Friday, February 3, 2012

Placemat tutorial

I love square placemats.  I don’t know why, possibly because I can get more of them on the table when the whole motley crew is here.  We are 11 around the table and that many placemats spread out takes up a lot of room.  My preference for size is between 15 and 16 inches.  They hold everything nicely.

I start with the backing.  I cut the fabric piece larger than required ~~ let’s say about 2” more all the way around.  So for a 15” finish, I will cut 17” to start.  I fold the square piece of fabric in half and sew on the folded edge. 
Sewing the back

I use what I call my “rule of thirds”.  One third of the backing is regular stitch length, then a basting stitch length and back to regular stitch length.  I re-enforce the beginning and end of the stitching at the basting break.  To make life easier for me, I fold the fabric in thirds and finger press the folds.   Like so:
I stitch using a ½” seam allowance, not ¼” as you usually would.  Then I trim away the fold very, very close to the edge with my ruler and rotary cutter.

Once that is done, I open it up and then press  the seam flat.  Then I trim it down to the exact same size as the front.

I use needlepunch in my placemats.  I love it!  It never, ever looses its shapes.  It lasts longer than the fabric.  For these particular placemats, I’m also going to slide in some Insulbrite to protect the tables as they could come in handy for fabric trivets at some time.
I lay the shiny side down onto the needlepunch, then I lay the front down facing towards me, then the backing.  The backing is right sides together with the front.

frontpiningThen I sew around the entire placemat, and now I use my walking foot as my guide,  trim away any excess and then  zig-zag all the layers together.
Second to last thing to do is turn it all right side out, by opening up that basting stitching. 
Give it a good pressing.
Pin and slipstitch the opening closed.  You are done.
closing the bag

A PDF is available on the "How To" page on the right hand side of the blog.

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