I am so excited it’s my turn to write the Escape and Create blog post and even more so since it’s a Christmas project! It may seem early to be thinking about Christmas, but I like to be organised. I think it’s important to make ahead so you can make the most of the festive season when it comes around.
I decided to make a table runner and placemats, featuring some lovely Christmas prints and a floating star block design. As there are many ways to make these blocks, I thought I’d share my preferred method. The blocks are quite forgiving since there are few points to match and I think this way makes it even easier to cut and sew. I’m sure an experienced quilter could whip them up in no time, but it’s also very achievable for anyone new to patchwork.
Escape and Create have tons of Christmas fabrics to choose from and there are lots of options which could work with this design to suit your taste and home décor. I think a festive Scandi-style version would look so fabulous, but I fell in love with the Moda "Merriment" range. For me, it is the perfect mix of traditional reds and greens with a modern touch of grey. The patterns are also seasonal without being too festive to have out early, perfect to get the most out of the make!
I did some measuring and decided five blocks would be a great size for my table runner, with one block per placemat. Of course, this could easily be altered to suit your own table by adding or removing blocks and buying your fabric accordingly.
To make each 11” floating star block you need:
- White centres: One cut at 4”x 4” and eight cut at 3”x 3”
- Coloured outer fabric: Eight cut at 4”x 4”
I did the quilty maths and worked out how much fabric I needed to order. I loved all the prints, so I wanted to use as many as I could. I decided on two different whites for the centres and another for the binding. Since its Christmas, I figured I’d go all out and use my favourite print from the collection for my backing and 11 colours for the outer squares.
Normally you have to order a fat quarter of each print which makes it a very expensive project, however Escape and Create sell in 10cm increments so you can order what you need. Not only is this great for my bank balance, but it also saves me having lots left over that just gets added to my ever growing stash!
I took full advantage of this and ordered:
A-K: 10cm each of 11 coloured prints (you actually only need 10 prints or the equivalent of 1m of fabric to make the project)
M&N: 40cm each of 2 white prints (if you only wanted 1 white, just order 80cm and try to stick to non-directional fabric for ease. You may need to buy extra to match directional prints)
L: 60cm for binding
O: 140 cm of backing
Before you start cutting, I would recommend giving all of your fabrics a good iron with some Best Press. I think it makes the fabric just a bit easier to work with when doing patchwork and you get nice accurate cutting and piecing. To make best use of the fabrics, and so you can buy as little as possible, this project does require a bit of careful cutting. Just take your time and make use of this handy little cutting placement guide to help you:
To make the same size table runner and placemats as me, order the fabric above and cut the following squares:
A. 9 @ 4”
B. 9 @ 4”
C. 8 @ 4”
D. 7 @ 4” + 2 @ 4 1/2”
E. 9 @ 4”
F. 9 @ 4”
G. 9 @ 4”
H. 7 @ 4” + 2 @ 4 1/2”
I. 9 @ 4”
J. 9 @ 4”
K. 4 @ 4” + 2 @ 4 1/2”
M. 5 @ 4” + 40 @ 3”
N. 6 @ 4” + 48 @ 3”
O. 6 @ 4 1/2” + 6 @ 12”
You will also need 9 @ 2 x 44” (WOF) strips from fabric L for binding and 1 @ 55 ½” (length of cut piece) x 12” cut from fabric O to back the table runner.
Once all of your pieces are ready, it’s time to get sewing. Firstly, you need to make all your star pieces. To do this:
1. Take a 3” white square of fabric and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the fabric. Lay this onto the top left corner of a coloured square, with right sides together. The line should lay across the corner.
2. Sew to join on this line. Trim away the excess above the line to leave a 1/4” seam allowance.
3. Press flat to set your stitches, then fold and press back the white fabric. Turn over and press the seams open.
4. Place another 3” white square with the diagonal line drawn on to the top right of the coloured square. Once again, it’s right sides together with the line sitting across the corner.
5. Sew on the line, trim and press as you did in steps 2 & 3
6. You now have one finished star section. You need to repeat this until you have four for each star block.
Once you have made all of your star sections, it’s time to put your block together.
7. Lay out your star sections adding the other coloured squares into the corners and the larger white square in the centre, ready to sew them together.
8. Using a 1/4” seam allowance, sew six of your squares into three sets of two. Press to set your stitches then press the seams open.
9. Then attach the remaining three pieces in the same way to create three rows.
10. Now stitch these three rows together. Try to match the seams the best you can.
Now you have one complete block, you just need to repeat this until you have a total of 11. I’d say it’s easier to make one full block first, then work on the remaining blocks together, sewing in stages and chain piece if you prefer. I found it nice and quick to chain piece and work through the project in phases. You then need to join five blocks together in a row to form the table runner and keep the others to use individually as placemats.
Once you have made and joined all of your blocks, it’s time to get quilting. You need to make a quilt sandwich with your batting and backing fabric. I had some left over 80/20 batting from a quilt so decided to use this and spray baste. You can use any basting method though, or fusible batting as a quick option.
Since I chose to make my project reversible, I decided to do some straight line quilting. I aligned with the stars on the patchwork side, which made lovely diamonds on the other. You can quilt yours however you prefer, I think echo quilting on the stars could look fabulous.
Once everything is quilted, you need to trim all the pieces. Trim the excess of the table runner to leave a neat edge. With the placemats, trim them down to 11” square so they can be bound with a single WOF strip. For the binding, I cut 2” x 44” strips and joined the three table runner strips straight (at 90 rather than 45 degrees) to minimise fabric usage. If you wanted to use an alternative binding method, you would need to adjust the fabric requirements accordingly.
To prepare, I simply press the strips wrong sides together in half lengthways, then bring the long raw edges into the middle crease and press again. I’ve written up a binding tutorial on my blog to show this in more detail with images to help. I like to machine stitch to attach the binding and then finish on the reverse by hand using ladder stitches. I think it’s a relaxing way to finish the project, however, you can machine the binding on the reverse too if you are short on time.
Once I had finished my table runner and placemats, I felt like something was missing and realised there was nowhere for drinks. I decided to make some basic coasters, simply turned through rather than bound, to complete the table setting.
1. Cut out 4.5” squares, one from coloured and one from backing fabric for each coaster. Place the two squares right sides together and pin.
2. Sew around with 1/4” seam allowance, leaving a small turning gap, then clip the corners.
3. Add a 4” square of batting to one side.
4. Turn out making sure to poke out all the corners neatly. Press and sew up the gap. Top stitch around the edges, about 1/4” in.
I’m pleased with how this project has come together and can honestly say it was lovely to sew and quilt. Although the hand binding takes me a long time, it was nice to sit and indulge in some Christmas movies whilst stitching! Now, I can’t wait to get the table set for the season as I love all the fabrics I used. It will be great to enjoy them year after year and the fact that it’s reversible means I get two different looks from the one project. As much as I loved sewing them, it’s nice to be able to change up the Christmas table and get the most from the materials and time invested.
Hopefully you like my Christmas project and have some fun making your own. We can’t wait to see them!
Stacey was provided with £30 towards this fabric in exchange for her blog post and photos. She was allowed to choose what she made with the fabric, and all thoughts and opinions are her own.