How to Make Oilcloth Placemats

I love eating outside but… directly on the table? Not anymore! Here’s a super simple oilcloth placemat that’ll protect your dishes from outdoor tables that can get a bit dirty despite occasional washing. Making your own placemats is a great way to make sure they match any table size, color, or décor.

This is a pretty basic placemat, but there are plenty of customization options.

Let’s get to it!




How to Make Oilcloth Placemats - Method 1

1 yard of Oilcloth fabric is enough for 5-6 placemat fronts

1 yard of Cotton fabric is enough for 5-6 placemat backs

Most placemats are 12 to 14 inches high by 18 to 20 inches wide. I’ll be making mine 14 by 18 inches.

Cut one piece each of the oilcloth and cotton fabrics. This is a solid cotton fabric I picked out for the back lining but feel free to use a pattern.

See our video about sewing oilcloth for more tips!

Clip the pieces in place with wrong sides facing together. Using pins will leave holes in the oilcloth. If you don’t have clips, you can hold the pieces together with masking tape. 

Sew around all 4 sides with a ½ inch seam allowance. Oilcloth can be a little tricky to sew, you can use a Teflon presser foot, or add a piece of tape to a regular presser foot to avoid this. I also made sure to keep the layers pulled taut to keep the cotton fabric from bunching up.

Oilcloth will not fray and doesn’t need to be finished, but I will be using pinking shears on the edges to give it a more polished look.

How to Make Oilcloth Placemats - Method 2

Alternatively, if you’re looking for even cleaner edges, you can sew the pieces together with right sides facing, leaving an opening on one side. Snip off the fabric at the corners and turn right side out.

Poke out the corners using a pen or other sharp object.

Fold and clip the edges at the opening, and top stitch twice around all 4 sides.

That’s it for these simple placemats, but there are plenty of options for customization. Why not experiment with different sizes and shapes?

You can try making a simple pocket to hold napkins or utensils. (Make sure to sew the pocket to the oilcloth BEFORE sewing the pieces together).

I even tried adding an eyelet to the top right corner of one to make storage even easier. (I added the eyelet AFTER sewing the pieces together).

You can also attach a piece of interfacing to the cotton lining before sewing for added stiffness, or use strips of bias tape on the edges. The possibilities are endless!

Need some placemats? Check out our selection of oilcloth fabric