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Cozy Kid's Roll-Up Nap Blanket

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When we're little, we simply have no idea have wonderful it is to be able nap. I remember how hard I tried to keep my peepers open all day long, and my kids struggled against daytime dreams as well. If only we could still sneak away for nap time now. Not to mention a carton of milk and some graham crackers. This soft and sweet nap time pad with its own built-in blanket just might make afternoon slumbers a little bit easier. Believe me... everyone here at Sew4Home wanted to try out the sample when I finished it!

The Wee Woodland flannels we chose are by Keiki for Moda Fabrics. The designs are so cute. And, hey, the alphabet pattern is educational. Point out all the letters and name something that starts with that letter until you drift off to dreamland.

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The amount of flannel listed below is actually enough to make two cuts from each fabric. You could use just one fabric for both the inside and outside of the pad, which would reduce the fabric needed by half. Or, double the amount of the other supplies, and make two nap blankets for two sleepy kids.

We always recommend pre-shrinking, but especially stress it when working with flannel. It can shrink up quite a bit. Flannel also sheds a lot during laundering, so wash it separately.

Thanks to our friends at Fat Quarter Shop for providing the Wee Woodland fabric for this project. Both the designs we chose as well as many others in the collection are in-stock and available now.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1⅝ yards of 44-45" wide flannel fabric for inside: we used Wee Woodland Flannels by Keiki for Moda in Turquoise ABC
  • 1⅝ yards of 44-45" wide flannel fabric for the outside: we used Wee Woodland Flannels by Keiki for Moda in Cream Toadstool Spots
  • 1 yard of 54" wide thick polar fleece: we used an ivory fleece
  • 2 yards of polyester high loft batting
    NOTE: I wanted an especially 'cushy' pad and so layered four pieces of high loft batting, using a machine basting stitch along the outside edges to eliminate shifting. I ended up using an entire large bag of high loft batting.
  • Loose polyester fiber fill for the pillow: you need just a few handfulls, so if you don't have an extra bag hanging around, buy the smallest bag available
  • 2 yards of 2" cotton webbing: we used a natural
  • ¼ yard of 1½" sew-in Velcro: we used a natural color to match our webbing
  • One package (3 yards) of double fold quilt binding: we used warm yellow
    NOTE: You will use the whole package; if you are at all worried about working with binding, I recommend getting two packages just to be on the safe side.
  • All purpose thread in colors to match both your fabrics, your webbing and your binding
  • See-through ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Fabric pencil or marking pen
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board

Getting Started

  1. Using the same or two different fabrics, cut ONE 21" x 51" piece for the front and ONE 21" x 51" piece for the back. 
    NOTE: If you decide to use a directional print, as we did with our Wee Woodlands Turquoise ABC, be careful to fussy cut so the design is straight to the cut edge.
  2. Cut ONE 34½" x 38" piece from the fleece.
  3. From the cotton webbing, cut TWO 27" lengths for the straps and ONE 16" length for the handle.
  4. From the batting, cut ONE OR MORE 19" x 49" rectangles. As mentioned above, we used four layers of low loft batting. These were basted together around the outer edge to hold them during construction. 
    NOTE: If you use fewer layers, your cuts can be a 
    ½" to 1" larger.
  5. From the Velcro, cut TWO 3" chunks. If you want to make your own binding, make about 110 - 112" to be sure you have enough. You can learn how with our tutorial.
    NOTE: As I mentioned above in the supply list, one package of quilt binding is three yards, which should be just enough to bind the three sides of the blanket (34½ + 34½" + 38" = 107" or 2.97 yards). Fleece can be quite stretchy, so if you are new to working with binding, I would suggest getting an extra package just in case. Better to have too much than too little.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Bind the blanket

  1. Thread your machine with thread to match your binding in both the top and the bobbin.
  2. Attach the binding to three sides (both short sides and one long side) of the fleece piece.
  3. We attached our binding with a technique that creates what we call 'Faux Mitered Corners.' To learn more, check out our
  4. Press the binding, avoiding the fleece as best you can with the iron. Set this piece aside.

