Saturday, September 03, 2011

pocketed placemat tutorial

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It has been a while since I've spent time crafting for myself.  I decided to change that this week and do something with the canvas dropcloth I've been tripping over in my workshop.  I love the almost linen-like look of the untreated canvas and decided to use it on my tabletop.  A few cuts, a few stitches, and some collaboration with my little ones and I had myself some placemats.

Placemats with cute little pockets!

They were incredibly easy to make and here's a little how-to if you'd like to give them a go yourself.


sewing machine threaded with your choice of thread color
paint - acrylic or fabric paint
waxed paper

You'll need to cut two pieces of canvas for each placemat.  Mine are 11" x 15" which fit my plates and silverware nicely.  When determining the size I laid out my dish and the silverware pocket to check for a proper fit.  You'll want to adjust the size to fit your own dishes as needed. 

Cut a piece of canvas roughly 3" x 4" to act as a pocket on your placemat.

Enlist the help of children to do botanical prints on your pocket pieces.  If you don't have any children laying around, then go on and do it yourself.  Instructions for making nature prints are here.

After your leaf prints are completely dry you'll want to sew across the top of each one to stop the fabric from fraying too far.

Pin the pocket to the front of your placemat and sew down the side, across the bottom, and back up the third side.  Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end so your pocket holds securely.

After your pocket is sewn on, pin the top layer of your placemat to the bottom layer.  I'm going for a simple look with an intentional fray around the outside.  None of that turning inside-out fanciness for me today.

Sew the two layers of placemat together, keeping the stitches 1/4" from the outer edge.

Fray the edges of the placemat and the pocket by removing the threads running parallel to your stitches.  Be careful not to tug the stitches out in the process.

Give your placemat a good shake or a once-over with a lint brush and there you have it!

Ready to serve.

My kids think the little pockets are super cool and the younger ones were eager to set the table.
To set the table.

That alone makes this project totally worth it for me.

If you're so inclined you could also treat these to make them more stain-resistent.

I think these would be cute made from denim too, maybe with pockets made of bandana material or leather?  Or made of felt perhaps?  Or recycle a thrift-store raincoat and make placemats that can withstand a storm of peas and carrots, that would be cool.

If you try it, I hope you'll share the results.  I'd love to see where your creativity takes this.


Lisa-Marie said...

These are beautiful! I am trying to work out Christmas placemats (I know), and now feel they need a pocket!

Anonymous said...

oh my, they're so pretty & the fact that it makes the kids want to set the table can NOT be beaten ! LOL Way to go girl, they're super great & I loved seeing the little guys in the photos :)
have great weekend my friend
take good care

Anonymous said...

What a nice and easy project!! I think I need to try this too... also want eager kids :)
Thank you for sharing!

la.daridari said...

they are pretty and so natural look!
I made these placemats with pocket, do you like them?


Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Lisa Marie - did you just say Christmas?

Sonia - thank you sweet girl!

Kim - now I'm wondering what other household chores I can trick them into liking, by adding pockets...

la.daridari - your placemats are gorgeous!! Wow, really well done.

Anonymous said...

You are so freaking genius (or cruel for child labor) for enlisting your kids again. (I expect all your kids to have DIY shows on HGTV soon. "Heeeeere's Jordans' Kids!!!)

One little tip I learn when I was sewing burlap. Take a thread that runs the whole length of the piece you are making, closet to the edge. Then fray and take out the threads that are towards the edge. Then, you can sew immediately inside where you took out the thread. Then, you won't have to worry about taking out or fraying the threads too much. It's kinda hard to explain in words but...hope you got it. your kids ever wear cltohes? Just sayin'..

Heather Woollove said...

What a wonderful project to make with children...and the canvas idea is brilliant!

Tara said...

Love the placemats, Lisa. I agree with you that if it makes the kids want to do chores then the placemats are already well worth their wait in gold.

Margie Oomen said...

love them

kristin said...

thanks for the reminder to craft for myself...haven't done that in a while. these are great, thanks!

Anastasia said...

Lovely idea!

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Karen - thanks for the sewing tip. I think I read that from you before but clearly it didn't stay in my head. And hey, they're wearing pants, it's a start.

Thanks everyone!


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