How to: make a portable car mat

portable car mat / herthreadedneedle

A car mat has been on my to-do list ever since we found out we were having a little man. While I still plan on making a larger scale one, I think I'll wait a year or two more. But I couldn't resist making a a portable one. Luke is getting really into cars these days- he loves pushing them around. So even though he's little yet, I think he'll appreciate it very shortly.

I've seen a few tutorials around lately, but most of them use elastic to keep the cars in their "garages". I think that is handy for keeping them in place, but I didn't like the way it made the mat pull when it was unrolled for use. My mat folds in half and then in thirds so the cars stay firmly in place without the elastic. 

I used cut up some old jeans of my dad's that were waiting in a pile to be made into a quilt. I wanted something sturdy and durable. Also this way it has a little meaning too- grandpa's old jeans! (make sure you are using a large pair of jeans though otherwise you might have to make your mat a bit smaller. My dad's were just big enough for this size mat)
I found this great car flannel and thought it'd be  perfect for this project.

! cut the flannel and jeans to about 11.5"x17"
the second jean strip is 6"x17"
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle

fold the jean strip in half, "hot dog style" (did you use that in elementary school too?) and iron the crease.
Pin to the bottom half of the flannel, with the fold at the top and raw edges together. This will be the "garage" for the cars.
Then I marked with pins about every 2.5" (I wasn't worried about being too exact. I just eyeballed it so it looked fairly evenly spaced) and sewed vertical lines. Make sure you back stitch!
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle
 Then I cut a strip of grey flannel, 4"x17" and sewed it above my car garage.
Once that is down, I snipped some yellow lines from felt and pinned those down. I didn't measure these, I just cut one and used it as my template for the others. 
Then sew around the edges of each yellow line.
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle
Then I focused on the jean piece I cut. I drew a simple car outline complete with a windshield and cut it out of felt (you could probably google search an image and print it out to use as a template if you're nervous about sketching it yourself. Or I am happy to email you my simple template. You could also stitch on your child's name instead!).

I hand sewed the windshield and wheels to the car and then machine stitched it to the jean fabric. You will want to center the car on the bottom middle of the fabric. Sew on velcro to the front end of the car.
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle

To make the fabric tie, I sewed two strips of fabric together (right sides together). I just used fabric scraps, but I'd estimate it was about 1.5"x10". Turn your fabric inside out, fold the remaining edges inside the tube and stitch it down to the end of the car. You will want to run over this several times with your machine for durability. Then sew a bit of velcro to the opposite end of this fabric strip. Then sew this jean piece to your flannel piece, right sides together. Be careful going over so many layers of thick material- don't want to break a needle! Turn it right-side out, and sew up the whole thing.

you're done! 
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle
portable car mat / herthreadedneedle
to store, fold in half once (hot dog style) and in thirds (hamburger style) and secure with velcro.

update: my now-three year old uses this every week at church or at the doctors office. it has held up fantastically to his abuse, and is one of his favorite toys :)

1 comment:

  1. This is so cute! I love that it has the little pockets for the cars! :] I can't wait to make one of these for a future adorable little boy!


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