Denim Placemats look really nice on a rustic patio, on a picnic table or just for fun.
If you have any old denim jeans laying around, then this is a great project to do. The softer and older the denim the better, and they can be all kinds of shades of blue.
Things You Will Need
Here is what you will need:
one cardboard template measuring 7 inches x 7 inches (for tracing out the squares of denim)
6 x denim squares measuring 7 x 7 inches each
Sewing machine with denim needle (or for thicker fabrics)
Piece of colorful backing cotton fabric that will fit the back of your mat. (cotton works the best because you need it to fray)
Washer and dryer for fraying the edges of your denim placemats
Take your denim jeans, and cut them up the side seams to open out the legs, this is the easiest way to cut out your squares.
Take your cardboard template, and on the back side of the denim, trace with fabric marker, and then cut out your squares. Collect six of these denim square for each placemat you are making. If you want to make lots of placemats, then you better let your friends and family know you need their old worn jeans!
Once you have your six squares cut out, you are going to start sewing. Sew two squares (with right sides together) together allowing 1/2 inch seam allowance, and then sew a third one, so you have three squares in a row. Do this with the next set of three, and now you have two rows. Sew both rows together, with right sides together.
Press the seams open on the back side.
Turn it over to the right side, and "top stitch" the seams to keep them flat. (Sew a row on each side of the seams, as close as possible) Your denim placemat will now lay flat.
Take your placemat and sit it on a piece of colorful fabric and mark and cut it the same size as the placemat.
Now with the outside seams, you are going for that frayed look. So with wrong sides together sew around the outside of your mat. Still using the 1/2 inch seam allowance
Take your mat, and cut with sharp scissors a fringe all the way around the outside edge. Keeping the clips as close together as you can, this will create a fringe. If you go too far apart, they will look more like curly q's. Which is fine if you like that look, but for this project you are going for the fringe.
Once you have made your clips, now you are going to throw your denim placemats in the washer, and then in the dryer. This will create the fuzz or fringe. Make sure to empty your dryer lint trap afterwards, as it will be full from the denim fluff.
Now you have your denim placemats.
These are great, you can throw them in the washer easily after use, and they just keep getting a softer fringe every time, so they make great accessories for outside entertainment. You can make them bigger, by adding more squares. You can make a table runner the same way, just make a long row of denim squares. You are only limited by how much denim you can get your hands on!
Since the denim has already been washed and washed, there is no risk of dye running, so you can have brightly colored cotton backings. There are some great summer cottons on the market now. If you have 100% cotton fabric, it might be best to pre-shrink it. Many fabric stores have it preshrunk already, but wash it to be safe.
You can recycle fabrics as well for the backing of these denim placemats. Old dresses, old tablecloths. It is better if it is cotton, as you want it to fray along with the denim for a more rustic look.
So, take a look in your closet. Maybe it is time for a cleanout and some new jeans! You can cut up the jeans and keep all the parts for projects. You can keep the little inner pockets, or you can even sew a back pocket onto a large mat, for holding the cutlery or napkins.
Denim is such a versatile fabric, it can be used for anything, especially once it is soft and worn. You can decorate it with fabric paints and beads for a stunning look. Make yourself a lot of these mats for your summer entertaining. You will love the look. You can also make great denim pillows for the chairs. There is so much you can do with denim.
If you are running short of denim for this project or any other great denim projects out there, you can always go to your local rummage or second hand shop. Ask the owner if they have bags of jeans, that were not in good enough shape to put out for sale. They get many donations, that are not fit for sale, and just throw them out!
I got a bag of denim jeans this way for five dollars! I picked through them and washed them, and then got to work cutting them open and getting my template out and cutting out squares. This is a good job for an older child or teen. The best jeans are those wide leg jeans many of the kids wear hanging off their hips! Usually they are worn out in the knees but the rest of the denim can be recycled into great projects. You can even sell them online if you get to liking working with denim.
Before you know it, your simple denim placemats, could become a booming online craft business! Or sell at craft shows. Another great project is a raggedy denim quilt, this is warm and can be washed over and over, and you can back it with warm fuzzy fleece or cotton flannel, no need to line with polyester fiberfill. The list is endless what you can create.
So, get out that sewing machine, clean out the closets, or clean out your friends closets!.. and find jeans to cut up and create. You will be recycling and creating usable products!