make a practical project to protect your work surface...
This simple little mat does more than just protect your worktable. It is padded and quilted, with the practical addition of tape measure edges for checking your hems and seams, plus secreted magnets to corral your sewing pins while you work.
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You Will Need
Pattern or stripe placement
If you are using a patterned or striped tea towel for your project it’s worth spending a bit of time planning the placement of the woven or printed design when cutting your fabric. The stripe placement diagrams throughout the book show you how I positioned the stripes in my projects.
Unpick all the hems around your tea towel and press it flat with a hot iron. With the wrong side up and a short end nearest you, fold the top edge of your tea towel down to line up with the bottom edge and press with a hot iron to create a sharp crease. Open out and place your cotton wadding on the bottom half, centred across the width and butting up to the fold crease. Trim it to be 3⁄8in (1cm) narrower on both sides and along the raw edge at the bottom. Pin or tack and sew down 1⁄8in (3mm) in from all edges by machine. Remove the pins or tacking and finish off your thread ends.
Turn the tea towel over so that the right side is facing you. Fold the top edge down to meet the bottom edge, align all edges and pin or tack. Stitch a 3⁄8in (1cm) hem around the three open sides, leaving a 6in (15cm) turning gap along the bottom seam – reverse stitch at either side of the turning gap to strengthen it. Remove the pins or tacking and snip the bottom two corners at 90° and the top two at 45°, close to the stitching. Turn out through the turning gap.
Lay one measuring tape 1⁄4in (5mm) from the bottom and 3⁄4in (2cm) from the left-hand edges. Cut the other end 3⁄4in (2cm) from the right-hand edge. Stitch it in place 1⁄8in (3mm) from the top and bottom edges of the tape all the way around (stopping short of the metal end if the tape has one) with colour thread on the top of the machine and white thread in the bobbin. Repeat with the other measuring tape along the opposite long edge.
Thread the top of the sewing machine with coloured thread to match the stripe on your tea towel. With white thread still in the bobbin, stitch vertical lines in small zigzag stitch 13⁄8in (3.5cm) apart between the two measuring tapes. Test out your stitch length on a scrap of fabric until the zigzag measures 1⁄8in (3mm) wide.
A couple of techniques mentioned...
A line of straight machine stitching worked on the right side of the fabric, parallel to seams and edges. It can be used as both a decorative and a functional stitch, providing extra strength to a hem or seam.
Used along raw edges to help reduce fraying. Zigzag stitches can also be used decoratively or to strengthen pressure or stress points. You can alter the length of the stitches and how close together they are. When changing from straight stitch to zigzag (or vice versa) without breaking your stitching, always adjust your stitch function with the foot down (to hold your fabric in position)
and the needle up.