Sunday, February 5, 2012

Car/Train Play Mat (semi tutorial)

 Tiger got invited to a friend's birthday party and we needed a good idea for a gift to take. Fortunately, inspiration finally struck. Unfortunately, that didn't occur until the day before the party. The friend, like Tiger, is into trains and cars. I had seen a large playmat on Pinterest and thought with a little tweaking that would make a good idea. I made it smaller so that it was portable and could be taken places, and put a road and train tracks on one side so that it was like having a train table that you could take with you. I am sure that others have had the same idea, but since I couldn't find evidence in my quick search, I shall share how I made mine. 
 First, I made a circle pattern. I took a sheet of newspaper and using a string in the center with a pen on the end made the largest circle that I could. I then cut out two- one out of my backing fabric (the cute trains).
 and one out of my inside fabric.
 I laid out my road and track plan (the tracks are bias tape cut 2 1/2", the road I free-handed from a sheet of felt. The trees and lake were also free-handed.)
 After deciding on my placement, I used stitch witchery to tack my tracks in place (I set them 2" inside my circle), and then sewed around every track. It is a little time consuming, but will keep the track in place and makes the mat washable and durable.
 Once my tracks were in place I added "rails" with some silver baby ric rac. I just held it in place as I stitched, trying to keep it about the same distance from the edge of each track so that it was even.
 Once the track was finished I sewed around the felt road, lake, and trees. I used a close zig zag stitch to make the lines in the center of the road, and one of the swoopy stitches on my machine to make the waves in the lake. If I had more time, I would have embellished it a little more.
When the play area was finished I took some quilt binding and sewed around the playmat and the backing. I added some grommets and ran a rope through (actually I used some narrow bias tape- not recommended) so that the mat could be cinched up into a bag to carry the trains and cars. If I was going to do this again, I would use bigger grommets and a smoother drawstring. 
The finished product, with only half an hour before party time. We were only a couple of minutes late.

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