Tutorial: make a harvest inspired serving mat

This simple sewing project is a great use for fabric scraps, and will make a wonderful centre-piece on your table for family get-togethers around harvest time. Use it to protect your table from dishes and platters of hot food, and give your meal-times a stunning, rustic feel. Follow the sewing tutorial below to make your very own in no time at all.

You will need:

  • Paper and pencil to make the pattern pieces (or you can just draw onto the fabric with tailors chalk)
  • Ruler
  • A selection of autumnal fabric pieces (natural fibres and undyed fabrics work well here, or colours and patterns using browns, yellows, oranges and golds). You’ll need the following sizes:
  • Fabric A – 1 rectangle 22cm x 26cm
  • Fabric B – 1 rectangle 10cm x 26cm and 1 square 14cm x 14cm
  • Fabric C – 2 squares 8cm x 8cm
  • Fabric D – 2 squares 8cm x 8cm
  • One piece of calico (or similar backing fabric) cut to a rectangle 42cm x 26cm
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching cotton
  • Wadding (batting)
  • Scissors (or cutting board and rotary cutter)
  • Pins

Use a 1cm seam allowance throughout.

What to do:

Cut out your fabric pieces and wadding to the sizes outlined above. You can either make paper pattern pieces to cut around (which I find more accurate in the long run) or draw straight onto the fabric if you prefer. Your fabric pieces will fit together as follows:

Table mat layout

Start by sewing your small squares together first. Pin and sew squares in fabric C and D together first, using a 1cm seam allowance.

Small squares

Press your seams, and then sew together the rectangles you have just made to form a square, as follows.

One square

Next, attach the square you cut out of fabric B:

Two squares

Now add fabric A to the design:

Fabric A

And finally, complete the design by adding the large rectangle you cut out of fabric B.

Sewn together

If you haven’t done so already, cut out your wadding and backing fabric. You’ll need a rectangle of each measuring 42cm by 26cm. Place the backing fabric on top of the patchwork design you have just made (right sides together if using a patterned fabric for the backing). Then place the wadding on top. Pin all the layers in place. Using a 1cm seam allowance, sew around the edge of your mat, leaving a gap along one side so that your can turn your work the right side out. Clip your corners and turn through.

Turn out

Don’t be alarmed if your mat seams a bit puffy and pillow-like at this stage! Give it a good press, then top stitch around the very edge of the whole mat (I like to use the edge of the presser foot as a guide here so I get nice and close to the edge). This will also sew closed the gap you turned through in the last step. Give your mat another press.

Top stitch

Now, you could stop here, or you could go one stage further and have some fun with quilting. If you have the time and the talent, I can image some wonderful harvest inspired quilting patterns would make this mat really pop. However, if like me you are trying to knock this up while the roast potatoes are in the oven, try this simple bit of quilting instead.

Start by changing your cotton to a contrasting colour (I used orange here to tie in with my orange polka dot fabric). Then ‘stitch in the ditch’ by going over the top of all your seams.

quilting 1

Give your mat another press, and then using your presser foot as a guide, sew straight lines either side of every line of stitches you just made. Give your work another quick press and there you have it, one rather lovely heat mat for your wonderful family food to sit on.


This make was inspired by ‘fields of gold‘; September’s prompt for my Creative Sewing Challenge. If you want to take part too, its really easy! Just sign up below for free and you’ll receive a new prompt each month, as well as ideas and tutorials to help inspire your sewing. You can also find out more here.