Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins Holiday Sew-Along

on October 3 | in Color Block Placemats + Napkins Sew-Along, Handmade Holidays, Sew-Alongs, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 75 Comments

Designer Elizabeth Hartman of Oh,Fransson! joins us Mondays this October with a Color Blocks Placemat + Napkin Sew-Along! Elizabeth will guide you through the entire project in four installments, today and October 10, 17 and 24. Join us and add your progress photos each week in the Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins Sew-Along group for your chance to win some fantastic prizes. Have fun, and don’t forget to download your PDF with all of today’s important information for starting the placemat and napkin sew-along.

Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins: Part One
Hello Sew-Alongers! For the next few weeks, I’ll be going over the process of making a set of four patchwork napkins and quilted placemats. Each finished napkin will measure about 20” x 20” and each finished placemat will measure about 13” x 18”.

My instructions are based on making four, but today’s PDF file includes information about how to double, triple, or quadruple the pattern to make 8, 12, or 16 sets. Our goals for the first week of the sew-along are selecting fabric and preparing it for sewing, including cutting out all of the pieces we’ll use during the next three weeks. Let’s start with selecting fabric.

I wanted to keep my placemats and napkins looking clean and modern, so I chose a very simple combination of fabrics, as follows:

Component 1: Four Patchwork Fabrics

These are the fabrics that will make up most of the placemat tops and the edges of the napkins. To duplicate the look of my project, start with a single multicolored print and then choose three monochromatic (one color) print and/or solid fabrics that coordinate with it.

I started with the beautiful gray, orange, and white print. Then I added subtle prints in gray and orange, rounding out the selection with a gray solid.

Fabrics used:

Alternately, you can use your scraps for this part of the project. The cutting directions include a diagram with the dimensions of each piece you will need.

Component 2: Neutral Solid Fabric

Think of your neutral solid fabric as the walls of a room in which you’re going to hang your patchwork fabrics and choose a color accordingly. I used White Essex cotton/linen blend, which also adds a nice texture and a little bit of weight to the finished placemats and napkins.

Component 3: Bold Solid Fabric

If your neutral solid is the plain wall, your bold solid is the wild piece of furniture you put in the room to liven things up. This fabric will be used to add a pop of color the backs of the napkins and placemats, and for the binding on the placemats. I used Kona Paprika.

Other Things You Will Need:
For each placemat, you’ll need a 15” x 20” piece of low-loft cotton batting. I recommend Warm and White or Warm and Natural because they’re easy to work with and don’t shrink appreciably in the wash.

You’ll also need thread for piecing, topstitching, quilting, and binding. Use one or more different threads, depending on your preference. I used the same off-white cotton thread for piecing, topstitching, and quilting, but I used a matching thread to finish the paprika-colored binding.

Now let’s talk about prepping and cutting the fabric. I don’t usually prewash my fabric for quilting, but I think it’s a good idea for this project, primarily for the napkins. Have you ever bought napkins only to have the hems wrinkle up weirdly in the wash? That’s what we’re trying to avoid. Prewash your fabrics in cool to warm water using the same detergent and machine settings you’re likely to use for the finished project. You do not need to prewash your batting. Take your fabric out of the dryer when it’s still just a bit damp and press it thoroughly. Refold the fabric, matching the selvage edges (so it looks the way it did when it came off the bolt).

The PDF download for this week includes yardage requirements and rotary cutting directions. If you need more information about how to use rotary cutting tools, Pages 25 – 28 in my book The Practical Guide to Patchwork go over the basics. You can also reference this earlier tutorial that the lovely and talented Jacquie Gering wrote for Sew,Mama,Sew!

Don’t forget!: Post photos of your progress in the Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins Sew-Along Flickr group each week for a chance to win:

Really!– Add a photo of the fabric you’ve selected, the cuts you’ve made… We want to see it all!

Comment today for your chance to win a new sewing book! We’ll select two winners from the comments each week. This week YOU can win Everything Alice or Sewing with Oilcloth. For book details see this post, and don’t forget to add your progress photo to our Sew-Along Flickr Pools for more chances to WIN!

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75 Responses to Color Blocks Placemats + Napkins Holiday Sew-Along

  1. […] Today focuses on piecing your color block placemats. For previous sew-along instructions visit Part 1: Selecting Fabrics + Cutting and Part 2: Sewing the […]

  2. Rose says:

    Oh, I’m so glad I stumbled upon this tutorial for the color block napkins and placemats! I love this pattern so much.

  3. Gina Drummond says:

    These are the prettiest placements and napkins I’ve seen. I’ve been looking for several weeks for a pattern for both so I could start making Christmas gifts. I’m jazzed about making some now!

