Regular readers will know (because I keep blathering on about it!) that I received a new sewing machine for my birthday this year to replace my much used, much loved starter machine. One of the (many) reasons I opted for the Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 is the amount of arm room the machine has…but this meant the sewing machine mats I quilted a few years back no longer fit. Time for new ones! This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while because the mats I originally made for both my sewing machine and my serger didn’t match the cover I made for my Brother 1034D. And that just messed with my head to be honest!
Why sew a machine mat?
Two main reasons really; it makes it much easier to slide your machines out of the way when you need extra elbow room. It also reduces noise vibration when the machine is in use – particularly useful with the overlocker! I also really like them as a handy place to stick pins whilst I work .. and, as if we need another excuse, (sorry, I mean reason), they also look good, protect your table surfaces and are a potential stash buster if you’ve got some small pieces of gorgeous leftover fabric being unloved!
As you might imagine, these are incredibly simple to make, however I thought I’d share a quick tutorial – with step-by-step photos – on how I made mine with a mitred bias finish, as well as the method and formula I use to sew up a matching cushion cover from just one piece of fabric, in case you’re doing these as a starter project! Let’s start with the supplies I used …
Supplies to consider :
- Approx 1 m of fabric (enough for two mats and one cushion cover), preferably a quilting cotton / poplin – I used this poplin ‘vintage sewing’ inspired print.
- Approx 3 m of bias binding to match or contrast – I used this 30 mm, pre-made bias binding.
- Wadding – I used Hobbs Polyester
- Fabric adhesive spray really helps – I use Odif 505 Tempory Adhesive because it doesn’t gum up the needle!
- A Seam / Sewing Gauge
- Quilting Needles – I use this variety pack from Schmetz.
- Pins or Wonder Clips
- A ruler – a quilting ruler is useful
- A marking tool – I love my Chaco chalk liner pen
- Shears or a rotary cutter
- Wonder tape – not essential but definitely helpful! (I can barely think of a sewing project when I don’t use this wash-away stuff!)
- A quilting ‘guide arm’ helps with sewing repeat equidistant lines; my current one came with the machine, my old one came as an attachment to my walking foot. Perhaps yours is laying unloved and unused somewhere? If you don’t have one, a ruler and chalk does the job!
- Thread – consider whether you want it to match or contrast with your main fabric
Decide how big you want your mats – I measured the base of my sewing machines hard case and went with that; for the overlocker I measured the width and length of the machine at its biggest points. Add a few inches to each of those measurements.
Cut your fabric and wadding – you will need two pieces of fabric (for the top and underside) for each mat. I also used two layers of the wadding for each.
Mark up your quilting lines – or go freestyle! To mark my starter lines I simply folded and pressed my fabric to mark its centre points, like so :
I then used my ruler and chalk pen mark those in. I used my quilting arm guide for the remainder. If you haven’t got one mark out the remainder of your stitching lines.
Spray with fabric adhesive or pin the layers together – if you’re using adhesive, spray (sparingly!) the wrong side of your main fabric and one side of each of your batting layers and place together; it helps to use an old towel to protect your surfaces as it can get everywhere!
Quilt your pieces together – I find it really helps maintain the shape of your mat if you stitch your lines in a particular order; I always start in opposte directions so if I’ve sewn from right to left on one line, I will sew from left to right on the next. Maybe it’s just me but I find it stops the mat distorting.
Attach the binding – I wanted mitred corners on mine for a neat finish. Unfold one edge of your bias binding and place with raw edges matching around the first side of your mat. It is important that you START your stitching approximately 2″ away from the start of your strip, so that it remains unattached at this point (you’ll be using this bit to wrap around your end point later). If you’re using 30 mm bias tape, sew using a 0.5″ seam. STOP sewing and secure your stitching at each corner by that same 0.5″ allowance; I mark that position with a pin, like so:
Remove your work from under the needle to allow you to align and pin your bias tape, again with raw edges matching, to your next side. This will cause a little folded flap to occur, like so:
Mark the start of your next stitching line with chalk if that helps. Move that triangular fold to left side out of the way and start stitching from your correct starting position, i.e. your 0.5″ seam allowance down from the top.
Do the same at each corner until you get back to your original starting position. In order to get a good clean finish you need to overlap your start and end points. Cut your bias strip leaving an excess of at least 2″.
Fold under the raw edges of the short edge of both the start and finish strip of bias. I find it helps to adhere these in place with Wonder Tape.
Once those edges are folded over and the start and finish point of your bias strip are overlaid like the picture below, go ahead and sew across the top to join…
Fold your bias to the wrong side of the mat. Your mitred corners will ‘automatically’ form themselves as you bend that bias strip over the corner, leaving a lovely neat finish like so…
All that remains is give it a good press, ensuring the raw edge of the bias at the back is folded under. Hand stitch in place with an invisible stitch. Make yourself a cup of tea before this bit, reward yourself with wine later if you like!
How to Make the Cushion Cover
I love making simple cushion covers and I find this method really gratifying – you need just one strip of fabric!
- First measure your cushion pad from edge to edge. Let’s use the dimensions of my rectangular cushion as an example. Say it measures 15″ wide x 8″ long.
- For the length just make a note of the measurement, i.e. 8″
- For the width multiply your measurement by 2 and then add at least an extra 7″, e.g. 15″ x 2 = 30″ + 7″ = 37″
- Based on these measurements you would cut a strip of fabric that measures 8″ x 37″
To sew the cusion cover :
- Serge / Overlock the two longest sides.
- Hem each of the two short sides of fabric with a 1″ double fold hem – i.e. fold over by 0.5″ then fold over again so the raw edge is enclosed. Press. Stitch.
- Fold your fabric wrong sides together in half, as in the sketch below, and press a centre fold. Then unfold and lay flat again.
- With the right side of the fabric facing up, fold over one of the short edges to meet that centre fold.
- Fold over the second short side so that it overlaps the first, this is to create an envelope type opening … make sure you have enough of an overlap so the cushion cover doesn’t gape once your cushion pad is inserted.
- Once you have both short edges folded over to meet across the centre, you now need to measure – and adjust accordingly – so that the long sides of your now folded fabric equals the width of your cushion pad – in this example that was 15″. (Make sure you maintain a decent overlap.)
- Press the folds of the fabric and then pin / clip down each of the two longest edges; sew with an 0.5″ seam allowance – backstitch over the area the two short edges overlap to reinforce the opening.
- Trim corners and turn right side out, poking out those corners.
- Insert the cushion pad!
And you’re done! If you’re anything like me you’re breathing a sigh of relief that you now have an harmoniously accessorised sewing area; my mats match my cushion cover and my cushion cover matches my serger cover and … that’s better!
Until next time, happy sewing!
Disclaimer : Not a sponsored post. All supplies mentioned were purchased. Post does contain Affiliate links; if you choose to purchase via an Afilliate link you will not be charged any extra, however I may receive a small commission for which I thank you! Sarah x
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