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Haul It Floor Cushions

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Some well-known facts: toy cars are cool, toy cars roll best on hard surfaces, hard surfaces hurt your bottom after a while. We came across this totally fun Michael Miller fabric and knew it would make a dandy play mat. Though we usually try to keep our projects to simple squares and rectangles here at Sew4Home, this one cried out for an interesting shape. I mean, really, if you're playing cars, doesn't it make much more sense for your play mat to be in the shape of a retro car and trailer?

A downloadable pattern is offered below, so you don't have to puzzle over that. The car and trailer hook together with Velcro; pull them apart for smaller spaces and/or to give two race car drivers their own mats. Each also has a handle, so you can Haul It to and fro ... or fling it about like a super hero cape, which is what our Haul It model found quite amusing. So many uses ... so little time.

We originally used Haul It by Michael Miller Fabrics, which is no longer available. You might like On Our Way by Riley Blake Designs, City Construction Traffic by Benartex or Retromobilia by Clothworks

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for front of car and trailer: we used Michael Miller's Haul It in Turquoise
  • 1½ yard 44-45" wide fabric for back of car and trailer and wheels: we used Michael Miller's Ta-Dot in Ebony
  • ¼ yard of 54" wide fleece for windows and hubcaps: we used light turquoise
  • 1½ yard of low loft quilt batting
    NOTE: Batting comes in many, many widths and options; for this project you need at least one piece approximately 31" x 20" for the trailer, one piece approximately 38" x 18" for the car, plus a scrap approximately 25" x 8" for the wheels.
  • 1 yard of 1½" wide ribbon for carry handles: we used black satin
    NOTE: You could also make your own ‘ribbon' out of the contrasting wheel/back fabric.
  • One approximately 1¼" piece of ½" wide sew-in Velcro
  • All purpose thread to match your project for seams
  • All purpose thread in a contrasting color for top stitching
    NOTE: Depending on the fabric you choose, you may want different top stitching thread colors for the car/trailer and the wheels.
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil or marking pen
  • Glue Dots (optional)
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Pre-wash

  1. Pre-wash all your fabric. This is particularly important because, as a play mat/floor cushion, this item is likely to end up in the wash a lot; you need to make sure you pre-shrink everything before hand so there isn't any sad, after-the-fact pulling, shifting or bunching with all your layers.
  2. When you take the fabric out of the dryer, iron the cotton fabric and smooth out any wrinkles in the fleece by hand. It's not a good idea to iron fleece; it's synthetic and the heat of the iron will damage the nap. Trim any loose threads from the edges.

Printing and assembling the patterns

  1. Download and print the Haul It Floor Cushions Pattern.
    IMPORTANT : This pattern consists of TWENTY 8.5" x 11" sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Butt the pages together in the following order. Do NOT overlap.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Tape pages 1 through 5 together horizontally.
  4. Tape pages 6 through 10 together horizontally.
  5. Join your 1-5 unit and your 6-10 unit together to form the trailer and wheel pattern sheet.
  6. Tape pages 11 through 15 together horizontally.
  7. Tape pages 16 through 20 together horizontally.
  8. Join your 11-15 unit and your 16-20 unit together to form the car pattern sheet.
  9. When everything is laid out and taped together, the two pattern sheets should look like this:
    Diagram

Cutting out your shapes

  1. Cut out the trailer, car and wheel patterns along the solid lines.
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Use the patterns to cut one trailer and one car from both the front (Haul-It in our sample) and back (Black Ta-Dot in our sample) fabrics.
    NOTE: As a cutting time saver, you can lay out the front and back fabrics WRONG sides together and cut them both at once with the pattern pinned onto the right side of the front fabric. Make sure any pattern is running straight and true on either side. If you decide to cut them out one at a time, REMEMBER: pin the pattern pieces to the RIGHT side of the FRONT fabric and the WRONG side of the BACK fabric.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Use the wheel pattern to cut SIX circles for your three wheels.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Use the patterns to cut one trailer, one car and three wheels from the batting.
    NOTE: Batting can be awkward to cut because its thick and fluffy. Some people like to simply cut oversized rectangle shapes, then trim the batting into its final shape after its pinned to the fabric pieces. Your choice.
  5. Once your large piece cutting is done, trim the four window shapes and the hubcap shapes from the patterns.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Use these pieces to cut the four windows and three hubcaps from the fleece.
    Click to Enlarge

