Saturday, 9 August 2014

Home sewn scrappy mats - English paper piecing.

I am pretty well into making mats for my house at the moment and I have been well and truly bitten by the English paper piecing bug too! 
I never thought that I would say that actually because I can remember being shown a hexie quilt made by an aunt when I was about eight or nine years old and I remember thinking how awful it looked! It was made from scraps and it had no style and no rhyme or reason. Of course I know better now and I love scrappy makes so I feel a little silly at the memory. I'd love to see it again now and see if my opinion is the same. Maybe it was just the quilt....could've been the aunt too....

Anyway, not to bore you too much with my meanderings down memory lane, I am stretching the idea now to include several shapes starting with a haxie in the middle and surrounding this centre piece with  squares and triangles. Here is a sneak peak....



I like the fact that the hexie is plain and the 'action' all happens around the perimeter. This is very practical and it means that you can use this little mat for a vase or a potted plant.

So what will  we need? Firstly, you will need a 2" hexie, a 2" square and a 2" equilateral triangle. Draft these yourself if you can - who says that you will never use those geometry skills!!
Next you will need fabric (the best bit). You will also need a scrap of thin wadding (batting) and some sort of backing fabric. Gather some scrap paper too for the EPP. Of course, you will also need your usual sewing supplies.

Here are my choices of fabrics...




And I am using carefully picked out scraps. Even though they are scraps, it is still possible to keep a theme going. Mine will be green and turquoise. It will depend on the pattern of the fabric and how large it is where it will be used in the pattern. I use plain ecru cotton fabric as backing for economy. 

Cut the paper pieces using the templates that you have drafted. You will need the hexie in the middle, six squares and six triangles from your chosen bits and pieces. As I mentioned before, I have opted for a plainer, low key fabric for the centre hexie as you won't see it if it is under a pot as I plan for this one.

Here is a very loose layout of the blocks so that you can get an idea of where I am going with this...



The next task is to cover each shape with the chosen fabric to make the pattern pieces. Your pieces will look like this now...



Now it is time for some organisation! Sew them together so that the top is the same pattern as the paper layout. Keep the stitches precise because it is very difficult NOT to see them from the 'right' side.



Here it is all sewn up and with the paper pieces removed. The mat is not yet ironed....




And by the way, always remove the papers carefully. They are boring to cut and they can be used again. 

Now layer the pressed top with the wadding (middle) and the backing fabric on the bottom. Pin securely and quilt through all three layers with an even running stitch. Here it is in mid quilt - interesting rather than beautiful at this stage!



Trim the excess wadding and backing away when you have quilted and then make some homemade bias binding from a coordinating fabric. Bind the mat with this. I have found some blue which worked quite well with the scrappy look...


All done now! This is a useful mat for other things too. I have pressed it into service under my favourite teapot...


Of course, it also works very nicely under a potted plant...


Be creative with its use. I am sure that you will make more of these and then wonder how you ever did without them!

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Debs
xxx