Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Tutorial & pattern: Work Place Lunch Mat©

I eat lunch at my desk almost every day. I sit with the computer screen, keyboard, scanner, stack of files, an overflowing "in" tray and try to keep my lunch container, napkin and this 30 minutes respite within 220 square inches. This is supposed be relaxing?

As I sit there I wish I had something nice, homey, quilty but and not frou-frou to set my place with.

My ever-so-practical, designer brain started to work this out.... a placemat, with a little pocket to tuck away some cutlery; fold it up nice and tidy so that it fits in my lunch bag, or desk drawer.

I am happy to share this pattern and the "how-to" with you. Please feel free to make these as gifts, make one for yourself and please, remember to acknowledge me as the © designer. These pictures are all clickable for larger images and closer viewing.

To get started you will need:
fabric -I use 3 coordinating pieces:
outer fabric (Colour A) 12" x 15"
inner fabric (Colour B)12" x 15"
pocket (Colour C)2 pieces 6" x 8"
batting 11 1/2" x 14 1/2"
hook & loop tape 1"
3-piece place setting of cutlery

[Interruption now for a little Al Green "Let's Stay Together"; how can I type and dance at the same time?]

I found it easy to make multiples of this project by creating a template. I cut a piece of cardboard, marking my fold/stitching lines and the location points for the hook & loop tape.

Cut a rectangle 11 1/2 " x 14 1/2", mark vertical lines 5" in from either side, and a horizontal line 2" from the top. The location point for the loop tape is 1 " to the right of the left edge of lining, 4 1/2" from the bottom edge; the hook tape should be 4 1/2" to the left of the left fold line of the outer fabric, also 4 1/2" from the bottom. It is important to remember that these are placed on the good side of the fabric as it faces you; when assembled and folded together the hook and loop should meet up. The hook tape will be on the outside of the mat - at the left edge, left of the fold at the pocket, the loop tape will be on the right edge of the inside of the mat. This is why I marked a template front and back.

If you have all these pieces ready, you are good to go!

Step 1: Attach the loop tape to the lining (at the left edge) and the hook tape to the outer fabric (just to the left of the left 1/3 fold line), 4 1/2" from the bottom. They will meet roughly in the middle, at the left edge of the closed pouch once the top is folded over. (are you confused yet? I am so bad at reverse imaging that I usually screw this up so I check my markings -twice- before I sew them.)

The trickiest part is over.

Step 2: Prepare the pocket by laying both pieces good sides facing. Lay the "Colour C" face up and the other piece (this can be any colour that you like) face down.

You only need to stitch down the left side and then across the bottom. [PRESS the stitching]Turn it right side out. The upper and left sides should be sewn, the lower and right should have raw edges showing. [PRESS the seam].

Step 3: Mark the piece at thirds vertically, Attach the pocket face down by laying the sewn edge OVER the right third marked line (as in the photo below). Sew along the line [PRESS the stitching].

Fold over so that the "Colour C" is now facing up and all raw edges line up. [PRESS the folded edge]

Step 4: Layer the outer fabric face up, the lining fabric with pocket face down and then the batting.

Step 5: Stitch around the outside 1/4" from the edge, just catching the outer edge of the batting and leaving 3" unfinished to allow for turning right side out.

Step 6: Turn right side out, pointing the corners and PRESS flat. Top stitch close to the edge, catching the open section so that it is stitched closed.

Step 7: Using the template, or simply folding into thirds, mark 2 vertical stitching lines, catching the folded-over edge of the pocket, and mark a horizontal line 2" from the top. Sew along these lines to stabilze the batting and to emphasize the fold lines. PRESS it nice and flat. Now it is quilted!

Step 8: Insert cutlery, fold up. Enjoy your lunch away from home.


I made a set of these for the whole department at work for Christmas gifts.

© Linda Grover 2007


  1. Hey Linda, a totally neato idea!!! Now wonder if I want to pay with them for my co-workers???

  2. Those are too cute! I have to make some for gifts.

  3. I love this idea! Thanks for the tutorial!!! :-)

  4. Linda, you are from London, but that picture of you looks suspiciously like English Bay in Vancouver. I'm sure thats the Sylvia Hotel in the background. - Terry in Maple Ridge, B.C.

  5. What a great gift idea and your tutorial was excellent!


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