8 reasons you should use leftover blocks to make placemats

We all have them – leftover blocks from other projects. We don’t want to throw them out, so they sit in our sewing rooms, gathering dust. Today I’ll go over 8 great reasons that you should use these blocks to make placemats!

I’m still using The Dream Machine 2 from Brother, so in posts later on in the week I’ll use this awesome machine to embellish some of the placemats.

THE Dream Machine 2

THE Dream Machine 2

Reason 1 – get them out of your sewing room

I don’t know about you, but when I have lots of UFOs (unfinished objects) in my sewing room, they weigh on me. They take up valuable room in my sewing space and in my mind. Getting things out of both of those places feels great! Tomorrow on QUILTsocial I’ll show you five different ways that you can incorporate an orphan block into a placemat.

Orphan block placemat

Reason 2 – experiment with free motion quilting

Success at free motion quilting takes time and lots of practice. Placemats are the perfect size to practice on and to try out some new designs. If you want some new designs to try, check out my QUILTsocial posts from August 2014.

Free motion quilting designs


Free Motion Quilting – QUILTsocial

Walking foot versus free motion – it’s all about the feed dogs! There are different ways that you can quilt by machine. One way is to use your walking foot which has feet dogs that work with the sewing machine feed dogs to help keep the quilt layers from…

Reason 3 – try out some fancy stitches on your sewing machine

THE Dream Machine 2 has an unbelievable number of specialty stitches, and trying them out on placemats is ideal to see how they look stitched on fabric before adding them to a larger project. We’re going to play with some of these stitches on Wednesday.

Character Decorative Stitch menu

Here are some of the decorative stitches available on THE Dream Machine 2 from Brother. I definitely want to use those maple leaves!!

Character Decorative Stitch menu

Reason 4 – use up bits and pieces of leftover batting

If you’re like me, you probably have lots of small pieces of batting left over after trimming quilts. Lots of these pieces would probably be the perfect size for a placemat. And if your pieces are still too small – use your sewing machine to zigzag them together to make larger pieces. This is the way to tidy up your sewing space!

First of all, trim the edges of your batting pieces so that they are straight.

Small pieces of batting

Butt the sides of the batting up to each other and then use an open toe zigzag foot and cream colored thread to sew a wide zigzag stitch down the seam. Make sure you catch the batting on both sides of the seam and that you don’t overlap the batting at all.

Use an open toe zigzag foot

Three pieces of batting zigzagged together makes a piece that’s now big enough for one of my placemats!

Batting joined with a zigzag stitch

Reason 5 – try a new embellishment technique

If you have a new technique you want to try, but afraid to commit to using it on a large project, a placemat is the right size to experiment on. Couching is a neat technique to use to add dimension to your projects, and THE Dream Machine 2 has a very cool couching foot, so Thursday we’ll try using it to add some embellishment to one of our placemats.

Reason 6 – use up leftover bindings

I have a plastic bin full of leftover bindings. Some are long, some are short but they’re all just waiting to be used for another project. We’ll talk about how to organize leftover bindings and how to use them for placemats on Friday.

Leftover bindings

Reason 7 – they’re great for gift giving or donating

Charitable organizations such as Meals on Wheels would LOVE to give their clients a handmade item such as a placemat. Our Thousand Islands Quilters Guild in Brockville donates placemats to our local Meals on Wheels organization every year and they look forward to delivering them to their clients every January. What a nice way to brighten someone’s day!

Reason 8 – it feels GREAT to finish something

Whether it’s a bed size quilt or something the size of a placemat, we all get an amazing sense of accomplishment when we actually finish something! Give yourself a little lift, by taking those leftover blocks and finishing them as placemats. You’ll feel great, your sewing space will feel less cluttered and if you give that placemat away, you’ll make someone else’s day too!

Tomorrow on QUILTsocial I’ll show you 5 different ways that I used THE Dream Machine 2 from Brother to sew some orphan quilt blocks into placemats. See you tomorrow!

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: 5 simple settings for placemats made with orphan quilt blocks

[shareaholic app=”follow_buttons” id=”23735596″]

Related posts

2 in 1 – embroidering and quilting at once with THE Dream Machine 2

How to make crazy quilted setting triangles for a tablerunner

6 basic steps to create awesome bobbin work using THE Dream Machine 2!