Friday, 31 August 2012

Abakhan Kitchen Project on a Budget

Hi! I'm Janice from Better Off Thread and I will be showing you how to make this month's Abakhan "Projects on a Budget". I am so honored to have been chosen and very excited to receive $20 worth of products from Abakhan (thank you, William!).
Today, I will show you how to make a magnetic sign for your dishwasher:
This dishwasher sign has come in very handy at my house, because at least once a week my husband tries to help me with the dishes and he puts dirty ones in the with the clean. I bet you can guess what happens then. I HAD to make this for the sake of our marriage!
You are going to be paper-piecing letters on one side of the sign and doing raw edge applique on the other. If you haven't done either of these before, it's the perfect way to start! Don't worry, it isn't as difficult as it looks. Paper-piecing looks intimidating, but it's really the Paint-by-Number of the quilting world. If you can count and sew along a straight line, you can paper-piece!
Here are the items you need for this project:
From Abakhan I recieved:
I also used fusible web from my own supply, but Abakhan has it here.
You'll have enough fabric to make a zillion dishwasher signs for all your family and friends (Time to start getting on those holiday gifts!).
You will also need to print out two templates:
Begin by cutting 1.5" x WOF strips from each of your poplin fabrics and cut your "Clean" template apart along the red lines.
Grab a letter template and you can either crease along the black lines, or trace the lines on the back. You want to be able to see where to place your fabric. Sometimes I am able to see through the paper well enough, so I don't do anything (yeah, I'm a lazy sewer).
Now it's time to sew:
1.Place your fabric strip so it covers spot #1 on the template and hangs over 1/4" into section #2. 2.Place your second piece on top, so that you have a 1/4" seam allowance and pin. 3. Flip your template over and sew from the printed side. 4. Press flat.
If your seam allowances are more than 1/4", fold the paper template back and trim your seam allowance.
Once you have finished sewing your letter, cut the seam allowances around it to 1/4".
Look, you made a letter!
Once you have paper-pieced all your letters, you are going to sew them together and add a 1" strip of background fabric to the top and bottom.
One side down!
Sit down somewhere comfy and remove all the papers from the back. Gaze at your "Clean" sign, reward yourself with a cookie and then get back to work!
It's time to get DIRTY.
Take your "Dirty" template and trace it onto the paper side of fusible web.
I like to tape it to a window, like so:
Next, cut roughly around each letter.
Iron them to your cotton poplin following the manufacturer's instructions. cut out each letter along the pencil lines.
Cut a 5"x9" square from your background fabric and lay your letters out in a pleasing configuration. Iron, following the manufacturers instructions.
Topstitch around each letter in a contrasting thread.
You are now done with the second side! Time to make the inner layer.
You will be making a casing for your magnets to live in, so they stay in place. Cut 2 6"x10" rectangles from your muslin. On one piece, draw lines like in the photo above.
Put both muslin rectangles on top of each other and sew along the 1 vertical and the 6 horizontal lines. Do NOT sew along the seam allowance lines. Insert your magnets into the channels you created.
Note: If your magnets are directional, make sure they face the correct way, so that your sign sticks to the dishwasher! One needs to face one way and one the other. I cut the center one in half and faced them in opposite directions.
It will be easier to insert your magnets, if you round off one end with scissors.
Now, put all your layers together. The "Clean" and "Dirty" sides should be placed upside down from each other, so that they each have a magnet along the top that will stick to the dishwasher. (It will make more sense when you are putting the layers together).
Use a machine basting stitch to sew all your layers together about 1/8" from the edges. Trim to 5"x9".
This is a great time to put your sign up on your dishwasher and test it out. Make sure all your magnets are facing the right way. You may need to add magnets to the 4 corners, depending on the weight of your fabric and the size of your seam allowances. You can always cut one magnet into 4 smaller pieces and slide them into each corner.
Next, draw horizontal lines 1/2" apart using a fabric marking pen or chalk (like photo above). Make sure your lines are not crossing any of your magnets. You don't want to try to sew through those!
I used my zipper foot, so I could sew right along the magnets without breaking my needle.
All quilted and ready for binding!
I am not going to show you how to do binding, because this is already a LONG tutorial and there are so many great binding tutorials out there already. I highly recommend using this single binding tutorial at Verykerryberry. It's perfect for smaller items like your dishwasher sign.
Cute, huh? Now get crackin' and sew one up for all your friends and family members. You won't just be making them a gift, you will be SAVING their marriage!
Thank you for having me as a guest, Lynne! It's been a pleasure.


  1. brilliant! I need one of these, and perhaps another one that says "so empty it already!"

  2. My kids have made the mistake of putting dirty dishes away. I rinse my dishes so well(the dishwasher is to sanitize mostly) that they mistake them for clean. I have to tell them to smell them. If they don't smelll clean, they're not! To bad the front of mine is not magnetic. It's some kind of plexiglass. I would use this idea otherwise :)

    1. I was thinking about the non-magnetic dishwashers, and you could probably get two of those little suction cups with hooks on them and then put a grommet on the corners of your sign.

  3. Great idea, my husband and sons constantly ask if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, this would save me having to tell them every time to look!

  4. lovely! I'll have to be all post ironic and make a laminated one to stick in my washing up bowl!

  5. My new favorite thing is word quilts. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh wow. This is fabulous. Im always being asked if the dishes are clean or dirty. Even though the clean light is on. This would be such a help. But I cant access the patterns. Any ideas?

  7. Sadly I live on my own so I don't need one of these, but it sure is darn cute!!

  8. If you put soap in the dispenser the minute you finish emptying it, everyone knows the dishes loaded later are dirty.

    Go make a potholder instead that says Hot Stuff.

  9. What a GREAT idea. I am so going to make this for my friend who is ultra religious and has a two drawer dishwasher - one for dishes that have had meat on them and one for dishes that have had milk products on them (g-d knows what she does for the ones in the middle that are neither milk nor meat) but this way her DH will know whether to put anything in or not as he is always doing the wrong thing.

  10. Very cunning plan, can you just send me a dishwasher so I have an excuse to make this? :oD

  11. I haven't yet managed to train Archie to empty the dishwasher but I think I need one for my front door that says 'I'm not playing out today and neither is Archie.' (Two little boys often come to the door to see if I want to go on a treasure hunt or for a walk with Archie...and them on bikes - not the most relaxing way to walk a dog!)


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