In this tutorial, we are going to be showing you how to bind a placemat but bear in mind, the same process described below also applies to a table runner.
NOTE: If you are wanting to create the table runner and placemats used in this tutorial then click the following link: Kids Placemats & Table Runner Tutorial
Watch the video below or scroll down for written instructions
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Step 1: Create your binding strips
The first thing you will need to do when binding a placemat is to cut the strips of fabric to create the binding. We cut our binding strips at 2¼” but you can cut them at 2½” if you prefer a looser binding (or not as tight). (It can also be a little easier for a beginner to use a wider binding.)
Hopefully the pattern you are following will tell you how many strips of fabric you will need but if not, you can always calculate it manually using our tutorial here or you can use a quilting app. I use the Robert Kaufmann Quilting Calculator which you can download for free from the app store.
For our tutorial here, our placemat requires 2 strips of fabric and our table runner requires 3 strips.
Each strip that you cut will measure 2¼ x WOF. The WOF stands for ‘width of fabric’ which is usually around 42″ for quilting fabric.
Once you have cut your strips, trim off the selvedge edges at both ends of each strip.
You will then need to sew the strips together. To do this, start by overlapping two strips. Place them with fabric sides facing each other as shown in the image below.
You will be sewing the two strips together on the diagonal so the easiest way to do this is to draw a line (with a fabric pen) as shown below.
Pin to keep the strips together and sew along the drawn line.
After sewing, it should look like the image below. (If not, it probably means you have sewn on the wrong diagonal.)
You’ll notice that we have a bit of extra fabric along the edge. We need to cut that off.
Fold back the fabric and trim off the excess fabric leaving a quarter inch seam. (Watch the video above to see how this is done).
You will also need to cut off those little bitty overhanging bits on the sides as indicated in the image below.
Now you will need to fold the long strip in half and press all the way down the strip.
Step 2: Sew the Binding to the Placemat
We are now ready to sew the binding onto the placemat.
Line up the binding strip with the edge of the placemat. You will be lining them up along the raw edges and leaving an overhang of about 6″ or so.
Pin to the first corner of the placemat.
Sew down along the edge using a quarter inch seam. Do not sew the 6″ overhang. Stop sewing when you a a quarter of an inch away from the corner and do a small back stitch and remove the placemat from the machine for the next step.
TIP: We draw a line to indicate where this quarter inch mark will be so we know exactly where to sew to. (Watch the video above to see how we do this.)
You can see the result in the image below.
Fold back the strip toward you to line it up with the edge of the placemat.
Bring the strip over to align with the edge of the placemat. Watch the video above to see how this is down.
Pin in place and sewn down until you are a quarter of an inch from the edge and do a little backstitch.
Remove the placemat from the machine and repeat the process with the other three corners.
When you are sewing from the very last corner, just sew a little way down in order to leave a decent sized gap as shown in the image below.
From here on, I highly recommend that you watch the video above as it will make much more sense before reading the steps below.
Cut a 2″ piece of fabric from the long end of the binding fabric. We will be using this scrap of fabric as a measurement tool in the next step. If you don’t have enough fabric left to cut, then you can just use a ruler.
Lay the the initial overhang strip of binding down on the placemat.
Take the 2″ piece of fabric you cut and open it up and lay it down at the end of that strip.
Lay the longer binding strip over the top.
Cut the binding strip at the edge of the 2″ scrap of fabric.
Open the top binding strip and lay it flat face up on your mat.
Take the other end of the binding strip and open it up and lay it down over the other end face down. You may need to bunch up the placemat a bit to do this. Overlap it just a little and pin in place. Sew along the line.
Once sewn, it should sit evenly along the placemat.
You will also notice a bit of bulk in the seam line you just sewed.
Cut that off leaving a quarter inch seam.
Flip over the placemat and turn the binding over and pin.
When you get to the first corner, create your mitre. (Watch the video above for more detail.) Continue to pin all around the placemat, creating your mitres at each corner.
Sew around the binding keeping close to the edge. Back stitch at the start and finish.
The final result!
Be aware that you are not going to get a perfect finish on the back, as the stitching will be visible. So use a matching thread for the back. I try not to sew onto the binding and to do this just feel the seam bump with your fingers as you sew, and keep to the left of that seam. This will keep the stitching on the backing fabric rather than the binding. If you want a perfect finish you will need to hand sew the binding. This is just a quick method to attach the binding on quick and easy projects.
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