Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing this Quilted Summer Placemats Sewing Tutorial. These placemats are perfect for summer, whether you use them inside, outside, or at a picnic. These are quilted, and washable, and can roll up for storage.
Now this project is best suited for intermediate sewers who have some practice with quilting and bias tape. However, an advanced beginner can definitely handle this project. I’ve included lots of step by step photos to guide you through the process, and made it even easier by taking out the majority of the measuring and cutting steps that are usually necessary for quilted projects by using pre-made bias tape and a roll of pre-cut fabric strips. These are also called jelly rolls, and typical come in 2.5 wide strips, which is the perfect size for our project today. You can find these at any craft store, and often at a very reasonable price (especially if you use a coupon)!
Make sure to read through the whole post before you begin. That always makes big projects easier to follow. Let’s get started!
For more beginner sewing tutorials, check out this easy summer skirt to sew!
Quilted Summer Placemats Sewing Tutorial
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- Pre-cut cotton fabric strips that are 2.5 inches wide.
- Single fold bias tape in a coordinating color.
- Coordinating thread.
- Very lightweight quilt batting.
- Measuring tape.
- Sewing machine.
- Iron and ironing board.
Start by unrolling your fabric strips and choosing which colors or patterns you’d like to work with. We’re going to make both the front and the back of the placemat pieced, so you can either have it match on both sides or make each side unique. I initially started with 6 strips, but ended up needing 8 for each side of the placemat to make it large enough. Our final placemat will measure 12 inches tall by 16 inches wide. Go ahead and cut two of each strip to 12.5 inches long.
Now figure out what order you’d like your strips in, then set one group of strips to the side. We’re going to work on one side of the placemat at a time. Take two strips that are next to each other, and place one on top of the other with the right sides facing. Pin along one side of the strips.
Sew the two strips together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. If you sewing machine doesn’t have a 1/4 inch mark on it, I recommend putting a piece of tape on it to mark 1/4 inch so it’s easy to keep the seam even. Go ahead and sew the rest of your strips together in their pairs. Then using a very hot iron and steam, press the seams all facing the same direction.
Now go ahead and sew the groups of two together in the same way we made the pairs, being careful to keep your pattern. Here is where I realized that I’m not as good at math as I am at sewing, and needed to add more strips to have a long enough placemat. So I added on two more strips. This is why using a roll of pre-cut strips is great. This only took an extra minute or two.
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Now it’s just over 16 inches. Perfect! Go ahead and press all your seams in the same direction again, and iron the front as well. Next you’re going to make another one! When you have two sides ready for your placemat, you can move onto the next step.
Take both placemat sides and lay them face down on your work surface. Take your quilt batting and lay it on top of one of the sides, and then trim your batting so it’s roughly a 1/4 inch bigger than your side. Now take the other placemat side, and lay it on top with the right side up. This is called a quilt sandwich. When you look at this, it should look like a big sandwich with both sides of the fabric right side out and the batting sandwiched in the middle.
Next what we’re going to do is do our best to line up the seams on both sides. You should be able to feel the fabric on both sides through the batting, and make sure the seam stitches are lined up. Go ahead and start pinning through your quilt sandwich all the way down the first seam line, and then pin the rest of the seams. Do not pin the edges of the quilt sandwich.
This is what it should look like all pinned. If you have a quilting foot for your sewing machine and want to use it, you can, but it’s not necessary at all. I chose not to use mine, and it still turned out beautifully. Now go ahead and start sewing down the length of each seam, slightly to one side. Here’s what it will look like on one side.
And what it looks like on the other. Sew down all your seams, rolling your placemat as needed to fit in your machine.
Next you’re just going to grab your scissors and trim off any excess batting. Now it’s time to finish the edges. This is the part that might seem a bit tricky if you’ve never worked with bias tape before, but I promise you can do it. Take your single fold bias tape out of the package and set it open side up. Starting on a flat side of your placemat (not a corner!) set your tape on top.
Unfold one side of the bias tape, and line it up against the edge of your placemat. Fold the raw edge inwards like shown, and start pinning the tape along the length of the side. When you get to the corner, place your last pin about half an inch from the end.
Take your bias tape and fold it upwards so it lines up with the other edge. Then fold it downward so it forms a straight corner at the top, and pin it about half an inch down. It will create this little triangle shape.
It’s like a little flap, and the tip of the flap should meet up with the corner of your quilt sandwich like shown. If you don’t get it right the first time, just un pin it and try again. This method will create a neat and clean mitered corner when we’re all done. Now just continue pinning all the way around your placemat, doing all the corners the same way until you get back to where you started.
Overlap the start of your bias tape by about an inch, pin it in place, and cut it off. Your placemat should look like this. Now to sew this in place, you’re going to start 1/4 inch from the corner, right about where my finger is in this photo. Do not stitch the triangle flap down. Make sure it’s out of the way, and make sure to backstitch.
Now you’re going to sew down the side of your placemat, lining up your stitches with the crease on your bias tape. This will be just under 1/4 inch seam. Stop 1/4 inch before the end of your side again, backstitch and cut off the thread. See how it comes right up to that triangle flap? Now continue to sew all 4 sides of the placemat this way, flipping the triangle flap over like shown above so you don’t sew it down.
You will most likely have some areas where batting or fabric comes outside of the bias tape line. Make sure to trim that flush. This is very important for the next steps.
Now grab one of your corners, and lift it up and over to the other side. The side we’ve already sewn will automatically fold into a mitered corner. Now on the back side, place a pin to hold the bias tape in place while we fold the first corner.
Pull the corner up and out like shown, the fold it over and pin in place to create the miter on this side. You may have to fiddle with it a bit to get it right. Then go ahead and start pinning the tape all around your placemat, making sure the tape just covers your previous stitches.
Here’s a closer look at both sides of a pinned corner. Now go ahead and stitch your tape down, staying very close to the inside edge of the bias tape. Make sure you’re catching it on both sides like shown.
When you get to the corners, lift your presser foot with the needle still down, and just rotate the project 90 degrees. Sew all the way around, adjusting as necessary.
And you’re all done! This placemat can be washed in warm water and tumble dried on low. Keep in mind that it will pucker when washed, but this is very common for quilted items and add to the homemade charm. You can also iron this on very low if necessary, but keep in mind that the batting inside will melt and harden if dried or ironed with high heat.
This size fits most standard dinner plates and place settings, but you can always make it larger or smaller to fit your individual needs. I hope you make some gorgeous pieces with this Quilted Summer Placemats Sewing Tutorial!