wEEK 4 – CONSTRUCTION OF YOUR PLAYMAT
Welcome to week four of our little house playmat sew-along! This week we will be stitching together all the finished
components, you’ve been working so hard on, to produce your house playmat.
The construction of the playmat is in itself simple but the
need for accuracy is quite important. As is the need for quite a bit of
patience – we don’t recommend doing these stages if you are in a rush! You will be sewing through a lot of elements
in one go and fitting a lot of components together at once, so please don’t
become disheartened if the dreaded unpicker has to come out – we can assure you
that we had to use ours on a couple of occasions! Remember to refer back to
week one if you need clarification of the names of the different parts of the
Having said that, this should be a very satisfying week for you
all – your playmat will finally look like a playmat!
So let’s begin…..
Firstly lay your central house panel sized piece of wadding
onto your work surface, now lay the house panel, with it’s right side facing up,
on top. Lay the brick fabric back house
panel on top of this, with the right sides of the two fabrics facing each
other. In between this sandwich of fabric, you will insert your webbing pieces
– this creates the hinges on the sides of the playmat. Cut 10 pieces of webbing,
each 8cm long. Peel back the back house panel slightly so you can see what you
are doing. Measuring down the side of the house and working from the top corner
where the roof meets the straight edges, pin your webbing pieces evenly, five on each side. The main part of each of the
webbing pieces needs to be laid on the
house panel with one end flush to the edge of your house panel. Repeat this on
the other side of your house panel. See photo 1 below.
Fold the back house panel edges back over to completely
enclose the webbing pieces. See Photo 2 below
Now pin all the layers together, all the way around. Sew the layers together, working up one side of
the house panel, up and down the sides of the roof and down the other side of
the house panel – make sure you leave the bottom edge of sandwich open and free
Once stitched around the edges, clip any excess fabric away from
the corners of your work being careful not cut through the stitching and then turn the house
panel etc right side out as shown in photo 3 below.
All your webbing pieces
should be secure – give them a tug to make sure (re-stitch if necessary) see photos 3 and 4 below for reference.
Now is the time to quilt any parts of the house panel you
wish to. We firstly secure the layers together with safety pins (photos 5 and 6 below) –
this stops the layers sliding around but you can also achieve this by tacking
the layers together. You can use hand stitching or machine stitching and you can
quilt as much or as little as you like. In the end we choose machine quilting
and we followed the edges of the rooms for our quilt pattern.
So that’s the main part of your playmat finished for the
time being – now you can start constructing your first door panel!
To begin with you are going to need to make some Velcro tabs
that hold you playmat closed.
Cut three 10cm x 10cm squares of wadding from your scraps
and then cut six square pieces of 10cm x 10cm from the scraps of your brick
fabric. Then cut three 6cm lengths of Velcro (you need to use sew on Velcro –
stick on will not be strong enough) and separate the hooked sides from the
looped sides of the Velcro.
Take one of your fabric squares and sew one of the 6cm
strips of the hooked side of the velcro approximately 2cm in from three of the edges. Repeat this three
times over as shown on photo 7 below.
Now take one of your wadding squares and lay it on your work
surface, lay the brick fabric square with the velcro attached, on top of it,
right side facing up. Then lay on top of this another brick fabric square,
this time one without any Velcro attached, right side facing down, see Photo 8.
Sew around three sides of this fabric sandwich, leaving the side
furthest away from the Velcro open for turning. Again clip the excess fabric
away from the corners and turn your tab right side out. Repeat these steps to
make three complete Velcro tabs all with hooked Velcro attached. See photo 9 below – Save the other pieces of Velcro for
Now take your right hand side outside door panel piece and
lay this right side up on your work surface. Working up from the bottom of the
longer edge of your front door panel, measure up approximately 10cm and place
your first tab here. Space the following two tabs along the same edge with
approximately 11-12cm between them each. Lay the tabs on so that half the tab is laying
on the panel and half of the tab is over hanging the edge. The velcro end of
the tab must be laying on top of the front door panel, see photo 10.
Once the tabs are pinned in place lay one of your inside
front door panel pieces on top of the right hand side outside door panel,
matching the edges and with right sides facing each other. Then lay a piece of
wadding on top, again matching the edges of your panels. See photos 11 and 12 below.
Sew around the long edge of this fabric sandwich enclosing
and securing the Velcro tabs, and then stitch along the roof edge. Leave the
short edge and bottom edge of the sandwich unstitched and open. Clip any excess
fabric from the corners of your work – minding that you don’t cut through any
stitching. Turn the front door panel right side out to check your stitching and
that the tabs are secure. This will now
be known as your right hand door panel sandwich.
Now repeat this process of sandwiching up your fabric for
the other door panel. Take the left hand side outside door panel and lay it
right side up on your work surface. Then lay your left hand side back door
panel on top with the right sides facing. Then add another door panel sized
piece of wadding on top. (You won’t need to add any tabs this time.)
