Easy to Sew Placemat and Napkin

S1020004This lovely placemat and matching napkin is so easy to sew you will want to make several in different fabrics and patterns for every occasion or as gifts.

For each placemat you will need:

2 pieces of fabric cut 14″ x 18″

1 piece of fleece cut 14″ x 18″

For the bias-binding you will need:

1 piece of fabric cut square from the entire width of the fabric.  If your fabric measures 42″ wide you will need a piece of equal length, 42″.  This will be to make the bias binding for the mats. :Option:  use purchased extra-wide double fold bias tape to match or contrast your fabric.

For each napkin you will need:

1 piece of fabric cut to the desired size of your finished napkin.


In addition to your sewing machine, scissor, pins, thread and needle:

Clear ruler with diagonal markings

Water soluble or disappearing ink fabric marker



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Layer the 14″ x 18″ fabric with the fleece sandwiched in-between layers.

Using the ruler place the 45 degree diagonal line along the lower edge of the fabric 2″ from the lower right corner of the mat.  Using the fabric marker pen, draw a diagonal line on the fabric.  Move the ruler at 2″ intervals drawing new lines across the placemat.

Sew, following the drawn lines, zig-zagging up and down the lines by pivoting the fabric when you reach the end of each line.  Sew along the fabric edge until you reach the next drawn line, pivot, sew down each line in this manner until all the diagonal lines have been sewn.

Reversing the direction of the ruler, repeat drawing diagonal lines in the opposite direction and sew as before.

Do not press until the marking ink has disappeared as the heat from iron could “set” the ink and make it permanent.

Beginning on a short edge of the mat, pin the long edge of the binding.

Fold over, at 45 degrees, the starting edge of the binding to form a diagonal fold.  Pinning the binding along the outer edge of the placemat, turning at each corner by  folding the bias-binding making a 45 degree fold, until you return to the starting point overlapping about 2″.

Sew binding to mat, 1/4″ from the edge.  When you reach the corner, keep the needle in the down position, raise the presser foot, fold the bias 45 degrees and pivot, lining up the next edge and continue to sew 1/4″ from the edge.  Repeat.

After the bias-binding has been sewn onto the mat, trim ends, and trim corners by making a small diagonal cut at each corner, snipping off just a bit of the seam allowance.

Press the binding seam, and fold over to the back side of the mat.

Carefully, turning under 1/4″ of the binding, and covering the seam line, pin the binding in place.  Hand sew, using a ladder or slip stitch, carefully forming a small miter at each corner.


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Using the large square of fabric, fold the fabric bringing one corner up to meet its opposite corner forming a triangle.  The “fold” marks the “bias”.

Press.  Using your ruler, trim off the fold at about 1/4″ and discard.

This cut edge is the bias edge and will be used as the cutting edge for the bias strips.  Using your ruler, line it up along the bias edge and measure 1 1/2″ from the edge, cut using a rotary cutter.  Measure again from the newly cut edge, 1 1/2″ and cut another strip.  Continue butting bias strips until the last strip is no shorter than 18″ long.

To sew the strips together to form a long strip of binding lay one strip horizontally and a second strip vertically atop, wrong sides facing, and diagonal edges together.  The pointed tip of the top strip should pass 1/4″ beyond the lower strip, and the pointed tip of the lower strip should now pass 1/4″ beyond the upper strip.  Sew 1/4″ from the diagonal edge.  Press seam open.  You now have a long bias-binding strip.  Continue adding strips until all the strips have been joined.

Press along the long edge of the binding, 1/4″ along each long side.


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Cut fabric squares to the desired size of your napkins following the grain or weave of the fabric.

Using the ruler and marker pen, draw sewing lines 1/2″ from each edge.  Where the lines intersect at each corner you will have your pivot mark for turning each corner.

Use a heavier or decorative thread, or use one of the standard decorative stitches on your sewing machine to sew these outlines.

Press, Along one edge at a time, pick at the cut edge and pull off one thread at a time, fraying the fabric, until the fringe reaches the stitch line.

Continue on each side of the napkin.  Press.



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