Back to school sewing and thrifty crafting is the way to go these days. I always hate having to buy new supplies when I know that there is more lying around somewhere. Actually, I hate buying supplies in general because I don’t know how much is actually going to be used. I just worry about buying books and notepads, but kids have so many supplies to go out and buy.
Do they even use them all anymore? I remember having to buy crayons, markers, and colored pencils (just to name the coloring utensils), and my teachers would hoard the markers and crayons for themselves and we would only use the colored pencils. I understand donations and having just play time options, but my goodness! I would want them back at the end of the year, especially when I never got to use them. Things have probably changed since then.
So to save costs, because my mom had two other kids to buy supplies for, too, she would always make us homemade book covers and DIY pencil cases. They were little items that we could wash and reuse for a long time. She also made fabulous first day of school outfits. Sewing your own clothes saves so much money and you are able to personalize your wardrobe easily. Your child will feel so special with a unique pencil bag, homemade backpack, and other DIY school supplies.
I was a preschool and prekindergarten teacher for three years. In that time, the preschool still issued nap time for the students, unless specified by the parents of course. The pre-k students got “rest time,” which is just getting them to adjust for a full day of school. Poor kids. I’m in my mid-twenties and I wish I still had nap time. Anyways, when I first started out, I didn’t realize that there was a whole market for nap mats. Have you seen these things? Some of them are just plain plastic mats, but a lot of them are lined mats with an attached blanket and pillow. Do they have adult sizes of these adorable kids blankets and mats? They would be great for camping trips (I’m sure stores already make some like this, but I don’t camp enough to know).
As cute and easy those mats are to buy, you will save lots of money in the long run with this DIY tutorial for a nap mat roll. It rolls up easily and has a strap so your child or you can carry this around without any difficulty. I like how you get to choose whatever kind of fabric your child likes. Some kids are very sensitive to certain textures, so this ensures that your child is comfortable and is able to sleep soundly. Instead of buying a new mat every year due to wear and tear, preference change, or they outgrow it, simply make this DIY sewing project that can grow with them!
DIY Nap Mat Roll
- 1 yd fleece fabric
- 2 yd Minky fabric
- 28 in. elastic, 3-in wide
- Poly-fill stuffing (32 oz)
- Straight pins
- Measuring tape
- Sewing machine
- Ball point needle (recommended)
- Walking foot (recommended)
- Fleece and Minky fabrics are used for this project. If you are purchasing fabric that is at least 50 inches on the bolt, you will need 1 yard of fleece and Minky for the bag portion. You will also need Minky fabric for the pillow and strap, so purchase an additional yard of Minky, for a total of 2 yards of Minky fabric.
- When sewing with fleece or Minky, a ball point needle is recommended.
- Since we’ll be sewing through several layers of thick fabric, you may want to use a walking foot if you own one.
- Cut (2) 40 x 50-inch rectangles, one from fleece and one from Minky. Place the rectangles right-sides together and pin the edges to prevent shifting.
- Sew side and bottom edges with a ¼-inch seam, leaving the entire top edge open. Turn right side out.
- Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, with the Minky on the outside. Pin the edges to prevent shifting.
- You will sew the short bottom edge, and the long open edge. Stop sewing 12-inches away from the top, so that the bag is easy to climb in and out of. Sew with a ½-inch seam, or just inside the bulk of the previous seam.
- Turn right side out.
Sewing the Pillow
- Cut two pieces of Minky that are 24×20-inches. Layer right sides together and pin.
- Sew the two short sides and the top with a ¼-inch seam. Leave the bottom edge open. Turn right side out.
- Measure 4-inches in from the un-sewn bottom edge. Mark with pins. Top-stitch down the length of the pillow, leaving a 6-inch hole in the center for stuffing.
- Stuff the pillow with Poly-fill stuffing.
- Top-stitch the center hole shut.
Sewing the Strap
- Cut a rectangle from Minky to 16×9-inches. Fold in half lengthwise and pin.
- Sew down the long open edge with a ¼-inch seam. Turn right side out.
Assembling the Nap Sack Roll
- Slide the bottom edge of the pillow between the fleece and Minky layers on the back of the bag.
- Cut (2) pieces of wide elastic to 14 inches each. Fold elastic in half, to 7-inches in length.
- Place the bag face down. Slide the raw edge of the folded elastic between the fabric layers, about 4-inches in from each edge.
- Fold the fabric layers inward ½-inch to conceal the raw edge. Pin through only one layer of fleece and Minky; don’t pin through the layers on the other side. Pin the elastic in place.
- Pin the looped edge of the elastic to the pillow to keep it out of the way while sewing.
- Pin the ends of the strap piece in the middle of the bag, between the two elastic loops. Again, pin through only one layer of fleece and Minky.
- Pin the loose portion of the strap to the pillow to keep it out of the way while sewing.
- Open the bag around the arm of your sewing machine so you are only sewing through one layer of fleece and Minky (and the flaps at the end of the pillowcase). Topstitch close to the edge of the fleece with a inch seam, removing the pins as you go. Sew slowly, as the fabric is thick.
- Flip the bag to the front. Open the bag so you can fold under the raw edge of the Minky next to the pillow. Pin and sew with a in. seam.
- Finally, fold in the fleece and Minky on the top of the bag. Align the edges and pin.
- Top-stitch with an inseam.
What’s your best way to go back to school on a budget? Let us know below in the comments!
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