the design walls in the shop.

Helen making layout decisions.

Nine blocks out of 16. It’s growing!

Just finished and not quilted yet. Helen’s 9″ Sampler. Doesn’t it look fresh delicious!

Sharon’s ‘A Cat in the House ‘ 12inch block sampler in progress. It just needs its borders completed.

The Marti Michell template set A makes predominantly 9inch finished blocks. One of the template sets you can use.

Ideas of Blocks you can easily make using a Marti Michell -Or any sampler template set.

Star blocks and variations are easy blocks to begin with.

A handful of blocks. Different techniques and different decisions in each.

How great is this 9 inch starburst block by Helen.

The card trick block by Helen.


One of Sharon’s 12 inch blocks in progress.

Helen’s completed 9 inch sampler. The finished quilt is titled “Sweet Medley”


(Thursday) 10:00 am - 3:00 pm


Berry Quilt & Co.

Shops 4 & 5, 66 Albert Street, Berry NSW 2535


$70 pp casual rate. $60 pp enrolled monthly rate. Bookings essential.