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How to Make Placemats – Reversible DIY Placemat Tutorial

Homemade placemats are so easy to make with this tutorial that shows you exactly how to go about making professional looking ones, even though they may be DIY placemats. I made some black and silver ones for a classy 40th birthday party because I just knew I wasn’t going to find what I wanted in the stores. So, some silvery-grey satin and black cotton later and I soon had 14 beautiful place mats for the dinner party that pulled together the whole black white and silver theme – and I’ve used them over and over again for other occasions. This tutorial gives step by step instructions on how to make placemats from fabric.

how to sew placemats

For clarity the instructions show you how to make one placemat, but I’m sure you are going to want to make a set of your own DIY placemats for a particular theme. There is nothing like a set of placemats to pull a table-scape together, whether it’s a kid’s party with unicorn or dinosaur theme placemats, pretty Liberty print florals for a high tea, or something sophisticated for a romantic dinner for two, or even very special ones for events, where you get old photos of the family printed onto the fabric for the DIY placemats.

homemade placemats

How quick are these fabric placemats to make? Well, once you have chosen your fabric and cut out the rectangles you should be able to sew four reversible placemats in around 30 minutes. So, let’s get right to it.

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How to make placemats

Reversible Placemats Supplies and tools

diy placemat supplies

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How to Sew a Placemat

Watch the diy placemats video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
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Homemade Placemats VIDEO TUTORIAL


The first thing to decide is on the placemat size. It needs to fit the plates you plan on using. If you are making placemats for large dinner plates then they will need to be in proportion, so a placemat that is 17 inches by 13 inches will accommodate the cutlery comfortably and leave place for positioning the plate and serviette.


Here are suggested placemat sizes to accommodate various plate sizes:

  • Restaurant size dinner plate, 11 – 12 inch.     Cut rectangles 19” x 15” (finished size 18”x 14”)
  • Standard dinner plate, 10 inch                Cut rectangles 18” x 14” (finished size 17” x 13”)
  • Lunch plates, 9 inches                                        Cut rectangles 17” x 13” (finished size 16” x 12”)
  • Side plate, 6 to7 inches                                       Cut rectangles 14” x 11” (finished size 13” x 10”)

I would suggest cutting a rectangle out of paper and placing it under a plate on your table to check the look and how many placemats you can comfortably fit at your dining table. Overlapped placemats just make a setting look crowded, so if your table seats six, but is on the small side, then you can reduce the size of the placemats a little to 17” x 13”.

If you are using slightly smaller dinner plates then you can adjust and go to 16” x 12” or if the DIY placemats are for a high tea where side plates will be used you can go even smaller.

The instructions given here are for 17” x 13” (43 x 33cm) reversible placemats.


STEP 1: Cut out the fabrics

Choose your fabrics that work well together. Ideally you should have a color combination that allows to place one placemat with a plain color side up and the next with a print side up to bring variety to a fairly plain table setting. If the setting is elaborate with a number of drinking glasses and cutlery, as well as a central arrangement then perhaps the reversible placemats can be set with only one side up – let’s say all red or black to bring unity to the setting.

  • Cut out the fabric pieces for one placemat. You will need two different pieces of fabric and cut each to 18” x 14” (46 x 35cm).
  • Cut one piece of fusible interfacing or fusible fleece to 17” x 13” (43 x 33cm). It is a bit smaller so you don’t have overly thick seams as you are going to sew the placemats with a ½ inch (12mm) seam all round.

standard placemat sizes

STEP 2: Fuse interfacing to fabric

Using your iron at the correct setting suggested by the manufacturer of the fusible fleece, fuse the fleece to the wrong side of one of the pieces of fabric. It doesn’t matter which one as they are reversible placemats, but if you have two fabrics that vary in weight, then attach the fusing to the sturdier piece.

diy placemat fusing the interfacing to fabric

STEP 3: Pin

Turn the two rectangles with right side to right side facing and pin across the four corners.

diy placemat layers

STEP 4: Sew the placemat

Sew around the rectangles ½ inch (1.2cm) from the raw edge, starting halfway down a short side (14” / 35cm side) and finishing about 3 inches (7.5cm) away from the spot where you began, so you have an opening through which to pull the placemat to turn it the right way out.

diy placemat pinned

STEP 5: Clip corners and turn around

Clip the four corners by cutting a small triangle off, not too close to the stitching though. This is to reduce bulk in the corners once turned.

