Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Flannel-Backed Tablecloths

A couple of weeks ago I said I'd share some tips on using flannel-backed tablecloths in quilting.  Well, life got in the way, but now I'm ready.

Many of us use flannel-backed tablecloths as design walls, especially when we go to classes and retreats.  The dilemma is always how to attach it to the wall, especially when you can't put holes in the walls with nails or push pins.  And hard as you try, blue painter's tape just won't hold over time or when the weight of your quilt top exceeds its holding power.

The solution someone in the S'mores came up with -- Command brand hooks and binder clips!

Temporary attachment for a design wall

Attach several Command hooks near the ceiling or high enough to hang the tablecloth.  Roll a bit of the tablecloth edge down so the binder clip can get a good grip.  Then hitch one of the clip handles over the hook.  Follow instructions carefully when removing the hook and there will be absolutely no evidence it was ever there.  I have done this in hotel rooms and even on cruise ships.

Our group ran into a problem at the retreat center we use, though; the hooks will not stick to whatever kind of paint they used on the walls.  Not to be thwarted, we now binder clip our tablecloths to the perimeter runners of the dropped ceiling!

Flannel-backed tablecloths, especially the cheaper ones that don't have a lot of flannely stuff on the back, can be cut into large squares for laying out blocks.

Tablecloth cut into squares

Keep these at the cutting table and as you cut pieces for a block, lay them out in position on the flannel side of the tablecloth square.  You might be able to see in my example that I have several of the same blocks stacked on one square.

Blocks ready to take to the sewing machine

I learned to do this with batting squares, but here's the thing:  Not only does the flannel backing keep the block pieces in position like batting would, but you can stack additional tablecloth squares with blocks on top of the others without the pieces below sticking to the plastic side of the tablecloth!

Geesh!  Getting this example out of the box to photograph reminds me that I need to either finish or scrap this quilt.  That orange was the wrong choice of fabric and I've had a hard time progressing past the center of the quilt.  I think I'll take it to retreat next month and see if there's any way to salvage it.

I'm linking up with Connie K at Freemotion on the River for Linky Tuesday.  If you're not a frequent reader of Connie's blog, it's worth a visit to catch up with her Pelican Brief!

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