Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pin, Pin, Pin

I am not a big fan of novelty prints, but I saw some Halloween fabric that I thought was pretty cute and decided I should make some festive place mats. This is the end product.

Yea, dancing skeletons! I think they turned out pretty cute, but it took me a while to get there. They are just going to be place mats...pretty easy, one would think. I didn't have a pattern, but knew that I wanted to use two different prints—one for the center and one to flank each side—and I would bind them in a solid color. I also wanted them to be a 20" x 12" in size. I cut my fabric, binding, backing, and batting, sewed the place mat tops together, prepared my binding. Then this is where it went all wrong. I decided (against all better judgment) that I didn't need to pin-baste the place mats like I would a quilt. "They are tiny. They don't need that many pins. How much could it shift, really?" I told myself. So, I only pinned each mat five times—once in the middle and one in each corner. This is what happened after I finished quilting.

That is some shifting! What did I learn? Something I, pin, pin, no matter how small the project is! Pin every three inches, or so, starting in the middle and working outward, smoothing as you go. You can use your hand for measurement. Place the center pin, place your hand next to it (palm down), and pin on the other side of you hand.

I also decided to stitch every two inches, as compared to every one inch when I first started. I ended up still having to trim up the mats, so they ended at 20" x 11.5" in size. Next time I will cut the fabric a little larger than my finished size, so they will trim up to the correct size.

Anyone have any other tips for quilted place mats?


  1. One suggestion would be to have your batting and backing larger than your top. Then you don't have to worry about it shifting. You just trim to size when done.

    For something so small, the batting 1" larger all around and the backing 1.5" (or 2") would be enough.

    Quilting Gallery

  2. Adorable Halloween place setting!

    Welcome to the blogosphere!

  3. If your batting is cotton, pre-wash it. Or it will shrink more than your fabric does after washing.

    Then it's hard to iron it out!

    Sam in Middle TN

  4. Thanks all for the comments and suggestions!

    momtofatdogs: I knew to pre-wash the fabric, but never thought of pre-washing the batting. I didn't use cotton batting for this project, but will know now when I do. Thanks!


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