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recycled bath mat tutorial

I extend the warmest of welcomes to everyone participating in Sew, Mama, Sew's beyond brilliant November Handmade Holidays series! With no further ado, I present to you:
The Recycled Bath Mat Tutorial For those looking to add a little color to their family's shower experience

patchwork bath mat

1. Dive into your scrap bag.
Using a card stock 2 1/2 inch square template and tailor's chalk or other water-soluble quilter's pen, trace around your template onto your scrap fabric. Cut out the square. Repeat this 87 times (you will need 88 squares, total.) Be sure to cut out a variety of complimentary fabrics. While making my mat, I stuck with reds, aquas, greens and yellows.

patchwork 017
2. Arrange your patches First thing's first - clean your floor and ban all fabric-loving felines from entering. You'll need to spread out your patches, 11 across by 8 down, and you wouldn't want your work disturbed once you've found the perfect layout! Once you're satisfied, begin stacking, in order, the top row of 11 patches. Leave the other rows in their place on the floor, and take this "first row stack" over to your sewing machine.

3. Sew together the patchwork strips.

recycled bath mat tutorial 1

Using a 1/4 in seam allowance, sew the 11 squares together. Press the seams to one side. Return this first strip to your floor layout. Now stack the second row, sew the strip, press, and return. Repeat for the remaining strips.

4. Sew the strips together

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Starting with the top two strips, place the first strip with the right side facing up, then lay the second strip on top of it with its right side facing down. Secure the right, long edge with pins. With a 1/4 in seam allowance, stitch down this long edge and press the seam to one side. Repeat this process with the rest of the strips, always placing the "loose" strip face down on top of the previous strip and sewing along the right, unfinished edge.

5. Embellish the top of the mat
While it is fine to leave the top of the mat embroidery-free, I couldn't help but break out the old-fashioned needle and thread. Here's how I managed the feet outline:

recycled bath mat tutorial 2

I used my own tiny feet as the model, but it would be great to use a child's footsies, or, better yet, the whole family's! Make sure the top of the mat is pressed flat, then trace around the feet using tailor's chalk.

I used the chain stitch with 6 strands of white embroidery floss because I wanted the outline to stand out from the background colors. With three strands of floss, I embroidered "clean feet" using a no-nonsense running stitch.

patchwork bath mat close up

6. Cut out an old terry towel for the mat backing Cut out part of an old towel to the same dimensions as your mat front.
recycled bath mat tutorial 3
Pin the mat front, right side facing down, to the towel backing.
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7. Sew the mat front to the towel backing Using a 1/4 seam allowance, sew around the edges, leaving a 4 inch gap for turning. Turn the mat right side out and press. Topstitch along the entire edge, closing the "turning gap" as you go.

8. "Quilt" around your embroidery

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Lengthen your stitch length slightly and machine stitch around the outside of your "feet." This serves the dual purpose of accenting the embroidery as well as securing the towel backing to the mat front, to prevent slippage.

That's it! I hope that you or your gift recipient enjoys this light-hearted addition to the bathroom!


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