Today’s fabric collections seem to get more gorgeous with each season’s new arrivals. There are multiple colorways and a wonderful variety of motifs. And, of course, they all blend together beautifully. It can be hard to narrow down your choices, which is why we designed today’s multi-fabric placemats. Each one uses seven different 2½” strips. It’s perfect for pre-cut Jelly Rolls, but you could also cut your own strips from all your favorites. Decorative stitching ties the rows together, adds a bit of elegance, and holds all the layers in place.
We chose a lovely floral theme, using jelly roll strips from the Billet-Doux collection by Verna Mosquera for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Going with all solid colors would be a great color-block treatment. Or, using playful prints and bright decorative stitching would be especially fun for a set of kid’s placemats. The options are endless… but the project is fast and easy.
For more information about pre-cuts, check out our tutorial from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop, where you can always find a full variety of Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, Mini Charms, and other yummy pre-cuts.
Each placemat finishes at approximately 14″ high x 20″ wide.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful as the main seams are all ¼”
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful for the decorative stitching across the multiple layers; you could also engage your machine built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Supplies shown are for ONE placemat.
- SEVEN Jelly Roll Strips per placemat
NOTE: If you want matching placemats, one Jelly Roll strip is normally 44″ long, so you could cut one strip into two 20″ lengths (the length needed for our design). This means you can actually make two identical placemats from the seven strips listed above. If you do not have Jelly Roll strips, you will need to cut SEVEN 2½” x 20 strips for each placemat.
- ⅛ yard of coordinating 44″+ wide solid cotton print fabric for the binding
- ½ yard of coordinating 44″+ wide solid cotton print fabric for the back panel
NOTE: You could certainly use the same fabric for the backing and binding; if so, get ⅝ yard.
- ½ yard of 20″+ low loft batting
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- Decorative thread in a slightly contrasting shade for the decorative stitching
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Cut each Jelly Roll strip to a 20″ length. If you are not using Jelly Roll strips, cut SEVEN 2½” x 20″ strips.
- Lay out your strips side by side until you have a color and pattern blend that strikes your fancy. Alternate patterns, colors, and motif sizes to keep things interesting.
- From the batting, cut ONE 14″ x 20 rectangle.
- From the solid fabric(s), cut the following:
ONE 14″ x 20 rectangle for the backing
TWO 2″ x WOF (width of fabric) strips for the binding
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the top panel
- Working from bottom to top, assemble the strips to build your front panel. To do this, start with the first two strips in the sequence. Place these strips right sides together and pin in place along one long edge.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch these first two pieces together.
- Place the next strip in the sequence right sides together with the two-strip piece.
- Pin in place and then stitch in place. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot for all the seams.
- Continue in this manner until all seven strips are sewn together as one unit.
- Press all the seam allowances in the same direction. We pressed all ours up towards the top of the panel. Press flat from the front.
- Place the back panel wrong side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the batting rectangle on top of the back panel.
- Place the front panel right side up on top of the batting, forming a three layer stack. All four raw edges of all three layers should be flush. Trim as necessary if they are not.
- Pin in place around the outer edge as well as through the middle. If you are worried about shifting, you could machine baste the layers together around the outer perimeter.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the back panel in the bobbin and contrasting decorative thread in the needle. Following the settings and process for your machine and model, select an interesting decorative stitch.
- Topstitch along each seam line through all the layers, using the seam itself as the center guide for each line of decorative stitching. Using a Walking or Even Feed foot or engaging your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system will help eliminate any shifting of the layers.
- If necessary, trim the layers flush to square up the placemat.
- Find the two 2″ x WOF binding strips.
- Place the two strips right sides together, along one 2″ end. Pin and stitch together with a ¼” seam allowance to create one long strip.
- To attach, we have two options. The first method is faster, requiring just one topstitched seam. But, you need to be careful and precise to insure you catch both the front and back of the binding in the one seam. The second method is similar to what you might see on a quilt binding. It requires two seams, but the result gives you clean finish on the front of the placemat. We opted for the first method for the samples shown in the pretty photos above.
NOTE: If you are new to the binding, take a look at our tutorial: A Complete Step-by-Step For Binding Quilts & Throws. We show detailed instructions and a variety of options for attaching and finishing.
One seam topstitch method
- Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease. Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible. Fold in each long raw edge to the center crease line and press well. Fold again along the original center crease line.
- Starting in the middle of the bottom edge, slip the binding over the raw edges of the placemat.
- Leaving approximately 3″ loose at the head, wrap the binding around the entire perimeter of the placemat.
- At each corner, turn the binding on a diagonal fold at the inside of the corner.
- Pin the binding in place as you go. Leave an approximate 3″ tail at the end.
NOTE: We machine-basted our binding in place rather than relying only on the pins. This is totally optional, but does allow you to get in as close as possible for the final edgestitching.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the binding in the top and bobbin.
- Topstitch all the way around, stopping approximately 4″ from your starting point.
- Open out the binding and join the ends, trimming them as necessary so the binding fits flat against the placemat. Test your fit when pinned. Then, stitch the ends together.
- Re-fold the binding along the original crease lines.
- Pin in place.
- Topstitch the remaining section of the binding, being careful to line up the new stitching with the existing topstitching.
Two seam quilt binding method
- Fold the joined strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.
- Working from the front of placemat, align the raw edges of the folded and pressed strip with the raw edge of the placemat. Starting in the middle of one long edge, and leaving a tail of approximately 3 – 4″. Pin all the way around, leaving a 3 – 4″ tail at the end as well.
- If necessary, re-thread your machine with thread to match the binding in the top and bobbin.
- Sew the binding to the placemat, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Miter each corner. To do this, stop with the needle in the down position when you are approximately ¼” from the corner.
- Pivot the fabric 90°.
- Using the reverse button on the machine, back off the fabric.
- Turn the bias binding straight down at a 90˚ angle. This will create a 45° fold to the inside of the corner and allow you to align the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the next side of the placemat. Re-start your stitching at the point of the fold.
- Continue stitching all the way around, mitering at each corner. Stop approximately 3-4″ from your starting point.
- Remove the placemat from under the needle. Open out the binding and join the ends, measuring to fit (same as above for the “easy” method).
- Re-fold and press the binding.
- Bring the binding up and over to the back side of the placemat, covering the original line of stitching. Press in place and pin as needed. Don’t be afraid to use lots of pins.
- Flip the placemat so it is right side up. Stitch in the ditch from the front all the way around the placemat, which will catch the back fold and secure the binding.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild