How to Make Jelly Roll Placemats & Coasters

by Morgan | November 13, 2018

Today's tutorial is a fun one, and if you like the look of all the Jelly Roll Rugs you've been seeing everywhere, you'll love these! We figured out how to make 4 placemats and 4 coasters (or trivets or hot pads or whatever you desire) out of 1 Jelly Roll (we used 40 strips, so make sure you have 40 if you cut your own). This is a really fun way to make customized decor for your table. In this case, we made Christmas place settings with the Poinsettia & Pine Collection from Maywood Studio, but you can use whatever you prefer, and can make a new set for every season/holiday. Here's a closer look at how ours turned out:

Using precuts in projects is so convenient because so much of the work is done for you. The fabrics all coordinate nicely together, and in the case of this project, you don't even need to do much cutting if you use the Bosal Katahdin batting rolls because that is perfectly sized to 2.5" wide.  Pick your favorite Jelly Roll (or one you already have in your stash – you know you've been saving one) or, if you want to make yours out of the same fabrics we did, we have Jelly Roll Placemats & Coasters Kits in Poinsettia & Pine AND English Countryside (a pretty blue and cream floral collection that is to die for). 

How to Make Jelly Roll Placemats & Coasters

Okay, let's dive into how to make these. They're not difficult by any means, but there are a number of steps involved. For that reason, Jen filmed a video show you how to put them together, we included a free download with instructions, and I'm writing them out here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'll help find the answer for you as quickly as I can. 

Watch the Video Tutorial

NOTE: In the video, when Jen discusses joining the strip sets, she shows incorrect construction. Follow the download and the written directions here and you'll be just fine! 

What You'll Need:

Grab the Free Download:

As I mentioned, the free download will help you immensely throughout the project, and is something you can print and keep in your sewing room for future projects, so it's a good idea to grab it down and use it in conjunction with this blog post and the video. :) 

Download the Jelly Roll Placemats & Coasters Pattern here

Decide on Your Layout 

You'll want to lay your strips out and separate them into 2 groups of 20. When we did this we tried to distribute our fabrics evenly between the two groups so our placemats looked similar. You don't have to do this, it's entirely up to you, but take the time at the beginning to arrange your strips into the two groups so you know what they'll look like. 

In our case, we went from dark to light (in the center) back out to dark. You can be creative here and see what you like best with your fabrics. 

NOTE: From each set of 20 strips you'll get 2 coasters and 2 placemats. 

Construct Your Strips 

  1. Lay out your 2.5" x WOF strip right side down. 
  2. Place batting strip evenly on top of the fabric strip, making sure edges match up.
  3. From the bottom of your layered strips, fold up toward the center.

  4. Repeat this step from the top, folding down toward the center so both top and bottom meet in the middle of the strip.

  5. Take what you just did and fold the strip in half again away from you. 

  6. Make sure the edges line up nicely and use a Wonder Clip to hold it in place (this is bulky and smaller pins may not work well). 

  7. You'll repeat this process for all 20 strips. When you get to the end of one strip and the beginning of another, there's no need to trim the batting. Just butt the selvage edges right next to each other and continue clipping as you have been. 

Sew Your Strips 

  1. Use a 1/4" seam allowance and a stitch length of 3.0 to sew the strips. 
  2. Sew the strips closed with the double-folded edge feeding through your machine on the right. 

    NOTE: Sometimes our fabric wanted to roll on top of the presser foot. We made frequent stops to lift the presser foot and adjust the fabric underneath so this didn't happen.
  3. When you get to the end of one strip and the beginning of another, just stitch across it. We'll be cutting those later so you can chain stitch these.
  4. Cut your strips apart where you joined them in preparation for making your strip sets. 

Make Your Strip Sets & Full Unit

  1. You'll be combining two individual strips into strip sets (for a total of 10 sets). 
  2. On your strips there's a nice single fold and there's a double-edge fold. You'll want to sew the double-edge folds together so the rug finishes with a nice single fold (this way you don't have to bind the entire placemat). 
    NOTE: Line up the thicker selvage on one side of the strip sets so you can eliminate fabric waste and ensure you have enough to make the 2 placemats and 2 coasters.

  3. Stitch the strips together using a wide zig-zag. We used a stitch width of 5.5 and a stitch length of 2.2 on the Bernina 77QE.
  4. Repeat this process to make 10 strip sets.
  5. Steam your strip sets to get them as flat as possible. 
  6. Combine your strip sets 2 at a time to make 5 sets of 4. Keep lining your large selvages up on the same side and refer to your picture to make sure you sew them in the proper order. Sew the same zig-zag you used to create the sets of 2. 

  7. Again, working in small sections to prevent warping, attach 2 groups of 4 to make a group of 8. You'll do this twice. 
  8. Sew the two groups of 8 together and then add your final group of 4 to make a complete unit. Your completed unit will look like this with all 20 strips accounted for: 

Cut Out Your Placemats & Coasters

      1. Before cutting, make sure your strip unit is nice and flat. Steam it, use Magic Sizing, and press it until it is. 
      2. Locate the selvage edge and plan where you will trim the edges. Keep in mind you'll need to trim as little as possible so you have enough room for both placemats and coasters.
        NOTE: You need to get two 18" placemats and two 6" coasters out of this strip unit, so if you're worried you won't have enough space because of the uneven selvages, you can leave about a 1/4" of selvage on the edge of the project. That will be covered by your binding. 

      3. Trim the selvage edges off of the unit, trimming as little fabric as possible, before measuring 18" for the first placemat. 
        NOTE: This is a lot of bulk, so make sure your rotary blade is nice and sharp. You may have to go over it a few times, so don't move the ruler until you make sure everything has been cut all the way through. ;) 

      4. Measure 18" from the edge you just trimmed, making sure to line up the bottom of the unit with one of the horizontal lines on your cutting mat so you know the project is straight.
      5. Cut your first placemat. 

      6. Cut your second placemat, making sure to line up the edges with the lines on your mat to ensure a straight cut. 

      7. You'll be left with a section that you'll use to cut out the coasters/trivets. Measure this section top to bottom so you can guarantee a square coaster. Ours was 13", so we knew we wanted to have 6.5" square coasters.
      8. Trim up the piece to 6.5" (or the size of your coasters). 

      9. After you've trimmed the piece, find the center point by either folding the project in half hamburger style or counting 10 strips to the center. 

      10. We'll seam-rip down the center to separate the two coasters. We're using our Clover Seam Ripper to just lift ip those threads and cut them. Be careful not to dig into your fabric.

      11. When you're done seam-ripping, the coasters/trivets will look like this

Make Your Own! 

Let us know how your projects go! We love to see pictures and I'd love to help answer any questions as you have them. Let me know what you thought about this blog post and what other types of blog posts you'd like to see. 

If you'd like, you can get a Jelly Roll Placemats Kit from Shabby Fabrics. The Poinsettia & Pine Kit sold out quickly, unfortunately, but the English Countryside Jelly Roll Placemats Kit is so elegant! 

Thanks for joining me today!