August 10, 2010

Baby Play Mat

A few weeks ago I made this baby play mat for SYTYC.  Do you ever envision something great in your head?  You think it will be the most brilliant thing you've ever made?  Then you start it and realize it's going to be a lot more work than you'd ever imagined?  Yup.  That's what this beast was like for me.  I was happy with how it turned out, but I won't be making another one anytime soon.

When I started brainstorming about the theme "baby gifts" I wanted to think of something I would truly want to receive for a baby.  My babies have always hated tummy time and we have lots of hardwood flooring in our home.  So?  I made a giant baby play mat.  (Nevermind that it's in the grass, it's meant for inside play.  I just needed a bright place to photograph it.)

This mat is guranteed to keep a baby happy and entertained.  It's loaded with not only color, but lots of texture......fringe, satin edging, tangible animals secured by ribbon, textured stitching, beads protected from reach under clear vinyl.  It's also super comfortable, with a couple layers of batting and thick fleece on top and bottom.  What?  You're afraid it will slip around?  I sewed grippers on to the bottom so the mat will remain in place at all times.

Want to add your own toys?  Just link them into the grass loops by the rocks.  This way you can interchange some of the toys to keep your baby interested.

But, the best part's machine washable.  (Hang to dry.)  Let's face it.  Babies are cute, but oh so messy.

Want a brief run down of how it was made?  Here's a quick and genereal step by step.

1) I cut both the green and blue fleece to be 4' by 4'.  Then I cut both layers in a big wavy line, like a rolling hill.  I sewed them together overlapping them by an inch and a half.  Then I cut that extra flap to look like grass - fringing it.

2) I sewed on all the, rocks, the sun, a branch.  I tried to use a variety of colors and textures.  I also purchased a mobile from Ikea and used the animals/bugs on it.  They were sewn onto a ribbon, which I sewed onto the flowers and branches.  The center of one of the flowers was made by sewing clear vinyl over several beads.  I also sewed circular grippers to the back of the mat.  I got them at the dollar store.  They're made for opening jars.  (You can't really sew around them because they are to grippy, but you can sew back and forth in a few spots to attach them.)

3) I used two layers of batting and "quilted" it in a few different ways.  Getting this beast under my machine was pretty much a wrestling match.  I have a new respect for quilters.  Whew!  Anyhow, in the grass I sewed grass lines.  In the clouds I sewed zigzags.  I sewed the edges of thee flower stems.  I wanted to make sure the layers would stay together.  Then I added a little more decorative details by outlining the clouds and flowers with embroidery floss.

4) I trimmed the edges to be even and sewed on the satin baby blanket edging.  Then I went to bed chanting never again.

That's basically the run-down.  I'm not sure how I made that look like it was only four steps, but this puppy took me quite a while.  However, I'm really excited to have somthing like this when I have another baby.  It's huge and comfortable.  The store bought ones are usually kind of lame and super pricey. 

Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments.  It makes doing this even more fun.  I like you :)


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