Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Travel Car Mat Tutorial

Ladies, it's crunch time.  Only 4 more days until Christmas!  So, you're either reading this with a smug grin, knowing you got your shopping and presents done in July (dear sister of mine) or you're running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to find those last minute things for the hard to shop for.
Why not hide out in your jammies instead, and make this easy-peasy travel car play mat? It'll take you about an hour, and depending on materials you may already have on hand in your fabric stash, could even be free.  Sweet, no?  Yes.
I'd like to give a shout out to my fellow crafty mommy here in Hawaii, the supah talented Sharon of Mama's a Mess.  Check her blog out, and then order her stuff here: Happy Hapa .  She originally introduced me to this AMAZING fabric that has a little block of Honolulu printed on it- complete with the Zoo, Shell amphitheater, and iconic Waikiki.  Love this stuff!

1 11x18" piece car themed fabric- city scenes, roads, airports, or even just wide stripes could work *fabric A
1 11x18" piece town themed fabric (or an additional car themed piece, to have the same front and back) *fabric B
1 11x18" piece interfacing or heavy cotton batting
2 11x6" pieces for the pockets in coordinating fabric
1 coordinating button, snap, or velcro
coordinating thread

Once pieces have been measured and cut:
1. Sew a top hem in each pocket panel to finish top edge.  Just a basic fold and fold again type hem will work. 
2. layer pieces as follows: 
fabric B, right side up
the two pocket panels, right sides facing each other, aligned with bottom of fabric B
fabric A, right side down
Pin along edges.

Should look like this, but lined up evenly on the edges:

3.  Sew around edge (I went a half inch from the edge), leaving a 4-5 inch gap for turning.  It helps to do a fix knot or some backstiching on either side of the gap. 
4. cut corners like this:
5.  Reach into fabric sandwich between fabrics A and B and flip right side out, being sure to poke out the corners.
6. Fold in/iron the fabric at the turning gap, and sew a line around edge of entire play mat, like this:

7.  Now you can add pocket separations if you'd like.  I made three sections to mine, marking with fabric chalk.  I used a heavy bar stitch to make them nice and secure.  

8.  Fold up along the edge of the  pocket into thirds- the last third should be smaller, and will create the flap for closing.  Now you can mark where you want your securing device to go- I used a button, but velcro or a snap would work just as well.   

8. (Optional)  I added some cars to the pockets on the city scene, but wanted something different for the opposite side.  I cut a bunch of shapes out of felt to create little village scenes.  The felt kind of 'sticks' to the fabric, making it a good option for the car.  Here's a scene my daughter made:

 That's it!  Lemme know if you try this out- I'd love to see your takes on it.  Enjoy these last few days before Christmas- time to start making merry in earnest! :)

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