Marking your fabric for window, wheel and handle placement

  1. Lay the trimmed pattern pieces back on your FRONT pattern pieces, and using your fabric pen or pencil, make placement dots at the window corner points, the wheel top and side points, and the handle insertion points. Remember to also make placement dots on your wheel fabric for the hubcaps.
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Finally .... cut your ribbon into two 8" lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Wheels

  1. Collect two wheel fabric circle pieces. Match them right sides together.
  2. Place this two-piece unit on top of one piece of circle batting. Pin together through all three layers.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew around the wheel, leaving a 2" opening for turning. Go slowly and carefully. Stitching in a circle is a bit challenging, but you can do it. Don't be afraid to stop now and then, with your needle in the DOWN position, and lift up the presser foot to slightly turn your fabric.
  4. Turn right side out, sandwiching your fleece between your two fabric pieces.
  5. Press, making sure to turn in the edges of your opening so they are flush with the sewn edges.
  6. Thread your machine with contrasting thread.
  7. Carefully top stitch approximately ½" from the outside edge around the entire wheel. This will close the open edge.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Pin fleece hubcap to wheel, using previous marked dots as your placement guides.
  9. Top stitch the hubcap to wheel.
  10. Carefully top stitch approximately ½" from the outside edge of the hubcap.
  11. Repeat for remaining two wheels.
    Click to Enlarge
    NOTE: I used a longer stitch length for the top stitching around the outside edge of my wheel and a tighter stitch length for the top stitching around the hubcap. No rule here, just my personal preference. You can do whatever your heart desires.

Car and Trailer

  1. Collect the front fabric and back fabric for the car. Match them right sides together.
  2. Place this two-piece unit on top of one piece of the car batting. Pin together through all three layers. Trim batting if necessary to be truly flush with the fabric.
  3. Double check your handle markings. Leave this area un-pinned.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew around the entire car, leaving just the top handle area open for turning and inserting the handles.
  5. Turn right side out, sandwiching your fleece between your two fabric pieces.
  6. Press, making sure to turn in the edges of your opening so they are flush with the sewn edges.
  7. Insert a ribbon piece into the top opening, matching your placement guides. Loop to form a handle. Pin in place.
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Thread your machine with contrasting thread.
  9. Carefully top stitch approximately ½" from the outside edge around the entire car. This will secure the handles and close the open edge.
    Click to Enlarge
  10. Repeat steps 1-9 to make trailer.

Attaching windows and wheels

  1. Using your previously marked dots as placement guides, pin the fleece windows in place - two on the car and two on the trailer.
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Top stitch in place.
  3. Using your previously marked dots as placement guides, pin the wheels in place - two on the car and one on the trailer.
  4. Using your existing lines of top stitching as your guide, stitch the wheel to the mat from the bottom edge of the car on one side of the wheel to the bottom edge of the car on the opposite of the wheel. In other words, you are stitching an upside down "U" right along the previous top stitching.
  5. Repeat (make another, but smaller 'U') along the inside ring of top stitching around the hubcap.
    NOTE: If possible use a lock stitch instead of a back stitch to secure the beginning and end of your seams. It will look nicer in the circle format.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Attach Velcro to the 'trailer hitch' on both pieces - loop on the right side on the trailer's hitch and hook on the wrong side of the car's hitch. Edge stitch in place.
    NOTE: I like to use a Glue Dot or a tiny piece of double stick tape to hold my Velcro in place. I find it too hard to pin.
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Drive off to find adventure!
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge

Hints and Tips

Lots o' layers

This project is large and thick and could be a challenge for some sewing machines. Our Signature Sponsor, Janome provides all our machines, and all of them have what Janome calls an 'extra high presser foot lift.' This means that once you raise the presser foot, you can exert a bit more lift with your hand and raise up the presser foot even higher, allowing bulky layers of fabric to slide easily under the needle. This feature, or something similar, is a MUST for this project.

Lots o' turns

There are also a lot of circles and curves to sew. If you feel like you're fighting with too much fabric to easily maneuver, do what the quilters do, roll the right edge of your project so it fits better in your machine's bed area and is easier to turn.

Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation: Michelle Pacheco

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Comments (7)

Lissete said:
Lissete's picture
Great idea! Think I may make this for my grandson for when they move into their new home they are building. Thanks heaps. from an Aussie. smilies/cheesy.gif
crescentcity1 said:
crescentcity1's picture
Wow...I must have missed this beautiful idea...I have 3 grandkids, born a month apart. Truly making this one for themsmilies/wink.gif
Toot, Embroidery Stylist said:
Toot, Embroidery Stylist's picture
This is by far one of the cutest kid's mats I've seen!smilies/cheesy.gif

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