A characteristic of quite a few American houses I have come across is that the main entrance door and the living room area are in very close proximity to each other, in our case one literally almost falls right onto the couch when opening the main entrance door. And even though there is something that can be said about the sense of hospitality suggested by that proximity, especially in autumn and winter it does make the challenge of entering with muddy winter boots somewhat more acute… But then again maybe this is just me, or my upbringing in Europe where there is a more distinct boundary between entrance area and living room, providing the muddy boots some privacy from the onlooker’s eye on the couch.
Back to my challenge of trying to avoid muddying up our entrance/living room floor. Last year I put a rather not so attractive piece of cardboard on the floor right next to the door, but this year I came up with a more fun and somewhat more appealing version: a mud shoe matt made from oilcloth. Just in case I should ever forget what exactly the matt next to the door is for, I decided to add silhouettes traced from our shoes…. (One never knows quite when and where forgetfulness hits you, right?)What you need:
Waxed fabric, laminated cloth or oil cloth in two different colors or patterns
piece of cardboard the size of the matt
How to make it:
1) Cut 2 rectangles of your desired size from the main oilcloth and one from the underlying oilcloth, mine were 34.5 cm x 54 cm (including a 0.5 cm seam allowance)
2) Cut thick cardboard (i used an old mailing box) a little smaller than the final size of the matt, mine was 33 x 52.5 cm
3) Trace shoes on paper, then use the paper pattern to cut out the silhouette from one of the rectangles cut from the main oilcloth. I used washers from the hardware store as pattern weights, then cut the shape with my rotary cutter.
4) Place the cloth with the cut out shoe silhouettes on top of the rectangle cut from the contrasting cloth, and connect both layers by sewing closely along the edge of each shoe. I like the somewhat rugged and imperfect look of the free hand stitch, and went around each silhouette three times. You can also use a zig zag stitch if you like that better though. If you want to go more colorful, you could place a differently colored oilcloth behind each pair of shoes….
5) Then place bottom part cut from main fabric with right sides together on the top part with the silhouettes. You will leave one of the narrow sides open to insert the cardboard later on. In order to have clean corners on the open side when turning the matt around, fold each layer on the open side over by about 0.5 cm or whatever seam allowance you choose.
6) Sew the layers together, preferably using a small seam allowance in order to avoid bulk that might later be in the way of the cardboard.
7) Turn the matt inside out, insert the cardboard and then if the cardboard has some wiggle room, sew a narrow seam all around the matt using the zipper foot in order not to bump up against the cardboard. If you calculated your measurements in a way that the cardboard fits in very tightly, only close the open side with a narrow seam. In case there should not be enough room to make a seam, either take out the cardboard an shorten a bit, or close the seam by hand.
8) Done! Ready for those muddy boots…