City Streets Play Mat

City Streets Play Cloth
If you watch the video, and I hope you do because not only is it clearer than the few photos I took but I think I love making youtube videos even more than blogging and I’m having oodles of fun with it, you will know that this project has been in the work for, like, years. It was something I knew I wanted to make for Atti but there was always a deadline or a crisis so it’s been sitting on my desk for ages taunting poor Atti with the promise of playtime. No longer. It is finally finished and Atti is rolling around and driving his cars on it all day long. A quilt might seem ambitious to do before Christmas, and it’s certainly not the easiest thing to do, but using machine applique will speed the process up dramatically.

Top 1
The fabric for your quilt top should be whatever you want the ground to look like. Brown for a construction zone, Gray for a city center, or green for the suburbs like I did. Since this was a play size I didn’t get particular about the measurements, I believe I made it about 2 yds long and as wide as it came off the bolt. For the city you just need to cut a bunch of shapes out of whatever fabrics you want. Squares with a triangle on top make the houses, and rectangles with different sized circles make up the trees.

Top 2
To make the roads I cut strips of dark fabric 3″ wide, and then sewed them together to get plenty of length. If I wanted to make curving streets I’d have to cut these strips on the bias, but I was uninterested in that noise, straight streets worked just fine for me.

Top 3
To get the fabric pieces to stick until you sew them down, you’ll need to use fusible web. It’s basically a double sided iron on glue. Just cut the fusible web to the same size as your shapes and iron it on. Once it cools you peel off the paper backing and iron it on to the quilt top fabric.

Top 4
To machine applique you don’t need a special sewing machine, you just have to use a zig zag stitch and set the stitches super close together. Using a thread that matches each piece, just zig zag around the outside. I give more detailed instructions in this post, as well as in the video. Don’t forget your trusty coffee filters behind the top of the quilt to keep everything stable and smooth.

Top 5
With all the pieces stitched down, I used a little more zig zag to make the center lines of the streets. I think it’s a little touch that really adds a lot to the quilt top.

Play Cloth
If you’re not interested in turning this into a quilt – because you don’t have the time or you just don’t feel like it, you can leave it as a play cloth by just folding the edges under twice and sewing a hem. Then it can just work like a table cloth and you can neatly fold it up and bring it out with no fuss. Although, if your kid is like my Atti, you might not ever need to put it away.