If the mention of “scallops” has you dreaming of a tasty seafood dinner, you’re in for another type of treat. Our scallops run around the perimeter of a placemat and are finished with a padded satin stitch. There’s also a companion project available to create matching napkins. Make one or make both.
The placemats and napkins are Janome America sponsored projects. Our thanks to them for their support, which is what helps us be able to bring patterns and instructions to you free of charge.
There are a number of options to create this type of finish along a raw edge. We decided on the padded satin stitch because it’s an easy technique that works especially well on all the bias edges of the scallops. The result is smooth, stable, and beautiful.
You’ll combine a strand of pearl cotton floss in your favorite color with a matching color of heavier weight thread in both the top and bobbin. We used a 50wt cotton thread because we wanted a matte finish, but a rayon or polyester thread would also be fine.
To create the edge, you stitch around the perimeter three times, each time with a different presser foot. We indicate not only the feet we chose to use, but also alternative feet. Janome has such a great selection of standard and specialty presser feet. You really owe it to yourself to break open that little plastic bag that comes with your machine and experiment with all the options. When you use the right foot for the job, the process is easier and the finish is more professional.
We love the simplicity of just the edge finishing. However, you could add a little extra flair with embroidery. If you have an embroidery machine in your sewing space, click through to the companion Scalloped Edge Napkins tutorial to find free downloads for the bold alphabet as well as for the fleur de lis art we used on our napkin samples. You’ll find six different machine embroidery formats from which to choose.
Our placemat’s base fabric is a double layer of mid-weight linen. Besides being lovely, a placemat does usually have the secondary job of protecting a table’s surface. Using two layers was our solution to get a more substantial finish. Heavy-weight linen is much harder to source, but if you can find some or have it in your stash, you can certainly use a single layer. As with everything, test first to make sure you’ll be happy with the final results.
Linen is a flexible fabric with a tendency to skew, especially when bias cut edges are introduced. To combat this, we show you how to layer stabilizer, linen, and our paper pattern. This full pattern download is offered for free below – thanks again, Janome. You’ll trim and assemble the pattern, then use it a bit like a stencil, stitching alongside but not through the paper itself. It’s a very stable unit with which to work; one that can be moved and maneuvered at the sewing machine.
Speaking of stabilizer, that’s an important part of the technique. You’ll pick a wash-away option and cut it to extend beyond the scallops. After your three rounds of stitching, you’ll remove the excess stabilizer to reveal your pretty finished edge.
Thanks again to Janome America for their support of this project and many of our other popular projects. If you’re ready for frustration-free sewing and want to find out more about the amazing Janome machines, visit their website, follow them on social media, and – best of all – visit a local dealer for an in-person test stitch.
Our Scalloped Edge Placemats finish at approximately 20” x 16”. And, don’t forget to check out the matching Scalloped Edge Napkins.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Beading foot; our choice for couching the pearl cotton
- 3-Way Cording foot; another option for couching the pearl cotton
- Appliqué foot; our choice for the final satin stitching
- Satin Stitch foot; another option for the satin stitching that finishes the edge
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ⅝ yard of 54″+ wide mid-weight linen; we used a slightly off white
NOTE: ⅝ is the minimum needed. If you are worried about your cutting accuracy, get ¾ yard.
- ¾ yard of 20”+ wide wash-away stabilizer; we used Floriani Stitch and Wash
- ONE skein of pearl cotton floss in your desired color; we used ocean blue, spring green, and dusty pink
- 50wt cotton thread to match the pearl cotton floss
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Small, sharp scissors for final trimming around the scallops; we recommend duck-bill appliqué scissors
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print out the scallop pattern for the perimeter of the placemat. This pattern is made up of FIVE pages that have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each page within this PDF is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guideline on each page to confirm your printout is to scale. The pages are designed to print horizontally (landscape rather than portrait).
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid lines – both the inner straight lines and the outer scalloped edges.
- Using the notches on each piece as a guide, match up the six pages to complete the full pattern. Butt together the pieces, do not overlap, and tape along each joint.
- From the linen, cut TWO 22” x 18” rectangles.
- From the stabilizer, cut ONE 24” x 20” panel.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Layering the panels
- To start, some information about how we set up our linen units. Linen is a flexible fabric. It will skew without the layer of stabilizer and the paper template. Because our scalloped edge has so much bias, tracing the around the template provides less stability than simply leaving the paper template in place and stitching alongside it.
