July 16, 2014

Free Tutorial - Summer Placemats and Flatware Pouches

At my house, we're all decked out for summertime!



Wouldn't it be fun to jazz up your own table
with fresh new place settings?
Today I'm sharing a free tutorial,
for placemats and matching flatware pouches!


For these samples, I used a few summery coordinates
I got things started with a favorite print:
with red and blue cabanas on a creamy background.


Next I chose a solid fabric,
The taupe tones reminded me of rich sandy beaches.


And now for a little zing...


To make a set of 6 placemats and 6 flatware pouches,
I used about one yard each of the Beach Huts and Linen,
plus 1/2 yard of the striped fabric.
You can cut pieces for 3 placemats,
cutting across the 54" width of home dec or curtain weight fabrics.

Let's get started making the reversible placemats.
I created pieced sections for the front sides.

For each placemat:
cut a section of the beach huts fabric,
measuring 6" high x 17 1/2" wide,
to be used as the center strip.

Add the bottom strip in linen,
cut to 3 1/2" high x 17 1/2" wide.
Add the top strip, also in linen,
cut to 5 1/2" high x 17 1/2" wide.

Here's the placemat front, all stitched and pressed.
Trim the finished front to 13 1/2" high x 17 1/2" wide.


{Keep in mind, you can use a single piece of fabric
or make a patchwork in any pattern. Design opportunities are endless.}

For each placemat cut a backing piece,
measuring 13 1/2" x 17 1/2" wide.

Pin the front and back pieces with right sides together.
Starting on the upper edge, about 2" from a corner,
stitch around all 4 sides with a generous 1/4" seam,
leaving about 2 -3 " open for turning.

Here's a tip I always use
whenever I leave an opening for turning.
I backstitch a tiny (1/4") seam
that goes from the opening to the edge of the fabric, 
as shown in the photo below.
This strengthens the opening
and also makes it easy to turn under the edge
during the pressing step.


Turn the placemat right sides out through the opening.
Use a turning tool to smooth out the side seams
and gently push out the corners.
Give it a good press,
then topstitch near all the edges.
Repeat to create a set of four...or six...
or however many you need.

Admire your gorgeous finished placemats!


And they're reversible!



Now let's make those fun flatware pouches.
For each pouch:
cut (1) outer fabric 6" x 15"
and (1) lining fabric 6" x 15".

Pin outer fabric and lining right sides together,
and stitch with a generous 1/4" seam,
just as you did for the placemats,
leaving a 2" opening on one long edge for turning.

Turn the pouch right sides out through the opening.
Use a turning tool to smooth the seams
and gently push out the corners.
Press well.


Place the pouch with the lining side up,
and fold the bottom edge up to make a 5" pocket.
Press well.


Begin stitching at the bottom fold,
and topstitch along one long edge,
across the top,
and along the other long edge.
Reinforce the stitching along the top edges
of the pocket,
since these are stress points.



These are super quick to make,
and you'll have your set finished in no time.
Look how sweet the flatware pouches look,
filled with silverware and a napkin.


They really dress up those pretty placemats,
don't you think?
These would make wonderful gifts
for Mother's Day, birthdays, wedding showers...

I made some more, to match my Cherry Kitchen decor!
They're just as much fun to use indoors.

{Also, I have a fabulous red gingham picnic tablecloth for my outdoor table.}


I feel more of these coming on...
perhaps with some ric rac trim,
or button-down flaps.

For now, I'm going to have fun using this set all summer long!



This set looks really sharp with the Beach Huts pillows
I had created last summer!



If you create your own placemats or flatware pouches,
I hope you'll let us know how yours turn out!
Feel free to leave a link in the comments,
or add them to my Flickr group here.
Enjoy!



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July 5, 2014

Needle Book Swap - Received!

The time has come to wrap up our
Need a Little Needle Book Swap...
and I can't think of a better way than to share
the one I received from Gabrielle!


As you can see,
the needle book Gabrielle made for me
is just filled with personal touches,
beginning with my NAME on the front!

{Those hexies are so tiny and sweet!}


There are more little hexies
decorating the back cover of the needle book.

{I think that every needle book in our swap has been just as gorgeous
on the back as the front...don't you?}


Inside are thick felted wool pages for needles...
you can almost feel the substantial texture
from this photo.


This particular needle book includes
a very smart vinyl pocket inside,
with a fabulous zipper closure.

{How did she know I adore office supplies?!?!?!?}



When I first saw the labels on the felt pages,
I couldn't figure out how
Gabriella was able to add the words,
describing how they were to be used.


I mean, I've spent quite a few minutes  hours
shopping on the internet,
and I've NEVER seen any twill tape,
printed with names like these!


I remembered that Gabrielle
had contacted me to find out
what types of handsewing I enjoy,
and what needles I like to use.


It dawned on me that she MUST have
printed these tapes herself somehow!


Sure enough, Gabrielle shared with me how she did it,
using a printer, some twill tape,
and a bit of scotch tape.

Someday I promise to try it myself
and explain to you how it's done!

{Ric  rac! I see ric rac!}


Besides the fabulous needle book,
Gabrielle created this beautiful boxed pouch,
in my favorite colors!