Create the straps and handle

  1. Find the 21" x 51" piece that will be the outside of your project (Wee Woodlands Cream Toadstool Spots in our sample).
  2. Fold in half lengthwise to find the center. Mark this point with your fabric marker.
  3. Place one webbing strap to 4½" to each side of the center point.
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  4. Find your 16" handle webbing piece. Insert each end of the handle under each strap at a 90˚ angle 5" up from the raw edge. The handle should insert under the strap almost all the way; leave it just short of the opposite edge of the strap to conceal the handle's raw edge. The handle will bow in the middle. Pin the straps and handle securely.
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  5. Thread your machine with thread to match the webbing in the top and bobbin.
  6. Topstitch the strap in place, following your previous stitch line.
    NOTE: I moved my needle to its extreme left position in order to stitch super close to the edge.
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  7. Stitch from the raw edge, stopping at the top of the handle, pivot, stitch across the strap, pivot again, and down the other side to the opposite raw edge.
  8. Return to the bottom seam line of the handle and stitch another horizontal line as well as an 'X' to reinforce the strap at the point of the handle.
  9. Repeat to attach the second strap. Press.
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  10. Find your two 3" pieces of Velcro. Attach the loop side of each piece to the end of each strap, centering it on the webbing and placing the bottom edge of the Velcro 1½" from the raw edge.
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  11. Stitch the Velco loop pieces in place. Set this outside piece aside.
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Create the main nap pad

  1. On the 21" x 51" flannel piece that will be the inside of your project, mark vertical quilting lines a shown, starting 8½" from the bottom, continuing at 8" apart for an additional 4 vertical lines, leaving a 10½" section at the top - which will become the pillow.
  2. Lay the marked inside piece flat on your work surface, right side up.
  3. Align the raw edge of the fleece blanket piece with the left raw edge of the inside flannel piece. The bottom of the blanket piece will be approximately 2 1/2" from the bottom edge of the flannel. At the top, the bottom edge of the blanket's binding will line up with the last vertical quilt line marking. Pin in place.
  4. Accordion fold the blanket so it stays out of the way of the seams in the middle of the flannel piece.
  5. Layer the outside piece right side down onto the front, but first pin the straps up and out of the way. In the photo below, I've folded back the outside piece so you can see how I folded and pinned everything out of the way between the layers.
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  6. Match the raw edges all around and pin the layers together.
  7. Re-thread your machine with thread to match your flannel fabric(s) in the top and bobbin.
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and the bottom. Leave the top open. Remember to pivot at the corners. Go slowly and carefully, keeping the layers flat. If you have an Even Feed or Walking foot, this is a good time to use it.
  9. Clip the bottom corners and turn right side out.
  10. Push out the corners and press all sewn sides, pulling out the blanket along the left side seam. You now have a nice, long bag.
  11. Insert the batting into the bag. You'll need to push it all the way down into the bottom corners and smooth it out side to side. I found it was helpful to pin the batting in place at the bottom corners so it didn't shift while I adjusted it into the rest of the bag.
    NOTE:  Remember, I used four layers of high loft batting sewn together for my padding. You can use less to create a smaller pad. I wouldn't suggest using much more; this loft was about the maximum this size bag could handle.
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  12. When you have your batting inserted to your liking, you may need to re-draw the original quilting lines to make sure they are still clearly visible.
  13. If necessary, re-thread your machine with thread to match the inside flannel fabric in the top and bobbin.
  14. Following your drawn quilting lines, stitch across through ALL the layers.
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    NOTE: Yep... this is really thick. Your standard foot and a good needle should serve you well. I don't suggest the Even Feed or Walking foot for this step, it's really too thick. You will probably need to 'help' the layers move through machine. Don't push or pull with abandon, simply keep your hands on either side of the needle and gently guide. Also, as it shows in the photo above, it helps to roll up the pad as you go so it better fits the bed of the machine.
  15. Trim back the top edge of your batting if needed. It should be about 1" from the raw edges of the flannel.
  16. Lightly stuff the top of the pad with polyester fiber fill to create a pillow.
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  17. Fold under the raw edges of the flannel 1" all around. Pin together the folded edges to close the top.
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  18. Stitch the top edges together ¼" from the folded edges, then stitch again very close to the folded edge. This top edge needs to be 'doubly secure' so none of the fiber fill gets out. An Even Feed or Walking foot is also helpful here if you have one.
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Finish the straps

