Friday, July 6, 2012

Ruffled Place Mats, So Fabulous!

As early as two or three years old, I was told I had a keen interest in watching my grandmother sit and sew for hours. I remember the view I had sitting near her. She had a cool used Singer machine that had the manual foot pedal. She would make anything from pillow cases, kitchen floor mats, dish towels, aprons, even dresses for my sister and I. Sometimes our dresses would match the kitchen floor mats and hand towels! Not cool but we knew no better at the time. Granny would use whatever leftover scrap material she had and made something else with it. I was born in Guyana (South America), and at that time, nothing went to waste. I am sure it was like that (and still is) in a lot of countries. Up-cycling and recycling was a way of life and a must.

So, here I am, 34 plus years later, and I am asking her how she really made some of the things she made...particularly her ruffled floor mats. As a child, I saw her making them and saw the end results but never had it really explained. She used to make these beautiful ruffled mats with tiny pieces of scrap cloth of different patterns and colors...I absolutely love them.

I searched my home for scrap cloth I had laying around and found an old piece of inexpensive suit lining. I had bought it many years ago to make bows for my throw pillows but never got around to it.

I asked my grandma to show me how to make this but with one color. She took the cloth and cut it into roughly 3.5 inch strips. The strips were about 4 feet long.They can be any length but this is what I had.
To make these ruffles: fold the 3.5 inch strip of material in half and stitch using a ruffle making foot or doing it by tucking and sewing at the same time... Not the neatest ruffles but it does not matter at this'll see.
She made piles and piles of ruffles in no time! It reminded me of the old story of Rumpelstiltskin and the young girl spinning straw into gold. I had her hard at work :)
To make the base of the floor mat she asked me for another piece of material to sew the ruffles onto but I asked her to sew them onto my placemats instead. After all, they needed a little sprucing up. My dining table is dark wood and my placemats are black. Not a great color combo, so this was a perfect solution.
She starting sewing this and in no time it was already starting to look so pretty...
She kept layering this and the uneven ruffles did not even show.
Go Granny!!
How pretty! Sew the ruffles on top of each other so that the stitches of the ruffles do not show...
I asked her to leave the middle bare since I wanted to place a vase of flowers on top...You can also cut a circle out of a different or same colored material (or felt) and sew it in place. It will hide the unfinished look and be flat enough to place a plate of yummy desert or vase of flowers on top.

If not keep sewing until all the ruffles reach the very middle. Your plate of desert or food will still sit pretty on it.
Don't forget to leave me your comments or questions. 
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  1. Those are absolutely gorgeous! Don't you just love Grandma's? Yours is very talented!

    1. Thanks Josheli! yes love them! Thanks for your comment :)

  2. AnonymousJuly 14, 2012


  3. Very beautiful is all I can say!!! I wish I had the opportunity to have my mother and "gran, gran" share some sewing tips w/me! I really appreciate the tutorial! Thxs!

  4. AnonymousMay 26, 2013

    This is just beautiful. It would be a great way to save a stained placemat. Learn as much as you can from your grandmother; sometimes these leasons are only way hand crafts are preserved.


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