Monday, June 4, 2012

Fat Quarter Placemats

The pattern

On Tuesday I had my monthly "sewing club" class where we do different fun projects.  This month was a placemat pattern called "Take Four" by Cary Flanagan.  It's a pretty cute and clever idea to make coordinating but unique placemats.  Unfortunately my local shop doesn't sell Fat Quarter bundles and for this one I really just wanted someone else to do the fabric matching work for me.

Enter...Fat Quarter Shop!  After reading so much about them I had tons of fun shopping the site and selecting my Fresh and Tasty bundle.  (Almost went for this adorable Crabtastic bundle, but this is for a bunch of guys so I figured the crabbies might be too cute) My only complaint is a) expensive and b) I only needed four fat quarters but all of these bundles were much larger than that.  So since I ended up with 11 fat quarters, I made two sets of these "Take Four" placemats.

isn't this fabric adorable?
set of four fabrics #1
set of four fabrics #2
Since the class is really a "club" we all work at our own pace and the teacher is just there if we need questions.  She showed me how to oil my machine (apparently it was being noisy...oops) and gave me a lot of great ideas for easy ways to finish the placemats.  I was going to bind them like a mini-quilt but honestly that's a lot of effort, so instead I quilted the top directly onto the batting and then sewed the backing on like a pillowcase and edgestitched to make it look nice.

The greens
Of course, the first time I made my little sandwich I didn't but the backing and front right sides together, and didn't realize this until I went to turn it right sides out.  Insert forehead slap here.

the reds
Because these fabrics are already so busy, I decided not to do any free motion quilting on them.  Instead, I am using all of the decorative stitches on my machine that I otherwise never get an excuse to try.  I have to say, the decorative stitches are really boring to stitch because they go slowly and you can't really touch the fabric since the machine is off doing it's own thing.  But if you can sit through it they do indeed look cool. (below: shots of some of the decorative stitches)

Now that all eight of these are done, I think I would have chosen the two sets of four fabrics different.  I have experienced this in other projects as well, where I select the fabrics that look great together but don't give enough thought to how they'll actually be used in the project.  In this situation, my green fabrics were lovely together but the placemats would have been much more interesting with greater contrast, say if I had used the red striped fabric instead of the green.  The nice thing about buying from a fabric collection is that you know whatever combination you go with will look good together.

all together now!
Well, learning is what any craft is all about.  I haven't surprised the new owners with their placemats yet (and a matching apron!) but I hope they appreciate them.


  1. I love your head slap - it's something I would do! I think they look great! What type of machine do you have to make all those fun stitches?

    1. I always make at least one dumb mistake on every project :)

      I have a Bernina 440QE. It's a great machine for sure, but I think I was a little over-excited at the store when I saw it had 100+ stitches, and in practicality I use very few of them. But in addition to the million decorative stitches it has a lot of nice useful ones, like many different styles of buttonholes and a stitch that will sew buttons on for you if you have the right foot (I don't!) My favorite stitch on it probably the blind hem stitch because I'm only 5'2" and have to hem every pair of pants I buy, often even petite pants!