Inspired by Ugandan placemats…monochromatic napkins and potholders

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A few weekends ago, I went home and my dad gave me three placemats from Uganda. Why he had a set of three placemats, I have no idea. Serendipitously, my current kitchen table will only fit three placemats, so it works out okay. Anyways, I was inspired by these placemats to make a coordinating set of napkins and potholders.

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The fabric is all from Joann’s. Based on the black and white monochromatic theme of the placemats, I went in looking for coordinating linen. I came out with off-white and black linen look, as well as grey and grey striped linen.

IMG_0053During the course of this project, I had to make quite a few trips to Joann’s. I was not impressed with their customer service. At all. During one trip, it took over an hour, and three different employees, to find out that they did not have any more of the off-white linen fabric. On yet another trip a few days later, I lean red that they did in fact have the fabric, but it was in the wrong location, and the employees were not willing to help me look for it. Okay, rant over. I really wish there were more local sewing shops near me. Don’t get me wrong, the selection is way better here than in DC, but Joann’s is still so convenient.

IMG_0057I followed two different tutorials from the Purl Bee for this project. The first is their tutorial for Pieced Napkins, which calls for linen fabric. One nice thing about this tutorial is that it is for 8 napkins. That may seem like a lot, but you end up with a nice little collection of coordinating but not identical napkins. This is great in our house, since we don’t use paper napkins, and are constantly putting ours through the laundry.

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The second tutorial is for Liberty Hot Pads. It is basically designed to highlight small pieces of special fabric. I wanted everything to coordinate, so I used the grey linens as my highlighted fabric. Both versions of the potholders (one flat, one that you stick your hand inside) are quilted with layers of cotton batting and a special heat-resistant batting. The quilting was actually more difficult that I expected. I’ve decided that if I am ever going to do any serious quilting that I’ll need to invest in a walking foot. I had some trouble, even on the little 8″x8″ potholders keeping everything aligned. It all looks fine now, but there were some struggles along the way. My favorite part of these potholders may actually be the clean finish created by applying twill tape around the edges. It took time, but I hand-sewed it on, and it looks pretty professional, if I do say so myself.

IMG_0064Typically, I tend to go for brighter colors in home decor. See my Spring and Thanksgiving napkins, for example. I’m really happy with how these turned out, though. They seem a little more grown up, less girly (you’re welcome, Brandon), and will go with many different styles for years to come.

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Pattern: Purl Bee’s Liberty Hot Pads and Pieced Napkins
Fabric: .5 yard grey linen, .5 yard grey striped linen, .5 yard black linen look, 3 yards ivory linen look
Notions: .25 yard heat resistant batting, cotton batting, 3 yards twill tape
Cost: $31.17 fabric + $1.75 heat resistant batting + cotton batting from stash + $2.00 twill tape = $34.92
Time: 10 hours
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