Ultrasuede Fall Leaf Placemats from the New Martha Show

Monday, November 14, 2005

The November 4th episode of the new Martha Stewart daytime show featured her making ultrasuede Fall leaf table decorations - in particular, placemats (on her website here). I really liked the idea of making my own Fall placemats...and because I got the suede at 50% off at Hancock Fabrics, the whole project cost only about $18!

First of all, here's what's needed for the project, to make eight placemats:
One yard each of two complementary ultrasuede colors
One yard of Heatnbond
fabric scissors
fabric glue (unless you can sew) for making clean placemat edges
paper for drawing the leaf on (or you can use her template here). I just free-handed an oak leaf shape so they didn't look just *so* perfect - more wabi-sabi. My oak leaf was about 12" long.
scissors for cutting out the template (if you make your own)
a marker for drawing the shape of the template

Take the two colors of fabric, and decide which to make the leaves out of

Cut the one yard of fabric into eight placemats (I just cut it in half width-wise, and each of those two strips into four, so I would up with a total of eight). This makes the perfect size placemat.

Fall Leaf Placemats
Here are the placemats all cut out now. This is the part to either sew the edges, or use fabric glue to fold over all the edges so they're neat and don't fray.

Fall Leaf Placemats
Next, iron the Heatnbond onto the fabric that you'll be cutting the leaves out of. While you're ironing, you'll be able to 'feel' with the iron when each section is bonded completely - it only takes a few seconds per section.

Fall Leaf Placemats
Next, draw the template leaf shape onto the fabric that has the Heatnbond ironed to it (you'll be drawing on the Heatnbond paper), then cut it out. Don't pull off the Heatnbond paper until you're ready to iron it to the placemat. In the picture below, you can see that I took the scissors and marked leaf veins into this leaf....I did that to all of them and it turned out really well (although it doesn't show up so much in this picture).

Now, peel the Heatnbond off the leaf. In the picture below (at full size) you can see that the fabric's underside, where the Heatnbond was ironed to, has a new texture on it.
Fall Leaf Placemats

Turn the leaf over (the Heatnbond paper has been removed) and put it on the placemat exactly where you want it to go. Just iron over the leaf until it doesn't peel - I did it one or two minutes, and that worked perfectly.

Fall Leaf Placemats

...and here they are, finished! I really like the way they turned out. I can also see how they could be embellished more, but for now, I'm just enjoying how simple and neat they look.

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