Placemats are not only an attractive alternative to a tablecloth for place settings, but they serve to protect the table as well. Placemats can be made with fabric, plastic or vinyl, paper or even natural materials such as bamboo. Elegant or simple and measuring about 13-by-20 inches, placemats can also be created with decorative themes in mind, such as Christmas and Halloween or for other events and celebrations.
Align the medium-weight fabric piece and the lightweight fabric. Piece them together, right sides in. Insert straight pins perpendicularly and along the edge, all about 2 inches apart.
Using the sewing machine threaded with colour-coordinated thread, straight stitch 1/2 inch all around the placemat, leaving a 4-inch opening. Make a small diagonal snip with scissors at the four corners. Pull the straight pins out as the placemat is sewn, or pull all pins out at the end.
Pull the right side of the placemat out, using the point of the scissors to make neat points on the four outside corners. Press the placemat flat with a hot iron.
About 1/2-inch in from the edge, stitch again all around the placemat to make a nice finish. Iron one last time with a hot iron.
Attach decorative images with fusible webbing if making solid-colour placemats, if desired. Add the images before sewing on the backing fabric.
If making holiday-themed placemats, use appropriate colour and printed fabric and finish the edges with contrasting bias tape. Heavy vinyl does not require a backing and lends itself to children's themes and being written on with washable markers.