Happy New Year!
Readers of my blog
may have seen my recent post on my new sewing space
. Having got myself freshly organised, I decided I was missing a few items, including mats for both my sewing machine and overlocker. Why, you might ask? Well, yes, because I wanted to prettify my new sewing area but also because I do tend to move my machines around a fair bit whilst working; sometimes to get a better angle on the stitching, sometimes just shoving one or the other of them out of the way when I need more elbow room. But, for the overlocker especially, I wanted something to reduce the vibration and therefore the overwhelming knocking racket it produces when using it at full pedal!
Then the penny dropped. Of course, I could make them myself…for a fraction of the cost of bought ones! And make them in a fun fabric! And have a go at quilting!
My sewing area is predominantly white with all the soft furnishings in the room a deep red, so it took less than five seconds to select this fab tape measure print Cotton Fabric
; a really lovely quality robust cotton poplin. It has a nice smooth finish, is colour-rich and comes in five colourways – this one is ‘Grey’. I chose 3m of some 1” red bias tape
to pick out the accent in the fabric and some matching thread, some Polydown Wadding
and grey thread for the quilting. I was all set.
I probably ought to mention I’ve never quilted a thing before in my life!
All the more reason to have a go though, am I right!?
First was to decide on the size of each mat. I was very scientific about this. Not really! I merely measured the diameter of each machine and added a bit of extra length and width and cut out the fabric (2, top and bottom, for each mat) and wadding with my Rotary Cutter
to those sizes. I decided to double the wadding thickness so cut out 4 pieces of that.
I then sprayed the reverse side of my fabric and one side of each piece of wadding with some temporary fabric adhesive, sandwiching the two pieces of wadding with the print fabric. I then quickly basted the layers together at the outer edge. I used a Quilting Needle
for this project as they have a slightly rounded tip and are apparently sturdier than a regular needle.
I marked my initial 45 degree quilting line using the points on my Clear 2 Inch Ruler
, like so:
And making sure this crossed through the centre of my project. I then marked another line parallel to it at a distance of 1”. I figured 1” spaced quilts would give my project enough rigidity (as a guide, small quilts on smaller items, and larger ones for bigger projects). I then inserted the guide bar into the back of my walking foot to the correct distance:
I worked from this central chalked line and then sewed rows using the guide bar working from the centre to the outside edge, then back to the centre working out towards the other edge, until all the fabric was covered with evenly spaced rows of stitching. Don’t backstitch at the end of each row, knot the threads and trim.
To mark the lines going in the opposite direction, I again used my ruler. Working from the centre, this time aligning the guide lines on my ruler with my previous stitching, drawing a new line, crossing diagonally over the stitched rows, as shown here:
This is what it looks like when done. Of course you don’t need to do diamonds or square pattern, you could do any you like!
Once that was done, I attached the binding. I wanted mitred corners, for a neat finish. This is really easy to do. Simply unfold and align one raw edge of your bias to the quilted fabric and stitch on at 3/8” (depending on the width of your bias tape). I started stitching in the middle of one side. Stitch until you reach 3/8” from the end of the seam and stop (backstitching to secure). Take your work out from under the needle and reposition your tape so that it again lines up flush with the next side. This will create a triangular fold in the tape. Finger press that down away to the side and then stitch this side down from the very top, stopping again 3/8” from the bottom of your seam, for all four sides like so:
When you fold over the tape to the back of your work you will have a lovely neat mitred corner at the front. Press it down at the back.
To finish, I overlapped the bias tape (turning the top bit of tape under so there are no raw edges). I then flipped the work over and handstitched the back of the tape in place using an invisible hand stitch.
Once I’d done that I realised I had enough fabric left over to make a matching cushion! I’d had a tatty old cushion in the car for ages and decided to make a simple envelope cushion cover for that. I cut two pieces of fabric the same size as my cushion pad plus extra for seam allowance. Then cut another piece of fabric that shape but approximately 5” longer. I then cut that second longer length into two pieces, one section a few inches shorter than the other (so it will overlap). I turned under a hem of one end of each shorter piece to create the envelope opening, like this:
I then placed all pieces right sides together and stitched all seams, backstitching at each corner and where the envelope opening overlaps, to reinforce. I then serged the seams to finish and turned right side out. Voila!
Two machine mats and one matching cushion out of one metre of fabric! And my goodness what it difference the mat makes to my overlocker; it’s quieter and less jumpy. Which means I am too!
And ooh, guess, what, I’ve still got enough scraps left over that I might make a matching pin cushion too!
Until next time, happy stitching!