Mini Quilt Tutorials

Tumbling Transparency Placemat {Tutorial}

Fabric Requirements

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.

Tumbling Transparency Placemat

Tumbling Transparency Placemat

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:

Cutting Instructions

Fabric A Cutting Instructions

Fabric A Cutting Instructions

Fabric A (background & binding)

  1. Cut (3) 2 1/4″ x 20″ strips.*
  2. 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.
  3. 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.*
  4. 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 Cutting Instructions

Fabric B Cutting Instructions

Fabric B (including backing)

  1. Cut (1) 12 3/4″ x 18″ rectangle for backing.
  2. Cut (4) 3 1/2″ squares.
  3. Cut (2) 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles.

Fabric C

  1. Cut (2) 3 1/2″ squares.

Piecing Instructions

Piecing Step 1

Piecing Step 1

Piecing Step 1

  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.
  2. 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

Piecing Step 2

Piecing Step 2

  1. 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.
  2. 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

Piecing Step 3

Piecing Step 3

  1. 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.
  2. Sew the blocks together into (2) 6 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rows, pressing seams open.
  3. Sew the rows together into a 12 1/2″ square, pressing the seam open.

Piecing Step 4

  1. 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.
Tumbling Transparency Placemats

Tumbling Transparency Placemats

Finishing Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Sunburst at Badwater Salt Flat, Death Valley National Park

Sunburst

Did you enjoy making this transparency project? If so, I have many other transparency quilt designs available in my shop!

Linking up with Tips and Tutorials On The 22nd #1 with Kathleen McMusing.

13 thoughts on “Tumbling Transparency Placemat {Tutorial}

  1. I absolutely love your placemat design. Thank you for the tutorial.

  2. Thank you for the tutorial. I have not done any transparency quilts and this is the perfect start!

  3. I loved these the first time and the tutorial with cutting instructions is a big help. If you have a minute before the end of the day could you link up over at my tutorial link up? Thank you.
    https://www.kathleenmcmusing.com/2020/01/tips-and-tutorials-on-the-22nd-1-ttot22.html.

  4. Nancy N says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial on making these. they make a quick way to see how fabrics would play together in making a larger transparency project.

  5. Patti says:

    Thank you! I just love this and appreciate the easy follow along tutorial.

  6. smilesfromkate says:

    Love the tutorial Yvonne, thank you. It’s just the thing for someone who wants to try transparency but doesn’t want to make a full quilt, practical too, we all use placemats and they don’t last forever. Thinking about it they would make a lovely gift when I go to visit my son and his family in the spring. Just the job!

  7. patty says:

    Great tutorial – thanks!

  8. Thank you for the tutorial, great transparency project!

  9. Such wonderful modern placemats. I hope to make a set for me in the future. Thanks for the tutorial.

  10. Lovely tutorial, but even lovelier is AHHHHHHH that photo of your ahhh-mazing quilt. 🙂

  11. Thanks for sharing a tutorial for those placemats. I think your table is going to look SEW amazing when you add them!

  12. Izzy says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial Yvonne! My dining room is in desperate need of new placemats so the timing is perfect!

  13. Thank you for linking this up! I think this is a really fun way to try transparency!

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