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Colorful Placemat Set with Handstitched Accents

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The serenity of a neutral palette is so cool and calming. But sometimes, you gotta shake things up with a burst... no, an explosion of color. This set of four mix-and-match placemats uses nine different fabrics (eight for the two-part fronts and one for all the backs) in the bold colors and patterns of Ty Pennington Impressions. The riveting jewel tones are drop dead gorgeous, but the design itself is just begging for your own infusion of style. A thick floss running stitch across the border adds a subtle dash of handmade flair.

You may recognize the name of charismatic home design guru, Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition where his creativity and coordination have helped transform the lives of thousands and inspired millions of DIYers around the world. All his fabric collections have been rich and artistic.

This is a simple yet classic creation executed in gorgeous fabrics - perfect for gift giving or your own decorating, with a beauty that will last year 'round. 

Each placemat finishes at 20" wide x 14" high. 

We originally used fabrics from Ty's Fall 2012 Impressions collection, which can be hard to find now. To show you the flexibility of the design, we offer two alternate sets below; one in the latest Ty Pennington collection from Spring 2013 and NEW Beauty Queen by Jennifer Paganelli for FreeSpirit Fabrics. 

y Pennington Impressions 2013

Beauty Queen by Jennifer Paganelli for FreeSpirit Fabrics

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

The ingredients shown below are for ONE 20" wide x 14" high placemat. Because we were extra fussy about our fussy cutting, we opted to work with a larger piece of fabric than absolutely necessary. If you too are extra fussy, go with the greater yardage listed below. If you are less fussy, the smaller yardage will work fine. If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our handy step-by-step tutorial.

  • ½ - ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the front top panel
  • ½ - ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the back panel
  • ¼ - ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for front bottom panel
  • For our four mix-and-match placemats, we used the following fabric combinations from Ty Pennington's Fall 2012 Collection:
    For the back of all four placemats: Chute in the Sunse colorway
    Placemat 1: Top panel is Finch in the Sunse colorway; Bottom panel is Maya in the Sunse colorway
    Placemat 2: Top panel is Abbey in the Sunse colorway ; Bottom panel is Hive in the Sunse colorway
    Placemat 3: Top panel is Lima in the Event colorway; Bottom panel is Hive in the Event colorway
    Placemat 4: Top panel is Indo in the Event colorway; Bottom panel is Abbey in the Event colorway
  • ½ yard of 22"+ wide medium weight fusible interfacing; such as Pellon's Designer's Lite Medium Weight Fusible 
  • 2 yards of pearl cotton needlecraft floss to coordinate with your fabric for the horizontal hand stitching accents; we used Anchor Pearl Cotton in a size 8
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Tapestry needle - with a large eye and a sharp point
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper

Getting Started

The large, flat surface of a placemat provides a great opportunity to showcase bold motifs. We carefully fussy cut all our fabric to take best advantage of each pattern. As mentioned above, if you are new to fussy cutting, check out our step-by-step tutorial

  1. From the fabric for each top front panel, cut ONE 21" wide x 11" high rectangle
  2. From the fabric for each bottom front panel, cut ONE 21" wide x 5" high rectangle
  3. From the fabric for each back cut ONE 21" x 15" rectangle.
  4. From the medium weight interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 20" x 10" rectangle
    ONE 20" x 4" rectangle 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse interfacing to the wrong side of each front fabric piece, centering the interfacing top to bottom and side to side on the fabric. 

    NOTE: The interfacing is cut 1" smaller than the fabric piece to keep it out of the seam allowance. This allows the sharpest corners and seams. 
  2. Pin the TOP 21" edge of the bottom front panel piece, right sides together, with the BOTTOM 21" edge of the top front panel.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the panels together.
  4. Press the seam allowance towards the bottom panel.
  5. Find the tapestry needle and pearl cotton floss. 
  6. Cut a 50" length of pearl cotton; the hand stitching needs to be done with ONE continuous length. Double the floss and knot the end. You want a nice, chunky weight so the hand stitching is visible.
  7. Hand stitch, using a simple running stitch, across the placemat within the bottom panel, staying approximately ⅛" from the seam. 
  8. The stitches themselves should be about ¼" with approximately ⅛" between each stitch.
  9. Find the back panel. Place it right sides together with the completed front panel.
  10. Pin in place around all four sides, leaving a 3 - 4" opening along the bottom edge. 
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four edges, leaving that 3 - 4" opening along the bottom edge. 
  12. Remember to pivot at each corner with your needle in the down position. It's also a good idea to back-tack at each corner to reinforce them and make sure they stay sharp when turned right side out.
  13. Reinforce your 3 - 4" opening with a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam. 
  14. Clip all four corners of the placemat on the diagonal, being careful to not cut into your seam.
  15. Using the 3 - 4" opening you left in the bottom of the placemat, turn the sewn placemat right side out.
  16. Push out each corner so it is sharp and square. Use a long tool with a dull point, like a knitting needle or chopstick.
  17. Fold in the raw edges of the opening ½" so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  18. Press the placemat flat around all four edges and all four corners of the placemat. It helps to gently roll the edge of the placemat to push the seam out so the placemat layers are as flat as possible.
  19. Re-thread your machine with a coordinating or contrasting thread (we used a coordinating gray thread on all our placemats). Increase your stitch length.
  20. Topstitch ¼" all around four edges of placemat. This topstitching seals the 3 - 4" opening used for turning. We used our Janome Quarter inch foot to keep the stitching even all the way around. 
    NOTE: When deciding where to start/stop your topstitching, look for the color within the design that most closely matches the color of your topstitching thread. Also, if possible, use a lock stitch function on your sewing machine rather than backstitching to secure the beginning and end of the seam. This helps keep the stitching line clean. If you do not have this function on your machine, you can leave the thread tails long and knot them by hand.

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Michele Mishler



Comments (1)

Melinda Jones said:
Melinda Jones's picture

Feeling all set to celebrate spring. The floral patterns and the bright color of spring décor certainly lifts up the mood. Love them. Have an idea to do this weekend. Thanks for sharing

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