Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sidetrack: Denim Place Mats!

I've been stalling like crazy because the idea of quilting the Comic Strip Quilt is just really daunting to me. I finally have a plan and it's actually now basted and ready to go, but before I show that off I wanted to side track into what I did while stalling.

My middle son, The Artist, has been asking for his quilt for ages and now that his older brother's quilt is nearly done I took him shopping for fabric. That turned into a financial nightmare as I more or less lost my mind and let him buy imported fabrics, which are over twice the price as national fabrics. Then I added "just a few" fat quarters that I found, which went really well with our atrocious lime green plates, as I wanted to make place mats and maybe cloth napkins out of them, to make the lime green make sense. I forgot that my fat quarters were also imported and somehow we wound up with 14 meters of fabric at imported prices; it was crazy. Shocking. Scary. Won't make that mistake again, for sure.

(for any who don't know, we live in South America, so US fabrics.....crazy expensive here). 

But, my boy has exactly the fabric he wants for his quilt, and I have place mats that make me love my gross lime green plates, and I have enough fabric left over that I think I can begin a third BOM quilt for myself, using the bright colors mixed with the black leftover backing fabric from the Comic Strip Quilt. yay! I need to measure the left over backing fabric to be sure, but I think it will work. So, that makes the shocking expense a little more bearable, having gotten so much out of it.

The place mats turned out fantastic. I used denim from old jeans --- with three boys, we have a LOT of old jeans. They are all different enough body shapes that no one can pass jeans on to the next brother, so I had a huge stack to pull from. Not anymore, as almost all the jeans gave up their legs for these!

mix & match denim place mats
since I didn't measure, none of them are the same size. Oops.
but see the lime green? that's so it matches the dishes....
 Because I'd spent so much, and because I don't keep batting on hand, I wanted to make place mats that didn't require a batting/backing layer, and I wanted sturdy enough to be laundered, and non-girly enough that all the boys in the family wouldn't rebel. Thus the denim.

I cut the legs into more or less a place mat size, no measuring, and cut strips from the fat quarters --- 3" wide strips for the base color, then 2" wide strips for the accent stripe. I had base colors in 4 shades, but 2 prints of each shade: red, turquoise, green & yellow. Then I had two accent stripes: turquoise with large dots, and red with multi-colored stripes.  I cut enough strips to make 12 place mats, and layered the strips randomly.

you can see on this one, I had to piece two legs together to get a large enough denim base

this shows a good close-up of the zig zag stitch used
(you can click on the photo for a larger view)

To make the place mats, I glued down the strips with washable glue stick, then did a wide zig-zag along the raw edges to secure each strip; then I folded over the denim and did a wide zig-zag to secure the folded edges. Easy-peasy, and they've held up to washing once already, no fraying or shredding or anything. yay!

ignore the messy plates, but I had to show the green.
although, none of the place mats show the green, but you can just see it in the photo above this one.
Each place mat has at least a touch of that green, thank goodness.

The boys like the mix & match aspect and that these are not girly; I like that they are cute without being frilly, and most of all, that now the green plates make sense and when we tire of green, these place mats give us a wide palette to choose from when we get ready to buy new dishes.

This was a fun impromptu little project, but now it's time to tackle the big one --- quilting the Comic Strip Quilt! Wish me luck!!

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