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Placemats & Napkins in Terrific Ticking: Gifts in a Jiff with Fabric.com

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Originally developed to prevent down mattress and pillow feathers from poking through or blowing away, ticking dates back as early as the eleventh century when the fabric was made with a linen warp and a cotton weft. Today, the clean and simple look of striped ticking comes in a variety of colors and is a favorite when creating a "homespun" look to sewing and craft projects. We dipped into the lovely variety of ticking available from Fabric.com to use it as the border accent for an easy and casually elegant set of placemats with matching, all-ticking napkins.

The gorgeous main fabric framed by our bias-cut ticking is from the Round We Go Matelasse collection by Waverly. We used Snow and Platinum. The French word, matelasse means "quilted, padded or cushioned." But this fabric only appears to be padded. A woven-in, embossed effect takes the place of any actual padding, making it a substantial yet flat base for your table setting. 

We used just a single layer of the heavyweight matelasse fabric for each placemat. It's nice on both sides, which means the mats can be reversible, giving you more mealtimes between washings. Yes, these mats are machine washable. In fact, the feel of both fabrics improves with each washing. We laundered our ticking three times with fabric softener prior to starting the project so it was soft and supple, making the binding easier. 

To make things fast and easy, we used our own Continuous Bias Binding Tutorial for make all the bias binding for the placemats. You could certainly also use traditional bias strips.

Cutting on the bias adds a pretty candy cane border, but even after the holiday, a diagonal stripe is always a bit more interesting.

The large, dinner size napkins have wide hems top and bottom and narrow hems along each side – a more formal hemming style that works well with the heavier (and more absorbent) weight of the ticking. 

The neutral colors we chose work well on a holiday table, but will be just as functional as the seasons change. Picking a neutral palette also makes your dinnerware the star. Bring out the bold colors or intricate border motifs, either swill tand out beautifully against the classic fabric textures and tones.

Bundle up a set of four or more with a holiday cookbook, your own special family recipe, or a pretty set of flatware. Table linens and accessories are always a welcome gift... and as promised in the series title, these are fast and easy "Gifts in a Jiff."

We appreciate Fabric.com sponsoring this set of fast and easy gift ideas. Each one features a unique kind of fabric, and that's one of the great things about shopping with Fabric.com: you have a one-stop-shop for a full range of fabric types: from faux fur and leather to durable canvas or ticking to delicate voile and tulle... and as they say, "so much more!" If you are ever unsure of your selection, most of the available fabric can be ordered as a generously-sized swatch for around a dollar.

Our placemats finish at 14" x 20" and our napkins are generously sized to finish at 18" x 18".

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Inventory shifts constantly, and some fabric may not be in-stock when you first visit. However, there are other color options as well as re-stock dates listed when appropriate for each fabric at the Fabric.com site

Supplies shown are for a set of FOUR placemats and FOUR napkins (two in each color combo)

  • 1½ yard EACH of TWO 44"+ wide ticking or similar in coordinating colors - each color is for TWO napkins and the bias binding for TWO placemats; we used two 44" fabrics from the Ticking Stripe collection from Fabric.com: Red (#0267620) and Twill Denim Blue (#0328226)
  • ½ yard EACH of TWO 44"+ wide upholstery weight fabrics in coordinating colors for TWO placemats in each color; we used two 54" fabrics from the Matelasse collection by Waverly from Fabric.com: Round We Go in Snow (#0314964) and Round We Go in Platinum (#0314965)
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the placemat centers (Matelasse in Snow and Platinum in our samples), cut ONE 14" high x 20" wide rectangle for each placemat. 
  2. From the fabric for the napkins (Ticking in Denim Blue and Red in our samples) cut one 19" wide x 20½" high rectangle (so the stripes run vertically) for each napkin.
  3. From the fabric for the placemat binding (also Ticking in Denim Blue and Red in our samples), cut one 24" x 24" square from EACH color to create enough continuous bias binding for two placemats of each color - four placemats total.
    NOTE: If you prefer to make standard bias strips, you'll need a minimum of 70" x 3" for each placemat. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Napkins

