Friday, October 31, 2014

Kona Club Challenge - Twigs Placemat by Katherine Greaves

We're so happy to have Katherine from Sew Me Something Good take the Kona Club Challenge this month. We met Katherine on Blogathon Canada last year. Katherine does beautiful work and is a ninja at coming up with patterns and tutorials!
Katherine used the colors we sent out in September 2014 for Kona Club and made this gorgeous placemat! We hope you enjoy this tutorial and make one of your own. We are giving away the fat quarters that Katherine used in this tutorial so be sure to leave a comment on this post to win!

Don't forget to follow Sew Me Something Good  for more inspiration and great projects!

Twigs - Placemat

Hello and welcome!  My name is Katherine and Sew Me Something Good, is the name of the blog where I share my love of fabric and my sewing and creative adventures.  I'm delighted to be sharing a simple design for a placemat using some gorgeous Kona cottons from Sew Sisters.  Thanks, Judy and Carol for inviting me!

For my Kona Challenge design, I found inspiration in Nature (our trees are bare, waiting for winter), and knew this would be a chance to step outside my usual choice of bright colours, to work with a more neutral palette. I chose the Kona Club bundle from Sept. 2014 and couldn't resist adding another Kona colour... Coffee to the mix to make my "Twigs" placemat.

Please read through all directions in the tutorial before beginning.
All seams are a scant 1/4" - unless otherwise instructed.
The placemat will finish at 12.75" x 18.25" approximately.


  • 4 Fat quarters (18" x 21") for the placemat front - from the remainders, I cut binding
  • 1 Fat quarter  (18" x 21")  for the placemat back
  • 17" x 20" quilt batting
  • Thread for piecing and quilting
  • Double fold binding tool
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Marking tool

Cut List:

  • From each of the 4 Fat Quarters (Cappuccino, Raffia, Mushroom & Straw) for the front:
    • Cut 2 squares 5" x 5"
    • Cut 1 strip 2" x 12.5"
  • From the Cappuccino FQ: 
    • Cut 1 rectangle 6.5" x 12.5"
  • From the Mushroom FQ:
    • Cut 4 strips 2" x 21" for making double fold binding

Leave the backing FQ (Coffee) uncut.  The full size will be used for quilting and then cut down afterwards.


1. Pair up the 5" x 5" squares as follows (shown in photo below)... then, stack the lighter fabric on top of the darker, keeping all of their edges aligned.
  • Cappuccino + Raffia
  • Cappuccino + Straw
  • Mushroom + Raffia
  • Mushroom + Straw

Each pair of squares will be completely aligned on top of each other before stitching.

How to make 8 half square triangle units (HST), from 2 squares of fabric:

2. Using your marking tool and ruler, mark diagonal lines across the lighter fabric in each of the 5" x 5" pairs.  These lines will be your cutting lines (not to be cut until AFTER all the stitch lines have been sewn).
Next, mark stitch lines 1/4"  away from the cutting lines you just made.  Be sure to make stitch lines parallel to both lines and on both sides of each cut line (see photo below).

3. Keeping the pair of squares perfectly aligned with one another, sew just to the inside of the two stitch lines in each direction on the diagonal, made in step #2  (this will give you a scant 1/4" seam for each of your HST units and allow for blocks to be trimmed). 

Sew all the pairs of squares this way  (chain piecing makes it more efficient).  After all the squares have been stitched, you are ready to cut!  Cut along the initial cut lines you marked in step # 2 and then you will sub-cut the pieces further (one horizontal cut and one vertical - as shown below), making 8 HST units.

4.  Press all the HST units with the seam towards the darkest fabric in the unit.  Then you trim each of the HST units to a finished size of 2" x 2".

Sewing the placemat front together:

5.  Arrange from left to right (paying attention to colour placement and angle of the HST units):
 6.5" x 12.5" rectangle (Cappuccino); 8 HST units (Cappuccino + Raffia); 2" strip (Raffia);  8 HST units (Raffia + Mushroom); 2" strip (Mushroom);  8 HST units (Mushroom + Straw); 2" strip (Straw);  8 HST units (Straw + Cappuccino); 2" strip (Cappuccino).