Again pin and stitch this sandwich together only working
along the shorter vertical edge and the roof’s sloping edge. This will now be
known as your left hand door panel sandwich. Again clip any excess fabric from
the corners of your work. Turn your left hand door sandwich so that it’s right
side out – and check your stitching.
While both your door panel sandwiches are turned right sides
out this is a good chance to check if your pieces are the correct size and will
meet in the middle of your playmat – lay them on top of your prepared central
house panel to check the doors butt up neatly against each other in the centre.
You can shuffle them in a bit if necessary. See photo 13.
Now we’re going to attach the door panels to the main central panel, it is easier to do than it is to explain so bear with me and maybe read the
instructions a couple of times all the way through before you start. Maybe have
a practice of your construction where you just pin your elements together and
then turn them right side out to check you are indeed on the right track.
Ok here goes…..
Take your right hand side door panel sandwich and turn it
wrong side out again. Separate the layers so that what was the inside door
panel lays flat on the work surface and
the outside door panel and wadding are lifted slightly up and away from it making
a kind of pocket. See photo 14. Also lay your completed central house panel
right side facing up, alongside it so that the two shorter edges match up.
Again refer to Photo 14 below.
Now comes the slightly tricky part. You are aiming to fit
the central house panel inside the door panel sandwich. Firstly temporarily
fold down the roof part of the central house panel. Now, importantly, from the right hand side of the door panel start
rolling up your central door panel. Roll it like a swiss roll from right to
left, enclosing the folded down roof as
you go. Roll it until just the webbing on the left hand side is poking out on
an edge of your swiss roll. Now continuing with the rolling motion – the central house panel swiss roll, rolls
over its webbing edge and into the ‘pocket’ you made in the last step.
roll has now been flipped over inside the door panel pocket so that the right
side of the house panel is essentially facing the right side of the inside door
panel. And the right side of the back brick
fabric panel is facing the right side of the front door panel. Have a look at
Diagrams 1 to 4 below for guidance.
Please take care distinguishing the turquoise and aqua colours below as they look very similar – to confirm, the higher line in this colour is turquoise, and is the outside door panel, the lower line is aqua, and refers to the inside door panel. If you’re confused by this please comment and we will help you decipher!
|Diagram 1,2,3,and 4
You should now have something that looks like photo 15
Tuck the swiss roll in so it that it’s edge is about 2cm further in than the raw edge of the inside door panel. See photo 16.
Pin this in place, and now close the pocket around the swiss
roll, matching all the short edges of the sandwich together so they all lay
flush. You will now have completely enclosed
the swiss roll and all you will see is a little bit of the webbing ends poking
out. See photo 17.
You are aiming to
make webbing hinges of about 15mm so pin and tack all these layers together and
stitch through the sandwich layers only securing the webbing as you go. You do not want to sew through any part of
the central house panel. And you do not
want to sew along the bottom edge of your door panel pocket either at this
stage. See diagram 5 below for a cross section reference of where you should be
Check you have caught in all the webbing and all your layers
with your stitching and turn your work right side out through the hole still
left in the bottom of the door panel sandwich pocket. You should now have webbing
hinges between the central house panel and the right hand door panel that looks like photo 18 below.
If anything has gone wrong at this stage don’t be afraid to
get the unpicker out and have another go – or turn your work back inside itself
to adjust your stitching. These stages do require a little bit of patience I’m
afraid, but preparation of the layers is the key.
To attach the left hand side door panel, work in EXACTLY the
same manner as before but work in the mirror image of what you did for the
right hand door panel.
Once you’ve completed this, your house playmat should now be fully functioning – with
hinged door panels on either side. These should fold closed to show the outside
of the front door panels and open to show the inside of the front door panels
and the central house panel.
Phew! All that remains to do now are two simple little
Firstly, sew on, by hand,
the velcro pieces you saved earlier. Position them on the front of the right
hand side front door panel, matching them to the tabs on the left hand door
panel, so the Velcro sticks together when the door panels close.
Secondly, stitch up all the bottom edges of your playmat. You
can either over stitch with a machine or we found it easier to take our time
and hand stitch the layers together with an over stitch or ladder stitch. You
will need to do this in separate stages for each panel and enclose the raw
edges as you go. I found it easier to fold my raw edges in and iron a crease in
them before I started stitching (you may also need to clip away some bulk of
the wadding to make this easier). Once
all the bottom edges are closed your house playmat is fully formed and ready
for little hands and feet!
I hope you didn’t find week 4 too confusing – if you have ANY questions (and I imagine you may have!) please please just ask away in the comments section and I will do my best to answer thoroughly for you! After all that hard work, next week we’ll have fun making
the felt creatures to live and play in our house!