A Sewing Blog Featuring Projects For Your Home & Your Littles, Welcome!

Some Fabric We Stitch, Some We Stash. When We Sew...All DIVA. Welcome To My Sewing Blog: StitchStashDiva!
Have a look around my blog for fun project ideas and tutorials, then visit my FABRIC SHOP on Etsy and say hello!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Receiving Blanket & Burp Cloth TUTORIAL

Have you noticed all of the babies being born lately!?!  When I was a new mom I went through SO many receiving blankets, every single day!  My daughter was a bit of a barfer (hi sweetie!) so I preferred to use receiving blankets as burp cloths, and I used my burp cloths as "liners" on my changing table.  One of my favorite gifts to make for new babies is this Receiving Blanket & Burp Cloth Set. 
Receiving Blanket & Two Burp Cloths TUTORIAL:
Step 1:  Pre-Wash & Dry TWO Yards of High Quality Cotton Flannel.  I prefer to use two different/coordinating prints, as you will see in the following pictures.  Iron.  Cut each yard of fabric, right-side up, into three pieces.  For the Blanket: 25.5" x 31.5" and for the Burp Cloths cut two:  16.5" x 12.5"
 Tip:  When working with patterns always cut RIGHT-SIDE UP so you can follow patterns exactly.  For this set I chose to cut between dots so that when sewn, the half dot edge forms a really cool look, like binding without having to add binding, love it!  
 Step 2:  Place both Receiving Blanket pieces right-sides together.  Place fabric for both Burp Cloths right-sides together.  PIN!
 Tip:  The better you cut and the better you pin the better your finished product will look.  I get very impatient and excited and want to rush and skip steps, but cutting and pinning are two things I have learned (the hard way, ahem) to take great pride in details.
 Step 3:  Sew 1/4" seams around all four sides leaving a small opening, enough space to turn the piece right-sides out.  Back Stitch at both sides of the opening - this will prevent ripped stitches when turning right-sides out.
 Step 4:  Snip all four corners.
 A close up of clipped corners.
 Step 5:  Turn each piece right-sides out.  Iron.
 Step 6:  Top-Stitch 1/4" around all four sides.  I also sew a second stitch, at the opening, as close to the edge as possible.  This second stitch is not required, but I like to make baby items as sturdy as possible knowing it will be washed often!
 Voila!  A Receiving Blanket & Burp Cloths Set
 I like to fold all three pieces up and wrap them with a lovely piece of organza ribbon, presentation! 
 Certain to be a well-loved (and well used!) gift!
I have been a HUGE fan of Robert Kaufman's Cozy Cotton Flannels for as many years as I have been sewing flannel!  Even though my daughter is now a toddler, I still use the burp cloths I made her for many purposes, and they still look as wonderful as they did 2 years ago!  Quality is everything!  

I sell several different Cozy Cotton Flannels in my shop and I HIGHLY recommend purchasing some for your stash, if you haven't already!  When you are in the mood to sew and then actually find the time to sew, nothing is better than having a well-stocked stash waiting for you!  Summer is a challenging time to find a good selection of quality flannel so please have a look through my shop and stock up today!  Here are a few pictures of my current inventory:


Monday, January 2, 2012

Place Mat & Napkin Tutorial

Place Mats & Napkins really dress up your table, and in my opinion, make food taste better!  Whether you are making a fancy romantic dinner, eating dinner at home night after night, or entertaining friends and extended family, adding these luxurious place mats to your table adds a touch of love and sophistication to every meal.  

I have two requirements for place mats and napkins:  1) they MUST wash well, and 2) they must be fun to make = quick.  There are many options for making your own place mats, many patterns, many tutorials.  In researching this project I have made many different versions and what I love most about my pattern is the luxurious, quilt-quality of the final product.

The following tutorial will yield 2 Place Mats & 4 Napkins.  Napkins are always washed more frequently than the place mats, so the additional napkins will provide you additional days of use between laundry days.  Another bonus to this tutorial!

THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP of this entire project is to PRE-WASH & SHRINK YOUR FABRIC.  I know I put that in all caps, just making a point!  The only thing I dislike more than laundry is ironing, can you relate!?!  Although we usually pre-wash high quality quilt fabric in cold water and tumble dry on low, we want to pre-wash for this project on warm/warm and dry on hot.  Yes, on HOT!  While developing this pattern I made several place mats without pre-shrinking my fabric and as a result I have to iron after every wash.  *Sigh*

For this project you will need:
- 2 Yards of High Quality Cotton Quilt Fabric (I prefer two coordinating fabrics)
- 2 - 20" x 14.5" Pieces of Low-Loft Batting (I like Warm & Natural)
- Matching Thread, a Sewing Machine, and Scissors

A Rotary Mat, Quilt Ruler & Rotary Cutter will improve your cutting accuracy and finished product.  This is a great time of year to purchase these supplies at big-box fabric and craft stores such as JoAnns.

Place Mat Tutorial:
Step 1:  Pre-Wash and Shrink your fabric.  Do not wash batting, fabric only
Step 2:  Iron Fabric
Step 3:  Cut each yard of fabric into (2) 20" x 14.5" to make one place mat and (2) 20" x 20" to make two napkins. 
Step 4:  To make each place mat, sandwich your fabric and batting:  fabric right-sides together, then lay the batting on top (or under as in this picture).  Pin, Pin, PIN!!!
  Step 5:  Sew 1/4" seams around the edge. leaving a 4-5" opening for turning your place mat right-side out.  After sewing, trim any uneven edges or excess fabric.  You will have the best results with equal 1/4" seams.
Step 6:  Before turning ride-side out, clip all four corners as shown below.  Clip as close to the seam as possible, without clipping your stitches.
 Step 7:  Turn your place mat right-side out.  Use your finger or the eraser end of a pencil to push each corner all the way out.
 Step 8:  IRON!  I start with a corner and carefully pull the fabric so the seam is exactly centered.  After ironing all around the edges, be certain to iron the entire place mat well.  This is a crucial step to prepare for top-stitching, and the overall washable feature of this pattern.
 Step 9:  Top-Stitch a 1/4" around the entire place mat. 
 Step 10:  Machine stitch or hand sew the opening used for turning the place mat ride-side out.  I have done both and since I am lazy time conscious I prefer to machine stitch, as close to the edge as possible.  For the sake of this tutorial and "doing things right, ahem" I hand stitched the opening closed with needle and thread.  You will seal the opening when you top-stitch around the edges, however I much prefer a completely finished product and highly recommend this last step.

Napkin Tutorial:
Step 1:  Fold over each edge 1/4" and iron. 
Step 2:  Repeat (Step 1) Important Note:  I have made many napkins with this boxed corner and many with perfectly mitered corners.  Boxed corners are better suited for heavy washing and MUCH faster.  Save the fancy mitered corners for your next quilt binding, enjoy simplicity now.
Step 3:  Sew as close to the edge as possible, or as you are comfortable with.
Step 4:  Iron.  After ironing, fold into your preferred style.  Voila, finished!
 I like reversible Place Mats & Contrasting Napkins!
 Another Option
 Pattern On Pattern
 Blue On Blue
 Love, Love, LOVE!!!
 The Two Fabrics Featured - STITCH by Betz White
 What time is dinner!?!
So there you have it, Place Mats & Napkins!  As needed, wash on cold and tumble dry on low.  When I pull my napkins and place mats out of the dryer right away I smooth them out on my folding table and they are good-to-go, no ironing needed!  You may choose to iron yours for added "crispness" after each washing, but I have been very happy with mine without ironing, all about your personal preference!
Please leave comments below or e-mail directly if you have any questions or suggestions.  My direct e-mail address is:  StitchStashDiva (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Happy Sewing!!!