A Tea-Time Heart Happy Mat

February 7, 2020By Rebecca Kemp BrentEmbroidery, Home Decor, Projects 6 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Finished Size: 12″ x 12″

There are two secrets to sewing beautiful, smooth curves: precise stitching and careful clipping. Using your embroidery machine to sew the curves guarantees perfectly stitched seams every time, and there’s a not-so-secret weapon – pinking shears – for ideal trimming and clipping. Practice on this heart-happy mat that’s big enough for tea time, and then use the technique for scalloped borders on any kind of project.

Materials

  • Quilter’s cotton fabrics, 1 fat quarter of each: Red print #1 / Red print #2 / White-on-white print
  • 13″ x 30″ piece of lightweight batting (I used Floriani Embroidery Batting)
  • Adhesive water-soluble stabilizer
  • All-purpose thread for sewing and quilting
Note: Ordinarily I’d add a little extra fabric for cutting irregularities at the store, but for this project the 9″ x 12″ fabric rectangles don’t have to be precise… 8 1/2″ x 12″ is probably okay. For that reason, I’m giving you the option to use fat quarters (18″ x 21″). If you have any concerns or just want to build your scrap stash, buy 3/8 yard of each red print instead.

Equipment

Cutting Instructions


From each red print, cut:

  • 2 rectangles, 9″ x 12″
  • 1 square, 6 1/4″ x 6 1/4″; cut twice diagonally to create four triangles

From the white-on-white print, cut:

  • 1 square, 7 1/2″ x 7 1/2″
  • 1 square, 10 1/2″ x 10 1/2″

From the lightweight batting, cut:

  • 2 rectangles, 9″ x 12″
  • 1 square, 10 1/2″ x 10 1/2″

Create the Scallops

1. Set up the Luminaire for embroidery, with a neutral color of all-purpose thread in both the needle and bobbin. Make two 9″ x 12″ fabric and batting stacks, using one red print in each stack and arranging the layers as follows: batting, top fabric (face up), and backing fabric (face down). The fabrics will be right sides together, with the wrong side of one fabric facing upward.

2. Hoop one stack in the 5″ x 7″ hoop, positioning the hoop near the left edge of the stack (not centered).

3. In the settings screens, choose the option to display the outline of the 5″ x 7″ hoop and a 1″ grid on your machine’s screen.

4. Select a circle frame and choose the triple straight stitch. Resize it to 2.53″ (6.4 cm). Move it to the top center of the 5″ x 7″ hoop area. Duplicate the frame and move the second circle downward to at least 1″ below the first circle.

5. Select both circles and move them to the left side of the hoop area. Touch Embroidery and stitch the two circles on the hooped fabric.

6. Remove the fabric from the hoop and reposition the hoop along the right edge of the fabric stack (see the drawing above). Select both circles on screen and move them all the way to the right side of the hoop area. Use the projector to preview the position of the third and fourth circles; they should be at least 1/2″ away from the first two circles. Stitch the third and fourth circles.

7. Repeat steps 2-6 using the second stack of fabrics. You’ll have a total of eight stitched circles.

8. Trim the circles a scant 1/4″ outside the lines of stitching. Use pinking shears to cut away the excess fabric and clip the curves in one step. If you don’t use pinking shears, you’ll need to clip the seam allowances to, but not through, the stitching every 1/4″, all the way around each circle.
9. Cut each circle in half through its center. The triple stitch provides enough reinforcement to keep the stitches from loosening where the seam is cut. Turn each half-circle right side out, smoothing the curved edges. Press lightly.

Assemble the Mat

Note: Seam allowances are 1/4″.

1. Set up your machine for sewing. There’s no need to change threads. Sew a red print #1 triangle to each red print #2 triangle along one short side and press the seam allowances open. Be sure to make four identical pairs of triangles.

Tip: Start the seam at the right-angled corner. The triangles will be easier to control and the bias edges will stretch less.

2. Stitch a pair of triangles to each side of the 7 1/2″ white square, centering the triangle unit. There will be little “dog ears” that extend past the edges of the square, but the seamlines are the same length. Press the seam allowances toward the red prints.

3. Lay the assembled patchwork on the batting square, right side up, matching the raw edges.
4. Position two half-circles on each colored triangle, right sides together, matching the prints and aligning the raw edges. The scallops should abut each other, but be sure to keep the scallops out of the intersecting seam allowances at each corner. Baste the half-circles to the patchwork and batting, stitching 1/8″ from the raw edges.

Tip: The side of the half-circle with batting is the right side.

5. Place the large white square on the patchwork, right sides together, matching the raw edges. Pin the edges together. Flip the project over so that the patchwork is on top and stitch around the outside edge, leaving an opening at the center of one side for turning.
6. Trim the corners diagonally to reduce bulk. Turn the mat right side out and press, pressing the half-circles away from the center of the mat. Turn the seam allowances to the wrong side along the opening as you press. Slipstitch the opening to close it.
7. Switch to red thread in the needle. Engage the machine’s pivot function so that the presser foot rises, with the needle down, when you stop sewing. Topstitch 1/4″ inside the edge of each heart shape. Allow yourself plenty of freedom as you approach the hearts’ inside corners (between the scallops); it’s not necessary to maintain a precise 1/4″ allowance.

Quilt the Mat

1. Hoop a piece of adhesive water-soluble stabilizer in the 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ hoop. Score and remove the paper covering the adhesive. Position the candle mat on the stabilizer with the sides of the center square parallel to the hoop’s sides.
2. Choose a quilting motif (outlines only) or patterned fill that is no more than 6.75″ square. Center the design on your tea mat and stitch, using the projector to double check placement before you stitch. For the sample, I used a built-in custom quilting design and a fill pattern from My Design Center on the Luminaire.

3. Remove the hoop from the machine and trim the stabilizer close to the embroidered motif. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, remove the remaining stabilizer from your tea mat.

P.S. Did any of you notice that my Luminaire had a software upgrade waiting to be installed? That’s the little exclamation point next to the wi-fi icon on screen. I updated my machine as soon as I finished this project. That wireless capability is awesome!

6 Comments

  • Those built in frame shapes in the Brother machines serve as a goldmine of creative options!
    I love how you used the circles to create the scallops. Wonderful instructions and a really special project Rebecca!

  • Such a delightful project with so many great techniques! I can think of so many special places this little placement would be so well received–teacher gifts, nursing home residents, my BFF, my elderly aunt, etc. Thanks for the great instructions.

  • I completed one of these and am so happy with the finished project! The directions were well written and I liked that they pointed out features and techniques to use on my Luminaire. I know I will use the scalloped edge trick on other projects. I will be making more mats for gifts. Thanks, Rebecca!

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