Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 29: starting to assemble the large panels

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I am starting to assemble the large panels of the etui. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

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So, I’ve now done all of the embroidery for the front and back panels (both inside and out), and all the pockets, and all the smalls (including the three ‘dangleys’ that are to be attached to the bottom tip of the heart). The only thing that isn’t made yet is the needlelace berry closure, as that  has to be both embroidered and constructed at the same time.

Now to start on the main construction of the etui!

If you’re following along with me, you’ll now need to put aside the magazine, and get out the huge pattern sheet pullout from the back of the magazine, that you used ages ago to trace all the pattern pieces from. The instructions there for the construction are very detailed, but can seem overwhelming, so read through them until you understand the process thoroughly. I’ve already decided I am going to change the way some things are done, but I’ll explain those as I come to them.

To assemble the front and back outside panels of the heart shapes, each one first needs to be blocked, if necessary (mine didn’t need that), and then the fabric trimmed an inch from the tacked line, all round. I did the back first, as practice, in case anything needed to be adapted for the front, which will be seen more!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The muslin backing is then cut back to the tacked line itself, to reduce bulk.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The ‘V’ at the top of the heart is reinforced with stitching – I did mine by hand with back stitch, using sewing cotton in cream, but the instructions say to use machine stitching. I couldn’t be bothered to get my machine out for such a small amount of stitching! If you do back stitch by hand, make sure that when you get to the V itself that you don’t ‘skip across’ at the back, because when you later clip into the V, as close as you dare to the stitching line, you would cut your back stitching thread.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Each heart has a template plastic shape, a thin wadding shape and a ‘compressed fleece’ shape to pad it. I used quilters wadding instead for that. The ‘compressed fleece’ wasn’t mentioned anywhere else in the instructions, so I assumed it wasn’t essential – you just need something to pad the shapes a bit. I held mine in place on each previous layer with a couple of bits of double sided tape, rather than the glue they suggest.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Run a gathering line of stitches one centimetre away from the tacked line, all round the heart, then draw up the gathering, with the plastic and two layers of wadding inside, and tie off. Mitre the lower point neatly.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Then I used quilting thread to lace first side to side, then top to bottom across the shape, with separate lengths of quilting thread. Make sure that all your stitches are within the heart shape, when you get near the top, and don’t go across the gap, and also that you don’t pull the thread so tight before tying off that the heart begins to buckle.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This is the back panel, once the lacing is complete. All this one needs is the tacked edging to be removed, and it’ll be done.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The front heart will be done in exactly the same way, and put aside for now until more pieces are finished.

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The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.


Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.


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4 thoughts on “Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 29: starting to assemble the large panels”

  1. I hate to admit it but I began this project when you did and then, ‘life got in the way’. So I am finishing it up now. I have read and re-read instructions. The template plastic, and 2 battings I understand. I just am curious if yours is as floppy as mine is. I know the instructions talk about putting a thin card template inside the back and front. Did you do this? I understand I will have another template plastic on the back side but just wondered if your front and back hearts are stiff or a bit flexible. At this stage I would hate to have to tear the thing apart. BTW, I totally agree that this is MUCH harder than the house project. I know I stopped because there was so much repetition with leaves and strawberries on the inside pieces. Thanks in advance for any help before I complete this! Finally!

    1. Yes, mine is quite floppy. It holds its shape enough, but it’s not rigid. To be honest, I can’t remember if I used thin card as well, but I don’t think I did. The template plastic is strong enough to give it structure, without it being stiff – when the whole thing is completed, you’ll see that that is what it’s supposed to be like.

      Make sure that when you lace the hearts to each other that you allow a wider gap than Carolyn suggests – I did mention that in a blog post when you get to that part – otherwise, it won’t close!!!

      1. Thank you, Janet for your speedy reply! I would NEVER have been able to do this without your thoughtful and detailed blog posts. After I am done, I will share it with you. I will be able to proceed with this news. Thank you for your additional tip. From the bottom of MY heart, thank you for all that you share!!!

      2. You’re very welcome!! Although Carolyn’s project was detailed, it was still far briefer in written instructions than the Home Sweet Home Workbox book was, obviously – that is over 100 pages long!! So, as I worked through the project, I kept having to work out how to do things for myself, so I hoped it would be useful to others. I’d love to see your etui when it’s finished – you can email pictures to

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