This week, I’m going back to the basics.
With the recent spike in interest in home sewing projects and especially quilting, this week is geared towards the new quilter, but it’ll also be a great refresher for experienced quilters.
First off, you need equipment, so, I’m talking about the tools you should have in your quilting chest as well as others you may want to consider adding to your kit.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve all needed to stay home to protect others and ourselves. With home at the top of our minds, this week I’ll make placemats. Not just any placemats, though, these placemats are designed for the home of our dreams.
While you can make these placemats entirely by hand if you wish, an important and time-saving tool is a sewing machine. There are as many varieties of these as there are price points. My suggestion is to buy the best machine your budget permits while making sure you get all of your wants including a ¼” presser foot–very important.
Before I get into the details of the fabric and cutting requirements for the placements, I’d like to show you some other tools you should consider adding to your quilting studio.
Now, while it’s true you can cut your fabric pieces using scissors, I strongly recommend you invest in an easy to use 45mm rotary cutter to make the task much quicker. There are two basic 45mm rotary cutters.
The first I want to introduce is the Komfort KUT Rotary Cutter – 45mm and the second is the Komfort KUT Soft Grip Rotary Cutter – 45mm. I prefer the straight-handle rotary cutter. Others may prefer the curved handle as they find it more ergonomically comfortable to use. Both rotary cutters have a reversible handle and can be used for left- or right-handed quilters.
Along with a rotary cutter, I suggest you get 2 rotary cutting rulers:
When using a rotary cutter you also need a good quality, self-healing rotary cutting mat such as the Heirloom Double-Sided Cutting Mat – 18″ x 24″. Your first mat should measure no less than 18” x 24”. This mat size is ideal for cutting any piece of fabric you’ll ever need to cut. Quilting fabric yardage typically measures 40” to 44” in width but when you buy a large piece of fabric, typically, it’s sold off the bolt folded in half widthwise. When folded in half like this, the fabric fits perfectly on your cutting mat, which makes it easier to cut fabric strips.
For the placemat project, I’m using pieces of fabric leftover from other projects. If you do not have fabric leftovers, go to your local quilt store and buy 7 fat quarters. While you’re there, don’t forget to buy some thread. Every possible color of thread is available out there, so, you may be asking yourself, which color should you get? You can’t go wrong if you go with a neutral-colored thread such as these Gütermann 50wt cotton creams or Gütermann 50wt cotton grays.
Now, let’s get ready for tomorrow’s sewing by cutting the fabric for the first placemat!
Here are the fabrics I selected for this week’s placemats. Now, if you look closely at the right side of the photo, you’ll see some novelty fabrics which I hope to use in most of the windows and doors of my placemat houses.
From your 7 fabrics cut the following:
Note: Cut one (1) unless otherwise stated.
Fabric 1 – sky
- A 2½” x 16”
- B 2¾” x 8½” – cut 2
- C 3⅜” x 3⅜”
- D 3⅜” x 3⅜”
- E 3” x 4”
Fabric 3 – light side of the house
- F 3⅜” x 3⅜”
- G 2” x 6” – cut 2
- H 2” x 2½”
Fabric 4 – dark side of the house
- I 2” x 6½” – cut 2
- J 2” x 3” – cut 2
Fabric 5 – door
- K 2½” x 4½”
Fabric 6 – window
- L 3½” x 3”
- M 2½” x 16”
Lay the fabric, right side up in a single layer on the cutting mat.
Carefully place the quilting ruler on top of the fabric.
Align the lines of the required fabric dimensions as in the photo.
Using your rotary cutter cut fabric pieces according to the guide table above.
Rulers can easily slide and shift on top of the fabric as you cut. To prevent such slippage, I use Heirloom Ruler/Template Grips. I simply place one in every corner on the underside of the ruler. For larger rulers, I place more grips at every 6″ to 8″.
TIP As you cut each piece of fabric, it’s important to identify it so you can keep track of them as you assemble the placemat.
Today, I introduced you to some basic quilting products:
- The Komfort KUT Rotary Cutter – 45mm;
- The Sew Easy Quilting Ruler – 24″ x 6½”; and
- The 18″ x 24″ Heirloom Double-Sided Cutting Mat
These tools will all help to make your quilt creation journeys easier.
Tomorrow, as I assemble the first placemat, I’ll be showing some great tips and shortcuts. They’ll really help as you make your first quilting project.