During a spell of rain and fog, I decided to have a look at my fabric cabinet. One thing about quilters is that they periodically have a need to get close to their fabric stash; a need to touch the fabric, spread it out and dream. It seems to have a calming effect, like a security blanket to a child. So, I pulled out fabric and thought about my next project.
The result of this contact was a new project. I pulled out a package of brightly colored 14 fat quarters (a piece of fabric cut 18×22) that would make some fun placemats. This package consisted of 6 bright solid colors and 8 printed fabrics of butterflies, dragonflies and birds, so unfortunately, I was 2 bright colors shy for a set of 8 placemats. I went back to my stash and found a bright yellow and an orange that would blend right in with the theme.
I toyed with different layouts before choosing a large area for the printed fabric, with a solid side panel. As I began cutting and laying out the cut pieces, I did change the pink and purple side panel. The purple just went better with the dragonfly print. Once the front of the placemats were completed, I was happy to discover that there was enough of the side panel fabric to use as the backing for all but one of the placemats. Sometimes, when a fat quarter is cut from the larger piece of fabric, the cut is not exactly square. By the time I squared up that one uneven fat quarter, I could see that it would not cover the reverse side of the placemat. Then I realized that not only was there enough of the yellow that I used for one of the placemats to complete this placemat, but, it would be enough to create binding for two placemats. Yay!
Now that I had everything in place, I needed to quilt it all together. I have one of those Cadillac model sewing machines that comes with a billion different stitches (well, maybe 100 or so). After studying the different embroidery stitches, I decided to use one that looked a bit like a flower, stitching rows in even lines across the whole project. I think they came out great!
The last part of the project was binding. I went back to my cabinet looking for appropriate fabric to make the binding, pulling out a pink, a blue and another yellow fabric. Each one of these would cover 2 placemats, so I was ready to go.
This is the part of a quilt that gives me the most trouble. No matter how careful I stitch the binding to the project, I can never get the corners smooth. Usually, when one is stitching the binding to the quilt, you stop sewing about a quarter inch from one edge, turn the binding up and then down over that stitching and begin stitching again. Nope, the first two placemats were still lumpy.
Before attaching the binding to the remaining six placemats, I hunted around on the internet for information on bindings. There I found a great video by Patrick Lose on attaching binding. His method does not stop at the quarter inch but continues on a diagonal to the end of the fabric before turning the binding. This diagonal gives the proper guideline for turning the binding. He then trims the excess from the corner in order to reduce the bulk. I haven’t quite gotten the knack for trimming the bulk but my corners are much improved. Just goes to show, that we can learn something new at any age!