Mouse Mat


  • 5cm (2in) diameter retractable tape measure
  • Scraps of cotton fabric (a minimum of two colours)
  • 5 x 10cm (2 x 4in) square of calico or soft Vilene
  • 8 x 26cm (3 x 10in) iron-on stiff Vilene
  • Coordinating thread
  • Double-sided sticky tape

Finished Size

2in diameter

Skill Level


You can download a pdf copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, The Small Things


  1. Using the template provided, adjusting the size if necessary, trace two copies onto soft Vilene or calico. They should be larger than your tape measure by a minimum of 1in. Shown here is a Pineapple block but you could use the same method to make another block of your choice.
  2. Use the foundation method of piecing to make up both pieces of patchwork. Cut out two circles from the stiff Vilene to match the diameter of your tape measure.
  3. Cut one of the foundation pieces of patchwork the size of the circle plus 1in to give 1⁄2in extra all the way around. Stitch around the circle 1⁄8in inside the edge with running stitches.
  4. Place a stiff Vilene circle in the middle of each circle and iron in place on the the edge fold over the Vilene. Tie off the thread leaving the Vilene in place. Repeat to make a second circle for the base.
  5. Measure the depth of the tape measure and the total distance all the way around (circumference). Cut a strip of stiff Vilene the depth of the tape measure by the circumference of the tape measure, this will be the lining of your gusset. Trim 1 ⁄8in off one short end of the Vilene to allow for the fabric folding over the edges.
  6. Cut a fabric strip 1⁄4in larger than the stiff Vilene all the way around. Iron the stiff Vilene strip to the WS of the fabric in the centre of the strip. If you were very keen you could piece this fabric strip too but the seam allowances might cause a bit of bulk at the edges.
  7. Fold over the excess fabric all the way around in towards the centre and iron to give a neat outside edge. Take care to keep the corners sharp.
Figure 1: Foundation template for Pineapple block
Figure 1: Foundation template for Pineapple block


  1. Put a small piece of double-sided tape on each of the flat surfaces of the tape measure (not over the retracting button if it has one) and place one pieced circle on each face.
  2. On the side wall of the tape measure, at the point where the tape comes out of the holder, put two small pieces of double-sided tape, one on either side of the ‘tail’ and one small piece of double-sided tape on the opposite side of the ‘wall’ to the tail, to hold the cover in place.
  3. Place the gusset over the double-sided tape and press firmly. Starting at the tape measure ‘tail’ slip stitch the circles to the gusset using as small a stitches as possible and a matching thread. A curved needle such as is used for assembling boxes might help. Repeat with the other side.
  4. Casually use your tape measure at your next group meeting and wait for the shrieks of delight from your friends. Why not send us a picture?

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 12 Issue 10 - September 2004