Handmade Placemats

I don’t if it’s the countless hours of Project Runway I’ve seen or just a general penchant for crafts but I’ve been desperate to own a sewing machine for years. The idea of creating my own clothes really excites me, not to mention the countless cushion covers, curtains, and blankets I could make. It’s been such a big wish of mine for so long that I’d planned it for the final month of my something new, everyday challenge from last year, the idea being to use the remaining days to cross off some big bucket list items (or, as I like to call it, my “what are you waiting for” list). Alas, the postal system had other plans, and the machine I ordered got cancelled. That turned out to be lucky for me as I managed to find the same model, pre-owned but as new for far cheaper on eBay!

I love it!

An experienced friend warned me not to immediately begin with making clothes as I’d only be disappointed. As you can probably tell by the title of this post I listened to her advice and decided to make something a lot easier like placemats – I can’t go wrong with straight edges, right?

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

My friend lent me a few of her spare fabrics, and I still had some scrap fabric in my cupboard leftover from sewing masks and the various hand-sewing projects I completed last year. After trying to decipher my German manual I was ready to go and had great fun testing out all the different stitches, tensions, lengths, on some scrap fabric, and then a little less fun learning what all that actually meant.

It was time to graduate to an actual project. I know making a placemat is basically as simple as sewing two pieces of fabric together, but considering this is my first project ever, I thought it might be useful to look at how someone else has done it. I found a simple and clear tutorial from Hello Creative Family and followed along as best as I could.

It became clear very early on that whilst the yellow fabric was weighty enough to cut easily, the blue one underneath was light and moved around a lot making it quite difficult to control when sewing. Not the ideal conditions for a first project but I’d been waiting so long I wasn’t about to stop now. It also became clear I need some decent fabric scissors and an ability to measure and cut straight, but more on that later.

After cutting the pieces of fabric out I sewed them together inside out, leaving a gap big enough that I could reach in and turn the fabric the right way out. I then stitched a border about 1/2cm from the edge so it could close the gap from before and give a nice finish. From start to finish it probably took me less than half an hour and it only took me that long as I was being very careful.

I made two (that’s all we need) and I think the finish on them looks pretty good. I can see the puckering on the blue side but that comes with using an unforgiving material, something I’ll learn more about in time. I tried so hard to get nice straight lines and I think, on the whole, I’ve done a decent job – I’m genuinely pleased with how they turned out! The only thing is…

Erm

Not exactly even! That’s nothing to do with my lack of sewing skills though, merely a lack of attention to detail, something I’ll have to improve on!

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