Today we have our final set of instructions for the Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins Holiday Sew-Along from designer Elizabeth Hartman of Oh,Fransson!. Elizabeth is the author of The Practical Guide to Patchwork, a beautiful and comprehensive guide to creating fresh and modern quilts.
Today’s post focuses on finishing the placemats; for previous sew-along instructions visit Part 1: Selecting Fabrics + Cutting, Part 2: Sewing the Napkins and Part 3: Piecing the Placemats. Be sure to add photos of your progress and finished pieces to the Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins Sew-Along group this week for a chance to win a pack of 12 Kona fat quarters.
Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins: Part Four
Greetings, Sew-Alongers! We’re up to Week 4 and all that’s left is to finish the placemats. If you’re familiar with quiltmaking, this should be pretty straightforward-– You’ll just finish each placemat as you would a mini quilt.
If you’re not familiar with quiltmaking, don’t worry! Consider this an opportunity to practice some basic techniques on a small scale.
In addition to your pieced placemat tops, you should have 1 piece of batting measuring 15” x 20” and 1 piece of backing fabric measuring 16-1/2” x 21-1/2” for each placemat.
Start by laying a piece of backing fabric, right side down, on your work surface. Center a piece of batting on top of the backing fabric, and center a pieced placemat top, right side up, on top of the batting. Use small, curved safety pins to hold the layers together during quilting. (For a small project like this a total of 10 or fewer pins should be just fine.)
If you haven’t already, you’ll next want to decide how to quilt the placemats. I machine quilted both sets of mine, but hand quilting would work equally well.
If you’re familiar with free-motion quilting, a small canvas like this can be a great opportunity to try out quilting patterns that might be more challenging on a larger scale. For my orange and gray placemats, I used a water soluble marker to draw a grid of 2” squares on each of my placemat tops and free-motion quilted a dogwood flower motif in each one.
Straight line quilting can also provide a clean and beautiful finish. In order to sew through the layers of your placemats with ease, I recommend using a walking foot. For my scrappy placemats, I used my walking foot to quilt vertical and horizontal lines across the top of each placemat. When straight line quilting, I avoid stitching “in the ditch” (right on top of the seams), opting instead to quilt about 1/4″ away from the seams. I just think it creates a cleaner look.
When you’re finished quilting, Use your rotary cutter and ruler to trim the edges of each placemat even with the pieced top. In theory, each placemat should measure 13-1/2” x 18-1/2”, but don’t be alarmed if quilting has reduced the size a bit. That’s totally normal!
Now it’s time to bind the raw edges. If you followed the cutting directions from Week 1, you should have 2 strips 2-1/2” x width of fabric to make binding for each placemat. I used my strips to make double-fold binding that was machine sewn to the front and hand finished on the back of each placemat. If you prefer to finish your binding by machine, don’t hesitate to use that method here.
And that’s all there is to it! Enjoy your beautiful finished placemats. Thank you for sewing along.
If you need more step-by-step information on how to do the machine quilting or binding, please check out my book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork. You may also want to check out this earlier post on Sew,Mama,Sew!, which includes a list of quilting and binding resources.
Comment today for your chance to win a new sewing book! We’ll select two winners from the comments each week. This week you might just win Sewn by Hand: Two Dozen Projects Stitched with Needle & Thread or Get the Most from Your Sewing Machine. For book details see this post, and don’t forget to add your progress photos to our Sew-Along Flickr Pools for more chances to WIN!