crumb quilt

Pigeon pair placemat set

I collect most scraps from every project, even the tiny ones and from time to time they come in handy for project like this one.

The two placemats in this projects are mirrored images of each other.


  • fabric scraps for the improv patchwork
  • 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in  rectangle of linen fabric plus a bit more for the heart appliqué
  • 2 fabric rectangles measuring 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in  for the back of the placemats
  • 2 rectangles of medium weight fusible interfacing measuring 12 in x 17 in
  • black thread

Download Heart shape pattern (pdf).

Improv patchwork placemat number one

You can watch this 2 minute tutorial to see how I do improv patchwork. Using paper as stabiliser is optional:

The next video shows you a similar technique:

Improv patchwork visual process

This is a very much an “anything goes” process. The only rule that applies is that your seam allowance should be 1/4 in or less.

Start by stitching two pieces together. As you can see, they’re not the same length but it does not matter.

Just trim the excess after the pieces are stitched together. Do not throw the trimmings away as they may be useful later on.

Pick up another piece of fabric, the same length or longer and stitch to the previous piece.

Now get a different piece. It does not matter if it is a triangle or a rectangle. Even a curved piece though curved pieces need a different stitching method and I did not use any curved pieces for this project.

Stitch and trim off the excess fabric.

As you can see the point is to square every piece as much as possible after adding a new piece. Squaring out the piece will make it easier to keep adding pieces.

Same as before.

As you can see here, I started from scratch again. Later I will join several improv pieces to make a larger piece.

Keep doing this until you get to a rectangle that measures between 13 and 14 in x 18 and 19 in.

If you have a look at the picture below (click to enlarge), you can see how I assembled the rectangle.  Mine grew from number one and it expanded around it for the left part. Then the right side (not numbered) was done separately and added later to make a larger rectangle.


Once you have your piece, trim it to 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches.

Now cut a piece of linen in the same size. I used the trimmed patchwork for measure.

Print the Heart shape pattern (pdf).

Cut out shape and centre on the back of the patchwork piece.

Draw around the cutout.

Cut the piece out carefully.

Now place the heart shape on a piece of linen and draw around it leaving at least 1/4 inch allowance all around.

Cover the hear hole in the patchwork piece with the linen heart.

Placemat number two

Now take the 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in rectangle of linen and centre the patchwork heart in the linen fabric.

Pin it to the centre of the linen fabric.

Stitch both shapes using a decorative machine stitch.

You can use stabiliser or just a piece of paper.

Here are both pieces.

Take the medium weight fusible interfacing and iron it to both rectangles following manufacturing instructions.

Now thake the 12 1/2 x 17 1/2 in fabric for the back of the placemat and pin to the front with both right sides facing together.

Stitch all around the rectangle leaving a 3 inch opening to turn inside out.

Trim the corners to remove bulk when turning inside out.

Turn inside out and press well.

Top stitch as close to the border as possible all around the rectangles. When you get to the opening, fold the fabric in and top stitch over it.

Here you have both placemats!


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