  1. The napkins are designed to have a narrow ½" double-fold hem along each side and a wider 1¾" double-fold hem at the top and bottom. 
  2. To create this, first hem the sides. Fold in each raw side edge ¼" and press. Fold in an additional ¼" and press again. Pin in place.
  3. Stitch the hem in place, staying close to the inner fold. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to maintain a precise stitching line. 
  4. To create the top and bottom hem, fold in each raw side edge ½" and press. Fold in an additional ¾" and press again. Pin in place. 
  5. Stitch in place, again staying close to the inner fold.

Placemats

  1. As mentioned above, we used the continuous bias binding method to create our placemat binding. If you are new to this technique, we have a great tutorial: Continuous Bias Binding: How to Plan, Mark, Stitch & Cut
  2. As a brief summary for those of you familiar, you first cut your square (ours was 24" x 24") in half diagonally. Place the triangles right sides together along the straight cut edge.
  3. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance, to form a parallelogram with a vertical seam. 
  4. Mark for a 3" strip width across the fabric, intersecting the seam.
  5. Fold the parallelogram right sides together with the drawn lines flush to form a tube.
  6. Stitch, again using a ¼" seam allowance. 
  7. Cut along the drawn line around and around the tube to create the continuous binding strip. 
    NOTE: Again, here's the link to the complete continuous bias binding tutorial. 
  8. Cut the strip into an approximate 70" length for each placemat.
  9. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease. Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible. Fold in each long raw edge to the center crease line and press well.
  10. Starting in the middle of the bottom edge, slip the binding over the raw edges of the placemat. 
  11. At each corner, turn the binding on a diagonal fold at the inside of the corner.
  12. Pin the binding in place as you go. 
  13. Wrap the binding around the entire perimeter of the placemat, leaving approximately 2" loose at the tail.
  14. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the binding in the top and bobbin.
    NOTE: If you are new to working with slip-over-the-edge binding and/or stitching with thick layers, you may want to use a Walking foot to keep all the layers feeding smoothly and evenly. 
  15. Topstitch all the way around, running the seam close to the inner fold while still making sure you are catching both the front and back of the binding with this one seam. Stop approximately 3" from your starting point. 
  16. With the diagonal stripe, a simple square overlap creates the best match. Fold under the tail approximately ½", matching the stripe and overlap the head of the binding. Pin in place.
  17. Topstitch the remaining section of the binding, being careful to line up the new stitching with the existing topstitching.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (3)

Heather Lee said:
Heather Lee's picture

I found this matelasse in navy color at Joann today plus found blue and white ticking. Making these for my sister. I never wash my table linens in machine, but professional launder tablecloth and hand wash placemat. This makes for lasting good look. I soak in warm water in basin with soap. Stain is treated separately, washer won't get out anyway. Then soak in clean water and hang on rack. They come out nice and look new. This won't be case in washer and dryer treating.

Sierra Sky Sewing said:
Sierra Sky Sewing's picture

This is the second time I have run into this problem:  why recommend dry clean fabrics for kitchen projects?  The other was the waverly apron I stupidly bought dry clean fabric for, not knowing it was dry clean, as I was following your sample.  Could you please explain why this is done?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sierra Sky Sewing - one of our goals with our Waverly projects to show people the non-traditional uses for their home dec fabrics. We detailed the "dry clean only" aspect in the recent Empire Waist Apron article, but didn't repeat it here. You may sometimes see a "dry clean only" notice on Waverly fabrics, which makes some sewers reluctant to choose it. They're afraid it will be too expensive to care for. However, the recommendation to "dry clean only" is often listed because consumers don't/won't follow instructions carefully. Manufacturers fall back on this professional cleaning warning in an attempt to avoid problems attributed to improper care. Check the apron article for more detail: http://www.sew4home.com/projects/kitchen-linens/empire-waist-apron-wonde...

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