Do Your Machines Play Nicely Together?

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Do all your machines play nicely together? I heard this phrase from Evy Hawkins of Bit of Stitch. I was watching her in a Sashiko machine video on Sew at Home Classes, and she described her use of multiple machines in a project as her “machines playing nicely together.” I thought that was a fun way to remember that we often have more than one machine in our sewing room, and we don’t have to limit ourselves to one machine or technique for each project.

I’m lucky enough to have a Sashiko machine; it only does one stitch but it’s a fun stitch you can use in a variety of ways. You can use it for quilting of course, but also for applying binding and other decorative tasks.

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I found this fun citrus print from a favorite shop when I visit back home, Sew This! in Abita Springs. As soon as I saw it I knew it’d make great place mats and napkins.

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I quilted the place mats with the Sashiko, and then used it to apply the binding. How fun is that tiny pick stitch? The body of the mat is done with a stitch length of 2mm and a space of 5mm, and the binding is done with a stitch of 5mm and a space of 2mm.

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It’s almost more fun choosing the threads and finish for a project!

I also have a very nice serger, and it makes quick work of napkins with a variety of decorative stitches. In this project I used a three-thread wide stitch with 12-wt thread in the upper and lower loopers.

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Sometimes when you serge around a curve, the stitching is a little uneven


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Just a wiggle of the threads and a quick press later and you have flat, even stitches
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To finish, run of the edge, tie a knot and weave the tail into the back threads
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All layered and lined up for quilting

How did I come up with the shape for my place mats? I got the idea from Sew 4, a website that has lots of great home décor projects and ideas. The original project is here, but something wasn’t quite to my taste with the trapezoids.

Then I thought I’d like it a lot better with rounded corners, so out came the trusty lid from my faux malachite box.

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And I rounded the corners of the napkins too.

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Hmm, maybe I don’t like this binding as much as I thought
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Making new binding – I love my AccuQuilt® for cutting binding if nothing else!


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I cut my bias binding a bit too small, and probably should have trimmed down the seam allowance, but I did a pretty good job and it turned out OK. In one small area I didn’t catch the under-lap, but a few fell stitches with a needle fixed it fine.

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This shape fits much more nicely than traditional rectangular mats

A little while later – and lots of fun stitching! – and I had a lovely new set of place mats and napkins.

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