6. Sew the HST units together to form a vertical strip - before continuing to sew the un-pieced strips next to them.


7. Lay the remaining fat quarter, (for the backing - Coffee), down on a flat surface and secure it in place (I use painter's tape); lay the batting next and finally the placemat front (right side up) on top - for basting.  Baste using your preferred method.  I used basting spray to secure the layers for quilting.

Quilt as desired.

8. After quilting is complete, baste a scant 1/8" in from the edge of the placemat's front around the perimeter (to secure all layers).

9.  Using a quilting ruler, rotary mat and cutter, trim 1/4" away from the edge all the way around the placemat (placemat is right side up). The batting and backing fabric will extend 1/4" larger than the placemat front - shown below.


I personally prefer binding placemats and items that will be laundered regularly with double fold binding.  To eliminate bulk, I join all my binding strips using a 45 degree angle cut.  Here's how the strips for binding will look before they are sewn together using a 1/4" seam.

10. Sew the four binding strips together to make a continuous length.  Press each seam open and trim the points.

To make double fold binding from these strips, I use a binding tool (shown below), but you could also make the binding without one.  Using the tool, the strips will be pressed with raw edges to the middle and then pressed again along the middle line (making the 2" strip into 1/2" double fold binding).

Attaching Binding to Placemat:

11.  Open up the binding and place right side of binding onto right side of the back of the placemat.  Leave a tail of binding about 4" in length from where you start to sew (about the middle of the bottom edge of the perimeter of the placemat).  The raw edge of the binding and raw edge of the placemat will be lined up.  Stitch to the right of the first fold in the binding (so your seam will be a scant 1/2" seam).

As you approach a corner of the placemat, mark the binding with a pin, to show where you will stop stitching;  1/2" from the corner. Back stitch to secure.

To make a mitred corner, fold the binding away from the corner of the placemat, at a 45 degree angle. 

Then, fold the binding back, even with the raw edge on the placemat.

Sew a scant 1/2" seam, starting at the folded edge and back stitch to secure before continuing up the raw edge.  Repeat this process for the next 3 corners.

After the fourth corner, place the rest of the binding along the bottom raw edges, overlapping it with the beginning of the binding.  Mark the placement of where the binding overlaps - this will become your seam line for joining the beginning and ending of the binding strips.  Measure and mark 1/4" from the first line, to give you a cutting line.

Cut on the cut line and then join the beginning edge of the binding with the end, using a 1/4" seam (which is also a 45 degree angle).  Press seam open and trim the points off.

Return to stitching the binding to the placemat until you reach the start of this seam.

12. Flip the placemat over, so that the front is now right side up.  Wrap the binding to the front, over the raw edges of the placemat  (it will cover the previous seam line along the edges).  Pin or use wonder clips to hold the binding in place for stitching.  Corners are folded to make mitres in the binding.

Stitch the binding down, close to the edge (pivot at the corners) around all four sides of the placemat and back stitch to secure when you return to your starting point.


I hope you enjoy your new, modern looking placemat! 
 You will have leftover fabric from making one placemat, so why not grab some extra fat quarters for backing and make a set? They would make a great gift. ;o)

Thanks so much Sew Sisters! I loved having a chance to design and sew something for the
 Kona Club Challenge.


You could win 4 fat quarters of the Kona Cotton Solids Katherine used to make her Twigs Placemat!
Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.

If you are no-reply/Wordpress blogger please leave your email id in the post.
We will leave the giveaway open till Monday, November 3.
Winner will be announced Tuesday, November 4.

Good luck everybody and enjoy making your very own Twigs Placemat!
Many thanks to Katherine from Sew Me Something Good for this awesome tutorial.

Click here for more details on Kona Club. 


Teatime Creations said...

LOve those colors and what a great tutorial.

sherry said...

yum such rich coffee and cookies colours...

SuperMomNoCape said...

Beautiful placemats and a great tutorial. Thank you Katherine! And thank you Sew Sisters for the giveaway and the chance to win!

