Monday, October 3, 2011

Sewing Machine Mat w/ Pockets

I decided to make this because I had seen others have similar sewing machine mats with pockets. I wasn't sure if I would like the pockets draped in the front and figured it would be neat to make the pockets off to the side instead that way it's not in the way when using the sewing machine! This is basically a tutorial/walk through of how I went about making it and what kind of design I came up with.

Note: Please keep in mind that some of the pictures are not perfect and may be a bit blurry. Sorry if they are hard to see. If you need to, click on the images to enlarge them.

Ingredients & Materials needed:

  • Scissors or/and rotary cutter
  • Cutting board (for rotary cutter)
  • Quilters ruler
  • Marking pen or pencil
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Batting (scraps of batting can be used too)
  • Iron if needed
Notes: Now when I started this project, I had some left over fabric from when I had made my first quilt for my mother. I ended up using that fabric for this project. You do not have to do the exact same thing as I did. You can choose to use different colored and printed fabric, please do. In fact if you can use up your fabric stashes up!


For the type of design we are going for, you will need the following cuts of fabric:

Cut example for 1 1/4" by 2 1/4"
   5 - 1 1/4" by 2 1/4" (4 green, 1 purple)
   6 - 2 1/4" by 2 1/4" (3 green, 3 purple)
   9 - 3 1/4" by 2 1/4" (5 green, 4 purple)
   9 - 4 1/4" by 2 1/4" (6 green, 3 purple)
    7 - 5 1/4" by 2 1/4" (1 green, 6 purple)

Note: Keep in mind that you do not have to do the "purple and green" patchwork. You can use all kinds of scraps of colors and print. This just helps know how many rectangle strips there are for each size.

Once you get the blocks you need cut and ready to be sewn together let's first lay it out. What we want to do is have this laid out so that it would come to an approximately 23" long and approximately 10" wide. Here's an idea of what I'm talking about.

Lay your cut out pieces like above - click pic to enlarge
As you can see I have it lined up where it's checkerboard type layout. It's not perfect, but I like the way it looks. Please remember that you do not have to do only 2 different types of fabric like I have above. If you have different fabrics in your stash you'd like to use, please do so.

Once you lay it all out like above sew them together like the following:

Sew close to edge
Try to sew close to the edge, but not too close. I probably should have done the cuts for example like 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" instead of 1 1/4" by 2 1/4". I guess it depends on what your sewing allowance preference is. Please choose your sewing allowance that you prefer. 

Iron to set stitches and iron the seams to the side all in the same direction
Now back to sewing. Keep sewing til your rows are complete and iron your seams facing the same direction. Then sew the rows together and you will have one complete square/rectangle.

Rows sewn together to make one piece
Once you have those sewn together, you are going to make 3 strips to go on three sides of the piece you just made. These strips are going to go on the top, left and bottom. The strips are going to be 1" wide, and the same length as wide as your piece above like below:

Note: It may help if you make your strips a tad longer so that way you have a less chance of coming short, this way you can trim away the extra. Also, it's best to first sew on the shorter strip (left strip) then the top and bottom strips.

Sew strips on as shown above.
Top, left and bottom 1" strips sewn on.

Now the next step is getting the backing made. Now I didn't really measure the backing, I just basically eyeballed it where it was close to be even on each side like the following picture:

Lay backing out, and lay front of mat on top
Once you got your backing cut, now is the time to get some batting out. This would be an excellent time to use up your scraps of batting if you have any If not, use some of the whole pieces you have as well.

Batting scraps

Now say you do have some of those batting scraps you can use up. All I did was piece them back together by using a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine over lapping a bit. Once you have them pieced together, lay it under the front of the quilt piece, and cut to the edge what you don't need.

I hope you can see the stitches of how I pieced it together
Now put your batting and front piece of your mat together and pin them together so the front and batting do not move around on you. This way you can also shift it around with worrying about the pieces shifting themselves.

Pin the batting and front of mat together
You only need a few pins put in just to stabilize the two pieces together. Once you have that done go ahead and place the two pieces you pinned on top of the backing you cut out previously.

Front of mat centered on mat backing
As you can see in the image below, take the raw edge of the backing and over lap a little bit. That is your first fold as you can see in the left image. Then you make another fold which completes the two folds you need to make for your "binding" technique.

First fold, picture 1
Second fold, picture 2

In picture 1 you can see I took the raw edge of the backing and placed it just over the front part of the mat. Raw edge is the red line, and blue line is where the raw edge would end up. In picture 2 you have the second fold, the yellow line is the edge of the first pictures raw edge and the blue line is the new edge. Now keep in mind we want to still be able to see the strips we created, so do not go over that and try to keep from completely covering it. So in picture 2 I made sure that I had about that much all the way around the mat not covered up. The only edge that will not have a "border" is the end that will have pockets.

