Independence Day is always a special day but this year it feels even more so as many of us make plans to celebrate it once again, in the company of friends and beloved family.
Nothing says summer like the laughter and unity of a fourth of July celebration, in the great outdoors. In that spirit, I bring a super quick environmentally friendly project (completed in under an hour) that even the children in your life can join in on the preparations. It uses few supplies and blank napkins. It is also beginner-friendly with minimal stitching, re-usable and practical for all occasions this summer.
Let’s get started.
You can make this project even if you don’t have access to an AccuQuilt cutter, by tracing the shapes instead. You can also add it to favorite garments in need of a “refresher,” (scroll to the end to view).
Start appliqueing with a new needle and match your thread as much as possible for a seamless look, using a straight stitch with 2.0 length.
Practice your stitch on a fabric remnant to see if you like the look and make desired changes to length and width before tackling your project.
Please adjust supply quantities depending on how many napkins you wish to make.
The supplies below are for appliqueing on three napkins.
If you use a glue stick, please ensure that it is temporary glue so that it does not gum or hurt the internal components of your sewing machine.
Blank cotton napkins – white or your favorite color
Cotton thread to match the applique
Steam A Seam 2 Double Sided Fusible Web – (3 pieces 5”x10”)
Blue fabrics (3- 5”x10” rectangles assorted blues)
Organ needle size 12 or 14
AccuQuilt Go! Star die no. 55028 and mat 55202 (both optional)
AccuQuilt Go! Cutter (optional)
5”x10” Cardboard to create star templates (if not using AccuQuilt die)
Paper scissors (optional)
Stitch and Tear stabilizer (optional)
Bohin Temporary Glue Stick or your favorite brand (Not permanent glue)
4th of July assorted paper decorations (optional)
Don’t forget the food! ☺
Janome 9450 QCP with HP foot and plate.
Iron napkins. I did not use steam.
Iron double-sided steam a seam web to the wrong side of the blue fabric rectangles. Please follow the fusing instructions for steam a seam 2 from the manufacturer, for best results. Now you can place the fused rectangles through the AccuQuilt cutter to cut the stars.
If you are not using AccuQuilt to create the star shapes, make a cardboard star template in different sizes to trace shapes on the wrong side of the blue fabrics.
Peel the paper from the back of the stars, if you used steam-a-seam 2, and iron lightly on the napkin, once you are satisfied with the placement. Note: Skip this step if you are using the Bohin glue stick to temporarily adhere stars before stitching. Please see below.
4A. Using the Bohin glue stick - apply to the wrong side of the stars using smooth, short strokes (to avoid globs) and place on the napkins.
We are ready to applique raw-edge style with coordinating or your favorite thread color.
Note: Stitch and tear stabilizer, non-fusible, can be a good partner during the applique process. It supports the stitching and can prevent puckers (see an example below).
5A. This is what stitch and tear looks like on the wrong side of the napkin to support applique shapes (optional). This is especially important when appliqueing on delicate fabrics.
If you have a bit more time, echo stitch around a few of the stars to emphasize their shape, create texture and movement. Note: Fray check (pictured below) can prevent additional fraying around the stars; it should dry transparent but always test to make sure that it will not leave any stains on the napkins you chose.
You are ready to use your new napkins all summer long!
Applique as a technique offers so many possibilities at any stage of your sewing journey. Use it to cover unsightly food stains or holes on your favorite garments to prolong their wear, on pillowcases, towels and so much more. I hope you take this simple idea and make it your own.