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Oh Baby! with Fabric.com: Splat Mat with a Carrying Case

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When you’re expecting for the first time, people line up to tell you all the wonderful things in store for you. Your head is swirling with visions of your loving, sweet-smelling bundle-of-joy-to-be. And, of course, it’s all true. However, rarely does anybody let you in on another truism: babies are messy. Really messy! For such tiny little things, they are able to produce an amazing amount of wet, sticky, slimy stuff... sometimes at high velocity. Protect your floors, rugs and more with our two-sided laminated splat mat. When not in use, it folds away into a handy carrying case, which means you can also tote it along to protect the spaces you are visiting with your little mess maker. Good thing they look so cute creating all this chaos!

Many of your favorite fabric designers offer cotton laminates within their new collections. Our Oh Baby! sponsor, Fabric.com has a wonderful selection. There are such pretty options to pick from, it was super hard to narrow it down to just two for today’s project. If you haven’t worked with cotton laminates before, take a look at our tutorial covering the tips and tricks.

If you’ve never visited Fabric.com, now is a great time to give it a try. Not only are they a dandy resource for laminates, they carry 500,000+ yards of fabric overall, so you’re guaranteed to find something to love. Remember, shipping is always free on US orders of $35 and more. We were very pleased with how carefully they shipped our laminate yardage. It arrived rolled on a long tube so there were no creases, no sticking, just clean, beautiful, flat laminate.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies listed below are for ONE approximately 49" x 49" finished splat mat and ONE carrying case. This is a very generous size for most uses, but you could certainly go smaller or larger based on your needs.  

  • 2 yards of 54-58" wide cotton laminate for the splat mat front and carrying case exterior; we used Monkeys in Natural from the Urban Zoologie collection by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics 
  • 1½ yards of 54-58" wide cotton laminate for the splat mat back; we used Lounge Stripe Jade from the Freshcut collection by Heather Bailey for FreeSpirit Fabrics from Fabric.com
  • ½ yard of coordinating 44-45" cotton fabric for the carrying case lining; we used Dot in Bright Sky/Bark from the Oh Deer! collection by MoMo for Moda Fabrics from Fabric.com
    NOTE: You want a cotton for the lining so the folded-up mat slides more easily in and out of the carrying case.
  • Scrap of ½" wide sew-in Velcro®; you only need about 2"
  • All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match fabric
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • See-through ruler
  • Straight pins 
  • Clips for laminate
  • Seam gauge 
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron and ironing board

Getting Started

  1. This project is quite large; you'll need a large work table or a clean floor.
  2. From each laminate fabric (Monkeys and Stripes in our sample), cut ONE 50" x 50" square.
    NOTE: As we mentioned above, this is a very generously-sized mat. If your laminate width allows, you could go larger; and, of course, you can certainly go smaller.
  3. From the remaining front laminate (Monkeys in our sample), cut the following for the carrying case:
    TWO 12" x 17" rectangles
    TWO 3½" x 12" strips 
    ONE 3" x 6" strip
  4. From the coordinating cotton print (Sky Blue & Bark Dot in our sample), cut TWO 12" x 17" rectangles.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

MAT

  1. As we mentioned above, a large work area is very helpful for this project as the fabric is somewhat stiff and heavy. This relates to the cutting, the pinning and the sewing. If you normally sew with your machine in a standard sewing cabinet, you may want to switch to sewing on your dining or kitchen table in order to have increased support surrounding the machine as you sew.
  2. Place the front and back squares of laminate right sides together with all raw edges aligned. 
  3. Traditionally, it is recommended you use clips not pins to hold laminate layers together. But, if you keep your pins ¼" from the edge and running parallel to the edge of the fabric, any holes left will be in the seam allowance. 