- Find the two linen panels. Iron both well so they are super flat and wrinkle-free.
- Place the 24” x 20” stabilizer panel on your work surface.
- Stack both linen panels on top of the stabilizer panel. The linen panels should be wrong sides together, and the raw edges of the two panels should be flush on all sides. Center the linen so there is 1” of stabilizer extending beyond the linen on all sides.
- Center the assembled paper scallop template over the linen/stabilizer sandwich. Pin in place. As mentioned above, this makes a very stable unit with which to work; one that can be moved and maneuvered at the sewing machine.
Finishing the scalloped edge
- Set up your machine with the cotton thread in the top and bobbin. Make sure you have a full bobbin!
- You will be sewing THREE rows of stitching around the perimeter of the placemat to complete the scalloped edge. Each row requires a different foot.
- Start with your standard foot attached.
- Stitch around the entire perimeter with a line of standard straight stitching. You are sewing along, but not on, the scalloped edge of the paper pattern. So, you are sewing through just three layers: the stabilizer and the two linen panels; you are tracing the edge of the pattern with your stitching rather than with a pen. Overlap your start and end points about ¼”.
- Trim the threads and remove the project from the machine.
- Place the project linen side up and flat on your work surface.
- Trim away the excess fabric close to the stitching line. Any small, sharp scissors can work, but a pair of duck bill appliqué scissors makes things much easier. This type of scissor has a wide blade on one side that helps protect your underlying layer. Place the wide blade between the linen fabric and the stabilizer and trim the fabric, leaving the stabilizer intact. These specialty scissors really help!
- Your trim should be as close as possible to the stitch line, but don’t worry about it being super duper neat. It will be covered by the final satin stitch.
- Your next trip around the perimeter will couch the pearl cotton in place. There are a couple feet to choose from for this step. The Janome 3-Way Cording foot has slots for up to three strands of decorative thread or thin cording. Our scalloped edge needs just a single strand, so we would only need the center slot. Our alternate choice was the Janome Beading foot, which has a narrow slot on the underside of the foot that helps guide the pearl cotton.
- Set up the machine for a small zig zag. We used a width of 2.5mm and a length of 0.80mm.
- Slip the pearl cotton under the foot and into the center slot.
- Place the linen panel under the foot. You should start and end as the same point as your original perimeter stitch line.
- Start stitching, carefully covering the scalloped outline while couching the pearl cotton to the edge. You needn’t pin the pearl cotton in place; simply hold it as you stitch, keeping a slight tension on it.
- Continue stitching until you reach your starting point. Trim the pearl cotton so there is only about ¼” remaining. Once trimmed, continue stitching until that pearl cotton end is covered. Lock the stitch and trim the threads.
- For the third round of perimeter stitching, a smooth satin stitch will complete the edge. You have two good presser foot choices for accomplishing a smooth scalloped edge. One option is the Janome Satin Stitch foot, which is commonly used for decorative stitching. It has a wide channel on the underside of the foot that can perfectly guide the stitching around the edge of our scallops. The second choice for the job is the Janome Appliqué foot. This clever foot is shorter than most and has a smooth underside that can glide and pivot easily around curves. It was our choice for the sample placemats.
- Attach your favorite foot and adjust the zig zag for a wide satin stitch. Our samples used a width of 3.5mm and a length of 0.40mm.
- Starting at the same point as above, stitch over the pearl cotton, along the scalloped edge. The needle should swing just off the edge of the fabric on the right side, catching the fabric on the left swing of the needle. The goal is a smooth satin stitch that completely covers the edge of the fabric.
- When you approach your starting point, remember that you will need overlap the stitches just slightly, lock your stitch, and trim the threads.
- The last step is to remove the stabilizer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. We used a wash-away/tear-away stabilizer. It has a fibrous texture that comes away from the edge easily by simply pulling it away. However, because of its fibrous nature, it leaves a bit of fuzz at the edge.
- As an option, you can use small, sharp scissors to cut away the stabilizer along the perforations made by the needle, taking care to not cut any of the satin stitches.
- Whatever method you choose for removing your stabilizer, press the finished placemat using plenty of steam.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Michele Mishler