Here's the tutorial I promised on how to make a scrappy string ring table mat. It's easy and fun!
Basically, you will be making a Dresden plate but without the points on the ends. An EZ Dresden ruler works well for this. If you use that ruler, you will need to cut 20 blades for one ring. I used the 6-1/2 inch mark when cutting, which makes a ring that finishes at about 16 inches in diameter.
Using strings, or strips, that measure about 11 or 12 inches long and between 1 inch and 2-1/4 inches wide, sew enough strings together so that you have a string "strata" that measures at least 6-1/2 inches wide (mine were a bit bigger and then I trimmed them). Press all seams open. Trim to exactly 6-1/2 inches wide. The length doesn't matter as much, as long as each rectangular strata is at least 11 inches long.
For each string ring, you will need to make 4 such strata pieces, measuring 6-1/2 inches x at least 11 inches. Try to use different fabrics in each strata, if you want to go for a scrappy look. I did keep to a color scheme (sort of), i.e., blue, green, tan/off-white, gray, and red. Don't stress about matching or coordinating, though. You may think your colors will look weird together, but it'll all work out in the end, you'll see.
Now from each strata piece, cut 5 blades using your EZ Dresden template. Alternate the direction of the blades cut by turning your template the opposite way for each piece that you cut.
When you've cut 5 blades from each of your 4 strata pieces, you will have the 20 blades for your string ring. Lay them out in a circle, arranged the way you like.
Then sew them together. I like to sew the blades into quarter sections and press them, then sew the quarters into halves, and finally the two halves into a whole circle. But do whatever works for you. Press all your seams open. Now you have a string ring!
Okay, now on to making the table mat. I'm going to use a different string ring that I already had sewn together.
This table mat is not quilted, so you just need a backing, no batting. Cut your backing fabric about 17-18 inches square (or not...mine had a divot out of one end, which was okay). It just has to be a bit bigger all the way around than your string ring. Place the backing fabric right side up and lay the string ring right side down on top of it.
Pin securely all the way around the outer circle. I put a couple pins around the center hole too just to help keep the layers from shifting.
Sew the layers together with a quarter-inch seam around the outer edge.
Trim even with the outer circle.
Turn the piece right-side out through the open center hole, and press flat.
Now you need to cover the center hole. Cut a circle of fabric about 1/2 inch larger in diameter than your center hole (my cut piece was 3-1/2 inches in diameter).
Cut a same-sized circle of Heat 'n Bond Lite and fuse it to the fabric circle following the directions on the package. Then fuse the fabric circle to the string ring.
Stitch around the edges of the center circle however you would like, straight stitch, zigzag, or decorative. My 50-year-old Singer doesn't have a whole lot of options, so I went with a combination straight/zigzag stitch.
Then sew jumbo rickrack to the outer edge, stitching about 1/8 inch from the outer circle edge. I found this to be the most tedious part of the whole process, but it's over quickly and the result is worth it.
And that's it!
Ready for whatever you want to put on top of it—a bouquet of flowers, a potted geranium, plate of cinnamon rolls, pitcher of lemonade, etc.
Have fun with this! If you make one, let me know. I'd love to see it!
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