Monday, December 14, 2009

Sophisticated Autumn Placemats

I really wanted some fall-themed placemats for the big Thanksgiving meal we had with Brett's side of the family. I found this one at TJ Maxx, but I needed 12 and could only find 3. So I decided to try to replicate them myself.

Of course I realize its a little late for a tutorial for a Thanksgiving placemat, but this would be gorgeous with colors for Christmas (reds and golds) or New Years (bues and silvers) as well!

I tried to get together fabrics that looked like the ones in the placemat--a chocolate brown taffeta for the back and the medium-sized piece; a bronze satin for the large piece on the front; and for the small piece a gold duponi silk. We cut them to size with a half-inch border all the way around each piece to allow for the seams.

This left me with the four sizes below, and twelve pieces of each size: 2"x 14"; 8" x 14" and 12" x 14". The final placemat size is 19" x 13" .

I also got some pieces for the appliqued leaves, but it didn't work out so well when I tried to applique them onto the taffeta so I nixed that idea! Of course, if I hadn't waited until the Sunday before Thanksgiving to try to make 12 placemats, I might have been able to make it work...maybe next time!

After cutting everything to size and ironing everything (blech), I ironed-on craft interfacing to the backing pieces to give the placemats some body and to help them hold their shape.

And then pinned them in place to wait for the front to be pieced together.

To piece together the three strips to make the top, I cut a 1" x 14" strip of paper grocery bag and pinned it down the center of the small piece. This gave me a line to follow on my sewing machine as I sewed it to the other two peices.

I then put the right sides together and pinned the small duponi silk piece to the brown taffeta piece.
I made sure the foot of my sewing machine followed the line provided by the grocery bag.

I then pulled out the pins holding the duponi silk to the taffeta, and ironed them out straight. Then I put the right sides of the silk/taffeta piece and the satin piece together, pinned them, and zipped right down the straight line provided by the grocery bag again.

Here's what it looked like when I took the pins out:

And this is what the wrong side of the top of the placemat looks like when its sewed together:

I then pinned the right sides of the top and the right side of the bottom together.

The beauty of this is that the interfacing is now on the outside and will eventually end up inside the placemat where no one will be able to see it. SO I used it to trace a 13" x 19" rectangle with pencil and then followed the line again with my sewing machine foot.

I sewed all the way around with the exception of a small area on one side. You can make that area as small as possible--just large enough to be able to fit your hand through will be fine.

Once it is sewed up almost all the way around, snip the corners diagonally as shown below and snip all the way around so that there is only about 1/4" of seam left outside the thread. Then you reach inside and turn the whole thing inside out. Then iron it smooth and hand sew up the small hole you used to put your hand through.

Here is the result!

I was super happy with the way my placemats turned out, and it was quite a learning experience. There are a couple of things I would have done differently if I did it over again! 1.) start sooner, 2.) use less delicate fabrics (I actually melted some of the taffeta with the iron!), and 3.) check to see if the fabric is washable before buying it!

Anyway, I managed to save myself quite a lot of money by making these instead of buying them, and hopefully they will last for years!


Courtney said...

I love them!

lari said...

wow charlotte! those are beautiful! i am utterly impressed with how creative you are! those mats must have taken forever! nice work...the table looks great, and very special since you hand made most everything. =)

lovely work!!!

DIANN said...

These are awesome.I think it will be a great look for your home on this Christmas party or thanksgiving party.I like it a lot.

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