Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Place mats

I love learning new things I can make with fabric! I do. I love it. Fabric is so versatile. It is versatile in color, pattern, function. It can be put together in so many different ways. And part of the joy of working with fabric, for me, is learning new ways of putting it together, and new functions for which it may be used.
Last weekend I learned a new technique at the monthly quilty club I attend. Some of the techniques featured there are not super interesting to me, and some of the supplies, gadgets, and tools featured likewise fail to grab my attention. But every once in a while, something will really click and I get excited.
This is one of those times.
We used strips (from the oh-so-ubiquitous "jelly roll" variety), to make place mats. Place mats. I have never considered quilting a place mat. Ever. Maybe this is because I don't use them? Or because I'm focused on blankets? Who knows. Whatever the reason, this particular function for fabric has not crossed my mind. Until now.
In the class we took the strips and sewed them directly onto batting. The sewing style was "raw edge", otherwise known as rag piecing. This is where the raw edge of the fabric is left revealed and it unravels over time to create a "rag" effect at the seams. Also, we played with decorative stitching over the edges. And while I like both of these, and will use them, the first place mat I made at home (that very weekend) was different. I cut different shades of blue and purple into strips and sewed them onto batting, with the stitching hidden.
When I finished the piece looked too...angular, so i decided to add appliques of non-uniformly cut fabric butterflies.
Here's the result:
I made four of these, each with slightly different appliques in slightly different locations:
The backing is a wavy blue fabric,which is folded around the front to create the binding:
This was a fun project! The place mats are small enough so that it was a "quick gratification" project, but the challenge of a new technique was a huge part of the fun for me.
I have, roughly, a bajillion other place mats, planned now. It is such a good way to use up the fabric on my shelves.
The only thing to decide now is what to do with this set: use it, give it away, put it on Etsy? Hmm...I think I'll ponder this while making another set!


  1. LOVE THOSE! they are so pretty! Are they washable? BTW, what are the washing rules with your quilts? Violet has managed to get strawberry and crackers all over hers.

  2. Thanks!
    Yes, totally washable. Almost everything I make is meant to be used and loved.
    Yay for strawberries and crackers! So glad she's using the quilt!
    V's quilt is washable and may be tumble dried too. I'd treat it as I would any bright colors.