A few years ago now I decided to make a mat to go under my sewing machine to protect my table top and store various bits and pieces that I used all the time when I was sewing. At the time I made it up as I went along using some leftover jelly roll strips. A few people have asked over time for a tutorial and I have meant to write one, but this week I actually made a new and improved mat. This mat has an easier method, better finish and an extra scissors loop to keep my scissors right where I need them.
It also gave the chance to use some of the gorgeous items that arrived recently from Sew Box Subscriptions. I was lucky enough to receive one of the first boxes sent out in September from this new website and I was impressed. The presentation was gorgeous – a neat white box tied with pretty blue ribbon, and the contents were lovely. I have shared a few pictures on Instagram and Facebook where you can see the floral fabric, matching thread, dyed crochet doilies, unusual ribbon, Wonder Clips and some special vouchers. These boxes are available every month and you can sign up now at the Sew Box Subscriptions website.
But on to the tutorial!
Sew a Sewing Machine Mat with Pockets
What You Need
- 2 Rectangles of Fabric – 22″ x 26″ (If you want to adjust the size: 22″ is a little wider than the base of my sewing machine, 26″ is the depth of the mat plus the depth of the pocket x 2)
- 1 Rectangle of Iron-on Pellon – 21″ x 25″ (This is just slightly smaller than your fabric rectangles)
- Decorative Ribbon – 23″ long for pocket trim + 1.5″ for scissors loop (see note)
- Usual sewing supplies – thread, scissors, etc.
Note: The decorative ribbon I have used had a crochet loopy edge which made it perfect to use as a decoration of the edge of the pockets. You could get a similar look with lace or ric rac. (You can find this at Little Cherubs Craft)
What To Do
1. Iron the pellon onto the back of one of the fabric rectangles.
2. Lay the ribbon on the right side of the short edge of one of the rectangles. I used the one with pellon attached but either one will work. Lay it with the decorative edge away from the fabric edge and careful pin into place.
3. At the sewing machine, attach the ribbon to the fabric sewing just in from the edge – about 1/8″ or 2mm. This stitching won’t be seen on the finished edge – and that’s what we want – but it will hold the ribbon in place when we join the rectangles.
4. Lay one rectangle piece down right side up. Then lay the other rectangle on top right side down. Match the edges and pin in place. (Tip: I like the have the pellon on top so I can see it as I’m sewing and so it won’t get caught in the feed dogs of the sewing machine.)
5. Take to the sewing machine and stitch around the edge to join the two rectangles about 1/4″ or 5mm from the edge, leaving a gap of 6-8″ on one side for turning. (Tip: Don’t leave the gap on the edge with the ribbon trim – pick one of the other three sides. Oh, and having the gap in the middle of a side is easier than near a corner.)
6. Clip the corners (to remove bulk) and turn it through. Use a knitting needle or similar to push the corners out to nice points.
7. Carefully press the edges – be especially careful pressing the edge with the decorative ribbon – and tuck the edges of the gap into place. I clipped these with Wonder Clips that came in the Sew Box – much easier than pins!
8. Sew around the whole rectangle 1/8″ from the edge – this “top stitching” will create a nice finish and close the gap as well. At the corners, stop with your needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric to go down the next side.
9. Fold up one short end to become the pocket. Mine is 6″ deep but you could adjust yours if you wish. Again I clipped mine with the Wonder Clips – I can see these are going to get lots of use!
10. Stitch up the two sides of the pocket – I tried to sew close to the top stitching but you could put your seam further in from the edge if you like.
11. Divide the long pocket into sections. I chose three sections with the middle one wider than the other two, but think about what you will be putting in them and plan for the sizes you need. Just sew from the bottom of the pocket to the top to create the smaller pockets.
12. Add a little loop of ribbon to slip a pair of scissors into. This is just a small piece of ribbon in a circle and hand stitched onto the pocket. You could even add a couple more of these for other tools.
One more thing you can’t see in the pictures:
I quilted a couple of lines across the main section of the mat to keep the layers together. While the mat is on the table they are not going to shift, but if I ever have to wash it, I want the pieces to stay together, so some simple lines through all the layers will help that. I did this step last. If you want quilting on the pocket, you would need to quilt it before you folded it up into the pocket position.
Sew Box Subscriptions Q&A
As I was sewing with the lovelies from Sew Box, I thought of a few questions that you might have about these subscriptions. So I asked Leesa, the face behind Sew Box, for some extra info.
Q. What if I don’t like the fabric I receive in my box? – Can I get a refund?
A. Sew Boxes are a pre-paid subscription and a surprise package of blissful sewing items. We hope that everyone will like the fabric and try something new. Unfortunately we can’t refund or swap your fabric but we hope you will find something to make for someone you know. Finding new and different things is part of the Sew Box fun!
Q. If I can’t use the free PDF patterns, can I pass them along to a friend?
A. As we all know, PDF pattern sharing is really not a cool thing. The terms of each pattern downloaded are listed on the postcard and are one download for the Sew Box Subscriber.
Q. Will the contents of the box always be ‘girly’ like these?
A. The September Boxes were girly and pretty – occasionally there will be another one along the pretty theme! We are trying to offer a wide range of patterns, fabric, notions and habby to suit many people. Wait till you see the bright October Boxes!
Q. Can I order the September box next month? – it looked lovely!
A. It was beautiful but, like a magazine, once we have totaled our numbers, ordered and sent them, they are all gone.
Q. Is there somewhere I can see where to buy something from the box that caught my eye?
A. What’s In The Box is listed on our website – it shows a complete box and lists the contents. If you ever have any trouble, just drop me a note.
Q. Can I buy a box as a one-off instead of buying a subscription?
A. The Subscriptions can be purchased and cancelled at any time. We aren’t going to be offering single Sew Boxes as a regular offer.