How to Make a Placemat
A Beginner’s Lesson
Learn how to make a placemat for your kitchen table, or a set of four. The first thing you will need to do is decide what fabric you want for your placemats. One yard of your favorite fabric will be enough for the tops. You will also need one yard of thin batting and one yard of material for the backing. You will need matching thread and your regular sewing supplies.
Cut four pieces, one for each placemat. Each piece would measure 13 x 17, which will give you a 12 x 16 placemat. You will cut the same size for the batting and the backing. The remaining fabric you will use later on, to cut strips for binding the outside of the placemats. You can use any type of fabric for the backing. A white sheet will work.
You will lay your fashion fabric piece face down, then layer the batting next and finally place the backing fabric face up. This is called the quilt sandwich. Pin together starting from the center and working your way out to the edges, using safety pins.
To quilt your placemat you can measure 4-inch lines on the diagonal in both directions. You can mark them with a bar of soap or you can purchase a fabric marking pen. Set your sewing machine to a long stitch and sew along the lines, sewing slowly, so the fabric does not bunch up. When you have finished sewing all of your lines, your fabric is now quilted. Trim the placemats to the correct size and you are ready to bind them. To make it easier to bind, you might want to round all the corners(until you have more practice and can make mitered corners). This can be done by using a small saucer and tracing around the outside corner. You could also use a larger plate or a small pan, anything that will make rounded corners.
Another way to quilt your placemats, would be to hand tie them. You would mark off every four inches across and down. At each intersection, you would take a needle and yarn or embroidery floss, and make a double knot. Tie off, and move on the next one, leaving about 1 ½ inches of tails.
To bind your placemat, you will cut strips of 2 ¼ inch wide strips from the remaining piece of fashion fabric or you may use the white sheet for the binding. Sew all the strips together. You will need to iron your binding strip by folding it in half. You will then take your folded sides and fold both sides toward the middle and iron those down. They do make a tool now that helps to make binding. You can slide your fabric into the binder maker, it will automatically fold in the right places and you just need to iron them down.
The next step will be to pin your binding to your placemat. With your placemat facing up, lay your binding with raw edges together face down on top. Pin all the way around. Before you start sewing, leave about 3 inches open on the end to insert the end of the binding into and sew them together at the same time. When you reach the beginning of the binding where you started, cut about one inch past the beginning. Tuck the one-inch strip into the 3-inch length that was left open and sew down. Now you will fold over the remaining binding to the wrong side of the fabric, tucking the raw edge under and sew down by hand or by machine.
Do this four times and you will have a place setting for four. You now have the experience to start working on a quilt. You would follow the same steps, only on a larger scale.