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Using gradated fabrics to make a placemat and pillow top [Strip piecing]

by Jean Boyd

Yesterday I showed you how to use Rit All Purpose dyes to dye fabric with 6 values of one color. I also dyed some contrasting pieces with some of the leftover dye.

6 pieces of fabric in gradated red color and 2 pieces of red fabric with white stripes

Gradated fabric and accent fabrics

Here’s how I used this fabric to make a quick and easy placemat.

From each of the six 8″ x 18″ fabrics, cut 1 – 18″ strip. I cut a variety of widths from 2″ to 1¼”.

From the contrasting fabric, cut 5 strips 1″ x 18″.

Arrange the strips as shown in the photo and then sew them together. For 1 placemat, you should have a piece approximately 12″ x 18″.

6 strips of red gradated fabric and 3 red and white accent strips

Gradated strips with accent fabric strips

Press seams in one direction.

Gradated red strips and red and white striped strips are sewn together

Strips are sewn together.

Layer top, batting and backing. Quilt as desired. I did straight-line quilting with lines about ½” apart.

Trim the edges to square up the placemat. Sew on a binding and you have a one-of-kind placemat made with your hand-dyed fabric.

Using a walking foot to stitch the layers together

Stitch the layers together.

And here’s the finished placemat!

Finished placemat made with gradated red strips and contrast fabric strips

Finished placemat

Here’s another idea to create a piece you can use as a block in a quilt, a wall quilt, or a cushion top. Let your creative juices flow!

You’ll need the 6 pieces of 8″ x 18″ that were dyed using Rit All-Purpose dyes plus one piece of contrasting fabric that was dyed using the leftover Rit dye solution.

Cut 1 or 2 – 18″ strips from each of the 6 values in a variety of widths. I cut a total of 9 strips from 1¾” to 2½” wide.

Cut 1 – 2″ strip from the contrasting fabric.

6 different strips are cut from red gradated fabric

Cut strips from gradated fabric.

Arrange the strips as desired. I started with the darker values on the outside and the lighter values in the center. I numbered each strip so I wouldn’t get mixed up when I took them down from my design wall.

Red strips of gradated fabric are arranged with dark strips on the outside and light strips in the center

Arrange the strips as desired.

Cut each strip in half so all the strips are about 9″ long.

Cut 1 piece of 2″ contrasting fabric to fit between 2 strips. Sew the contrasting fabric between 2 – 9″ strips. Continue sewing 2″ contrasting strips between all the cut strips.

2" contrasting strips between the cut strips

Insert 2″ strips between the cut strips.

Arrange the strips as desired to make a wavy section with the contrasting fabric.

Sew the strips together to make a strip set. Press seams in one direction.

Red strips with inserted stripe fabric are arranged to make a wavy design

Arrange strips in a wavy design.

Trim top and bottom so the edges are even. You could leave it just like this, but for added interest, I cut the strip set horizontally and inserted 2 more contrast strips. There are no hard and fast rules when designing like this. Just create something that looks good to you!

Additional strips of red fabric and accent fabric are inserted between previously sewn strips

Additional strips can be inserted if desired.

And here’s my finished piece!

Finished quilt top made with gradated red strips and inserted contrast strips

Finished quilt top

Please join me again tomorrow when I’ll show you how to use Rit Powdered All-Purpose dyes and some ice to make more designer fabric!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Dyeing gradations using Rit All Purpose Liquid Dyes: Getting started

Go to part 3: Ice dyeing creates unique fabric for your quilted projects [free tutorial]


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