Super Quick and Simple Sewing Project

For Christmas, my husband gave me a sewing machine. That may seem like an odd present, but it was exactly what I wanted. Now, I had no idea how to use such a machine. I barely knew how to thread a needle! But I desperately wanted to learn how to sew. I got the notion when I was pregnant with LJ last year; I wanted to make clothes for my girls (matching, of course). That is still the goal, but I've come to accept that it won't happen quickly. I have so much to learn!

For the past few months, I've been tackling small projects to get a feel for different techniques and build up my confidence. I've made a stuffed cat (that looked nothing like a cat, lol), wallet, a clothespin bag, a ton of table runners out of burlap (for my sister-in-law's wedding), a bib for LJ, and some reversible fabric headbands for me and C. Oh! And a wool cover for LJ - its super ugly but very functional. Every project has taught me something, and so far I absolutely love learning to sew.

I know about 12 pregnant women right now. Almost every one of my closest friends is expecting sometime this year. How crazy is that!? Many of them are on their second child, so they don't need a lot of stuff. So I thought it would be neat to make them some baby gifts. Nothing too ambitious, but some useful and cute stuff. Some things I obviously  need a trial run on, just to make sure they turn out okay and I know what I'm doing. Today's project was a trial run, but it was also something I needed.

I've been needing a diaper changing mat for the diaper bag. For some reason, I've never had one. That was fine for C, but I guess I travel more with LJ, so I've been wanting a mat. The ones in stores have way too many bells and whistles for my taste, and they're so bulky. My diaper bag is pretty small, so I needed something compact. I didn't need pockets and extra compartments; just a flat, clean mat to lay the baby on so I could get her diaper changed. I looked up a few tutorials online and found one I really liked, but today I decided to just wing it and create my own. I'm happy with it, even though its not the most attractive thing in the world!

This was my first time working with vinyl, and I have to say, its not my favorite material. But obviously, a changing mat needs to be able to be wiped down easily, and I saw iron-on vinyl in Wal-Mart recently, so I decided to try that. Adhering it to my fabric was really simple and basically fool-proof. Keeping it aligned with my backing fabric while I sewed the two pieces together was a different story. I'm sure I just need more practice and experience. I used a ton of pins to keep it all in place, but the vinyl was so slippery the fabric didn't stay like I wanted. I made it work, but it wasn't easy and its not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
The tutorial I found on another blog used bias binding and added a strap to the mat. I don't see the need for a strap, but I think my next one (that will be a gift for someone else) will have the binding, just to give it a cuter look.

Also, I decided not to use any "stuffing" in my mat. I don't think its necessary, really. Its not like the baby stays on the mat for more than a few minutes. I may add a really thin piece of foam or batting to the next mat, though, just to give it a little cushion and substance. My mat folds up super thin and is perfect for my diaper bag, though, so I'm happy with my decision.
Basically, all I did was cut out my fabric (I think my measurements were something like 13" x 25"), iron on the vinyl to the fabric I wanted to be on top (you could do vinyl on both sides but I thought that might be too slippery on public bathroom changing tables), then pin the fabrics right-sides together, sewed them, turned them right side out, and then added a top stitch. Oh, and I threw on some velcro, though I really should have done that before sewing the fabrics together. It was really super simple! I kind of wish I had put the velcro on the other side, though. That way, when the mat is folded up, the vinyl side is facing out. Which would put the cloth side (the side that comes into contact with the nasty public changing tables) is in the inside and won't touch anything else in the bag. The vinyl part will be wiped off if anything gets on it, so it'll be clean - at least a lot cleaner than the other side! So I may need to change that up. We'll see.

For now, I'm happy I've completed another sewing project! Even better, its something I'll get a lot of use out of. Next up, I'll be covering a travel wipes case with fabric and then making a small bag to hold a few diapers. I think that'll be a cute baby shower present!

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