Do you want to host the perfect dinner party this year? You know the type where every one dresses nice, and the house is festive for the occasion. You wear the cowl neck sweater you treated yourself to on Black Friday, and that bracelet your husband bought for your anniversary. Instrumental music is softly playing in the background and the house is permeated with an aroma of fresh cooked food so that when your guests arrive their first instinct is to raise their noses just slightly to take it in.
As your guests make their way through the foyer and into the dining area, your table will need to be just as perfect.This is the place for custom created place mats. Though you may be able to find mass manufactured place mats that actually match your décor, they are expensive and the store never seems to have the number of place mats you need. It's kinda like folding socks straight out of the dryer, you'll always be missing one.
This is where Walker Fabrics comes in. We have lovely fabrics for every occasion and decor; more importantly we can match your personal style. Below you will find simple, detailed directions to create place mats you can be proud of. If you'd prefer, we at Walker Fabrics would be happy to create what you envision.
1 - Cut out 13"x19" rectangles
Lets start with what you will need. You are going to need enough fabric for your place mats. Typical place mats are about 12” x 18”. So for every yard of fabric you purchase you could potentially make 8 place mats. That is assuming of course that you don't need to match a pattern. You will need to mark out and cut eight rectangles 13”x 19”.
2 - Cut to shape
Now you can begin to play with shape. A rectangle is always nice.
You could simply cut 2” off of every corner.
You could also round off the short sides to make an oval. lastly you might try to cut out a 13” circle.
3 - Take care of the raw edges
Now if you have a serger sewing machine, and you are a perfectionist like myself, then you could serge around the edge of place mat. A serge stitch is a special type of “zig zag” stitch that goes along the edge of a fabric so that when it is hemmed it does not fray out. Flip up the edge of your shirt sleeve and you will see a serge stitch in the hem. Once you have serged the edge, fold it over 1” and iron it down all the way around. Now you are ready for hemming.
If you do not have a serger machine, never fear. You have two options, one is to double fold the edges for the hem. First, fold in the edge ½” all the way around. I would recommend you iron it down. Next, fold the edge over ½” again, iron it again, and now the raw edge that could fray is down inside the folds where you will stitch.
Your last option could be to leave the edge raw and use a no fray adhesive along the edge. This might come in an aerosol can or look like clear glue. Use the no fray according to the directions all along the raw edge. Once you have applied the no-fray, you can fold over the edge 1” all the way around and iron it in place.
4 - Hem up the edge of the place mats
Once you have dealt with the raw edges, you are ready to put the place mat in the machine and hem the edge. Use a simple straight stitch, all the way around about 3/8” away from the edge. Use a large stitch to keep your fabric from gathering up in the machine. I also recommend using a heavy duty thread, this will protect your place mats as they are repeatedly cleaned.
If you do not have a sewing machine, you can still make your own place mats. At your local hobby store you should be able find iron on stitching. Usually you just put this fusion tape under the edge to be hemmed, and iron it in place.
5- Add personal touches
For an added touch, have you can have your initial monogrammed onto the mat. Depending on the size letter you choose, this can be very reasonable to have done and as seen from the pictures, this will make your place mats uniquely yours. You might also try using some trim like a tiny welt cord around the edge or maybe a tassel on a corner. Walker Fabrics can provide you with there embellishments.
6 - Set your table
Now that you have your mats made, it is time to set the table. It really is not as complicated as it may seem. The first rule is not to place any utensils out that aren't being used. In other words, no salad...no salad fork.
Set your plate in the center of your place mat, with spoon and knife on the right and forks on the left. Cups should go toward the upper right side and saucer plates should be placed on the upper left.
You are not done just yet. You need to do something that makes your table uniquely yours. Try decorating the table with items suitable to the occasion. In the photo we have used Christmas tree ornaments and candy canes as a part of the decoration. You could even try putting several round ornaments in a flower vase and using it for the center piece. Add some candles in the center and you are ready for a dinner part to remember.
Got some ideas of your own? Leave them in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.