One of the best uses for leftover fabric is to make a table mat or placemats. With a few simple placemats, you can change the whole theme of a meal, entertain guests, and brighten up each bite you take. Plus, placemats tend to have a limited life in them since they are the bearers of stains and require frequent washing.
Luckily, we have the best and most amazing no-sew table mat projects for you to make at home. Put those great fabric scraps to good use and decorate to your heart’s content without even touching a needle. Plus, if you don’t have any fabric scraps, Kovi Fabrics comes to the rescue!
7 Steps to Making the Best No-Sew Table Mat
For these amazing table mats, you will need the following materials and tools:
- 1.5 yards of good quality fabric (cotton or upholstery fabric works well)
- Fusible bonding web
- Scissors or a rotary fabric cutter
- Iron (and ironing board or an ironing press)
- Pins (optional)
Kindly note you may need more fabric depending on the size of the placemats you want to make, especially if they are unique.
Step One: Preshrink the Fabric
Fabric shrinks when washed and put through a dryer. Be sure to take care of this before you start measuring and cutting, or you could end up with a strangely skew table mat (or something smaller than what you’d like).
Place the sections of fabric you intend to use in the washing machine with a small amount of laundry detergent. Wash on a light cycle, place the fabric in the dryer, dry, and take out.
You should feel a slight difference in the fabric since it may have shrunk a bit, which is what you want. After this treatment, there should be no further shrinkage if you wash your table mats in the future.
Step Two: Iron the Kinks and Creases
Next, iron the fabric well, being sure to remove any wrinkles or creases that may affect your measurement or cutting accuracy. For delicate fabrics, I like to use a cotton pillowcase placed over the fabric to protect the fabric from the worst heat. You can also use a folded napkin or a handkerchief.
Once the fabric is completely flat and crease-free, you can move to step three and begin shaping your table mats.
Step Three: Measuring the Table Mats
The standard size for rectangular table mats is 18 inches by 24 inches. For the no-sew table mats, you require an additional inch on either side, making the final measurement 20 inches by 26 inches.
If you are making bulk table mats for a special occasion or to give as gifts to family and friends, then you can create a template to trace and cut, which beats having to measure the sizes and corners each time. I like to use thick cardboard to create the master template. Then I simply place a ruler or straight edge on the edge of the template and cut with the rotary fabric cutter.
Once you have measured all four of the table mats on the 1.5 yards of fabric, it’s back to the ironing board or press.
Step Four: Measuring and Fixing the Edge of the Table Mats
This step can be a bit tricky, but with persistence, it will go much easier. Place the table mat fabric on the ironing board or press, face down. Use your fingers and a ruler to fold over the extra one inch to create a hard fold to the back. Iron to flatten the edge where the fabric doubles over.
If you are making quite a few table mats, then cut a one-inch cardboard straight edge to simply lay on the fabric before pinching the fabric and folding it (and the cardboard section) over and ironing. When you have finished ironing the seam, you can remove the cardboard.
Alternatively, keep a ruler with you, fold a section over, press it firmly with your fingers, then iron before moving on to the next section to measure, fold, and press or iron.
Repeat this step right around the fabric table mat. For the corners, the best fold is a corner fold, where you flatten the corner inward before folding the left and right sides in. This is the same way you’re supposed to make your bed, folding in the bed sheet corner and then folding the left and right sides in.
If the fabric is quite thick and you end up with an ugly corner, opt to cut away the corner piece by measuring a square at each corner of about half an inch by half an inch. Then follow the same technique as described above with the corners to fold them.
If you are using a steam iron or an iron press, be sure to iron the edges firmly, creating a fixed edge. Steam the edge if necessary, or increase the temperature setting of your iron.
If you struggle with folding and ironing at the same time, you can use clothespins to pin the folds down before ironing. Remember to remove the pins after ironing.
Step Five: Folding the Inside Seam
To ensure the table mats are fray proof, fold an additional seam on the very edge that is ¼ of the width of your fusible bonding webbing. In my case, the fusible bonding webbing was ⅝ of an inch, so the second fold was a width of ⅜ of an inch.
Fold this second seam over, neatening the edge of the table mat. This doesn’t have to be the straightest edge in human history, since it will be at the back of the fabric and not that visible.
Step Six: Adding the Fusible Bonding Webbing
Now add the fusible bonding webbing to the inside of the first fold. There will be a section of the webbing that sticks out. Fold this in as well, folding it under the secondary fold.
I find that using pins to secure the folds and webbing is a great way to achieve a professional look. Pay attention to the folds and corners to ensure these are symmetrical and neatly folded.
Step Seven: Ironing to Fix the Bonding Webbing
Finally, use a hot iron to fix the bonding webbing by ironing the corners and edges of the table mat. The heat from the iron will activate the plastic of the bonding webbing, permanently joining the folded section to the back of the table mat.
If you don’t have bonding webbing or can’t order any online, you can always opt for a no-sew fabric glue to help fix the edges in place around the table mat.
With thicker fabric, the corners may become a problem. Be sure to fold the fabric to the side and cut the last corner piece off, which will allow you a neat corner and quality appearance.
There are several items in your home that you can make using the same methods from napkins to curtains, covering school books, and even some quilts too. Using the no-sew method, it is even possible to design runners and tablecloths to cut costs of the event.
The Final Table Mat
There are so many great uses of leftover fabric, so why not use this to brighten up your home and living areas? A no-sew table mat set is a great project to color up your kitchen and dining room. These no-sew table mats make great gifts, and they can be customized into a range of designs, so test out your creative powers.