Picnic Placemat Tote – Sew Much Ado

Hi! I’m Abby, and I blog over at a little place called Sew Much Ado. I love to share tutorials, design patterns, and of course was thrilled when Megan asked me to be a part of Save Our Summer! I’ve been a Brassy Apple fan for a long time, and love all of Megan’s patterns and tutorials.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of summer, I think of picnics. As a mom of two boys, as soon as summer hits, we eat a lot of our meals outside. Whether we’re spending a day at the park, or just hanging out in our backyard, I’ll jump at any chance to have a picnic! The mess stays outside, the kids are happy, and I’m happy!
And, what picnic would be complete without a Picnic Platemat Tote for your kids to carry?! It doubles as both a tote for your kids to carry their plate, utensils, and napkins, and a placemat for them to eat on. It means less for you to pack and carry, and your kids will love packing and carrying their own personalized tote. If it gets dirty (not that that would ever happen with my kids…), no worries – it’s machine washable and your kids will love using it over and over again.
Let’s get started…
Materials Needed:
3/4 yd 45″ wide quilting cotton (or home decor weight fabric)
2/3 yd lightweight fusible interfacing (woven or non-woven)
Pieces to Cut:
From Quilting Cotton:
Exterior and interior of tote: 10″x23″ – cut 2
Interior pockets: 10″x19″ – cut 2 – the pockets are designed to fit up to an 8″ plate and average sized utensils, but feel free to adjust the 19″ measurement as needed
Handles: 10″x4″ – cut 2
Cotton scraps (or knit or wool felt) – to applique initial if desired
From Interfacing:
9″x22″ – cut 2
1. For each 10″x23″ piece, center 9″x22″ piece of interfacing over wrong side of fabric and fuse with iron.
2. Press each pocket piece in half, matching 10″ sides. Topstitch 1/4″ from each folded edge.
3. Fold interior piece in half (matching 10″ sides) and lightly press (I like to finger press, which is exactly what it sounds like — take your finger, and press firmly along folded edge to form a crease in the fabric). Place raw edges of one pocket piece 3/4″ from middle crease of interior piece, matching side raw edges with sides of interior piece. Pocket piece should lay over center crease as pictured — if your center crease is still visible, place the pocket piece raw edges 3/4″ on the opposite side of the crease. Make sense? Stitch 1/4″ from raw edge of pocket piece, attaching it to interior piece.
4. Flip pocket piece in opposite direction as it’s laying and press flat along seam. Topstitch 1/4″ from folded edge where pocket piece is joined to interior piece.
5. Repeat steps 3-5 with remaining pocket piece and exterior piece.
6. Stitch along each long side of interior piece and pocket pieces, 1/4″ from edge, to secure pockets in place.
7. One pocket is designed to fit up to an 8″ plate, and will be left as is. The opposite pocket will be used to old utensils, napkins, or whatever else your little ones decide to throw in! Use forks and spoons that your kids commonly use to measure the width for your utensil pockets — make sure to account for 3/4″ seam allowance on the outer edges while measuring. Mark your desired widths with pins or a disappearing ink pen.
8. Stitch from top of pocket to bottom of pocket where you have marked, forming utensil pockets.
Note: if your child uses only toddler-sized utensils which are fairly short, you may want to sew across the bottom of one or more utensil pockets to shorten it and prevent their utensils from getting lost in the pocket :).
9. Fold one strap piece in half lengthwise and press.
10. Open up fold and press each 10″ long raw edge to center.
11. Fold strap back in half and press again.
12. Topstitch along each long side of strap, 1/8″ from edge.
13. Repeat steps 9-12 with remaining strap piece.
14. Pin each end of one strap to interior piece, with outer edges of strap 3″ from long edge of interior piece. Stitch straps in place, 1/4″ from edge. The right side of your fabric will look like this:
15. Cut out initial and applique onto exterior piece as desired. I used wool felt – it’s handy having a “Wyatt” and a “Weston” when it comes to personalizing things with an inital :). Kind of a two-for-one (which I realize probably defeats the purpose of personalizing things for them, but whatever works)!
Note: I didn’t use any snaps, velcro, or other closure for this tote. My pockets fit the plate and utensils snugly enough that I’m not concerned about anything falling out, but if you’d like to add a snap or velcro, now would be the time to add them. Center each side of the snap or velcro along each end of the interior piece and about 1-1.5″ from the raw edge.
16. Right sides together, pin interior piece to exterior piece, ensuring handles are both tucked neatly toward the center. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, stitch around all 4 sides, leaving a 4-5″ opening on one long side.
17. Clip all 4 corners and turn tote right side out through opening.
18. Press flat (and press opening raw edges 1/2″ toward wrong side) and topstitch around all 4 sides, 1/4″ from edge. Topstitch again 1/8″ from edge on all 4 sides.
Congratulations, you are done!
Now go grab some sunshine…
Pack a picnic…
And let your kids enjoy their own personalized picnic placemats!
Thank you Megan, for helping to save my summer!


  1. This is an awesome and simple idea! Love it! I featured this on my blog: http://koolbeenz-blog.blogspot.com/2011/05/featured-crafter-sew-much-ado-with.html

    Feel free to grab my “Featured Button” if you like.

  2. My little son was just with me as i read this post. He asked if we had a special placemat like that. No But I think we’ll have to make some!!!

  3. Cute and cleaver!

  4. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [21 May 02:15am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  5. This is such a neat idea! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  6. Cute idea!! Love this. Perfect for our upcoming picnic!

Leave a Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.