Placemats are such a practical household item as they catch all the food spills and they can be thrown in the wash ready for the next meal. They are also super easy and simple to make so they make a perfect beginner project.
As placemats are underneath hot plates you might wonder what is best to use when making your own placemats. Picking the right fabric is imperative as the right fabric will allow you to use your placemats over and over again for years!
Cotton-based fabrics are usually the best fabrics to use for placemats as the weave is usually the strongest and most forgiving. However, there are a number of non-cotton-based fabrics that work just as well such as felt.
Alternatively, you can use a variety of cotton from quilting cotton to cotton drill to create sturdy and functional placemats that will last years.
If you are looking to make something a little more decorative and fun you might want to look at using felt which is easy to use, easy to sew and will last just as long as cotton.
1. Quilting Cotton
Cotton is a versatile fabric and can be used for a number of projects but you need to make sure your buy the correct one. Quilting cotton or 100% is stronger than polycotton or some cotton blends as it is made with a stronger weave and will be able to withstand being used repeatedly.
Quilting cotton is a great choice for placemats as they are strong, easy to find in stores and you can find a wide variety of colours and patterns.
There are a number of crafters who use quilting cotton to make some of the most adorable and fun placemats using cute prints and designs to make beautiful patchwork pieces.
Remember you do not need to add starch to your quilting cotton when making placemats if you wish to not use anything extra.
2. Cotton Drill/Canvas
Cotton drill and cotton canvas are similar in the sense that they are both cotton-based and very tough fabrics. While cotton drill is more often used to make hard-wearing clothing such as work clothes and corsets, cotton canvas is used for curtains and upholstery projects.
While they are both different in many ways they are both hard-wearing, and forgiving and will last the test of time when used for placemats.
Cotton is a great natural fibre that works well in many ways and one of those is being able to be washed and used over and over again without ageing or disintegrating.
You can find cotton drill and cotton canvas in a number of colours and prints so your placemats can still look pretty and fun while still being practical and long-lasting.
Though if you are looking to create something more elaborate and fun I would look at using quilting cotton over cotton drill/canvas as the variety of prints and colours is far superior.
While you can find a number of different felts on the market your placemats will require either wool or acrylic. These are the strongest types of felt and will be able to withstand constant use over and over again.
Both acrylic and wool felt sheets can be found in craft stores and online ready to be cut into sizes and shapes and sewn together.
You can find almost every colour and even some glittery kinds which would make for fun designs. Wool would be a better option as it is more likely to work with heat rather than melting or disintegrating.
You can use felt in a number of ways from block colours to patchwork to even creating wool felted balls that can be sewn together to create raised hot pad style placemats.
Felt is also a great fabric to use for beginners looking to learn sewing skills and try a few hand-sewing projects too.
Calico is a plain woven material which is also heavy, it often comes unbleached and is not a fully processed cotton. So it comes from the cotton family but is starting cotton which is often used for mock-up clothing, bags and other rougher textiles.
Originally discovered in the 11th Century in India by Portuguese spice traders in a port called Calicut, it was shortened and edited to create the name calico.
The fabric is coarser than muslin but not as coarse as canvas or denim making it perfect for placemats. It is also very cheap to buy and is readily available in crafts stores and fabric warehouses.
Calico is plain and comes with no colour or design so it isn’t often a top choice for making nice decorative items but it is a great workhorse of a fabric.
If you are looking to make a few practice placemats or cheap placemats or you really don’t care for the look of your placemats this is a great fabric to use. Make sure to use the right batting for your placemats as this will react to the heat too.
Linen is a perfect material to use for placemats as it is durable, works well with heat and hot plates along with looking nice and minimal.
With these qualities, it is easy to use and work with especially if you are new to sewing. Linen is a little more expensive to buy but can be made into a number of projects so it is easy to repurpose the leftover fabric to make extra items for the home such as napkins and more.
Linen is also very eco-friendly so if you are looking to make the switch from single-use products in your home to reusable and more sustainable this is the perfect fabric for you.
I also love that linen is easy to wash and care for and will last a long time so you can use the placemats over and over again without worrying about the longevity of the placemats.
Linen may start as a tougher more solid fabric but will soften over time and become more and more subtle and pliable.