Over ten years ago, while still living here in Cleveland, a quilting friend made some fabulous napkins as hostess gifts for two others in our group. They were SO much fun, made from a mix of disparate food fabrics which were just starting to be popular at the time...cupcakes, pickles, popcorn, hotdogs, pizza. Each napkin used three different fabrics. Everyone loved them!
At the time, the rest in our group clamored for the instructions, which were quite simple but included a neat construction tip. I jotted them on a scrap of paper and *stuck them someplace*. Three house moves later, I knew I'd come across them several times through the years, but couldn't put my hands on them. (Like so many things around here...)
Late this past winter, I noticed some really cute fabric over at Fabric.com...a sushi print, reminiscent of Japanese kawaii prints, and a companion piece in a picnic print. My mind jumped right to the napkins again and with coupon in hand, I ordered some yardage. When Molly came for a visit in the spring, she noticed it sitting on a table in my sewing room (always one of her first stops when she arrives ~ checking out what's new) and asked, what's this for? When I told her, she jumped right on it. "I want some!!" (Notice, not "I want to make some!")
I was noncommittal. The maker had moved away, I couldn't find my pattern notes. But I knew where the original napkins were so within the week I was at my friend's place...a recipient...examing the now quite worn napkins to figure out the dimensions and most importantly, what was that nifty construction trick? With napkin in hand, it just took us a few minutes to recall. She was quite happy, as she said they use them all the time and are in serious need of replacement.
I went into overdrive. I hunted for more food fabrics. I cut out LOTS of napkin combinations. I'll make some for Molly! And won't it be fun, with so many guests expected in July, to make a pile for cookouts, etc?
Long story short, I kind of crashed and burned. We used paper when everyone was here for the wedding week. But I was able to complete Molly's two requested sets, plus another as a surprise. They're all in Tokyo now, hopefully wiping mouths. I took all of these shots before wrapping them up.
These three sets of 4 veered a bit from the originals' look. Because my kawaii prints were so tiny, they didn't look good mixed with larger prints. So the search was on for compatible smalls. Also, in the originals, each napkin had a different mix of prints. On Molly's sets, I pretty much kept the focus print in the center.
And finally, because it was difficult to find small food prints, I did use a few prints that weren't.
I played with the prints in another way, however. I chose the same prints in different colors to use in separate sets. This way, the sets can easily be mixed, in different but compatible ways.
See? Three different centers with the same border prints. So much fun!
Now that things have calmed down around here, I'm back in the sewing room. While I'm poking around trying to decide where to focus, I do have a big pile of napkins to finish up. A perfect segue to more serious projects.
Next time, I'll be back with the details...you know you want to make some! While I'm stitching, I'll get some process shots and share some fabric selection tips. You might be surprised at how different some of them look from Molly's sets!