Setting the table was one of my childhood responsibilities, and I did it nearly every night. Thinking about it now, though, I realize that I really only arrange plates and utensils for special occasions, not everyday meals. Somehow, setting the table became a formal idea to me. This week, I decided to banish that notion, dust off my manners and make a sweet project to inspire a more put-together tabletop.
I wanted to make placemats that are simple and graphic, but definitely not stuffy. The clean lines of the appliqués allow the bright shade of the base fabric stand out, and provide a helpful guide if you, like me, always forget where the knife goes. These placemats give even everyday meals the perfect whimsical touch. And imagine the fun pop of color they would add to your next picnic!
- Colorful fabric
- White fabric
- Gray fabric
- Thread in a corresponding color to the colorful fabric
- White thread
- Gray thread
- Basic sewing needle
- Straight pins
- Measuring tape
- Piece of paper
- Ballpoint pen
- Iron and ironing board
- Optional: sewing machine
- Draw a rectangle onto the paper, 14 1/2-inches long by 11 1/2-inches wide. Sketch diagonal lines across each of the corners by marking dots along the sides, 1 1/2-inches in, and connecting them with the measuring tape or a ruler. Cut out the shape.
- Draw a circle onto the paper, 8 1/2-inches wide, and cut it out.
- Draw a fork, a spoon, and a knife onto the paper, making each of them 6-inches long by 1/2-inch wide. You can make them as fancy or as simple as you want. Cut out all three shapes.
- Trace the rectangular placemat template onto the colorful fabric twice. Add 1/4-inch all the way around both shapes, and cut them out.
- Trace the circular plate template onto the white fabric, and cut the shape out.
- Trace the fork, spoon, and knife templates onto the gray fabric, and cut the shapes out.
- Pin the plate piece to the center of one of the placemat pieces, on the opposite side of the traced lines.
- Cut a few feet of white thread and fold it in half, then thread the needle and tie a knot.
- Stitch the plate piece to the placemat piece. Use a looping motion, and keep your stitches close together to create a solid line. You can use a sewing machine for these next few steps if you prefer, set on an embroidery stitch; I like the control of sewing by hand.
- Pin the fork, spoon, and knife on either side of the plate. I used a traditional table setting—fork on the left, knife and spoon on the right—but you can order your silverware however you’d like.
- Stitch the silverware in place with the gray thread, using the same stitch as the one for the plate.
- After you have sewn the fork in place, add two 1-inch long, vertical lines of looping stitches down the top of the shape. These will make the tines of the fork.
- Fold the edges of each placemat piece in 1/4-inch, towards the back of the fabric, using the lines you traced earlier as your guide. Iron the fold to set it in place.
- Pin the two placemat pieces together with the folds touching (right-side out).
- Stitch the placemat pieces together with either the needle and thread or a sewing machine. Use the corresponding color of thread, and keep your stitches close to the edge of the fabric.
- There you have it! With a few simple steps, you can make a set of these cute little placemats for your next dinner party or picnic.