Over the weekend, I finally got around to something I have meant to do for quite some time. I got back into crafting. Several months ago, I posted a note on Facebook promising crafty goods to the first five respondents. I ultimately agreed to make things for more than five, and then, as is my wont, I put the plan on a far back burner and basically pretended the note never happened. Until last Saturday, that is.
Here is what I made for some friends who are great at organizing picnics, bringing lunch from home, and generally exploring food options wherever they may be, friends who also might be the most eco-savvy people I know:
Cutlery roll-ups! Depicted here with one rolled and one not. The idea is to be picnic-ready at all times and to reduce the need for and subsequent use and disposal of disposable cutlery. I had never sewn with batting before, though I’ve been longing to quilt for some time (on a related note, I finally signed up for a quilting class that starts in a couple of weeks, and I’m over the moon), and it was definitely a learning experience. I hope that the various imperfections were deemed part of the charm. Isn’t that really the best that any of us can hope for?
Here is what I did (after procuring fabric and batting and ridiculously affordable cutlery from Fish’s Eddy).
Step 1: Lay silverware out on fabric to determine appropriate size. You could make one more narrow than mine, but you want it to be high enough to cover the cutlery. Cut rectangles of pretty fabric, batting, and any old plain fabric you have. Muslin? Great. Scraps? Whatever. Nobody will see it. Make a sandwich with the plain fabric on the bottom, batting in the middle and pretty fabric on top with the right side out. Then quilt it! I sewed through the layers in zig zaggy lines like so:
Here is a closer look at the zigs and the zags:
Note: If you have never quilted anything before, you should maybe either sew straight lines or make sure your fabric is oversized. I was still playing around with the tension on my machine and not really knowing what I was doing, and the first one I made came out pretty wobbledy. The second one worked out much better. Practice helps.
Step 2: Trim up the edges of your fabric and batting sandwich. If you have managed to keep things in order, trimming slightly will simply ensure that all your edges match up fairly neatly. If you have not kept things in order and have some crazy warping going on, you might have to do some more serious trimming to make it into a rectangle again. That’s fine. Just go with it. Use your newly trimmed rectangle as a guide to cut another piece of pretty cloth. (There are undoubtedly many ways to do this. One could, for instance, make a pattern ahead of time to use for various pieces. I was clearly winging it.) Lay another piece of fabric on top of your new pretty fabric. I didn’t get into hemming edges, just folded it neatly in half, laid it on top (right sides of both facing up) and stitched three little vertical rows into it to make pockets. Like so:
Step 3: Make another sandwich, this time with your quilted pretty cloth and your pocketed pretty cloth, pretty sides face to face, and stitch around the edges, making sure to leave an opening on one side to flip it inside out. I also added a loop of elastic at this stage to close the little picnic bundles for travel. If you have nice ribbon and want to keep things simple, add a few strips of ribbon instead. Like so:
…well, not quite like so…
What’s wrong with this picture? I will tell you what’s wrong with this picture. I realized after stitching up my sandwich that the elastic would now be inside the sandwich once it was finished. Not helpful. Make sure your elastic or ribbon or similar closure mechanism is inside the sandwich before you sew, its little ends sticking out to anchor it. That way, it will be on the outside when you flip the whole thing right side out.
Step 4: Flip the whole thing right side out, push out the corners as much as you can (I used scissors), and stitch up your opening. I used a zig zag stitch. Then I ironed the whole thing, sewed a button onto the outside of the bundle right at the elastic, slipped the silverware into its pockets, and rolled up the bundles, fastening by slipping the elastic loop around the button.
Easy peasy, picnic ready, and infinitely reusable!