Sew Awesome | Simple Placemats

I'm a newlywed, so I've been blessed to have my kitchen stocked to the rafters with every variety of chopper, storage container, and specialty cooker imaginable due to the kindness of many family and friends. In our wedding registry, my husband and I originally listed a simple, yet attractive set of olive green placemats to match the brown and green kitchen towels we had requested. Much to my husband's dismay, I waffled through at least five potential color schemes before deciding we couldn't register for any linens until I was sure what colors I wanted to use for our kitchen and dining room. After an unhealthy amount of blog-surfing, I began a passionate affair with grey and white. My husband wasn't quite on board with the colors, so I had to win him over slowly, one project at a time. (I'm not sure I've really convinced him yet, but he's sweet enough to pretend he doesn't see my plan creeping through our house.) Oh the joy of our forbidden romance!

While coveting the vast array of fabrics at my local fabric store, I came upon this pretty pattern, and immediately sent a picture to my husband. I was thrilled beyond belief when he said he'd be OK with using this fabric to make place-mats. While grey and white aren't necessarily the most exotic combination, I hope to eventually create a few table runners in different colors to add a seasonally-appropriate pop of color to our home. That being said, I'd like to walk you through my quick expedition through the fabric jungle.

2 Yds cotton fabric in fun pattern (you could also opt for one yard each of two complimentary fabrics for reversible mats)
2 Yds Fabric Stabilizer (I used Pellon in 50 or 70- whatever was the cheapest by the yard)
1 Yd Fusible Interfacing (I cheated a little here, you'll see in a second)
Optional-Freezer Paper Stencil(s) and Fabric or Acrylic Paint

YIELD: 6 Rectangular Placemats, 12" x 16". (I decided I wanted this size based on a highly scientific method, as pictured below.)

STEP 1: Cut fabric into 12 rectangles 13" x 17". Cut stabilizer into 6 rectangles 12" x 16". Cut interfacing into 6 rectangles 13" x 17". (As I was cutting my materials at 10 pm, I realized I didn't have enough interfacing, but I didn't fret. The interfacing primarily acts to attach the stabilizer to the cotton, so I cut 12 strips of 2.5" x 17". I'll attach them to the top and bottom of each mat to secure the stabilizer semi-effectively.)

STEP 2: On the back of each of 6 cotton rectangles, center one rectangle of stabilizer, then top with one rectangle of interfacing, shiny side down. According to the package direction for your interfacing, iron the rectangles until there is a good bond between the layers.

STEP 2.5: (So named because of its optional nature): I wanted to monogram my placemats with our last initial, so I turned to the ever-trusty freezer-paper method to accomplish the task. If you've never heard of this before, prepare to have your mind blown. A quick and easy tutorial can be found at I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar. You can really go as crazy as you want, but I found it easiest to apply the monogram to the stabilized side of the mats (so the fabric doesn't do the slip and slide when it gets wet from the paint).

STEP 3: Pin together one stabilized and one naked/non-stabilized side of your mat, right sides together. Since I had a pretty intense linear pattern in my fabric, I wanted to line the mats up as perfectly as possible. The paper lining on the back of the interfacing made an easy surface for me to draw straight lines on to guide the foot of my sewing machine. Leave a 5" gap on one short side of the mat, and sew around the edge of the mat with a 1/2" seam allowance. Peel away the paper backing from the fusible interfacing.

STEP 4: Flip the mat inside-out, making sure to push out each corner into a nice (or almost-nice, as I was frustrated to end up with a few times) 90-degree angle. Press all of the seams, and create a nicely ironed edge where the opening in the mat is.

STEP 5: Beginning on the edge that has a opening, sew a 1/4" (or smaller, depending on your talent and taste) seam around the entire mat, overlapping the ends by an inch to finish the stitch. Depending on the color and busy-ness of your pattern, it might be fun to try an interesting color contrast in your thread choice; I, however, am a stickler for cleanliness and order, so I went with a white stitch.

Admire how put together your table now looks whether naked

or all dolled up.  

We're super fancy in this house, so we obviously set the table like this often.

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