I've been busy with the reverse applique! For X-mas, I made my sister and brother-in-law a set of placemats with purple stencils and my parents a set with both purple and turquoise. I used the same stencils as when I made them before. The purple fabric was leftover from the bridesmaids dresses at Rachel's wedding, and the ivory satin-esque fabric is reminiscent of her wedding dress, so I thought that would be appropriate for them. For my parents, I used that purple fabric and the turquoise I had used for my wedding dress so they would be wedding-themed too. (The color looks pretty bad in the left picture above. I had the yellow fabric and for some reason thought that would be a nice backdrop for the napkins. Trust me that they were a good color.)
I made the set for my sister first. I used the exact same technique I used the first time I made placemats. I was not pleased, however, with how puckered they were. I thought that maybe eliminating the step where I sewed the middle layer to the bottom layer would help. I decided to try one of those spray adhesives, and it really seemed to do the trick. As you can see, the set for Mom and Dad is a lot less puckered. It also shaved a few minutes off the time for each placemat because it's quicker to spray than to sew. I am normally resistant to steps like this- they seem like cheating, but the results were really good. Now here are the fronts and backs of the stencils done in the new style. They definitely look cleaner, although I still like the way the backs look on the other ones.
My biggest disappointment with this batch is that the outer layer is thin enough that the middle layer shows through pretty badly. I don't know if it's possible to avoid that with a light outer layer. I do have plans for a set with black as the outer color.
I think everyone liked the gifts. Yay! I had kind of been hoping to make sets for a lot of other relatives, but they're pretty time- and energy-intensive.