The Downton Abbey television series has been quite a phenomenon – an instant hit with a loyal following who early await each new adventure of the upstairs and downstairs residents of the grand hall. We're fans here at Sew4Home and were thrilled when Andover Fabrics debuted a line of fabric designed to emulate the characters, the time period, and the glamorous surroundings of Downton. Just like the series, the fabric has continued to evolve. The first Downton Abbey Christmas collection just came out, and Fabric Depot was one of the first outlets to get these gorgeous cotton prints on their retail and virtual shelves. We are so excited to partner with them to bring you a special patchwork project to celebrate Christmas in July.
The indoor variety of this project if often called a "mug rug." It's simply a small placemat to hold just a few items, such as a mug of tea and a biscuit. Since this is the season to dine al fresco, we felt there needed to be an outdoor version of the mug rug. So we pulled out a few favorite outdoor fabrics from the S4H scrap stash and designed a cute Mini Mat that sports a handy, full-width pocket and a grommet for hanging.
Start with a simple yet bold fabric, add some distinctive decorative stitching, and the result is a stunning table runner that's a perfect backdrop for an upcoming Easter gathering or any occasion that calls for a pretty table setting. Remember, "Life is short; use the good china!" We chose a canopy stripe fabric, which is easy to find in a myriad of colors. Thanks to our amazing Janome studio machines, we found the perfect stitch pattern, picked a strong contrasting thread color, and sewed our long lines of embellishment with perfect form and precision... even when running for over 100 inches! Industry-leading stitch quality is one of the main reasons we are so happy to be an exclusive Janome studio. Across thin voile hems or heavy canvas seams, we have smooth needle penetration from the first stitch to the last.
Table linens are a great way to get started into the world of heirloom stitching, and a placemat (or two or four or more) is a nice, smallish format with which to practice. We'll show you two options today: hemstitching (if you are brand new to heirloom techniques) and fagoting (if you are more advanced). Both placemat designs feature beautiful borders with mitered corners and an optional monogram.
Originally developed to prevent down mattress and pillow feathers from poking through or blowing away, ticking dates back as early as the eleventh century when the fabric was made with a linen warp and a cotton weft. Today, the clean and simple look of striped ticking comes in a variety of colors and is a favorite when creating a "homespun" look to sewing and craft projects. We dipped into the lovely variety of ticking available from Fabric.com to use it as the border accent for an easy and casually elegant set of placemats with matching, all-ticking napkins.
Paper napkins are... well... paper! Cloth napkins are more beautiful, more absorbent, and more green. These pretty napkins use a technique for building patchwork strips called a 'strata.' Today you get to practice the technique to make a set of coordinating napkins. The finished set is so colorful, it will make breakfast, lunch or dinner feel like a party.
One of the fastest holiday makeovers is a tablecloth. There are really only three steps: 1) cut, 2) hem, 3) set the table. We put our Clover Hot Hemmer to use, which made things even faster. So much so, we decided to make tablecloth sets for both a long dining table and a small card table for serving. Each set features two elegant home décor fabrics from Fabric Depot: a thick and rich drapery or upholstery weight for the underlay and a gorgeous sheer for the overlay.
In browsing for a great fabric for our seasonal table runner, we kept returning to the home décor category because of the bold designs and striking colors. These traditionally heavier fabrics are where most people turn for larger projects, such as curtain panels or upholstered items, so the motifs tend to be bigger and the tones more dramatic. Not only is it beautiful fabric, it's also often thicker, tougher and more durable. Batting is usually necessary with runners made of standard cottons in order to protect the tabletop from hot or wet dishes. But with this fabric, two simple layers provided plenty of protection... unless, of course, you plan on serving sizzling fajitas at the table for your holiday dinner!
When we're brainstorming on projects for our popular ScrapBusters series, we like to give you ideas for various sizes and shapes. That's the beauty of scraps: some are tall and narrow, some are short and squat, some are simply chunks and hunks of great color and design. They're all so pretty, and we saved them for a reason, right? Because we want to use them again! Dig down for the tall and narrow pieces in your scrap stash, fussy cut them to center the prettiest possible vertical motifs, then stitch them together into this striking table runner with a subtle ruffled edge.
My brother made me laugh out loud when he said a "mug rug" sounded like a bad toupee for an ugly guy. Although a great guess, a mug rug is really a mini placemat designed to hold your coffee mug or tea cup and maybe an extra little treat, or... when placed by your sewing machine, a handy place to jab a few pins and needles as you sew. Originally, they came onto the scene as a fun excuse to use up some scraps by making an itty-bitty quilt. We took the mug rug concept a step further by turning it into a hand-sewn greeting card with the addition of our Salutation Strip through the center. Cards are a nice thought, but most eventually end up in the garbage can. Instead, create a Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Thank You or I Love You message with a purpose; an every day reminder to the recipient that they have a friend in you!