Sunday, 4 November 2012

Placemat Tutorial

This is my first ever tutorial on a blog, and I really hope that it comes out okay. Now, I know that there are many, MANY tutorials out there for placemats, but ..... why not have yet another?! There are quite a lot of photos, so grab a cuppa, get comfy, and have a looksee.

11 1/2" x 14" Placemat Tops
11 1/2" x 14" Batting / Wadding
15 1/2" x 13" Backing
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
Optional - AD505 Temporary Spray Adhesive
All your usual sewing tools

Step One
Make your placemat top. This can be pretty much anything you want. It can be patchwork, a single piece of fabric, or anything else you like. My tops are 11 1/2 inches x 14 inches, and include a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Step Two
Now, attach your batting to the top. You can use pins, but I use a temporary spray adhesive (AD505) which doesn't gum up the needle, and washes out without leaving any sticky residue. This step is optional, but, it gives the placemat a little more padding, and thus protects your table a little more.

Step Three
Cut your backing fabric. This can be anything you like - patchwork (then they can be reversible) or a single piece of fabric like mine. I cut mine quite a bit bigger than the front for this tutorial, to allow for lots of movement with the sewing later. If you're more confident, you can cut yours the same size as the topper. Just remember, its easier to trim some of the fabric away, than to panic if the fabric's moved.(I speak from experience!) I cut mine 15 1/2" x 13". That was probably a little too big, but I wanted to be sure it was going to still fit afterwards!

Step Four
Take your placemat top, and place it right side down ontop of the backing, and pin it to the backing. (The adhesive would not work here, as you need to turn it the right way around soon.)

When pinning the top use two pins to mark where you are going to leave a gap. This is where you're going to turn the mat right way round. Make sure you leave a gap a bit larger than the width of your hand.

Step Five
Now, sew a 1/4 inch all the way around your mat, except between the two pins marking the gap. I had the batting up, so that it didn't clog up my feed dogs. When you start at the pin marking the gap, backstitch a few stitches to reinforce the area. Then, when you come back to the pin marking the gap, backstitch a few stitches again.

Step Six
Trim away any excess backing and batting, aligning with the topper fabric. Be careful not to cut the stitches. Also, trim the corners away to reduce bulk when turning.

Step Seven
Reach in through the gap that you left, and grab hold of the topper and batting, and pull it through the gap. Poke out all the corners, but be careful not to push too hard, as you may push through the stitches. Do not use a seam ripper for this task, as it has a very sharp point. Something with a blunt point would be much better.

Step Eight
This is the point that most other tutorials tell you to hand stitch the gap closed. You can do this if you like. I however have too little time for hand sewing, so I simply press the mat (it will loose some of it's fluffiness), making sure that the edges of the gap are nicely aligned, then top stitch it 1/8" all the way around the mat. Since your seam is 1/4", the 1/8" topstitch will close the gap nicely. Tie up, trim and bury all the knots and tails.

Step Nine
Now you need to sew a few lines across the mat. This will stop the batting from falling apart, or separating from the top. You can use any type of quilting you like. I used straight lines as it was pretty simple and fitted in with my theme. I did not sew over the burgundy strip. I sewed a 1/8" either side of it, and then the straight lines stopped at that line. Now, tie off the tails, bury and trim them as normal. Give the mat a final press to set all the stitching and give it a nice professional look.

Step Ten
Step back, admire your gorgeous work, then make another three, or five, or as many placemats as you need. These are lovely to give as a gift, or to make for special occasions. You can match fabrics from tablecloths, other interior decor, or even use novelty fabric. Just make sure that any fabric you use, can be washed in the washing machine. Also, be aware of colours - white is not a good choice for an everyday mat, but can be used for a special occasion. Here, I've used a tea stained cotton fabric, and a strip of cotton fabric. 

And that's all there is to it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bag Overload

Over the past few weeks, I've been pretty quiet. Studies, kids, and making have all taken up a huge chunk of time. But yesterday, I finally got the camera out, and took pics of everything. ... well, almost everything. But here it is. I'm still very new to the whole idea of taking pics while I work, and totally forgot to take pics while I was working. Sorry. I will try to better next time.
Right, so grab a large cuppa, find a comfy place, and scroll on. ;-)

Flower Hobo Bag
Why this is called a 'Hobo bag' is beyond me. I suppose it's because you'd probably be able to carry most of your worldly possessions around in it! LOL!! But, none the less, that's just the style's name. On this one, there are no pockets, but it is BIIIIIG on the inside. It has a lovely chunky metal zip to keep everything from falling out.  It also has a handmade (by me!) glitter ribbon flower to the side.

