12 Days of Handmade Christmas Day 3|Appliqued Placemats

by Edie Wadsworth on November 3, 2010

Don’t you love the ’12 Days’ already?! Me too. I’m already behind. I wish I could just make the projects every day as they’re posted. And today, I’m going to be about 13 projects behind because I want to make 10 of Ellen’s placemats. Meet another talented and new friend Ellen and make sure to visit her etsy shop at Handmade Recess!

Hi! My name is Ellen and I’m so excited to be posting today at Edie’s. I have to say that
Edie’s blog has become one of my favorite spots to hang out. I love the mix of decorating and just plain living life. I’ve copied Edie around my house on more than one occasion. And, I love her intelligent and thoughtful approach to everyday life things.
So. I’m going to tell y’all a little bit about myself. Because Edie told me to. That’s me down there. It only took 5,000 shots to get one that I sort of liked. I’m married to a funny and handsome man who ministers to young hearts in a residential children’s home. We have two sons and a daughter. It is a blessing to serve my family! I also love to read and shoot hoops with my people. My husband always wins, though. I absolutely love to sew. I love fabrics and the stories they tell when you put them together. I blog at handmade recess.Whew! It sure is hard to write about yourself!
Today I’m going to show you how to make this adorable and funky patchwork placemat. I was inspired to make this last summer when SouleMama posted about her homemade placemats.
Picnik collage

Here’s what you’ll need:
strips of fabric that are cut 2 1/2 inches wide and 11 inches long (I used 21)
batting (about 1/2 yard)
1/2 yard of fabric for backing
interfacing
solid fabric for an animal applique
contrasting fabric for extra oomph
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Ok. So once you’ve done all of that cutting and have a pile of strips, start sewing them together long side to long side. Just a little tip: I keep scraps of fabric from sewing projects in a tote bag in my studio. I really like the randomness that provides but you could certainly pick a few coordinating fabrics and go that route. For this placemat, I sewed 12 pieces of different scrap fabrics together to make one long panel. Always put right sides together when sewing and then flip out. Then put right sides together again and flip out.
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Turn your 12 pieces of random fabric sewed into one panel over and iron the seams. I like to iron my seams out. I’m not sure that’s a technical term. It just means that I don’t sew them both in one direction.
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Now that you’ve got the main panel
done, we’re going to add some fabric strips that run perpendicular to the main part. Sew three pieces of fabric together on the short sides. Do that three times so that you have three long, skinny pieces. Iron your seams!
picnikfile_Tvr5PK
We are going to sew those strips together into one panel and then attach it to the main panel. First, I like to stagger the seams. If you are really great at math you could figure that out ahead of time and cut some smaller seams. I just sew my three strips together with three equal sizes and then I lay them on top of the main panel. They’ll be too big for
the main panel. I slide them around so that each of them will line up with staggered seams. And then I cut them to size.
So once you’ve figured out your staggering and run your strips through the machine, attach that panel to the main panel (right sides together!). Iron those seams again!
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Now we’re ready to work on the applique. I am not an official applique expert. I just do my own version which I will teach if you promise not to tell on me! First, decide what you’d like to applique. For my applique I’m using a nubby canvas (from a drop cloth) and an aqua brushed canvas. I’m going to use the brown thread for a little extra
punch.
For this placemat, I decided on a bird. In the past I’ve done a place setting and an elephant. I printed out a little birdie that I liked and cut it out (I cut off the legs). Once you’ve made a template, cut your main applique fabric. Pin it in place on the placemat. Now, take your interfacing and cut it a little bit larger than your main applique. Iron it to the backside of your patchwork placemat so that it will be directly under your design. Interfacing strengthens your fabric so that it won’t tear and keeps it from stretching and moving around when you are stitching everything. For this project it’s best to use a fusible (bonded by the heat of your iron) interfacing. Now you’re ready to sew that fancy thing down!
picnikfile_Bua8cb
Set your sewing machine to a zig zag stitch. Bunny trail: I actually have a sort of fancy machine that has a pretty embroidery straight stitch. But! It broke while I was working on this tutorial. I borrowed my friend’s perfectly lovely and basic machine. Moral: you don’t have to have a sassy machine to do this project! If you’re fancy, use your sassy stitches. If you’re lovely and basic, use your zig zag stitch. Just make sure that you set the length a little below 1. It will make your zags and zigs closer together.
picnikfile_VPC9dR
Zip around your birdie (or whatever fun thing you choose) and then cut some contrasting fabric to add a little something something. I cut a small piece of the aqua fabric in the shape of a wing. Zip around that, too. I like to overlap my zig zag stitches at the beginning/end so that I know it’s nice and sewed down. That’s it. So easy, right? When you get to corners, leave your needle down, lift your foot and turn the fabric.
For a little extra fun, I put brown thread in my needle and straight stitched some legs onto my little bird.
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Now that you are done with your fun and funky applique, you’re ready to assemble your placemat. Cut your batting and your backing fabric to size. Place the front and back side right sides together. Place your batting on top and pin it all together. You can use any old batting. I just happen to really like the quality and weight of the batting I showed. It’s not cheap, though. That’s what coupons are for,
right? Sew all of your pieces together leaving at least 6 inches open for turning.
Turn your placemat right side out and iron. Are you tired of ironing? Once you’ve ironed, pin your opening and top stitch over the whole thing. You’re done! I don’t know about y’all but I’d love to get a bunch of these as a present. Or maybe I’ll get ambitious and make some Christmasy ones for my family.
picnikfile_JEet0S
Well, that’s it. Thanks so much for letting me share this fun little project with you. And thanks to Edie for bringing this great series back for another year!
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Southern Gal November 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I look forward to each tutorial everyday. My list is LONG now. Ellen is so talented and she’s from my neck of the woods!

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2 alissa@33shadesofgreen November 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I love this placemat. What a great mix of fun fabric! I have been wanting to appliqué for a while now but it seemed a bit scary. I think I’ll give it a try now!

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3 Elise November 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Oh my stars…I LOVE these!!!

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4 tiny twig November 3, 2010 at 1:26 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE Ellen! have you seen her bags?! and she is sweet as pie.

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5 Kristy November 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Oh, I love it! Thank you, Ellen (&Edie). I have SO many scraps. I was wondering what they were all going to be. ;) Shh, don’t tell my family and friends.

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6 Susan November 4, 2010 at 1:16 am

Love this!! What a great use of scraps. If I made a set though, I’m sure I’d want to keep the first one. So really, it’s another gift for me!

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7 Jessica November 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

These placemats are Adorable! I love the little appliqued bird. Very fun! Plus it’s a great way to use up all those random scraps I have. Thanks!

justenoughstyle.blogspot.com

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8 Dangerously Domestic November 8, 2010 at 3:38 am

These are awesome! Just one more reason to call my talented grandma and beg for an afternoon with her and her sewing machine.

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