Wednesday, October 2, 2013

More and More Placemats!

My shop was closed last week and the notice I left to customers said that I had a family emergency. That is not totally accurate but it seemed to be the most concise way of saying that I was away to take care of someone else's health needs. I went to Austin to accompany my mother to a series of doctor's appointments. All went well, better than expected, and I'm home again, feeling relieved about that but behind with everything else. Seems to be my permanent state of mind! Meanwhile Etsy is emailing warnings and little lessons about how to get our shops ready for the holiday gift-giving season. Yes, it's true, I did sign up for those emails. I have only myself to blame.

I'm trying not to panic!

The picture above features a good idea for a placemat that took way too long to make, in my opinion. That is, too long for an item to sell for approximately five dollars.  It's cute with all the little different patterned squares that pop out from the neutral "background" and I have to admit I would love to make more. It's a bad photo and looks much better in person! The pieced pattern is the same pattern idea I used in my never-ending baby quilt project. I'm thinking someone else out there could do a better job.

Because I have so much fabric, I have the urge to sew some things. Gift items for my shop? Yeah, that makes sense. However, in the past I have not had huge success selling hand-sewn items and it is difficult to charge enough to cover my time. Maybe it's just me but sewing takes forever! The measuring, the cutting, the pinning, sewing, clip corners......and on and on. Not to mention the do-overs! I've tried and rejected the idea of making placemats before so I really have to question my sanity for trying them again. It is just so tempting because the hand-printed fabrics from India in my shop are so perfect for tabletop items such as table cloths, runners, napkins, and placemats.

And then, I had this reversible placemat idea.

The construction of this one is a little different and I do like the way it came out. It is basically four layers of quilting weight cotton fabric so there is table protection without the puffiness of batting. It is the perfect weight! I added the side borders to the center piece on both front and back of the placemat, sewing the seams onto a plain cotton "foundation fabric". This is the string quilting method I talked about a few weeks ago. Then I put the front and back together, right sides together, and sewed all the way around leaving a gap for turning. You know the drill: cut corners, turn right side out and then sew all the way around again, closing the gap. Sorry I forgot to take pictures and have decided not to do it again! It's not hard but it took too much time for a shop item. What could I charge for one placemat? Five to seven dollars? Ten at the most? Of course I'd sell them as a set of four. Not sure anyone would spend $40 for four placemats. The going rate seems to be about $20 - $35. 

This is why I like to sell fabric by the yard and save my sewing time for my own gift making!

But I will probably keep trying....


  1. I'm glad to hear your mother's okay! As for the sewing, I try to pin as little as possible. I'd rather iron creases in before sewing than spend time taking pins out while I'm sewing.

  2. That would certainly help with the scattering of pins on my table that fall to the floor where they can hide and wait for my bare feet to come by! Nasty things!