The Tumbling Transparency Placemat is a quick and fun project that requires (for each placemat):
- Fabric A (background & binding): 1 fat quarter*
- Fabric B (includes backing): 1 fat quarter*
- Fabric C: (2) 3 1/2″ squares
- Batting: 17 1/2″ x 13″ rectangle
*Note that a fat quarter is assumed to be 18″ x 20″ for the purposes of this pattern.
As I mentioned when I shared the Tumbling Transparency Placemats on Monday, placemats get all kinds of food spilled on them regularly. In the 7 years I have used quilted placemats, I have been able to wash out tomato sauce, beet juice, wine, and all kinds of other food spills easily. That being said, I suggest using a dark (Fabric A) to light (Fabric C) fabric progression. The choice is yours, however!
When making a transparency pattern, the key to pulling off the effect is in the fabric selection. I have several additional tutorials to help you with your transparency fabric selection:
- Playing with Color Transparency
- Evaluating Fabric Color Value Tips
- Evaluating Fabric Contrast
- Video Tutorial on converting images to grayscale
Fabric A (background & binding)
- Cut (3) 2 1/4″ x 20″ strips.*
- From the remainder, cut (1) 11 1/4″** x 12 1/2″ rectangle. **Note that if your fat quarter was not 18″ tall, this dimension might be different.
- From the 11 1/4″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle, cut (2) 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ strips. Place the remainder of the rectangle in your scrap bin.*
- From the remainder of the fat quarter, cut (2) 3 1/2″ squares and (2) 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles.
*Note that the (3) 2 1/4″ x 20″ strips will be used for the binding. For my placemats, I typically join my binding strips with a straight seam. If you join your strips with a bias join, cut an additional 2 1/4″ x 12 1/2″ strip in step 3.
Fabric B (including backing)
- Cut (1) 12 3/4″ x 18″ rectangle for backing.
- Cut (4) 3 1/2″ squares.
- Cut (2) 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles.
- Cut (2) 3 1/2″ squares.
Piecing Step 1
- Sew a Fabric C 3 1/2″ square to a Fabric B 3 1/2″ square. Press seam open or toward Fabric B. Repeat to make (2) B/C 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ units.
- Sew a Fabric B 3 1/2″ square to a Fabric A 3 1/2″ square. Press seam open or toward Fabric B. Repeat to make (2) A/B 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ units.
Piecing Step 2
- Sew a Fabric B 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle to the top of a B/C 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ unit. Press seam open or toward Fabric B. Repeat to make (2) B/C 6 1/2″ squares.
- Sew a Fabric A 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle to the top of an A/B 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ unit. Press seam open or away from Fabric A rectangle. Repeat to make (2) A/B 6 1/2″ squares.
Piecing Step 3
- Arrange the (4) 6 1/2″ squares from Piecing Step 2 in the orientation you like. Note that there are two layout options. For my set of placemats, I made 2 in one orientation and 2 in the second orientation.
- Sew the blocks together into (2) 6 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rows, pressing seams open.
- Sew the rows together into a 12 1/2″ square, pressing the seam open.
Piecing Step 4
- Sew the (2) Fabric A 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangles to the left and right of the 12 1/2″ square, pressing seams open or toward the Fabric A rectangle to complete the 16 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ placemat top.
- Layer the Fabric B backing (wrong side up), a 17 1/2″ x 13″ piece of batting, and your pieced quilt top. Baste the layers together using your preferred method.
- Quilt as desired. I used my walking foot and 50wt Aurifil thread to quilt the placemats with a 1″ grid using thread that matched Fabric A.
- Join your (3) 2 1/4″ x 20″ binding strips together. I chose to join my strips with a straight seam. If you want to use a bias join, you might need to cut an additional 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ strip from the remainder of your Fabric A fat quarter.
- Trim the quilted placemat to 16 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ and bind using your favorite binding technique. I opted to machine bind my placemats by first sewing the binding down with a 1/4″ seam allowance to the back of the quilt and then top stitching the binding down to the front of the quilt to finish.
Congratulations! You have completed a Tumbling Transparency Placemat I would love to see what you create. If you are on Instagram, tag me (@QuiltingJetgirl) and any images of your quilt using #TumblingTransparencyPlacemat. Or send an email to yvonne(at)quiltingjetgirl(dot)com with a photograph or a link to a blog post about your quilt!
Did you enjoy making this transparency project? If so, I have many other transparency quilt designs available in my shop!