Gabrielle's workmanship is exquisite!
I would love to see what her long-arm quilts
look like, as I'm sure these little projects
are a glimpse of what she can accomplish.


There were more goodies, too...
a lovely journal,
some fun washi tape and a package of twine.
I am such a spoiled brat!


Have you ever tried these wonderful needles
from Foxglove Cottage?
They have something for every type of handsewing,
and Gabrielle included a couple of packages
in my swap gift!

{Perfect!}


I don't even know how exactly Gabrielle and I found one another...
but that's the most fun part about the internet...
and swaps!
THANK YOU, GABRIELLE!

Thanks to ALL of you who participated
in the Needle Book Swap
and made it a great success!
You girls are the best!


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June 23, 2014

Swap Sent and Revealed - Need a Little Needle Book

At long last, it's time to share
what I made for my partner in the 
Need a Little Needle Book swap!

{Visit our Flickr page here to see more needle books from the swap!}


As the Swap Mama for our exchange,
I had the luxury of selecting the person
who would create a needle book for me,
and also the one who would receive my creation.
I chose to send my needle book to
the lovely and talented Gail.

Having just met Gail,
all I knew about her was 
that she enjoys happy bright colors.

That led me to pull these fabrics,
and I named my project the
Bright Idea Needle Book.

{I hope it will inspire happiness and creativity for Gail!}



I could not resist using the tutorial by Nana Company
to create this little needle book.
I see more of these in my future,
because they are pure FUN to create!

to lay out the squares for the back,
plus a strip of squares for the front panel.


I added a ric rac edging, and I really think
it adds sweetness and fun to the finished needle keep.


Want to see the back?
I love it as much as the front...
yep, I need to make another one,
with the patchwork on the FRONT.


And now let's look inside...
this time I chose some turquoise wool felt
for the interior pages.


I used more ric rac - in golden yellow.


I found some lovely lace,
and I added a bit of butterfly...
always a bright idea!


So once that little needle book
was finished,
I decided to create a matching pincushion!

I used a favorite pattern
purchased from Details by Des on Etsy.

Can you just imagine how squeezy this pinnie is?


One of the reasons I chose to make 
this style of pinnie was that I got to use...
more ric rac!!!


See those covered buttons, too?
They are another favorite design detail of mine.


I made a couple of extra covered buttons
to send along...



So that's what I made for my swap partner...
stop by again soon to find out
what I received!



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May 26, 2014

Doggy Beach Bag - Lessons in Large Scale Prints

Our Florida friends have a little dog Dunkin
who goes with them everywhere,
including the beach.
There's even a Doggy Beach near their home!

That's what inspired me to make this...
Doggy Beach Bag!



I had fun designing my own tote,
using ideas from lots of other
purse and bag patterns I've made before.



It is a really large and sturdy bag...
about 16" wide by 19" tall...
Dunkin could fit inside comfortably!

{This is my little dog, Ginger...and she's not going inside that bag!}



I started with these fun prints from Terry's Fabrics
in duckegg blue, gray, cream, and brown.
I love to use stripes and circle dots,
to set off a focal fabric.

Clockwise from top:

Right Lines, Great Spot and Man's Best Friend
all in the duckegg colorway.


These curtain weight fabrics are sturdier than the
quilter's cotton I normally use.
I lined the outer bag pieces with Pellon 101SF
fusible interfacing, to add stability,
but it was not really necessary.


One great thing about working with
the high quality prints from Terry's Fabrics 
is that they do not tend to fray.
I've had that issue in the past with some other home dec fabrics.
It's so nice to make a project without a sense of dread!



I'd like to share some tips for working with large prints:

1. Choose larger projects for larger prints.
This just makes sense, right?

{There are exceptions, of course, but the bigger prints are shown off best this way.}

I really love the way those big giant spots
look on the back of the bag!



2.  Select three different prints to allow for great design opportunities.
Using only 2 prints, or more than 3, is fine...just more complicated.

I chose one print for the outer pocket,
and a different fabric for the bag body.
The third print, the stripe, was brought in for the lining
and some other detail work.

The three prints are varied in scale and value,
and they just look great together.


3. Directional prints, including stripes, need special consideration.

When cutting stripes, be extra careful to keep them straight.
Also note placement of pieces,
so they will not end up sideways or even upside-down.


4. Feature favorite parts of the large print, where they will be noticed.

Keep in mind which areas will be hidden
on the bottom or within seams, during construction.

{Here's a sweet little face that I wanted to be sure to include.}


5. Partner the fabrics to show good contrast and interest.
Try using "opposite" prints for outer and inner bags.


For the outer pocket on this tote,
I chose the striped lining fabric for the pocket accent.
It's a nice and neat finish, and it shows up well
against both of the other fabrics.



On the inside of the bag, 
I used the spotted exterior fabric to make the interior pocket.


6. Try something different!
Even an old dog can learn new tricks.

This stripe was actually printed horizontally across the bolt,
which is very unusual!
I love striped handles, and this time I tried
using the stripe lengthwise...and I love the way it looks!


I hope this post will encourage you to try some
large prints in your projects.
It's a whole new world of fabrics to choose from,
and you'll be rewarded with great looking results!

{I think Ginger would love a nice new doggy pillow.}


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