This week I finally managed to finish with the double duvet set I had been kindly given via the ‘Hampshire Scrubbers’. The duvet cover, 4 pillow cases and one sheet was recycled into about 60 much needed masks and matching ties over the course of about 3 weeks for key workers.

Fearing the ‘love’ dwindling from ‘For the Love of Scrubs’, along with my dog needing a minor operation, my car needing a service and my birthday – I felt like I needed a small respite before starting on the next batch of donated fabric.

This does not mean no sewing but it does mean making something ‘fun’.

Before I start however, I would like to thank a beautiful little girl called Phoebe who dropped in for a socially distanced visit to show off the little summer crib shoes I sent her (picutre below).

Via her mum some very positive feed back was given and I hope to make a few ‘tweaks’ to the pattern in the next few weeks. Thank you Pheobe for your product testing!

So, on to my fun make – a quilted sewing mat / tidy.

I am unsure if it is just me but when I am sewing the usually organised and tidy me goes completely out the window, into the back garden and out the gate. The kitchen ends up looking a real mess.

For some strange reason I thought a tidy mat with a few pockets in might help.

It doesn”t.

I did, however enjoy following the tutorial and trying to master a pet hate of mine – binding.

There are a number of sewing mat patterns of varying difficulty levels. If you are new to sewing I would choose one that has less curves than this design.

I chose this design because I liked the gap it has for my knees (I still manage to catch my knees on the pockets though).

The pattern is designed by a fellow blogger Michelle at Creative Blonde: https://creativeblondeblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/country-fushia-sewing-mat/

I got my fabric from Doughtys https://www.doughtysonline.co.uk/ and was part of their ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi – Exclusive Nouvelle’ range. It was in the sale so I bought one meter of the owl fabric and one meter of the contrast fabric and I had plenty left over. They have sold out of both fabrics now but they do have others in this affordable range. Be careful though. This range of fabric is quite thin compared to say, a Lewis and Irene quilting fabric. It is significantly cheaper however.

The pattern was easy to follow but did require some knowledge of quilting and some skill in applying the binding. If you are new to sewing binding I would suggest an hour tutorial at your local quilting shop to learn some tips. Binding done well, gives a wonderful professional finish to projects. Binding done badly can ruin a project.

I was due to spend an hour with Ricky at Quilters Dream (who now have their own website –https://www.quiltersdream.co.uk/) in Andover to hone binding skills but plans were scuppered due to Covid – 19.

A few points to note on the pattern which can be downloaded on the Overdale Fabrics site https://www.overdalefabrics.com/make-your-own-sewing-machine-mat/

  • Firstly, the pattern is silent to seam allowances. I assumed in this case, as it is more of a quilting project that quilting seam allowances would apply and so used 1/4″.
  • A walking foot may help when quilting and applying binding.
  • When trimming the corners of the main mat, to ensure each corner is equal, cut one corner and then use the scrap of fabric as a template for the other corners. Alternatively, you could cut two corners at once by folding the mat in half. The more drawn out you make the curve, the easier it is to apply the binding, so, be kind to yourself and make a smooth, gentle curve!
  • When quilting the marked lines on the mat, start sewing the middle line first and work out from there, sewing each line in the opposite direction to the last. Also, use a long stitch (4.0 on my Juki DX7). This will ensure that any movement in the fabric when sewing one direction is offset by sewing in the opposite direction on the next marking.
  • When joining two strips of bias I am going to hand over to the Crafty Gemini again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZR6ls_IsIo . She explains things so well and the You Tube tutorial shows how to calculate the amount of binding you will need, along with how to sew it and a cheat tip for sewing the back.
  • When sewing the binding to the main mat leave a length on each end of about 17″. This will allow you to bind around the final corners and join all pieces neatly in the centre of the mat. I also don’t see any reason why you couldn’t sew around all the main part of the mat at the end of the project rather than the beginning. The binding join could then me made where there is less fabric. The pattern in this case suggests that one final piece of binding is added at the end but this would leave raw edges (a pet hate of mine) and a tricky bit of binding where fabric is at it’s bulkiest. Again, when sewing binding, make life as easy as possible.
  • The pattern measurements do confuse length and depth interchangeably. Use the pictures to help you, and apply a bit of common sense, particularly when cutting the pockets.
  • With reference to the pockets, it was at this point I went a little off piste. The pattern suggests applying wadding to all pocket pieces. If you did this, the bulk of fabric would be far to great to sew binding to. Instead I used medium weight fusible interfacing on all the pocket pieces. I then applied binding to the top and side of the middle pocket and along the top of the smaller pocket before laying the pieces one on top of the other to decide how the pieces looked best. I then marked and cut the curve before attaching the pieces together, forming the pocket sections and continuing with the pattern.
  • A final point to note is that you may need more than a fat quarter to make your binding.

I was happy with the final result though and I would definitely give this project another go. I think it would make a nice gift for a hobby sewer.

The mat in use. You can see that I still manage to throw things around my kitchen while sewing!

A I mentioned earlier, I had plenty of both fabrics left over so I decided to make myself a pin cushion for my wrist:

This was a really easy afternoon project which I found at https://www.awilson.co.uk/wrist-pincushion-tutorial/. I did make a few amendments (as usual) like leaving a tail on my Perle thread after sewing around the cushion to then allow me to attach the band and button at the same time. I also attached the hook and loop tape before sewing the strap together so stitching did not show. You could just follow the tutorial as it is written however, and again, something like this would make a perfect small gift. It would also be a good project to do if you have a teenager who likes to sew, especially of they are stuck at home at the moment.

Until my next blog, I hope you are staying safe and well. I have seen in the news that social distancing is not always being observed. It can be tricky following all the arrows and remembering to leave a distance between people who are not in your bubble but it is something we must all do to prevent another full lock down either locally or nationally.

Stay safe everyone …

x

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