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National Sewing Month 2016 Day 14: Fringed Bath Mat Tutorial

This is part of a week-long series for National Sewing Month. Don’t forget to enter the Grand Prize Giveaway!


Today’s guest blogger is Mayra Cecilia Morales. You can check out her projects at so-sew-easy.com!

I think there must be a giant invisible poodle living in my house. It is disguised as a teenage girl and she is tiny, with small hands and feet, not even 75 pounds and yet…when she comes out of the bathroom, there is a Dracula cloud that follows her.  When all the steam finally disperses, it reveals an unimaginable mess left behind.  I wonder “in horror” how the ceiling, all the walls, toilet paper and every square inch of the bathroom floor could possible get wet?  There’s got to be a giant poodle somewhere, just shaking water absolutely everywhere, which is my only explanation.

The thing that really gets me though, is the wet floor.  Not only can it be dangerous, but who enjoys walking around with wet socks?  No store-bought bath mat is big enough for this mess, so I have decided to make my own.  It is large and easy to dry, but attractive and will really improve the look of what otherwise is a boring looking bathroom.  I live in a rented apartment, so there is not much I can do to change the color of the tiles, but I think this fringed bath mat will make me happy to not have to hide the bathroom when guests come over.  It will also help keep the floor dry and safe for all.

This bath mat uses canvas fabric for strength, non-slip control, and easy drying, along with cotton cord threaded through the mat for extra strength and texture.  The mat has an attractive shaggy fringe.  It was a lot of fun to make and is really functional and attractive.  There’s also a fair bit of sewing to do, so it is good practice for the beginners.


Step One: Cutting and stacking the fabric

Cut your printed canvas in two rectangles of 40″ X 50″. Cut the plain canvas in one rectangle of  40″ X 50″. See the illustration below.

Mayra 3

You want to stack the fabric rectangles with print sides facing out and the plain canvas sandwiched in between.

Step Two: Stitching the rows

Sew stitching lines across the narrower part of the rectangle every 1/2″.  By the end I had sewn 100 rows.  This can take some time but it is fantastic practice for you to get very comfortable with your sewing machine.

Step Three:  Feeding the cord

This part is tricky because you will have to find the best way to feed the cord through all the rows, 50 in total.  I’m using a darning needle and have wrapped fairly thick thread to the end of the rope and sewn a couple of stitches with a cross stitch needle.  Now I will start passing the cord through the rows.

Feed the cord every other row, in total 50 rows.  Stay between the same layer of printed and plain canvas.  This will give the mat two distinctive sides.  One with higher ridges from the cord and one with slightly lower.

Leave about one inch sticking out the side on each run to secure the cord.  You can also decide if you want to leave the cord loops showing for decoration purposes.  If you don’t, there’s no need to keep the cord as one long piece which can be difficult to manage and feed all the way through the mat on each turn.  You can just go a couple of turns and start with a new section of cord.

I’m sure some readers will come up with easier ways to do this, so please share your ideas.

After you have fed the cord in all 50 rows, sew around the mat at 1/4″ from the edge.  This is to join all the edges and secure the cords very firmly.

If you don’t want the cords as decoration (I didn’t), cut off the ends that stick out of the mat.

Step Four: Making the fringe

I am using my 6″ quilting ruler to create this fringe.  Take the strand of yarn and tape it to the corner of the ruler.

Wrap the yarn around the ruler no longer than 6 inches at a turn.  It gets messy and difficult to handle if you wrap the yarn any wider.

Cut the strand of yarn and place sticky tape in the middle across the width of the wrapped yarn to hold the strands in place.  Do this to both sides of the ruler.

Cut the top of the strands of yarn with a pair of small scissors.

Cut the bottom.  This is how it looks at this point.

Peel off the sticky tape at the bottom.  Gravity and the tape will keep the strands of yarn in one line.  It doesn’t have to be perfect since the fringed edge is meant to look shaggy, but do the best you can.

Turn your ruler and do the same on the other side.

Step Five: Stitching the fringe

Take all the strands of yarn and gently position them at the top edge of the mat.

Being careful to leave about 2″ hanging from the edge.

You can see a short video of how this is done on our website by visiting HERE.

Using a small zigzag stitch, stitch the strands of yarn to the edge of the mat.

One skein of yarn should be big enough to do the top and the bottom of the mat.

If you want to go around the whole mat, you will need another two skeins of yarn of 197 yards each.

You can see a short video of how this is done on our website by visiting HERE.

Step Six:  Optional, applying glue for non-slip

Finally, while the canvas and cord makes the mat somewhat anti-slip already, if you have young kids and want to make the mat even more slip-resistant, use a low temperature glue gun to run some lines or dots of glue on the ridges on the bottom of the mat where the cord is stitched.  A dot every inch or two should do the trick.  Of course, let the glue dry before you put the mat on the floor.   We’re not trying to glue it to the floor or anything but just add some tacky contact points that will keep the mat from sliding.

My floors are made of marble and the mat doesn’t slip much.  I have tested the mat on the wooden floors and it slips a little more, so this would be a good additional step to do although certainly not mandatory.  There would be no issues on carpet and the mat hangs easily to dry after the “storm” passes..

One of the things that I really enjoy about this mat is the therapeutic massage the cord gives my feet.  It is a great feeling while brushing my teeth or just after a hot shower.  But the most important bit is that it catches all the water that drips from the invisible giant poodle that lives in my house. P.S.  I have also tested it on my real dog George and he approves!

You can check out all of Mayra’s other projects at so-sew-easy.com!

fringed bathmat

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