Sunday, January 17, 2010

Personalized Bathmat

I just put the finishing touches on my new bathmat, which has taken me much longer than I expected it to. I got the idea from the tutorial at Montessori by Hand, and I only added a few variations along the way. However, I decided to document the process by taking photos along the way. So... this really isn't a tutorial, it's just a photo essay of this project!

To start, I had fun, fun, fun picking out fabrics at Pacific Fabrics. They've had a display of aqua and spring-green fabrics that I've been eyeing for awhile, and then I added in a little pink to add pop. The two polka-dot fabrics are left over from sewing Ellie, and the white fabric with the blue flowers was left over from a pair of pajama pants I made.

Next, I made a 2.5" square template out of cardstock (well, actually an old Lean Cuisine box), and used it to trace and cut billions and billions of squares out of my fabrics. Actually, I cut enough to make a 13 x 9 array. The tutorial I was using called for an 11 x 8 array, but my husband and I both have huge feet (more on that later), so I knew we'd need a larger mat.
Right after I finished this step, I went out and bought myself a rotary cutter. My hand was killing me after cutting all those squares with scissors.
Next, I laid out all of my squares the way I wanted them.
In the tutorial on Montessori by Hand, she warns you not to lay your squares out in a place where your cat might want to hang out. That was sound advice - I should have taken it.

Once the squares are just right, pick them up one row at a time, in order, and take them to your sewing machine. Stitch the rows together in strips, with a 1/4" seam allowance. After each strip is stitched, be sure to return it to the array so that you don't forget how you laid things out.

After I stitched each row, I ironed the seams down so that everything would lay flat. The tutorial said to iron the seams to one side, and again, that was sound advice. I thought that ironing them flat would make things look neater, but actually it just made it harder to sew over the seams. Things ended up looking pretty lumpy and gnarly:

About halfway through I wised up and started ironing the seams to one side, and it looked much better:

Once the quilting step was done, I started embroidering two pairs of footprints on the bathmat. I wanted mine and my husbands, side by side. Here's where I needed a larger bathmat. My feet are size 11, and my husband's are 15, so adding the extra rows and columns made sure that everything fit.

I used an air erasable pen to trace our feet, then got to stitching. I like the subtlety of the white thread.

The front was now all finished - time for the back. I bought a nice white towel at Goodwill for $1.99 - my first adventure in repurposing fabrics.

I cut off the edges of the towel, as well as those little stripes on each end. That made everything lay flatter. My fancy new rotary cutter came in really handy for this step, as did my gridded self-healing mat!

I laid the top facedown on the flat towel piece, pinned, and stitched all the way around with about a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving a gap for turning.

Then I trimmed the towel down to match the front.

Last, I turned the whole thing right-side out and top-stitched all the way around to make everything look finished. I didn't stitch around the footprints as recommended in the tutorial, because it looked hard. :)

Here's the final product!

A few lessons I learned along the way:

-Rotary cutters rock.

-Air erasable pens are nice, but mine started to disappear really fast, so I had to work quickly.

-Feet look weird, especially toes.

-Quilters are the most patient people in the world!

1 comment:

  1. You are so quick with these awesome projects. I can't wait for our owls tomorrow. :)