Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Car Play Mat Nostalgia (with a Hemming Tutorial!)

Awhile back when I was at my local thrift store,
I ran across an item that brought back a lot of memories:

I grew up with a car mat (or at least that is what we used it for) very similar to this. We would lay it on the floor in my brother's room and take out his cases of hot wheels cars. He had this fancy light blue case with a handle on one end that had a separate section for each car. We would drive the cars up and down the road and make believe that our passengers were making stops at the bakery, the police station, or the mall. I loved driving this little white ambulance van around that had a red light on the top. My favorite cars were always the ones where the doors actually opened. When I was older (probably starting in middle school), my brother would give me a hot wheels car for a gift every once in awhile. It was kind of a throw back to our car mat playing days. We spent hours and hours playing cars on that car mat. And we loved every minute of it. It was probably our second most popular toy (Legos were the most popular).

I don't remember for sure if this car mat is exactly the same as the one we grew up with (the teddy bears seem a little bit unfamiliar). But, the green grass and the buildings are just what I remember.

So, in short, I bought this car mat for $1 at my thrift store (a little more than a yard of fabric). The edges were a little bit roughed up, so after washing it I trimmed the sides and hemmed it. I am not sure if you have completed a rolled hem before with your sewing machine, so I took some pictures of the process in case you have something you need to finish off. This was a perfect project for a Tuesday afternoon, in which I wanted to sew, but I actually wanted to finish a project and I didn't want to take out too many supplies.

After squaring up the corners, I simply folded over the edge about 1/4" towards the back of the fabric and ironed it down. On some projects, I will take out my ruler to be as accurate as possible. For this project, the finished dimensions didn't matter too much, so I just took my best guess at what 1/4" was. (You can choose whatever size hem you would like/feel comfortable sewing - just make sure you are consistent throughout the project.)

I then folded over the edge one more time (so the raw edge was on the inside). I pressed this again, and then I added some pins to keep it secure.

I sewed with about 1/8" seam allowance all the way around.

And, now I have one more project checked off of my list!

Has anyone else ever ran into an item at a thrift store that brought back a lot of memories?
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  1. oh wow! What a find! I just made one of these from scratch, but yours is SO cute, and how easy! Came over from Someday Crafts!

  2. what a great find, for Christmas we were looking for one for our son. And they just dont make them like they used to!

  3. nice! Man, I need to find some good road fabric...any ideas for vendors?

    jess @

  4. I love it!!! I'm visiting from TT&J. I'd like to invite you to link up with us for Fun Stuff Fridays.

  5. i love it i want one baby blanket car mat. you mail me. 2. hampshire circle dover nh 03820. by, keeshia cook

    1. My email address is

  6. Thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good resource...