Archive for April, 2008

Here is one of the placemats I mentioned earlier. The fabric with the teacups came from Frugal Fabrics in Newnan, Ga. (this place has some really great deals on end of bolts and remnants) and the vintage children came from a local fabric store. I forgot to keep track of the selvages and having tossed them, I have no clue who makes these! Sorry, I’ll watch it closer in the future and have the info on the next projects, I promise!

I use a rotary cutter and mat to cut crisp, even lines. Honestly, if you frequently cut straight lines or angles, I cannot recommend this enough. It is fast and accurate and having sewn for more than 30 years, I can’t believe I didn’t know about it until I began quilting just about four years ago. Anyway, this project was super simple. I made the placemats based on the size of six panels from the vintage children print. It was quite oversized when freshly cut but once I added batting and quilted it, it is just right.

I cut the fabrics and batting based on the size of the vintage children panels. I wanted six panels in each mat, so I cut about 1/2 inch around the design area. If I didn’t have the panels I would have measured 14 1/2 X 19 1/2 inches for these large mats. Why large? Because I wanted the mat to gracefully accomodate the place settings without being crowded.

I put the fabrics right sides together with batting on the outside. I simply stitched the “sandwich” together, leaving enough room on one side to turn everything inside out. Making sure to push the all the corners out, I then closed the seam on the side and pressed the placemat to prepare it for quilting.

I was careful to use black thread in my bobbin so it would coordinate with the black side of the placemat, and beige on the top. All of the thread I used was cotton.

You’ll note a green pin in the center. I placed it there just for the blog as it might be hard to see the washable marked X in the actual center of the placemat. I marked it after laying my long ruler from one corner to the next, turned the placemat and went from the 3rd corner to the 4th, making an X in the center of the mat. I lined the up X with the needle, though it doesn’t look like it in the photo, and sewed from one corner to the other. This line served as my guide for the rest of the quilting. All this time, my cellphone didn’t ring! I can’t believe it… it is just lying there.My Pfaff machine comes with a guide so the quilting lines are evenly spaced. It’s that little metal thingie on the right of the presser foot. If your machine doesn’t have this you really can eyeball it pretty easily. One of the instructors I sew with told us to always remember it is “just” a project… not life and death, so things do not always have to be perfect! While that does make creating a project more enjoyable, I do prefer lines and seams to be as straight as possible. It is the control freak in me… maybe one day they’ll make a pill for that!
So I quilted from one side to the other, then turned it and quilted the rest. Simple enough and now it is finished! I might still put a finishing edge on it, but then again maybe not. I’m kind of impatient with projects that repeat, and I still have three more placemats to make! Anyway, here’s the view with the vintage kids. I plan to use the teacups for the more formal days and the kids for everyday.
Here are the simplified instructions:

  • Measure your fabrics based on either an existing placemat (add 1/2 inch around for seams) or the theme of your fabric pattern.
  • Put right sides together and batting on the outside.
  • Stitch closed, leaving an opening to turn.
  • Turn right side out.
  • Push corners out with a dull but pointy object (a closed pen will do), then stitch side closed
  • Iron placemat
  • Mark center
  • Quilt

Hope you enjoy this project!


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I finally got back into my sewing room and have I ever missed it! Just having the fabric pieces around me and sewing one to the other was like therapy. Anyway, here’s the latest: A baby quilt for a precious little one. This is the one I hinted about earlier, here’s the original picture: It is a cute little kit from JoAnn’s, about $12 and the directions are very easy. The only problem was that I have a hard time reading patterns and measured probably four times to make absolutely sure I was cutting correctly. I knew I wouldn’t be able to replace the fabric if I didn’t take extra time to do it right. Here is the kit opened up: For a pro, this would work up in probably a matter of three hours, from cut to finished. It took me about five hours which still makes it a fast project. I did an extra step by adding batting to the blankie. The directions don’t call for batting but I think the softer the better, so batting it is! Sweating over those measurements cost me extra time for sure, but what a cool gift to give… not too time consuming, already color and theme coordinated at a price that is quite reasonable. I’m now a huge fan of these kits! Here’s the little blankie finished:

A close up of the fabrics with a Noah’s Ark theme… so cute! The green feels like Minky. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is an incredibly soft baby fabric that is perfect for everything from blankets to PJ’s for grown ups! If you’d like a larger view, you can try clicking on the pix.
Here’s the underside. I hope the little one enjoys it!
Upcoming goodies from The Empty Nest:

  • Two-sided placemats for the dining room table. One side features vintage children the other teapots.
  • A skirt inspired by some beautiful Moda charms a friend gave me as a gift.
  • A small denim purse (Junk Drawers / see post from Sept 19) for neice Lindsay
  • Pix of some vintage sewing goodies I received with Grandmother’s sewing machine!

I’ll post as I work on these and more surprises!

Thanks for visiting the Nest and God bless!

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