Let’s Talk Fabric Place Mats

I didn’t post yesterday because I spent a good majority of my waking hours strolling through JoAnn Fabrics.  I brought Hubs with me so I would have someone to bounce ideas off of, but he ended up holding about 14 bolts of fabric and a ticket for the cutting counter while I bounced around from accessories to buttons to yarn to him again.

My love of fabric didn’t really begin until earlier this year when I started working with my new sewing machine.  It doesn’t take long to go from an idea of something that would make life easier to finding a free pattern on the internet.  I love that people who have been sewing for years would offer their patterns and tutorials for free.  It makes life so much less frustrating when you are mostly self-taught.

So, these beautiful piles of fabric that Hubs patiently carried through the store for me all have a project for Christmas attached to them.  I have taken a few photos and will continue to as I work at completing these gifts by the end of the weekend.  I expect my crafting areas will just be a flurry of cutting, pinning, sewing and cursing…(I’m still a beginner).  In the meantime, I can share a Christmas project I worked on two weeks ago that I was able to gift early to family last week on my trip to Florida.

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Aren’t these great?!?

I think these mix/match place mats are perfect for any Christmas table setting.  There are three sets for the family gifts and since they each have such different tastes, I was able to play with themes I knew each would like.  The set used for the picture was a mash up of child-like designs for my sister’s home.  She has two young sons who love all things Santa, all Christmas candies, anything that blinks or glows at night and hopefully their Auntie since I made these cool place mats for their Momma’s table 🙂

Here’s how I made them:

I had some nice woven place mats and that is where I got the measurement from.  Mine measured 18″ x 14″ and they seem perfect for my table setting of four.  To simplify some of the work, I bought fat quarters and after washing and ironing the squares out, I started cutting them to 18 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ and also cutting one sheet of interfacing for each place mat also cut to 18 1/2″ x 14 1/2″.

I used heat fusing interfacing at a medium thickness.  I believe some people use a thin sheet of batting or interfacing that sews into the material versus ironing in.  Since I don’t like to iron I surprise myself at the choice, but it does work together quickly and the steam heat assures a good bond.  No matter which method you choose, turn one side of your place mat right side facing away and the interfacing attaching to the back side of that fabric.

After you attach the interfacing or batting to the wrong side of one piece of your place mat, you will grab another piece of fabric and putting it right sides together with the interfacing piece you just created you will sew around the piece creating a 1/2″ seam and leaving an unsewn area along one of the long sides approximately 3-6″ wide.  This is for pulling your place mat through and showing the right sides of fabric.  Before you turn your fabric make sure to trim off excess and cut your corners so they will be nice and sharp when you turn it.

When you are done sewing around the piece, grab a chop stick or a poking stick that will not damage your fabric.  Reach inside the pocket you created with the place mats and pull the right sides out through the hole.  After you have turned the piece, make sure you use your chop stick to poke nice corners in the fabric and help sharpen the seam down the connecting sides of the fabric.

When it’s nice and straight in all the corners and around the piece you will want to give it another press with the iron.  It will make the place mat easier to work with in the sewing machine and help place your finishing stitches around the work correctly.  I make sure to tuck in the fabric that created the pocket and line it up so that the top stitch I will create around the entire piece will also seal this pocket leaving no openings around the work.  So, after you iron the piece, just work a finishing stitch around the entire edge of the piece.  I try to keep this seam at 1/4″, but I really am just learning this craft, so sometimes it’s closer to 1/2″.  Trim loose threads and the place mat is done!!!

I created the napkin rings to match as an after thought to go with the place mats.  I searched on the internet for ideas that would work up quickly and found a suggestion for using shower curtain rings….GENIUS!!! I got 24 rings for $2.00.  I cut strips of scrap fabric to 3″ x 12″ and folded them in half creating a long tube.  I ironed the fabric and sewed a seam at 1/4″.  I tried to make them inside out and turn them, but I couldn’t get a good grip on the tubes and it was a frustrating mess.  By creating the seam on the outside I had a lot of stray threads to deal with and I am not sure how long these rings will last, but they turned out adorable…..just slide the tube onto the ring and adjust it to where you like it.  Trim up the threads and the ends and it’s done.

The place mats and the rings were both a big hit.  I think everyone loves to get holiday themed items as gifts.  If you know their style, JoAnn Fabrics is sure to have some beautiful prints to choose from.  Remember if you are doing 4 place mats and you use the fat quarters as suggested above, you will need two fat quarters for each place mat or 8 fat quarters for a set of four mats.

I hope you try this pattern out for yourself.  It’s definitely a beginner pattern that is pleasing and works up pretty quickly.  If you got your fabric tomorrow you could have gifts ready by Sunday.  If you do make them, I would love to see your finished works.  If you have any questions while you are working with my instructions, leave me a message in the comments and I will help as best as I can.

 

 

 

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A Week of Frustrations

Well, that’s what this past week of project work has been….I started out working on a sandal pattern with flip-flop bases to them.   I tend to stitch loosely and with this particular type of pattern, it is not a positive attribute to have.  I did finish at least one of the sandals all the way to the end and then had a good laugh with the family as I put my foot in it and showed everyone my summer clown shoe.  Since it was a failed project, I didn’t think to take a photo but I will in the future.  I am going to practice this pattern or another similar one and I will do some step by step photos.

My second project this week was not a complete failure, but I didn’t approve of the final outcome.  It was another tank top with a really beautiful design under the bralette.  The pattern was easy to read and the stitch work itself was easy, but I ended up with a back strap that was way too long and the shoulder straps were oversized as well.  So, I did some quick fixes to it and my daughter loves it and says she will wear it……I’m gonna start another tank top for her and lower my needle and yarn sizes.

Since I don’t have a new project to share, I thought I would share a post that I put on my Instagram and Ravelry accounts earlier this year.  I did quite a few pillow projects and this happened to be one of my favorites….

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I found this wonderful pattern for FREE!!!!!  Right, I love free patterns….especially when they work up this beautifully!  This particular one is written in a  fit to size pattern, so I was able to get a larger pillow than she worked in her pattern and follow the steps with no problems at all.  Other than the sizing difference, the only variation I made was to the flower on the pillow itself.  I was making this as a gift for my sister who has two young  boys running around the roost.  Although I love the flower clip idea that was suggested, it just wasn’t a practical option….that flower would not have made it a week. So, I looked up a puffy flower pattern and sewed the applique to only one side.  That way if my taste and my sister’s taste didn’t match, there was always a plain side.

You can find this pattern on my Ravelry page which has a direct link to this pillow pattern.  Click here for my Ravelry page.  While you are there, check out some of the other free patterns I have linked on my page.  I am always adding new projects.

Happy Hooking!

 

Perfectly Pretty Pouches

Necessity is the mother of all invention, right?  Well, that’s how this cute little pouch pattern came about.  I work in the restaurant industry and often have trouble keeping my cash in my apron.  One busy afternoon I was fighting to shove the wadPouches of loose bills deeper inside the pocket when I realized that it was only a matter of time before some of my hard earned money would slip out and hit the floor, so after a few failed attempts…..a perfectly pretty pouch.

The pattern is simple for beginners, can be made in a variety of sizes and the use of buttons/baubles is endless.  I wanted this particular pouch to be stretchy and durable so I opted to use worsted weight acrylic yarn.  Of course, there are several mediums that would work for this pattern and purpose.  If you choose cotton yarn, it will be durable and survive through endless washing, but it won’t be as stretchy as the acrylic yarn.  Using t-shirt yarn could be the best of both worlds and I will be trying that medium on the next pouch I create. Continue reading