13 September 2007

Place Mats Tutorial

Since the place mats (who knew it was two words?!) are actually one of my original designs, I thought it safe to share my instructions on how YOU can make six of them. Plus, a couple of you had asked. So there. Be careful what you ask for.

Materials: Fabric (slightly more than 2.5 yards), thread (to match binding), interfacing, binding.

1. Buy your materials. If you want six place mats, you'll need exactly 2.5 yards (if the fabric is 44" wide) of fabric. So if you like to be safe, buy a little bit more (2.75 yards should be fine). While I won't make promises, I think that any fabric will work. Quilting cottons, linens, etc. I'd stay away from fleece, however. My crazy fabric came from a duvet cover bought at some crazy store.

I used thread that matched the binding so it blended in if my stitching was bad. If you want to highlight the thread, then by all means, buy some contrasting thread.

You will also need 2.5 yards of interfacing (if it's 22" wide; only 1.25 yards if 44" wide). This you can buy at exactly 2.5 yards. Honestly, I can't remember which type of interfacing I bought. I went to the interfacing desk and asked for the cheapest, thickest they had. I like my place mats stiff. (Don't be afraid of the employees--ask them questions! Tell them what you're doing and they probably have a good idea of something that will work for you.)

Buy the binding (bias tape) in a color that matches your place mats. This is really up to you. What's not up to you is how much of it to buy. You'll need 12 yards. I used this "
extra wide double fold bias tape." Definitely get the double fold. Notice that it's sold in packages of three yards. The problem with this is that you'll need six strips of two yards a piece. If you feel confident piecing two one-yard strips together, great, only buy four packages. If not, buy six.

2. This is my least favorite step of all time: wash and iron your fabric. Believe me, you'll feel better if you do.

3. Cut the fabric into twelve rectangles, 15" x 20". See figure 1.

4. Cut the interfacing into six rectangles, 15" x 20". See figure 2.

5. Attach one rectangle of interfacing to one rectangle of regular fabric by following the directions on the interfacing. Make sure to put the interfacing on the WRONG side of the fabric. After doing this, you should have six pieces of fabric with interfacing attached, and six pieces of loose fabric.

6. Put the loose rectangles on top of the interfacing, right side facing up. What you have now should look like a place mat, with both right sides of fabric facing out. Pin all six place mats together, well not all six together, but you should have six place mat sandwiches.

7. Cut the binding into two-yard pieces if you haven't already done so. Pin it to the outside of the place mat, with the wider side of the binding on the BACK of your place mat. Make sure it goes in ONE continual loop around the perimeter of the place mat. To do the corners, well, just try to make them as pretty (and flat) as possible. It would be impossible for me to type what I do. Suffice it to say, it's kind of like wrapping the ends of a present. Think right angles. See figure 3. (Notice the cute little red pins. They go around the entire place mat, of course. I'm just too lazy to cut and paste any more.)
8. Attach the binding by sewing as close to the inner edge as possible. See the white edge stitching in figure 3.

You're done! Congratulations! Please let me know if you have any questions. And when/if you make your own, post them on your blog and send me a link. I'd love to see what others do!


Megan said...

Thank you, thank you. I can't wait to try them. Sounds pretty straight forward. I will post my results.
Thanks again!!

holly said...

cool! great instructions. maybe once we buy new furniture and can actually seat 6 comfortably I'll give it a go! ; ) I wonder what you could add to the "sandwich" to make a kid version ie wipable rather than absorbing....

erin said...

i guess you could cover them in plastic, holly, and then sew that "sandwich." i'm sure fabric stores would have some suggestion.

Chris said...

Erin, I am Daniel's sister and long time friend of the whole Huband clan. I believe we may have met once, but anyhow. I am quite frankly the LEAST crafty person I know and as I saw Linda comment do you now sell these placemats? I can always seem to come up with more money than talent or time. Besides yours are so pretty and I am sure mine would be a sad sight as most of my "anti-crafty" projects are.

Andrea said...

Totally dumb question, but are these pieced or is the fabric just striped? I linked here from somewhere else, and I really love the look of these place mats, I'm just trying to figure out exactly what I'm looking at.


erin said...

andrea---not a dumb question. mine were not pieced; the fabric came from a very large piece of fabric that i bought at urban outfitters. i think it was part of a duvet cover, actually!

Andrea said...

Great! That actually is a relief to me, because without pieceing, I still have hope to get some done maybe even before Thanksgiving! Thanks so much. love the blog!

Alyssa said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Found it from the Sew Mama Sew blog...

One question though, are these machine washable? I've never used interfacing before but you mention it being "stiff", so I wondered how that would fare being used and abused.


erin said...

hi alyssa...to be honest, i have NO idea how they will wash. i'm actually quite scared. i know that's certainly not optimal for placemats, but right now i live in a house with only two adults. i trust us to not make a mess. however, kids might force me into plastic coating the mats! thanks for visiting.

Cole said...

This is a great tutorial, one I think I could do without much harm. ;)

I'm not familiar with interfacing but the power of the internet says there is sew in and fuse (iron) in types. Which did you use?

Also, is there a right and wrong side of the bias tape?