Blogtoberfest Day XXVI–Tutorial: Portrait Placemats

Enjoying the Ghastlies Blog Hop?  Isn’t it fascinating to see how the same fabrics can look so different when placed in the hands of 54 different creators?!?

As promised, here is my tutorial for making the Ghastlie Family Portrait Placemats… (or maybe frame up a fun scenic Christmas fabric for your holiday table?)  Oh, the ideas…

Step 1: I started by fussy cutting my two “portraits” 12.5″ tall x 14.5″ wide (If using something other than A Ghastlie Night print by Alexander Henry, adjust your size accordingly).  I cut two pieces of “frame” fabric (Haunted Mansion by Sanae for Moda) 18″ x 20″.

Step 2: I made a paper template for my “picture frame”.  I cut a rectangular “frame” with a 12″ x 14″ opening, and an outer measurement of 17″ x 19″.  (See Photo Above).

Step 3:  Fold your paper frame in half twice, until you have an L-shaped template (four layers of paper).

Step 4:  Draw and cut a decorative frame outline onto your template.  Set your template aside.(NOTE: If you would like a PDF of the frame I drew, leave me an email address in the comments–I am unable to load PDFs in blogger). 

Step 5:  On the reverse side of your “frame” fabric, center your “portrait” (the 12.5″ x 14.5″ Ghastlies Fabric) and make regsitraton marks at the four corners (it’s hard to see, but I used blue pencil for my registration marks in the photo above–double click to enlarge).  Then using these registration marks, draw lines 1/4″ in from blue mark, creating a 12″ x 14″ rectangle centered on your fabric.

Step 6:  BEFORE YOU CUT YOUR CENTER OPENING:  Press a strip of 1/2″ wide Steam-a-Seam 2 (SaS2) along all four lines, aligning one edge of your SaS2 with the blue registration marks.  Make sure your CUTTING LINES are dark enough to see through the paper of the SaS2.

Step 7:  Cut your center opening out, being careful not to cut PAST the intersection of your two lines at the corners.  I used my 18mm rotary cutter, you may even want to use a scissors to cut into the corners for more control.  As you can see in the above photo, you are cutting away some of your SaS2, the reason you cut through it is to stabilize the raw edge of your “frame” so there is minimal fraying.

Step 8:  Peel the paper from the remaining SaS2 off, and carefully place your “portrait” face down, aligning it with your original blue registration marks in all four corners.  Ensure that both fabrics are laying flat and are lined up correctly, and then press, affixing your “portrait” to the reverse side of your frame.

Step 9:  (NO PHOTO INCLUDED, BUT IMPORTANT STEP!!) Use a fusible stabilizer, thick enough to give your “photo” an opaque backing, to cover both the reverse side of both your “portrait” and your “frame”.  I use Shape-Flex by Pellon, the same stabilizer I use for quilts made of fabrics other than 100% quilting cotton (like t-shirt quilts or my men’s suit quilt).

Step 9:  Turn your portrait over, and retrieve the paper template you made in Step 4.  Lay your template atop your frame, lining up the 12″ x 14″ opening with the fabric frame opening.  Using either pattern weights or pins, secure your paper pattern so it will not shift.  (TIP:  I save rotary cutter cases–the yellow things in photo below–and weight them to use as pattern weights-fill with sand, plaster, or anything to give them weight) Trace your pattern with a marking pencil or white colored pencil.

Step 10:  Carefully cut along your traced line, creating your fancy frame.

Step 11:  Lay your framed portrait on top of your backing fabric (wrong sides together) and satin-stitch in black thread (I used Aurifil 50wt Mako).  If your machine does not have a satin-stitch, zig-zag stitch with the densest zig-zag you can get.  I did not use any batting, or padding, which is why the Shape-Flex Stabilizer I added in Step 9 is so important, it acts as a stabilizer, and a lining between the backing and your “portrait”, as well as stabilizing the fancy cut edge of your “frame” from raveling as your handle it.


Step  12:  Final Step–carefully cut away your excess backing fabric, using a scissors and cutting along the outer edge of stitching, being careful not to cut any stitches…

Et Voila!  Two Portrait Placemats, elegantly framed… (You could easily add a sleeve to the back for hanging on the wall, or try Alidzia’s method of slipcovered picture frames. Genius!)

We are only one day away from this week’s Halloween Party giveawayRemember to comment on any of this week’s posts, and become a follower of my blog, for a chance to qualify to win:

  • ONE Scrappy Charm Pincushion
  • TWO treats of the s*w*e*e*t variety
  • THREE Holiday Fat Quarters
  • FOUR Awesome Notions (Aurifil threads, etc.)
  • FIVE…. I’m trying to decide, but a surprise is always a good thing, isn’t it?

Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting, have an Awesome October and a Happy Halloween!!!!!

Oh, and go visit these gals today–on the Ghastlie Blog Hop–for chances to win more great prizes!!!!        


60 thoughts on “Blogtoberfest Day XXVI–Tutorial: Portrait Placemats

  1. Thanks for the tutorial for using the SAS2 and flex liner as have never used those products before. I see how they would really help.
    Please also enter me into your Halloween giveaway.

  2. Yes-the fabric looks so different on all the different projects. Makes me love it even more. Thanks for the tute. I am going to file this away for next year.

  3. Fantastic!! Thanks for sharing your process and for emailing me to make sure I wouldn't miss it. Great tutorial – wouldn't have thought about the steam-a-seam on the inner edge. (Oh, and I'm a follower now, too.) ;D

  4. you made that look SO easy. The last bit about cutting away the backing would be the scariest part for me.
    Love SAS for machine binding–makes it so fast and perfect! Your framed placemats is another great use!
    thanks for the email!!♥

  5. Wow! I can see why these are so fabulous…you really took a lot of time and labor to make them. Doing it right always pays off. Thank you for sharing your techniques. Ghastlie adoration…

  6. Thank you for the tutorial. I'm going to put that on my project list.

    Great idea for the rotary cutter case. I have some round weights that I wrapped ribbon around to use on patterns so will see if one will fit in the case.

    Enjoy your day!

  7. Pingback: Mums for Melissa — “a Ghastly” Quilt | row house creations

  8. Pingback: A ghastlie reunion | made by a brunnette

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