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Sunday, October 18, 2020

TUTORIAL - Christmas Quilt-As-You-Go Placemats with Self Binding


I always love a good Christmas project and these festive placemats are fun and easy to make.  The quilt-as-you-go method is appealing and the fact that they can be bound with the backing is ideal for me.


First - choose your favorite holiday fabrics.  You'll need  some fusible fleece or regular thin batting.  The fusible fleece isn't too deep and easily adheres to the backing.  Pick a coordinating backing as this will also serve as your binding.  This piece should be at least 14" x 18" .  I always use a backing that is a bit bigger as it gives me 'wiggle room'.  You'll need thread that will show nicely as this will be quilting on the back of your placemats.

You'll also need a cutting mat, cutting ruler, rotary cutter and glue stick.

I like to use a template which I make out of simple printer paper pieced together.  It easily shows how much fabric I require and saves having to measure for every placemat.

I also make a template for the fusible fleece which is 12" x16".
Draw a slanted line on a top corner and the opposite bottom corner of the fusible fleece.  No specific measurements here - just draw and angle as you like.

Then press the batting onto the center of the backing, being sure to leave enough fabric
(at least 1") all around.  This will eventually be the self-binding.  You can easily trim later if you have too much.  Err on the side of caution as it's always better than having too little material.

The next step is to cut your strips of fabric  2 1/2" wide and at least 20" long.  Cut 8 or 9 strips to begin with.  You can cut some narrower strips to add some variation.  I didn't go any less than 1 1/2" wide.
Working from the far left side of the batting, place a strip of fabric right side up.  When placing strips be mindful of the edge of the batting and the diagonal line.  Make sure the strip covers the area.

Place a second strip of fabric right side down on the first strip.  You can line up the edges.  Or you can angle that strip and it creates an interesting element for the finished look.
TIP:  Every time you start to sew, put the needle down and up once to catch the bobbin thread.   When you finish a seam, bring your bobbin thread to the top and tie it. This makes a neater backing and saves a lot of time sewing in ends. 


 Important - Start as accurately as you can at the top of the fleece and end exactly on the diagonal line.  It is a bit tricky to see the line and sometimes I'll estimate or make a crease in the fabric at the line so I'll know where to stop.

Press each seam before placing the next fabric strip. 

Once you've sewn the strips from left to right, it should look like this.

 Trimming the excess fabric along the diagonal lines is next.  Place the placemat right side down on the cutting mat.  Fold back the backing and batting along the diagonal line.  Place the cutting ruler edge slightly to the right of the batting.  Be very careful as you don't want to cut the backing fabric or batting, just the excess strips of  fabric.

Once trimmed, the placemat should look like this.

Now you'll use the same method to sew fabric to the diagonal corners.  Line your first strip up with the diagonal line, making sure the strip covers all the ends of the vertical pieces already sewn. If not, move it down slightly.  Sew this strip from edge to edge remembering to pick up your bobbin thread at the beginning and end of the seam. 
Once you've sewn the diagonal corners, it should look like this.
Trim the excess fabric along the sides, top and bottom.  Place the placement right side down on cutting mat.  Fold back the backing and batting along each side.  Place the cutting ruler edge slightly to the right of the batting.  Again - Be very careful as you don't want to cut the backing fabric or batting, just the excess strip fabric.

Now to trim the backing to allow for the self binding.  With placemat right side up, place the 1" mark on the ruler along the edge of the placemat.  Cut the backing.  Do this on all 4 sides. 
The self binding is great.  There are lots of tutorials on line, but I like Lorena's Quilting video on YouTube.  She gives step-by-step instructions on how it's done.  All you need is an iron and glue stick.  
This method makes nice right angles at the corners.

When the binding was all in place, I did a blanket stitch around the edge to secure it.  Choose whatever stitch you like, an edge stitch works fine too.

Here's the back of my placemat.  You can see it doesn't have any loose threads to hide because I picked up the bobbin thread at the beginning and end of each seam. 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  If you have any questions or comments leave them below.   Happy sewing!!

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