Sunday, January 22, 2012

Project: No Sew Placemats

I finally "found" placemats for our new dining table! We've been searching for linens for months now, but it has been a battle between the chairs and our new dishes. It finally dawned on me that we should forgo a tablecloth and go with placemats. That way the beautiful wood wouldn't be covered up, but still be able to protect our table top.

LOVE it!

Have you ever priced out placemats? The pretty ones are redonkulously expensive. At least I think so. Then again, I have this tendency to not buy anything that I can make myself. DIY freaken easy!

Our almost naked table.

Let's get this tutorial started.

fabric (look for something mashine washable)
fusible interface (try to match fabric type: cotton, polyester, blend) - You could skip this step if your fabric has a nice weight to it.
self healing cutting mat
straight edge
tape measure
rotary cutter with pinking blade (pinking cut will keep fabric from fraying)
damp cloth

First up, you will need fabric. I found this 100% cotton body pillow cover at Target ($9.99 + tax) and instantly thought it would be perfect. It's bright, has a subtle pattern, neutral without being beige, and it's roughly 20" wide; placemats are 19".

Next, rip out the seams. This is a little time consuming. You could just cut the seams, but then you'll have little bits of thread to pick out. In hindsight, it would have been fine because it'll get cut off.

The zipper side tricked me. Thought the fabric was serged all the way around. It wasn't.
This fabric frayed easily, but it wasn't a problem.

After ripping out all the seams, iron all the wrinkles out. I had a piece of fabric that was 20" wide and just over 100" long. From Joann's, I picked up about 3 yards of cotton fusible interfacing ($7 after 50% off sale!). Just my luck, it was 20" wide. I had never used the stuff prior to today, but it's awesome.

Position your fabric, wrong side up. Line up the fusible interface on top (nubby side down). Put down a damp cloth on top of it all, (I had to do it in sections) apply hot iron and press firmly. Repeat, slightly overlapping until all the interace is fused. Be sure to keep your cloth damp.

In the photo below, I've ironed on half of the interface. I screwed up at the fabric store and had cut at 50" before realizing that I needed 100"; I ended up purchasing two 1.5 yard pieces.

My ironing setup. Yeah...we don't own an ironing board.
I actually, don't know how to iron. I own steamer for a reason.

If you get a bubble here and there (I definitely did), go over it with a damp cloth and the iron. Before cutting, try to iron your fabric complete flat. I rolled mine to keep the wrinkles at bay.

Now it's time to cut! Be careful, a new blade is extremely sharp. Whatever you do, do not retrace your cut. Just move over and make a new cut. Well, I guess you could, you just won't have a consistent wavy edge unless you painstakingly line it up. Mine were cut into 19"x 14" rectangles. I was able to squeeze out 7 placemats.

Finally, pat yourself on the back for a job well done and decorate your table! You could wash these first, I was too excited to. Plus, it's not like you are going to eat off of them.

Close up of pinking edge

Total cost (not counting my new cutting tools) for 7 placemats is a wopping $17.47. That's $2.50 per placemat!!! Not shabby for about 2 hours worth of work. Probably would have been just a touch faster if a) I hadn't been working on the floor, and b) I hadn't been watching tv.

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