Natalie from Hungry Hippie started sewing in 2009 when she moved to England as a new mother. She was initially just looking for an easy home hobby but quickly fell in love with sewing. Natalie writes that she is, “…Found most days at my sewing machine or basting a quilt on the living room floor. We are now back in the USA, where a quilt shop is just a click away. I’m always happy to chat about sewing, quilting or anything Outlander related. 2016 is going to be amazing!”

To kick off some amazing sewing in the new year, Natalie shows you how to make quick and happy placemats! These would be a thoughtful gift or a nice way to freshen your own table. She also has a companion tutorial at Hungry Hippie for a sweet mini-quilt or wall hanging version utilizing the same technique shown with the placemats.

Find more from Natalie at Hungry Hippie or on Facebook or Instagram. In addition to the companion mini-quilt tutorial, there’s a BIG giveaway at Hungry Hippie. Head over and comment for a chance to win either a FOUR pack of Amy Butler Purse patterns or a jelly roll of pretty, new fabric.

Here’s an easy project you can whip up in an afternoon! I particularly like the improvisational nature of it, as sewing without rules can be so satisfying! I call this technique Rip ‘n Strip, and came up with one night when I needed a quick quilt for a friend. I love the raw edges and the texture it brings.

Here we go!

Gather fabrics in your choice color palette. I used seasonal inspiration for these placemats, but use whatever combination you like. I am using Essex linen blend in charcoal as my base for the place mat and this red dotty fabric as my strip fabric.

Cut two pieces of base mat fabric measuring 12 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ (charcoal color in photos).

Cut one piece of batting to the same measurement, and press to wrong side of base fabric piece. Set aside.

Make strips of the feature fabric by cutting into it about 2″ or so, then ripping the rest of the way. This gives the fibers a textured look.

Place the strips on the top base place mat piece in a pleasing arrangement. At first I was going to cover the whole piece, but then I decided to go halfway up so I can still see the Essex linen blend. As another alternative, you can make a shape like a Christmas tree, an ornament, a snowman or anything else like hearts, etc… Have fun with it.

Once you find the arrangement you like, get out some Wonder-Under and cut strips to the same length and approximate width of the strips. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match, just enough to keep the fabric strip in place while you appliqué it down to the base place mat piece. Place the Wonder-Under strip on the base fabric piece, then place the ripped strip of feature fabric on top. Press.

Press with a hot iron to adhere the fabric strip to the base fabric. Once adhered, sew along the long edges of each strip to secure them to the base.

Tip: try not to get any adhesive on your iron, it can be sticky. If you do, just dab a kitchen towel in some cooking oil and run along the hot iron plate to get the adhesive off the iron. It really works, and it makes your sewing space smell like french fries!

Once all the strips are sewn on, place the top and bottom place mat pieces right sides together and pin. Sew around the perimeter leaving a space of 4″-6″ open for turning.

Turn right sides out and close the opening by top stitching around the entire place mat.

You’re finished! Great work.

Make some random designs too, have fun!

This is a great beginner project for new sewists, and a fast last-minute gift option for Christmas or any holiday. Imagine heart shaped ones for Valentines Day!

These are washer and dryer friendly, and they will fray up more and more with each wash. Trim super long threads with scissors, and give them a good press to keep them tidy. Use fun fabric on the back side to keep things fresh.