Improv Placemats

on September 24 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 3 Comments

Vanesa from New Nest Designs shows you how to make these fun placemats, all cut with a free-hand approach. Learn more about Vanesa in her introduction and consider making some new placemats for our Table Stitch, Table Set, Tablescape Contest!

These placemats are a fun, quick project to add a splash of color to your table. The design is an improvisational take on a square-in-a-square block. If you’ve never used your rotary cutter without a ruler, you’re in for a treat!

Materials to make a set of 2 placemats:

  • Assortment of scraps for the blocks, about ½ yard total
  • ¼ yard for sashing
  • ¼ yard for binding
  • ½ yard for backing
  • Batting
  • Coordinating thread

To begin, select an assortment of scraps to make up the blocks for your placemats. Here I have chosen prints in fall-inspired colors. I recommend at least six different fabrics. Choose more if you prefer a scrappy look.

Layout A
Next cut the pieces to build your block. For this part, put your ruler away and cut free-hand. Don’t be afraid, you’ll be surprised how straight you can cut even without a ruler guiding you. Cut one center rectangle and two borders to go around half of the rectangle. There are no rules for the size of each piece, so you can’t do this wrong! Ultimately each block will be 8”x6” and we will make adjustments at the end by either adding borders or trimming down to make them uniform.

Layout B
Once you’ve cut your block pieces, sew them together as shown in the above. You will need four blocks with layout “A” and four with layout “B.”

Continue cutting and piecing until you have eight blocks to make two placemats. Next use your ruler to trim your blocks to 8” wide by 6” tall. If some of your blocks are too small, add another border to bring the block up to size.

From your sashing fabric cut 1 ½ “ strips. Use the strips to join your blocks together into rows.

Finally join the rows together with another sashing strip to complete your placemat tops.

Quilt and bind as desired. Here I used a walking foot to first stitch in the ditch around the borders and then to echo quilt some blocks. In other blocks I highlighted the fabric pattern by tracing over it with quilting stitches. Cut your binding fabric into 2 ½” strips, join together and press in half. I attach my binding by machine stitching it to the front, folding over and then hand stitching it to the back.

Enjoy your placemats! I would love to see them in the Sew,Mama,Sew! Flickr group!

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3 Responses to Improv Placemats

  1. Kay says:

    I lopve that theae are easy and that I don’t have to be too careful about measuring.

  2. Liz says:

    I love these mats, great for using up all those scraps….

  3. Jocelyn says:

    These placemats are really cute and innovative!! Thanks for the little tutorial.

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