This is finally done and I'm so excited to share it! Since the point I found out I was having a boy, which was almost a year ago, I have wanted to make a car mat. I first saw one on Homemade By Jill and I fell in love with it. I played around with a lot of different ways to do it. Steven has an aunt named Sue who is just about one of the most incredible people I have ever met. And she happens to be the most amazing seamstress that I have ever met. She is the one that gave me the idea for this.
I started out by mapping it out on graph paper. I have to admit that I never plan out my sewing. I am more of a wing-it type of girl. But using graph paper for this was absolutely necessary! I made all of my houses around 4 inches tall.
After graphing it out, I drew all of my buildings on paper. I made all of my houses around 4 inches tall. At the end of this blog post, I put in a download so that you can use the shapes of my houses if you want to make your own car mat!
Once you have all of them drawn out, you need a light box. I taped my picture down to the light box then used painters tape to hold down my fabric. It's going to move around, so you want to make sure it's taped really well. I used just plain, white cotton fabric. It is the easiest to color. To draw the buildings onto the fabric, I used a fine-tip Sharpie.
Once you have all of your buildings drawn on, you get to color! This was the best part! The great thing about drawing everything is that you can add so many details into it without a lot of work.
I tried to make all of the buildings somewhat about our family. When you see the final product at the end, you will see what I mean.
The best crayons to use are the regular Crayola. Just make sure you have a sharpener because you will use it often. Color it pretty dark.
*This is important*.. The next step is for keeping the crayon in the fabric. Get a bucket and put half water and half white vinegar in it. You will also need a rag. Wet the rag and ring it out. Then place it over the color and iron it. Then iron it without the rag on it and leave it to finish drying. The vinegar keeps the color in the fabric. Over time it will slightly fade, but most of the color should stay pretty vivid if you did your coloring dark enough. Sue had a quilt that she used this technique with from 10+ years ago and it still had color on it. I would still try to not wash it too often, and when you do, use cold water. Luckily, with a car mat, it shouldn't need a lot of washing.
Next step is to cut around each building. You can leave a space around it or you can cut right on the lines. I lined all of the buildings up on the fabric so I could make sure that they were all exactly how I wanted it.
I used clear thread to zigzag around the edges. I just used a really small zigzag.
The hardest part about this thread is that it can get lost really easily and tangles so easy! Aunt Sue taught me this trick... Keep a strip of fabric by you and always end the thread on the strip of fabric before you cut it off the fabric that you are actually sewing. Does that make any sense?? That way you always know where the thread is.
Look at my cute sewing partner. Do they get any cuter than that?! And also notice the doors on the right side of the picture. That is all fabric stacked up. It goes the length of the wall. Talk about a dream sewing room!
After I got all of the buildings onto my "grass" squares, I sewed those down to my black. I cut my black fabric into a perfect square, 42 x 42.
When you have your blocks sewn on the black, the next step is to sew the back and front together.
Sue showed me how to lay down the right sides together and start to safety pin them together from the middle to the outside edges. That way you know it is totally smooth and tight.
Then you can cut off the extra material. Just leave about half an inch to give yourself some room. Then pin all along the edges.
I used just a straight stitch and a quarter inch foot.
Make sure you leave an opening to turn it right side out!! I left mine about 7 inches long and it seemed to be a good amount.
Then you can cut off all the excess material. Two things to double check before you turn your mat right side out...
1- Cut the corners so that they will lay flat.
2- Take out all the safety pins. It seems like a "duh" moment, but you quickly realize how quickly you forget every pin.
The last part is sewing on the road strips. I used yellow ric-rac for this and a big zig-zag stitch.
Here's the fun part! I love looking at all the fun stores and houses. I wanted to keep everything related to our family. My grandpa was a dentist, that's why the dental office is Dr. Sorensen's Dentistry. I thought it would be a fun way for Weston to learn things about our family.
These three houses are our house, Nana and Papa's house, and Grandpa and Grandma's house. Our house has a swimming pool and big garden, and in the winter we turn our lawn into an amazing ice skating rink! We are lucky to live with Steven's Grandpa Gary, and we just love it. We love that Weston knows this place as home.
The more details you add, the more fun the mat! Instead of drawing all of the flowers, I found a fabric with a lot of different flowers on it and cut around different ones to appliqué them on. The fabric also had cats on which I added in for our pets that we have. To show that the ice skating rink is an iceskating rink and not just a white blob, I added some snowflake buttons.
We have LDS Hospital where Weston was born, and Dr. Shields' Office, for Steven's grandpa. And of course I had to add Temple Square, since that is a main part of Salt Lake City. And the 222 building is where Steven and Grandpa Ken work (and where we had our wedding reception!).
You will notice how the edges of the grass are ragged. Sue gave me that idea because once it really starts to fray up, it will look like grass!
I added Nana's salon and I wrote down movies that were coming out around the time that he was born.
There's Papa's school and the library (one of my favorite places). And I couldn't leave out our beautiful mountains.
For the dealership, I left places for the shiny, new cars to park.
It took a while to do this, but it was a really fun project and it was totally worth it. I love that it has some family history in it so we can teach Weston what life was like when he was born. I'm going to save it either for his first birthday or Christmas, I can't decide yet. But either way, I'm sure he will love it as he gets older!
Here is the car mat download. You can see all of the details I added, but the main shapes are outlined in dark black. You can use the basic shapes to make a lot of different kinds of buildings. The greatest part about this project is that you can be so creative!
And you know I have to add a few pictures in of my little monster. He's too cute not to show off! He's getting so big now. Here he is with Papa. He is such a good mix of my dad and Steven.
This was Easter. We got him up bright and early and went to the sunrise ceremony at Snowbird. If you live in the Salt Lake area, DO IT! It was totally worth the early wake up. This little guy is crawling now and he is all over the place! It is so much fun being able to stay home with him. How could I leave that face to do something boring like go to work?!
And I just had to share this gem from Easter because it is so dang cute. Bunny cousins... ha ha ha. Aren't they the cutest?
Have fun sewing!