With fall in full swing, and Thanksgiving just around the corner, I've been busy getting my table ready for entertaining by sewing a new tablecloth and handmade napkins. Today I'll be sewing placemats, which is such a fun way to add some seasonal flair to your space.
Follow along with this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to sew placemats for your home. And with the holidays coming up, they also make great gifts!
Dazzle them with your dining area decor!
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A note on fabric selection
Sewing placemats starts with great seasonally inspired fabrics. Choose either print or solid materials in colors and prints appropriate for the season. Most are on sale right now in the leading fabric retailers, so pick two prints or colors that work together. It is best to select fabrics that can be easily laundered, as they are likely to get soiled with food.
The placemats are made using three layers of materials: a top layer, a bottom layer that folds up around the edges to trim and finish each placemat and a layer of fusible interfacing that is sandwiched between the top and bottom layers. Or, you can use a pre-quilted fabric for the top layer, which would eliminate the need for any interfacing. Frankly, any type of fabrics can be used to make the placemats in the manner I am about to describe. You are limited only by your imagination here.
How to sew placemats
What you will need to make four 12” by 18” placemats:
- 7/8 yard fabric for the bottom fabric
- 3/4 yard fabric for top layer
- 3/4 yard fusible flannel interfacing/batting
- Matching thread
- One roll fusible webbing – ½” wide, like Stitch Witchery®
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make these placemats practical choice and give them a more finished appearance.
- Don’t forget to pre-wash your cotton fabric to ensure they retain their size and shape when the completed placemats are washed.
- Invest in a roll of fusible webbing like Stitch Witchery, which help to achieve the squarest mitered corners.
- Cut the top layer of fabric and interfacing just a bit bigger than needed. When fused together sometimes the combined layers have a tendency to shrink a bit. If cut slightly larger they can then be trimmed to the exact measurement needed. In the end this produces consistent sized placemats that are perfectly rectangular in shape.
Cut the two layers of fabric and the interfacing/batting in the following dimensions: cut the bottom fabric so it measures 14 1/2” by 20 1/2”. This allows for a 5/8” double folded binding, or border, around the perimeter of each placemat. Cut the top fabric layer and the interfacing/batting 13” by 19”.
Fuse the interfacing/batting to the wrong side of the top fabric. Once fused, trim down to a 12” by 18” rectangle.
Place the top fabric onto the wrong side of the bottom fabric centering it within the frame. Pin the layers together to prevent them from shifting about. The exposed bottom fabric edges should be 1 1/4” wide all around.
Press one end of the bottom fabric over the top fabric and press in place. Repeat for the remaining three sides. Make sure the corners are well pressed so creases are visible when unfolded.
Unfold a corner. Using a fabric marking pen and ruler, mark 1 1/4” in from each edge. Note where the lines intersect. Now turn up the corner toward the intersecting point. The marked lines will help ensure the fold is at a perfect 45-degree angle. Press in place.
Turn the corner point under and press. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for the remaining three corners.
Starting at one end turn out the fold. Notice the pressed crease. Now fold the raw edge toward the crease and press in place. Return the fold over the top fabric. This should create a 5/8” border trim. Repeat this process for the remaining 3 sides.
Finesse the mitered corners where needed to make sure they join perfectly and re-press.
Put a small 1/2” piece of the fusible webbing and tuck it inside the border at each mitered corner. Finesse the corner so the corner is square and each side of the border matches perfectly over the webbing.
Press the corner to set the fusible webbing and to hold the corner in place. Repeat Steps 9 and 10 for the remaining three corners.
Once all the corners are set, pin the border in place to ready it for the final stitching.
Stitch the border in place sewing very close to the border edge, pivoting at each corner. I used a straight stitch here, but a decorative stitch could also be used.
As a final enhancement, I chose to embellish the center lines of the leaves in the print with a row of feather stitching. This not only adds some dimension to the placemat it helps to ‘quilt’ or join the top layer to the bottom layer of fabric.
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