Quilt as you Go using Bias Strips

Sometimes you find such a good deal, you just can't turn it down!  That was the case with this quilt as you go table runner kit.  The difference between this Q.A.Y.G. project and others I have done is the use of bias strips.  When I got the kit out last week I discovered that there were also directions for making placemats which I felt would be a good warm up project before I attempted making a VERY large runner since I have not attempted this technic before.  

The directions indicated that 3/4" bias tape was going to be needed to be made and the suggestion was to use a bias tape maker, which I do not own.  Luckily the directions provided a way to make bias tape if one did not have this gadget.  Since I was experimenting,  I used the alternative technique.  I inserted a needle into my ironing board cover and measured to make sure there was a 3/4" opening between where I stuck the needle in and where it came back out. I then folded over the long edges at the end of the strip and pressed it and then threaded it though the opening I had had made with the needle.  I then pulled the strip though that opening and as I did that, I pressed it.  It came out fairly uniform but one had to be careful so it was slow going.  I found some scrapes from a previous project and cut out the wedges from 13" X 6" rectangles.  The directions suggested using fusible batting and to fuse the backing fabric and then use a glue stick on the wedges to keep them in place and then pin the bias strips on top of them.   I did not do that, I fused the wedges.  I used a .5 zig-zag stitch to sew the bias stripes down.  There was some slight puckering on the back side which I was able to relieve somewhat with pressing it.  I then made a 3" wide binding stripe and bound the mat using a 1/2" wide allowance rather than a 1/4" since I felt that would look better.. Place mat #1 done.  

The next day I would be working at the Arts Co-op and would be driving past a fabric shop so I purchased a bias tape makers.  This did indeed speed up the making of the tape.  Top right is a picture of it.  You feed the 1/2" strip thought it, press it and pin it in place at the end of the strip.  Now you simply pull gizmo along the strip and press it as you go along.  I took the wedges from the other section of the rectangles and placed them on the non fusible side of the batting using a small amount of water soluble glue. and pinned the strips in place.  It was at this point that I realized that a small dab of glue was not going to hold the fabric wedges in place.  Also, since they were sliding around a bit, more pins were needed to keep the bias stripes in place.  In the directions there are two ways of finishing the mats, either with traditional binding or with a mitered frame.  Since I have never made a mitered frame before I thought I would put one on the second place mat.  I followed the directions but it did not come out so good so I ripped it off and used binding instead.  On mat #1, I machine sewed the binding to the front and then hand sewed it to the back.  On #2,  I sewed the binding to the back and made the mitered corners and then folded it over to the front, pressed it and pinned it in place making sure it covered the machine stitching.  I then used a .5 zig-zag stitch and machine sewed it in place on the front.  Place mat #2 done!

It was a smart idea to do a warm up project before I attempted the runner since now I know what is the best way to approach it.  I will use basting spray to adhere the backing fabric to the batting and have the fusible side up and fuse the wedges in place.  I think that will not only save me some pinning time but get me a good result.  I did not have much luck making that mitered frame for the place mat #2 so I will use 3" binding and attach it to the back and then machine sew it in place on the front.  These techniques all seemed to work the best. The nice part is that my husband Tim, who never has much to say about what I make told me he really likes these place mats and I have to admit, I think they have a very attractive modern look to them.     

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