I was lucky enough to get to play along with Sew Mama Sew’s latest Oakshott Challenge. They sent me a lovely bundle of fat eighths in blues and purples. I had to come up with a table linen for the challenge. I decided to make up a placemat with some EPP (English Paper Piecing). I had fun with my tote for a challenge in April using Oakshott. I really enjoy playing with these fabrics!
Ooh, these fabrics are so spectacular. I talked about them a little bit in my tote post. The warp and weft are different colored threads that together have a wonderful way to play with the light. As in my last challenge piece, I decided simple was the best way to go with these fabrics. I wanted to use a slight turning of the pieces to show off the shimmering effect of the fabrics, and chose diamond shapes for the pattern.
Here is the how to if you want to make your own:
Oakshott fat eighth bundle
Scraps of linen to make a 14” X 18” piece. (I started bigger and trimmed down to size)
1 1/2” EPP 6 point 60 degree diamond papers I get mine from PaperPieces.com you will need 30 to make this one applique.
And of course your regular sewing supplies for cutting and hand stitching.
Let’s get started.
First I marked one side of my paper pieces so I knew which fabrics they were supposed to be used for.
You will need 6 diamonds for the inside star, I’m calling this my dark. You will need 6 diamonds for the row around the dark center star. I’m calling this my lightest fabric. For the outer hexagon shape, you will need 12 diamonds. I’m calling this my medium. And the accent diamonds on the outer hexagon, I’m calling my darkest. You will need 6 diamonds for the darkest.
Just make sure you mark your pieces so you understand what is going where.
With Oakshott fabric, the texture and weave is slightly different than other quilting cotton. Because of the weave, and because it is going to be EPPd, I starched my fabric first. Starch it well now and you will shrink the fabric a bit. It will also help to hold it’s shape as you are piecing now and when you need to take the papers out too.
Now you are ready to cut out the fabric. Because of the play on the light I wanted to achieve, it is important to make sure you are cutting all your similar colored pieces in exactly the same direction, with the grain of the fabric. Hopefully, you can see the little lines running through the fabric and can line up the tips of the points with that. Since the weave is a little different, I find that I like my seam allowances larger than a 1/4”. I like it somewhere around 1/2”. This helps keep the folds and keeps the fabric from unraveling. Place your paper on the wrong side of the fabric and cut about 1/2” around all the sides.
I start on one of my sides by finger pressing the side of the fabric down upon the paper piece.
I put a knot in an accent colored thread so I can see it easier when I remove it. Put the knot along the fold and in the seam allowance. Fold the next side down and finger press.
Finish making a stitch with the folded side. Make sure that your stitch is not going through the paper. You are basically doing a large basting stitch at each corner of the diamond, just to hold the shape of the diamond so that you can sew your diamond shapes together.
Continue taking stitches around and folding down each side.
When you get to the last point, make sure to fold the last side under the first side. Whatever you do, do it the same way for all the pieces so that when you assemble the diamonds together, you will have nesting. Each corner has the new side fabric folding over the previous side. I do not tuck in my pointy tips. Instead I leave a tail. I do not put another knot in the last stitch. I just run one more basting stitch to keep it in place.
After all your fabric is basted onto the papers, press each piece well. The starch you used before you started will help now to hold the folds well.
I used my favorite way to stitch EPP together as noted in this previous post. Remember that the pointy ends of the diamonds have tails. You just fold the tail out of the way while you are stitching the shapes together. Also, when your shape is starting to get bigger, you are going to have to fold some of the pieces, including the paper inside them to get the next piece together.
When putting EPP pieces that aren’t hexagon shapes together, I find that it works best for me to put them together in parts and not just the next piece. This way, my pieces come together much nicer than if I were to put them together in a row, one after the next. I also really like to use Clover clips to hold my pieces together while I sew. My fingers are less sore after I’m done sewing.
For this star, I decided to make the inside star into hexagon shapes first, using the lightest diamonds to keep them together.
I put together the outside hexagon with the diamond detail by putting three diamonds together. As I stitched my diamond pieces together, I made sure that my points matched as I stitched and eased any difference throughout the seam.
I stitched the hexagon shapes together and then added the remaining light diamonds to complete this shape.
Then added the outside hexagon with diamond detail shapes. This time I matched the center points together and worked out on each side.
Once you are done sewing all the pieces together, press well. I like to press from the back and make sure that my intersections have the tails all nestling in a circle.
The starch from when you first started will help hold this all together nicely.
Take out the basting stitches and papers. I like to do this in the evenings while watching TV with my hubby. Having used a thread that doesn’t match makes it easier to cut the threads and pull them out. Press again after all the papers are out.
Now you are ready to baste your piece to your placemat fabric. I had this lovely earthy linen that I thought played nicely with the Oakshott fabric.
Layer your placemat fabric and your batting, with your applique piece on top. My piece was large, so I folded it around some batting to make my quilt sandwich. I also used spray baste because it is perfect for something this small.
I opted not to first applique the star to the top layer of the fabric. Instead, I let the spray baste hold it in place and I used my walking foot to quilt around the shape at the same time as I stitched the applique to the placemat. Remember that you need to tuck in the tails on the outside edges now. I used a long pin to fold the tails inside and pinned them down before stitching the outside edge. I used a thicker weight thread for the quilting. I echoed the shape a little outside the applique. I went back and stitched a little around some of the inside shapes too. I think the quilting helps move the fabric around making the light play even more noticeable.
At this point I trimmed my placemat to 13 1/2” by 17”. It was a fairly random size based on the size of the applique, and the size of my table and plates.
Quilt your sandwich and bind. I used the remnants of the center diamond for my binding. I cut my binding to 2” wide.
I hope you love this as much as I do. You really have to try Oakshott fabric and see how it dances in the light for yourself. That center star is all cut from the same color fabric. The way it was cut on the same grain and then reassembled in a star moves the warp and weft in a way that really plays on the light effect of this gorgeous fabric.
And as always, if you make one of these placemats, I would love to see a picture of it!
Thanks Sew Mama Sew for letting me play again!
Check out the other bloggers and see what treasures they made with their challenge fabric.
Mary Claire King Remember Wren
Michelle White Falafel and the Bee
Jessica Skultety Quilty Habit
Nicole Neblett mama love quilts
Sara Peterson knottygnome crafts
AND, this part is exciting, check into Sew Mama Sew all next week for your chance to win a pack of this fabric for your very own. I promise you, if you win it, you will want to roll around naked with it. Ok, maybe not completely naked. But you will be a forever lover of Oakshott if you get these in your own little hands.