There are two things that I have been wanting to do: make some samples using my hand dyed fabrics and make more placemats. I have a million placemat ideas but I wanted to go back to these that I made during Craft Week and write up a tutorial. Since I wasn't able to make soap yesterday (missing an ingredient) I decided that I needed to do the placemat tutorial and I selected the Mineral Pool palette because these colors will look fantastic in my kitchen.
I chose the 3 blues and 3 golds for my placemats. I only made 2 because it's usually only me and Chris here. I like these so much that I will dye matching napkins this weekend. Lets' get started.
The technique used is cutting and piecing a gentle curve. I found a very good tutorial for piecing gently curved seams on the Cheryl Rose Creates blog. Go ahead, check it out to see if it's something that you want to try. The really nice thing about this is that your cutting does not have to be exact. You could also do this with straight seams and it would be very interesting with angled straight seams.
All of the instructions are for ONE placemat and the instructions for each photo are BELOW the photo. You can click on the photo for a larger image. The finished size of my placemat is 17" x 13" but you can make yours any size you want. If you want it larger you will need to cut wider strips.
Step 1: Cut approximately 3" x 9" pieces of the blue fabrics. One of the light blue and 2 each for the medium and dark blues.
Step 2: Position a medium blue strip above and below the center light strip.
Step 3: Overlap the dark and light strips by about 3/4". I usually put the light strip over the dark so that I can see the shadow of the dark through the light fabric. Cut a GENTLE curve through both layers making sure that your blade is on both layers for the full length of the curve. You can see in the upper cut where I have removed the cut away bits. Sew these two seams using the method in the tutorial link above. Press toward the added piece. I press toeard the added strip at ever step.
Step 4: Add the dark blue pieces to the sides of the center section. Notice that I cut the dark blue pieces longer than the section where it will be attached. I do this for every addition. It helps when I add the next piece and prepare to but the next curve. Make your cuts and sew these sections on.
Step 5: The next section is a narrow gold section. This gold is added to each side and the top and bottom. Cut these pieces 2 "wide. Overlap, again, at least 3/4" and cut your curves. Sew and press. it does not matter if you add the sides first or the top and bottom. I chose th do the sides for this one.
Step 6: The final section is a wide section with dark gold on the top and bottom and dark brown on the sides. Cut these pieces 4" wide. You can see in this photo that when I overlap the center section with the wide section that the gold will finish quite narrow in some areas. It's even OK of the gold is only a sliver in some parts. Attach the dark gold and brown strips. Trim the placemat to your finished size. Mine is cut 17" x 13".
Step 7: I picked a fabric from my stash for the backing. Layer your placement just like you would a quilt. Lay the backing down wrong side up, smooth out the batting and then layer the top, right side up. Pin through all layers. I am doing some research to find the best filling for my placemats. I'm not very happy with quilt batting because the placemats often come out the the dryer in a wad. For this one I decided to try using sweatshirt fleece from an old sweatshirt. I made sure it was a light one (and clean) that would not show through. I figure that this stuff has shrunk all it's ever going to shrink. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Step 8: Quilt it. I did a simple stitch in the ditch using Superior MonoPoly in the needle and a thread to match my backing in the bobbin. I also stitched through all layers around the entire edge of the placemat about 1/8" in from the edge, just to hold the layers stable. When you are done quilting, trim away the backing and batting.
Step 9: I was not in the mood to do a binding on these so I decided to do a fused binding. I chose the two darker blues and added WonderUnder to the back of both. Any fusible will do.
Step 10: Cut 2 strips of each fabric, 1 1/4" wide. I decided to use my lettuce edge blade to add some interest to the placemat. These strips need to be about 18" long.
Step 11: For this step you will need your applique pressing sheet or a piece of parchment paper. Peel the paper backing from the binding strip. Lay the placemat right side up on the parchment sheet. Place one of the binding strips (sticky side down) on the edge of the placemat. You want the strip to be about half on and half off with a little bit hanging off each end. Press it in place using the exact instructions from the fusible manufacturer. After it cools peel the fused edge off the applique sheet.
Step 12: This is a little hard to see. The placemat is face down and I have cut the corner out of the binding strip so that there is just a little tab of binding from the front that I can fold to the back and them fold the rest of the bonding strip to the back and fuse it all in place. That little tab helps to make sure that you don't have any batting corners sticking out. Attach your binding to all 4 edges. I did not top stitch mine. I'll see how it performs in the first wash and I may find myself stitching it down after that.
Finished! I think it took just as long to take all fo the photos and write the instructions as it did to make the placemats. Please let me know if you make these and especially if there's anything about the instructions that's not clear or incorrect.