When at Buy Buy Baby a few days later I spotted the nap mats, but at about $30 each, a $60 investment for the two, I opted out.
Soon after that I saw a DIY nap mat tutorial on the Prudent Baby website, and I felt inspired. I felt a tad intimidated as well, but I tried to focus on the inspired part.
Here's how they turned out. I'm pretty impressed with myself, I have to say.
If I was going for cost savings, this project was a total failure. After peeking around online and totalling up the cost of making them myself, I see now that those $30 mats are a bargain. However, I really took this project on for the sewing practice, and that I got!
I bought anti-pill fleece that I thought would feel familiar to Michael and Sophie since it's much like the sleep sacks we use at home. Fabric appropriately masculine for even a male toddler is tough to find. I chose two-toned green for Michael and two-toned purple for Sophie, happily venturing away from the usual blues and pinks.
I made the pillows removable for the mats' weekly cleaning like a later tutorial suggested, shortened the dimensions a bit, and attached Michael and Sophie's names. I really wanted to practice using bias tape, but I only did so on the blanket part (the tutorial uses it on every edge). Fleece doesn't really need finishing, I was eager to trim the cost of this project down, and being my first attempt at bias tape I felt less would just be more. I did ok with it, but I still need a lot of practice!
The main thing I learned from my recent sewing endeavors is to slow the heck down. I don't have entire afternoons to devote to projects anymore, and I have to embrace chunking them into pieces. With that lesson in mind, I've recently disassembled the pillows I made last month. I wasn't happy with how my hurried work turned out, and so far going back and taking my time is paying off. I'll reveal those finished products soon.
I'm not sure if we'll really use these nap mats this year or if we'll wait until preschool days since Sophie and Michael don't really sleep with pillows at this point. They might be more comfortable with a blanket and a sheet or their usual sleep sacks, so I'm planning to send all three options to the center tomorrow for the teachers to choose from. Potentially annoying, but I'm pretty sure I'm just that kind of mom.
Did I say tomorrow? Wow, that was one fast summer.