How to Make Quilt as You Go Placemats
While we love making quilts and will gladly spend weeks sewing up a project, sometimes we need a quick and easy quilting project we can finish in an afternoon. When those projects can be made from scraps, it’s even better! We now get a mental break and a chance to destress and have a practically free project at the end. Another bonus to these small projects, is using up batting scraps. We always end up with strips of batting cut off of our quilts after they are finished. We have an entire tub filled and love pulling some out to actually use whenever we can.
This weeks small project is Quilt as You Go Placemats. There are so many things to love about this project, but I think the best features are the flexibility, you can use any fabric you have or want, and the time feature. After you get the fabric cut, these sew up in about 30 minutes. If you have a free afternoon, you could easily knock out enough placemats to completely makeover your table. Also, there are no special tools needed and you can easily complete these quilted placemats on your domestic machine without having to wrestle fabric around.
What is Quilt as You Go?
Quilt as you go can mean two different things:
1- You are piecing the quilt top as you are sewing it to the backing and batting
2- You finish the block, sandwich it, and quilt it, then sew them together with sashing to make the completed top.
This project uses the first method (we’ll talk about the second method later in the year). This simply means that you will be quilting the placemat while you piece it. When sewing the top fabric together, we will be putting it on top of the batting and backing and sewing through all three layers at the same time. Each additional quilt block piece is added and the seam sewn right on top of the batting and backing. You can complete the entire placemat with just the seams that add the pieces, or you can go back and add extra quilting lines on top of the piecing to add lots more texture. We love quilty texture so we opted to add more stitch lines to the top of the piece as well. We stitched these as we added the strips, so we didn’t have to go back and do them later.
Can I Join Quilt as You Go Blocks?
You can join quilt as you go blocks, but if you are planning to do that, you want to lay it out a little different then we have in this project. We don’t have any backing or batting leftover to work with for joining the blocks, so this method isn’t ideal for that. Don’t worry, we are planning an entire video on that type of project later this year, so stay tuned!
We have planned for our placemats to finish at 14×18″. If you like bigger placemats, plan a little extra in the amount of strips and the length.
This is a very scrap friendly quilting project. We went through our scrap buckets and pulled out a bunch of different aqua fabrics. You don’t have to stick to all one color, you could use any combination of fabrics that you like. Go a little scrappy, or a lot scrappy, either method will look great!
You are going to want about 25 pieces at 1 1/2″ wide and at least 24″ long. Since we are sewing them on the diagonal, we’ll need extra length to accommodate the angle. If you have a few pieces that are shorter, that’s okay, save them for the beginning and end. As long as most of your pieces are 24″ long you’ll be okay. We used 7 different fabrics for our placemats. Again, this is flexible you could do as little as 2 and up to 25!
For the backing and batting you’ll need a piece of each cut at least 15×19″. If you like lots of extra cushion for trimming, you could go up to 16×20″ for your beginning rectangles. Just keep in mind, if you go any bigger your strips will need to be longer as well.
You’ll also want a little bit of fabric for binding. Pick your favorite fabric, or the one you have the most of, and cut some extra strips to bind your project. We like to use 2 1/4″ strips for our binding.
Quilt as You Go Placemats Piecing Instructions
To get started, lay your batting directly on top of your backing fabric with the right side facing out. Take a little extra time here to make sure everything is lined up nicely.
Grab your first strip. Place it over the corner at about a 45 degree angle. This doesn’t have to be perfect and you can even play with different angles to see if you prefer something different. Place a second strip on top, ensuring it covers edge to edge. You’ll want right sides together and line up the edge.
Sew a 1/4″ seam along the edge of the pieces sewing through all 4 layers. You do not need to worry about backstitching.
Fold the top piece over and give it a good finger press. This is where you can add more quilting if you want. We chose to do a line of quilting 1/4″ away on both sides of the seam.
Grab another strip. Again, line it up along the edge of the previous piece, ensuring it covers both edges. Sew 1/4″ seam, finger press, and add more quilting!
If your strips are longer than you need, you can trim them as you go and use the leftovers for another strip if they are long enough.
Repeat this same process until the entire piece is covered.
After you have pieced and quilted your entire placemat, it’s time to trim it. We are going to trim it from the back as we have a nice rectangle to use.
Flip your placemat over and cut along the top and one side, using your ruler to make sure you get a nice 90 degree angle. Line up your placemat on your cutting mat in the top corner on the zero lines. Now, use the 14″ and 18″ lines to trim down the excess fabric.
After you have trimmed your placemat, add binding and you are ready to use it!
Making Different Sized Placemats
If you want to make different sized placemats you can easily size this project up or down to fit your needs. One thing to keep in mind is if you go bigger, you’ll need more strips and they’ll need to be longer. To determine the length you’ll need, cut your batting and backing fabric to your desired size and then lay a strip at the angle you want across the middle of the placemat and measure how long it needs to be to cover both ends. Use this new measurement for the length of most of your strips.
Other Quilt as You Go Projects
This is such a fun and easy method and works great for all sorts of small quilting projects. You could adapt the size to make hot pads, table runners, throw pillows (think of all the color combinations you could make for holiday decor), and pillow shams! You could even use it for quilted bags or quilted coats.
As always, any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.
Kimie and Missy