Sometimes you learn a technique, and then all you want to do is find different ways of using your new skill. That's the way it is with me and patchwork.
I pieced my first patchwork quilt top a couple of months ago, after literally years of trepidation. After all, math was involved. But I was given the challenge of helping to make a quilt for a friend in need, and I decided I would rule my fears, not fear my ruler.
And yes, I cut a few pieces the wrong size. And yes, I had to lay all the blocks out and photograph them in position, then constantly refer to that image to be sure I was putting the blocks in the right order. But I did it!
The pattern I used was a simple construction of horizontal pieces, and I have to laugh at how silly I was to be afraid of something so easy. And with millions of scraps of fabric available from my stash, I am now on the prowl for patchwork projects to make.
Thus, I've been looking through the patchwork project books I've been hoarding, and I found my next sewing adventure in I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale. The simple zakka-style geometric patterns are perfect for the beginning patchwork stitcher. And I was particularly intrigued by the placemat and napkin set, as I have Thanksgiving on my mind.
Rashida used linen for the base of the placemat and various cotton prints for the decorative patchwork. You'll need one 12½" x 18½" rectangle of linen for the back of the placemat and a 12½ x 10" square for the front, as well as two 12½" x 2" strips for the side panels and three 6½" x 1½" strips for the stamped panels.
For the cotton prints, you'll need six strips, each 3½" x 1½".
To make the stamped strips, you'll need a set of letter stamps and ink that is permanent once it has dried and heat set with an iron, such as Versa Craft or Staz-On. Rashida recommends you practice your stamping first on scrap fabric to get the spacing right.
To assemble, stitch the short sides of each of the patchwork strips, right sides together (for example, a print, the spoon strip, and then another print), with ¼" seams allowances. Press the seam allowances toward the cotton prints.
When those strips are complete, stitch the long sides of the knife and spoon panel together, then stitch the right edge panel to the spoon panel. Press the seams open. Repeat this process with the fork panel and the left side panel. Then stitch the side panels to the center panel.
Place the completed placemat top on the back, right sides together and stitch around the edge, leaving a 4" gap for turning. Clip the corners and turn, turn the seam allowances at the gap by ¼" and press, then edgestitch around the perimeter of the placemat.
These placemats would make a wonderful setting for a holiday and a terrific gift. I can't wait to make a bunch of them, and then move along to the other projects in I Love Patchwork, now available as a downloadable eBook.