  1. You can finish the raw ends of the straps any way you'd like. I chose to use a very tight zig zag stitch to secure the raw edge, then turned the edge under just enough to conceal that edge, then straight stitched the turned edge in place.
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    NOTE:  Make sure you turn under your strap the right way. Fold and roll up the mat and check that you are hemming correctly to create a clean finish on the outside.
  2. I placed the hook side of my Velcro pieces as shown. Each one is centered on the webbing with the top edge right under the hem I made to finish the edge.
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  3. Stitch Velcro in place.
    NOTE: Our nap blanket is designed to roll up tightly with no overlap of the strap past the Velcro. Again, as above, I suggest you fold and roll your finished project and double check that your measurements are similar to mine before stitching down your Velcro.
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Fold and roll

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Project Design: Alicia Thommas   
Sample Creation and Instructions: Liz Johnson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Bernina 380 and the Elna 7300.


Comments (32)

Timaroc said:
Timaroc's picture

Am new on this blog and beginning to fall in love virtually all d projects I came along and to start practicalizing soon pls I'm currently using a vintage sewing machine so I want to know if by using it to make d projects hope it wont tarnish d perfection of d sewing ?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Timaroc - Welcome to Sew4Home. There's no one answer for knowing whether or not your machine will be a good one for you. It depends on the machine, its condition, your skill level, etc. If in good condition, any machine has the potential to create a successful project. In general, we favor the newer models, simply because many of the more modern features and accessories are helpful. 

Salma said:
Salma's picture

Thanks for the directions.  Just made one for my son who is 3 and will be napping at preschool.  It came out great!  I bought way too much fabric though.  I'm curious why it says 2 yards, then has dimensions of 21x51.  I have a ton of fabric left over, but it's super cute, so I can use it for other projects.

Love love love this!!!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Salma - So glad to hear you enjoyed the project and that it turned out well. This is one of our older projects from back when we tended to be round up to full or half yards when specifying yardages. Looking back now, I see that 1-5/8 might be a better option - and we've changed that above. You could even get away wtih 1-1/2 yards for the 51" cut, but since flannel has a tendency to shrink when pre-washed, we always err on the side of too much when working with it. Thanks again for letting know about your success.

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

I bought 2 yards of high loft batting and attempted to sew it. My machine panicked early so I removed it and went ahead with 2 layers of the batting. Perhaps you could fix this tutorial as I see in the comments that you used 4 layers of low loft batting, I made it for my grand daughter for her preschool. The fabric is mermaids with the fleece being waves. I serged the edges of the blanket and used a velcro closing. No proprietary fabrics were allowed, so it isn't The Little Mermaid, but a stylized ones from Dear Stella. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ AmberO - thank you for sharing your version of the project - and for linking back to us from your blog. Very cute - love the applique. 

shirley tener said:
shirley tener's picture

Great tutorial, I am going to attach metal rings for easy roll up, but I love your idea and great tutorial. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ PattiCake -- it appears that some copy vanished from this tutorial. This happens in the wonderful digital world of the web sometimes when updates are done. We've replaced the missing elements above. In particular, here is the answer to your question: 

From the batting, cut ONE OR MORE 19" x 49" rectangles. As mentioned above, we used four layers of low loft batting. These were basted together around the outer edge to hold them during construction. 
NOTE: If you use fewer layers, your cuts can be a ½" to 1" larger.

