Mouse Mat

Materials

  • 25 x 30cm scrap for top
  • 25 x 30cm scrap wadding
  • 25 x 30cm scrap for lining
  • 25 x 30cm scrap for backing
  • Plain coloured cotton thread
  • Varigated cotton thread
  • Twin needle
  • Masking tape
  • Drawing Pin

Finished Size

20 x 25cm (Approx 8 x 10in)

Skill Level

Intermediate

You don't see Mouse mats as much as you used to, most people use optical mice and don't need one. My desk is made of glass though, so I do, but I usually grab a piece of paper and make do with that. One day I used a sample piece from some free machine quilting, and it worked really well, so I decided that enough was enough, and made this one for fun. I played with twin needling and machine sewing circles, but you could make a surface with any machine stitching you feel like. You want to create a densely quilted surface for the mouse to travel over freely.

Preparing the mat and first stage of quilting

  1. First layer your top, wadding and lining fabric in a quilt sandwich. The sandwich is bigger than the finished mat, to give you room for choosing your favourite part of the finished design.
  2. Pin at regular intervals with safety pins, or baste with your preferred method.
  3. Using a walking foot, and a twin needle I machined wavy parallel lines at 1cm intervals across the mouse mat top. I threaded the twin needle with one plain thread and one varigated thread. You are aiming for dense quilting with this layer, the more stability that you create at this stage the easier the next!
Figure 1: Twin Needled wavy lines for the background
Figure 1: Twin Needled wavy lines for the background

Preparing your sewing machine for sewing in circles

You can machine sew circles on any sewing machine. Mine comes with a pin attachment for sewing circles of three different diameters, but the method I used alllows you to use any machine and any size circle.

Take a drawing pin and a strip of masking tape and tape it to your machine, point of the pin sticking up through the tape, to the left of the needle, and in line with where the sewing machine needle enters the machine. I tried different types of tape, and masking tape was definitely the best option, other tapes shift, or rip around the pin's point. The diameter of the circle you will sew is determined by the distance between the pin and the needle, so if you want an exact size, you need to measure your circle diameter, and halve it to get the radius. Then tape your pin at that distance left of the needle. I moved my tape several times to change the diameter of the circles I sewed.

Figure 2: Attach the drawing pin to the machine with masking tape
Figure 2: Attach the drawing pin to the machine with masking tape

Second stage of quilting

This is the fun part. You might want to practice a bit first, don't worry if your circles aren't perfect, just have fun!

Figure 3: Adding more straight stitch
     twin needled circles
Figure 3: Adding more straight stitch twin needled circles
  1. Choose where you'd like to sew your first circle. Place your mouse mat sandwich on top of the drawing pin point and press down until the point emerges.
  2. Thread your needle (s) and select a stitch, I sewed my first circles with twin needled straight stitch, but you can use fancy stitches just as well.
  3. Start sewing as normal. The feed dogs will feed your fabric normally, but the pin pivot point will allow the fabric to travel in a circular motion rather than straight. Keep sewing steadily, and you should find yourself back where you started. If your mouse mat is working it's way up off the pin, I found that lightly holding it down with my left hand helped. The denser the first stage of quilting, the easier this step is.
  4. Finish off your circle by sewing a short distance over where you began. I made the mistake of trying to back stitch and it didn't work, you might be more successful.
  5. Move your mouse mat and sew a new circle in another area
  6. Keep adding circles, changing the diameter or stitch settings as you like.
Figure 4: Adding zigzag twin needled circles
Figure 4: Adding zigzag twin needled circles

Finishing the Mat

You could simply bind your mat, but I wanted a smooth edge rather than something the mouse would butt up against. I'm also less keen on the reverse of twin needle quilting, so I wanted to tidy it up a bit!

  1. Trim your mat to 25 x 20 cm, choosing the area you are most pleased with.
  2. Place your backing fabric RS together with the top of the mouse mat.
  3. Sew with 1/4in seam around all four sides, leaving a gap to turn through on one edge.
  4. Trim wadding at corners, turn through, press and slipstitch the gap closed.
  5. Go and surf the internet, and take your mouse for ride!
Figure 5: Finished Mouse Mat
Figure 5: Finished Mouse Mat