I like to use the open buttonhole stitch described below in Method to edge linens in my living and dining room, such as on place mats and table runners.
This picture details a runner I made to the top dimensions of a bookcase. I also like quilting so I added three rectangle shapes to the top for interest; of course these will not really be visible as objects will be sitting on them!
3 ways to get your place mat ready for embroidery trim:
1. Buy a plain place mat that you then edge yourself.
2. Take a pillow case, turn it inside out and leave two sewn edges, the short edge and one long edge, intact. Then, cut the case to your dimension and sew the new raw edges leaving a space to turn right side out; press and blind stitch the opening.
3. Fold a piece of material in half, right sides together, leaving the folded edge as the long edge and stitch around the edges leaving a space to turn right side out; press and blind stitch opening.
Now your shape is ready for the creative embroidery edging!
I proceed as if I am making a buttonhole stitch along the folded edge, but I do not pull the thread tight; instead I leave about 1/4 inch of loop, and then take one small plain overlapping stitch at the base of the buttonhole stitch to anchor the loop, and I pull that tight.
I keep the open buttonhole stitches spaced about 1/4 inch apart.
I like to use 6-strand embroidery floss, but if you are edging a small project such as a doily or handkerchief then 3 strands would give a more delicate appearance.
Remember, the fun and relaxation is in doing the project!
article and photo credit © Susan Kramer, guest writer