Stay-in-Place Placemat for Babies and Toddlers


We like to go out to eat and Baby G has started to eat a lot of finger food which makes it way easier to do. He stays happy as long as he&...

We like to go out to eat and Baby G has started to eat a lot of finger food which makes it way easier to do. He stays happy as long as he's got food to munch on or smush, and we actually get to relax through dinner for a change instead of one of us needing to inhale our food while the other walks back and forth with Baby G, swap, and go (quickest, longest meal ever).

This is it. This happens.
We do, however, have a couple of problems here. First, we're not making friends with our neighborhood waiters and waitresses here. He gets food EVERYWHERE, but mostly smushes it all over the table. That has to be a B@#$# to clean. We can't put it on a plate or get a plate anywhere near him because he adores grabbing it and sending it crashing to the floor. I'm not thrilled about putting his food on the table either... yes, they wash the tables, but I also know that they aren't doing it with the intention of anyone eating straight off the table. Needless to say, I decided I needed a solution to this problem so I designed my own stay-in-place placemat for him in hopes that this will solve our problem.

  • 2 piece of fabric that are approximately 14" x 21.5" (you can adjust for whatever size mat that you'd like to make). I used Pul with some other material for the back. I wanted my back material to be less expensive and also hopefully be more likely to grip the table better. 
  • 2 lengths of strap at 77" long each (I believe 36" would be safe for the shorter side of most tables) 
  • 2 lengths of strap at 29" long each 
  • 2 Parachute Buckles (For the correct width of your straps)

Cut your fabric and straps. You can adjust your fabric or straps to the size that you want. I wanted mine to be long enough to go around the longer side of our kitchen table so that we can put him on that side at home.

Pin your fabric right sides together.

Sew the 29" straps onto the parachute buckles, as seen in the pictures below:

Sandwich your straps in between the two fabrics. There's going to be a lot of strap extra and you only want to catch one end while you're sewing it all so be conscious of that. I made my straps 1.5" from the edge and I have two on each short side. The end opposite to the side you'll be using should be the end sticking out. To keep my straps from effecting my sewing too much, I pinned them further in, around the middle of the placemat, as well as on the ends where I'd be sewing. It helped keep the weight of the straps from tugging everything amiss.

If you're sewing with Pul, I recommend using a walking foot. I made a huge mess and had to seam rip because Pul is a PITA to sew with the shiny side up. If you don't have a walking foot, some people use tissue paper over the Pul and sew over it, then rip it off after. I think that makes a mess personally.

I sewed around my placement with approx. a 1/4"-1/2" seam allowance (I did mine small because I forgot to add extra for the seam allowance when I cut my fabric). Leave an opening on the long side to turn the fabric. Be careful to sew over the straps a couple of times.

Cut off excess seam allowance and the ends of the straps.

Turn fabric right sides out.

Usually you'd want to iron your fabric first right about now, but I don't believe it's safe to iron Pul (I wouldn't chance it) so I just topstitched here.

Pul is the same material that is used for cloth diapers. It's not tested for safety with food... I was comfortable using it, but you could use tablecloth material instead. I decided to use Pul because I can throw this through the wash, just like I do with my cloth diapers. I believe I can even throw it through the wash in a hot cycle (although I'm not sure how the fabric on the back or the straps would fare if I did that).

Finished Product


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DIY Danielle: Stay-in-Place Placemat for Babies and Toddlers
Stay-in-Place Placemat for Babies and Toddlers
DIY Danielle
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