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The Fat Quarter Club by Emma Rodgers

Fat Quarter Club Subscription: Mitred Corner Napkin with Pocket

May 2022

 Life’s a beach with this month’s Fat Quarter Club make

The ‘My Guilty Pleasure Fat Quarters Club’ is exactly what it says on the box – a beautifully presented package of crafty goodness to get your creative juices flowing with quality fabrics, clear instructions and a little sweet treat too.

This was my first experience of the Fat Quarter Club subscription box and this month’s sewing project certainly got me dreaming of days by the coast. A perfect addition to any beach picnic, these nautical-themed napkins will also help to keep your cutlery sand-free with a handy storage pocket.

What’s in the cool box?

Wrapped up like a present in tissue paper (who doesn’t love a present?) is everything you’ll need to dive into this make:

  • Three nautical-printed fabric from Makower UK
  • A paper pattern template for the napkin pocket
  • Step-by-step instructions to guide you through the make
  • A stick of rock to get you in the seaside mood (and power you through with a sugar-fix)

The fabric is 100% cotton and great quality. It holds its shape very well and presses easily – extra handy as the pattern includes mitred corners which require some pressing. As someone who adores a lighthouse or two, this fabric is a real treat for the eyes. The designs on the beach hut fabric and nautical icons fabric repeat several times on the fat quarters. As someone who’s a stickler for straight lines, it’s a huge help to match up repeating elements of the design to make sure you get straight lines to cut along (and avoid you having decapitated seagulls or wonky beach huts).

You’ll get two napkins from the fabric included in the box and you can play with the colour-ways to create a combination which suits you. I decided to use the printed fabric for the napkins and the stripe fabric for the pockets on each. You’ll have some scraps leftover for your stash too - enough to fashion some matching beach scrunchies or a pouch for your sunglasses!

Making waves

Here are some handy tools you’ll want in your beach bag before you start:

  • Ruler - you’ll be cutting two large squares for the napkins
  • Scissors – big ‘uns for the bulk of the cutting out and some smaller ones for snipping notches around the curved edges of the pockets. Smaller scissors will give you better control meaning you’re less likely to cut through your sewing when making the notches
  • Knitting needle or corner shaper – for pushing out those corners, but go gentle to avoid pushing straight through the fabric and making a hole
  • Thread – the fabrics are very colourful, so it’s likely you’ll have complimenting thread in your stash. The stitching which secures the hems of the napkins is visible, as is the stitching to attach the pocket to the napkin, so a good opportunity to make the most of that detail. Red, white and blue will all work well
  • Bobbin
  • Chalk pencil or fabric pen – not only for marking out your fabric to cut, but you’ll also need for marking diagonal lines to help you to create those all-impressive mitred corners
  • Pins – useful to mark the gap you’ll be leaving along the bottom edge of your pocket pieces so you’re able to pull the fabric through. I can get carried away when I’m ‘in the zone’ so the pins are a good reminder to stop in my tracks

This was my first time trying mitred corners and the instructions were clear enough for a novice like me. It’s certainly a skill I’ll be using again in future makes. As well as getting a crafty surprise through the post each month, craft subscriptions like the Fat Quarter Club really appeal to me as you’re sure to learn a handy tip or pick up a new technique along the way.

A lifejacket (or two)

Here are some handy tips that might help with your make:

  1. When cutting your fabric, measure from the selvage edge – this is the fluffy edge of the fabric which often has a white area measuring 1cm+ before the design of the fabric starts. Selvage edges are always straight so if you’re keen for the pattern of your fabric to be straight when cutting (‘cos I’m all about that!), then measure your dimensions from this edge.
  2. If you’re using the same fabric for all pocket pieces, fold the fabric over so you can cut out multiple in one go – just make sure the design of the fabric isn’t being cut upside-down.

  1. Once you’ve mastered the mitred corners you’ll be stitching the hems in place. If you want to make sure your stitching is straight (especially as this will be visible on the right side of your napkins) I’d recommend sewing 1.5cm in from the edge by lining up the edge of the napkins with the seam guide on your machine.
  2. When you get to each mitred corner, keep your needle down when it reaches the diagonal seam, lift the foot on your machine, and pivot your napkin round (keeping the needle in) and then continue your stitching along the other side. This means you get one continuous stitch line around all four sides of the napkin rather than stop-start lines of stitching.

Let your light(house) shine a little brighter

The instructions are for the standard ‘lunch’ napkin, but 4 other sizes are provided for different variations.

Depending on the spec of your machine, you could add initials to your napkins, top-stitch with a fancier stitch pattern for detail or add some piping or lace around the edges of your pocket. A button sewn onto the front of the pocket in a complimenting colour would also look cute. The possibilities are endless!

Worth ‘shelling’ for

The Fat Quarter Club features lovely projects for an afternoon of well-deserved you-time.  The project steps could also be broken up into different stages to do over a few days or evenings in front of the telly. Once you’ve worked your way through the instructions and made your napkins, the pattern is handy to file in your stash. These pretty napkins would make fantastic handmade gifts for friends and family, unique wedding favours, or keepsakes for dinner guests. This make also gets top-marks for being an eco-friendly alternative to paper-napkins which can be bunged into the washing machine or hand-washed to clean off any stains. So perhaps not such a ‘guilty pleasure’ after all 😊

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