Hi! It's Jen Strauser from Dizzy Quilter, here with a fun project using AccuQuilt's new GO! Dinosaur (55213) die! I was beyond excited when I saw the newest die being offered by AccuQuilt and immediately had a ton of ideas in my head. I landed on this Dinosaur play mat, perfect for kids all the way to grown ups!
I say grown ups because after several years of asking, I finally received a set of plastic dinosaurs to play with in my studio. I know, it’s an odd thing for a 47 year old woman to want, but there it is. I like dinosaurs, fossils, and other “boy stuff”. The plastic dinosaurs are more for the opportunity to take silly photos than to act out actual Paleolithic dramas. Check out the Dinovember website to see what inspired me.
As soon as my contact at AccuQuilt told me what was coming up, I fired off an urgent email, begging to be allowed to make my dinosaur play mat so I can store my new toys. I keep finding them buried in scrap bins, leading me to believe that they actually ARE coming to life at night and playing.
I’m going to walk you through the steps I took to make my play mat. You can download the drawings I made for my landscape appliqué here.
GO! Dinosaur Die
The Dinosaur die is a 6” x 12” die, which means you can use it with any of the AccuQuilt systems, from the GO! Me, the GO!, or the GO! Big, and even the Studio with appropriate adapter.
The play mat I made is shaped like an octagon. It would be a 46-inch square if I hadn’t cut off the corners. I used a cute dinosaur fleece for the backing, rather than quilting with a batting. Fleece comes in a 60” width, so I didn’t need to piece the backing (Hooray!). If your little ones are into cars, trains, or planes (or all three) you could make your play mat reversible!
- 1 yard - Background
- 1 yard - Border
- ½ yard - Binding
- 1 ½ yard 60” polar fleece - Backing
- 1 ½ yard Fusible webbing
- 4 ½ yards cord - I used cotton clothesline
- ⅜” Grommets, with tools
- Standard quilting tools
- 8” x 10” - volcano
- 8” x 10” - lake
- 10” x 10” - tree trunks
- Fat Quarter - paths
- Fat quarter - leaves, swamp grass
- 6 - 6” x 12” pieces
GO! Products Used:
1 - 36” square - Background
4 - 6” x 20” - Border
4 - 6” x 40” - Border
Prepare Background Fabric
Begin with a 36” square of fabric for your background. Fold it in half, then into a quarter. Measure 11” from the cut corner, on both sides, mark, and cut off the triangle. When you unfold your fabric, you will have an octagon. It may not be perfect - remember this is for a small child who plays with plastic dinosaurs. They will love it. If they measure and point out that it isn’t a perfect octagon, give it to their sibling.
With right sides together, attach a short piece of border fabric along one of the bias-cut edges of your octagon. Be gentle, and avoid stretching or distorting the bias edge. Repeat for all 4 bias edges.
Press towards the border fabric.
Using a long ruler, line it up along the straight edge of the background, and trim off the excess border length. You will end up with a rather small triangle of border print.
With right sides together, attach a long piece of border fabric to one of the remaining sides. Stitch slowly, being sure not to stretch or distort the bias edges of the previously applied border sections.
Press towards the border fabric.
Using a long ruler, line it up along the straight edge of the previously applied border, and trim off the excess border length.
Print out the appliqué patterns. Make sure your printer setting is set to “no scale” or print 100%, if you want it to look exactly like mine. There is a 1” box for scale on the pattern - don’t bother tracing that. Trace onto the paper side of your fusible webbing. Each shape has a number telling you how many I used on my version. Feel free to add or subtract elements to make your own, unique play mat.
Fuse the webbing to your appliqué fabrics, cut out, remove paper, and fuse to your background, following manufacturers directions.
I used 18 dinosaurs to decorate the border. Cut out 6 - 6” x 12” rectangles, and fuse your webbing to the back. If you stack some pieces paper-side up, some paper-side down, you will get dinosaurs going in both directions. Run through your AccuQuilt machine, no more than three layers at a time. Note that the die only makes 1 eye each time you run the die through. I used scraps from each set of dinosaurs to make a couple of extra eyes for each batch.
Remove papers, and fuse to the borders, following manufacturer directions.
Using your sewing machine, stitch around your appliqué pieces. Satin stitch, blanket stitch or just a straight line will work. You just want to reinforce the fusible - I find that with use, pieces that are not sewn down will come loose. AccuQuilt does offer a free embroidery pattern to accompany the dinosaur die.
Layer your polar fleece and play mat top wrong sides together, and quilt as desired. You can do this as part of the appliqué step if you prefer. I quilted it using a longarm machine.
Bind your play mat, using a straight of grain binding. Going around the edges of the octagon feels weird, but do it the same way you do with any “normal” quilt corner. I have a tutorial just for machine binding a project. I prefer to finish entirely by machine, for durability. Save the hand binding for something that isn’t meant to be on the floor.
Apply grommets following package directions. I chose to add one to each corner, and one to the middle of each edge. Hammering on my garage floor worked nicely, other than the need to have so much of my body so close to the floor.
String your cording through the grommets, and knot the ends together.
Present to your small person, along with a set of plastic dinosaurs, if they don’t already have them. Get down on the floor, play, and read some fun Dino books. My favorite is Ten Little Dinosaurs. The eyes wiggle around - it was the first book I bought for my son when I found out I was pregnant.
I have many, many more progress photos involving my Dino crew on my website. In fact, I even made a video.