Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Car Mat Quilt

It was a car Christmas for my boys. I've been collecting fun hotwheels/matchbox cars for a little while now with this car mat in mind. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find basic cars like mail trucks, school buses, fire trucks, ambulances, etc? You can always find tons of ridiculous "concept cars" that look really, well, dumb. But there is usually a serious shortage of normal ones. And hey, has anyone out there EVER seen a matchbox minivan??


Anyway. I digress. Here's my project:

I must say, this project evolved, evolved, and evolved again every step of the way. I ran into so many snags -- wrong products purchased, wrong amounts of fabric purchased (more than once!!), forgetting vital components to the "city," measuring wrong more than once, etc. Sigh. Some projects just seem doomed from the beginning.

But I muddled through, and here it is!


(What city is complete without a place for dinosaurs to play -- complete with erupting volcano, lake, and cliffs?)


Parking spaces -- and lots of them -- are an absolute MUST.

How I did it:

It started a few months back with a roll of butcher paper and a Sharpie. (There is just something about drawing with Sharpies!!) I taped a large sheet of the paper onto the kitchen table and started drawing, taking cues from the boys as I went along.

We loved how it turned out, and it actually stayed on the table for a couple weeks. We just ate our meals right on top of it! I started thinking about how to make it permanent and, being a quilter, of course fabric was my first thought.

I drew a bunch of pictures on 8 1/2" x 11" paper, scanned them in to the computer, and colored them in Photoshop. My intention was to print them on fabric sheets you run through the printer (yes, you can make these yourself with your own fabric and freezer paper and save a million bucks), then sew black sashing in between to create roads. I busted out my store-bought fabric sheets, ripped the package open, and realized I had purchased FUSIBLE fabric sheets --basically fabric with fusible webbing ironed on the back. So each "block" section of my city is fused onto a large piece of black fabric. I was going to use yellow ribbon to make the dotted lines on the roads, but ended up using the scrap edges of my fusible fabric, cut in itty-bitty pieces, all ironed on one...at...a...time. I also eyeballed the center of my fabric, which accounts for the one end that is a one-way street. After layering the quilt together, I quilted by sewing down the edges of each fused on piece. For the dotted lines, I sewed straight down the middle using monofilament thread.

Oh well. It isn't my original vision (personally I like the black-and-white butcher paper drawing better!), but it did turn out fairly cute and they do like it.


What I learned:

I wouldn't recommend the fusible fabric sheets. They are super stiff, making it difficult (and somewhat worrisome!) to fold the quilt. And they definitely are not 100% cotton. They almost feel a little plasticky. One difference between the fusible fabric sheets and the sew-in fabric sheets is that you can set the ink after printing on the sew-in sheets by soaking them in water and pressing them dry with an iron. With the fusible fabric sheets there was no way to do that. I am concerned about the ink's durability. I think I would be too scared to wash this quilt (fabric says hand wash only but I'd be afraid of even doing that). Guess we'll just find out how it wears!

19 comments:

angela said...

Cute! And awesome artistic skills to draw all those little scenes! Great project!!

Crystal Hendrix said...

I think it turned out really well!! Good job on it!

Elise Edwards said...

I love it! And your kids must love it too. It sounds like it'll be very durable with the fusible product at least - they will probably pass this on to their own kids :)

Jessie Keating :: Tiny House said...

Very, very cute! I have found the Plan City cars for my son--I love that they are so sturdy, and without all the extra flashing lights, etc.

Sare said...

Adorable! I want to do one of these for my boys, but it will have to wait until next year. My uncle actually gave the boys 2 packs of "normal" cars (I think they are matchbox) and each had 4 or 5 in the set--one had all sorts of firetrucks and the other had repair cars/trucks and a minivan (kin of more old school...like an econoline van). I think he bought them at Kohls

Heather - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

It looks great!

Jen said...

Holy moly, was this your "very involed project" you were mentioning? I can see now what you meant, this looks like a TON of work.

But if your boys love it, then it was worth it :)

Great idea, super genius!

Alisa said...

Wow, it's amazing. Your boys must love it! I know my boy would.

Denise said...

When my brother was younger (70's) he had matchbox cars and there were several vans. One even had a surf board on top. You might want to check out Ebay or similar site for a van. Even going to yard sales might net you one.

Brooke said...

That is a great idea! Thanks for posting about the good and the bad... always good to learn from others! I think I will try the butcher paper project first and see if it is a hit with my kids!

Anna said...

so cute, my girls would love it too! They're into cars right now.

sb said...

Looks great - thanks for the share!

Scarlett Burroughs said...

I love your play mat so much I linked to it here
http://quilting.craftgossip.com/play-mat-for-cars-that-go-zoom/2009/12/31/

Very nice job!

Regards,
Scarlett Burroughs
Quilt Editor, Craft Gossip

Julie Bagamary said...

How COOL! What a great gift!!

Holly said...

I think it really looks great. Though I also appreciate your candor in describing your frustrations along the way because I very often have similar experiences!

Miss Muffin said...

LOVE IT!

sharla@mylittlegems said...

I love all your car stuff you have made. I have made several car themed things myself-what else do you do w/ 3 boys ;)- and I also have a ton of hotwheels I have collected on sale..- as I planned to have a "car Christmas/abc Christmas" but it didn't all come together in time. I do have a car mat in the works right now. I love your blog- thanks for sharing! Sharla-http://www.mygratitudeattitudes.blogspot.com

Blanket America said...

The drawings look very cute and nice...te idea is very innovation and obviously you have a hand with craft.

blankets

Brett said...

I saw this when you first posted it and wanted to try, and I finally did it for my son's 2nd birthday. I was glad to see your quilting tutorials last week and that helped me out too, since this was my first quilt! Here is my post about it: http://brettsturn.blogspot.com/2010/05/jacksontown-my-first-quilt.html

Thank you for all of the wonderful information and ideas!