I was cleaning out a cabinet the other day and unearthed a big pile of placemats. We don't use them on a regular basis, but I always mean to, so I've accumulated quite a few between thrifting and hand-me-downs from friends and family. Looking at the pile, trying to decide what to keep and what to give away, I realized that--like so many things--placemats might be a handy raw material for other projects.
And hey, I was right! A placemat is basically a pre-finished, sturdy, lined rectangle--so I think they can be easily remade into quickie versions of anything you would make with lined fabric: bags, bins, mats, etc. I thought I would play around with some different projects and share a few here--starting with this handy-dandy hanging bag. I think it is the perfect size for clothespins, but you could use it for handkerchiefs, baby socks, toiletries, kitchen doodads, or pretty much anything else small and plentiful that you'd like to corral. Quick Christmas gift? Definitely yes.
I bet you could figure this one out on your own, but just in case (like me) you enjoy a little help, here's a tutorial showing how I did it:
you will need:
A placemat--the kind made from two layers of fabric; true rectangle is best.
A small clothes hanger--either from kids' clothes or the kind you use to hang pants
Freezer Paper (optional)
Fabric Paint (optional)
Scissors, pins, and whatever other sewing gadgets you like to use
step 1: add a stencil.
1. Start by folding & pressing your placemat as it will be when finished--uneven "thirds" as in the top photo above, with the top section being big enough to enclose your hanger. Mark where you want the stencil (or embroidery or other embellishment) to land.
2. Create and add your stencil (if you've never done this before, search around on "freezer paper stencil tutorial" to find many online how-tos).
step 2: make the hanger opening.
1. With pencil or pins, mark the width of your hanger's "neck" at the center of your top fold.
2. Cut a slit that size along the fold.
3. With your embroidery floss, finish the edges of the opening with a blanket stitch or buttonhole stitch.
step 3: assemble the bag.
1. With right sides out (i.e., with stencil showing), re-fold your placemat as in the first picture; press again if necessary and pin along the sides.
2. With your sewing machine, topstich a straight line down each short side of the bag.
3. Insert your hanger into the top of the bag.
4. With your embroidery floss, use a decorative stitch to close up the big opening a few inches at each side.
5. Fill your new bag with goodies and hang it somewhere nearby!
Well, there you have it: a good excuse not just to hang on to the placemats you have, but to accept more when the world sends them your way. You're welcome.