It’s been a while since I felt the urge for straight stitch sewing. The monotonousness of sewing a house full of curtains (and comforters) had me burned out. But after a few projects of deciphering patterns and sewing dresses for girls, some simple projects with a quick gratifying end was in order. The process is satisfying, having something start to finish that can be accomplished on the fly, in a short time.
Over the course of several short times, here’s what I’ve been working on since Christmas.
1. Placemat Runner for Countertop Eating – My girls eat at our kitchen countertop for breakfast before school, snacks and weekend lunches. Our countertops are soapstone and scratch very easily. To protect the countertops I sewed this fun little placemat runner. It took one yard of fabric, plus the extra for the divider strips, and an old quilted shower curtain was upcycled for the backing of it. To make it: cut placemat size pieces of fabric to number the amount of seats you have (I used one yard cut into four equal peices), add three inches of divider material between each place, sew pieces together like a quilt (sewing front to fronts along edges to make the seam on the back) then sew the entire thing inside out to the backing and topstitch the edges and seams along the divider pieces.
2. Matching Server Runners – The spot opposite these three bar stools is usually where I can be found in the kitchen, doling out the food. Once in a while I get to sit not those fun stools, when not in mom mode. But as a whole, I like my perch and cook spot. And I wanted my own little runner to put my bowls and cutting boards. To make them: Use the leftover piece from the original one yard of fabric, cut in lengthwise and add fabric to ends just like the placemat runner.
3. Upcycled dishcloths – I’ve been trying to clean out my sewing stash. And in that, are things I think I can reuse rather than throw out. Therefore, the backing of these washcloths is terricloth fabric that was once the cover on our diaper changing pad. There was a small stain on one part that I discarded. But the rest made for absorbent washcloths for dishes. It will make me happy as I do dishes. To make it: Cut squares that are fitting to your reusable materials – about 9″x9″. Place fabric front to front, sew inside out, reverse and topstitch edges.
4. Drying Rack Mat – These days not everything fits in the dishwasher after dinner. And some things are better off not in there anyway. But I hate the drips of water left on the countertops while things dry. A fun rack mat was my solution. The backside is a hand towel I no longer needed, which makes it super absorbent for catching drips. To make it: Cut fabric the size of your hand towel, sew inside out then topstitch edges and sew extra seams every three inches the width of the rack mat. Pick a fun fabric, to make yourself extra happy.
5. Table Runner and Reversible Children’s Tablecloth – My middle girl has been talking about “the other” elementary class having one of the table cloths that I made in past years for the younger classroom at their Montessori school. So I had to sew another one to donate to the class. This time I used the leftover material to make a table runner. Then I had to make another one for “the other” class to be fair – which is number 6 on this list. To make the tablecloth: It’s 45″x33″ sewn inside out with a topstitch, using a different fabrics for the top and bottom.
6. Children’s table runner – Even at home, my girls love to make things homey and decorate. We’ll be making more of these for our children’s table in our kitchen. To make it: lay out fabric as you see it here, with extra backing fabric to fold edges over and topstitch around it.
7. Scrap Fabric Napkins for School Lunchs – My girls love having fun napkins choose from when packing lunches. To make these: Take scrap fabrics, sew back to front inside out and topstitch – because it’s SO easy. And they are reversible! Mine are usually about 9″x9″ but vary in sizes.
8. Silverware holders for Lunches – I have hopes of getting a higher return on kids using forks to eat fruit, by sending silverware in these cute holders for lunch. To make them: Use the size of fabric that would be for a napkin (above) and cut it in half, sew just like a napkin, then fold down the top and sew edges together.
9. Day Planner Cover and Pencil Pouch – I’m still an old school, paper and pencil planner gal. I like to touch, and squiggle, erase and doodle out my lists. My calendars almost serve as a journal to me, with notes in the margins to keep my home running smoothy and a place to store my random thoughts when they hit me. When I was feeling super lost this week, I ran into Office Depot to grab something I could jot down all my good intentions (like the Valentine banners I want to make). But the options were all so b-o-r-i-n-g – and uninspiring. I found one that fit my practice needs, and came straight home to sew a cover for it. To sew it: Think of it as a book cover we used to make in grade school to cover our text books and sew fabric instead of taping a brown paper bag (you did the too right?). Open the book out to measure the fabric and plan enough to cover the inside pouch, allowing 1/4″ for the seam. Iron in all the sides and sew. Then sew the flaps over to fit the cover. The pouch was extra, because I’m always losing my pencils and writing utensils. Ribbons are tied onto the spiral notebook as bookmakers.
10. Simple Cafe Curtains – What started all this sewing was my long break from sewing curtains. But there were three linger curtains that I never finished during my last go of it about a year ago when decided I just could NOT bare to sew to another straight line. The mismatched ones left bugged me long enough – that I finally finished them as I cleaned out the sewing shelves and unfinished project. To make them: Measure window and add an inch (to be on the safe side) all around the sides – more if you want curtains to gather and be full. I like mine nearly flat when closed. And sew like an inside out pillow case. Top stitch only the top where the clips hold the fabric and leave the other edges seamless for flow like feel.