Friday, November 12, 2010

Turkey Placemat Tutorial

My turkey placemats are similar to the ones Pottery Barn sold several years ago. I have also seen a commercial pattern like this, but it wasn’t quite right—I’m not sure it had pockets. This one works for me, though! It's a cute little turkey that has pocket feathers for the silverware and napkin. Perfect for children and fun for adults, too!
Placemats 35 copyMaterials:
NOTE: Measurements are for one placemat.

*thread - dark brown, light brown, red, orange, black, invisible (clear)
*fabric - (100% cotton fabric works best) multiple scraps for feathers, scraps for facial features, tan for body (6 x 12 inches), tan for wings (12 x 12 inches), fabric for backings (3/4 yard)
*low loft batting
*1/4 yard double-sided paper backed fusible webbing (Heat 'N Bond Lite)
*lightweight iron-on stabilizer for applique (6 x 12 inches)
*straight pins
*Pattern - There are several ways to get the pattern pieces. The easiest way is to click and print:  
  • Click on the thumbnail to enlarge to full size, then print. Each 8.5 x 11 page has a small scale showing one inch so you can check to make sure the page is printing the right size. Be sure you don't choose "scale to fit" or "fit to page" from your print menu. 

Pattern 1  Pattern 2  Pattern 3  Pattern 4  Pattern 5 
Pattern 6  Pattern 7  Pattern 8  Pattern 9  Pattern 10

  • Download and print from a free file-sharing site HERE.
  • Some users can download from Google Drive HERE. This link is supposed to share with anyone who uses the link, but it doesn't always work that way. If you can't access the files on Google Drive, please download the files one of the other ways listed. Unfortunately, I receive an overwhelming number of requests to access the files on Google Drive every single day and just do not have the time to share the files individually. 

Preparing your pattern and cutting the pieces

Print out pattern pieces.

Cut the eyes, beak, wattle and body on the lines. Cut around the wings, feathers and center section so you can separate these pieces from each other.

Put the backing pieces together by connecting the pages (tape them together) as you match the stars and letters together. It is a bit confusing, but very do-able! Start with the small backing piece which is only 2 pages. The large piece is made out of 4 pages. Tape together really well.

Each backing piece is only half of the pattern. Fold your fabric in half (right sides together or wrong sides together) and place the side labeled “Place on fold” along the folded edge. Cut out the pattern piece and the fabric. Do this once for the small backing piece and 2 times for the large backing piece. This is what you should have when you are done cutting your backing pieces:
Placemats 5
Using your pattern pieces as a guide for the size, cut out fabric rectangles for the turkey body, beak, eyes, and wattle. Do not cut the shapes out of your fabric yet.
Placemats 1
Adhere the double-sided fusible webbing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Trace the pattern pieces onto the paper.Placemats 2

Cut out the body parts and set aside.Placemats 6

With right sides together of the wing fabric, cut out 2 wings at a time. Repeat so you have 4 wing pieces.Placemats 4

Use the pattern pieces to cut out the feathers and center piece. It is very important to keep them in the right order with the top of each feather at the top and the left and right sides correct. You will cut the left feathers with the pattern piece facing up and then flip it horizontally (writing is facing down but the top of the piece is still at the top) to cut the right side feathers.

I laid my feathers in order—from 1 to 3 which is from the bottom towards the center on each side--as I cut them out so they didn’t get mixed up. If you are cutting feathers for more than one placemat at a time, this gets a little confusing so be sure to match them up to the pattern pieces to check for correct order and placement.Placemats 3

Cut a piece of batting in the rough shape of the large backing piece. It does not have to be exact, but be sure it is not smaller than the backing piece.

Cut a piece of stabilizer a little larger than the turkey body. I just cut a rectangle and trimmed it when I was done. Some people do not use this because you are already using fusible webbing, but I swear by this step. It really helps a lot!

Sewing the feathers
Using 1/4 inch seams, sew the feathers together one at a time. I have found that it is easiest to flip the lowest feather over the next one (right sides together). Sew these two together.    Placemats 7

Open the feathers you just sewed and place them back in order. Then flip them back up and “grab” the next feather the same way you did the first. Sew these two together. Do not worry about the points being longer on some feather than others. It all works out.

This method seems a little uptight and crazy, but it is really easy to get the feathers all mixed up and then they don’t fit together properly. I have found that this is an easy way to get them sewn together the right way.
Placemats 8

When you get to the center feather/section (which really doesn’t show so it doesn’t matter what color your fabric is), you will need to sew it along the length to the preceding feather. Then the little point at the bottom left will be sewn to the protruding tip of the second left-side feather. Placemats 9

Add the next feather (right side) by sewing it to the length of the center section. Sew the center right side feather to the previous one and then sew the protruding tip of this feather to the little edge of the center section. This sounds a little confusing, but it makes sense as you are sewing. The whole thing fits together like a little puzzle.

When your feathers are sewn, the bottom center of each side will be open. Lay one side over the other. This will not show. You could also sew these sections together in the center, but it really won’t matter.

Iron the seams open and clip if necessary. It tends to get a little thick where the points meet and clipping will help everything to lay flat. Placemats 10

Sew the wings
Put two wing pieces sections together with right sides together. Sew along two sides according to the pattern piece. Clip the curves.Placemats 14

Clip the corners off and trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch. (The clipping is still there, it is just hard to see.)Placemats 15

Turn right sides out and iron flat.

