Time to dress up our tables! In this post, you’ll learn how to make your own DIY Placemats. Not only do they add a pop of color and style to your dining setup, but they also serve a practical purpose.
They can protect your table from spills, stains, and scratches. Plus, they make cleanup a breeze – just shake off the crumbs or throw them in the washing machine!
You can easily make a placemat with a yard of your favorite fabric, a sewing machine, and some thread. Let’s get started!
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What is Needed to Make Placemats?
- 1 yard or 1-1/2 yards of fabric (see ‘How much fabric will I need?’)
- Sewing Machine and thread
- Fabric Scissors
- Iron (optional, to use at end of the project)
What’s the best material for making placemats?
In my opinion, medium weight cotton or linen/linen blend makes the best and prettiest placemats.
Cotton is renowned for its durability, easy maintenance, and wide range of colors and patterns. It’s a practical choice, as it can withstand regular washing and daily use without losing its shape or color.
Linen, on the other hand, exudes an elegant and sophisticated vibe. It’s a bit more luxurious and often favored for special occasions. While linen may require a bit more care when laundering, its natural texture and drape add a touch of refinement to any table setting.
For even more durability or outdoor placemats – you may want to consider oilcloth. Oilcloth is a type of fabric that has been treated with a coating of oil or vinyl, making it waterproof and easy to clean. Simply wipe clean with a damp cloth and you’re good to go for next time.
For reference, the fabric I used in this tutorial is medium weight cotton. And because this tutorial calls for two layers of fabric sewn together, it really makes a nice sturdy placemat.
How much fabric will I need?
Standard placemats are 14 inches x 20 inches. If you want to make four placemats of this size and leave room for error – purchase 1-1/2 yards of fabric. I ended up making slightly smaller placemats (12×17 inches) and I only needed 1 yard of fabric.
How to Make Your Own Placemats
Here’s a handy diagram to show you how to do this!
Step 1: Wash and Dry Fabric
You want to wash and dry your fabric to account for any shrinkage prior to sewing. Once your fabric is dry – let’s move on to the next step.
Step 2: Cut Your Fabric into Equal Sized Rectangles
It’s really up to you how big you want your placemats to be. I just went online and looked up placemats for sale in order to get standard sizing. Hint – its about 14″ x 20″.
Don’t forget you will have a small seam allowance all the way around, so the finished placemat will be ever so slightly smaller than what you cut out.
Each placemat requires two equal rectangular sized pieces of fabric.
Since I was working with plaid fabric – I just cut along the lines of the pattern to keep straight, even cuts. Easy peasy!
Step 3: Line up Fabric Pieces
Take your two rectangles and line them up on top of each other – with the pattern side facing in.
Step 4: Sew Pieces together but leave a Small Opening
Now you are going to sew your pieces together all the way around. Use a smaller seam allowance – you don’t want your placemat much smaller than what you cut.
Leave a very small opening on one side. This is so that you can flip the placemat right side out.
Step 5: Flip Placemat Right side out and Sew closed.
Now you are going to carefully fish your placemat through the small opening you left in step 4. Flip your placemat right side out so the pattern side is now on the outside.
Sew a small, neat seam all the way around. This gives your placemat a nice, finished look.
For the small opening – you can push the fabric in (so the fray side is on the inside) – and continue to sew it closed.
You can look at this picture (below right) to kind of see what I mean. Hopefully. 🙂
Step 6: Iron them flat and Enjoy!
Now you have a placemat! A reversible placemat!
You can take a hot iron and press it flat. See how easy that was?
Sewing these placemats took me all of ten minutes (minus the cutting and ironing). But that didn’t take long either!
This is a quick project and perfect for the Holidays!
Want to save even more time?
I didn’t do this initially, but instead of cutting two separate rectangles, cut one larger piece and fold it in half. That way – you have one side closed already.
When you flip your placemat right side out – you can still sew a nice seam all the way around the placemat to gives it that finished look.
Finished DIY Placemats
My placemats ended up being about 12 inches x 17 inches – which is a small but nice sized placemat in my opinion. And perfect for my small round table! These reversible DIY placemats are also machine washable. Remember you already washed and dried them – so they shouldn’t shrink on you anymore.