How to Make the Onion Dome Church Mat
Onion-dome shaped, double-sided, padded church mat to lay your baby on during services so they can look around them at the beautiful icons of the Orthodox Church. Mat is large enough for your child to use as a "stay here" place to sit or stand as they grow. Two layers of hi-loft quilt batting makes the mat comfortable on hard or cold floors, but still flexible enough to fold and stuff into the diaper bag. Eye-catching patterns especially good for infants: black and white as their eyes develop clarity, and a rainbow of liturgical colors as their brains process colors. Quilted with 100% natural cotton fabric and hypoallergenic polyester batting, but the best news is that it can be machine washed & dried on gentle cycles! Finished mat measures 28" from the base to the point, and 21" wide. Photos show a 7-month-old baby enjoying sitting on a "Retro" color palette mat and playing with her teething toy; folded mat is the lighter "Vintage" color palette.
- Fabric: 1 yard of Petal Signature Cotton (or other fabric) with the Dome Church Mat in Retro or Vintage Liturgical Colors
- Batting: Poly-fil Hi-Loft Quilt Batting (one "Small" package makes two complete mats)
- White thread
- Sewing machine
- Sewing pins
- Turning tool, chopstick, crochet hook, etc
- Hand sewing needle
Prepare the fabric
- To keep the raw edges of the fabric from fraying in the wash and making a mess of loose threads, do one of the following methods: Sew the raw (cut) edges of the fabric with a loose zig-zag stitch; Cut along the edge with pinking shears; Put the fabric in a delicates bag and let it fray.
- Machine wash warm or cool with phosphate-free detergent on a gentle or delicate cycle.
- Machine dry on a low heat setting.
- Iron the fabric on the reverse side, or use a pressing cloth on the right side, on a hot or cotton setting.
Cut out the Domes & Batting
1. Cut the two domes out along the outer black edge of the domes.
2. Lay one of the domes on top of the batting, right side up, pin the fabric to the batting, and cut out the batting along the edge of the fabric. Repeat for the other dome. Basting spray is not recommended for this project.
Construct the Mat
1. Sew along all dome lines on both domes with a straight stitch, quilting the fabric to the batting. Start on interior lines and work outward, quilting the dome shapes first, then the oval bases. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line of stitching. Do not quilt the stars.
Sew right on the line where two colors meet.
Start with the red dome, then gold, white, green, blue, and purple. The black dome will be secured when the two sides are sewn together. You can remove pins as you go along, and keep straightening/smoothing the fabric as you sew.
Start with the dome upside down so the bulk of the dome is to your left (away from the sewing machine); put your needle down where the scissor tips are pointing, sew forward a few stitches, backstitch, then go all the way around, and backstitch again at the end. Clip the threads flush to the fabric.
Sew just inside the black bars to see the stitching, or stitch just inside the white bars to hide the stitches.
Quilt the entire oval of the red dome base first, straightening/smoothing as you go. The rest of the bases are "behind" this base, so you won't have to sew all the way across the bottom again.
For the left side of the remaining bases, start where the presser foot is in the photo above, and end where the scissors are pointing in the photo below. This keeps the bulk of the dome away from your sewing machine.
Sew the opposite way for the right side of the domes: start at the top and end at the bottom.
Quilting done for the front and back! On to the next step:
2. Match the domes together with right sides facing and the batting exposed; pin. Sew along the edge with a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving a turning hole about 3-4" in the middle of the dome base. Since the domes may not line up exactly, check the stitches on both sides to be sure the fabric was sewn together well enough to hold when turned right side out.
3. Trim places with excess batting, clip off the top point of the domes (as close to the stitches as possible without clipping them), and clip into the corner where the dome meets the base on the left and right side.
4. Turn the mat right side out. Use a chopstick-like tool to push out the corners and run it along the inside seam to push out the fabric and batting along the seam.
5. Close up the turning hole by sewing a ladder stitch (also called an invisible stitch) by hand.
6. Smooth the two layers of the mat with the black & white side up and put in a few pins to keep the layers flat. Quilt the stars to hold the front and back together and give a cushioned feel to the center of the mat:
A. Start with a middle star and work outwards to quilt all of the stars.
B. Put your needle down at the center of a star, sew forward to the bottom of the star, backstitch past the center and up to the top, sew forward to the center, then lift your presser foot (but not the needle). Turn the dome 90* and repeat to complete the "+" part of the star.
C. Left the presser foot (but not the needle), turn the dome 45* and repeat the step above for the "x" part of the star.
D. Cut the threads flush to the fabric on both sides.