Sunday, August 9, 2009

Placemats and Napkins...quick tutorial

So, I'm really trying to hand-make all the gifts we give and I recently had another excuse to make something new: my youngest cousin is getting married and the bridal shower is today. To be completely honest, I had no idea what to make her, but my mom gave me the idea for table linens and here is the matching set of placemats and napkins.

I love using cloth napkins and placemats in our house, but have never made my own. This was the perfect excuse to try it out. You'll see that it's really not that hard to make them and it saves money by not buying store bought linens, and by not buying paper napkins at all.

Before I get started, you should know that I didn't follow any specific pattern and I often plan as I go. So this tutorial is not an exact science, by any means. But if it inspires someone else, great!

You'll need approximately 1 1/2 yards of placemat fabric (Fabric A), 1 yard of napkin fabric (Fabric B), and 4 packs of extra wide bias binding for 4 placemats and 4 napkins.

I started with the napkins...First I folded Fabric B in half, matching the selvages. Then I cut a 17"x17" square at the folded side (bottom right square in the picture). After cutting the square, cut along the fold so you have 2 identical 17" squares.

The left over strips on the left were used to embellish the placemats later.

The napkins were beyond easy. Just fold all sides over 1/4" inch, then fold over 1/4" again and iron. I used the techniques from this tutorial for the mitered corners and they turned out great.

Next come the placemats. I cut 2 rectangles (16" x 21 1/2") of Fabric A for each of the placemats. The size is entirely up to you - I just chose this because I liked the proportions. (Skip the following steps on embellishing for even quicker placemats...just put two rectangles wrong sides together and skip to the binding)

Now take your "leftover" strips of Fabric B and fold the long edges over about 1/2" and iron.

Place one strip (right side up) on top of one piece of Fabric A (also right side up). Trim off the excess length and stitch vertically along the edges using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Take your embellished placemat rectangle and place it wrong sides together with a non-embellished piece of Fabric A. Edge stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance around all 4 sides.

Finally, apply your bias binding to the edge of your placemats, mitering the corners as you go.

And, ta-da! You now have a one-of-a-kind set to give away or enjoy every day. Pin It


  1. What a great idea! I love them. Handmade gifts (especially Kari handmade gifts)are the best.

  2. Thanks, Bree! Your vote of confidence is always appreciated! :)


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