October 30, 2012

Star Mat Tutorial

This is the tutorial I promised for the Star Mat I am making for Christmas. In fact, I will make a few of them to give as gifts and for the Holiday Festival I will participate in within a couple of weeks - I am sure the ladies will like to give them as gifts, too!

However, as I mentioned in a previous post (here), you can use this pattern with any fabric to match your home decor, or for another Holiday.

Although this is a simple project, the tutorial is very detailed so as to make it easy on you. Be prepared for lots of pictures, as usual!

Here is a list of what you will need:

Basic sewing supplies
2 coordinating fabrics for the top - 1 strip of each, 6" x WOF (width of fabric)
matching fabric for the backing - 22" x 24"
batting - 22" x 24"
ruler with a 60 degree line on it (I use a 6" x 24" Omnigrid ruler)
mat and rotary cutter
contrasting thread for topstitching
monofilament for SITD (stitch in the ditch) - optional

Here are my two strips of coordinating fabrics for the star mat top.

Using the 60 degree line on the ruler, lay it along the length of the first strip. Cut on both sides to create diamonds. Each strip will yield five diamonds, but if you are making one mat, you will need only three diamonds from each fabric.

Cut 1/4" tips from the two long ends of the diamonds. You can use the Bias Ruler (see here) or...
... another favorite ruler of mine, the Wonder Triangles ruler.
Place two contrasting diamonds right sides together, and stitch one side starting from the wide tip you just trimmed to the middle of the diamond, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Do this for another set of diamonds. Remember, this second set is part of the bottom of the star, so the diamonds you are sewing now must be in a different order than the first two you sewed. In my case, the first two I sewed were green onto red. The second set was red onto green.
Press seams flat.
Now, add the third diamond to each half of the star mat you just sewed...
Press seems flat again.

Here is what you should have by now: the top and the bottom part of the mat, which you will now sew together.
So that the points will match, I like to put a pin through the point on one block and then through the point on the other side. This pin just stays like that - sort of loose on the fabrics. I then pin to the right and to the left of this pin. This way the fabrics won't shift. Now, pin the rest of the blocks together.

Press seams flat again. Here is what the front will look like:
... pretty...

On your cutting table, lay the batting first, then the backing with right side "up". Next, place star onto backing with the right side "down".
Pin together the layers, then cut them. You will also trim the tips of the star again (the backing and the batting layers).
Sew a 1/4" seam around the three layers of the star, leaving about a 2" opening on one side (be sure to back stitch on both sides of the opening, so when you turn the star right side out, it won't rip the stitches.
Do cut a "pie" or "v" on the inside corners of the star, so that when you flip the star right side out, the inside corners will lay flat. Be careful not to cut too close to the stitches.
Turn star inside out. I like to use a chopstick on the points so they will be as 'pointy' as possible despite all the layers.
Top stitching time: first, close the opening by turning the fabrics inside and pining it. I start top stitching there, a bit closer to the edge (1/8" of a seam as opposed to 1/4", and then increase it to 1/4" seam after the opening area, just to ensure the two ends are sewn well and will not open). Use a contrasting thread, and increase the stitch length (in my Bernina, regular stitch length is 2.4 and I increase it to 3.0 for top stitching). Notice that I top stitched using a walking foot, which handles thickness better than the regular foot.
After top stitching, and still using the walking foot, I change the top thread to monofilament and stitch in the ditch across the star.

This is what the back of the star mat looks like after I SITD...
... and your star mat is done! Easy, huh?

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Send me pictures if you decide to make it, and let me know if you have any questions.

Imagine a Christmas (or Thanksgiving) table set using these mats as chargers under each plate! Beautiful!



  1. Very cool tutorial. I may have to make some for Christmas gifts this year. Thanks.

  2. Happy this is still posted! Working on one now! Quick and fun! Thank you for informative tutorial!


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