Here's how to create a play mat for a baby out of ripstop fabric. It's a unique and useful gift for a new baby. Ripstop fabric is water resistant so the mat can be used outside on grass or at the beach and can be wiped down easily in case of spills. The mat doubles as a fun picnic mat.
Sailing boat mat
Ripstop fabric doesn't stretch or slip so it's easy to sew and the layers don't need to be tacked before sewing.
I use a medium zigzag stitch on the sewing machine which means the fabric doesn't bunch up.
Ripstop fabric and other decoration fabrics (e.g other materials, ribbon etc) depending on your design. You will need one large piece for the front and back and then smaller pieces of different colours.
Thin cotton batting works well and gives a mat which can be folded easily to put into a bag
Plan a design. Simple colourful shapes and outlines work well. I have tried an under the sea design, a kite and sun, a boat in the sea and a rocket ship.
Cut out the shapes in layers and sew the layers together using a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine around the shape edges. Sew the finished shapes onto the background piece of ripstop which is the top of the mat. For example, if you are making a kite, sew the different quadrants of the kite together first then sew the finished kite onto the sky-coloured background.
Sew layers using zigzag stitch
Try adding different types of fabric
When you have finished sewing all the components together, it's time to fix together the front, back and middle of the mat.
Lay the back piece down then lay the cotton batting on top. Lay the top piece on top of the batting.
Pin the 3 layers together then sew a rectangle around the edge of the 3 layers, binding them together.
Trim around the edge of the sewed rectangle to neaten it up.
Create a border for the mat to hide the cut edges. I folded a thin length of ripstop over the edge and pinned it along one side of the rectangIe. I sewed it on with a zigzag stitch and repeated for each side of the rectangle. It's a bit fiddly but looks fine. At the corners I just trimmed the excess length as the fabric doesn't fray. You could also try folding a very wide ribbon over the edge and sewing it on with zigzag stitch.
Your play mat or picnic mat is now ready - enjoy!
I used a ribbon for the kite tail and sewed on ripstop bows for some extra texture
Try adding different fabrics to give a lovely variety of textures for a baby to play with. In this 'Under the Sea' themed mat I used netting and ribbon for a jellyfish, towelling for a star fish, and yellow muslin for sand. I made the treasure chest out of brown corduroy and sewed down a string of costume pearls for interesting things to touch and feel.