I made these placemats using a Soft and Stable White Project Pack, kindly supplied by FQS for this sew along, combined with a couple of long-hoarded and very favorite Melody Miller linen/cotton prints. Although the Project Pack comes with full instructions to make strip-pieced placemats, I decided to make use of these gorgeous prints. Not only do they look awesome, but because they are a pretty heavy weight fabric, they will stand up to regular use really well (I made a Necessary Clutch Wallet from one of her cotton/linen prints almost four years ago, and have used it constantly since - and it is still going strong!) And with three smallish children, hard wearing is a pretty essential feature for household items like these! I've not used Soft and Stable before, but I have to say it is ideal for this kind of project - it is lovely to sew with, and looks fantastic quilted. Plus it's washable, so we will be able to throw them in the washing machine when they get grotty!
I made a couple of other very small changes to how I made my placemats compared to the instructions provided in the pack, for purely aesthetic reasons. I wanted to quilt the placemats, so rather than just stitching the strips on quilt as you go style, and then sewing the back on around the edges as per the instructions, I decided to layer my back, Soft and Stable and front, and quilt all three layers as I would a quilt. I used another long-hoarded, favorite fabric on the back of these too - a print from Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party collection.
The other small change I made was to bind them as I would a regular quilt. The instructions provided in the pack teach you how to use the backing fabric as a binding (by folding it over onto the front). This would have been the ideal way to do it - except that I only had enough of my chosen binding fabric to make regular binding. Because I was using a single print for the front of each placemat, I decided they really needed a contrasting binding to finish them off. And happily, I had JUST enough of that fabulous Waterfront Park cerise print to bind the floral place mats - I think you'll agree, it is the perfect combination! I chose a Cotton & Steel print for the binding on the tea cup print placemats - I love how the navy works with the coral.
I wanted to quickly mention the threads I chose for the quilting on these too (because I stash thread almost as much as I stash fabric). I chose a variegated coral Aurifil 40wt for the pink tea cup placemats, and it works awesomely well for a bit of subtle interest. For the floral placemats, I used a heavier weight 28wt Aurifil. I bought a selection of Aurifil 28wt cotton while I was in Adelaide for the Australian Machine Quilting Festival last year for a quilt I was making at the time (and I will be sharing that particular quilt soon - I just need to get around to finishing off editing my photos for the blog post!), and one of the colours I had was the perfect choice for the floral placemats. I'm a bit addicted to 28wt threads at the moment - they give such great definition to quilting stitches and I'm finding I'm using them every chance I get.
These four placemats have found a home on our new outdoor table. Our summer project this year was building a deck in our back garden, and we have been using it almost nightly over the last few weeks, making the most of the longer days before day light savings ends. The only problem is the table seats eight - so I'll be needing to make another set of four sometime soon ;o). I have a few other Melody Miller prints earmarked for the next set of these - so stay tuned, I'm hoping to get them sorted in the near future!
I know I've been promising a few finished quilt posts for a few weeks now - life has conspired against me of late (a really nasty cold + real job doesn't leave much time or energy for blogging), but I'm almost finished editing the photos so I'm hoping next week will be a big blogging week for me ;o).
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! I'll be celebrating my brother's 30th birthday and my nephew's 2nd birthday over the weekend, and hopefully get a bit of sewing in around all the cake eating...