How to Make Laminated Reversible Placemats

Laminated Reversible Placemats

There is always one more thing to sew in my house.  I don't think that I have sewn this much in years.  I have probably sewn more in the past 6 weeks than I have in the past 6 years.  Sewing is a great hobby and something that I really enjoy, but long projects get weary.  So, I love a quick project that is start to finish in a couple of hours.  

As I finished our Pop Up Camper, I decided that I could not live without matching placemats for a table.  Yes.  You read that.  I've pretty much gone all out on this project, so there is no turning back at this point!  

I had to some left over fabric, so it was easy to justify this project.  Since placemats are essentially fabric cut into standard shapes and hemmed up, it is one of the easiest projects for a beginner.  The standard size of a placemat is 12 inches by 18 inches.  I made a simple pattern/template out of wax paper.  I use freezer paper and newspaper a lot of make patterns for projects like this.

I cut a piece of fabric for the front and the back using this pattern. I made 4 placemats.  This required 4 pieces of each fabric to make the placemats.

Placemats could easily be done by just sewing up and making them washable.  However, I decided that I wanted to laminate the fabric with an iron on vinyl so that we could just wipe off and go.  Because of this decision, I purchased a roll of Thermoweb Heat'n Bond Iron-On Vinyl -17"X5 Yards Gloss.

The Thermoweb comes in a roll and was more than I needed for this one project.  I'll now have left overs for some additional projects.
The Thermoweb needs to be cut the same size as the front and back pieces.  For this project, I cut 8 pieces of Thermoweb just like the placement front and back pieces.

Now, I ironed on the Thermoweb.  This is an easy part of the project.  I recommend doing this on a solid surface.  An ironing board would be difficult to manage because of the amount of pressure needed to get a good seal.  I did this on my kitchen countertop with a towel on top.  You could probably do this on top of a metal dryer or washing machine.  But I would still at least place
something underneath.  And be aware that the metal of the machine would get hot!

The vinyl applies to the right side of the fabric and irons on with the paper on it and removed after it has cooled.

The laminated fabric looks great!

After ironing on the Thermoweb, place the right sides of the front and back pieces together and pin on three sides.  Sew the three sides together.  Then, turn out.  Before I did this, I cut the corners a little to make it easier to turn the corners.

Sew three sides together with the right sides pinned.

Clip the corners before turning.

This was the most difficult part.  The fabric is stiff on the laminated sides and wants to crinkle and wrinkle a little.  Be as gentle as possible.

Pin the top side inward to close the top.  Sew all the way around to close the top and creating a top stitch for the other three sides.

Tuck in the top and pin.  Sew with a thin or narrow seam all the way around including the pinned side to close and topstitch.

Start to finish, this project took less than 3 hours.  This is definitely an afternoon sewing project.  It feels good to actually start and finish something in a day without having my house torn up for weeks!

The laminated placemats have a nice finished look and are going to be easy to care for in our camper.

If I were going to make these for my home, I would skip the laminating and just make them machine washable.

The Thermoweb is an easy way to make laminated baby bibs that wipe easily.  Laminated fabric could also be used for making lunch bags, cosmetic bags and more.  Be sure to watch for other items on my blog later this year.  As I have been completing this project for my camper, I've been saving all kinds of gift ideas for this next Christmas.  I have lots of fabric scraps and pieces that will make some awesome gifts.

Beginning sewers should try making a simple set of placemats.  This project would allow practice of making stitches, turning the fabric and topstitching.  And these would make a great gift.  Laminating is totally optional and not really recommended for beginners.

Some additional ideas for placemats:

  • Add a monogram either with a fabric applique or by stenciling.  Both would be easy to do.
  • Mix patterns by adding a border to either side.
  • Select simple burlap fabric and trip with ribbon to seal the edges.  This would give a rustic look and could also be stenciled with a monogram, singular word or even given a fabric applique.
Be creative.  Projects like this are a lot of fun because they are so simple and are very easy to dress up and add other details without a lot of work or fuss.  And they aren't just for campers.  Make a set for your home!  

If you want to see how these placemats will fit into the rest of the color scheme for my Pop Up Camper, take a look at my Pop Up Camper Reveal.  I'm going to be showing off our table that we made and our dishes that go with this look soon.

Have you made placemats before?  If you have, what kind did you make?  And, have you used iron-on vinyl before?  I'd love to hear more about your craft and sewing projects.  Please comment and share your experiences.  If you are using my mobile site view, you may have to switch to the web-based version of my blog to make comments.  But it is easy to do.  Just look for the web version link below.  Have a great week!



  1. Have you ever added iron on vinyl to hand-sewn placemats with batting inside? Thank you. I think the idea is great for children.

    1. I have not tried this. I'm not totally sure how this would work due to the laminating film. But, I would say give it a try and see what happens! Try one at first and see.


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