Fleur-de-lis placemats

Recently I received some fabric from my sister-in-law. When her daughter got married they used pieces of fabric for the guest book. My niece picked out fabrics she liked, mostly in grays. My sister-in-law then created a quilt out of the signed pieces and the selected fabrics. I had volunteered to take the remaining fabric when the whole process was done. I suspect my sister-in-law was glad to see the last of that fabric.

When I received the left over fabric in a box the other day I found some cut 4½ inch blocks and pieces of other fabrics. There was a selection of gray fabrics, plus some white and black fabric. I figured there were enough of the blocks and other sizes of fabrics to make some placemats for the kitchen table.

Arranging 4½ inch blocks in a rectangle that is 3 x 4 inches gives a final dimension of 12 x 16 inches. I’ve tried that size of placemat, but I’m really not a fan. It just seems a little too small. I like the final dimensions of 14 x 18 inches better. That meant that if I were to use the pre-cut blocks I would need to figure out a way to decoratively add the additional inches.

After experimenting a bit on paper I decided to put the extra inches in the middle of the design rather than at the edge. Cutting and sewing the placemat fronts was comparatively easy. I also started on the fabric for the backs. Four of the placemat backs were cut at the entire 16½ x 18½ inches. The other four placemats needed a bit more finagling. Two placemats had a seam uniting two different fabrics. The other two had pieced backs.

All that gray fabric just seemed too dull to please me. I wanted something to brighten it up. Going through my stencils I found a fleur-de-lis. I decided that would work. I decided that since I wanted to put a bright color onto a dull background, I needed to use my Shiva Paintstiks.

But what colors should I use? I pulled out some of the scraps that were just large enough to prototype the stenciling. Putting the colors directly on the fabric meant the design was hardly visible. I tried the two different white colors I had as a base, then different colors on top. I decided to use the Titanium White as a base color, with Azo Yellow as the flower, and Yellow Ochre as the band.

All ready to stencil. I used painters tape to hold the stencil to the placemat. (I am sensitive to a variety of chemical sprays, so I didn’t even try using spray adhesive.) The stenciling was pretty easy work; I had the TV on to amuse myself. I decided to semi-randomly place three fleurs-de-lis on each placemat.

It takes a while for the oil paint to dry (24 – 48 hours are usually mentioned), so I just cleaned up for the day. I actually left the placemats alone as long as I could smell the out-gassing oils in the area. Finally I took the placemats to the ironing board. I used comparatively thin craft paper to protect the iron from the paints. I probably should have used a different paper for each placemat. However, I like the touches of yellow in random places, so it didn’t matter for this project.

It was interesting to see that the yellow color faded a bit in the ironing process. In addition to the paint attaching to the craft paper, I guess some also soaked into the fabric. Hmmm, maybe next time I’ll put craft paper under the project as well. Sewing went pretty fast, and soon the placemats were ready for use.

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