Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Playing with Placemats

I took a half day Saturday workshop from my local guild and learned how to make little origami shirts. It was so stinking fun that before I knew it I had made nearly a dozen of them in various colors and fabrics. As they sat there on the table, I contemplated what I could do with them. I have enough quilt projects in the works and do not need one more to feel guilty about not working on.

Sometimes you just need to play without worrying about the process, perfection or whether it will even work. I had a visit to California coming up to visit a friend that is from Hawaii. She collects hearts and loves Hawaiian shirts and before I knew it, I plowed in and didn't allow anything to inhibit my creativeness.

I pulled every piece of fabric that had hearts on them. I decided two placemats would be fun and to make it even better, I pulled out all of the stops and used various techniques in the making of them. First, foil vinyl was used for the palm tree and lettering. I cut these out on my vinyl cutter. Fabrics were chosen and cutting commenced. Projects do talk to you because originally I had planned on the cream and the dark blue and when I put them next to each other, something was missing so I made the little heart on the left side and then decided to make a row out of the width that the heart ended up. Then I needed a break before adding the middle cream so cut a narrow blue. Yep, that looked good but still needed something. Awww... How about another narrow blue border on the opposite side. Yep, again that worked. Now, I heat pressed the vinyl sections into place. Next was the free motion quilting. I let up on myself about my lack of machine quilting experience and just enjoyed quilting whatever I felt for each section. Now I sewed the shirt into place. This is the only area that I was more careful because I wanted the shirt to appear to just be sitting there but also to stay in place when laundered.

I had a difficult time deciding what fabric to use for the binding. I ended up using the back side of a very old fabric that I had and it really was perfect. Don't forget to look at the back and the front when making color choices. Sometimes the back really is better. I sewed the binding on by machine and then attempted to finish the binding by machine instead of my usual hand stitching. Okay this was the only area that I didn't like the end result. I just do not like looking at the stitching in the binding and no matter how I tried to stay straight, it wasn't.  So I just sat there thinking how awful it was going to be ripping out every stitch. As I sat there, I decided what the heck, I've gone this far, let's add one more dimension to the project and grabbed some number 8 pearl cotton and did a slanted whip stitch around the entire binding. You know what? It looked really darn cool! AND, it added a nice heft to the sides that it would not have had without it. It laid perfectly and had tons of personality and dimension.

Your mission should you decide to accept it is to create something small like placemats and try out all those different techniques you've been learning and dreaming of. Let yourself go and have fun! I guarantee if you don't worry about everything being perfect, you will love it and have something fun to show for a minimal amount of work.

Check out the two finished placemats. I even made a ladies' and man's version of the shirts!  LOL

Now what to do with the rest of the little shirts!


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