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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Free Placemat Bag Tutorial!

Here's a fast project that can be made between the "Hey Mama?"s and the "Hey Honey?"s.

The Placemat Bag

1) What to Buy:
Buy a placemat with a little heft to it. If it's too thin the bag will be too thin, and there's not a quick way to add interfacing in this project.

Make sure the placemat looks good folded in half (with the fold down) since that's how the bag sews up. There are some adorable placemats out there but they don't all look good folded in half!

Photo: Red Tag Sale Placemat (and same placemat folded in half)

2) Making the Handles:
The handles are 1"x3" rectangular cutouts in the center of the short sides. Lay the placemat right side down on the table. Working on the back or lining side of the placemat, measure the short sides of the placemat. Mark the centers with a pin. Measure down 1" at the center mark. Using a water soluble pen (or chalk), mark that spot, then measure 1 1/2" to either side of the center and mark those spots too. Draw a line between these marks. Now measure down another inch from the line, mark, and draw a line. Square these two measurements off so that a rectangle 1"x 3" is in the center of the short side of the placemat, 1" from the edge.

Photo: Marked handle (click to see larger photo and the marks)

Next, set the machine to buttonhole stitch (zigzag about 1/8" wide at about .5 - 1.0 stitches). Zigzag around the line once or twice, keeping the line to the inside (to the left of the zigzag). This will stabilize the fabric.

Photo: Sewn handle

Cut the fabric out of the inside of stitching, as close to the stitching as you can get. Zigzag again around the edges, making sure to catch any raw edges inside the stitch. Go around two or three times until it looks nice, depending on the color and makeup of the fabric.

Photo: Cut Handle

Photo: Finished Handle

3) Sewing the Sides:
With the placemat folded right sides and handles together, stitch up the sides about 1/4" from the edge. Back stitch at the top. The sides are already finished so there's no need to worry about raw edges.

Photo: Pinned Seam (small seam allowance)

4) Creating the Gussets:
Smooth out your bag flat, right sides still together. Place a pin in the bottom crease right at the side seam. Measure up 1" from the bottom and mark with the water soluble pen. Turn the fabric over, still inside out, and mark 1" up from the bottom on that side too.

Photo: Marked Gusset

Looking at the photo, open the bag (still inside out) and place the bottom of the bag on the table. Press down on the corner seam to make a triangle with the seam straight up and down from the point to the base. Verify that the bottom fold is directly under the seam. Use the pin for direction. The marks should now make a line at the base of the triangle. Sew across these lines from edge to edge to form the gussets.

Photo: Open Gusset

Photo: Sewn Gusset

5) Turn your bag right side out and enjoy!

Photo: Finished Gusset


Anonymous said...

how cute this looks like something easy enough to show my 11yr old how to make.

Nuts To You! said...

I have actually made these before, but instead of cutting handles out, I use coordinating ribbon as the handles. They are so easy and fun! I get my placemats from Pier 1 so they smell good:)

Sue Bleiweiss said...


Erika said...

Great! I'll add you to my blog list so I can use your tutorials if one day I start to sew ;)

Pat said...

WOW...neat idea!!! Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I'd love to post about this at DollarStoreCrafts.com. We love us some placemat projects! I love how you did the handle!


Craftastic said...

I have always admired interesting placemats and never really used them. What a perfect excuse to buy some! Thanks for the tutorial.

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

You tutorial are always so fantastic. Well explained and great pictures, I love them! And the mats you found are fabulous, love the colors. Thanks so much for sharing the how-to, I'll be linking.

Nerissa Alford said...

I just saw some sale placemats today at Pier 1 & thought they would make cute bags. I'm going back. Thank you for the tutorial.

Rayna said...

This is a great tutorial! I think I'll try this! I've been wanting to make a purse and think this is a great way to start, thanks!

Anne said...

Cool idea!!! Blogged it at Craft Gossip Sewing Blog: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-sew-a-clutch-from-a-placemat/2009/02/21/

Mama Lusco said...

Thanks for the great tut! I finally found some fabulous Spring placemats and made 2 bags with a link to this tutorial. Thanks again for the inspiration...really enjoy your blog.

Unknown said...

oooh, so fabulous! I have some placemats that are just waiting to be repurposed... I'll be linking from my blog www.kojodesigns.blogspot.com!

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jodi french said...

cute and clever!

Lisa said...

I always laugh with my husband everytime I go to a store that sells placemats because I'm like..one lucky person is going to end up with 3 placemats or 2 placemats and not all 4. Since I sometimes buy 1-2 at a time. lol. There are so many neat things you can do with these placemats.

Katie said...

Such a great idea! I just linked to this post from my blog: makingfoodandotherstuff.wordpress.com

Neisha said...

thank you for sharing this tutorial!! It was so easy! I got many compliments on my new clutch! I am now ready to make my second one :)

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial! I’ve added your tutorial to my directory of free patterns and tutorials for Purses, Totes & Handbags at http://www.linda-matthews.com/free-purse-patterns-and-tutorials/
Thanks for sharing!

Custom Printed Shopping Bags said...

It looks simple, but I don't think I can do it. As I do not know how to stitch straightly. Anyhow, your talent deserves great appreciation.

Anonymous said...