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Make your own appliqued placemat with Bernadette Wainwright

Make an appliqued placemat and learn how to make a mitred corner. Great for an intermediate sewer or for the more advanced sewer why not try your hand at free machine embroidery over a printed design.

You will need:

  • Backing fabric
  • Wadding
  • Face fabric
  • Templates for the design
  • Fusible web/bonding agent
  • Scraps of fabric to applique for the design
  • Scissors or rotary cutter with board
  • Matching thread and contrast thread if desired
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Advanced Option
    Embroidery/Darning Foot

Time to Make: 3 to 4 hours

Skill Level: Intermediate with an Advanced option


  1. Cut the backing fabric, 18” x 15” (46cms x 38cms). Turn the fabric over ¼” (6mm) all the way round. Press firmly.

    Now turn over 1” (2.5cms) again all the way round. Press firmly. Open the folds and notice the creases.

    The inner crease will act as a guide.
  2. Turn in the tip of the corner and line up the 1” creases, press firmly.
  3. Open the corner tip noting the diagonal crease, turn the fabric over and with right sides together pin using the diagonal crease as your new stitching guide.

    Sew this small seam remembering to back tack securely at the beginning and end.
  4. Carefully trim the excess fabric and cut the end diagonally to reduce bulkiness.
  5. 5. Press the small seam open, gently turn and carefully push out the point. Press flat.
  6. Cut the wadding and face fabric slightly larger than the backing fabric and lay on top of the backing fabric.

    The wadding will now be sandwiched in between the top and backing fabrics. Pin all the way round to secure.

    For the purpose of the photo I have moved the fabrics in slightly so the layers can be seen.
  7. Print off the template. Following the manufactures’ instructions fuse the bonding agent/fusible web onto the reverse of the scraps of fabric.

    Remove the backing paper from the bonding agent and position the template on top of the scraps of fabric. Cut out the design then position on the face fabric.

    It is a good idea to play around with the placement of your designs then when you are happy, iron in place to fuse to the face fabric. Download template here
  8. Using a satin stitch foot, select either a wide zigzag stitch, this is known as satin stitch or use a blanket stitch.

    I have used a blanket stitch. Test on a scrap of fabric and alter the stitch width and length until you are happy.

    Centre the edge of your design under the middle of the satin stitch foot and gently guide it under the foot.

    Don’t push or pull as the fabric will distort. Stitch all the way round the shape
  9. When you have finished all of the appliqué, trim the wadding and face fabric to fit inside the folds of the backing fabric.

    Pin and tack all the way round. Carefully machine stitch close to the edge of the backing fabric, securing all three layers.
  10. Advanced Option

    If you are a more advanced sew, why not try a bit of free-machine embroidery.

    You will need a free-motion or darning foot and your machine must have the ability to drop the feed dogs or have a plate to cover them.

    The feed dogs are the ‘teeth’ under the needle plate and they feed the fabric though.

    Once dropped you are in control of the stitch length, you are able to move the fabric, left to right, forwards or backwards, the faster you move the fabric the longer the stitches.

    It’s just like drawing but with a needle and thread.

    I omitted the applique and used a face fabric with a pretty printed design.

    I embroidered around various parts of the design.

    When stitching you can use threads which blend with the fabric or make a feature by using vivid colours, shiny rayons or metallic threads which can look very effective and give a further dimension, also look very good.

    Due to the nature of the end product, it is important to check that all threads wash very well.
  11. When you have finished the free machine embroidery, raise the feed dogs, these will not physically raise until you start sewing again so don’t panic if you don’t see them come up straight away.

    Congratulations your mat is now finished.