The Busy Bean

Tutorial – Quilt as You Go Placemats

I’m in a fun swap on Flickr, Spicing up the Kitchen. It’s been fun to look online for new things to make. My partner really wanted placemats, and I happened to have a charm pack of Bliss by Bonnie & Camille in my stash, which was the perfect color for her kitchen. Here’s what I came up with for her.

And a little tutorial for you!

What you need to make four placemats:
One Charm Pack
3/4 yards of coordinating fabric for front
1 yard backing fabric
1 yard fleece (for batting)
1/2 yard binding fabric

Cut your backing fabric and your fleece into 19″x13″ pieces, four of each.

Cut your binding fabric into 1.5″ strips

Now for the tops, start by cutting 25 charm squares into 1.5″ strips, or just cut 76 1.5″x5″ pieces of patterned fabric. Cut your coordinating front fabric (I used white to really make the colors pop) into 19 1.5″ strips. From each strip, cross-cut four pieces in varying lengths from 3″ – 5″ and four 6″ pieces. It’s not too scientific. Really, nothing I do is! Here’s how I did it:

When your strips are all lined up, just pull a few ends down at random, line your ruler up with the three inch mark from the shortest piece. Cut across all of your strips. The, leaving the ruler where it is (if you’re using a 6″ ruler) cut across the top of the ruler too. This will give you two random pieces and two 6″ pieces from each strip. Then, pull the longest ones down at random and do it again.

Sew your random white pieces end to end with your charm strips. Then sew your 6″ strips to the other end of your charm strips. Press all seams to the patterned fabric. Now you get the fun part: playing with the layout of your strips.

Lay them out in sets of 19, lining up the ends of your random white pieces along the bottom, so all of the 6″ pieces are at the top. This will give you the staggered look of your patterned pieces along the center. Now for the quilting.

Lay out your backing piece, patterned side down. Place your fleece on top of it. Now, lay out your center strip face up down the center of your placemat, on top of the batting (fleece).

Now, lay the next piece on top of the center strip, this one facing down. Sew along the side using a 1/4″ seam. Use your walking foot if you have one! Repeat with the strip on the other side of center. Then, press your two side strips open. Keep repeating this, sewing the next strip face down on top of the strip that is now face up.

Once you have all of your strips sewn down, it’s time to trim up the edges.

And bind! I’m not typing up a binding tutorial, because I don’t think I could explain it just right. Instead, I will direct you to Elizabeth Hartman’s tutorial, which is the one I used when binding finally clicked for me!

And you have your finished placemat.

I made a few of these for my partner, then started playing around with the pieces. Use your same strips and start playing with layout and you might come up with this

Or my favorite:

Tie them up with a pretty bow, and you have a perfect gift… anyone you know have a new home? Make them something to celebrate their new space!

Oh, and in case of spaghetti, might I suggest a busy backing fabric… still cute, but not “marinara on white fabric” scary.

If you end up making placemats, or anything from my tutorials, I’d love to see them on my Flickr Group!

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5 Thoughts on “Tutorial – Quilt as You Go Placemats

  1. These turned out way cute.

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  4. Zahra on May 24, 2013 at 8:28 am said:

    I just found your site and I’m so excited to try this placemat. This method of quilting sounds super easy for a beginner. Thank you for the clear and easy to follow tutorial!

  5. Question about these instructions. Is the binding fabric meant to be cut at 1.5″ or 2.5″? The instructions hear say the former but the tutorial you linked to says the latter. I’ve already cut my binding fabric to 1.5″ and it is looking WAY narrow and bunched up even before folding over. Since I’ve already cut the binding strips, I’m going to try to salvage them by using a different binding technique. Thanks though, for this great tutorial!

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