Turn the placemat right side out by pulling the fabric through the gap in the short side.

diy placemat with clipped corners

STEP 6:  Poke out corners

Poke out the corners so they are nice and sharp, using a blunt instrument – never use the point of your scissors, or you risk making a hole in the fabric. The, using your iron, press the placemat flat, as this will make doing the top stitching easier.

diy placemat opening

STEP 7: Topstitch

Top stitch right around the edge of the placemat ¼ inch (6mm) from the edge after having set your machine to do a longer stitch – 1/8″ (3 mm) will be good. The longer stitch just makes it look more professional.

sew a placemat

STEP 8: (OPTIONAL) Add flair

For a stylish finish topstitch another row an inch away from the first stitching line. You can mark the distances with dressmaker’s chalk or a dissolving dressmaker’s felt-tip pen so the line is straight. Lines that are not straight, particularly on plain fabric, look amateurish. This extra stitching makes the placemat more stable.

diy placemat

And you are done. Ready to start the other placemats in the set? Of course you are. If you are anything like me then your mind is already racing with the possibilities and you are weighing up ideas for placemats for Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, weddings and dozens of other events.

reversible diy placemat


Placemats can be Boho style with paisley prints, fun polka dots, classy black and white stripes, or beach themed fun with turquoise and sand colors. The combinations are endless as are the textures you can use once you really get into making placemats for various events – like Christmas ones with glittery fabric and Easter ones in textured pretty pastel cotton, or Halloween ones with hessian type fabric combined with bright orange cotton or even satin for some glamour.

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DIY Reversible placemat - how to sew placemats from fabric

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 21 comments
Joanne Madison - April 5, 2021

Do you have a pattern for placemats for a round table? I don’t want round placemats. My dining table is 48″ round but with the leaf it’s 48″ x 60″ (approx”).

    Helen - April 6, 2021

    No, this is the only pattern for placemats that I have atm

    Linda Carter - December 20, 2022

    I made my own pattern for ‘round table’ placemats. I used a piece of paper larger than a normal placemat in both width and height. I eased the paper over the table edge and creased the curve. I then angled up the sides so that the straight top of the placement was somewhat narrower than the bottom table edge side. I added seam allowances to sew two layers together and make the mat reversible. Alternatively I’ve also just layered two mats back to back and trimmed with coordinating wide bias tape — also reversible. Save the pattern for next time and enjoy. Linda

    Gigi - January 16, 2023

    Put a plate and silverware setting on your bare table and measure how much space you’ll need. Your placemat should be bigger than the measurement you get from the plate and setting. It’s up to you how much space you want. You could make a trapezoid. Narrower on the top than the bottom to help the mat fit around your circular table. Or perhaps a hexagon.

Delores Rast - April 5, 2021

Thank you for this pattern. My daughter has been wanting me to make her some placemats for her new home. I don’t have enough fusible fleece on hand to make these. Can I use Pellon P44F fusible interfacing? I have a lot of this on hand. Thanks so much.

    Helen - April 5, 2021

    You are welcome, Dolores. I think your fusible interfacing would work, however I would check the stability, and would doubled up the interfacing (fuse it on top of each other) if necessary

pat - April 7, 2021

Thanks for the tutorial! I especially love that you have thought out and shared all the various sizes!

Shelbee on the Edge - April 9, 2021

These are really cute! I never really got into using placemats in my house, but they really do add such a lovely bit of color and interest to a tablescape, don’t they? Thanks for linking!


    Helen - April 10, 2021

    They add a nice touch to a table decor, I love using them from time to time

Alexandra - April 10, 2021

What a fun retro print! I especially like that they are reversible!

Michele - April 13, 2021

Thanks for clear instructions!

Kelly - April 13, 2021

Fun and so cute! Thanks for sharing with us on the Homestead blog hop. I hope you share more ideas this Wednesday!

Donna @ Modern on Monticello - April 14, 2021

I like the fun fabric you decided to use and the fact that the placement is reversible. Thanks for sharing. #HomeMattersParty

Rhondda - April 17, 2021

These instructions for DIY Reversible Placemats are very clear and understandable. I love how you have a photo tutorial too! Thank you for linking up at our weekly Link Party! You are being featured at our Wednesday Party #394 this week. Here’s the direct link to the post in case you’d like to share your feature:

Hope to see you again next week! Rhondda

Leonie - July 17, 2021

Thank you. Being in Australia I’m not sure which interfacing you’re using, is it heatproof or sturdy ?
Also….are these washable ?

Mar - November 5, 2022

Should you prewash the fabric so it does not shrink when washed?

    Helen - November 6, 2022


Georgia - November 9, 2022

Is there a fabric you can recommend if we want to make these placemats wipeable, using water or cleaner on at least one sid? Thanks!

    Helen - November 9, 2022

    You can use Vynil, PU or faux leather

Pat - January 16, 2023

I am a bit confused, the list of supplies says “fusible interfacing”, but you use “fusible fleece”. Also, did you cut the fleece smaller than the fabric so it isn’t included in the 1/2″ seam? The photo looks like that is what you did. Do you recommend doing that? Thanks for the tutorial.

    Helen - January 31, 2023

    I used fusible interfacing but you can use fusible fleece if you want more structure. Cut it 1/2 smaller than the fabrics and sew right outside the edge. I definitely recommend it as it reduces the bulk in the seam area


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