Thursday, January 12, 2012

DIY Placemats

I really love my dining room table and the pilot loves it even more.  The problem with our table is that we live in a condo so that gorgeous dining room table is more like other people's kitchen table, a.k.a. the holding spot for all your crap and the only table we eat at.  To make sure we keep this table for a long time we have always used placemats.  Since I am like a 5 year old when I eat and can be quite messy, we use the ugly plastic ones.  As soon as I got my sewing machine, the DIY placemats (inspired by Jen at My Own Road) were the first project I thought of to enhance the look of the table.  

I've learned that sewing can be an expensive habit so I have made a promise to myself that I will only buy fabric on clearance.  This means I probably won't find the perfect fabric on my first trip so after a few visits to two different fabric stores I finally found an outdoor fabric on clearance in colors that match my home!  Plus the felt fabric for underneath was on clearance.  Now I was specifically seeking out outdoor fabric for on top so it would be easy to clean and the felt on bottom to protect our table.

First I used a disappearing ink marker to measure the fabric I needed to sew each placemat.  I gave myself some extra inches on each side, just in case.

Now that I had my pieces cut I needed to create the lines to sew on to make an appropriate size placement.  I used an extra large calendar we had (it has cool photos of airplanes that I plan to frame... one day) as the tracing tool because it was a great size (17" tall and 20" wide) for my table. 
After I drew the lines I pinned it with right sides (the good one you want people to see) together.  I sewed along the lines leaving 3 inches at one corner.  The opening is to turn the placemat inside out.

 Once I finished sewing I trimmed off the excess fabric.
 Then I turned it inside-out through that small opening.  To help get the corners you may need to stick something inside to poke it out.  I had a sewing needle right by so I just used that.  You can see that it was bubbled up which is not surprising because this is how you would make a pillow.

I pinned the open corner so that I could get it ready to stitch up.

Then ironed the placements flat.  This will help make sure you have straight, even lines.

Instead of drawing lines on the nice side of the fabric I just made sure that it was at the same mark on the sewing machine and I feed the fabric through.  After I did all four sides I was done!  Now being a beginner I had a few issues adjusting the thread tension so it bunched up under the fabric a few times so I made sure to keep the pattern on the top side. 

Here one of the corners is folded over so you can see the felt fabric on the bottom sides.  I'm so happy with the result because not only do I have much nicer placemats but it was super cheap too!


  1. They turned out awesome!!! Love your fabric choice too!

  2. Thanks Jen! I owe it all to you. Hopefully I can come up with a project to inspire you back :)

  3. Dayna - there is a tool you should get for corners. It's plastic, super cheap, and will come in handy in a lot of your projects. Look for it at Joanns. If you have a 50% coupon it ends up only being $3 - but it's better for your corners!
    - Lauren

  4. Thanks Lauren, I will definitely look for that. Each time I go into JoAnn's I am overwhelmed at all of the products there are for sewing. It helps to know which ones I will actually get use of. I really appreciate the tip. Feel free to pass along more when you see that I could use some help :)


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