Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Denim placemats: tutorial

My box of old denim jeans is overflowing and my son-in-law has told me already that he has several more pairs to contribute.  Some new placemats might be just the thing to use up some of those jeans.  Better get busy!

Several pairs have flat felled seams on the sides as well as the inseam.   Let's take advantage of those!

Pattern:  If you want to make a pattern, cut a 12 inch x 17 inch rectangle.  Fold into fourths so the four corners are together.  Measure 4 inches from the corners on both sides and trim the corners off in a gentle curve. Open up the pattern.

Step one:  Cut off the bottom cuff, removing worn or ragged fabric.  Cut the crotch seam open by cutting from the front zipper around to the center back seam.

Step two:  Lay the bottom of the leg on your cutting board - front side up.

Step three: Measure up 12 inches from the bottom and cut across. Your placemat will be 12 inches top to bottom.

Step four:  Cut vertically down the center of the front of the leg and open up this piece.  Trim edges if needed so your placemat is 17 inches wide.  By having the seams equal distance left and right of center a plate can sit flat on the placemat.  (If the seams are too close together, or down the center, your dinner plate will be wobbly.)

Step five:  Use your pattern, or Measure 4 inches from the corners in both directions. Round over the edges as shown.  Use a plate if you need help making a smooth curve.  Your placemat should measure 12 x 17 inches.

Step six:  Cut batting from fleece, flannel or batting scraps,  and cut a fabric backing for each placemat.  Sandwich and pin.

Step seven:  Using a walking foot, stitch on either side of the felled seams.  My stitching lines ended up 1-1/2 inches apart by using the side of my foot as a guide.  Continue to stitch parallel lines about that same distance apart across the place mat.  I used grey thread, but yellow or orange would be great - especially if the color matches the stitching on the denim.

Step eight:  Stitch a generous 1/4 inch in from the outer edge all the way around.  Trim away any uneven edges.  Finish the edge with the method of your choice.  Quilt binding, clipping for a raggy edge, serger edge, or pinking shears are all good options.

Repeat as needed!

Note:  If the jeans are long enough you can get a second placemat, BUT, the inseam starts to curve as it gets closer to the crotch.  After you cut open the leg (but before you round the corners), you can cut along the edge of the inseam and slide the excess fabric under the seam so the fabric lies flat.  Topstitch the seam back down and take a couple of had stitches to tack the seam down if needed.

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