Someone asked for a tutorial for how I finish my placemats.
This is basically the birthing method – so it’s definitely not original, or new, but it does make a nice placemat.
1) Make the fronts of your placemats – you can use a single solid fabric, or use patchwork or applique, whatever you like. It’s a great way to use up scraps or orphan blocks.I’ve used one of my favorite designs, a couple strips of patchwork on a white background.
The size is up to you – my sample here is on the small side at 11×14. Keep in mind that you’re going to lose a quarter inch seam allowance on each side.
2) For each placemat, cut a backing and piece of batting the same size as your fronts.
3) Assemble the quilt sandwich. But be careful, the order is a little different than most quilting. I’ve layered them out so you can see the order:
Front, right side up
Backing, wrong side up (so the right sides are together)
You, of course, are going to layer them with the edges neatly lined up.
Pin carefully (I’m usually a lazy pinner, but you don’t want things to shift and twist here)
4) Stitch most of the way around, leaving a gap large enough for your hand to fit through easily. A walking foot helps – if you’re not using one, just be extra careful that things don’t shift. Whatever foot you use, keep an even, quarter inch seam allowance.
You can use pins to mark your opening, like the picture, but I don’t usually bother. If I have a choice, I do try to keep the opening away from patchwork seams, so I don’t put stress on them when I’m turning it.
5) Trim the corners to reduce bulk. Cut the tip of each corner on a 45 degree angle leaving yourself about an 1/8th of an inch seam allowance to the corner.
6) Turn your placemat. I don’t have a picture here, really, there’s no way to take a picture of this that doesn’t just look like a ball of fabric, and I’m sure you can figure it out. Poke the corners out – I like to use the blunt end of a bamboo skewer, but use whatever, just be careful.
7 ) Press – paying careful attention to the seams. You want them to lie flat and for the backing and front to make a nice even like. I iron the opening too, I think it makes it easier to stitch it up.
8) Which brings me to: hand stitch the opening closed using a ladder stitch. If you don’t know the ladder stitch, here’s a video
9) Top stitch around the edge of your placemat. This helps keep the folded seam in place and gives you a nice edge.
10) Quilt using the technique of your choice – I used machine-quilted straight, random lines, but you could do free motion or handquilting just as easily.
That’s it. Enjoy your new placemat! Or whatever else you like – I make alot of small projects (coasters, tablerunners etc.) the same way