Day 4, and I can report my March challenge is going along swimmingly! An unexpected bonus to the challenge has been the motivation I have to finish up long-standing projects and get them in the mail (hey, it counts!). This weekend, I finished another baby play mat, my favorite homemade baby gift. I just select two fabrics with large patterns I like, one for each side, and a coordinating fabric for the binding (or you could use bias binding instead).
This time, I used Out to Sea by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller fabrics for the front and back. The binding is made from Honey Honey by Kate Spain for Moda. In the past, I have used a heavier-weight fabric (such as the Kokka linen blends) to great success. I don't love the way this one bunches and wrinkles after a run through the washing machine, but this gift is not about perfection*. It's about practicality, function, and thinking enough of someone to make a gift for their wee babe.
To make the play mat, you will need enough fabric to make a large square. This fabric was 45 inches wide, so that is the length I had cut. Prewash the fabrics. Then, lay out a quilt sandwich with a double layer of cotton wadding for the middle to make it extra soft and cushion-y. Pin the sandwich together and sew a big X straight from corner to corner. Don't worry if it isn't exact (you can see in the first picture that mine certainly isn't). Attach your binding. If you want to be fancy, you can sew loops of ribbon at random intervals along the edge for a tactile element or a practical way to attach baby toys with rings. Wash again and dry to check your sewing holds, and TAH-DAH! Homemade baby gift complete!
This gift was inspired by my observation that most babies end up on the floor for play. Mamas often want to put something beneath their babes, but basic blankets are rarely sufficient and there isn't much else available that is easy to tote around and wash. Please let me know if you make one and what you think.
*If you think the recipient will notice and think poorly of any errors, I strongly recommend gifting something from a store and keeping your hand-mades for someone else. Stress goes against the whole point of making something with love.
Wishing you a happy start to your week!