The Fastest Way to Sew Placemats – Free Tutorial

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winter placemats by Tara Reed for Riley Blake Designs
January panel from the Monthly Placemat Panel program by Tara Reed for Riley Blake Designs

If you are like me, you have at least 10 times as many things you’d LIKE to make or do than you have time for. Creative intentions are often bogged down by other priorities like work, sleep and showers.

Having designed 12 months of placemats – 6 per month for a total of 72 placemats – OF COURSE I want to make and use them all!

I didn’t HAVE to use traditional binding, I could just sew 3 layers (placemat, batting and backing) together, turn, press topstitch and quilt them.

I was able to make 6 placemats with fabric from the January placemat panel (part of the Monthly Placemat Panel program from Riley Blake Designs) in just a few hours and I LOVE how they turned out!

If you are an avid quilter, you are probably going to balk at this idea – but this post isn’t for you.

This is a great sewing for beginners project or a way to get placemats done quickly in between all the other things going on in your busy life.

Easy placemat supplies


  • Fabric Placemat Panel (January panel from the Monthly Placemat Panel program from Riley Blake Designs shown)
  • Backing Fabric (approx 13″ x 19″/placemat. 3/8 yard makes 2 backings. If you use the same backing fabric for all 6 placemats you need 1 1/8 yards.)
  • Batting (same as backing fabric – this is a great project to use leftover pieces from quilting projects if you are a quilter)


In this video you will learn how to sew beautiful placemats from a fabric placemat panel WITHOUT having to make and add binding. While binding is great, sometimes you don’t have the time or desire to do it or you want a more modern look.

Making placemats without binding is easy and a huge time saver. The most important step is cutting the placemat panel. If you take you time to get this done correctly your results will be amazing!


00:00 Introduction
00:25 Supplies
01:10 Cutting the placemat panel
03:15 Cutting the backing fabric

04:06 Cutting the batting
05:11 Sew fabric layers
06:29 Quilting

  • TRIM THE PLACEMAT DESIGNS: This is by far the most important step because if these aren’t squared well your placemats will be tilted and shaped a little off.
  • CUT the 6 images apart from the placemat panel.
  • For each image, you want to cut ¼″ around the design. So you want to have a ¼″ border of the print that is between the images, on all sides.
  • TRIM a short edge first then line it up along a guideline on a cutting mat.
  • PLACE your ruler to create the ¼″ border of the next side. If the edge of the design and border aren’t straight so the border will be an even ¼″ (making sure the first side stays lined up on the cutting mat), gently pull and adjust the fabric to square it. (fig. 1)
  • REPEAT for the remaining sides. Even though the designs are perfectly shaped, sometimes the fabric needs to be adjusted before cutting.
  • CUT background fabric that is about ½″ wider than the placemat on all sides. You don’t have to be exact about how you cut this (unless you are using stripes or another more geometric print). I put a placemat top down and simply cut around it. (fig. 2)
  • Lay the background fabric on top of batting and cut to the same size.
  • PLACE the batting on your workspace.
  • PLACE the backing fabric on the workspace, right side up.
  • CENTER & PLACE the placemat on top of the backing, right side down. (fig. 3)
  • PIN together and sew around the placemat with a ¼″ seam from the edge of the PLACEMAT layer, not the backing/batting.  Leave a few inches open to turn.
trim the placemat panel images - figure 1
figure 1
cut placemat backing fabric - figure 2
figure 2
layer the placemat fabrics and batting - figure 3
figure 3
  • After sewing, TRIM the backing and batting to match the sides of the placemat. (fig. 4)
  • TURN right side out and PRESS flat, pressing the opening under so you can’t tell where it is.
  • TOPSTITCH all the way around the placemat, ⅛″ from the edge.
TRIM the backing and batting to match the sides of the placemat - figure 4
figure 4

QUILT your placemat as desired.

You can free motion around the art, stitch lines, squares or any way you choose! (That’s the beauty of sewing, right?)

In the video I show how I use heat erasable fabric marking pens to draw lines on the placemat, sew over them and then iron the placemat to make the marks disappear. It’s like MAGIC! (Advance the video to the 6 min 29 sec mark to see that process.)

winter placemats - fabric panel by Tara Reed for Riley Blake Designs
placemats with and without binding by Tara Reed


Be sure to save it to Pinterest and follow me for more ideas and resources for sewing, crafting and creative living.

If you make this or other projects and post on Instagram, be sure to tag me (@artisttarareed). Follow my YouTube channel for new sewing projects and tips every week.

🧵 Tara Reed

P.S. Is there a sewing tutorial you’d love to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my idea list!


How to make placemats with binding >

More Monthly Placemats and Projects >


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