How to create clever pocket placemats

I had book club at my house today. I love books and I adore sewing so I often combine the two. Then, lucky you, I share my sewing ideas with the world at large. Today, I am going to explain how to create clever pocket placemats.

bookBefore I do that I want to give some background information on book club and all my motivation for making the placemats. I chose this book as my time hosting in my popular literature club. Whoever hosts, chooses and I simply enjoyed the heck out of this book, "The Book that matters Most."

The story revolves around a French professor, divorced, who joins a book club. Wait, I taught French once upon a time and I got divorced years ago. Plus it's also set in Paris, I'm in.

I wanted to use my Paris plates and I already had some napkins, an apron and a table runner with a French theme. I was also planning a demo at my quilt guild on how to add pockets and envelopes to our sewing. Add to that 4 yards of black and white striped fabric that I bought for a zipper bag that I didn't need and you have this project.

I measured my existing placemats. I looked at the size of my flatware and20180606_125609 I drew up a little sketch. It was not a drafted pattern, just an idea.

Can you read my numbers? I will "translate" for you.

I ended up cutting 16" long by 14.5" wide pieces and proceeded to  cut a 1.5" slice off the end. The pocket part is three pieces. You need a 14.5' by 4.5" piece for the base.

20180701_222340The actual pocket is either two 4.5" by 7" pieces or one 4.5" by 14" piece folded in half. The inside and the outside of the pocket are joined together with a contrast piece that is 4.5" by a scant 2 inches.

Sew the small strip across the folded or two piece unit, wrong sides together. Press to the opposite side and press the unstiched flap up and then fold it down. Sew it down.

This is your pocket and it is lined and reversible. Whichever side you like best, place it on the right side of the base. Baste it down.20180605_230800

Sew a quarter inch seam to attach it to the 1.5" strip, right sides together. Press. Do the same with the larger piece.

Cut fusible/iron on batting the same size as your top and a back. Iron the batting on the back. Place the right sides of the back and the top together.

Sew them together, I used my serger, leaving a gap on the bottom. Turn the placemat right side out using this 20180701_222330gap. Press and stitch the gap closed.

I used a different "fancy" stitch on each side of each placemat. You could hand stitch just the gap. Or you could use the same stitch on each side.

Now you repeat until you have the number of placemats you want. I made nine but could only use eight, one of them had the stripes going the wrong way.pocket-placemats-1

Grrrr. Speaking of grrr, can you see my toes?

Luckily, I had on some sandals I really liked and a recent pedicure! Speaking of lucky, 9 people had said they were coming to book club.

However, one canceled so I didn't have to use the wrong direction one or remake it. I was very happy with the way the table turned out. I used the Eiffel Tower plates and some napkins I had made a couple of years ago.

I put the knife and spoon in the pocket but I could have put all three utensils in had I desired. I also played with the idea of turning them the opposite way and having the napkin and fork peek out from above! Next time!

Bon appétit!


Sew happy!

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My favorite book club sewing was this table runner. I keep it out all year by my bookshelves.

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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