Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whip It Up Wednesday [Guest Post Repeat]: Fold Up Baby Change Mat

A little while ago I did a guest post at Vanilla Bean (thanks Ellie!) so just in case you missed it, here it is again!

If you're a regular reader, you probably already know that I'm going to be sewing a baby bag for my friend who's expecting. In preparation for this, I thought I'd practice working with oilcloth by making this change mat. I'm so glad I did, because I learned a LOT!

I based my change mat on this tutorial from Polka-Dot Umbrella, it's great!

What You'll Need:
  •  Two 25" x 16" rectangles of oilcloth
  • One small scrap of coordinating fabric
  • One snap fastener 
  • Coordinating cotton thread (I used upholstery grade thread for extra strength)
  • Binding/hemming clips (like these)
  • Air erasable pen
  • Sewing machine (I used a leather weight needle)
  • Optional but recommended
    • Old CD, plate, etc (something round!)
    • One 25" x 16" rectangle of sew-in interfacing or batting (some kind of padding)
    • Coordinating bias tape
What To Do:

Prepare the mat pieces - Cut out your two large rectangles of oilcloth and one of padding. Round the corners of the rectangles by tracing around an old CD or other round object and cutting along the line.

Prepare the tab - Cut two pieces of coordinating scrap fabric, each approximately 2.5" x 3", and pin them together with the right sides facing in. Round the corners at one end if you wish, then sew around the two long edges and the rounded edge, as shown, and turn it right sides out.

Add one side of your snap to your tab. I followed the instructions in the kit ;)

Sew all your layers together - Make a fabric "sandwich" with your two pieces of oilcloth right-sides together, then your padding on top. Use your hemming clips to hold all three layers together. 

Note: You can use normal pins, but make sure you only pin inside the seam allowance because you won't be able to get rid of the holes the pins leave.

In the centre of one long side, clip your tab in. Make sure that the sewn, rounded edge is facing the inside of the "sandwich", and the open, unsewn end is sticking out.

Use your sewing machine with a heavy weight needle and strong thread to sew around the two short sides and the long side that has your tab clipped into it.

Now comes a bit of a challenge! Carefully turn it right sides out. I say carefully, because it can tear and it's not a very soft/flexible material to work with.

Add the other side of your snap - You could do this before sewing the three edges, but I prefer to do it after as I get a better sense of where the other side belongs!

To work out where it goes, fold your mat up just as you plan to when it's complete. Here's my finished mat being folded to show how:

1) fold both sides into the middle, 2) fold up the bottom 1/3, 3) fold the bottom up again.

Use your air erasable pen to mark where the other snap needs to go. I photoshopped this to show where you need to mark, as my pen is a bit light and didn't show up in the photo well.

Unfold your mat and attach the other side of your snap to the marked location, as per the instructions in the snap's kit. This is why we left a big gap between the three layers when we sewed before :)

When you've done that, roll the edges of the open gap in your layers inwards and use your hemming clips to hold it in place.

Top stitch around the entire edge. I had some trouble and mine looked incredibly messy and so I won't show you a picture ;) But I've learned how to avoid this now (lucky you, you get to learn from my mistakes!)

Rissa's Hot Tip: The "right side" of oilcloth is slippery and doesn't feed evenly through your sewing machine. To stop this being a problem, clip tissue paper to the underside of your material! Now it will feed evenly and sew like a dream! Just tear it off when you've finished.

Reinforcing fold lines - To make it easier to fold up, we'll sew along the fold lines. To work out where to sew, fold your mat into thirds and press down gently along the folded edges with your fingers. Unfold the mat and you should be able to clearly see your folds. Use your air erasable pen and a ruler to mark these neatly, then using a long, straight stitch and sew along the lines, back sewing a little at each end for strength.

Here's another picture of the finished mat to show you roughly where the fold lines will be:

Thanks for your input "Photobomb Benny"

OK, now you can add bias tape if you want to. 

If you use my tip and your top stitching looks tidy you can skip adding bias tape. I only used it to hide my horrible top stitching. There are lots of tutorials on the web about making and attaching bias tape so I won't here.

You're done!

Just wondering - if I want to waterproof the stitching, how would I do that? Beeswax pencil, some type of glue..? Ideas would be very welcome!


Jennifer said...

That turned out cute!! And will be extremely handy!!

superh2ogirl said...

Super awesome tutorial!

I'm having a giveaway on my blog to celebrate 50 followers. Come see!

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