- The latest festive fabrics and supplies hit the stores
- Christmas-in-July sales help trim your budget
- Merry designs and ideas hit the craft-store shelves
- Holly-jolly projects that create stress in fall are fun and satisfying when you do them while warm breezes blow!
- If you plan to send your project out to be quilted, you may need to allow extra time for your longarmer to fit it into her schedule.
- To keep on top of your Christmas craft plans, assemble ideas and inspiration on Pinterest, or organize them in a binder.
To help you launch your holiday creativity, here’s a Pin-worthy placemat project by quilt blogger Sheila Reinke of The Heart of Sewing. It features a graceful evergreen tree applique that you can cut out with the easy-to-use OLFA® 28mm Quick-Blade Change Rotary Cutter. This tool offers the same exceptional cutting as larger OLFA® rotary cutters but with added precision due to its small size. It’s so fun to use, you’ll want to create a set of placemats for yourself and additional sets to give as gifts. Even beginning quilters will be able to whip out several sets in just a few hours, allowing plenty of time to enjoy—summer!
BEFORE YOU START
- Sheila offers three different methods for appliqueing the Christmas tree. Be sure to review each one prior to starting so you can follow the procedure you prefer.
- Use a ¼” seam allowance unless otherwise indicated.
- You can use this design to create a fir-filled tablescape by making a matching runner. Lengthen the center piece of fabric and add appliqued Christmas trees to either end, or combine the tree blocks with checkboard sections to add a little extra interest.
- If you have a group of quilting friends, arrange a placemat exchange (like a cookie exchange). Use this pattern and have everyone make one placemat for each member of the group. Come together for the exchange and everyone goes home with a lovely handmade collection!
MATERIALS (FOR FOUR PLACEMATS)
1-2/3 yd. cotton Christmas print fabric for body of placemat and binding
1/4 yd. cotton fabric in white print for applique background
1/4 yd. cotton fabric in green solid or small green print for tree
1/4 yd. fusible interfacing or fusible web for applique (optional, based on applique technique)
1-1/4 yd. cotton fabric in small coordinating print for backing
1-1/3 yd. cotton batting
Coordinating thread for piecing, applique, and quilting
Basic sewing supplies
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS (TO MAKE ONE PLACE MAT)
- Use 45mm rotary cutter, ruler and rotary mat to cut pieces from Christmas print: One 2″ x 13″ strip and one 12″ x 13″ rectangle. Also cut two Christmas print strips for binding, 2-1/2″ wide x width of fabric.
- From white print, cut one 5-1/2″ x 13″ piece.
- From backing fabric, cut one 13″ x 18″ piece.
- Trace the tree pattern onto template plastic and cut out on traced lines using 28mm rotary cutter and rotary mat.
- Choose one of the following three applique methods to cut out the tree pattern from green fabric and applique onto the white print fabric:
Method 1—Turned Edge Applique: Place the tree pattern on the green fabric and cut around it, using the 28mm rotary cutter and rotary mat, making sure to leave a scant (1/8″) seam allowance. Turn the seam allowance under and press in place. Run a basting stitch along the edge of the pattern to hold the seam under. Center the applique, right side up, on the white print fabric piece and pin in place. Sew around the edge of the pattern with a small hand applique or blanket stitch or a small machine blanket or satin stitch. Once the applique is secure, remove any visible basting stitches.
Method 2—Fusible Interfacing: Trace the tree pattern onto the smooth side of the interfacing. Place the rough (glue) side of the interfacing on the right side of the green fabric and pin in place. Do not press at this point. Sew on the traced pattern lines on the interfacing. Trim edges 1/8″ from stitching line and clip any curved areas. Cut a small slit through the interfacing and turn the applique through the slit until the right side of the fabric is out (the rough side of the fabric will be out, too). Center the applique on the white print fabric and press in place. Stitch the applique to the white print fabric, using a hand-applique or blanket stitch or machine blanket or satin stitch.
Method 3—Fusible Web: This is the fastest method. Trace the tree pattern onto the smooth (non-glue) side of the fusible web. Press the rough side of the web to the wrong side of the green fabric piece. Using 28mm rotary cutter and rotary mat, cut the design out on the traced lines. Peel off the paper from the back of the fusible web (the glue transfers to the fabric when you press it). Center the tree on the white print fabric piece and press in place. Finish the applique by using a small machine blanket or satin stitch.
- Assemble the place mat as follows: With right sides together, stitch the 2″ x 13″ Christmas print strip to the left side of the appliqued piece, then place the appliqued piece onto the 12″ x 13″ Christmas piece, right sides together, and sew. Press seams open.
- Lay the place mat face down on your work surface. Top with quilt batting and then place backing fabric right side up on top of batting to create a quilt sandwich. Pin through all three layers and quilt, using monofilament or other desired thread. Stitch-in-the-ditch around the appliqued tree and use the quilt pattern of your choice on the Christmas print sections. Trim to straighten edges if needed.
- Piece and sew the binding strips together. Fold in half, wrong sides together, and press.
- Sew the binding along the edges of the quilted place mat. Fold binding to the back of the mat, encasing the mat’s raw edges. Sew binding to the back of the quilted mat.
TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS
- Choose a thin quilt batting to reduce bulk and create an even surface for plates and utensils.
- You can use these basic instructions to create place mats for other seasons or every-day use. Simply choose appropriate fabric and swap out the tree applique for a more suitable design, such as an elongated heart for Valentine’s Day or a summertime flower. Look for designs in children’s coloring books—the bold lines of each figure are easy to trace and cut.
- To keep your iron and ironing board clean and free of the glue from fusible interfacing or
fusible web, place pieces of parchment paper (the kind used for baking) underneath and on top of your applique pieces before pressing.