Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Janelle at Sew to Speak should be super flattered.  I saw these placemats on the Sew to Speak blog and I absolutely had to make some myself.  Apparently, they are inspired by some that were available at Anthropologie, though I never saw them myself.  While making these, I thought a little sadly that I wouldn't keep them for myself.  Though I love the look of fabric placemats, having children has given me a heightened appreciation for cheap, plastic placemats that never have to be washed or ironed.  I gave these to my mother as a gift, and I think they'll be much happier in their new home.

I'm sure that, like me, others sometimes buy packs of coordinating fat quarters without really having a need for them.  This is a great project for a pretty bunch of fabric.  I don't know what Janelle's measurements for her placemats were, but this is what I did:

  • I bought a pack of 5 fat quarters and cut them into 4" strips.
  • The 4" strips were cut to lengths of 19" (A), 7.5" (B), 14.5" (C) and 12" (D).  To make 6 placemats, you'll need 6 pieces in each length.
  • Use a neutral fabric (like this linen-blend) and cut 6 pieces that measure 7.5"x12".   I think that it might be really neat to use a brightly-colored solid fabric in the center, too.  There are lots of things that could be done here. 
  • For three of the placemats, you'll sew piece B to both short sides of the linen with right sides together.  Press the seams open and sew piece A, right sides together, to the long sides.
  • For the other three placemats, sew piece D to the long sides of the remaining linen pieces, right sides together.  Press the seams open and sew piece C to the short sides of the linen piece that you've just created.
  • At this point, I recommend pressing all seams open.  The placemat should be about 18"x14".
  • Cut 6 pieces of iron-on interfacing to 18"x14" and attach it to the back of your placemats.
  • You'll want to use an embroidery hoop to hold your placemats while you embroider the stripes in the center.  
  • Use masking tape to mark even lines, either horizontal or vertical, on your placemats.  Mine are all vertical lines, but the Sew to Speak placemats used some horizontal stripes.
  • Using an embroidery needle and perle cotton or embroidery floss, stitch small lines along the edges of your masking tape.  The tops of the stitches should be a bit longer than the stitches on the underside.
  • Once you have finished stitching your lines, cut 6 pieces of home decor fabric or quilting fabric  to about 18"x14".
  • Right sides together, stitch the pieces together, leaving a 4" gap for turning.
  • Clip corners and turn placemat right-side out.  Press.
  • Sew around the placemat, about 1/8" from the edge.

These directions are very brief - I'm happy to elaborate for anyone who is interested.

I didn't have enough fabric to give all of the placemats matching backs - instead, I used some miscellaneous home decor fabric from Joann to complete the placemats.  All of my placemats are different on top, so I think that the mismatched backs are appropriate.

I just love the mismatched goodness of these placemats - I am so glad that I saw the originals on the Sew to Speak blog!


  1. So glad you liked our post! your placemats are lovely!

  2. Thanks! I think there will be matching napkins in the near future!