  4. […] from designer Elizabeth Hartman of Oh,Fransson!. If you’re just joining in, first visit Part 1: Selecting Fabrics + Cutting. Today focuses on creating the Color Blocks napkins; Elizabeth will be back each Monday in October […]

  5. Karen A says:

    Is the quilting marked first? OR, was this done in the embroidery machine? looks very nice, but I can’t imagine you free-handed (free motion) it!? Please tell us you are NOT going to tell us to “quilt as desired” and leave us all wondering HOW you did the nice overall quilting…. Lovely design and execution!

  6. Stephenny Stiles says:

    I am so excited! I can’t wait to use the scraps from my quilted Christmas tree skirt project last year. This way all the table decor will match with my overall theme!

  7. Diane says:

    These are great! And I really love your instructions for picking out the fabrics. I also love the scrappy ones that you made! Do you have any tips on picking out fabrics when doing a scrappy layout that is different than what you put here? Thanks! 🙂

  8. Cricket says:

    I’m so far behind in my reader I’m glad I’m not late to the party. Especially for my favorite part – petting all the applicants.

  9. Pegj51 says:

    I love sewalongs. And I love these placemats. What fun!

  10. Jenn says:

    So excited about this project!

  11. Vicki B. says:

    How lovely and modern! There are some things I like to look old and some things I like more modern(like my kitchen). This will be fun!

  12. Thank you for this lovely and sophisticated sew-along. I am looking forward to making these!

  13. Glynis says:

    Thankful for the talented Elizabeths inspiration and guidance so we can joyfully and peacefully prepare gifts now for the coming holiday season. Have been wanting to make a set for Thanksgiving for inlays and this is the perfect way to see it actually happen. Inch by inch it’s a cinch!! Thanks Sew Mama!! Glynis

  14. Rhonda says:

    These are beautiful. I have never quilted before, would this make a good beginner project?

  15. lucy says:

    loving this sew along, I’m all done for this week and uploaded to flikr, can’t wait for next week xxx

  16. Rockgranny says:

    I love this – can’t wait to get started!Placemats would be great Christmas gift for my niece

  17. Pam T. says:

    What a wonderful sew-along. Thank you to sewmamasew and Elizabeth!

  18. NancyinSTL says:

    I’m searching through my fabric stash now. Although I’m already in the process of making placemats from my own pattern, these look so pretty and easy that I’m going to have to give it a go. Unfortunately, I only have fat quarters of the fabrics that I would really like to use, so I might have to make mine scrappy. Thanks!

  19. carriem says:

    I might just have to post to that flickr group. The sew-along is just too irresistible!

  20. lm says:

    thanks for the great guidance on fabric selection!

  21. Emily says:

    Aahhh – I’m in – This will be a great one for using my stash. Then I’ll be able to rationalize buying some new prints!

  22. Julia says:

    Excited to try these! I want to have more practice quilting so this is perfect.

  23. Debby says:

    This is a great idea. Can’t wait to get started. I’m doing mine in beachy prints for our floating houme. Have fun everyone.

  24. Kerry says:

    I must get started on this today, I must, I must!

  25. Adelle says:

    So excited to start this! Waiting for my fabric so I can cut!

  26. HeartOSunshine says:

    Love the placemats! I’m looking forward to this sew-along!

  27. Kathy says:

    Nice placemats; great intro to fabric choices; this looks like a fun project and it appears as though it would go together pretty quickly.

  28. amy dame says:

    this looks fabulous, i can’t wait to rummage through my stash in search of fabrics my mom will love for our holiday table!

    has it been said anywhere what the weekly deadline for posting pictures is? what’s considered the end of the week, Friday, Saturday or Sunday? thanks!

  29. Debby says:

    What a great idea. I have a hard time doing classroom classes with my schedule. I can do this anytime! Can’t wait to gather my fabric.

  30. jil says:

    wow, this should be interesting to see what others come up with. I love the placemats and am needing some new ones the co-ordinating napkins are lovely too.

  31. Sara says:

    Super cute! I can’t commit to a sew-along right now but I will have fun watching-along instead.

  32. Sabrina says:

    Unfortunately with a new baby and toddler I can’t find time to sew along but hoping I can make these another time!

  33. I’ll be looking into my stash, I seriously need new placemats for 6, glad for the extra fabric instructions.

  34. Debbie says:

    Perfect for presents

  35. […] need placemats and I need a deadline that others are following while making the same thing, so the Color Blocks Placemats and Napkins Sew-Along based on a pattern by Elizabeth Hartmann, hosted by her at Sew, Mama, Sew!, sounds like a fantastic […]

  36. Jess, are you going to place the table runner across the table so that two people will use the same runner? Cool idea also if the direction is over the length of the whole table.

