Monday, September 10, 2012

van's car playmat

Update: Well hello everyone! Thanks for all the love!

I've been getting a ton of emails requesting the pattern for this, and even though I said at the bottom of this post I might make a pattern, the reality is, I will never make one. I'm not a pattern writer. I made it so long ago I've totally forgotten how I did it, I don't have any of the measurements, I don't have access to the original as we live in different states, so- sorry folks, no pattern. This creation is truly one of a kind. The best I can do is tell you to check out the links in this post- they really helped me design and figure everything out. And I've added some notes at the bottom, so check them out.

Gyeskah (comment below!) made one for her kid, and her post has some great pointers for people wanting to make their own. Please check out her post, it's so great!

And she's inspired me to give out some in process details- see bottom of post for these, I hope they help you!


Original post:

My little nephew Van, had his second birthday about a month ago. He loves cars, and is always carrying around 3 or 4 at a time. I saw a few car play mat DIY's floating around Pinterest, so I decided that that would be the perfect birthday gift. His little brother was born a week or so later- and I knew that he'd need something new to play with- quietly- so that his mama could take care of the new little one.

Inspiration: here, here, and here.

P.S. I went overboard. Like totally overboard on the details. But details are my thing, so you know. I could have spent 1/4 of the time and it still would have been cute enough...

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See what I mean??? All in all- planning, drawing, cutting, sewing, embroidering, 20 + hours.

That kid is S-P-O-I-L-E-D!



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Plus 6 new cars to go in the slots. Did you know that they are only a dollar fifty at Target? Deal!



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I also based the "landscape" on his actual neighborhood. His house is the one on the right, with the tree right next to it.


Added:
When Van was a baby, like 3 months old, I started watching him so his mom could run errands and such. It was winter, so we'd bundle up and take the BOB out for nice long walks. We'd walk past all these things- his church, the playground, the gas station. We did this together through spring and early summer- until I moved away, when he was almost one. So when he grew up a little more and became obsessed with cars and I had this idea- it just all came together. This is a time capsule. This is the story of all the time we had, bonding and becoming best friends. This is why it's so detailed. I took such pleasure in re-creating the details. This is important, and I will never forget. And maybe he'll remember some of it too, having this as a reminder. Or maybe he won't, but he'll have this forever, so there's that.
(and now I'm crying)

Moving on:


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His church with the playground.



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The gas station.



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Downtown, where dad works.



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A no name factory.



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And the final detail? A skate park. His dad had a half pipe with lights above it in his backyard once upon a time- I swear I didn't know that when I made it! I was going to add just a plain bunting across the gap, but I ran out of time, so I used this cute trim as white "lights" so he could still skate at night. Haha!



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Vrooom!



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A motorcycle was a must have.



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Fill 'er up!



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It folds in half, rolls up, and ties for total portability.


If you are interested in a pattern, I might be convinced to make one. Let me know- email me! But be forewarned- it will take a lot of time, and it's totally worth it...

...see?


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He didn't even lay it totally flat to start playing with it!



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Busy busy!



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This is exactly the reaction I was going for. I guess I'd better get going on that pattern...


Edited: I'm really, really, really mad at myself for not making a pattern. It needed to be done as I was making it, because now, years later, it's just impossible (without making a whole new one and I guess I could do that but this took over 20 hours and I just don't have the time or energy and would people really buy a pattern from me?  I mean really? It would be an expensive pattern. Ugh, I don't know, maybe someday, but not anytime soon.) So guys- I'm sorry. I had no idea this post would generate so much attention, that so many people would pin it and read it and want a pattern. But I will give you a few notes on how I did it. Ok? Ok.

I determined the size by reading the other DIY's (linked at the top of this post)

I used good felt for most everything. Wool felt and bamboo felt and even felted wool. I wanted it to last forever, and that cheap plastic felt just wears so terribly.

I based the buildings and such on the neighborhood that they lived in. Obviously the layout of the streets don't match, but hey, not everything can be super accurate. (I wanted it to be. My husband rolled his eyes and laughed when I tried.) And now they've moved, sooooooo. But whatever, we had such good memories of that neighborhood, and now they have a reminder or what it was like for always.

I used my silhouette machine for the details. All the buildings, the gas pump, etc. I resized them to fit, cut them out using cardstock, and then traced them onto the felt. I used Heat N Bond on the back of the felt, and used the paper side to trace the designs. Cutting out tiny shapes in felt is SO MUCH EASIER this way, it's how I always cut out detailed felt shapes.

I used the blanket stitch on my sewing machine to sew down all the pieces. I know you can just do a straight stitch, but I've got that blanket stitch down cold. Do what you know, what you are good at. I am not good at straight stitch. Every time I do it I end up hating it. Guess I need more practice!

I ran out of time, and patience, so the lines in the road are embroidered with yellow yarn. I realized very quickly what a terrible idea this was, as the car wheels are constantly catching on them and pulling them loose. Should have used felt.

I used the same fabric on the back as I did for the car pockets. It's cute, and I do like it, but it's a white background fabric- you can totally see the embroidery through the fabric. Especially the stupid yarn road lines. I really, really should have put some stabilizer on the back of it first (the fabric not the mat) - like Pellon's Shape Flex (101).


20 comments:

  1. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I LOVE all the details, so cute!! What a lucky little guy!!
    xox

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  2. LOVE your car mat! It turned out beautifully. What a lucky boy. The details really make all the difference. Nice work!

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  3. Have you ever considered making this and selling? If so I am interested!!!

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  4. SO CUTE! Check out my superhero mat for inspiration for his next phase (my boy is 4 years old):

    http://furloughedtime.blogspot.com/2012/04/superhero-mat.html

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  5. I was looking for inspiration for a car playmat for my son and yours is the best! Did you make a pattern?

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  6. Thanks for the wonderful example and inspiration! I made one for my son, too. Here's my post if you want to see! http://craftedbygyeskah.blogspot.com/2013/05/matchbox-car-play-mat.html

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  7. Love to have your pattern.

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  8. My 3 year old grandson is a car fanatic and my daughter just had a new baby 5 weeks ago so
    making your car playmat would be WONDERFUL! How can I get your pattern?

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  9. I would love to have this pattern as well for my 2 grandsons.

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  10. I would like to have this pattern. It's really cute.

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  11. Did you ever make a pattern?! SO cute!

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  12. This is so cute! I love all the colors and details.

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  13. Wow!! This is a thing of beauty!! Such a wonderful gift and a keepsake for years to come. What a lucky kid!

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  14. simplesmente maravilhoso.. uma grande ideia!!!

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  15. simplesmente maravilhoso.. uma grande ideia!!!

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  16. I would love to have this pattern as well for my 2 son

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    1. I made it for my 2 grandsons and one for a future. Once the pattern is drawn it is quite simple to do. Note' sew the pieces onto the felt not just fuse them.

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  17. I was able to get a pattern off your pictures. Made mine with fabric and not felt as all my felt toys I've made in the past don't hold up and wool felt is expensive. Turned out really well. Thanks for the post!

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