With Spring in the air, I find it very satisfying to pack up the winter gear for another season, and look at creating some new, fun projects for the new season.
Temperatures are gradually increasing, so we no longer need to build fires in fireplace to keep warm. Rather than staring at the empty fire box for the next 9 months, create a fun and beautiful insert to add a little splash of style to your décor.
This is such a quick and easy project, and you can use whatever fabric you wish. I used one of my old practice quilting samples from the Janome QuiltMaker Pro 18 (which are typically just hunks of muslin or fabric I just want to get rid of) to cover the insert. The fireplace is in my sewing room so a quilted insert seemed appropriate. I wanted my insert to blend into the surrounding brick, which I had painted white, so I choose to use the plain muslin side of my practice piece.
However, you could use just plain fabric, or even leather or cork for something equally decorative, or how about using your embroidery machine? It’s always a good idea to stitch a test sample of a design, especially if you’re using a thread which is new to you, so this would be a great project to use those practice pieces. Ask your Janome dealer about all the fabulous Madeira threads Janome Canada offers. I particularly LOVE Madeira metallics!
Since I’m “that guy” who saves every little scrap of everything “just in case”, I used a scrap of Styrofoam insulation left over from another project as the base for the insert. You could use a scrap of plywood, or even layers of cardboard glued together for the insert, but I liked the idea of the Styrofoam since it’s super easy to work with; no special tools required. A good sharp utility or carpet knife is really all that you need.
Cutting the Styrofoam is easy, but I warn you, it is messy, so keep your vacuum cleaner handy!
I measured the length and width of my fireplace opening then subtracted an inch from both of those measurements. This allows for the added thickness of my quilted sandwich to be wrapped around the sides and secured at the back. If I were using just one layer of plain cotton, non-quilted fabric, I’d only subtract maybe 1/4inch from the measurements as you still want a little wiggle room to place the insert inside the fire place opening.
With the right side, or good side of your fabric/ leather/what have you, facing down on the table, place your Styrofoam insert on top and wrap as you would a gift.
I secured the fabric to the back with T-Pins, but if you were using plywood as a base you could either use a staple gun or glue (or even duct tape) to hold the fabric in place.
A scrap of batting across the bottom of the fire place opening helps seal some of the gap around the insert and makes for easy installation.
The batting gave me a little extra wiggle room to position the insert which will also help when it comes time to remove it as nights cool down in the fall.
You might want to make your fireplace insert a subtle decorative element in your room so consider switching out the fabric seasonally. For fun, I think I’ll use some Christmas themed fabric next December. The insert will keep out the drafts whenever the fireplace is not in use, so it may even save a little money on the heating/cooling bills, which means more money to spend to fabric! lol! SEW many possibilities!