Sewing the body and wings onto the feathers
Iron stabilizer on the back (wrong) side of the feather section.
Placemats 11

Remove paper from the body section. Center body section on the feathers.

Tuck the wings in place along the sides of the body. (Yep, I forgot and had to pick out the applique stitching hence the reason there is no picture of it-sorry!)
Be sure to leave 1/4 inch of the center feather section exposed around the head.

Iron body and wings to the feather section following the manufacturer’s directions on the fusible webbing. You may need to pin the wings in place since there is no webbing under them. Placemats 12

Change your stitch setting to a zig zag stitch. The length should be a very small number—almost 0—and the stitch width will be 2 or 3. You will applique using a satin stitch which is basically a very close together zig zag stitch.
Placemats 13Placemats 16

Iron on the eyes, beak and wattle to the body section. Be sure to tuck the wattle slightly underneath the beak and be sure it is at least 1/4 inch  away from any edges.

Applique in place in the same manner as the body section using matching thread for each piece.Placemats 17

Sewing the small backing to the feather section
Lay the small backing piece over the turkey/feathers with right sides together. My backing fabric is the same on both sides so it is tricky to see. Be sure to tuck the wings to the inside so they stay out of your way. Pin in place so it doesn’t move around while you sew it.
Placemats 19Placemats 18
Leave a large opening at the bottom for turning.Placemats 19 (2) copy

Sew using 1/4 inch seams and be sure to sew around the applique stitch when you are sewing around the head. Sew with the backing side down so you can see where you are going as you sew. Placemats 20
Also be sure that you pivot around the curves at the seam lines. (I forgot about this and had to go back and fix it which is why you can see an extra stitching line in some of my pictures. )

Clip a V shape out of the inside of each set of curves. This will help it lay smooth when it is turned right side out.Placemats 21
Turn right side out and iron flat. Placemats 22

Sewing turkey to large backing
Make a “sandwich” with the turkey section/batting and the backing sections.

The turkey section will go face up on one large backing section. (Wrong side of turkey on top of right side of large backing piece.)

Place the second large backing section on top of this part with the right sides together.

Lay batting on top of the whole thing.

Check to make sure the edges are lined up carefully especially at the bottom. Trim as necessary.Diagram 1 copy

Carefully flip the whole thing over so that the batting is on the bottom. Pin together. Placemats 24

Using a 3/8 inch seam along the bottom and a 1/4 inch seam everywhere else, sew along the edges leaving the bottom edge between the two arrows open. (The opening is basically the body section if that helps.) Measure the 1/4 inch seam from the edge of the fabric--disregard the batting.

Trim the batting even with the edges of the fabric. Clip the spaces between the “feathers” as you did before.  Placemats 25

Carefully turn the turkey right side out bringing the turkey and pockets section out and leaving the batting inside. The turkey section will be hanging. Just pat it all down in place on top of the large backing sections.

Iron the large backing section smooth.

Turn the edges from the bottom opening 3/8 inch towards the inside and iron in place.

The turkey body part will be stiff and thick from the webbings.Placemats 26

Sew the bottom opening closed by hand. I used invisible (clear) thread since the top layer is light colored and the bottom layer is dark. Otherwise, I probably would have taken the easy path and sewn it on the machine!Placemats 29

Sew lines from the middle of each “feather” on the large backing piece down to the turkey body.

The lines on the center section will only go to the top of the head, but be sure to catch the head/center feather section in your stitch. I sewed over that tiny part several times to reinforce the stitch since this is all that is holding the pocket down on that section.Placemats 27

Sew lines from the edge of the large backing sections to the turkey body for the rest of the feather sections. You will stitch in the seams of the multicolored feathers which are sewn together (stitch in the ditch). Be sure to flip each wing towards the body to be able to sew as close to the body as you can.Placemats 28

That’s it! You made it!  Placemats 31

Now, stuff the pockets with silverware, napkins, treats or trinkets and
go enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner!Placemats 30


GodissCreations,  said... November 3, 2013 at 10:53 AM  

would love to make these but thumbnails won't allow printing just pinning to pinterest or a '404' page not found error....

Tammy @ she wears flowers,  said... November 3, 2013 at 11:09 AM  

Amelia - Not sure why the thumbnails aren't working for you. You could try downloading it from Google here:

or you can email me directly ( I will send you the pdf file. Also, I am working on uploading it to Box right now and will update that info on my blog as soon as it is complete.

One of these methods ought to work for you! :)

Conceição Aparecida,  said... November 3, 2013 at 4:46 PM  

Tudo muito lindo. Perfeito!
Parabéns pelo trabalho.
Um abraço
Conchê, São paulo, Brasil

Unknown,  said... October 22, 2017 at 12:25 AM  

I finally have a sewing machine! I'm really looking forward to starting a few of these projects.

Gretta Hewson
Austin Injury Attorneys

The Corbins,  said... September 10, 2021 at 1:56 PM  

Ack! I've had this project saved for more years than I'd like to admit, and I've started several times but never completed one. I made it a goal to do it for this year, but now the pictures are showing up blank. :( I love, love, love this adorable placemat. If it's able to be fixed, I sure would appreciate it! Thank you for posting such thorough directions too--once I can get myself in gear, I know these will be great!

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