Sunday, 5 August 2012

How to Make Fabric Placemats: Easy Sewing Tutorial


It is straight, honest! Just a funny camera angle! :D
In the run up to moving to our own place, The Boyfriend and I have had to purchase a lot of little bits and pieces for the flat. I wanted to re-use or recycle wherever possible, so I decided to sew some placemats out of some second hand pillowcases. (Yes, I like sewing with pillowcases).

Why fabric placemats? They're veeery cheap (mine cost less than £1 for four as opposed to at least £5 for a set of placemats from a supermarket), they're washable and you can pick any pattern you like! :)
 

 
To make a fabric placemat, you will need:
  • Three pieces of fabric: one upper piece with your main pattern on, an inner piece to go inside to give extra strength and insulation (I used some cheap white cotton fabric I had), and a bottom piece (which would work well either plain or with the same fabric as the upper piece). You don't need any specialist binding interface.
  • Threads - 2 colours: one the same colour as the main fabric (for seams) and one with a complementary but different colour to add a decorative edging stitch later.
  • Sewing machine is optional but speeds things up immensely!


How to make your fabric placemat
  1. Cut your three fabrics to 35cm x 30 cm (14 x 12 inches) rectangles.

  2. Pin the fabrics together in the following order (see photo): Main (upper) fabric with WRONG side facing up. Under that, the bottom piece of fabric with the RIGHT side facing up. The last layer is the inner fabric, which can be any side up as it won't be seen!

    Floral stripey fabric = upper, yellow = bottom, white = inner

  3. Sew the three pieces of fabric together using a thread the same colour as the main material, leaving about 1cm (half an inch) for seam allowance. You must leave an 8cm (3.5 inch) gap open along one edge, which will be used to turn the placemat the right way out.

  4. Trim the seam allowance to 0.5cm (¼ inch) around the edge, except for where you left the gap. Trim the material away from each corner at a diagonal angle to minimise bulk in the corner when you turn it out.

  5. Turn the placemat the right way out. Make sure you have the upper and bottom fabrics showing. Use a pencil with no lead, a pen with its lid on, a knitting needle or even a fancy-pants seam turner to push out the corners. 
      
  6. Pin the opening closed and use a ladder stitch (see the easy-to-follow YouTube video below, which isn't mine!) to close the gap. It will make the seam completely invisible. 



     
    Almost invisible seam. Catch the knots inside the seam.
     

  7. To give the placemat more rigidity and strength, sew a decorative line approximately 0.5cm (¼ inch) in from the edge using a long running stitch in a thread of a complementary but different colour to the main fabric. Be sure to start and finish the line using a few neat backwards stitches if you are using a sewing machine, so that the thread does not unwravel with use.



    There you have it. Beautiful, easy-to-make placemats in whatever pattern you like, for a fraction of the cost of buying new ones! :)

    P.S. Don't you love those tulips? I nearly kept them as pillowcases! :D
     

7 comments:

Lynn said...

Thank you for sharing this. It looks like it would be easy enough to follow. I love the idea and plan to try it before the end of summer.

skipandscatter said...

Lovely! I really like that these are made from a pillowcase. And your invisible seam is perfect! I need to get over my shyness of the machine and start sewing. Thanks for the tips!

Pamela said...

This is so cool! You can reuse something you'd otherwise toss and it will look so nice.

SpanktheMagicMonkey said...

I like the idea of reusing stuff and creating something useful with it. Keep practising and I bet you’ll eventually become a proper little seamstress. Hope to see more frugal tutorials in the future. Also, I especially like the last photo in the post, very arty and dramatic!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

gotthisfar said...

I recently made a table-runner in a similar way to how you made these table mats. These kinds of things cost really a lot in the shops. I will have a hunt to see if I have enough material left to make matching table mats :)

gotthisfar said...

I recently made a table-runner in a similar way to how you made these table mats. These kinds of things cost really a lot in the shops. I will have a hunt to see if I have enough material left to make matching table mats :)