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Fast & Easy Free Placemat Pattern

Free Fast & Easy Placemat Pattern - perfect to use with any quilt or applique pattern

Use this free placemat pattern and get a little bonus use out of your favorite blocks from your quilt patterns!

I love seeing people make things besides quilts with their Shiny Happy World quilt patterns.

Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing your finished quilts!

But if you make quilts – it’s a great way to get extra use out of your patterns.

And if you’re new and a little nervous about making a whole quilt, it’s a nice small, single-block project to dip your toes in. πŸ™‚

Today let’s talk placemats.

They’re so easy to make!

Placemat Pattern Instructions

A typical placemat – one that easily fits a standard place setting – is anywhere from 12″ to 14″ tall and 18″ to 20″ wide.

(A fat quarter is typically 18″ x 20″ so any placemat in this size range will take two fat quarters and some batting.)

I cut my rectangles (a front, a back, and a batting) 13″ x 19″ – right smack in the middle of the normal range.

If you’re going to use Quilt As You Go and you like to quilt before you applique (that’s what I do) layer your placemat top with the batting (no backing yet!) and quilt however you like. Press it flat.

Next – add your applique character.

Positioning the Applique

Almost all the characters in my quilts are designed to fit in a 10″ square, and I find they work really well with this placemat pattern without any resizing. If you’re using another designer’s pattern, just enlarge or reduce the image to be 8-9 inches tall.

I like to position my image to one side or the other. If it’s centered it gets completely hidden by the plate, plus I like things to be asymmetrical. πŸ™‚

Look at the way the image is framed/cropped. Maurice (my favorite cat from this Cats quilt pattern) is chopped off straight at the shoulders. I designed him to look like he was in a portrait. You’ll want to be sure to position that straight cut edge flush with the bottom edge of the placemat – like he’s popping into the frame and we just snapped a photo.

gold applique cat on a blue placemat - made with the free placemat pattern from Shiny Happy World

This bird from the Chirp pattern, on the other hand, isn’t cropped anywhere. Position complete images like this fairly close to the bottom edge of the placemat (that will anchor the image and keep her from looking like she’s floating in space) – but not so close that any part of her gets cut off when you sew up the edges.

chubby pink applique bird on a light green placemat - made with the free placemat pattern from Shiny Happy World

See the difference?

Applique your image in place using your favorite technique.

You can find all my applique tutorials here. I used applique with fusible adhesive and outlined with simple straight stitching in black thread.

Now comes the extra fast and easy part of this placemat pattern.

Finishing Your Placemat

You can, of course, layer on the backing and bind the edges just like a quilt. I love binding and would choose this technique unless I was in a hurry.

But not everyone shares my love of hand-sewn binding. πŸ™‚

For all of you – here’s a fast and easy finish.

Layer the placemat front and back right sides together. Pin or clip all the way around the edges.

partially-sewn placemat marked to show leaving an opening for turning when you sew up the edges

Sew it up around the edges (I used a 1/4″ seam allowance, but you can fudge that a little) leaving a few inches open on one side for turning.

Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching!

sewn corner of fabric shown with attention drawn to how you need to clip the corners

Clip the excess seam allowance off the corners – very close to your stitching. That will allow you to get nice crisp points.

Turn it right side out, smooth and straighten all the edges, gently poke out the corners, and press. Turn the seam allowance of the opening inside (so that folded edge lines up with the sewn edges) and press that too.

No need to sew up that opening by hand! Topstitch all the way around the edge of the placemat and that will close up the opening.

zoomed in detail showing edgestitching

I like the topstitching around the edge of the placemat to be about the same distance from the edge as my topstitching on the applique pieces. That keeps everything looking neat and unified.

pink applique pig on a brown placemat made with the free placemat pattern from Shiny Happy World


There are so many possibilities for this! You can use any applique pattern. (I used blocks from Cats, Chirp, and Noisy Farm.)

Add some lettering from this free alphabet applique pattern to personalize each placemat with someone’s name!

Oooh! Instead of a name, use the Paper Dolls quilt pattern to create images that look like the person the placemat is for. That would be so much fun!

Use some of my free applique patterns to make a set of holiday placemats. I have free Halloween, Easter and Christmas patterns. πŸ™‚

Instead of applique, do some embroidery. The placemat size and construction method is exactly the same.

You can make traditionally pieced placemats too! Just start with your favorite pieced block, and add enough fabric around it to get it up to the standard placemat size. The method is just like this one for turning any quilt block into a pillow.

Have fun with it!

Here are several free patterns that work with my basic 10-inch applique squares – no resizing needed!

Here are several free patterns that work with just some simple resizing. This post about making coasters has info about resizing an applique pattern that can be applied to any of these projects.

Return to the main Let’s Make a Quilt Table of Contents.

Happy quilting!


  1. Rebecca SAYS...

    OH, your patterns are so cute! And I like how you encourage people to try quilting. I’m plenty scared, but your templates are so simple I think I will find the courage soon!!!!!

  2. Anne SAYS...

    Thanks Wendi. This was really fun and simple to make.
    I need to get better quality black fabric for the eyes and mouth at the quilt shop. All of the rest of the fabric came from the quilt store and there is a difference but it still looks super cute. I ran it through the washer and dryer. It looks great right out of the dryer!

  3. Love your stuff🐷🐎🐴🐢🦍so if I make and I am a crib size quilt and do quilt as I go then how does backinging stay connected ?

  4. Hi Wendi,

    I know I *could* figure out the dimensions of a wedge shaped piece of background onto which to place either funny faces, animals, Christmas icons or some Shiny Happy Houses like Lynn did but please please please since you say “over the next year….” you plan to make up patterns for non-quilt things to do with the applique blocks we have, would you please make a “tree skirt” pattern? I know it’s just calculating dimension but for some reason, it keeps intimidating me (the wedge and opening business not the applique or QAYG parts; that I’ve got down!)

    Thanks for sharing new and creative ways to get the most out of everything in our stash!

    An Heirloom in the Making