Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Play Mat/Bag

This is going to be very picture/word heavy, so prepare yourselves.  I do not always do things the easy way either, so bear with me through this.

I am an over-packer.  Big time.  Michael will tell you.  We could be going somewhere for one night and I could pack an entire suitcase full of just just for me... Just in case I need 8 shirts and multiple pairs of shoes when we may not even be going anywhere...

Now that we're packing for three instead of just two, it's even worse.  I throw tons and tons of toys into a separate bag for Natalie to play with, plus an extra blanket for her to lay on.  This over-packing problem isn't going to go away, but I decided to make a bag for her toys that would also turn into a play mat to make things a tiny bit better.

I saw these Lay-n-Go mats and thought they were a pretty stinking good idea, but I am too cheap to buy one.

So I attempted to make my own.

I picked out some fabric at Hobby Lobby since I had a gift card there. 

I got way more than needed for this project, but the width of the fabric was about 44 1/2".  So I cut the fabric to make a 44 1/2" square.

Then I folded in it half, then in half again to end up with this:
I TRIED to draw a curve just by eyeballing it on the open ended corner of the fabric (not the corner where the folds meet) thinking that this would give me a circle.  Well it wasn't quite enough of a curve and I ended up with kind of a square with rounded edges... But that was ok with me.

Opened up on top of the other fabric I planned on using.  

Both fabrics cut out. 

My shape is obviously not a circle, but you know... It works.
I bought some satin blanket binding to do the binding around the outside of the ''circle''.  I don't think you need a specific width of binding but you'll want something wide enough to hold whatever cord you choose to use to cinch the bag closed.  Mine was approximately 2" wide.  And I did not need 2 packages for this project... I had a little bit left after just using one. 

Then I used some eyelets to make the holes for my cord.

I just laid the binding out around the edge without pinning it first so that I could just estimate on where I wanted the eyelets to be.

You can see where I set the eyelets down to mark where I wanted them.

With the eyelets in place.  Follow the directions on your eyelet tool if you don't know how to do these, they are super easy though.

You'll only want the eyelets to go through one layer of the binding.
I made my cord ahead of time, but you could probably just use ribbon or rope or nylon or anything else.  I made mine out of strips of the polka dot fabric...  You'll need to figure out the circumference of your circle to see how much you'll need (that applies to the binding, too).

My approximately 47 inch circle (including the binding) had a circumference of around 11 1/2 feet.  So I made my cord a bit longer to be sure I would have enough.

Then I put the cord inside the binding as close to the fold as I could get it, and then pinned above the cord so I wouldn't accidentally sew it to the binding or mat.

Lacing it through the eyelet from underneath and back in from the top.

All pinned.
I did end up with plenty extra cord so I cut it down to just be the right length, and sewed the ends together.  Then sewed the binding on and I was done!

The bag/mat is also reversible which I enjoy.

Natalie playing to give you an idea of how big it is.

That may or may not make any sense to anyone else, but I'm glad I at least got it figured out :)

Now we just need to go somewhere and put it to use!  She does play on it when we're home too, though, obviously.  But I think it will come in handy!

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Someday Crafts
Southern Lovely
Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom
Bear Rabbit Bear 
A Glimpse Inside 
Yesterday On Tuesday
Tatertots and Jello
  Not Just a Housewife


  1. I love that you figured out how to do this! I may have to give it a shot one day.

  2. Thank you for the tutorial! I've been wanting to make one for my twins to play on at the park or during Sunday School. Love the photos too! It really helps to to both see and read the directions!