Creating a clean, comfortable, and washable place for babies to experience tummy time on is so important. Feeling crafty? Have a go at making one yourself! A tummy time mat makes an awesome shower gift or sew one up for your own little one. Having a few tummy time mats lying around isn't a problem either because all that spit up, drool, and other bodily fluids mean that they need to be washed often.
As an avid quilter, I have a lot of scraps lying around so I didn't buy a single piece of material for this mat. I sewed together a bunch of different bits of leftover fabric I had, cut to the desired shape, and voila: a functional, cute, and fun mat. When I picked out my materials, I chose a variety of textures and prints: baby will love this! Keep in mind that babies eyesight is developing and they see contrasting colors the best.
If you don't have a bunch of extras on hand, here is what you'll need:
40" x 40" square of fabric for the top (1-1/4 yards)
40" x 40" square of fabric for the back (1-1/4 yards)
2 - 40" x 40" pieces of batting
40" long piece of string
3/8 yard fabric for binding
If you are going to put together a scrappy top, sew your scraps together to make a 40" x 40" square. You could sew together strips, squares, or improv it up! For my version, I chose to sew together a 10 x 10 grid of 4.5" squares.
If you're going the whole cloth route, just make sure all of your fabric is nicely pressed!
Sandwich and Quilt Your Layers
Once each of the three layers (top fabric, batting, back fabric) are ready to go, sandwich them together. Lay it out completely flat (on a large table or on the floor) and run your iron over it to make sure it's nice and smooth. Just be careful of using the iron if you've selected any minky or sherpa-like materials. You won't want to iron over those! In that case, just smooth things out with your hands the best you can. You can use basting spray if you've got it to keep everything in place or just pin it together with safety pins. Place pins 5"-8" apart from each other making sure to get all the corners. Start pinning in the middle first, then smooth and work outwards.
Take the sandwiched square over to your sewing machine and quilt it however you like! Like with the basting, start in the middle of your square and work outwards. Keep your lines closer than 5" apart. I chose simple diagonal lines. Since I did a patchwork design, I just eyeballed this and didn't need to mark anything! If you would like to mark your lines before you sew them, here are some ideas:
Use painters tape! You can reposition the tape many times before it stops sticking, can come in various thicknesses, and really helps to get super straight lines.
Mark lines with a ruler and chalk
Use a marking tool like this clover Hera marker
Make it a Circle
Find the exact middle of your quilted square and mark it with a pin or chalk. Take that 40" long piece of string and tie the ends together to make a nice loop. If the edges of your quilt are a little wonky, make your loop of string just a tad bit smaller to cut off any rough or uneven edges. Tie one end of the loop securely to a marker. Hold or pin the other end to the center of your square.
Being careful to keep the marker at a consistent angle, draw a circle by keeping the string taught and moving it around the square.
Admire your beautiful circle! Go ahead and use either your rotary cutter or scissors to cut on the line you made.
Bind it Up
To make the binding that will cover up that raw edge on your quilted circle, cut three long strips (we call this width of fabric or wof in the quilting world) from your binding fabric that are 3.5" wide. I like to use a wider binding for these mats, especially if you've used bulky fabrics. Sew these three strips together on the bias (that means diagonally).
Take two of these strips. With the right sides (or printed sides) of your fabric together, match them up at a 90-degree angle. Draw a diagonal line between the inner corners and sew (or just eyeball this part).
Trim a 1/4" from the seam line and press open. Repeat this with the remaining strip.
Iron the entire strip in half. One one end of the strip, fold over the edge about 1/2" inch. Sew down using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Start with the folded end, facing down, and attach the binding to the back of the quilted circle using a 1/4" seam allowance. The raw edge of the binding should match up with the raw edge of the quilted circle. Go slow as you work with the curved edge. A few inches before you get to the end, cut off the excess binding, leaving about 1.5" of overlap. Then, fold under the raw edge and tack down. Finish binding, backstitching at the end.
Flip the mat over and pull the binding to the front. You could iron, clip, or finagle with your hands as you go. Do a topstitch all the way around to secure the binding to the front.
(This is what the back of the mat looks like once you've topstitched the binding the the front)
And that's a wrap! You've made yourself an adorable, plush tummy time mat. Wash on cold and dry until just damp - then air dry.