Sew Darned Cute
I had an idea for a project for a gift and then couldn't find any pattern for what I wanted to do. You know what that means... gotta make my own pattern - cause I'm not going to let this idea go!
The Idea: Make a set of placemats that look like vintage camp trailers and have a bit of flair. My daughter-in-law is a big fan of 'glamping' (glamour camping) and I thought this would be just the ticket for her birthday.
I started with 6 pieces of paper the same size and did rough sketches of camper bodies in various outlines. Then I drew in the same tire/hub, door and propane tank for each - with variations in exact placements of them.
I then drew over each element with a Sharpie marker, refining the shapes as I went.
Every element was then traced onto the paper of Steam-a-Seam2 and rough-cut outside the lines. I had to remember to reverse the elements that were directional (a swoosh, a shaped window, etc).
Then I laid all the patterns out on the table and started pulling fabrics from my scraps. This was the MOST FUN part! I selected retro-looking, repesentational, and funky fabrics that made me think of campers actually rolling down the road. I selected window fabric, tires, hubs, doors and tanks that were the same for all for consistency.
Where the upper and lower sections were of different fabrics I stitched them together so the background would be all one piece. Then I laid the background over the pattern on the ironing board.
Each piece got the Steam-a-Seam2 pressed onto the back, trimmed up to its outline and the backing peeled off. Working from the background forward each element was placed and then pressed down.
Then began the tedious business of appliqueing every piece in place. I did this with my machine using a small blanket stitch and a taupe thread for everything. Special elements like the lines in the windows and such got a different specialty stitch.
When all the pieces were stitched down, I turned the piece face down. I trimmed out the original pattern to its outline and laid it down over the fabric. By aligning the pattern with the stitching on the tires, door bottom and propane tank I could set it right in place. I traced the outline with a marker that disappears when heated (Frixion).
The placemat was then layered... batting, backing face up, camper face down... and pinned together. The backing fabric is consistent across all 6 mats.
Leaving a gap along the base, I backtacked and then sewed the entire traced outline, backtacking again at the other end of the gap.
I trimmed the batting to 1/16 all around and the seams to 1/4 and I clipped the curves. I also cut out a wedge of batting in the gap and turned back the seam allowances and pressed them along the gap.
Then the whole mat was turned right side out, the curves worked out, and I topstitched 1/8 inch all around, using the topstitching to close the gap.
I used a straight stitch to go around the door and this is usually the only quilting (a couple of windows needed outlined where the door was way off the center).
Then they were done!
Ready to see them?
First up is an aqua glamper featuring a retro diamond print on top and a dot on the bottom. It features curtains of lace seam binding and a shaped window:
My favorite thing on this (other than the fabric) is the lap siding on the lower half. I did this by stitching tucks before sewing it to the upper part. Then it was treated just as if it were flat for the rest of construction.
Next is the 1970s glamper. Totally weird fabric for the siding! It has a nifty window where the overhead bed would be, too.
My favorite part of this one is the batik swoosh on the side. This was one of the elements that had to be reversed when cutting its pattern.
And then we have this striped cutie. So far, I think this has been everyone's favorite.
The overwhelmingly favorite element on this glamper is the window shades. They were stitched to the window fabric with a braided rickrack layered between and then the widow was cut out from that. After the blanket stitching was done around the edge I added a heavy line for the string and used my eyelet setter to install the pulls. I did have to iron on a little fabric behind the pulls so the batting would not beard out.
Next up is the purple palace:
My favorite feature on this one is the bunting hanging on the side. I guess that means this one is parked since you wouldn't want to leave that flapping while going down the road.
Then we have a semi-camoflage model. this would look good when glamping in the woods instead of in a park.
My favorite thing on this is that big roll-out awning. Just perfect for some shade to read or nap. Those stitching lines keep the awning flat while leaving it open on the lower edge.
And last is a zig-zag stripe that looks like it is on the move. The wheel on this one is WAY forward so it really has to go on stabilizers when it is parked:
You can see BOTH my favorite elements in the photo below. 1) the flowered curtains 2) the awning over one window.
One of the cutest things about all of these is the little propane tank on the front. I didn't want a towing hitch sticking out there so this was a way to define the front and have a little fun at the same time.
As I mentioned before, all the glampers have the same backing. Here you can also see how little quilting was needed to hold these together because the batting allows for 9-inch spacing.
So there you have it! I am sure my daughter-in-law is going to love these whether she takes them in their camper for use on the road or sets the home table with them when she wishes she were on the road.
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at 12:01 AM PDT