18 May 2012

Supper at Olive's

Before the move, I used some of my leftover "Ruby" fabric to make some sweet little placemats for Olive's wee dining table.
This tutorial is perfect for those of you who have never made a quilt but want to learn how. (These placemats are basically minature quilts, which means you will learn all the necessary quilting steps as you make them.)
For this project, I used up a bunch of small scraps! You could also use fabric pre-cuts like a charm pack or jelly roll. You will also need batting scraps (around 12 x 16" per placemat) and some larger scraps for the back (a fat quarter is the biggest you would need). 
For each placemat-top, you'll need to cut a bunch of 2-1/2 x 5" strips.  For each placemat-top, you'll need twelve of these strips. I wanted a little white mixed in, so here is my pile of cuts.
Next, arrange the strips into two rows, six strips per row.
Referring to the picture below, take the first two strips in the row, face them right sides together with the raw edges aligned and them together along one of the 5" sides. Use 1/4" seam allowance.
Keep adding on subsequent strips until the top row is stitched together. Press the seams open using an iron. Repeat to sew together the strips of the bottom row together.
(Whoops! If you look closely at my initial layout, I accidentally switched the first two strips on the bottom row. Maybe you didn't notice.) At any rate, here are the top and bottom rows.
To sew the rows together, flip the top row over onto the bottom one, right sides together.
To make sure the seams line up, I always fold the top row down a little bit and peek to make sure they are in line. Perfect!
Pin in place to make sure the seams stay lined up.
Sew the rows together using the same 1/4" seam allowance.
Press open the resulting seam with an iron. And that is the basic placemat-top!
Next is basting all of the layers together as seen below. Lay the back fabric right-side down, layer the batting scrap on top of that (I'm using Fairfield's Fusi-Boo fusible batting), then lay the placemat-top right-side up. Because I'm using fusible batting, I fuse all three layers together with the heat from my iron; if you're using a non-fusible batting, you could use a sticky basting spray to"glue" the layers together. Then, insert a few safety pins to keep all of those layers together.
This is the point you would add embellishments. A few of my ideas included ric rac or applique. (You can follow my shape or letter tutorials for help.) Or you can leave the placemat as is.  I actually like my plain one A LOT.
The next step is to quilt the layers together as desired. I had a lot of fun in this step and quilted them all differently. My favorite has to be the random zig-zags made using my walking foot! I would love to do this to a whole quilt, but it would certainly take forever! (Another reason why this project is great.)

I also did a few variations of freemotion quilting including wavy lines and swirlies.
Finally, we just have to bind our placemats' raw edges. You could use bias tape if you'd like, but I used my skinny binding method. Following that tutorial, I used 1.5 strips per placemat.
You could easily adapt this tutorial and make adult-sized placemats or even a table runner!


  1. Awwww! So cute! (Love the red ric-rac touch, too).

  2. Oh how sweet! Thanks for the tutorial..I am so very glad to see you press your seams open..I was taught that way and then all the new quilters seem to do the press to the side thing and I can never never get my seams to match up that way.. Have a great weekend.

  3. So so cute! I should do this as a summer sewing project with Sasha!

  4. Super cute! Great fabric choices!

  5. it's really cute. Thanks for the tutorial
    the fabric is lovely!
    have a nice day

  6. i am going to try this today