Friday Fun Day - Color Me Happy Bathmat Tutorial and a Giveaway

Friday, April 11, 2014
Hi everyone! I'm Megan and every once in a while I blog about my sewing {and other} adventures over at A little bit of my life, but today I'm here at The Intrepid Thread to walk you through sewing a bathmat.  Recently my husband and I purchased our first home {a fixer-upper} and most of our time has been dedicated to fixing and improving things around the house.  When Julie asked for tutorials to share it was the perfect excuse for me to put down the Sawzall and dig out my sewing machine from behind all our boxes.

One of my favorite parts of sewing {and quilting} is designing the pattern and I'm a big fan of colored pencils and graph paper for this.  The bright, colorful and graphic nature of the Color Me Happy fabric totally lent itself to a bold, geometric design - perfect for half-square triangles, rectangles and squares.  I've got a thing for some hand lettering too and had to throw in the paper-pieced letters.

First, let me show you a little bit more of the design.  Then I'll walk you through the half-square triangles and paper-pieced letters.  After that, it's just stitch, flip, press and you're done!

Since our finished block size will be 4" and all seams are 1/4" we'll start with the large half-square triangles made from two 5" squares.  The rule of thumb being - start with a square 1" bigger than your finished block size.  {i.e. the small half-square triangles finish at 2" therefore they start with 3" squares}

Place two 5" squares right sides together. Using your ruler and a pencil, draw a line diagonally between two of the corners.  Stitch 1/4" from each side of the line using the line as your guide. Cut the square diagonally in half along the pencil line and press open along the seam.   Using the 45 degree line on your ruler and cutting mat square up the half-square triangle block to 4 1/2" {or 2 1/2" for the small ones}.  Make sure that the diagonal seam runs from corner to corner through the corners at 45 degrees.

Now let's walk through the paper-pieced letters. Each letter has the component sections numbered in the order they should be sewn.  As you can see in the 'W' above, there are 4 components in this one letter.  Each component will be sewn together separately and joined at the end to make the 'W'.

The trick here is that since we don't want our letters mirror imaged we'll be stitching with the backside of the paper facing up.  Luckily the dark line through the graph paper is still visible enough through the backside.

Take component #1 and scraps that are large enough to cover the area.  I like to go a bit big on the scrap size just to make sure everything get's covered with at least 1/4" of over hang {for future piecing}. Place component #1 face up on your table and then place the first scrap {green here} also face up on to so that it covers the green section labeled '1'.  Next, place the terry cloth scrap {or your cream colored scrap} face down on the green scrap {i.e. right sides together!}.  Shorten your stitch length.  Stitch along the line between '1' and '2'. Fold your paper back along the stitching line.  Place the 1/4" line on the edge of your ruler {hopefully it has one} along the folded edge of the paper and trim the excess fabric here to 1/4".  This will reduce bulk, give you a 1/4" seam, and a more clean looking finish.  Fold the paper back into place the fold the cream fabric back along the seam you just stitch.  Press! Repeat these steps to finish up component  #1 and component #2.  Match along the sides, right sides together, and check that the paper on either side would match up.  If you were to stick a pin through the paper corner it would hit the corner of the paper of the component on the other side. Stitch along the edge of the paper. This is also a 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. Press along the seam. Repeat for all components of the letter {the other letters have fewer components than the 'W'} in the order in which they're numbered.  And press!  It's always key to press each seam and remember to trim to 1/4" before moving on to the next seam.
Once the letter is complete, square it up to 4 1/2" and remove the paper. The shortened stitch length helps with this and acts like a nice perforation.  If small bits of paper remain trapped under the stitching, gently scrape with your fingernail to remove. Putting it all together... Using the diagram, lay out the squares and begin stitching together. 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares get combined with other 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares {and 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles} to make pieced 4 1/2" blocks.  Take care with pinning to match all the corners together. Pressing the seams open will reduce the bulk - a good thing since we'll be standing on this bathmat. Once all the 4 1/2" blocks are pieced, lay everything out again. In rows, pin every two blocks right sides together.  At this point, I take care to make sure everything is in order and then I chain piece by feeding each unit into the machine, one right after another, without pausing to cut the thread between until all the units are stitched. Press and repeat until you've got long rows.  Then, with right sides together take the first to rows and pin along the long edge.  Remember to take care to match the perpendicular seams.  To keep things in place I like to pin closely on either side of the seam. With the top stitched together, give it a good pressing and measure it. Cut your backing {this fun grey towel} to match the top. Note, my top didn't quite come out as the correct dimensions that I had planned. Not to worry though, I just cut the backing to match and all was fine and dandy. Pin the top to the bottom, right sides together {again}.  Stitch around the perimeter, but leave a 3" gap on one side.  Here it's a good idea to lock your seam {stitch forward and backward} at the beginning and end since we'll be putting a little bit of stress on the seam when we turn the mat back right side out.

Turn right side out through the opening and take care to push the corners completely out.  Press around the sides - especially work on getting the backing to stay on the back as it has a tendency to roll to the front.  Tuck the raw edges of the opening in and press as well.  Then stitch all the way around the edge.  This gives a more finished look and will close up the opening. There you have it, a completed bathmat!  For a little bigger look at the pictures in this tutorial feel free to see them in this album.

Thanks Julie, for giving me an excuse to get the sewing machine out.  And for giving me the opportunity to share this tutorial with your readers.  Happy sewing!

Thank you so much Megan! This is adorable! I love your shoes peeking out in that last picture.

We are hosting a giveaway over at Maureen's today as well... so go over there to enter to win this sweet Custom bundle:

We also have these for sale in the shop.

9 comments on "Friday Fun Day - Color Me Happy Bathmat Tutorial and a Giveaway"

  2. This is awesome. I love the idea of sewing with terry cloth to make the words.

  3. Super cool design ! Thanks for Sharing ;-)

  4. Very pretty and original design. thanks for sharing such detailed instructions.

  5. Oh! I love the terry cloth for the letters. I've never sewn with terry cloth but this has my wheels turning! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  6. Be warned... the terry cloth sheds like crazy! :)


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