Create a pretty fabric matte for an inexpensive frame and turn a favorite photo into a showpiece. We patchworked eight squares from a charm pack, and added some ribbon for accent, but you can use the fabric of your choice. We think using a selection of fabrics from a wedding would make a great memory piece. Covering the mattes is easy, even for a beginner, and they make a perfect gift for family and friends.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Décor Computer 3050)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Frame with a pre-cut matte. We used a 10" x 10" frame matted for a 5" x 5" photo. We found ours at Michael's.
- Fabric. We used several 5-inch squares from two charm packs provided to us by Fat Quarter Shop: L'Amour by Sandy Gervais and Sent with Love by Deb Strain.
- Spray adhesive that is suitable for fabric. You can also use a clear-drying craft glue.
- Double-sided tape (optional)
- Mini Glue Dots (optional)
- Fabric pencil or pen
You can adapt these steps to fit your matte size.
- Open the frame and remove the matte. Our frame came with an additional black plastic insert used to border the photo. We didn't use that piece so you'll need to gently separate it from the matte.
- Measure the matte so you can create your patchwork to fit. In our example we have a 10" x 10" matte with a 5" x 5" center hole. Our fabric will need to be about 12" x 12" with a 3" x 3" center hole. The extra fabric all around will be used to overlap onto the back side of the matte.
At Your Sewing Machine
- Make your patchwork. We used eight 5" x 5" charm pack squares. Sew three pieces together to form the top row using a 3/8" seam allowance. Set aside. Sew three pieces together to form the bottom row.
- Position an additional charm square between the top and bottom strips on both the left and right sides to make a frame shape. Line up the inside corners, which means you’ll have 3/8” extra along the outside edges as shown below. This is okay; you’ll trim it off later. Pin right sides together.
- Using a 3/8” seam allowance, stitch these four short seams to complete your frame. Trim off the excess along the outer edges. Press your seam allowances toward the middle.
Finishing your matte
- Position your matte on your completed patchwork piece. Using your ruler, draw a diagonal cut line as shown.
- Trace around the inner edge of the matte.
- Spray a thin layer of adhesive (or apply a thin layer of glue) to the front of the matte. Place the front side of the matte over the back side of the fabric aligning to your pen line.
- You can use spray adhesive on the back side of your matte, or double sided tape (as we did). Clip at your corner diagonal marks and wrap center edges of fabric to the back of the matte. Fold the outside corners of your fabric as shown below.
- Wrap the remaining edges of the fabric to the back of the matte.
- Cut strips of ribbon long enough to wrap your matte.
- Wrap each seam with a piece of ribbon and secure with a mini glue dot (or tape)
- Flip over and position your photo onto the back of your matte and insert into your frame.
Hints and Tips
We put the glass back into our frame, but you could omit it if you like it better that way.