Sew beautiful patchwork placemats for your fall table! This free sewing pattern includes instructions for making half-square triangles, flying geese, and chisel shapes. When you quilt them together, they will make perfect placemats for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special occasion.
The cutting and sewing instructions in this pattern are for making 4 placemats that are approximately 12” x 16” finished. You will want to ‘double the recipe’ if you are sewing for a crowd!
Don’t miss these other free sewing patterns for fall:
- My Autumn Leaves Fall Table Runner Pattern includes free downloadable applique templates, plus a technique video.
- Make sure your fur baby iscozy with my Fur Baby Coat.
- Sew a Cozy Rag Quilt…. it’s easy, fast, and fluffy!
Or see all 16 Fabulous Sewing Patterns for Fall.
This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free Patchwork Placemats for Fall Pattern is included in the blog post below and is free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $3 is optional. Did you know you can get ALL the Optimized for Printing PDF files organized in a library for you to access anytime you want? Check it out.
How to Make Beautiful Placemats
The secret to making placemats that look beautiful, protect your table, and hold up to lots of use is what’s on the inside! These placemats are quilted with flexible foam interfacing on the inside instead of batting or fusible fleece. It provides excellent definition for the quilting – even if you only stitch in the ditch or sew straight line quilting or classic cross hatch quilting.
Optional: Try Quilting in the Hoop
The 8” square of fabric in the center of these placemats is the perfect place for a quilted motif. You absolutely do not have to add one (no one has to do anything I say), but if you have a combination sewing and embroidery machine, one of the hottest new trends is quilting in the hoop. Here’s your chance to try that with any square block design made for quilting in the hoop.
My instructions include tips for setting up your hoop with the placemat when it is almost finished.
Quilting the center of the placemat is not necessary. You can skip that step if you wish. Other ideas include:
- Use ruler quilting to add a pretty motif.
- Quilt straight lines.
- Machine embroider a holiday design or your family monogram.
How to Choose Fabrics for your Fall Placemats
This pattern is delightfully scrap friendly and fat quarter friendly. I used 5 floral fabrics for the triangle and chisel shapes. I suggest picking a background fabric that contrasts nicely with your triangles and a fabric that is slightly darker than the background to accentuate the center square.
This Pattern is Fat Quarter Friendly
If you have 5 fat quarters to use for your patchwork shapes, you can ‘double’ this pattern and make 8 placemats instead of just 4.
If you are running late, make Christmas placemats instead! The fabrics shown here are from Moda’s Good News Great Joy collection.
Easy Patchwork Placemat Pattern
The materials list and cutting instructions are for making 4 placemats.
You will need:
- 5 different fabrics for your patchwork shapes. Fat quarters or larger scraps of fabric will work great (5 fat quarters is enough to double the pattern and make 8 placemats)
- 1/2 yard of background fabric
- 1/4 yard of fabric for the center squares in the placemats.
- 1 yard of fabric for the back of the placemats
- 1/2 yard of 58” wide flexible foam stabilizer (recommended: Soft and Stable from ByAnnie)
- quilt basting spray (such as 505 or SpraynBond)
- 1/2 yard of fabric for the binding
- a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and cutting mat
- sewing machine
- thread (I suggest thread matching the lighter fabric)
- ironing board and iron
1. Pick one fabric that you want to use for the chisel shapes in the corners of the placemats. From this fabric, cut:
- 16 rectangles 2 1/2” x 4 1/2”
2. Pick four different fabrics to make half-square triangles and flying geese. From each of these four fabrics, cut:
- 2 squares 5 1/4” x 5 1/4” (for a total of 8)
- 4 squares 2 7/8” x 2 7/8” (for a total of 16)
3. From the background fabric, cut:
- 48 squares 2 7/8” x 2 7/8”
- 16 squares 2 1/2” x 2 1/2”
4. From the fabric for the center of the placemats, cut:
- 4 squares 8 1/2” x 8 1/2”
5. From the fabric for the back of the placemats, cut:
- 4 rectangles 14” x 18”
6. From flexible foam stabilizer, cut:
- 4 rectangles 14” x 18”
Use a 1/4’’ seam allowance and a regular stitch length such as 2 – 2.5.
Make 16 Chisel Pieces, 8 in Each Direction
1. Use a pencil or fabric marking pen to draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of all of the 2 1/2” background fabric squares. This is a sewing line.
2. Place a 2 1/2” square right sides together on the right side of a 2 1/2” x 4 1/2” rectangle piece, as shown. The diagonal line should go from the middle top to the bottom right. Sew along the drawn line. Trim away the extra fabric 1/4” past the seam. Open the corner triangle and press.
Make 8 chisel pieces with the point at the bottom right corner, as shown.
3. Place a 2 1/2” square right sides together on the right side of a 2 1/2” x 4 1/2” rectangle piece, as shown. The diagonal line should go from the middle bottom to the top right. Sew along the drawn line. Trim away the extra fabric 1/4” past the seam. Open the corner triangle and press.
Make 8 chisel pieces with the point at the top right corner, as shown.
Make 32 Half Square Triangles, 8 of Each Print Fabric
1. Use the pencil or fabric marking pen to draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of 16 of the 2 7/8” background fabric squares. This is a cutting line.
2. Place those 16 – 2 7/8” background squares right sides together with the 16 – 2 7/8” print fabric squares (all 4 different fabrics). Pin the squares together.
Sew a scant 1/4’’ away from the cutting line on on both sides of the line.
3. Cut each piece in half diagonally along the line. Open and press to make 2 half square triangles (HST units). Trim each HST to 2 1/2” square.
Make 32 HSTs, 8 in each fabric combination.
