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
solid fabric for an animal applique
contrasting fabric for extra oomph
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!