This is what you need2 pieces of sturdy cotton fabric (I ripped mine from the tablecloth I bought the day before. It's white with a hint of green, very stylish). I found some bias binding, and, as it was pink, I decided on pink thread. Also in the pile are 2 pieces of curtain lining, which is my favourite stabiliser. I think that if I did this again, I would probably use something different for stabilising the bottom layer, so only one piece of curtain lining. If you don't know what I'm talking about - it could have a fancy schmancy name - it is a very cheap kind of fluffy thin nasty polyester batting widely available in the utility fabric section. It is white and has kind of stripes in it, makes it easier to cut. I wanted my mat to be 16" square, so for some reason known only to my brain (who had obviously gone out), I cut my fabric 17.5 " square, close as. I cut it in inches because I have a quilting ruler, and they are always imperial, like my heart. 16.5" would be a better measurement.
You also need sharp scissors, a sewing machine, a hand sewing needle and a different colour thread, some pins, and, if you haven't tidied everything away and forget where it is, a rotary cutter (plus the mat). Paper and a pencil and some paper scissors. And 2 embellishments - felt/crochet flowers, buttons etc (depending on how messy your corners turn out to be!)
I sort of divided my square (which I drew onto some A4 paper) into 4 quarters, and then drew on my road, pond, and grassy areas. I kept it simple because the focus of the playmat is the little wooden village (you have to wait until Lexie has opened her present before you see it in action, sorry!)
Iron your fabric. I pinned the top layer to the curtain lining all around the edge, and then I tacked it just like I was doing a proper quilt. It was very dull, but I did it in front of Rachael Ray.
This picture shows my pins which I popped in place for where I wanted to stitch. I didn't want to draw on my fabric because it always spoils it. I took the 'map' with me to the sewing machine, and I stitched each line of my road system, one at a time, aiming for the pins. I went right back the way I came, because I generally feel that one line of stitch looks a bit puny. I lowered the feed dogs for this, and put on the darning foot.
Here is the road all sewn. I cut out a pond from a piece of scrap paper, pinned it on, and then stitched round it. Then I threw away my template, and stitched round a couple more times
Now the boring bit. I worked the tufts of grass, because this is a village green (despite being pink!), and did some lines in the pond to look a little like ripples. And we're done! (I wish!)
I practised writing Lexietown without lifting my pencil, and then took the bottom layer, pinned to its curtain lining, to the sewing machine. I just stitched it slowly and carefully, and then went back over it again. It isn't perfect, but it's okay. I guess you could write it on some greaseproof paper, pin it in position, and stitch over it, then your positioning would be spot on, but you would have to make sure all the itty bitty specks of paper were gone afterwards
I trimmed the top (with scissors, because I did tidy my rotary cutter away), placed it on top of the bottom (wrong side up) and pinned it all together. Then I trimmed the bottom layer. This would be done in a trice with the rotary, but I fiddled with it a bit. Then I sewed it together with zigzag, ready for binding. Change your foot, and raise your doggies!
I left longer ends of the cherry bias binding as my ties (flip the end in for neatness), and started stitching there. You will see from the picture below that I did the pink binding first. I made a little loop at the corner, which wasn't spectacular, so I am showing you how I did the other corner which was better. Stitch to the corner, and continue along the binding only for a few inches for your loop
If you cut it at a 45 degree angle and flip it over, you will make a nice loop. Catch it with a few stitches. Then you can start the binding again (tuck in the cut edge). Leave another little tail at that end as well
This loopy method doesn't finish it off perfectly; I won't lie. This is where you need your little embellishments to cover the join at the loops on the outside. Sew them on by hand. I had felt flowers in my stash box, about an inch or so in size, and they were just the right colour, too.
This makes a lovely little playmat. You could use ribbons, sewn on under your embellishments if the thought of those loops makes you spin out. It might be better anyway!
The idea is that you keep the village in the mat to keep your lovely home tidy and clutter free. Oh I wish it was so simple!
Feel free to ask questions if I haven't made myself clear. I fudged it a bit while I was doing it, so I wasn't being deliberately vague! Fudging is probably vital!