How to Make Cloth Placemats

Sitting down to a nice meal can be the highlight of the day. When you go to the trouble of setting the table with nice dishes and cloth placemats, it makes the meal even more special. You can make an assortment of cloth placemats and have them on hand for every occasion.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge or ruler
  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Matching thread
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine


    • 1

      Decide whether you want your placemat to be a square, rectangle or oval shape. Draw the pattern on a piece of tissue paper or paper bag. Plan for a 5/8-inch seam allowance.

    • 2

      Choose the cloth you want to use and cut out a front and back for each placemat. You may want to use a print on one side and a contrasting color for the other side.

    • 3

      Pin the front and back with right sides together. Sew around the edges with a 5/8-inch seam, leaving a 1 1/2-inch opening for turning. If you're making a square or rectangular placemat, pivot at each corner on the 5/8 inch seam line, leave the needle in the down position, turn the corner and continue sewing the seam.

    • 4

      Turn the placemat right side out, working corners out with a turning tool, knitting needle or some other pointed object.

    • 5

      Press the piece, turning under the seams on the opening you left for turning. Slipstitch the opening shut.

    • 6

      Think about decorating your placemats with embroidery, appliqué or fabric paints to celebrate a holiday or special occasion. You may also want to trim the edges with a contrasting bias tape, rickrack or other type of trim.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you plan to add embroidery or appliqué to your placemats, do it before you join the front and back together.
  • It's best to use fabrics that are washable and don't require ironing. If the cloth isn't heavy enough, use interfacing or flannel to sandwich in between the front and back for a little more structure.
  • Prewash your fabrics before you cut out your placemats to prevent the disappointment of having a shrunken placemat the first time you throw it in the wash.
  • Remove the pins as you come to them. Sewing over pins can break a needle or damage your sewing machine.
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