Liberty Scrap Challenge – April Edition

by Nova on April 20, 2012

With continued limited computer access  (though I have happy news that I will have my laptop home & all mended soon, hurrah!) I bring you this months Liberty Scrap Challenge. Yay!

When I unwrapped this months scrap package from Jo, along with scrumptious scraps was some double fold bias binding!

liberty bias binding


Like all great pairings … tea & biscuits, gin & tonic, fred & ginger… Liberty & linen (in my mind anyhoo) is  a match made in heaven. Mix in some bias binding, a spot of reverse applique and a few hand stitches & you’ve got yourself some personalised cloth napkins…

They would make lovely personal housewarming, Christmas or wedding gifts I thought. This pair has me and Andy written all over them so they will be staying put though ;).

Make a set for the whole family – it could be a  fun project for everyone to  pick their favourite fabric for their initial.

Due to my limited computer access probs at the mo, I’m afraid I will only have the tutorial on the blog post this month & won’t be able to produce a pdf version, sorry.

Liberty & Linen Napkin with Reverse Applique  & Bias Binding Tutorial

To make a pair of napkins you will need:

4 (2 for the fronts & 2 for the backs) squares of linen cut to required finished size (mine are approx 15″ but you could make any size you fancy).
Liberty scraps
Double fold bias binding (enough to go around both napkins, I used approx 3yds)
Small piece (scrap) of lightweight iron on interfacing
Thread (floss or cotton perle) for hand stitches (optional)
Scrap of paper (to draw your initial on) & marker pen
Water soluble or fading fabric pen (or a regular pencil should do the trick too)
Pointy little scissors (like embroidery scissors)
Small round object like a mug or a side plate
Tailors chalk
Lots of pins!

How to:

Draw your initial on the scrap of paper with the maker pen. Draw it any size you fancy. I drew mine so they would sort of fit into a 4″square. If you don’t feel confident to draw your initial you could pick a font you like in Word and print it out at your preferred size.  Keep in mind you will be sewing around this & cutting it out so you might like to keep to a  simple font rather than one that’s too fancy & fiddly.

Flip your scrap of paper over and draw over the line that should be showing through from the other side. Your initial will now be in reverse. Some letters might not need this, like O, A, I, T etc depending on how you have drawn it or the font used.

Place your scrap of lightweight interfacing with glue side down over your initial & using a water soluble pen or a pencil trace your backward initial onto the interfacing.

Roughly cut around the interfacing letter and place the glue side onto the wrong side of your Liberty scrap.

Following manufacturer’s instructions, iron the interfacing in place & trim to size. It’s a bit light in the image below but the outline of my initial is clear enough to sew around.

Take the  front square of your napkin & on the wrong side place the  Liberty scrap (with your initial ironed on) with the right side of the fabric facing down.

Play around with the position until you are happy and then pin in place.  I positioned mine to the left bottom corner so when it’s all finished & the right way around it will be on the right bottom corner.

Using the applique foot on your machine (or free motion if you prefer), shorten your stitch a bit then slowly & carefully sew around your initial using the line you drew on the interfacing as a guide. Back stitch at start & finish. I sewed just outside the line so my initial didn’t appear too narrow once it was all cut out.

Because I am using  linen & it is very fray-y (which I love but I don’t want these napkins falling apart after a couple of washes) I sewed a second line just outside the first.

Carefully trim around your initial.

Flip your linen square over to the right side & you will see the stitch outline of your initial. Sort of pinch & hold onto the interfacing at the back while sort of pinching & holding onto the linen inside the stitched initial to separate the 2 layers as you very carefully use some  little pointy scissors to make a snip through the linen only. I aim for the middle for the first cut and then you are away – sorry about the super blurry photo – pinching, holding &  carefully snipping is  not conducive to photo taking it appears! lol!

Once You have made the first cut it all becomes easier but you still need to be careful not to cut through the back layer of Liberty. Cut around the inside of your initial leaving approx 1/4″ or thereabouts of linen inside the stitch line.

ta da! one reverse applique initial :)

If you like you can pop a hoop on & add a few hand stitches at this point.

Lay out your back piece of linen right side down,place your front piece of linen (with your reverse applique initial on) directly on top with right side up.

