Today I wanted to make this baby changing mat available for free on soseweasy.com, and walk you through the most difficult bits step by step. It's a pattern I absolutely love making, as it always means good news, but it can be a bit trickier that what it seems!
I have chosen the satchel option, because there are a few tricks in the making of the handle that will interest the beginner. But feel free to chose the clutch option if you prefer!
With this pattern, the main challenges are the 3 layers to manage, knowing that one is oilcloth and one is batting makes it tricky. Also, the bias binding is a bit difficult, mostly for the bulk and you have now to control 5 layers together (bias binding, oilcloth, batting, cotton, bias binding), so let's see how I can help.
CONTROLLING THE DIFFERENT LAYERS
As you can see, we have a lot going on here. My wonderclips (not pins! we'll see why later) are holding the bias tape that you need to apply all around the changing mat. It's made from a layer of outside fabric (the flamingos), one layer of batting sandwiched with a layer of oilcloth fabric. Plus the bias tape when you come to this stage, so we need a bit of extra help here. To start with, at the very beginning of your project, once you have cut all your fabric, batting and oilcloth following the instructions, use some quilters adhesive spray like Odif 505 which is repositionable, so no worries if you missed the spot! I sprayed mine on the wrong side of the oilcloth, then put the batting on top, and another spray, then the wrong side of the quilting cotton fabric came to finish my sandwich. It looks like one chunky slice of the widest fabric you could think of
Here is a picture after I cut the top bit:, where you can see all the layers:
With all the layers, and the fact that oilcloth sticks to the sewing machine makes it tricky to sew. Following your sewing machine's manufacturers recommendations, you might want to change your tension (usually to a higher number: I'm working on a Janome machine and change mine from a regular 4 to 5,maybe up to 6 if the batting is thick) and also decrease my feed dogs, since they might not be our best ally when sewing that type of project.
MAKING THE POCKETS
When you're cutting your fabric, you end up with 4 pieces of fabric, 2 long and thin, 2 little and wider. The smallest ones are the bottom part of your pocket, you need to put bias binding on those ones and only those ones
Then, you need to create the bottom fold. An easy trick to make sure your pleat will be at the centre is to simply start pinning from both edges until you get a fold at the middle when you pin your bottom piece to the longer bit. Then you will apply bias binding around the long raw edges , the bottom of the pocket to seal it and the other long raw edge, leaving the small, up part of the pocket raw.
And that's it for now, your pockets are done you will just need to add them to your changing mat when we'll apply the bias binding on.
THE BIAS BINDING
It looks like a tiny detail, but the bias binding is actually of great importance, and will make or break your project!
My first advice would be to get it as wide as you can go, the wider it is the greatest is your seam allowance. When you have so many layers to bind together, especially without seeing underneath, you need to get a seam allowance as generous as you can get! Remember that when bias tape says 25mm/1 inch, what it actually means is 1/4" seam allowance.
See how it goes all the way around, and the 2 corners at the top and the bottom? They are to watch for. They are called *mitred corners* and are not that easy to execute properly, especially that we only have 1 chance with oilcloth, once a stitch has been made it's forever! I recommend beginners watch this video first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__28E8P-ztc
I find it's the easiest one to understand what you need to do, which is make sure you enclose your raw edges in your bias tape as neatly as possible. Remember there's a side you don't see when you're sewing bias binding, so don't hesitate to take your time, use the hand wheel if necessary, and to make sure you catch both sides nicely!
THE OILCLOTH FABRIC
Using oilcloth is a very judicious choice for this project, you want something waterproof and easy to just wipe off for a baby changing mat!
However, oilcloth is considered tricky by many sewists, and for many reasons. It sticks under the presser foot, so you need to either use a Teflon foot, or sticking a bit of cellor tape under your regular foot to help the oilcloth guide through!
You will probably need to adjust your feed dogs too, by decreasing it. You need to refer to your sewing machine's manual to see how to, but it usually is extremely simple, just a wheel to turn on my Janome! With the bulk of the batting and the oilcloth, you want to control your project and the feed dogs are not by your side with this project.
Finally, as you can see, you need a lot of wonderclip (and not pins, as oilcloth isn't like regular fabric and like faux leather, any hole made is forever so never pin, use clips instead)
MAKING AND PLACING THE HANDLE
First, use your pattern piece to determine where you will place your handle on the fabric with a water erasable pen
Then, to find where the exact centre is, fold your mat in half and mark the middle with your water erasable pen
Then do the same thing for your handle, don't forget to mark your middle with a pin or water erasable pen
Then you just need to get the 2 marks to coincide and ta-dah!
You can now sew the corner of your handles on the cotton and batting only!
I hope you enjoyed making this baby changing mat as much as I did! Please let me know how your #BabyChangingMat when by tagging me @seweasypeasy on Twitter and Instagram, also on Facebook @seweasypeasyblog using #seweasypeasy and on Pinterest too!