Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Made It: Boys Place Mats and Testing a new Machine

A while ago I decided to make some place mats for Hunter to use. (Especially when he eats breakfast, or anything wet, he often spills liquids everywhere!) So, a while ago I cut out some fabric and using my cricut traced a helicopter and a police car to put on them. I used a canvas fabric hoping they'll stay clean longer and easy to wipe off if messes aren't too bad. I also did a layer of batting in the middle.

It wasn't until this last weekend that I actually did any sewing on them. Well, I sewed the car on a few weeks ago, but it didn't turn out very well. My machine is so temperamental sometimes and the tension is really hit and miss. For example, sometimes the boys play with it and it doesn't matter how much I try to adjust it back, it won't work for the next three days, then all of a sudden Hey! The tension is on again. Anyway, so the car is kind of ok.

besides being wrinkly, it turned out all bunchy. :P

Well, last weekend I found a sewing machine on sale that also had great reviews from what I could find. It's not top of the line, and I'd still love to one day have the Bernina 440 QE, but until that day, this NEW machine seems to be a great upgrade. :) It's a Janome 8050.

So far it's GREAT! There are a few features that I'm still getting used to (like how the reverse button does an extra stitch forward before going backwards, or well, I think that's the biggest one). But the tension is GREAT! and so easy to adjust. It has a lot of stitches, a couple extra feet, AND I can do free motion quilting on it. :) Yippy! Appliqueing is also so much easier and it doesn't eat my fabric. It's smooth and the stitches are even. I'm still trying to be weary of it in case it turns out not to be the best fit (I still have 50ish(?) days to return it). But for now, I love it. :)

Anyway, so I picked that up on Saturday and decided to try it out on my other place mat. The stitching on the helicopter is SO much nicer! And it doesn't pucker!

compare it with the stitching on the car:

I tried my first free motion quilting on the car - since it already doesn't look great, I figured I couldn't mess it up too much more. It's ok. My stitches are NOT even. I really have a lot of practicing to do.

On the helicopter I tried out my walking foot. I don't think it fits quite right (It's just a little bit to the side), but it still works.
I used this method I saw somewhere recently of using painters tape to establish your straight lines, and then just move the tape as you go. It worked out great! I really like how the lines turned out. There is a little puffiness on one side, but I think that's my fault in that I didn't pull the fabric tight enough right there. Otherwise I love it!

I skipped over the helicopter so it wouldn't have lines running through it. I like how it kind of makes it pop.

To finish up I folded over the edges of the backing fabric (which I had cut about 1/2" bigger on all sides than the front piece of the place mats. I pinned it in place and machine sewed it down for the binding. Super quick and easy.

Hunter has already used the helicopter place mat for breakfast and then requested it for lunch. And you know what I love best? That I don't have big messes to clean up on the table afterward!

I'll keep you updated on the machine as I try it out some more. :) 


Fresh Poppy Design 


  1. Very cute! I keep meaning to make my children a placemat but haven't as of yet. Great idea.

  2. These are super cute Diane! How fun! Isn't it great to have kids who give you an eternal list of ideas for how to make something easier/simpler/more organized or just cute/fun? I love checking in on your projects!

  3. Congrats on the new machine! I love the projects! Thanks for linking up to Quiltstory!


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