My first attempt at making a floor checkerboard was a success.
*it was easier than getting my photo’s in the right order on this blog*
A typical checkerboard has 64 squares; 8 rows down & across! You can use any color, I chose red and black.
I decided to use FELT for the squares and fabric for the border and back. The checkboard size was based on the size of the felt checkers I made
My finished board was 36″ x 36″ square.
I started with a 3″ round circle for the checkers, so decide the squares would be 4″. You need 12 finished checkers in each color.
Starting with the checkers — I cut 2 circles for each checker. I wanted the felt to have a little “heft” to it. (see do-overs at the bottom). (Note – my daughter asked for “extra checkers” in case the kids lose one. I ended up making 15 of each color)
I searched for a crown for one side, and found one at JoAnn’s Fabric store, in the scrapbooking aisle. It was a raised crown, about 2″ wide. I scanned it, and then edited it in PAINT to adjust the colors to my preferences. I have a touch screen monitor, so it was easy to “paint” using the stylus on my screen. (That I had the screen at 400 % really helped fill in the design. ) Once the “art” was completed, I copied it over to WORD into a label template. I used an AVERY return address label size, and printed on iron on t-shirt transfer sheet. (I mirrored the image, since I had written KING on the crown). Once the transfer was finshed, I ironed the whole sheet onto a piece of white cotton fabric (old sheet). Once they were cut out, I was ready to start. I laid out a group of checkers on a strip of interfacing; and topstitched around the crown label; through the felt. The interfacing gave the needle something to grab. Once 1/2 of the circles had a crown, I sandwiched them together, (interfacing in the middle) and top stitched around the edges. I went around the checker 3 or 4 times. Initially I used matching thread, but went back afterwards and used contrasting thread one time around. It really made the checkers pop on the board.
The checkerboard was done using “strip piecing”. I had sheets of felt from the craft store; 8.5″ x 11 ” . I used my rotary cutter and ruler, cut the sheets lengthwise and stitched strips of black and red together. I put 4 rows of black and red together, before I cut them into squares. The strips were 4 1/4″ and were cut to 4 1/4″ squares. It made for VERY quick rows. Once all the rows were joined, I did my best to press the seams flat. Once they were flattened out, I used a piece of iron on interfacing to back the entire checkerboard. I did some “stitch in a ditch” stitching along side the seam of the squares. The interfacing again, gave the needle something to bit too, plus it help the felt “flatten out” somewhat.
I used my rotary cutter & ruler to square everything up and went to work on a fabric border. After the boarder was on, I backed the checkerboard with the same black fabric. Pinned the checkerboard together with the backing, ran 1 seam through the center of the board horizontal and vertical. Then, I marked around the border in silver pencil a line to “fancy stitch” with a leaf pattern. I stretched that stitch out as wide and long as my machine would allow. (Still pretty small, and not highly visable, but will keep the bottom fabric from shifting) I cut my binding to 2″ wide, folded in half and stitched on the back, turned it to the front, and used a wide zig/zag stitch around the front to hold the binding in place. All in all, it turned out very well.
I decided the checkers needed a storage containment facility, so I made a little “pillowcase style” bag from 1/2 of a fat quarter of fabric. I put a button on the top to close it.
My “do-overs” — If I was to Do this Over – I would find a way to make the checkers more substantial. I used 2 layers of felt with the interfacing and they are just a little “lean”. I didn’t want to put any fiberfill because I wanted them to stay FLAT for stacking. Next time, I think I would cut a circle of CRAFT FOAM SHEET and put in the center, before I stitch around the outside. (Felt circles would have to be a bit larger than the foam, so you could get it past the pressure foot of the machine). That is the ONLY thing I would do differently!