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 sneak away for nap time now. Not to mention for 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 it was finished!
If you have a young one starting pre-school or kindergarten, nap time is usually still on the schedule. Our roll-up blanket is a fun and cozy alternative to the standard flat pad.
Layers of high loft polyester batting create the cushy base with polyester filler in the top section for an especially soft pillow.
The amount of flannel listed below should be enough to make two cuts from each fabric (depending on shrinkage). 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 and remember to clean out the dryer’s lint trap when done.
We originally used Wee Woodland flannel, which is an older collection that is no longer available. No worries; current options for flannel are wide and varied. Below are a few new collections we like from Fat Quarter Shop, including a matching Cuddle solid for each (click on any image to see more):
A holiday favorite for kids:
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Even Feed or Walking foot: optional, but helpful to sew through the thick layers – if your machine has a built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system on many of the Janome models, this is also a good alternative for this project
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1⅝ yards of 44″+ wide flannel fabric for inside
- 1⅝ yards of 44″+ wide flannel fabric for the outside
- 1 yard of 45″+ wide thick polar fleece
- 2 yards of 45″+ polyester high loft batting
NOTE: We 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.
- ONE small bag of polyester fiber fill for the pillow section
- 2 yards of 1½” – 2″ cotton webbing
- ¼ yard of 1½” sew-in Velcro®; choose the best color to match your webbing
- One package (3 yards) of double fold quilt binding: we used Wrights Double Fold Quilt binding which finishes at apx. ⅞”
NOTE: You will use the whole package; if you are at all worried about working with binding, get two packages to be on the safe side.
- All purpose thread in colors to match the fabric, webbing, and binding
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric pencil or marking pen
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins or clips; some people prefer clips when working with thick layers
- Iron and ironing board
- From the flannel, using the same or two different fabrics, cut ONE 21″ x 51″ rectangle for the front and ONE 21″ x 51″ rectangle for the back.
NOTE: If you decide to use a directional print as we did, be careful to fussy cut so the design is straight to the cut edge.
- From the fleece, cut ONE 34½” x 38″ rectangle.
- From the cotton webbing, cut TWO 27″ lengths for the straps and ONE 16″ length for the handle.
- 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.
- From the Velcro®, cut TWO 3″ chunks.
- We chose packaged binding, but you can also make your own. If you choose this option, you’ll want to make If you want to make about 110 – 112″ to be sure you have enough. Our finished width if approximately ⅞”. You can learn more about making and attaching binding 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, we 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
- Thread your machine with thread to match your binding in both the top and the bobbin.
- Attach the binding to three sides (both short sides and one long side) of the fleece piece.
- We attached our binding with a technique that creates what we call Faux Mitered Corners.
- Press the binding, avoiding the fleece with the iron (polyester fleece does not like high heat). Set this piece aside.
Create the straps and handle
- Find the 21″ x 51″ piece that will be the outside of your project.
- Fold in half lengthwise to find the center. Mark this point with your fabric marker.
- Find the two 27″ lengths of webbing. Center one webbing strap 4½” to either side of the center point.
- Find your 16″ handle webbing piece. Insert each end of the handle under each strap at a 90˚ angle 5″ 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 raw edges. The handle should bow in the middle. Pin the straps and handle securely.
- Thread your machine with thread to match the webbing in the top and bobbin.
- Topstitch the strap in place.
NOTE: We moved the needle to its extreme left position in order to stitch super close to the edge.
- Stitch from the raw edge, stopping at the top of the handle, pivot, stitch across the strap, pivot again, and stitch along the other side ending at raw edge.
- Return to the bottom seam line of the handle and stitch a large X Box to secure this stress point of the handle. Check out our X Box tutorial if you are new to this technique.
- Repeat to attach the second strap. Press.
- Find your two 3″ pieces of Velcro®. Peel them apart. Attach the loop side (the soft side) of each piece to the stitched down end of each strap, centering it on the webbing and placing the edge of the Velcro 1½” in from the raw edge.
- Stitch the Velco® loop pieces in place. Set this outside piece aside.
Create the main nap pad
- 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.
- Lay the marked inside piece flat on your work surface, right side up.
- 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 should sit approximately 2½” up from the bottom edge of the flannel. At the top, the bottom edge of the blanket’s binding should line up with the last vertical quilt line marking. Pin in place.
- Accordion fold the blanket in the center of the flannel piece so it stays out of the way of the outer seams.
- 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, we’ve folded back the outside piece so you can see how everything was folded and pinned out of the way between the layers.
- Align the raw edges all around and pin the layers together.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match your flannel fabric(s) in the top and bobbin.
- 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 – or a built-in feeding system, now is a good time to use it.
- Clip the bottom corners and turn right side out.
- 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.
- 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. We found it was helpful to pin the batting in place at the bottom corners so it didn’t shift while adjusting it into the rest of the bag.
NOTE: Remember, we used four layers of high loft batting sewn together for our padding. You can use less to create a smaller pad. We wouldn’t suggest using much more; this loft was about the maximum thickness this size bag could handle.
- 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.
- If necessary, re-thread your machine with thread to best match the inside flannel fabric in the top and our your outside flannel in the bobbin.
- Following your drawn quilting lines, stitch across through ALL the layers.
NOTE: Yep… this is really thick. Your standard foot and a good needle should serve you well (it’s what we used), but you can also switch to an Even Feed or Walking foot or engage your built-in fabric feeding system. 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.
- Trim back the top edge of your batting if needed. It should be about 1″ from the raw edges of the flannel.
- Lightly stuff the top of the pad with polyester fiber fill to create a pillow.
- Fold under the raw edges of the flannel 1″ all around. Pin together the folded edges to close the top.
- 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.
Finish the straps
- You can finish the raw ends of the straps any way you’d like. We chose to use a very tight zig zag stitch to secure the raw edge, turned the edge under just enough to conceal that edge, then straight stitched the turned edge in place.
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.
- Place the hook side (the scratchy side) of the Velcro® pieces as shown: centered on the webbing with the top edge right under the hem made to finish the edge.
- Stitch Velcro® in place around all four sides.
NOTE: Our nap blanket is designed to roll up tightly with no overlap of the strap past the Velcro. Again, as above, we suggest you fold and roll your finished project and double check that your measurements are similar to our before stitching down your final hook pieces of Velcro®.
Fold and roll
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructions: Liz Johnson