Luckily Portia's brilliant challenge, The Refashioners, forced me to start thinking and sewing again. I took part last year and it was one of the highlights of my year so when Portia asked me to participate again I was very excited.
I had so many ideas to start with (my initial reaction was to make a dungaree dress, which sadly would not have been practical for pregnancy so has been shelved for a while!) but I soon settled on making something I will need soon, and something I know will be used a lot – a travel changing mat. I had one of these when my daughter was a baby which was a freebie from a magazine and it didn’t last but it was so useful for carrying a small changing kit around, and meant that any bag could become a changing bag.
I started with a pair of jeans which I probably bought about 8-10 years ago and which were still a lovely dark indigo colour which was what I was looking for. They also have some stretch in which isn’t ideal but hasn’t affected the end result.
Before starting, I looked at a tutorial to get a basic idea of construction and also borrowed a friend’s changing mat to get a rough idea of size. I was obviously constrained by the width of the leg of the jeans but luckily I managed to cut the mat out whilst avoiding the leg shaping in these jeans. Obviously this would have been easier if I had used a pair of men’s, non-stretch and unshaped jeans but these were sitting unloved in my cupboard!
I cut my jeans up the outside leg seam, leaving the inner seam intact, and lay the fabric out flat. I then made a quilt sandwich of denim, batting and soft furry plush fabric before quilting all three layers together in a diamond pattern, using basting spray and a walking foot to stop the layers shifting around while quilting. To make the pockets, I cut two rectangular pieces of denim from the remaining leg and two pieces of flannel fabric half as wide again as the main pocket pieces. I gathered the bottom of the flannel to fit on the pocket, and sewed a channel for elastic along the top. I wanted bigger, roomier pockets than my last version as I am intending to use cloth nappies again which take up more space than disposables, but they will also be useful to put a spare change of clothes in too.
Using a faux leather bias binding I bound the pockets first before attaching them to the mat then bound the whole way around the mat. The binding was really quite tricky to work with so I kept the walking foot on my machine and took it really slowly. It isn’t perfect but I am happy with the outcome. The last thing to do was to stitch the buckle on the front, which has a magnetic closure, and done!
The only thing I had to buy to make this changing mat was the binding, everything else I had in my cupboard. The plush and flannel were left over from making new baby gifts, I can’t even remember why I bought the buckle but I am so pleased it has been put to good use and obviously the jeans were taking up space and feeling unloved so I am delighted to have turned them into something which I know will be so useful to me in a few months’ time. Thank you so much Portia for organising such a brilliant event. I love seeing everyone’s projects popping up and how other people interpret the theme. Good luck to all taking part in the community challenge - the deadline is 30th September so still plenty of time to enter!