Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Idea for A Fun, Simple, and Inexpensive Placemat

I'll admit it, this idea came to me when I bored at my desk the other day.  I was eating my lunch and surfing the nets when I looked down and saw the scratches and wear spots under my soup bowl.  I know my desk is no piece of artwork (its cheap and functional), but the signs of my habit of eating in front of the computer  were just so obvious.  So, I starting thinking... I need a placemat!  A regular one wouldn't work though, I needed a smaller one, to fit in front of my keyboard.

While moving over to my sewing table, I remembered the massive amounts of craft felt I had stored away in the closet.  I decided I wanted to use it since the idea was already brewing.  I was imagining a light grey cloud appliqued on to a layer of dark grey.  I didn't want the applique to show on the back, so it would probably need another layer of dark grey.  

So, I dragged the felt out of the back corner of the closet and started free-handing (or free-scissoring, as it were) a cloud out of the light grey.  I then cut out 2 10in x 7in rectangles from the dark grey.  I zigzag stitched the cloud to the first piece of dark grey felt.  I used the largest zig zag stitch my machine has, and left the stitches spaced out since I like the look of the obvious threads.  After I did that I decided that my little cloud had an expression that I needed to bring out, so I got out a fabric marker and some thread and stitched a chibi little face on him.  It has a multipurpose expression... Maybe he's hot from the toasty food, or maybe he's getting ready to blow on it, or maybe he has cloud-stipation.  Thats up to the viewer!

Then, for the finishing touches, I got out the serger  to overlock the edges of the two pieces of dark grey felt together.  Like with the zigzagging of the cloud, I wanted the threads to be obvious, so I used a wide 4-thread overlock stitch and white thread.  Zip, zip, zip, zip, and Cloudy McPlacemat was born!

Cloudy McPlacemat, minutes after birth.
I think this would be a great general idea for anyone looking to make inexpensive (craft felt is cheap... regular price is something like $4-5 per yard of 70 inch wide felt) and cute placemats.  Of course the size can be changed for regular table-eaters placemats, or left small for us desk-eaters, or children.  You could cut out any kind of character you want for top.  And you can easily finish them without a serger, since felt doesn't ravel.  You would just need to stitch around the outside with whatever stitch you like the look of, be that a regular straight stitch or something more fancy.
Cloudy's first big job, yesterday's dinner.
I think he wanted to eat my dinner tonight... I don't blame him, it was tasty!
I'm considering making some to sell, what do you guys think?  Would you buy/use placemats like this?


  1. Love it! Good idea, I may have to create something like this for our desk!

  2. Thanks! Glad I could provide some inspiration!