This tutorial shows you a simple way of making a colourful and practical mat from strips of cotton. The size of the finished mat is up to you, once you have seen the technique you can use it to make a coaster, a table mat or a much larger mat to be used as a rug. The strips that I have used are only 2 inches wide, so its the perfect project to use up all those little bits.
To get making you will need lots to cut yourself lots of strips of fabric that are approximately 2 inches wide and any length. You will also need some extra strong thread, a needle and you will need to use your iron and sewing machine.
Once you have lots of strips you need to decide which ones to sew together in which order. I chose to use white, blue and red and to sew them together randomly. Divide your cut fabric into three equal piles and then begin to sew these together into longer strips.
When you have your long strips, they need to be pressed ready for braiding. If you have a bias maker then this will save you time, but you can still turn the ends in without one. This will hide all the raw edges and make your finished mat neater.
Now that your strips are ready for braiding, wind them into balls so that they are easier to work with. Take the end of each strip and hold them flat on top of one another. Using the button hole stitch on your machine stitch back and forth several times to hold the strips together securely.
Then you can start braiding! The easiest way to do this is to tape the end of the plait to the table to hold it steady and you will need to move the balls around one another every so often to untangle them. Don’t pull your plait too tight as it will pucker up and adjust each strand as you go so that the raw edges are underneath.
When you have finished plaiting your fabric strips then you can begin to coil it around and stitch it into place by hand using extra strong thread. To sew the strips together you need to lace them. This means catching a bit of fabric from one side, then crossing over to the other side and catching a small piece from there. When you pull it tight this will pull the two plaits so that they lie side by side together. The photos below will illustrate this…
Don’t pull the thread too tight because then your mat won’t lie flat. When you get to the end of lacing your plait into a coil make sure you ends are secured in the same way as you started. Then tuck this end under and secure.
If you fancy making your own braided mat then you can buy the extra strong thread and a bias maker from Amazon. If you purchase anything through the links in my post you are helping to support my blog as I get a small referral fee from Amazon. Thank you!