Making : upcycled placemats

A couple of years ago, I found this very worn and well loved quilt at a thrift store.  It was so pretty, I couldn’t leave it.  I carried it all around in the store, and wondered what I was going to do with it, and if I should buy it.  It was too ripped to try to fix it for a new quilt.  But I loved the pattern, the fabrics, the hand sewing…. someone spent a lot of time making it.


So I bought it.  I think my reasoning of doing things like that goes something like this: Someone spent so much time and love creating this, I can’t leave it like this.  I bet they’ll take it to the dump if it doesn’t sell, and how would I feel if one of my quilts ends up like this, in some thrift store, fifty years from now.  I would hope someone would get it and do something with it, and really hope it shows signs of love.  That’s what is all about.


So I brought it home with me.  I really had to.  You know? It’s been in my fabric shelf for many, many months.  A couple of dozens of months I’d say.  Yeah, I know.  That long.


I loved the fabric they/she used.  The colors, the designs, the quilt itself.  So much love went into making it.

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But there were lots of pieces that I couldn’t really fix.  Actually most of the quilt was very torn, ripped, with the fabric barely holding on.


So I thought and thought about it.  It took me few nights staring at it, and well, few years really, to actually get the courage to cut it up.  You know, for the same reasons I bought the quilt, someone did spend lots and lots of hours creating it.


I couldn’t just cut it.  But I did.


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I wanted to make placemats for our new table.



I was able to save six of these quilt blocks. I cut them up with the rotary cutter.  Most of them were 15 in x 14 or 13 in.  I added a strip of about 4 inches on each side, to make it rectangular to fit the place.  I used different calico fabrics I had, that matched a little bit the block I was using.  But each one has different fabrics.  They ended up being about 15 in x 20 in.


Then I added a layer of batting.  I also had enough batting for 5 of them.  And I used a fleece baby blanket we used many years ago with Siena I think, as a batting for one of the placemats.


Then I cut a fabric that I had purchased at a thrift store a while back, for the back piece.  That I had enough to make all six.  I stitched on the seam of the block and the strip of fabric I added so the “sandwich” didn’t move so much with the washing.


And finally, I added a binding.  I’ve made these from many different fabrics, mostly left over from quilts I’ve made.  One binding I had enough for four of them, and the other two have different fabric.  I think it add beauty and more color to the mix.


Except for the batting and the thread, the rest are all upcycled materials.  I love when I can do that.  Quilting started for this same reason.  Making a blanket with the cloth from clothes that were torn or worn out.  Make something new from something old.  I just wish I’d knew a little more about the history of the original quilt, like who made it and for who it was made for, and when and where it was created.

They were pretty quick to make.  I think I’m going to have to make some more placemats to use when these are washing!  I’m really enjoying seeing these placemats in our table these days.  They are so bright and cheerful.  And it makes me feel good that I’m helping the environment a little bit, and I’m making last this love, this lovely creation just a little longer, with new stories to be told.


3 thoughts on “Making : upcycled placemats

  1. Monica January 30, 2013 / 5:51 am

    ¡¡ Que te quedaron hermosos !! ERA UNA GENIO !!!!!

  2. Monica January 30, 2013 / 5:52 am

    Quise decir ” eres una genio “

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