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Some Fabric We Stitch, Some We Stash. When We Sew...All DIVA. Welcome To My Sewing Blog: StitchStashDiva!
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Monday, January 2, 2012

Place Mat & Napkin Tutorial

Place Mats & Napkins really dress up your table, and in my opinion, make food taste better!  Whether you are making a fancy romantic dinner, eating dinner at home night after night, or entertaining friends and extended family, adding these luxurious place mats to your table adds a touch of love and sophistication to every meal.  

I have two requirements for place mats and napkins:  1) they MUST wash well, and 2) they must be fun to make = quick.  There are many options for making your own place mats, many patterns, many tutorials.  In researching this project I have made many different versions and what I love most about my pattern is the luxurious, quilt-quality of the final product.

The following tutorial will yield 2 Place Mats & 4 Napkins.  Napkins are always washed more frequently than the place mats, so the additional napkins will provide you additional days of use between laundry days.  Another bonus to this tutorial!

THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP of this entire project is to PRE-WASH & SHRINK YOUR FABRIC.  I know I put that in all caps, just making a point!  The only thing I dislike more than laundry is ironing, can you relate!?!  Although we usually pre-wash high quality quilt fabric in cold water and tumble dry on low, we want to pre-wash for this project on warm/warm and dry on hot.  Yes, on HOT!  While developing this pattern I made several place mats without pre-shrinking my fabric and as a result I have to iron after every wash.  *Sigh*

For this project you will need:
- 2 Yards of High Quality Cotton Quilt Fabric (I prefer two coordinating fabrics)
- 2 - 20" x 14.5" Pieces of Low-Loft Batting (I like Warm & Natural)
- Matching Thread, a Sewing Machine, and Scissors

A Rotary Mat, Quilt Ruler & Rotary Cutter will improve your cutting accuracy and finished product.  This is a great time of year to purchase these supplies at big-box fabric and craft stores such as JoAnns.

Place Mat Tutorial:
Step 1:  Pre-Wash and Shrink your fabric.  Do not wash batting, fabric only
Step 2:  Iron Fabric
Step 3:  Cut each yard of fabric into (2) 20" x 14.5" to make one place mat and (2) 20" x 20" to make two napkins. 
Step 4:  To make each place mat, sandwich your fabric and batting:  fabric right-sides together, then lay the batting on top (or under as in this picture).  Pin, Pin, PIN!!!
  Step 5:  Sew 1/4" seams around the edge. leaving a 4-5" opening for turning your place mat right-side out.  After sewing, trim any uneven edges or excess fabric.  You will have the best results with equal 1/4" seams.
Step 6:  Before turning ride-side out, clip all four corners as shown below.  Clip as close to the seam as possible, without clipping your stitches.
 Step 7:  Turn your place mat right-side out.  Use your finger or the eraser end of a pencil to push each corner all the way out.
 Step 8:  IRON!  I start with a corner and carefully pull the fabric so the seam is exactly centered.  After ironing all around the edges, be certain to iron the entire place mat well.  This is a crucial step to prepare for top-stitching, and the overall washable feature of this pattern.
 Step 9:  Top-Stitch a 1/4" around the entire place mat. 
 Step 10:  Machine stitch or hand sew the opening used for turning the place mat ride-side out.  I have done both and since I am lazy time conscious I prefer to machine stitch, as close to the edge as possible.  For the sake of this tutorial and "doing things right, ahem" I hand stitched the opening closed with needle and thread.  You will seal the opening when you top-stitch around the edges, however I much prefer a completely finished product and highly recommend this last step.

Napkin Tutorial:
Step 1:  Fold over each edge 1/4" and iron. 
Step 2:  Repeat (Step 1) Important Note:  I have made many napkins with this boxed corner and many with perfectly mitered corners.  Boxed corners are better suited for heavy washing and MUCH faster.  Save the fancy mitered corners for your next quilt binding, enjoy simplicity now.
Step 3:  Sew as close to the edge as possible, or as you are comfortable with.
Step 4:  Iron.  After ironing, fold into your preferred style.  Voila, finished!
 I like reversible Place Mats & Contrasting Napkins!
 Another Option
 Pattern On Pattern
 Blue On Blue
 Love, Love, LOVE!!!
 The Two Fabrics Featured - STITCH by Betz White
 What time is dinner!?!
So there you have it, Place Mats & Napkins!  As needed, wash on cold and tumble dry on low.  When I pull my napkins and place mats out of the dryer right away I smooth them out on my folding table and they are good-to-go, no ironing needed!  You may choose to iron yours for added "crispness" after each washing, but I have been very happy with mine without ironing, all about your personal preference!
Please leave comments below or e-mail directly if you have any questions or suggestions.  My direct e-mail address is:  StitchStashDiva (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Happy Sewing!!!


  1. LOVE this! Thanks so much. So the napkins are only one layer? Can you do it kinda the same as the placemats without the batting or is that overkill?

  2. Thanks, Sarah! The place mats are BEST with the batting. I tried both with and without and those without the batting were too thin, didn't have the luxurious feel/quality that these specifically do. As for napkins, one single layer is perfect. Store bought, ahem, napkins are only one layer also. Happy Sewing!!!