Playmat Phase 1 - Sew Modern Baby

Monday, May 12, 2014

Yesterday, one of our long time customers, Ruth, came in with the book Sew Modern Baby. We carry the book, but I have never really looked at it. She told me she was making the play mat. My exact response was, "I would love to make that, but it looks like a lot. Tell me how it goes; if it's hard, I don’t want to hear about it." As we shopped for fabrics and she told me more about the project, I realized it really wasn’t that hard. As I cut her fabric, I cut fabric for me, too! Of course, I want to get it done in time for Stacy's baby, Rylan. And, the timing is perfect because when Rylan grows out of it, Floyd baby #3 will be ready to use it. 


Ruth made a good point in using bright colors and making it easier on yourself by using solid blocks of fabric rather than sewn together scraps. However, this would be a great scrap project. 

The first step was cutting out the 9 blocks for the numbers to go on—easy. I chose to use the cream on white chevron muslin mate by Moda Fabrics. I wanted to use dots for all of the numbers, so I picked out 9 colors: black, brown, blue, turquoise, kelly green, orange, yellow, red, and  purple. I'm using a red dot on white for the sashing.

I then laid out my colors to decide what color would be each number. For some reason, I love this part. I love arranging and rearranging fabrics. I wanted the red to be the number 5 because of the red sashing. 

Next, you want to trace the number from the book onto an adhesive. I used Heat ‘n Bond paper. I love Heat ‘n Bond paper because it makes homemade appliqué easy. We used it during Stacy's baby shower to quickly make onsies that everyone could participate it. 

I made the stupid mistake of using my Frixion pen to trace the numbers...I know, I know rookie move. I about smacked myself when I ironed on the number 1 and the number disappeared! Silly me. No worries. I retraced the numbers with a real pen. It took less than an hour to trace the numbers, retrace the numbers, iron them on, cut them out, and iron them onto the cream/white blocks. 

Because of the dots on the numbers and the chevrons on the blocks, I wanted to define the outside of the numbers. My first thought was to use navy thread because I love how navy looks with everything, even black :) I didn't think white would do the job, and I didn't love the idea of black. I started looking at my thread and realized I already had all of the colors. Maybe my thread collection is too large, but today it paid off. I then used an appliqué stitch on my machine, but, really, you could use anything, a straight stitch, a zig zag, or a decorative stitch. 

As I sewed on the sashing, I thought it was turning very red. I know babies see red first which is why I picked red; however, I don't love red. I decided to use my scraps from the numbers to change my outside border to some of my favorite colors. I used turquoise 1.5” ribbon for the tabs even though the pattern called for 5/8" ribbon. I also cut them 3" long instead of 2". I just figured it would be more for the baby to play with. 

Now, how should I quilt it? Should I get it quilted? Stitch in the ditch around the numbers and the sashing, or do something different? I'm thinking about drawing random blocks all over it and using those as a guide to quilt it. Let me know what you think. My 2 year old, Braelyn loves it! She loves looking for the numbers and colors as I call them out. Maybe this mat will help me entertain all three kids!!

Also, I can't decide if I want to continue with the dot theme on the polls, or do I want to use other fabrics from my stash. What would look best? 

I'm debating on teaching a class on this because I think it would be a lot of fun. Let me know your opinions!


  1. Teach a class. This would be a fun project. I love the fabric selection!

  2. I think people would love a class on this project! Love how it turned out!

  3. Summer is the perfect time to take on sewing projects like this. I just loved this.

  4. Color is a powerful force even in the food we eat - it also is an important consideration in what we wear, and/or how we decorate our homes. A thorough knowledge of color makes decorating with sewing fabrics a pleasure.
    Nadel Paris


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