I got the placemats done, but not as much else as I wanted to. Well, okay, six of them and six napkins, so it wasn’t a bad day’s work. (I also ironed all the other table linens we use. I iron pillowcases too, I’m odd that way.) They aren’t fancy. Two of the mats are just reversible, tan on one side, and black on the other. The other four are red on the back and have a 2″ wide red mitered border on the tan front. There are two napkins in each of the three fabrics.
I originally planned to only make these out of the newspaper print and the black linen texture, but for whatever reason, ended up adding the red too. It was some nondescript stuff that I’ve had for eons, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Burning through old stash is always a good thing, right?
I got the two fabrics I started with on Saturday. My pal, Denniele, texted me late Friday night to say that she and “the girls,” Shari, Veronica, and Ginger were headed my direction to go to Blue Top Quilt Shop. It is about an hour and a half drive for them, and less than half an hour for me, so I decided to drive up to play for a little bit. We had a great time digging through the sale bin and oohing and aahing over all the new stuff.
My friends Gary and Michele also popped in on their way to the Truman birthplace home. Gary wove the rugs for the house there, so was on his way to check on them.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see Amy, who used to own a great quilt shop in our town. I was starting to feel like I had wandered into some sort of reunion! It all made for a fun Saturday.
Anyway, I got the table linens done, but I really started wondering at the wisdom of making them myself. I make them quite often because I really don’t like paper napkins much. We do use them, but I prefer cloth. For these, I ended up using about five yards (ish, maybe only four, who counts?), of fabric, only two of which were technically “free.” So lets say, then, that I bought three yards. At a price of $10 per yard, that’s $30 for the set of six. I also spent a few hours making them. Is that really cost effective?
If you compare to what is available at Target, for example, it might be. They have these napkins in a set of four for $9.99. Placemats seem to run about $4.00 each. So that brings us up to $34.00, with only four napkins. But. I almost never pay full price for anything, and usually pick up table linens on clearance if I buy them. I also could have used all sale fabric, which would have reduced the cost too.
You might argue that mine are better made than what you can get in Target. You might, but I would probably disagree. I was not really careful with these, and rarely am. I know that they are not heirloom pieces and will be used hard. Does whoever is wiping sticky fingers on them care that the place where I back stitched might be a bit clunky? I doubt it. At any rate, they are done.
Done. Done is good. Done is very good for me who rarely finishes anything.
I do get a certain satisfaction from knowing that I’ve made the things that my family uses. I picked out the fabrics, I cut them, and I sewed them back together. Maybe that is where the real value is.
How about you? Do you make things just for the sake of making them? Is it better to make usable things, or do you just go the disposable route?