There are many tutorials on the web for sewing machine mats; here's my recipe for a very simple one.
You need a 21 inch square of backing and a piece of batting the same size (I used vintage Thermore). Select the fabric for the top of the mat and cut a square 20 inches. (I always make the batting and backing pieces larger than the front; for this mat I only added an inch on each side.) Layer the backing right side down + batting + quilt top face up. Pin baste or secure however you like best.
Quilt as desired. Much of the quilting will be covered by the machine. You could draw a grid, practice some free motion quilting, or do what I did--sort of a free motion of organic lines using my Featherweight. Easy, free-flowing lines from one side to another. No pattern, no drawing. I used a variegated quilting thread on top and bottom. The thread picked up every color in the batik!
Once you are done quilting, press the piece. Now cut this quilted fabric into a rectangle 18 x 19.5 inches. If you are using a directional fabric remember to correctly orient the rectangle measurements. The long side (19.5) goes from the back of the machine to the front where the pocket will be.
From your pocket fabric, cut one piece 8.5 x 18 inches. Fold in half wrong sides together and press. You will have a pocket piece that measures 4.25 x 18. Lay this in place on the bottom edge of the quilted/trimmed fabric and pin in place. You can draw in your dividing lines to make smaller pockets so that your tools/scissors will stand up in the pockets for easy retrieval. You can lay your tools on top of the pocket piece to see what size dividers you will need. Baste the pocket in place around two short sides and one long side (bottom). Stitch on divider lines.
You will need three WOF strips to make the binding. I decided to hand stitch my binding on the back side so I cut my strips 2 inches. You can choose a binding width that is most comfortable to you. Bind around the entire piece. Hand or machine stitch the binding to the back and you have a fabulous mat!
You may want to check the width of your machine to be sure the mat is big enough for your machine. If not, start with a square a couple of inches bigger than what your finished piece will measure and work from there.
This will be really handy at classes or retreats where we all tend to spread our tools over every available flat surface. Having scissors, ripper, pencil, etc. within easy reach will save time and aggravation. And for those of you who need to break down your sewing "room" after every session, this will keep those small tools corralled and help protect whatever surface you are working on.
So there you have my first finish of 2015! It really is a bare-bones pattern, so if you have any questions please ask. And if your first attempt at machine quilting doesn't go so well, I'm sure one of your pets would be thrilled to have it for a bed! Not that you'll have any trouble, but...it's always good to have a Plan B. ;-) Don't ask me how I know!