    NOTE: If you are new to working with laminates, check out the tips and tricks in our tutorial. It will also review the presser feet options (or the wax paper trick) to allow your machine to move smoothly across the laminate. 
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides of the mat, pivoting at each corner and leaving a approximate 24" opening along one side. 
  5. Trim the corners, and turn the square right side out. Gently poke out the corners with a blunt-end tool, such as a chopstick or long knitting needle.
  6. Finger press the seams and the corners.
  7. Turn under the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. You can use clips to hold the edges in place as you turn under the length of the opening.
  8. Align the folded in edges and re-position in the clips so they are now holding both layers together.
  9. Topstitch all around the mat, approximately ¼" from the edge. This closes the opening used for turning and helps keep the layers from shifting. 

    NOTE: As you know (or learned in our sewing with laminates tutorial), you will need a Teflon® type foot, a Walking foot or a layer of wax or parchment paper under the presser foot in order to allow the laminate to feed smoothly through the machine. 
  10. Place the finished splat mat on a large work surface or the floor. Fold the mat in half. If the mat "balloons" as if it is full of air, gently roll the folded mat from the one end toward the opposite end, working the air out as you go... similar to how you might flatten and roll a deflated air mattress. 
  11. After the mat folds in half and lays flat, fold the mat into quarters, then into eights. Finally, fold the mat one more time into thirds, and it is ready to slip into the carrying case. 

CARRYING CASE

  1. Find the two 12" x 17" rectangles of laminate. Place them rights sides together, matching all the raw edges. Clip in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top should be left open. 
  3. Fold each bottom corner to create a 1½" boxed corner. 
  4. Stitch in place along the drawn lines.
  5. Trim the seam allowance back to approximately ¼".

    NOTE: If you are new to making box corners, we have a great step-by-step tutorial.
  6. Find the two 12" x 17" lining pieces and follow the same steps as above to create a lining bag with 1½” boxed bottom corners.
  7. Find the 3" x 6" laminate strip. This will become the closure tab.
  8. Fold in and press ½" along both 6" edges, then fold in and press ½" on one 3" end.
  9. Fold in half lengthwise, right sides out, so the 6" folded edges align. Finger press.
  10. Edgestitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at each corner. The raw end is left open.
  11. Find the 2" strip of Velcro®.
  12. Place the hook side of the Velcro® ¼" from the finished end of the tab. Pin in place. 
  13. Edgestitch in place around all four sides of the Velcro®.
  14. Place the loop side of the Velcro® on the right side of the front of the exterior bag. It should be placed 1" down the top raw edge of the bag and centered side to side. Pin in place. 
  15. Edgestitch in place around all four sides of the Velcro®.
  16. Place the closure tab on the right side of the back of the exterior bag. It should be centered side to side and the raw edge of the tab should be flush with the top raw edge of the bag. 
  17. To check placement, carefully bring the tab over to the front of the bag and make sure the tab’s hook Velcro® matches the loop Velcro stitched to the front. 
  18. With the exterior bag still right side out and the lining bag wrong side out, slip the lining inside the exterior so the two bags are now wrong sides together. Align the side seams and the top raw edges. Clip or pin in place around the top.
  19. Find the two 3½" x 12" strips of laminate. Place the strips right sides together and clip or pin in place along both 3½" sides. 
  20. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both seams to create a ring. This will be the bag’s facing. 
  21. Fold under one raw edge of the ring by ½" around, finger pressing to hold the fold in place. 
  22. Slip the ring over the top of the bag, aligning the side seams and the top raw edges and sandwiching the closure tab between the layers. The folded edge of the facing should be facing down. Pin or clip in place.
  23. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all around, removing the pins or clips as you go.
  24. Fold the facing to the inside of the bag and smooth it down into place.
  25. Edgestitch all around the top of the bag, making sure the closure tab is pulled up and out of the way. 
  26. Remove the bag from the machine and smooth the facing down into place again. You want to be sure the facing does not twist or pucker. You can temporarily tape it in place if need be. 
  27. Edgestitch all around the bottom folded edge of the facing through all the layers. 

    NOTE: As above, you are stitching across the sticky surface of the laminate for a majority of these steps, you will need a Teflon® type foot, such as the Janome Ultra Glide foot, a Walking foot or a layer of wax or parchment paper under the presser foot in order to allow the laminate to feed smoothly through the machine. For more hints about working with laminates, review our tutorial. 
     