Sew Rows of Half Square Triangles
Tip: When sewing pieces into rows, establish a color pattern and stick to it. Mine is cream, yellow, brown, and green.
1. Sew four HST units (one of each fabric combination) together exactly as shown above – let’s call it going ‘downhill.’ These will the the top row of the placemat.
Make four top rows.
2. Sew four HST units (one of each fabric combination) together exactly as shown above – let’s call it going ‘uphill.’ These will be the bottom row of the placemat
Make four bottom rows. Set the rows aside for now.
Make 32 Flying Geese Pieces, 8 of Each Print Fabric
1. Cut all of the 5 1/4” squares in half diagonally twice. You should have 8 triangles in each fabric.
2. Cut all of the remaining 2 7/8” background fabric squares in half diagonally once. You should have 64 background fabric triangles.
3. To make the flying geese, sew two background fabric triangles to each larger print fabric triangle. Press.
Make 32 flying geese pieces, 8 in each fabric combination. Cut off the ‘dog ears’ and trim each piece to 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″, if desired.
Sew Rows of Flying Geese
Tip: Stick to your established color pattern. Mine is cream, yellow, brown, and green.
1. Sew four flying geese pieces together in a vertical row as shown above.
Make 8 vertical rows of flying geese.
2. Sew two different chisel pieces to the top and bottom of a row of flying geese. Take note that there are background fabric corners at the top and bottom of the row on the LEFT side. This row will be the left side of a placemat.
Make 4 left side rows.
3. Sew two different chisel pieces to the top and bottom of a row of flying geese. Take note that there are background fabric corners at the top and bottom of the row on the RIGHT side. This row will be the left side of a placemat.
Make 4 right side rows.
Finish Piecing the Placemats
1. Sew a ‘top row’ of HSTs going ‘downhill’ to the top of an 8 1/2” fabric square. Sew a ‘bottom row’ of HSTs going ‘uphill’ to the bottom of the 8 1/2” fabric square. Press.
Repeat to make 4 placemat centers.
2. Sew a left side row and a right side row to each placemat center. Press.
Sandwich and Quilt the Placemats
1. Use quilt basting spray to adhere a 14” x 16” placemat back piece to a 14” x 16” piece of flexible foam stabilizer.
2. Adhere the placemat top to the other side of the fusible foam stabilizer in the same way. Center the placemat top on the stabilizer.
Repeat to prepare all four placemats for quilting.
3. Baste around the outside edges of the placemat to prevent it from shifting. I used my walking foot for all of the basting and stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.
Tip: All of the quilting steps you see here are optional. If you want to quilt your placemats differently, go ahead!
4. Stitch in the ditch around the center square first.
Then stitch in the ditch around all of the triangles and the chisel shapes.
This is enough quilting if you want to stop here. I decided to add a machine-embroidered design to the center of my placemats.
Optional: How to Machine Embroider on Your Placemat
You will need:
- A machine embroidery hoop that can embroider 8” x 8”
- Sticky stabilizer for machine embroidery
Note: this is not meant to be an exhaustive machine embroidery tutorial. You will need to have prior knowledge of how your embroidery machine works. I did not hoop the placemats. I hooped sticky stabilizer and adhered my almost-finished placemats to the stabilizer for embroidery.
1. Hoop a piece of sticky stabilizer with the paper side up. Use a pin to score the paper layer around the inside edges of the hoop and in a large ‘X’. Lift up the paper inside the hoop and tear it away.
2. Center a quilted placemat on the hoop and rub the top of it to help it adhere to the sticky stabilizer.
3. Put your hoop on your machine. Set your chosen ‘quilting in the hoop’ or other embroidery design inside the 8” square. Embroider.
Remove the placemat from the hoop and tear or cut away the extra stabilizer.
Bind the Placemats
- Cut 6 binding strips your desired width. Suggested: 2 1/4” x 42”.
2. Sew the binding strips together at a 45-degree angle. Cut away the extra fabric 1/4” past the seam allowance. Press the seams open and press the binding strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
3. Sew the binding to the back of the placemat first. Line up the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of one side of the placemat. Leave a 5” long tail of binding and sew with a 1/4” seam allowance.
4. To sew a mitred corner, stop sewing 1/4” before you reach a corner. If desired, pivot and sew diagonally off the corner.
Remove the place mat. Fold the binding to the right at a 45 degree angle. Crease the fold with your fingernail.
Fold the binding over to the left. The folded edge of the binding should be even with the raw edge of the quilt. Clip or pin in place.
Turn the placemat and begin sewing at the beginning of the following side. Continue sewing around, mitering each corner.
5. To join the ends of the binding with a diagonal seam, stop sewing and remove the placemat when you are about 6-8” away from where you started. Overlap the binding strips. The ends need to overlap by the same number of inches as the width of the binding.
For example, if your binding is 2 1/4” wide, the ends of the binding need to overlap by 2 1/4”
Tip: Cut a small piece of binding off (such as the selvage end) and use it to help you measure how much to overlap your binding pieces.
Place the ends of the binding right sides together as shown so you can sew them together at an angle. It may be helpful to fold the top corner of the placemat over towards you and temporarily pin or clip it in place.
Sew the ends of the binding together. Check to see if the binding fits and is not twisted. If so, trim away the extra fabric 1/4” past the seam. Finger press the seam open and refold the binding.
6. Finish sewing the binding to the back of the placemat.
7. Turn the binding over to the front of the placemat and sew it down close to the folded edge. A sewing stiletto is very helpful if your binding is tight.
It also helps when folding and sewing the mitred corners.
Enjoy your beautiful new quilted placemats!
As always, I love seeing the projects you make with my free sewing patterns. Please post a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe so I can take a look!
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