Green A-Line Handbag
This is a lovely little handbag, with dark green fabric at the bottom, and a sateen finished fabric at the top. It also has pretty white trim, and a white glitter organza ribbon to the side. It has an internal zipper pocket and an open pocket too.  It's such a cute little bag.

Orange & Denim Handbag
This bag uses an upcycled pair of jeans, and all the leftover fabric from my Mother's Birthday Quilt. It is such a lovely bag, that I'm not rally sure I can part with it! It has 3 large pockets on the inside, as well as a pen pocket inbetween the two larger pocket. PLUS, it has an internal zipper pocket too, and 3 external pocket too! That's LOADS of pockets!! All of this, as well as a bag that can carry almost your whole life in it, without a sweat. A chunky metal zip keep everything from falling out the bag, and the wide straps make carrying the bag, a cinch! White decorative stitching is all over the bag too, and gives it a really special feel.

Well, that's what I've been up to the past few weeks. I know it's not a lot to some, but with everything going on in my life, it's about as much as I can handle at the moment. There's more to follow soon. 


Friday, 5 October 2012

Green Flower Tote Bag

A few days ago, I was feeling a bit moody, and just knew I had to make something. I rummaged around Pinterest for a few hours and still found nothing at all. So, I decided I'd make a tote - my own 'make it up as you go along' pattern. I cut a piece of freezer paper out and used that as the template for the base - the rest of it really was a case of making the most of what fabric was available in the size available for pockets, trims and straps. It was most enjoyable, and I love the feeling of it. The bottom is upholstery fabric, and the top shiny fabric is cotton with (I think!) a sateen finish. I also hand embroidered around the three flowers on the front of the bag with silver thread. Definitely something I'll do by machine next time. But here's the result. Apologies - there are no progress pic, as it was made up on the spot. But it really is your average tote, in some pretty cute fabric!

The front of the bag

The back of the bag, showing the large outside pocket

The large pocket inside the bag

The roomy zipper pocket inside the bag

Close up of the silver thread embroidery

The three silver thread embroidered flowers on the front of the bag.

I am so looking forward to making the next bag!!


Saturday, 29 September 2012

Orange Hair Clips

A friend of mine always wears a flower in her hair at work, and it always looks so pretty. But the flowers kept dying, so she changed to a fake flower. Still pretty, but I got thinking - I'm sure that I could make something pretty for her. She's such a lovely person, and I really enjoy working with her. Anyways, so I made 2 flowers. The first one below is the one I'll be giving to her. It's made of offcuts from the The Birthday Quilt and a beautiful button that I had in my stash. I'll be making more of these!!  The second flower was an experiment to see how this technique worked, and I really enjoyed it. It worked out really well, and I'm thrilled with the results. The yellow and orange layers remind me of carnivals and music.  I hope you like them too. I'll be making a whole BUNCH of these for the Christmas market at my children's school.
For both flowers, a little hair clip has been attached to the bottom, but I'll be getting some crocodile clips to make them a bit more secure.



Monday, 3 September 2012

Storing your cottons & bobbins

Like many other crafters and sewers, I have a load of cotton reels and matching bobbins. But I used to store them separately - that was how it was always done. But recently, I was looking for a bobbin that matched the thread I was going to use - I knew I had a full bobbin for it, but which one was it? There were at least 5 different bobbins that looked very similar in colour, and of course, it was at night, so the light was not exactly perfect. So, the following day, I sent out on a mission to match all my threads with their bobbins. I put them into plastic bags and sealed them with a small piece of tape. Now, when I pull out a reel of thread, I know that the matching bobbin is right there with it. When I'm done with it, it goes back into the same plastic bag, ready for the next time. It keeps it clean, and easily identifiable. How do you store your cottons and bobbins? I'd love to hear about it.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Birthday Quilt

In my previous post, I showed you the Kanzashi flower that I'd made for a quilt that I was making. Well, the quilt is complete, and was given to my mother. It is a lovely quilt and she loves it. I hope she gets lots of use from it. But I thought I'd show you all what it looks like.  ..... Picture overload alert!!

I appliqu├ęd a little parasol onto the quilt, and added a butterfly onto it, with invisible thread. I also stitched the flower on, so that it would be secure. It's so warm and snuggly. I also added some black & gold buttons all over it, just to add a little black to the orange.