Churndash Quilted Placemats

finished placemat

Set of 4 (Finished Size: 18.25" x 13")


This is a pretty easy pattern. Perfect for intermediate beginners. You will learn to make HSTs (Half Square Triangles) and the Churndash block. For each placemat, you will need:

We will finish it off with a 1.00" finished border around each placemat, use a pillowcase method of joining the layers, and do simple stitch in the ditch quilting. If any of the instructions below are unclear, please email me.

Before we begin, general piecing instructions:

Fabric Swatches

FabricQuantityCutting Instructions
Swatch 1
3/4 yard
  • 3 strips @ 2.75" x WOF
    (for HST units)
  • 2 strips @ 2.25" x WOF
    (for center squares)
  • 5 strips @ 1 3/8 x WOF
    (for strip units)
Swatch 2
1/2 yard
  • 5 strips @ 1 3/8 x WOF
    (for strip units)
Swatch 3
3/4 yard
  • 3 strips @ 2.75" x WOF
    (for HST units)
  • 7 strips @ 1.5" x WOF
    (for border)
Batting and Backing Fabric of your Choice 3/4 yard
  • Please note: Your final dimensions may be slightly different. Please wait until you have finished your placemat top before cutting your backing and batting pieces. Measure the top and then cut your batting/backing accordingly.
  • 4 pieces at 18.25" x 13" (Cut 2 - 13" strips x WOF of backing, then cut each into the 18.25" units.)
  • If you will be adding binding, add 2" to the width and height of the backing and binding.
Binding Fabric of your Choice *OPTIONAL* 1/2 yard
  • 7 strips @ 2.0" x WOF

Strip Sets

You will need 96 total strip units. Assemble these as follows:

HST Units

You will need 96 total HST units. Assemble these as follows:

Assemble the Placemat Block

Assemble the Placemat

You will need 6 of the churndash blocks for each placemat. In order to enable easy matching of the seams for each block, we will go against the normal "press towards the dark" routine. Thus, press 1/2 of the blocks with the seams going towards the dark and the other half with seams going towards the lighter fabric. (You will need to keep this in mind when assembling the churn dash blocks.)

For each placemat, you will make 2 rows of 3 blocks each. Measure your finished width and height for accuracy. The width should finish to 16.25" and the height should be 11". If not, adjust the border measurements accordingly. (Measure through the center of the placemat top for accuracy.)

Using the 7 - 1.5" strips of Swatch 3 fabric, cut 8 - 11" strips, and 8 - 18.25" strips. (Remember to adjust these figures if needed.) Now, sew the 11" strips to the sides of each placemat. Press seam allowance towards the borders. Finally, add the 18.5" strips to the top and bottom of each placemat top. Again, press towards the border fabric.

Your Finished Placemat Top

finished placemat

Finishing the Placemats

For a simple finish, use a pillowcase method of finishing. Cut 2 strips of backing fabric at 13" wide. Cut these into 18.25" units. You will now have 4 backings at 13" x 18.25". (Adjust these figures based on the final dimensions of your placemat top.)

Cut batting sections in the same dimensions as the backing. I recommend Warm and Natural or equivalent for the batting. Now, layer the placemat top, wrong side down, the backing, right side facing the placemat top, and then the batting. Using a walking foot, sew a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around leaving a 4" opening for turning. Before turning, fold the opening fabric edges following the crease created by the seam allowance. This will allow for a neater finish.

Clip each corner tip off of the placemats. This will create a smoother corner point. Do not clip into the seam allowance, just about 1/8" away from it. Now, turn the placemat rightsides out. Smooth the layers and finger press the seam allowances. Use bent safety pins and place one in each churndash block center to prevent the layers from shifting while quilting.

Quilt in your favorite manner. For simplicity, stitch in the ditch along each block adjoining seam and around the border perimeter. If you are using Warm and Natural, that is sufficient quilting. Do refer to your batting instructions to determine quilting spacing.

Remember to whip stitch the opening closed using matching thread, and give the placemats a nice pressing.

If you prefer, you may bind the placemats in the traditional method. In this case, cut your backing and batting sections so that they are 2" wider and taller than the placemat top. You will need a total of 70" of binding for each placemat. Thus, you will need 7 strips @ 2" x WOF for the binding. Refer to the Binding Tutorial for instructions on making and adding your binding. Before trimming the backing and batting, leave approximately 1/8" excess past the binding to help fully fill in the binding.

Alternative Layouts

Two different layouts using the same 3 fabrics:

finished placemat

finished placemat

In black and white:
finished placemat

And, look at this variation. It is still using black and white, but, if you make just one extra churndash block, cut two of the churndash blocks in a half plus 1/4" seam allowance (so more than one-half, thus, you need an extra block), you can get this new and interesting look:
finished placemat

Return to