Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fabric Disk Tutorial

For Mother's Day, I thought I'd share a hand-sewing project that I learned recently from my mother, Anita Sennott, who learned it from her mother, Anna Kruse (nee Koestner).

Mom's Antimacassar_1

When I visited my mother in Florida during March, I asked her where she got the cover on one of her living room chairs. I was really taken with those little circles.

Mom's Antimacassar_2

She said she made it. So then I asked about the pattern, but she said there was no pattern. She learned to make these fabric disks from her mother, who stitched them together to make pillow covers and other household items. I was touched to see this tangible connection to the grandmother I never knew (she died when my mom was only 14).

Mom offered to show me how to make them. She didn't have any fabric on hand, so we planned to go to Jo-Ann Fabrics later in the week. Unfortunately, we never made it due to a medical procedure being delayed (not a fun story, though it had a good outcome). I had to return to Massachusetts without learning to make the fabric disks.

A week or so later, an envelope arrived in the mail. Inside was a disk and instructions typed up by my mother. With her permission, I'm sharing them here:

Mom's Fabric Disk Instructions

It was brilliant of her to leave the disk unfinished, so that I could open it up and see how it was made.

Mom's Butterfly Fabric Disk

Fabric Disk Stitches_detail_1

I found her instructions easy to follow. To make one, I used a cereal bowl and a disappearing ink pen to mark the circle.

Fabric, Bowl, Pen

You can make the disks any size. My bowl, which was about 5 1/4 inches in diameter, produced a disk about 2 1/4 inches in diameter.

After cutting the fabric, you simply thread a needle, knot the thread, fold over 1/4 inch or less of fabric, and start stitching. I found it easiest to gather the fabric as I went, rather than wait to gather it at the end.

Green Fabric Disk in Progress

Green Fabric Disk in Progress_2

When you're back where you started, pull the thread tight tight and tie a knot. The photo below shows the difference in size between the cut fabric and the finished disk.

Completed Fabric Disk

Join them together with a few small stitches to make whatever you like: garlands, pillow covers, chair covers, book covers ...

 Mom's Antimacassar_3

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Thank you for letting me share your creativity on my blog.


magnusmog said...

I love this - especially the thoughtful instructions from your mother.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie, words don't come easy, but Thank You for the wonderful Blog. Also while here, the Mother's Day card was great Lily of Valley Flowers are special to me, they were my Wedding Flowers. Your sketch of them was beautiful. Thank you. Mom

Amber said...

So beautifully written & photographed, Bonnie. What a lovely story & tutorial to share on this special day. I remember my grandmother made these too and although I learned many other craft skills from her, I did not learn this one before she passed, so thanks to your mom for sharing with all of us!

Bonnie said...

Mom, I bet you were wondering if I was ever going to write about these, because it's been a while! Jackie suggested I write about them for Mothers' Day. So she's my "partner in crime." :-)

Sally said...

Perfect Mother's Day post! Thanks, Bonnie (and Anita!).

joyceetta said...

Thanks Bonnie. I have made these discs and combined them for beautiful pillow tops. Also I have seen quite a few quilt tops made from these. I have always heard the discs called in yoyo quilt, etc.

KnitNana said...

That's yo-yo!
There's a delightful mid-80s or mid-90s cover of Victoria Magazine with one of these as a tablecloth topper, then another in a Country Living Mag I have. I think they're wonderful representations of the 1930s, imagine one made in scraps of vintage period fabrics! Your's are lovely, and your Mom's instructions are excellent! Happy Mom's Day (a day late...)

Bonnie said...

Thanks KnitNana and joyceetta for sharing that they have a name - and such a fun one - yo-yos. :-)

Jody said...

Yo yos!!! Such fun. My coworker uses CD's as her form and you can also buy a plastic template made by Clover if you like.
Nice post, thank you!

Shelda said...

Very neat! My aunts and one of my grandmothers made those too. They always fascinated me. Thanks for the memory (and the how to recreate it part).