Be sure to stick with folding and pining the top and bottom of the mat first. Once you have those pined, you are going to do the exact same thing to the ends, however you are going to have just a regular folded over corner instead of a mitered corner. Like shown in the following images:
Pinned edges ready to be sewn

Square folded corner

Note: We're going to sewing the binding down with the sewing machine. Now is the time to be able to use one of those neat looking decorative stitches that is built into your sewing machine. I'm going to be using the same stitch that I used when piecing together my batting scraps I had earlier. The zigzag stitch.

Once you have picked your the type of decorative stitches you want to use, align your sewing foot to the left side of the binding so that you are at least somewhat close to the edge but not too close. When you get to the corner, keep your sewing needle down and pick up the sewing foot and swivel the mat and sew down the other side. When you are done sewing, it should be looking like this:

Binding sewn on
Now I know the corners have a bit of a flap, but to fix that all you need to do is a blind stitch or also known as hidden stitch or ladder stitch. If you are unsure how to do the blind stitch, check out this tutorial on how to do that here.

Note: In case you were wondering, I started from the outside corner in towards the zigzag stitch. I did this that way I can make sure the flap laid flush to other edge. For those who just learned the blind stitch, it was pretty easy huh?

Corner fixed, after
Corner flap, before

Now our next step is attaching the pocket! The pocket is going to be one piece which you just sew down and then sew a line or two  to divide the pockets up. What you are going to do is measure from the inside of the border to the other side and add 1/2" to each side to fold over.

Measure from the left inside to the right inside

So the piece of fabric you are going to use for the pocket, you will want to cut 10" for the length. This is a little long, only so you can fold the edges a bit to fit to the inside. You will also fold the bottom and top as well. I made my pockets 4 1/2" wide to finish off as 4" wide.

Fold all four edges a bit
Once you have your edges folded, lay it down on your mat on the correct side and make sure it fits in nice and snug. Once you have it fit you are going to take and stitch as close to the edge or if you used a decorative stitch when you did the binding you can use that same stitch to attach the pocket. I used the zigzag stitch when I did the binding, so I am going to use the zigzag stitch to attach the pocket.

Pocket fits like a glove
Note: Just wanted to remind you that when you sew on the pocket to start at the bottom first then do the sides and pin pin pin that pocket down to keep it from moving.

Pinned pocket on
Once you have it pinned, go ahead and start sewing. Be sure to only sew in the red zone and not in the blue zone. If you sew in the blue zone, it will no longer be a pocket. We don't want that, now do we? ;)

Sewn on pocket
Now we need to divide the pockets. This is where it's up to you, you can divide it by three pockets, a small pocket and a large pocket or make four pockets 3 small pockets and 1 small pocket. I did 3 pockets on mine. I took the same type of stitch I used to attach the pocket on and made my pockets.

To make it easier on where to sew the lines, I measured, marked and drew a line where I wanted to divide the pockets.

And mark

The lines I drew in, in the above (right picture) were kind of hard to see since they were starting to disappear so I added digital red lines next to it. (Remember, you can click on images to blow them up.)

Pockets created

There is one optional step that I added to my mat. I wanted something where I can put my scissors on and not have them in the pockets itself. So I added a strip of fabric and attached the strip to the mat with a button and on the other end of the strip was a button hole to be able to attach and detach the strip which holds the scissors. This you do not have to do. But this is what I did to make the strip.

Optional Step (strip):

Just an example
Now, I cut the strip about 9" length (approx) and 2" wide. Now the length in what you want is totally up to you. I wanted to make it long enough to be able to hold scissors, or whatever I didn't want to have in the pockets that can be looped onto this strip.

Now first I took and folded the 2" wide strip and ironed it. So in the image below the purple line was the first fold, then I took and opened it back up and folded it so that the blue lines touched the purple lines. So the red lines are now the new folded lines.

Folding for the strip
Once you have the folding in place, iron it to make sure it stays and doesn't unfold on you. Then at the ends of the strip make sure you fold it in as well so it has a finished fold instead of a raw edge.

Folding the ends in
Then once you have folded the ends in you should be ready to sew! Sew as close to the open edge to close the strip up. I used white thread, but in the first image on the example strip I used a red thread so you could see it. Once you have it sewn, now you can sew the button hole. When I did the button hole, I tried to make it a bit wider than the button itself so it makes it a little easier to unbutton and button back up. I'm sure you get what I mean.

Marked and ready to sew
Measuring where the button hole will be

Now that my button hole has been sewn, I'm ready to sew the button onto the strip and mat together.

Strip attached and button sewn on

Marked where button and strip goes to be sewn

If you make this mat, please link me or let me know how it went. I would love to be able to see your creation at some point. Please leave me a comment and let me know if there were any bumps or issues when following through with this tutorial.

Here are some more images of how my mat looks under my sewing machine.

Side view of mat
Side view of mat

Thank you, and enjoy!


Post a Comment

I love reading and responding to comments. I will try to respond to everyone.

If you have a question you can email me at cj.latour228[at] and I will respond in a timely manner.

Thank you!