We decided to make a playmat because it’s a great gift for any time of year. You can throw it on the grass in August, or lay it on the living room floor in December. It’s stuffed with our thickest cotton batting so it’s soft and dense plus it’s totally washable so you don’t have to be precious with it. Best of all, even though it’s hand quilted, it comes together really quickly since it’s not basted. It’s a perfect, breezy, end of summer project for any baby!
To make one 34-inch square playmat:
- One Yard of Nani Iro Linen Blend Poster Fleur in pink
- One Yard of Kiyohara Canvas Dot in grey
- One craft size Supreme (highest loft) Natural Cotton Batting
- One spool each of Trebizond silk embroidery thread in color 951 and color 429
Cut four 18 inch squares from each of the fabrics.
Cut the batting into a 35 1/2-inch square.
Sew a grey square to a pink square right sides together, along one side, with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Sew another grey square to a pink square in the same manner.
Then sew these two sewn strips right sides together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance so that the like squares are diagonal to one another, as shown above. This is the top of the mat.
Repeat the same steps to make the back of the mat.
Making the Quilt Sandwich
Press and lay the 35-inch square of batting flat. It’s best to do this step on the floor or other large surface so the whole thing can lay as flat as possible.
Smooth the quilt top, with it’s right side facing up, on top of the batting being careful to line up all four sides neatly.
Smooth the quilt back, wrong side facing up, on top of the batting and top. Arrange it so that the grey fabric squares of the top are directly on top of the pink fabric squares of the bottom, so that the top and bottom will be opposites. Again, make sure that all four sides line up neatly with those of the previous two layers.
This three layer pile is your quilt sandwich. Pin it together around all four sides.
Sew the three layers together across all four sides with a 5/8-inch seam allowance, leaving a 4-inch gap on one side as shown above. If you have one, use your sewing machine’s quilting foot to do this.
Turn the quilt sandwich right sides out, through the gap, so that the batting ends up in the middle.
Press and pin the gap closed making sure to encase the batting. Sew the gap closed with a blind stitch.
Press the entire mat flat. Since you aren’t basting, this is an important step!
Tie a small knot at the end of an 18-inch length of the silver embroidery thread. Insert your needle through only the top and batting of the mat and then pull the needle out just on the inside of one of the pink flower shapes.
Pull the thread until the knot pops though the entrance point but not so hard that it pops out of the exit point. This will hide the knot.
Now stitch 1/4-inch quilting stitches through all three layers of the mat (the top, the batting and the back) around the inner edge of the pink flower shapes. You can use larger stitches if you like and don’t worry about keeping them totally even, the handmade free quality of the quilting is part of what makes this project beautiful!
Stitch inside all of the flowers. To finish with a length of thread tie a little knot at the end of the stitching and hide it in the same way you did at the beginning, by pulling it through the top two layers, and then snipping off the excess thread.
Using the pink embroidery thread stitch around random dots on the grey fabric as well. Make sure that there is no more than 8-inches between quilted areas (otherwise the batting won’t hold together in the wash.)
When you’re done the top will look like this.
Since the back is the opposite of the front, the quilting will have a different, and very cool, effect when you turn the piece around.
Above is the back of the floral quilting.
And here is the back of the polka dot quilting.
Once you’re all done this piece should be sturdy, washable, and above all, cheerful and pretty. Enjoy!