SarahKK said:
SarahKK's picture

Thanks for the great pattern! My mom is making one for my toddler to bring to school with him. We're going to add a small pocket on the outside to hold his stuffed lamb!

lyann said:
lyann's picture

Thank you for a great tutorial. I was looking for measurements for a nap time blanket and you had excatly what I needed! 

Harriet said:
Harriet 's picture

Since children's items end up being washed a lot, would the fiber fill for the 'pillow' shift and lump?  Would it be less likely to do so if the pillow was simply folded layers of batting to equal the density that fiber fill would have created?  Just a thought :)  Great idea and I look forward to making one for my 6 yr old granddaughter and someday for the 2 1/2 week old grandson!  Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Harriet - you could certainly use batting, however, the fiberfil is similar to a toss pillow, which can be successfully laundered. It's best on a gentle cycle without other items but possibly with a couple bath towels. 

Ali0423 said:
Ali0423's picture

I finally finished my naptime blanket for my nephew "M" and my other nephew "G" now wants one.  I made it extra poofy and my straps ended up being a little too short. I will make the adjustments for "G's". Thank you for sharing this tutorial and I will be posting pics on your FB page (if that is ok) and I will be posting to my blog tomorrow (http://craftybrooklynarmywife.blogspot.com.

Thank you Alicia, Sew4Home and Liz Johnson!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Ali0423 - wow... what lucky little boys! You can certainly post pics on your FB page... just let 'em know you found the wonderful pattern right here on Sew4Home 

pat in texas said:
pat in texas's picture
I just finished making this nap mat for my granddaughter to take to Mother's Day Out. It turned out really cute and was fairly easy to understand the directions. My main problem was figuring out how to do the straps w/velcro. Finally figured it out and ripped out what I had sewn down. I used Minky cover next to the child and then put the inside fabric on the top and bound the two fabrics together. Thanks for the pattern. I used applique monogram for the mat also.
Lil Deb said:
Lil Deb's picture
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
There are so many tutorials for nap mats, but yours is BY FAR the best. I made one last year for my grandson and I sure wish I had your instructions then!
Again...thank you very much!smilies/cheesy.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Laurajayne -- as I mentioned above: We always recommend pre-shrinking, but especially stress it when working with flannel. It can shrink up quite a bit. Flannel also sheds a lot during laundering, so wash it separately.

You would also want to make sure to pre-wash your fleece, your fleece binding, and make sure your batting is washable, such as Polyfil's Hi-Loft Batting: http://www.fairfieldworld.com/...ft-batting

Then, launder it separately on a gentle cycle, and air dry or tumble dry on a low heat.
putznanu said:
putznanu's picture

Actually fleece does not shirnk, so of course you can pre-wash, but its not necessary.

LauraRRN said:
LauraRRN's picture

For safety's sake I would wash fleece anyway. There is always the chance it may shrink, then it means starting all over.

Laurajayne said:
Laurajayne's picture
This looks great! I'm wondering what its like to wash? Can you just throw the whole thing in the washing machine?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi lil'mama -- the measurements are shown above: the front and back pieces start at 51" x 21", so with the top and bottom and side seams, your finished dimensions should be about 50" x 20"... a bit more is taken up with the filling, but hopefully that's close enough to tell if it would be the right size for your child. Of course -- you can cut the pieces any size you want. If you need it a little longer, get a bit more fabric and add another few inches.
lil'mama said:
lil'mama's picture
Does anyone know the finished dimensions of this project? I love it - hoping it's long enough for my tall child
Jenna said:
Jenna's picture
Wow! colorful jail sleeping mats for children. What a wonderful idea. And they are much more portable than the ones in jails.smilies/grin.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Lowbudget ... Glad you like our nap blanket. No need for 'sewing mastery'; it's really quite an easy project. You're just working with bigger chunks o' fabric. Give it a try. I know you can do it! smilies/cheesy.gif
Lowbudget said:
Lowbudget's picture
This is so cute. I just need to get my sewing skills mastered. Thanks for this wonderful idea.smilies/smiley.gif