Looking for a long bath mat to run the entire length of your tub or double sink? Save yourself the hassle and expense of tracking one down, and make exactly what you need. Here’s how to sew a bath mat runner.
Bath Mat Runner Tutorial
This bath mat runner is made from triple-ply terry cloth, so it’s plush, absorbent and machine washable. Measure the space where you plan to use it. Then, make a custom runner that fits the spot perfectly.
Fabric Wholesale Direct provided the fabric, ribbon and thread for this project. I’ve included links to those products in the supply list.
What You’ll Need:
- Terry cloth fabric
- A spool of 1.5″ grosgrain ribbon
- Fabric scissors
- A yard stick, or straight edge
- An air or water-soluble marker
- Sewing pins or sewing clips
- A sewing machine (This is the machine that I have)
Optional (but nice to have):
- A rotary cutter (This is the one I have)
- A self-healing cutting mat
- A hera marker
- 1/4″ piecing foot
- A walking foot
How Much Fabric to Buy: Decide on the finished dimensions for your bath mat runner; then, buy a piece of terry cloth that’s at least as long as your finished runner and at least three times as wide. There are no seam allowances to build into your measurements; however, I do recommend buying a bit extra, so you’ll be able to trim up the raw edges of the terry cloth.
What You Do:
Wash and dry your terry cloth fabric. Then, stretch it out on your cutting table. Fold it in half width-wise, to make it easier to handle.
Then, trim the raw edge to remove any frayed bits. This antique wallpaper ruler is over 6 feet long. It’s brilliant for fabric cutting.
Open your fabric back up to its full size. Then, cut out a rectangle that’s as long as you want your finished bath mat runner to be and three times as wide.
I decided to make my bath mat runner 18″ W x 44″ L, so I cut out a piece that was 54″ W x 44″ L.
If your fabric isn’t big enough to allow you to cut out a piece that’s three times as wide as your finished bath mat runner, just cut out three pieces that are the exact dimensions you want your finished runner to be.
Stretch your fabric out to its full length. Then, fold it to the proper width, by folding it in third and in third again. This will give you the finished dimensions for your bath mat runner.
If you had to cut three pieces of fabric in the previous step, just stack the three pieces neatly on top of each other, instead.
Pin or clip all the way around the edge of your bath mat runner, to hold all the layers together. Smooth out any lumps or bumps in the layers. A yard stick inserted in one of the open sides is the perfect tool for smoothing out any hard-to-reach spots.
Sew a quarter-inch hem all the way around the bath mat runner, to tack all the layers together. These stitches won’t be visible on the finished runner, so it doesn’t matter what color thread you use.
I used my 1/4″ piecing foot for this step. Just line the edge of your fabric up with the edge of the foot, and you get perfect 1/4″ seams, without measuring.
Here’s the bath mat runner with the edges hemmed. To keep the layers from shifting around in the center of the runner, draw a design to quilt.
I used a hera marker to do this. That’s what that little, plastic tool is that you see here. Instead of making marks with ink, it just makes temporary creases in the fabric.
I decided to quilt a rectangle in the center of my bath mat runner. To do this, I just measured in 4 inches from the edge all the way around and drew my marks. See how clear the marks are from my hera marker? They’re every bit as easy to follow as the marks from an air or water-soluble marker, and since it doesn’t use ink, it never has to be replaced.
Once you’re satisfied with the design you’ve drawn, take the bath mat runner back to your sewing machine; and stitch along the lines, to quilt the layers of your mat together.
Now, the only thing left is to create a ribbon binding for the edge of your runner!
Grab your spool of 1.5″ grosgrain ribbon. Fold the ribbon so that the back of the ribbon overhangs the front by 1/16″. Iron the crease in (on a low temperature setting), or finger-press it, whichever method you prefer.
Then, starting in the center of one of the long sides of your bath mat runner, place the folded ribbon over the edge of your runner, so that the widest part of the ribbon is on the back side of the runner. This will increase your chances of capturing the back of your ribbon binding, when you sew it to your runner.
Use pins or sewing clips to secure the binding to your runner.
When you get to the first corner, fold the ribbon under and around to the next side, so that it forms a 45-degree angle with the side you just finished.
Then, start folding the ribbon over the new side. This will give you a neat, mitered corner. Be sure to secure it with a couple pins or clips. You may need to play with it a bit, to get it to look neat on both the front and back side of your runner.
Continue working around your runner, until you get back to where you started.
To finish the binding, cut the end of your ribbon, so that it overlaps the starting end by two to three inches. Then, fold both ends of the ribbon under …
and pin or clip the end piece over the starting piece. This will give you a clean seam, with nothing to unravel.
Once you’ve finished attaching your ribbon binding, look it over carefully, on both the front and back side of your runner. Make sure all the edges are captured in the binding, and that your mitered corners are neat. Make any necessary adjustments.
Then, center your needle up on the edge of the ribbon, and zig-zag stitch around the binding to attach it to your runner. Use a large zig-zag stitch, to increase your chance of catching the back of the binding (I set my stitch width to 6).
Inspect the backside of your runner, to see if there are any spots where the binding didn’t get sewn down. Stitch back over anywhere you missed.
I zig-zag stitched around my binding twice, to make sure it was firmly attached to the runner.
Here’s the finished project – a bath mat runner that’s the perfect size for my bathroom!
One of the fun things about making your own bath mat runner is that you can embellish it anyway you want.
I had a spool of vintage tassel fringe …
so I used it to finish out the edge of this mint green bath mat runner.
My daughter plans to take it to college with her.
If you have an embroidery machine, or are handy with a needle and thread, you could even monogram your bath mat runner. Get creative, and make something that truly expresses your personality.