Napkins to Wipe Your Mouth With

We like to use mostly cloth napkins around our house. Not because we’re posh (Duchess Meghan hasn’t returned my call), but because we like the reduce and reuse economical and ecological factors.

You could probably have a set of these ready for your dinner party tonight.

Here’s how…

  1. Cut some fabric into squares. I used my 12-1/2″ square ruler. Go bigger if you want! 15-20″ square would be nice, too!
  2. For pressing your seam allowances, mark a 3/8″ line on one side and a 1/2″ line on the other side of a piece of cardstock (or a file folder–just something thin, non-flammable, and non-melty). If you don’t need this to fold and press your seams, by all means skip it. I won’t tell.
  3. Now, on two opposing sides of each napkin, press once up to the 3/8″ mark, then fold over and press up to the 1/2″ mark. The raw edge should be inside the fold. Don’t do all four sides yet. Only do these two opposing sides.
  4. Topstitch these two sides of each napkin. Get close to the lip of the fold with your stitches (you don’t want a sloppy, flappy flange sort of thing happening). Don’t worry about backstitching at the end or beginning.
  5. Once those two sides are sewn down, repeat the folding and pressing (3/8″ then 1/2″) on the other two sides of each napkin. DO backstitch at the beginning and end of these.

If you pre-washed your fabric, you can use these straight away! If you didn’t, be sure to wash them before you use them to get the chemicals out.

I guess I need to get on and make the ones for my Mom that I promised her about two years ago….

And, yes, I know I ended that title with a preposition. Sometimes rules need to be broken. 😉

xoxo
~Tara

How I Made My Design Wall

I have moved into my new sewing space, and although it isn’t finished, it HAD to get a design wall ASAP. I had making to do! After poking around the interwebz, I cobbled together bits of what I learned and made a design wall that works for me and my space. It is large at 96″ wide x 83″ high. It holds fabric nicely and I can stick pins in it.

This thing makes me feel like I’m Winning at Quilt Life.

How I made my design wall

Here’s the basic rundown on supplies:

  • 1 queen-size flannel flat sheet
    (a soft gray is an excellent backdrop for auditioning colorful fabric)
  • duct tape (a lot!)
  • 2 packages of insulation foam panels
    (I got mine at Home Depot. Each package came with 6 panels that were 14-1/2″ x 48″ each)
  • basting spray
  • 2-3 value packs of jumbo Command strips
  • a level (if needed, for hanging)
  • a razor blade/super sharp knife
    (scissors are not sharp enough to get a clean cut on this foam material)
  • a long, straight-edge ruler
  • enough floor space to lay everything out
  • a helper (not shown)

I laid out the flannel sheet with the front side down. I did not cut this sheet, because I might want to use it as a sheet someday. Could happen. Once it was laid down, I made it mostly smooth and taped it to the floor at the edges.

Each of the two packages of foam panels contained six panels. I trimmed 4 inches off the bottom long sides of two panels so the design wall didn’t cover a vent and electrical outlets.

Spray the adhesive on a panel, lay it on the sheet and press. Continue with all the panels, taping the seams with duct tape as you butt the edge of each to the last. I failed to get a picture of the initial layout of the panels, so here’s a graphic.

Fold the sheet over at the top and bottom first. Tape down where you’ve brought the fabric over. Next, fold the sheet over at the sides, making a slight taper with the fold to make it nice and tidy on the edge. Tape all around.

Now, tape the snot out of the back. Criss-cross the tape in long strips to create some stability to the horizontal and vertical seams.

Apply the command strips generously to the back, spacing them around to get good hold coverage. Follow the instructions on the package about the tape and loop and paper backing.

Get that helper to help you hang and position this beautiful beast to the wall. Use a level if you need to. I butted mine up to the ceiling. Voila!

Happy Quilting!

~~Tara

P.S. My biggest inspiration was this tutorial from The Quilting Edge. She made hers modular!

Trimming Jagged Edges from Precuts

You know those pinked (jagged) edges on precuts? I’m not a fan. Well, I get it, they keep the fabric from fraying, and that’s obviously good. But when it comes to cutting them or sewing them, I grouse around wishing for a straight edge!

I thought I’d show you how I went about eliminating those jagged edges when cutting for my Churned Up quilt with a pack of Benartex 10x10s of Modern Marks. I hope these tips help you when cutting for patterns that call for hacking up precut squares with jagged edges!

You’ll end up with sliver-trimmed bits like these:

I needed to cut the 10×10 square into a 7″ piece and a 3″ piece. I set two rulers side-by-side and checked for the sweet spot where I could get the sizes I needed with just a smidge of those jagged edges extending past those 7″ and 3″ lines. So long as 7″ fit on one side and 3″ fit on the other, I knew how much of the edges I could take off.

See how those edges extend past the 7″ mark and the 3″ mark?

Once you’ve established you can get the sizes you need, remove one of the rulers and make your first cut.

Updated to add (thanks to the suggestion by Yvonne @quiltingjetgirl): Before you take off those pinked edges, measure twice (thrice!) to ensure your trimming will leave you with a piece that measures the size you need. Not all precuts will allow for trimming–jelly rolls, particularly.

To trim the remaining edges and square up the pieces, place your ruler with the line on top of the fabric straight edge, checking to be sure you have enough of the jagged edge extending past your required measurement, and trim those edges!

Whew! Now you can sew with those straight edges!

 

Happy Trimming!
~~Tara