Messy Mog Mats (Or; things we do for our pets)

Posted by Bree Frost

Background: So, I have two beautiful fur girls that I adore and recently got exasperated with how much mess they made when we fed them gooshy food.  Righto, lets fix that.  This project can be modified for messy humans… of any age.

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You will Need:

For the basic construction:

  • .5 m or so of main fabric
  • .65 m of so of backing/binding fabric
  • Construction Thread. I both the main colour and the contrast.
  • Pellon fusible wadding.  Substitute any thin wadding you prefer.
  • Metallic crochet yarn. If you can’t find this or think it’s a bit flashy, you can use pearl cotton or variegated crochet yarn.
  • A wool or darning needle
  • 1m Thin clear vinyl.

Optional Extras:

  • Embroidery designs, stabilizer, thread bobbin fill etc.
  • Lace motifs, trim or other pretties
  • I also used Design Master metallic spray paint on my motifs so they wouldn’t get lost.

Presser feet used:

  • Standard sewing foot (#0A)
  • Open toe applique foot
  • Free motion foot (I used the 6D one)
  • Non-stick foot (for the vinyl)

 

TL: DR (too long: didn’t read)

Decorate a flat piece of fabric and wrap it in a vinyl cushion cover because it’ll need wiping.

 

How to moosh this together:  Note: I will keep stopping in the middle of this to do optional stuff

 I sort of made this without measuring (proving that you can) but I’ve gone back and measured everything for you guys after I finished.  Because this is for cats, I made them super big.  I initially used the whole width of the black cotton, cut in half to make two. So, a rectangle of around .45 x .55 ish. 

Take your piece and embroider a motif on it being aware of your borders.  This bit was my longest step because I decided in the infinite wisdom that you will have come to know and love (If you’ve stuck around), that I apparently enjoy tedious things.  I found two Maine Coon silhouettes in a tribal style on the internet and digitized them to embroider.  At this stage I also agonized over which colours to use to best represent the kitties I was recreating.  I ended up using Superior threads King Tut in #983 Cobra (for my black tabby big girl) and #981 Cedars (for my red torty medium girl).  Threaded up the machine, loaded the design and pressed play.

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Once your embroidery is finished and polished, press some of the thin wadding on to the back and trim the edges square.  Based on some fancy fonts, I free hand drew their nick names on to the front near my motif, also remembering where my borders would go.  Luckily I didn’t try and write their full names, there wouldn’t have been enough space! (Theraphosidae and Azandica if you’re curious)

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After free handing or tracing or stenciling on the name in a pleasing shape, I’ve just gone over it with a straight stitch in basic thread but in a contrast so I could see what I was doing.  Take the time to be accurate here.  The occasional wobble is fine but this will be your guide line for the bobbin work so just, work slow with your open toe foot on.

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Now that your guide lines are on, we can do the fun bit!  Exactly the same but on the back.   Setting bobbin work up is relatively simple but you will be asking the machine to do something it can do but wasn’t designed for exactly.  Hand wind your bobbin with the decorative cord but work out which way it winds normally and do it backwards.  When loading your bobbin into the machine, skip the tension entirely and manually pull the cord up through the needle plate instead of using the threading channel.

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  Your upper thread should be a normal weight in a colour that matches the cord.  Turn off any locking stitches or automatic cutting from your machine if you happen to have it set up like that.  Re-follow the lettering on your mat but this time from the back, once again going as slow as you like.

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Do each unbroken section and then sew the tails to the back so they don’t tangle or get confused by your machine.  I used a big tapestry needle to fit my cord through and then tied it to my upper thread in three simple knots (I don’t know, three just seems to be sturdier than two).

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For the backing, I cut rectangles that were 13 cm wider than my original mat sizes for the fold over border.  Once cut, I pressed a thin hem (approx. 5-6 mm) with the iron. 

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Work out where the centre of each side is on both the mat and the backing fabric, place the mat on top with the backing facing down and align your pins.  Pin through all layers so nothing can move and we can now cut the corners off. 

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I did this by using the 45° line on my cutting board and rotary cutting 6mm away from the corner, making sure my ruler was square.

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With right sides together, match up your freshly cut edges to form the points of your fold over and sew them, making sure the hem fold is included, not flattened out.  IF you’ve been accurate (uggh! No!) you should be able to turn the points inside out with a finger nail or a point turner for nice sharp points, and smooth everything out with your fingers and see how flat it is.  Press and pin until it is, if it wasn’t!  Sew around the border with a straight stitch or narrow zig zag, depending on preference.

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Even with your IDT, it’ll have a tendency to shift about so be patient and pin it until it bristles if you have to.  Just don’t drag it about WHILST you’re sewing as this may eventually cause the machine damage. 

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Now is the time to add ribbon, lace, motifs or any other sort of frippery; remember, it’ll be covered in vinyl so go as intricate as you like, even if it’s for the messiest person/beastie on the planet.  I just sprayed some black lace motifs with a metallic spray (Design Master is great if you can get it, good for fabric and silk flowers and real flowers and won’t gum up machines) and free motioned them on. 

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I like free motion for laces and trims but if it frightens you, you can use your feed dogs; it’ll just take longer!

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Cut your Vinyl out thusly:  1 front piece that is 3cm bigger than your finished mat and two back pieces at the same height but at half the width plus 2cm (See cutting diagram for visual clues as to what all that looks like). 

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My thinking for this is that if the mat gets REALLY messy and you have to soak it or wash it or whatnot, you can take the cloth mat out so water can’t seep in through any of the holes made by the thread.  Another plus is if you get a new pet or your child gets older and you have a new one, you can change the inner personalisation to suit.

When you match up the backs to the front piece, you chould have an overlap in the middle that will naturally seal itself shut with the clinginess of the vinyl.  Sew around the edge at 6mm using your non stick foot.

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Stuff the fabric mat into the vinyl envelope, making sure the overlap isn’t on the same side as all the pretty decoration.  You would think that’s obvious but I had two goes.

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DONE!

 

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