4. I am a visual person, so I took a second to pause and draw out my circle with the pcs. Trying to map out in my head how to lay them out.
5. Now we need to cut our fabric for the loops. I messed my calculations up the first time, so don't mind the pic to much! You are going to cut 4 pcs from woven fabrics, 2 " x 12 1/2" long. Iron them like you are making bias tape. Bringing in the edges to meet in the middle, press, and then fold again, press. You will come end up with 4 strips that are about 1/2" wide.
7. Lay out your pcs on the floor exactly how you want your play mat to look. Your loop pcs. should be placed 6 1/4" from the edges of the inner pcs.(8 total loops).
8. Time to sew up the top!
9. Now cut out a bottom for your mat using your top as a guideline. I forgot to take a pic of me doing this, but just lay your top onto the minky and cut around!
10. Next, cut out your 2 layers of batting using the bottom pc as a guide. I cut out mine and left a little extra around the edges, just to allow for some stretching when I went to pin the bottom.
11. Now cut out your felt using the top as a guide. Again, here I cut out a little extra on the outer edge. Next, I pinned my minky bottom to the 2 layers of batting, stretching a little as I pinned around. Then I trimmed the excess. I did the same thing with my top layer and the felt. I know this takes a little extra time, but I think it allowed for a much smoother finish of the mat with no wrinkles.
12. On your top layer, go ahead and pin your 4 loops to the outer edge of your circle. I eyeballed mine and just made sure they were in between where the other 2 loops above were. But ideally your loop should be in the middle of your outer piece.
13. At this point I removed all the pins(not the loop ones) from the layers that I had used to hold together while trimming the edges.
14. Now pin all of your mat layers together. Yes, PIN! Your 2 batting layers will be on top, followed by your bottom minky layer face down, your top layer face up, and then your felt on the bottom. I pinned mine all the way around about every 2 inches or so. I also put some pins out in the middle so it wouldn't shift while sewing. This is what your layers look like at this point.
15. Now you are going to either sew or serge around your layers. You need to leave about a 6" space on the edge to turn your mat right side out when you are done. I marked mine so that I wouldn't forget. Sew, turn out and topstich your edge together!
We are now done with the play mat!
Sewing the Tubes
IMPORTANT: Measure your noodles before you do this part. My instructions are for noodles that measured about 8" around and about 56" long. If yours are any different that you will need to do a little math to make sure the tubes will fit correctly.
16. Cut out 6 rectangles that measure 8 1/2" x 21". I chose 5 different woven prints. I don't think you should use minky for this because it would be a little heavy for the arches. Now I layed the 2 tubes out. I pinned a loop pc to the 1st and 2nd pc in each row, right about an inch above the bottom edge. Go ahead and sew your pcs together. Taking the first 2 right sides together and then the last one.
17. Now hem the 4 outside edges. I used my coverstitcher because it conveniently had the same colored thread on it. If you are using your sewing machine just turn under an 1/8" inch press and then 1/4" inch and press again. Topstitch.
18. OK. Now you have your rectangles sewn together,you should have the 2 sets of 3. Your ends should be finished off neatly too. Now you need to add loops to the ends of your rectangles. I serged the raw end of my loops first because I didn't want them to unravel. But you could zig zag on a sewing machine just as easy.
19. Now just topstich one loop to each of your four outer ends. Loops should be about 1" from the bottom just like the other ones.
20. Now sew your 2 sets of rectangles into long tubes, right sides together. You should end up with 2 tubes just like this.
21. Now turn them out and scrunch them onto your pool noodles. You should have beautiful tubes like this when you are all done!
22. Now my original idea was to use my plastic links that I had purchased to link the loops on the end of the tubes to the outer loops on the play mat. I did this and it does work. However it made the arches just a little lower than I wanted them to be.
So my solution was to add snaps to each of the 4 loops on the tube ends and the 4 outer loops on the play mat. It works great and it is a lot easier to just snap them off when I just need a play mat and not the gym.
23. Now put that baby under the mat and let them play!! I purchased my toys by infantino super cheap from TJMaxx. I'm sure you could find them anywhere though. If you are really ambitious you could try your hand at making your own. I just don't have the time right now and the 6 toys that I have along with the links cost me right at $20 total.
I would love to hear feedback if you take time to sew this one up! It will help me in the future when I post more tutes!