Reversible Vinyl Placemats Tutorial

Reversible Vinyl Placemats Tutorial

Created by: Shannon McBride of

Vinyl placemats are ideal for function and style. This Heat N' Bond Iron-On Vinyl makes it possible for any cotton print fabric to become a laminated vinyl fabric.

The goal was to have 8 double-sided placemats that I could use every day and for the holidays. My solution was to create 15 ½’’ x 20’’ double-sided vinyl placemats with different fabrics on each side. I picked Amy Butler Lotus Wall Flower Cherry for all eight! I loved this fabric for my daily “holiday” table since it’s a coral red color; versatile enough for my desired modern Christmas look or for everyday use all year. These make great gifts, too!

I chose Joel Dewberry Wander Cross Midnight for four reverse placemat sides, and Joel Dewberry Birch Farm Chrysanthemum Peacock for the other four reverse placemat sides. I love the option to have all eight the same, or mix and match depending on my mood and season.

Vinyl Placemats


Step 1: Cut out your rectangles

  • Cotton Fabric – (16) 17’’ x 21.5’’
  • Vinyl laminate – (16) 17’’ x 22’’ (the laminate is 22’’ wide, and it’s better to have some overhang on the laminate to ensure full coverage on the fabric rectangles.

Step 2: Iron your rectangles

Follow the instructions included with the vinyl to iron-on laminate all sixteen pieces of cotton fabric.

Some tips for iron-on-vinyl – Make sure your cotton fabric is pressed smooth and free of any threads or foreign material, or else it will forever be preserved within the vinyl coating.

Peel only the first 2 inches or so of the vinyl to start with. Apply it to one cotton print rectangle and leverage the grid paper backing to smooth onto the fabric, as shown here:

Vinyl Placemats

As the directions state, use the paper to iron on the vinyl, make sure the grid side of the paper is face up while ironing.

The directions state to press for 8 seconds, then flip over and press 4 more seconds. Because this surface area is so large to laminate, I ironed in a slow figure-8 motion, let it cool, repositioned my paper, and continued down the length of the rectangle. Then flipped it over, used the paper as a barrier again and ironed in a figure-8 motion on the back as well. Each part of the fabric didn’t get 8 full seconds of iron pressing, however, my method seemed to work, as the vinyl was successfully laminated. If you iron too long, the vinyl will start to melt and bubble. 10 Yards of Heat n Bond is actually about ½ yard too much, as it’s intended to test on a scrap piece of cotton first. Definitely test and find your best ironing groove first before tackling your sixteen placemat pieces.

Vinyl Placemats

Step 3: Sew 'em up!

Use clips to hold in place. Pins cannot be used since it will leave a permanent hole in the vinyl fabric.

Take two coordinating laminated rectangles and sew right sides together, Use a 5/8’’ – ¾’’ seam allowance, leaving a 12’’ opening along the length of the rectangle, in order to flip it inside out. The variation in seam allowance allows some forgiveness in order to maintain the rectangle shape. Remember, it’s more important to not warp the rectangle than to have a perfectly matching seam allowance.

Step 4: Flip 'em!

Grade your seam allowance edges and clip your corners so that the seam allowance will lay nicely once flipped.

Where the opening is, fold the edges down and iron with the grid paper so it will be easier to top stitch closed after flipping right side out.

Vinyl Placemats

Using the 12’’ opening, flip the placemat right side out.

Warning – when you flip the placemat right side out- the vinyl will crinkle and crunch. The lovely smooth vinyl rectangles will be no more; it will have some texture due to the bends from flipping it inside out.

Do not fret – this is how this vinyl behaves. But it’s OK. You can use the grid paper and iron the placemat again to smooth out a lot of the creases, but these placemats will not have a super-smooth appearance. A slight bummer, I know, but the function and style of these outweighs the creased texture developed during the making, trust me.

Step 5: Topstitch 'em!

Once you have your placemat flipped right side out, top stitch 3/8’’ from the edge.

Now you have great looking placemats that have ultimate function. They’re large enough to contain a mess from eating, crafts and other activities and easy enough to just wipe clean.

Another tip for vinyl placemats: rub a few drops of water to the underside of the placemat and it won’t slide around on the table.

Vinyl Placemats

Happy sewing!

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