Michele T said...

Well, I'll be... I never would have guessed how those twigs were created, that is awesome!! Thanks for the detailed tutorial, it is perfect! I am hungry after reading Sherry's comment before me!!

Quilting Tangent said...

Nice tutorial.

Karen said...

Great tutorial. Thanks for hosting this give away. Mrscummings2u at Gmail dot com

felicity said...

What a fabulous design and wonderful choice of fabrics to go with the theme. I love it!

Sheryl said...

Lovely colors and beautiful project

Anonymous said...


Lisa Marie said...

Love this! Perfect for fall.

Gill said...

I love this pattern -thanks!

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

I love Kona solids and Sew Sisters!!! These are great colors

Jo said...

Great tutorial for lovely placemats! Love those colours too.

Ioleen said...

Very rich coffee and cream colours.
Easy to understand tutorial. Thank you for the chance to win.

Jacqueline Frances said...

Wow, what a great placemat pattern. I can see it made up in gorgeous batiks as well!
Thanks so much for the giveaway,
Jacqueline in Pitt Meadows

Sherry VF said...

Love the mushroom and cappuccino colors. Clever pattern too. svonfumetti at yahoo dot com

OhioLori said...

Loooove these placemats! Perfect for Fall!! & the quilting sorta reminds me of way the wind swirls leaves around! Way cool! Good job!!

PegP said...

Cute pattern - great fall colours.

carla said...

Hi!!!! I love everything about the placemat!!!! Excellant tutorial!!!! Thank You

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great tutorial and the chance to win these beautiful Kona solids.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Great placement. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa in Port Hope said...

Great tutorial. Thank you for including instructions for machine binding!

Lorrie said...

Katherine writes great tutorials. The colours she chose are so warm and perfect for her design. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Esther said...

Yes please love these neutrals

ewecan said...

I have to make a placemat for our guild and I think this is one I might choose. Love the colours and the leafless trees.

Dawn said...

The browns remind me of good chocolate! Yum!

Unknown said...

What a fantastic design! Thanks Katherine for the wonderful tutorial & these colours couldn't be more perfect. And many thanks to Sew Sisters for a chance at the give-away.
mgw070 at rogers dot com

Linda H said...

I don't often sew with solids but neutrals are fun, and these shades sure do reflect Novemebrrrr!! Please count me in for the Giveaway!

Lorna McMahon said...

This is such a nice design and a lovely place mat. I love Kona solids! Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial. Great work by Katherine!

Carmen N said...

What a fun project!

Kathryn LJ said...

Great instructions and lovely pattern. I can see doing this a few ways - fall and spring.

Unknown said...

Beautiful job! I love the colors but as I have passion for fabrics I want to make a set with the whole Kona collection :)

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Wonderful tutorial -- and the placemats are gorgeous.

Wendy said...

such gorgeous earthy colours. Great tutorial too!

Janie said...

Love the colors. The tutorial was very impressive a newbie can make this. Thanks for the giveaway.

Unknown said...

What a terrific project! And I love the neutrals....

amy said...

What a terrific tutorial. I'm a beginner but I think I could do it! Thanks for the giveaway.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the Kona's

Jan said...

must try!! LOVE neutrals!

MichelleY said...

I heart Kona :)

SeeAmySew said...

Great tutorial, Thank you "Sew" much

Lise said...

Wow, love those and the colors are fab, thank you for sharing this tutorial , this is going in my fav list :)

Nancy said...

Thanks for such a clear tutorial, esp. the binding instructions. Love the colours of the fabrics.

Robin said...

Very nice...perfect for fall!

Anita said...

I love Kona! And these place mats are very cool. Thank you for the tutorial and giveaway.

Shauna said...

Great tutorial! The more I see solids being used, the more I like them. Live your placemats.

KaHolly said...

Great tute, Katherine!!

gb said...

Katherine your tutorial is perfect and I love your old machine! Thanks from Fruitvale BC

tarda said...

Really appreciate the tutorials on the blogs.

Unknown said...

Loved the pattern colours and the simple tutorial.