Take a small round object (I used a side plate) to use as a template to mark the rounded corners. Place it on the corners and when  you are happy with the position of the roundness, trace around with your tailors chalk.  (Gee, I’m working overtime on the dodgy blurry pics today! sorry!)

Cut off the corners (both layers)

Now we’re ready to attach the bias binding!  If you’ve never used bias binding before the joy of it is that it happily bends around corners crease free.

Open out your double fold bias and make sure the beginning of your  bias  is cut at a 45 degree angle (mine was, thanks Jo x). Pin it on all the way around through both layers of linen, don’t trim it to size just yet.

When you have pinned all the way around, Lay your tail end over the start and mark a 1/4″overlap following the 45 degree angle at the start of your bias.

Cut along the line you marked and pin together the two ends.

Remove a few pins either side of the join so you can sew it easily and sew together the join with a 1/4″seam.

Press your seam open and pin it back in place.

Sew right around your bias trim following the first crease mark.

Take it slowly around the corners so you don’t get any tucks in the bias. Back stitch at start & finish.

Your napkin should now look a bit like this.

Next we’re going to fold the bias over to the back of the napkin.

Open out the bias (it’s probably tried to fold itself back along it’s nice neat creases). With the edge of the napkin away from you, fold your bias along the crease nearest to you.

Then fold it up along the stitch line (not the next crease).

Flip your napkin over and fold the bias down over the edge of the napkin towards the back and pin in place.

The edge of the folded  bias on the back will cover the stitch line you made sewing the binding on  a moment ago.

Point your pin heads towards the outside so you can easily remove them as you sew the binding in place in the next step.

Flip your napkin back over to the front and sew just inside the bias seam (approx 1/8″), this will catch the bias at the back & sew it in position.

voila, nice & neat bias binding!

Your napkin is complete…

… & needs it’s friend..

As napkin fever hit the sewing room, I couldn’t stop! Inspired by these clever ones that Krista made I used up my remaining scrap pack to make a non matchy, matching  pair to go with our monogrammed ones for guests :)

I love the mismatched matchy ness :)

Fill your world (or your kitchen/dining table at least) with Liberty & linen! Liberty scraps & double fold bias binding are available from The Organic Stitch Co :)

Previous Liberty Scrap Challenge Tutorials can all be found here :)

Share your Liberty Scrappy Projects in our flickr group – we’d love to see!

I’ll be back later this month to share our guest challengers’ tutorial with you too :) eep! can’t wait!

Happy scrapping!



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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Flying Blind April 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Brilliant tute – and lovely napkins. Tuck in x


Tanya April 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

These look great Nova, i have been wondering how to go about reverse applique so thanks for the clear tutorial :-). Love love love the linen and liberty!! I’m dying to get in and have a go at the rest of your tutorials but time and other things I have to do first are holding me back. One day soon I hope……


Katy April 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Ooh, pretty! Not sure I could ever bring myself to wipe my mouth on Liberty though…


Jess April 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Awesome tutorial! I’ve been wanting to try reverse applique – you may have just inspired me to do it :o)


Elnora April 21, 2012 at 5:25 am

Wow! These are fantastic! Love both the reverse applique ones and the others. What is it about wrinkly ol’ linen that we love so much???? Thanks for sharing your gorgeous work!


Krista - Poppyprint April 21, 2012 at 6:40 am

Another scrappilicious project, Nova. No one does scraps like you do! I must say I am rather tickled that you liked my napkin idea enough to take it up – thank you so much for the shout-out. So, have you got a dinner party all lined up so you can show off your fabulous new set? I bought 2 precious yards of Liberty binding in Paris…just enough to perhaps make one very special monogrammed napkin just for ME!


Jo @ a life in lists April 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Ooh, it looks amazing! It is much to my embarrassment that I have literally never sewn anything with my own bias binding. I am determined to try something soon.


Florence April 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

They’re gorgeous, Nova. I love the non-matchy option too. x


prsd4tim2 April 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Very cute! Thanks for the tutorial.


ang April 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm

love ! that bias is calling my name. seriously. x


vanina May 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm

LOVE all your work and this blog! The bunting peekaboo is at the top of my list to make. Thank you for sharing! :)


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