Make: Simple placemats, quick cloth napkins and a giveaway!

 
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

It's been a while since I've done a make post, so as a break from all the food I thought I'd share this little tutorial for a simple DIY place setting. Now before you start thinking I'm one of these people who sets a fancy table for every meal, let me stop you right there. In this house, in the era of small children, if you come here for dinner you set your own place and probably have to unload the cutlery from the dishwasher too.

But that doesn't mean I don't have aspirations. So now I have the potential to have a pretty table when I decide to host a grown up dinner party, and I have something to stop my new kitchen table getting all scratched up in the meantime.

I made the placemats from some left over fabric I had for making the boys a tepee tent. The napkins started out as a pack of four tea towels from Ikea which I bought for £1.80. Some scissors and a sewing machine later and I had myself eight new cloth napkins for just a few pence each - bargain.

They were both pretty easy to make. I put mitred corners on the placemats, it looks complicated but it really isn't - it's more ironing than sewing really - see the step by step below. It's a bit fiddly but it gives such a neat finish. I did a simple folded corner on the napkins, mainly because that's how the other corners on the tea towels were finished and I needed them to match. You can do what's easiest for you - obviously.

Oh and I have a little giveaway for you courtesy of the lovely folk at Hobbycraft - head to the end of the post to find out more.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

To make your own you will need:

For the placemats Upholstery fabric - a 13" x 17" rectangle for each placemat (measurement includes 1" seam allowance). This is a fairly conservative measurement because I was tight on fabric - if I'd had more fabric I would probably have made my placemats a couple inches bigger all round so you could see more of them around the plate. The size is totally up to you - there are no rules. Matching thread Pins Iron Sewing machine

For the napkins A pack of tea towels (mine are available here) Matching thread

Method

Cut out all your placemats to the right size and turn on your iron. Mitred corners are all about the ironing and pinning. You can see another tutorial for them here in case the stripes in this fabric make your eyes boggle!

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

Start by folding over a 1 inch hem all around your placemat. That means you measure 1 inch from the edge with a tape measure or ruler and then fold at the 1 inch mark. Do this along all four sides, pressing as you go. At the corners the edges just lie one on top of each other.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

Working with one corner at a time, unfold the corner and look at the creases in the fabric - then fold up the tip of the corner until the creases on the corner match up with those on the main cloth. Press.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

Open it out again and tuck the tip under to leave a flat edge. Press.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

Fold up each hem to form a crisp point. Press. Pin in place and repeat on the other corners.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

When you've got all the corners folded in this way go around again folding under the raw edges of your hem to make a narrower hem and also to sop the fabric from fraying when the placemats are washed.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

Stitch around the placemats starting in a corner. Turn each corner when your needle hits the gulley of the mitred corner. Don't forget to do a few backstitches at the beginning and end of your stitching to secure it.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

The napkins are much simpler. Just grab your tea towel, cut it in half then iron a 1 inch hem, fold it under to secure the raw edge and stitch in place. If you put your pins in like I have you can stitch right over them with your sewing machine so you don't have to fiddle about pulling them out as you sew. These napkins aren't a traditional square shape, but I was willing to let that go. I don't have a square lap so I don't think it really matters.

Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins
Make: Simple placemats and quick cloth napkins

And talking of sewing I have a sewing machine to giveaway - yay! It's a  Janome Mini 140M which is a lightweight compact sewing machine that's still has all the settings you need on one easy-to-use dial. It's the perfect sewing machine if you want to start making things for your home or even fancy having a go at making your own clothes. My sewing machine is a Janome and I love it. You can find out more about the sewing machine here.

janome resized
janome resized

To enter this giveaway just leave me a comment on this post and tell me what you'd make using your new sewing machine. The giveaway closes at midnight on Friday 20th June 2014. I'm sorry but it's only open to UK residents.

T&Cs - This giveaway is for a Janome Mini 140M (rrp £49.00) there is no cash alternative. I will choose the winner at random when the giveaway closes at at midnight on Friday 20th June. I'm sorry but this giveaway is open to UK residents only. This giveaway was made possible by Hobbycraft.