Friday, December 18, 2009

Rectangles for Everyone!

Yes, I realize that it is suppose to be joy or cheer or peace or something, but my Christmas wish for everyone seems to be rectangles.  Never have I noticed how many things come in rectangular form.  Crazy!  What am I talking about, you ask.  Christmas gifts.  It started out with the aforementioned rice bags.  Then came the placemats.  I decided to go for it and make all 12 of Sophia's classmates chalkboard placemats.  I had made placemats back in the summer for my mom so I thought, "No big deal.  Done it before."  How naive I am. 

These placemats, inspired by a tutorial over at Little Birdie Secrets, are not the kind that you sew, flip out and then topstitch.  With these placemats one must use...bias tape.  This didn't deter me either since I have more than once used bias tape successfully.  So, what was the problem?  Ah, that would be that BOTH sides would show.  I've only used bias tape on things where one side matters and if you flub up on the other who really cares. 

Well, let's just say that this whole project even though they are just a bunch of rectangles scared me a bit.  I took it slow and steady.  I cut. I glued.  I then drank a beer and scoured the internet for help because I didn't want to flub up.  After watching Angry Chicken's bias tape tutorial and having a good laugh, I read the one on Posie Gets Cozy.  Both helped out a lot, but basically it took me 1 placemat to figure out what the chicken was saying about sewing on the right side of the fabric BOTH times and another 4 or so to get the corners like the Posie tute explained.  But let me say, the last 8 looked darn good and I am now UNAFRAID of bias tape!

Hopefully the kids like them too.  I tied them using a ponytail holder that had been tied into two loops, one for the placemat and a smaller one to hold the chalk.  I assumed that not many moms cared around chalk in their purse.  My idea was that these placemats would be excellent at restaurants.  I also used plain cotton on one side because I could only find oilcloth that looked boring.

Now that I was quite confident about bias tape, I went on to a fabric checkerboard for my nephew.  I have procrastinated about his gift because truly what do you sew for an eight year old boy?  I finally found this checkerboard tutorial over at I Heart Linen.  I thought that even though he loves soccer and other very active games, he might find need of a quiet, sedentary distraction during a break in a tournament or even on the LONG drive from Tennessee to Missouri that his family takes several times a year.  I used the soccer theme to try and make the board "manly." 

After I sewed the board (actually I sewed two of them in an attempt at perfection that did not occur) I decided to try a different pouch to hold the board and pieces (that have not been bought yet.)  I used a tutorial over at Flossie Teacakes that my sewing circle buddy, Casey, had sewn on Wednesday.  I increased the size of the bag to fit the folded board and used a rugged looking sports zipper.  The zipper didn't hurt my machine or needle and I much appreciate that.

And that my friends ends my Christmas story...except that now I think I will make another pouch. This time for my niece and put a bit of lip gloss in it.  I also still need to sew Eric's rice bag (he has rice bag envy right now.)  I also want to tackle a t-shirt tutu dress for Sophia that my other sewing circle friend, Melissa, has made. 

Then, after that, I am going to sit down and think about what I want my sewing goals to be for next year.  Casey came up with this idea.  I'll let you know what develops.


  1. Very nice! You are so crafty. :) I'm going to make sure Audrey is in Sophia's class next year so she can get the good stuff at Christmas. ;)