Tutorial: Making Hand Embroidered Placemats

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Here’s a tutorial to make your own placemats with an easy hand-embroidered design. Handmade placemats make great gifts.

make your own placemats

Handmade placemats are both stylish and practical.

They keep your table from being damaged, and they are easy to clean – just throw them in the wash.

They also make great gifts. I made the ones above as a gift for my mum.

(2020 update: 10 years on and mum is still using them.)

The embroidery technique used for these placemats is satin stitch (link to how-to video). This is a simple embroidery stitch that looks beautiful.

Before making these I had never done any embroidery apart from a little blanket stitch. So if you’re new to embroidery these are a very doable project.

Handmade Placemats Without the Embroidery

You can use the tutorial below to make placemats without the ribbon and embroidery if you prefer.

Just skip those steps and continue on with sewing the layers together.

If you choose not to embroider then you can use patterned or printed fabric if you choose.

Creating Your Own Embroidery Design

For my placemats, I used a simple leaf design using the free graphics program GIMP.

If you like the leaf design, you can download the design here and use it for personal use.

If you would like to have a go at creating your own embroidery design, check out the tutorial on how to use GIMP to do it.

Here are the instructions to make your own placemats with or without the hand embroidery.

Yield: 6

How to Make Hand Embroidered Placemats

hand embroidered placemat

Instructions on how to make your own fabric placemats with a hand-embroidered design. These make great gifts. If you choose not to do the embroidery, these take about an hour to make.

Active Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours
Difficulty Moderate
Estimated Cost $5 - $10


  • approximately 1 1/2 metres (1.6 yards) of cotton fabric – prewashed and ironed
  • approximately 1 metre (1.1 yards) of interfacing
  • a roll of ribbon (or 2m / 80’’) (optional)
  • embroidery floss to match the ribbon (optional)
  • matching sewing thread


  • Sewing machine or needle for hand sewing
  • Pins
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Awl, chopstick or pencil to turn out corners


Cutting Guide

  1. Cut 12 pieces of the cotton fabric 30 x 35cm (12’’ x 14’’)
  2. Cut 6 pieces of interfacing 30 x 35 cm (12’’ x 14’’)
  3. Cut 6 pieces of ribbon 33 cm (13’’) long

Step 1: Add the Ribbon (Optional)

Pin the ribbon approximately 6.5 cm (2 1/2’’) from the right edge. Using the zipper foot attachment on the sewing machine and matching thread, stitch the ribbon along each edge.

Step 2: Trace the Embroidery Design (Optional)

Using a lightbox and a fabric pen or lead pencil, trace the embroidery design onto each of the six pieces of fabric with the ribbon.

trace design onto placemat

Step 3; Embroider the Design (Optional)

Use satin stitch to embroider your design. For thin stems, use backstitch.

This part of the project takes the longest. It's nice to stitch the design while watching TV or listening to your favourite podcast or an audiobook.

sewing design with satin stitch

Step 4: Attach the back of the Placemat

Iron the embroidered piece of the placemat.

(If you’re using iron-on interfacing, iron it onto the back of the embroidered piece now).

Then pin the top, interfacing and bottom in the order pictured with the design facing inward.

sew layers together

Sew a 1/4 inch seam around all four sides, leaving a gap at the bottom to turn out. Trim the corners.

leave a gap to turn out

Step 5. Finish the Edges

Turn the placemat right side out and use an awl, chopstick or pencil to push out the corners, being careful not to poke a hole through the fabric.

turn placemat the right side out

Give the mat a good press.

Fold the opening closed and hand stitch together using very small stitches.

Topstitch around the mat 1/2 inch from the edge.


topstitch edge to neaten

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

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  1. You did a wonderful job with these Melissa. I’m sure your Mum is very proud of them on her table.


  2. Bob Thomas says:

    They are quite nice, how long did it take to make them?

    Regards, Bob