  37. Diane says:

    These are fantastic! I love her great instructions for picking/coordinating the fabric! 🙂 Thanks! I can’t wait to get started!

  38. gaileee says:

    Now I’ll be looking in my Christmas fabric stash for this project! Yes! Thank you!

    gaileee at yahoo dottith com

  39. Beth says:

    Finally something to do with all the Christmas scraps!

  40. Ruth says:

    I have been wanting to make placemats and napkins forever, but I wanted something fairly simple. This looks like the pattern I want. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Sonja says:

    Love it!

  42. […] Oh, Fransson!’s Color Blocks Placemats & Napkins Holiday Sew-along […]

  43. Jana says:

    I just finished collecting fabric and scraps from my stash. This is perfect timing, as I need placemats and napkins for upcoming holiday parties. Thanks! 😀

  44. carolyn says:

    Just in time, I’m going to make 2 sets cuz I need some more too.
    These are great & should make up in a snap!
    Thank you

  45. Sarah says:

    Cannot wait to get started! I need to ask my friends what this year’s Christmas colour scheme will be…

  46. Sarah K says:

    This is so exciting! I can’t wait to get started on my very first placemats!

  47. VickiT says:

    I really like this idea. I had plans last year to make table runners as gifts for the holidays but those never got done. Now this year I am hoping once again to do them. Napkins and placemats matching a runner would be an awesome gift for Christmas.

  48. Cass says:

    I’m going to join in this one. 🙂

  49. Lara says:

    I need to make some place mats as gifts, so this fits in nicely. Really like the quilting on the samples.

  50. Rebecca says:

    I’m so excited to make these for my Mom for the holidays. Going to the stash to pick fabrics right now!

  51. Lauri says:

    Decisions, decisions…. (This is the hardest part! LOL!)

  52. Bridget says:

    I love this – can’t wait to get started! What a fun sew along!

  53. Denise says:

    Time to dig through my Christmas stash, and cut, cut, cut!

  54. Mhairi says:

    I wish I had the time to join in with this one but I had to choose so I will keep these for next year when I (hopefully) have a bit more time

  55. Foster says:

    I’m going to use all my scraps for this one!

  56. Jess says:


    I am trying to decide if I want to make mine in fall colors or Christmas. I’m planning to make one long table runner instead of separate place mats, so I may do fall colors on one side and Christmas colors on the other if I can get that much out of my stash! 🙂

  57. Cayce says:

    This is great. I have leftover christmas fabric from a tree skirt I made last year. Here’s hoping I have enough to make these!

  58. I have never done a sew-along…but am super excited to start!!! 🙂

  59. Sonja says:

    Yes, Here it is! Off to my fabric stash. I know just who will receive this set for Christmas!

  60. Annie says:

    What a neat gift for my newly-married daughter, for her dollhouse of an apartment! Must make.

  61. Count me in! I have been meaning to make or buy placemats for a long time so the timing is perfect. No napkins though, we’re all set there. I really like how all fabrics get to shine in Elizabeth’s patern, well done. Am looking forward to see what everyone comes up with.

  62. Lee says:

    The placemats are beautiful! I am off to look through my stash! thanks for the giveaway of a book!

  63. Teri Mason says:

    So excited. I have been wanting placemats for a while now, you are giving me the incentive I need to get going! Just can’t decide if I want Christmas or normal ones.

  64. Kati says:

    I should really do this sew along…would make a great gift for my mom!

  65. Alli says:

    Ooh, I’m excited to make these! 🙂

  66. Laurel says:

    I love love love the fabrics used. I hope I can find some I love love love to use, too.

  67. Karin says:

    Hi….so excited to participate in this holiday project! Going to start gathering fabrics tonite!

  68. These are going to be the Christmas gifts for my dad.
    I am defnetly following!! 🙂

  69. Charlotte Lund Rasmussen says:

    Can’t wait to give this to my mum once they are finished! 🙂

  70. Jessica says:

    My favortie part about the placemats is the decorative stitching!

  71. Jessica says:

    My favorite part about the placemats is the decorative stitch!

  72. Kelsey Rose says:

    The quilting on those placemats is beautiful – wouldn’t have thought to use quilting like that on placemats!

  73. Katrina H says:

    These are stunning! I’m going to have to start pulling some fabrics today!

  74. rwebb says:

    I am so excited for this sew along! I love Elizabeth’s book and am making the “small plates” quilt right now.

  75. Carole says:

    Oh I’m going to have to follow along with these. I’ve been wanting some placemats and nice napkins for our little table.

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