It is so easy to sew a Placemat Bag. This free sewing tutorial will show you how to make a super cute Dollar Tree Placemat Bag. The bag has pockets on both sides, matching straps and box corners, which are optional.
Are lemons a thing or am I just seeing them everywhere? When life hands you lemons just make a lemon bag or lemonade, either one.
While I was at the Dollar Tree I spotted 3 lemon placemats. And I thought “TaaDaa!!! I can make a tote bag and it will already be lined. Last year I made a tote bag for swimsuits or wet stuff from a dish mat (also, from Dollar Tree). The video for that quick and easy beginner sewing project is HERE.
This is so easy to construct because most of the heavy lifting is already done. The placemats are already lined so we can take advantage of that. Note: if the placemats are quilted you will have to do something different for the straps. Grab 3 placemats of your choice and let’s get started. The instructions are below or you can watch my YouTube VIDEO.
- To make the pocket – cut 6″ from the bottom of 2 placemats. Cut through both layers (top and lining), leaving the lining in place.
- The stitched edges of the body of the bag and the pocket will be toward the top. Raw, cut edges are at the bottom of the bag.
- (A) To cut the handles: cut away the stitching all the way around the placemat. You won’t need the lining so you can discard it. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise. You will need only one of the halves for the straps. Cut that one length in half lengthwise, again.
- (B) Press the edges and ends of the straps in 1/4″.
- (C) Fold in half lengthwise and press.
- (D) Pin in place
To stitch the handles, stitch close to the edge across the ends along both sides.
Line up the bottom edges of the body of the bag and the 6″ section that was cut off. Pin in place. To create 2 pockets, I stitched one row on one side. On the other side, I stitched two rows to create 3 pockets.
Be sure to backstitch several times at the top edge of the pockets.
IMPORTANT: If you are going to box the corners of you bag you will need to add this step.
This is the extra step if you are going to box the corners. From the bottom edge on the front and back, measure up 2″ and mark. Stitch along that line. The boxed corner construction happens as the last step.
It is NOT pictured. If you box your corners, you will need to add this step so that the items placed in the pockets on the front and back will not slide down into the bottom of your placemat bag. Ask me how I know this little detail. Trust me, I know. That is why in the photo below you don’t see that row of stitching. Oh, dear!
How to attach the handles
From the outside edges measure in 2½”. Position the handle end close to the top edge of the bag and pin the handle in place.
Make sure that you don’t twist them.
Stitch the handles in place. This will NOT be the only stitches that secure the handles.
Match the top edges and pin in place. (NOTE – the mistake – no stitching at 2″ from the bottom to keep my stuff ending up in the bottom of the bag). OOPS!
- (A) Stitch both sides using a 1/4″ seam. There is no need to zigzag since the edges are already finished. That was part of the heavy lifting that I mentioned.
- (B) Fold the top edge down 1″
- (C) Pin in place. Make sure that you have the handles straight.
- (D) Topstitch close to the edge. Backstitch over the straps for extra support.
Stitch another row not quite 1″ down from the top.
You will want to make sure that you catch the turned under edge.
On the bottom edge make sure you catch ALL the layers and use a 1/2″ seam allowance. Stitch. Then, zigzag or serge the edge. An alternate method to finish the raw edge is to just run another row of straight stitches close to the bottom edge.
You can just call it finished at this point but if you want to box the corners then follow these next steps.
How to box the corners in the placemat bag
At the bottom corners of the bag, line the middle of the side seam to the middle of the bottom seam. From the tip measure in 1½”. Pin in place.
Stitch across from one side to the other, being careful because the matched seams will be very bulky and could cause your needle to break. You can leave the excess point or you can cut the excess off and finish the edge as above.
And there ya go! Quick as that, you are done. This cute little placemat bag is so easy to sew. The finished bag is not huge. It is just a cute little bag big enough for a journal or a couple of books and some pens.
For another cute little easy to sew project, check out my SCRAPPY, SNAPPY BAG
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. God bless you as you sew!