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The Twelve Days of Christmas Sampler: Piece of Cake Placemat

With Christmas on the horizon and a new Block of the Month programme underway, I wanted to give you a proper introduction to our 2021 quilt, the Twelve Days of Christmas.

In my first post I introduced the flock of birds at the centre of the quilt, in post two we met the merrymaking lords and ladies from the quilt's border and this time I have a new Petit FOUR tutorial for your delectation: the Piece of Cake Placemat, so named because of its simple self-binding construction.

Twelvetide - and Christmas in general - is all about feasting. It might be the one time in the year when you blow the dust off the dining room table (or clear your sewing things off it!) and grab every chair in the house to entertain a crowd of family and friends. A set of placemats instantly dresses the table for your Christmas feast.

First, a quick refresher about Petit FOUR patterns, if they're new to you: they're based on 14" finished blocks, which are the perfect size to use together for a sampler quilt or singly to rustle up ravishing runners, covetable cushions and beautiful bags.

Whilst all of my previous Petit FOUR quilts have used those 14" blocks in different settings, the Twelve Days of Christmas quilt has a slightly different format, so you'll need to make the following tweaks to each of the blocks to make them petit FOUR friendly: -

Turtle Doves, French Hen and Gold Ring blocks: add a 2½” x 10½” background strip to each side and a 2½” x 14½” background strip to the top and bottom.

Calling Bird block: add a 2½” x 11½” background strip to each side and a 2” x 14½” background strip to the top and bottom.

Goose block: add a 2½” x 12½” background strip to each side and a 1½” x 14½” background strip to the top and bottom.

Swan block: add a 1½” x 10½” background strip to each side and a 2½” x 14½” background strip to the top and bottom.

Maids a-milking, Ladies, Lords and Milkmaids dancing blocks: add a 3½” x 10½” background strip to each side and a 2½” x 14½” background strip to the top and bottom.

Pipes and Drum blocks: add a 3½” x 8½” background strip to each side and a 3½” x 14½” background strip to the top and bottom.

And if you're wondering about the Partridge in a Pear Tree block - which forms the centrepiece of the quilt - no amount of tweaking will make the original block fit the Petit FOUR format, so scroll down for a 14" square version - a petit Partridge if you will!


To make a Petit Partridge you will need...

1 4½” square, 1 2½” x 3½” piece and 1 2½” square of grey print

1 2½” x 8½”, 1 2½” x 6½” and 1 2½” square of pink print

1 3½” x 4½”, 1 2½” square and 1 1½” square of gold print

1 1½” x 2½” piece of teal print

1 Fat Quarter of background fabric

Dark grey embroidery floss


1. From the background fabric, cut as shown: -

a = 1½" x 4½"

b = 1½" x 3½"

c = 1½" square

Please read through the pattern before you begin. Fabric is always placed right-sides-together and joined with a ¼” seam allowance.


Piecing the Partridge’s head and neck…

2. Join the 2½” x 3½” grey piece to the top of the 2½” x 6½” pink piece, pressing towards the pink.

Next, mark a diagonal line on the back of a 2½" background square and pin, right sides together, to the bottom left-hand corner. Stitch on the line - to snowball the corner - flip the square 'open' and press the seam towards the pink, trimming away the back layers.

Then snowball the top left-hand corner with a 1½” background square, pressing towards the background.

Piecing the wing…

3. Snowball the top right-hand corner of the 4½” grey square with a 2½” background square and the bottom left-hand corner with a 2½” pink square.

Piecing the Pear…

4. To make the base of the pear, snowball 3 corners of the 3½” x 4½” gold piece with 1½” background squares, omitting the bottom left-hand corner.

Then add a 1½” x 4½” background piece to the bottom, pressing away from the pear.

Finally, snowball the bottom left-hand corner of the unit with a 2½” grey square.

5. Join the base of the pear to the wing, pressing towards the wing.

6. To make the top of the pear, snowball the top left-hand corner of the 2½" gold square with a 1½" background square. Then join the 1½" x 2½" green piece to the top, pressing towards the green, before snowballing top right-hand corner of the unit with a 2½" background square.

Next, join a 1½" x 3½" background piece to the right and the 3½" x 5½" background piece to the left, pressing towards the background. Finally snowball the top left-hand corner with a 1½" gold piece (to make the partridge’s beak).

7. Join the top of the pear to the base/wing unit, pressing towards the top.

Piecing the Partridge’s tail…

8. Snowball the end of the 2½" x 8½" pink piece with a 2½" background square, taking care with the direction of the seam.

Join the tail to the bottom of the wing/pear unit, pressing towards the tail.

Assembling the block…

9. Join the Partridge’s head/neck to its body, pressing away from the body.

10. Add 2½" x 9½" background strips to each side and 3” x 14½" background pieces to the top and bottom, then embroider the Partridge's eye in simple backstitch.

Your block should measure

14½" square.


To make a 14" x 19" quilted placemat you will need...

14½" square Petit Four block

5½" x 14½" piece of contrast fabric

1 Fat Quarter of fabric for the back/binding

1 Fat Quarter of fusible batting

Note: the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that I used a teal print in place of the grey for my placemat, as I wanted to make my Petit Partridge block with the scraps from my quilt and didn't have a big enough piece of grey for the wing.

I used Moda Bella Solid in Hometown Sky as my background, Tilda Windy Days Skyler in grey as my contrast and Aella in red to back & bind my placemat.

Preparing the front of the Placemat...

3. Join the 5½" x 14½" contrast piece to the right-hand side of the block, pressing towards the contrast fabric. Trim the placemat to 14" x 19"

4. Centre the placemat on the batting and backing - to make a quilt sandwich - and fuse, following the manufacturer's directions.

5. Machine or hand quilt the cushion front taking care to keep the quilting ½" away from the perimeter. I chose to hand quilt my Petit Partridge using a variation of the Simple Blossom design from this post, using a leaf shaped stencil cut from card.

6. When you are ready to finish the placemat, fold the backing away from the edge of and pin out of the way. Turn the placemat to the right side and trim away the excess batting, checking the dimensions of your placemat. The backing should be 1” wider on every side.

7. Form the binding by folding the outside edges of the backing to butt up with the edge of the batting then fold it again over the front of the placemat, one side at a time, pinning or glue-basting in place.

8. Mitre each corner as you go by folding the extending edge of the backing at 45° to butt up with the adjacent edge of the placemat, then carry on making the double fold as before.

9. Machine or hand-stitch in place :-)


Because the binding is sewn down from the front you could take the opportunity to tuck an extra trimming - ric rac or ribbon - underneath before you sew. And you could even start with a 14½" x 19½" rectangle of pre-quilted fabric to make a simpler version.

Whether you make a table-full, or just make one for your Christmas tea tray, I hope they'll add a lovely handmade touch to your Christmas decorations this year.

If you'd like few more ideas the Twelve Days blocks would also make a festive table runner, a gorgeous gift bag (the Gold Ring block might hint at exciting contents), a Christmas shopping tote, or a cosy cushion for your guest room. Ooh, and I have one last idea to inspire your Christmas sewing: five Gold Rings - or your choice of blocks - would look glorious in the simple setting shared in this post. There's still time...

Happy Christmas crafting,

Nicola xx


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Rosemary B
Rosemary B
Dec 06, 2022

Rosemary B here: Thank you soooo much for sharing your beautiful quilt and even piecing instructions. Wow. You are a treasure. Merry Christmas Nicola. You are a doll

I am so happy to subscribe to your blog and read your inspiration

Dec 06, 2022
Replying to

Thank you, Rosemary, it’s my absolute pleasure. Have a wonderful Christmas! Nicola xx

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