A couple of months ago during a trip to the Eternal Maker (not normally an outing that would fill either child with joy) I was somewhat surprised to hear a great big gasp of excitement from Teddy and a breathless, "Mummy, can I have that fabric?" Well, it would be rude not to, right? How often does your average three-year-old ask for fabric?
Never mind that it is possibly the ugliest fabric ever made (I have informed Rachel that they are forbidden from ordering anything so alarming again, in case Teddy spots it and I have to make a duvet set to go with this mat or something), he was just so excited that I felt obliged to set to work turning it into something that I could bear to have in my life.
And look, it even comes with its own little garage. Of sorts.
I'll be honest, the entire project was a bit of a bodge job - most of the seams are wonky, and I could have made life a hell of a lot easier for myself by not piecing the 'garage' pockets out of five different green fabrics.
It is possibly the most well loved project of any I have ever completed. It was played with pretty much daily while we were camping, and often graces our sitting room floor (once Teddy stopped yelping, "but it's for camping" every time we offered to get it out. He's a bit funny like that). He really loves it. I'm calling that a success.
And besides, I backed it with pretty fabric, at least.
And, since it's a travelling mat, it rolls up and looks all pretty.
I was going to sew on the webbing as a proper strap, but ran out of time before we went camping. I might get round to it one day. Or not.
Project notes - camping mat:
- Fabrics used are the Choo Choo You panel by Richard Neuman for Clothworks (look, there's a whole range available!), and a Kokka (I assume) robot print, both from the Eternal Maker. I can't see them up on the site at the moment, but give them a call if you want to track either fabric down. Pez prints and other scraps are from my stash.
- Cotton webbing was also from the Eternal Maker, find it here.
- I haven't measured the overall thing, but a quick google suggests that the panel is 36"x44", so I'm guessing the whole thing is around that size, plus the extra bit for the pockets, which is maybe 12" long by 8-10" wide.
- I made the pocket portion first - pockets were made by sewing two pieces of fabric right sides together along one edge, then turning and pressing and top stitching - then sewed it onto the main panel (with raw edges where the binding would cover it) and sewed over the top of the seams between fabrics to create the smaller pockets. I left one large pockets for bigger cars and trains. The snap press was used to put poppers on it.
- I basted it like a normal quilt, but added an extra square to the backing to account for the sticky out pocket section
- I quilted and bound it like a normal quilt. The inverted mitred corners where the pocket section meets the main mat are atrocious, I should have looked up a tutorial or something, but I was too lazy. Teddy doesn't seem to care.
- I hand finished the binding. If ever there was a time to learn machine finished quilt binding, it was on a kid's play mat, but I just couldn't face it, so I stuck on a film and finished it over a few evenings.
It's the first of a handful of things I'm hoping to make for our camping holidays. I actually had grand plans for a whole 'Project Camping' series with a bundle of handmade goodies for camping, but since I'm absolutely rushed off my feet with the shop at the moment (5" charm square assortments are proving more popular than I could have imagined!), I think maybe I'll leave that for a springtime series for next year. Because, you know, I like to sleep occasionally.
I can't get over what a hit this mat has been with Teddy. Have you ever made something for your kids that's been a huge hit? Was it as ugly as this mat? Did you rush through all the little details like adding pockets as much as I did? I bet you didn't.