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I’m so happy to be here sharing a fun project to spruce up your dining table and have you dreaming of warm weather eating. Think meals hot off the grill, cool crisp salads, or a bowl of ice cream. I love the look of circular placemats and how they accent a basic table setting without overwhelming the table. These feature a simple and bright patchwork design with quilting.
This is a great project to play with scraps or go for something new and fresh with a small bundle of your favorite new fabric collection. For my placemats, I chose to feature fabrics from the Up, Up & Away collection, by Skinny Laminx for Cloud9 Fabrics. This collection is printed on organic cotton, is so soft, and has the loveliest sheen. But mostly I love how these pieces play together and make my table a bright and inviting place. Are you ready to make a set of your own? Let’s get started!
- Tutorial is for a set of 4 placemats. Placemats finish at ~15” round.
- All seam allowances are ¼” unless otherwise noted.
- If you happen to be intimidated by the idea of binding a curve, have no fear! I will walk you through it step-by-step with some helpful tips.
- Placemat Template
- 36 – 5.5” squares (9 per placemat)
- 4 – 17” squares backing fabric
- 4 – 17” squares cotton batting
- 6 yards 2.5” bias strip*
- Clover Wonder Clips (optional, but so helpful and useful for all sorts of sewing applications)
- coordinating thread
- basting spray or pins
- walking foot recommended
*I prefer to make my continuous bias strip for binding using this method. ½ yard of fabric should yield at least 6 yards of 2.5” bias strip. Once finished, simply press your bias strip in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) to prep your binding.
1) Layout 9 – 5.5″ squares in a 3 x 3 arrangement as shown below for each placemat.
2) Assemble the placemat tops by first sewing the squares together into rows, and then sewing the rows together. Your finished patchwork block should measure approximately 15.5″ square.
3) Baste your placemat layers together to prepare for quilting. For small projects like this, I like to use 505 spray adhesive, first spraying a small amount on the backing fabric and smoothing the batting on top in sections, and then spraying the batting and repeating with the patchwork top. Alternatively, you could use basting pins to secure the patchwork top, batting and backing.
Note: I recommend using a walking foot for the remainder of the steps.
4) Quilt each placemat as desired. I chose to quilt straight lines at 3/8″ spacing. I like to use a stitch length of 3 – 3.5. I began in the middle of the placemat stitching a straight line very close to one seam. When I reached the end, I simply turned my placemat 90 degrees, took 4 stitches, turned another 90 degrees and continued with the next line. I used the edge of my walking foot to align each subsequent line.
5) Next, use the circular template (available here) to mark and cut out each placemat. Print and cut out the tempate pieces; tape together to form a quarter circle. Then, use the assembled template to cut out 3 additional quarter circles. Tape all 4 pieces together to form a circle. The circle should measure approximately 15″. Center the template on your quilted piece, trace and cut out each placemat.
6a) Now, let’s attach the binding that you have made to the top of the quilted placemat. Begin pinning the binding along the top edge of the placemat, aligning raw edges. Place a few pins for the first 6-7″ (do not sew here).
6b) Begin sewing the binding to the placemat (leaving the 6-7″ tail at the beginning) with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance – be sure to backstitch. Go slowly and be careful not to pull or stretch the binding; gently ease the binding along the curve. You should notice some slack on the opposite edge of the binding as you sew. Stop approximately 6-7″ before you reach the opposite end, backstitch and remove the placemat from your machine.
7a) Pin the remainder of the binding to the edge of the placemat. Trim so that you have approximately 1″ overlap. Press both ends where they meet in opposite directions, as shown below. Unpin and place the binding ends right sides together. Stitch along the pressed line to connect the binding. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and press open.
7b) Finish attaching the binding to the placemat top by pinning and sewing with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Press your binding away from the top of the placemat and make sure that your placemats lay flat and your binding looks smooth (if not, it’s possible that your binding was attached too tightly).
8) Wrap the binding to the back of the placemat and clip or pin in place. Try to evenly align your binding edge so that it is just past the visible seam (that you just stitched) on the back of the placemat. The Clover Wonder Clips work wonderfully here, because they hold the binding firmly in place as it is sewn from the top.
8b) Now, stitch in the ditch or stitch adjacent to the binding edge on the top, making sure that you catch the edge of the binding on the back. I like to use a stitch length of 3-3.5 here. Again, go slowly and stop frequently to check the back. Remove clips as you go. Stitch all the way around the top of each placemat. If you have any areas where the binding is not secured on the back, you can go over them again or stitch them down by hand using a ladder stitch.
Your binding should look nice and neat on both the front and back of your placemat. Choose a side or mix and match!
And, that’s all folks! Repeat for all four and you’ve got yourself a fun new set of placemats. Now, make it complete with your favorite meal and linger at your table with family or friends.
Fabrics Used: Up, Up & Away by Skinny Laminx for Cloud9 Fabrics (top), Yarn-Dyed Essex Linen in steel by Robert Kauffman (back), Hand Drawn Stripes in Fern from Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander (binding)