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How to Make Simple Placemats

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Written by Donna Thacker   

I am a big fan of having placemats on my dining room table. I also like to change them to different colors occasionally. As with everything else, store bought placemats have gotten expensive, so I decided to make my own simple placemats. This way I have a variety of colors and textures to suit my mood. Simple placemats can be made out of remnant material or even an old tablecloth you have gotten tired of. Pieces of remnant material can be purchased very cheaply at fabric stores too!

Choose your fabric wisely. Simple placemats can be made out of all kinds of different material, but a heavier material will wash and lay out better. A thin material will tend to curl up on the corners. You can tell by the feel of the material if it will be suitable for a placemat. Don’t overlook corduroy or textured material because these can make very interesting placemats for your table.

Cut the material to size for all of the placemats at once. Lay out your material and cut all of the placemats at once. Don’t overlook small pieces of material that is only big enough for two placemats. You can mix and match your placemats for an interesting decorating look. For instance, two solid blue will look great with two of blue print, or even two white placemats and two colored placemats will brighten up your table.

Sizing the placemats. Start out by making simple rectangle placemats. You can go on to oval or fancy corners later. Each cut placemat should measure 17” X 13” to allow for hemming. If you are a bit short on material it is okay if they are a little shorter. Just make sure to keep them in a uniform rectangular shape.

Folding the hem line. I find it is easiest to iron the hemline in place before I sew it down or you can use straight pins to hold it in place as you fold. To make the hem lines, fold the long side raw edges in about ¼ inch and then fold it over again. Pin the edge or iron it down to keep it in place.

Sewing the hem line. Thread the sewing machine with a thread that either closely matches the color of the material or use a contrasting color to give the simple placemat a decorative touch. You can make a bunch of white tablecloths and change the stitching color on several of them to mix and match for a change. Hem the long sides of the place mats first by sewing a straight stitch as close to the hems folded in edge as you can. Fold the ends of the placemats the same way and then sew the edge of the hem down.

Hint: Don’t overlook a good bargain on a table cloth because it is too long for your table. You can cut it off, hem it and use the cut off part to make matching placemats. You can even dye the placemats so that the pattern matches, but they have a contrasting color. Get creative and save some money at the same time!

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