For today’s chenille project, I used osnaburg.
What is osnaburg? Well, dictionaries define it as “a type of coarse, heavy cloth, originally of linen and now of cotton; used in making sacks, work clothes, etc.”
It can be found in the muslins of your local fabric store, it is a loosely woven cloth that works very nicely for making chenille. Many sewers consider it an inexpensive alternative to linen in home décor projects.
- I began with 6 layers of osnaburg, 45” x 28”, layered on top of one another.
- Next, I cut 8 blue stars and 8 red stars (there will be four stars on each placemat) out of a solid cotton fabric.
- Note: Make sure to cut the stars from your fabric so that when you lay out your placemat the channels will run along the bias of the star pattern. If your channels don’t run along the bias of the appliqué – it will fall apart in the wash.
- I kept my fabric in one large piece (all four placemats will be made from this one piece), so before placing the stars I wanted to determine the size of the placemats. My small Olfa rotary cutter mat is 12” x 18”, with a ½” edge around the mat. I decided this 13” x 19” size would be perfect, so using a washable fabric pencil, I marked out my placemats with the mat as a template. (The lines do appear in this picture, but may be difficult to make out.)
- Determine the layout for your stars, and place them onto each of the placemats – don’t forget that the channels need to run on the bias of the stars as well as the osnaburg fabric.
- Pin your stars down onto the layers of osnaburg, do not use any type of wonder-under or quilt basting spray to hold the stars in place, that will only cause you to gum up your chenille cutter when cutting the channels.
- You are now dealing with 7 layers of fabric, which can be a bit difficult for many machines.
- To keep the fabric from shifting too much as you work, I suggest using a walking foot. The walking foot has a set of feed dogs just like you have on your sewing machine. This enables you to have a set of feed dogs under the fabric and a set over the fabric helping to feed the fabric more even. Hancock Fabrics carries these both a low shank and a high shank option.
- Now that you have the walking foot on your machine (hopefully!), you can begin the channel stitching. As with all my other projects, I began by drawing one line that ran through the center of the fabric along the bias. I stitched along that line, and then used the edge of my walking foot to follow the line of that stitch and when placing the next line. This made my channels approximately ½” apart.
The picture above shows the layout of the stars, please note that in this picture I have already stitched the channels and begun cutting them.
- After all the channels are stitched, use your rotary cutter to cut through four layers of the osnaburg and the star appliqués.
- Now it is time to cut your placemats apart and bind them.
- Wash – Dry – Enjoy!
Once again, a picture really doesn’t show how very soft this finished piece is
Note: if you want a more ‘full’ look for your appliqués, you will need to put three layers of the appliqué fabric down on top of the osnaburg (and yes, you would still use 6 layers of osnaburg – so you would be channel stitching through 9 total layers of fabric in places where your appliqué appeared).
What are some other ideas for this type of chenille? I’ve seen a beautiful jacket made from chenilled osnaburg, and just think of the look of a chenille quilt square in a quilt made with fabrics of different textures, and of course you could do all sorts of different appliqués and get a great look. Just imagine, chenille trees on placemats, chenille birthday presents on placemats, chenille flowers on placemats…
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing