PART 1 – FABRIC CUTTING
For more precise cutting results, prior to starting, prepare all fabrics with starch & press.
Use your rotary cutter, cutting mat, and quilt ruler.
- Cut 14 – 1 ½” Strips from your first (red) solid colored fat quarter
- Cut 14 – 1 ½” Strips from your second (yellow) solid colored fat quarter
Cut 1 – 16” x 16” square from one of your patterned fat quarters. Set aside for now, this will be the mat base.
PART 2 – MAKE THE FABRIC WEAVE INSERT
Prepare your strips by pressing the edges inward ¼” along the longest sides. To make this process easier, you can also try using a 1” bias tape maker, 1” Sasher tool, or try ¼” fusible tape. Not only can you use fusible tape to fuse down the raw edges but it’s super handy to use as a ¼” folding guide to ensure your strips finish straight. You will end up with a total of 28, 1” strips in two different colors.
To create the simple plain weave pattern. Use the gridlines on your cutting mat to create an even horizontal edge. Start by placing 14 of the first colored or (red) strips evenly along the edge of one of your gridlines. Carefully put the edges of your fabric strips side by side (but don’t overlap the strips) with the raw edges face down on your cutting mat. Use approximately a 16” piece of painter’s tape and place it along the horizontal edge to hold the bottom edge of your strips securely in place.
Start by folding alternating (red) strips backward (towards you) over the painter’s tape. Tip: You can use a cardboard strip as a weight to hold the folded strips in place as you weave. Pick up the first strip of your second color (yellow) and place it evenly along the horizontal edge using your painter’s tape as well as the gridlines on your cutting mat as guides.
Fold the (red) strips forward back into the original position over the (yellow) strip you just placed down. Then fold the alternate (red) strips backward (or towards you) over the painter’s tape.
Place another (yellow) strip along the horizontal edge. Continue this process by folding alternating (red) strips over the (yellow) strips essentially creating a checkerboard or simple weave pattern.
As you move along with your weaving, you can use a light dab of a washable glue stick to temporarily hold your fabric strips in place and to keep your overall alignment even as you weave. The glue will wash out when you launder your mats.
Continue the weaving process until all 14 (yellow) strips have been used.
Once you have finished weaving, carefully remove the painter’s tape, trim the unwoven edges even, and then lift your weave from the cutting mat.
Next cut a 14” x 14” piece of iron-on woven cotton interfacing. From the cut edge, mark ¼” reference line for stitching around all 4 sides to do later in the project. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, align and fuse the interfacing to the backside of the weave.
PART 3 - AT YOUR SEWING MACHINE
Activate Janome’s Acufeed Flex fabric feeding system or depending on your sewing machine attach a walking or even feed foot. Use a needle size of 14/90 or try a topstitch needle. Thread your sewing machine with matching 40 Wt embroidery thread for the top and bobbin and choose a thread color that pops. Use a triple straight stitch and lengthen the stitch to 4.0 for added interest.
Starting in the center of a strip, sew a straight triple stitch down each of the 14 strips. Tip: Use the edges of your walking foot or the edges of Janome’s Acufeed Dual feed foot which is the perfect width to use as a guide to help keep your stitching aligned along the center. You can also try using a quilting guide bar or use a fabric marker and mark reference lines to also use as guides for accurate straight stitching.
Once your accent topstitching is done, to prevent your stitching from unraveling, flip your weave over, exposing the interfacing side. Sew ¼” along the marked line using a regular straight, reducing the stitch length to 2.0, and stitch along all four sides. This ¼” stitch will be hidden in the seam ½” hem of the mat. Tip: If your sewing machine has the following useful features, this would be a great time to use them. Needle down in fabric and Foot up for Pivoting functions.
Set this completed fabric weave insert aside for now and move on to sewing the mat base with mitered corners.
To make the mat base with mitered corners.
Use the previously cut 16” square piece of patterned fabric. Iron in ½” seam on all 4 sides. For better accuracy, while turning and pressing your edges, you can mark your fold lines in advance.
To make mitered corners.
Fold your fabric square on the diagonal with right sides together. Take time to perfectly align the ½” folded edges evenly. Using a quilt ruler, line the edge of the ruler along the diagonally folded fabric stopping at the raw edge before the folded hem creating a right angle. Mark a straight stitching line on the hem. Repeat this step for all 4 corners.
At the sewing machine, use your standard presser foot, a straight stitch, and set your stitch length to 1.8. Stitch on your marked line, backstitching to secure at the beginning and end.
Clip all 4 corners at a slight angle, being careful not to clip too close to the corners.
Open the small seam made by the angle and finger press flat, then using your favorite point turning tool, flip the corner inside out and gently poke each point out.
Repeat turning your points for all 4 corners to reveal nicely mitered corners. Next, press all 4 edges flat. Start by pressing from the corners out, then press along the edges.
To assemble the lunch mat.
Take your completed weave insert and place it inside the pressed, folded edges of your mat base.
To finish the mat.
Using a straight stitch, edgestitch close to inside folded edge along all four sides. Repeat this process with the remaining fat quarters until you have completed a set of 4 lunch mats.
Play and experiment with other size strips and patterns, to create additional designs and appearances.