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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Comments (25)

Iva said:
Iva's picture

The link for the wide cottom laminate fabric doesn't work.  Can you give us a link to the cottom laminate fabric choices or can we make our own using the "How To Turn Any Fabric Into A Laminate With Iron-On Vinyl" guide?

anne.adams said:
anne.adams's picture

@ Iva: Looks like the Urban Zoologie (the monkeys) is still available, however, the striped laminated cotton has sold out since this article posted last October. It would be best to use a laminated cotton because the iron-on vinyl doesn't come in large enough sheets to be practical for this particular project. Here is a link to lots of other options for laminated cotton at Fabric.com:

http://www.fabric.com/CategoryDetail.aspx?CategoryID=d97275fa-5705-4052-...

teagster said:
teagster's picture

This is a great idea! it's amazing how messy kids can get.

mjsmom73 said:
mjsmom73's picture

I would love to make this is the Urban Zoologie Birds Spring and the Remix Argyle Pink/Aqua/Brown fabrics.  It would be perfect for our future second baby.

 

SewLindaAnn said:
SewLindaAnn's picture

Love the monkeys! I was thinking this would be a great item to take to the playground. A fabric line that has lots of cars and building on it would be fun for a little boy. Like Velocity, I love that line. I'm guessing a car carrying pouch would be in order to add to the case.

Lana T said:
Lana T's picture

I just hope I would not have to have a splat mat!!!!

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

Now this is an interesting idea though my grandnieces tend to throw outside the range of the size of this splatmat.

Sabine said:
Sabine's picture

I love the apes fabric! I have to think of something to create that justify having them, even without having kids. Maybe the diaper bag that will be used for my sewing supplies?!

aslbrat said:
aslbrat's picture

Love this idea. Perfect for those of us who have carpet in our dinning areas and for traveling.

dmarie006 said:
dmarie006's picture

I think this is a great idea.  Helps on clean up time in the kitchen.  I LOVE the fabric used, and I will be making on of these in the lady bug print that they have for my cousin who just had a baby.  Her whole nursery is all lady bugs so this will work perfect.

The fabric that I like the most is Riley Blake Zoofari.  It can be used for a lot of different things.  I'd like to see a pattern for a slip cover of some sort for those bobby nursing/horseshow shaped pillows.  Multi slip covers would really save on having to wash the pillow every time the child spits up on it.  Just a thought...

Crisa said:
Crisa's picture

The mat is such a good idea! I love the Animal Parade fabric by Ana Davis at fabric.com! I would like to learn how to make a highchair cover.

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

I'm not sure I'd like putting this down in a food establishment!

SunnySewing said:
SunnySewing's picture

Both my children could have used this splat mat!  Maybe for my next one....

I love all the flannel, minky and fleece over at Fabric.com; however, I've always had a soft spot for Pooh.  I'd pick my favorite to be sleepy Pooh Nursery Sleepy Z's in Cream.  

As for projects, I'd love to see a baby sling on here.  One that goes over your shoulder and holds the baby close to you. 

Thanks for the chance to win!

SomeBunnyWhoSews said:
SomeBunnyWhoSews's picture

Ohh!  This would be so great in a similiar style and size but in one of the fabric.com's Michael Miller flannels (those are so soft and thick!) and made up into a nice big play mat for tummy time!

The Lucky Ladybug said:
The Lucky Ladybug's picture

My favorite baby fabric is Michael Miller Gypsy Bandana Gypsy Paisley Pink/Lime and I'd love to see more diaper bag designs :)

Mary Elizabeth VonDras said:
Mary Elizabeth VonDras's picture

Super project, oh so expensive! Lots of yardage in laminate = $$$$$! 

Judy S said:
Judy S's picture

I cut squares from a plastic shower curtain to put under the high chair.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Mary Elizabet VonDras - but... can you put a price on easy clean up? 

Christina said:
Christina's picture

Love this project.  If you shrink the size down, it is perfect for a diaper changing pad and carrying case as well!

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