Toy Car Mat-Bag Tutorial

Toy Car Mat-Bag Tutorial

How to make a Toy Car-Mat tutorial. www.daughterofaseamstress.comSo after the success of the home made teepee at Christmas I decided my nephew should have another home made gift for his birthday at the end of Jan. I decided to make him a Car Mat-Bag because I know he LOVES matchbox cars, and because my mum gave me some fabric that looked like paddocks to me so it made a great background. It’s a simple draw-string bag and it could be modified for a girls doll bag by making garden beds with cute floral’s, or a farm yard animals bag with paddocks and brown fabric for tracks, up to your imagination! I’m sure there’s much more you could do…

My paddock fabric was 90cm wide so that meant I could have a 90cm square from which to cut my circle.  I bought a cute fabric with little blue vehicles all over it for the outer layer and 4mt of cording for the draw string and old jeans for the roads.
Now, I have learnt over the years it’s a good idea to draw up a pattern even for simple projects. Why? Couple of reasons; if it goes splendidly you’ll want to recreate it in it’s original form, if it goes well but could do with a few tweaks, you can put the tweaks into the pattern for next time, plus it’s easier to draw on paper than fabric.

PictureTo make a circle I took a piece of newspaper and measured out 45cm (half of my full circle) along the straight edge and marked it and then using this point continued in a circular direction marking 45cm every few cm. Then joined them all up in a lovely curve, creating one perfect quarter of a full circle. However you could use a giant compass if you own one!

To cut the fabric, fold it in half horizontally and then half again vertically. I did this to each piece of fabric individually and then carefully laid them on top of each other matching open edges and folds exactly. Place the straight edges of your pattern with the folded edges of fabric and cut through 8 layers of fabric all at once.


Perfect Circles!
Next, cos I’m a lucky duck,  I over-locked the outer edges of both circles. If you’re not as lucky as me zigzag will do the job just fine!

Then pin your circles together with right sides facing  together. Fold you circle in half and mark the fold points on the edge, as this where your draw string will come out and you want them on opposite sides of the circle. Stitch circles together leaving open at one half way mark enough for your draw strings to come through and  open at the other half way mark enough to turn the whole bag through the right way. Turn through. Iron seams nice & flat.

PictureNow that it’s flat sew a row of top stitching at the very far edge as close to the edge as you can go. Start at the edge of your draw string hole (leave this hole open) this top stitching will also close the gap that was bigger for turning through to be the same as the other side where you’re leaving just enough for the draw strings, so stitch through to where you want the opposite drawstring opening. Repeat for the other half of the circle, leaving you with a big circle with two draw string sized openings. The next row of stitching will go the  whole way around your circle with no breaks in far enough for your draw string to pass through comfortably, a little space will make it easier to thread your cord through as well as make it easier for the bag to be drawn up.

Cut your cord in half. Pin one end of your cord to the circle and use a safety pin in the other end of the cord to thread the length through to the drawstring hole on the other side of circle. Repeat going the other way. Tie cord ends together at each opening. If your cord looks like it’s going to fray consider dripping it in glue, clear nail polish, melting it if it’s synthetic or putting sticky tape on it to stop that from happening, after all we’re hoping the kids use it to death, but not instant death, right?

Now cut up your roads. I made sure my roads would fit  two “Hot wheels” passing each other, plus room for a road divider line down the middle and room to hem each edge. I didn’t plan these at all at this stage I just made several lengths, so that I could experiment. I over-locker my roads, this isn’t necessary but my denim was fraying all over the place and it made it a lot easier to work with, again zigzag will to the trick nicely.

Once I had my roads ready I spread my circle out on the floor and played around with the layout, once I was happy with the layout I trimmed the excess and pinned them with the hem underneath so I could sew them down from this point.

PictureUsing a denim needle I stitched all the roads into place through the two circle layers staying away from the draw-string tube/channel. I did it this way to make the circle layers move as one piece of fabric and not separate when the bag is drawn closed or manipulated. If visible stitch bothers you on the outside I would attach my roads to the inner circle before joining the circles together. Make sure you stitch all edges as you don’t want fraying edges exposed or things going missing inside the open roads.

Next I took some acrylic paint and fabric medium and painted on the traditional road marks (Australian road use). I used fabric medium because I fully expect this bag to need washing. Once my road markings were dry I heat set them with my iron and a tea-towel. Finished! Chuck the toys in the middle and draw it up into a bag, in my case it was 6 new matchbox cars, still in packaging, oh how 4 year olds love the packaging ripping open part!


Once drawn up you’ll notice the cords end up a bit long for a 4 yr old to carry and the bag may not close tightly (depends on the weight of your fabric and size of your tube/channel for your cord and the silkiness of your cord). In this case I suggest you pass the cords to one side, wrap them around the bag and pass the cord back under the starting point to both shorten and tighten the closing by tying it off below the tube/channel. All done!!

Bring on his birthday!! Hoping to get another all star quote like “Ohhh, this is nice!” when he sat in the teepee for the first time…


Well there’s my first tutorial… How’d I go? How’d you go?
*This post is from the original blog, posted 13 January 2013 and I can tell you this Car Mat now gets used by my 2 year old (Squid) when we visit the Seamstress and Woodworker, mainly as storage for the cars but that’s more to do with Squids age.

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