Nap Mat Tutorial

August 29, 2011

Remember how I said I love when my friends come to me with requests to make things I’d never make for myself? This is another one of those projects! I loved the idea, and it went together really easily, and it turned out so cute!

Her kids are going to start preschool and they go for more than 3 hours (not gonna lie, I’m a little jealous!) so she wanted me to make a nap mat cover for her daughter. She picked out the fabric, showed me her daughter’s backpack for inspiration, and left the rest up to me.


Sofie loved helping me demonstrate the uses of this project!


A velcro closure across the back keeps the cover in place while allowing easy removal for washing.

The straps go around the folded mat, and secure the pillow and blanket to the other side, making sure all the pieces stay together when not in use.

This looks like a complicated thing to make, but aside from the applique, it’s really nothing but a lot of straight lines!

This particular nap mat is called a KinderMat and I found it at Walmart for under $10 (I think it was $7 or $8). It looks just like this one, but it’s 1″ thick instead of 2″. It is 19″ wide and 44″ long.

I started by making the pillow. I used 2 pieces of white Kona cotton cut 11″ by 18″.

I sewed them together with a 1/4″ seam allowance, left a hole to turn, and stuffed it.

Whipstitch closed.

To make the pillowcase and blanket I used:

1 yard red dot minky
1 yard coordinating cotton fabric

To make the pillowcase I cut the fabric 8.5″ by 24.5″ and the minky 17.5″ by 24.5″

Fold the fabric in half and sew across the 8.5″ end.

Press the seam to one side,

Then fold the fabric in half and iron all the way around.

Then take the minky, and put your 24.5″ sides together, and sew down the side and one end. I serged the seams to keep the minky from going everywhere. It will COVER your house while you’re working with it, just a warning!

Take your cotton and with right sides together, line it up with the open end of the minky case and sew all the way around with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Again, I serged my edges. I also topstitched the serged seam down, but it’s not necessary.

To make the blanket, I cut a piece of minky 30″ by 36″ and my coordinating cotton to the same size. Place them on a flat surface (carpet is best) with right sides together and pin all the way around.

Sew around all 4 sides, leaving a small hole to turn it through, then push out your corners, line up the seams, and top stitch around the perimeter to secure it, and close up your hole.

I don’t iron dot minky, so to get the wrinkles out, I spray the blanket down with water and toss it in the dryer for a few minutes.

To make the cover I used:

2 yards of fabric
20″ of 5/8″ velcro (for the back closure)
8″ of 2 1/4″ velcro (on the straps)
21″ of jumbo rick rack
scraps of coordinating fabrics for the applique

The first thing I did was my applique. I cut the contrast piece 13″ by 21″.

The coordinating fabric for the top is 33″ by 21″. I laid right sides together and sewed them at a 1/2″ seam allowance.


The jumbo rick rack went right over the seam and I straight stitched it down the middle.

Cut the 2 back pieces 23.75″ by 21″.


The velcro goes across one 21″ end on each piece. So fold it over 1.5″ and iron.

Then open it up and place the raw edge along the pressed line and iron again.

Sew the 5/8″ velcro down 1/2″ from each end.

Repeat for the other side.


Velcro the 2 sides together and choose which side you want to be the outside.

The last part to make is the straps. Cut 2 pieces 26″ by 5″ and 2 pieces 16.5″ by 5″.

Fold them in half with right sides together, and sew down the side and across one end.

Turn right side out, press out the corners, and iron flat.

Take the top of the cover and the back of the cover and lay them out right sides together.


Place one long and one short strap between them on each side of the bottom seam. You can make them as close together or far apart as you like, but I chose 1/2″ from the edge of my applique on each side. Sew around the entire perimeter with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

You can either leave it flat, or you can mark 1/2″ from each seam in each corner and make box corners.


Place your mat in the cover, fold the blanket and grab your pillow and stack them all up. Pull your straps up and determine where you want your velcro and mark it with pins.

Sew on the velcro. I got excited about the finished project and forgot to take a picture of that step!

But that’s it! You’ve got a nap mat cover (or duvet if you want to get fancy!), and a coordinating blanket and pillow that all strap together for cuteness and convenience. Sweet dreams!

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60 Responses to “Nap Mat Tutorial”

  1. Andrea said:

    OMG just what I need right now, because my little daughter is starting kindergarten next week. Thank you sooo much for the tutorial, this is sooo cute!

  2. Melissa said:

    Hi Melissa,

    I don’t know how well you remember me, but we went to middle school together. I have to tell you that your blog has really inspired me to learn to sew. I tried to learn a few years ago (making bean bags for our bean bag game and it was a nightmare), so I gave it up. Last year I had my son and went from working 60-70 hours a week to being a SAHM. I love that I have the opportunity to stay at home with my little guy and would not change it for the world, but there have been times when I feel like I’m never really accomplishing much. After seeing your blog and all of the adorable things you sew, I decided to attempt it again. I started with a blankie (for my little guy) with tags all over it, using your tutorial for your bean bags. It was a success! Next I used your pillow case dress tutorial to make a gift for my friend’s new baby…another success! Since they I’ve made a few more things (pillows, crib rail covers, table covers) and have fallen in love with sewing. My most recent project was definitely my most difficult and the one I’m most proud of. I made my son’s baptism outfit. It took me over a month, it’s by no means perfect, but I love it. I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you. You have helped me find a new passion and I am so grateful for that.

  3. Meg said:

    I was looking for a nap mat idea a few weeks ago when my 2-year-old started preschool! I ended up not finding anything and temporarily just sewed a plain and boring pillowcase looking cover out of an old sheet until I could find a better idea. SOOOOO glad you posted this!! I read your blog every few days to get ideas, and I love it! Thanks for your creative ideas! :)

  4. karin marie smith said:

    I love this! Awesome tutorial! Please tell me your secret for sewing with minky!? I pinned like crazy but I made a blanket & messed it up! :( Is there a special foot to use or what? I love the stuff (normally don’t buy it unless its in the discount bin! I wish it was cheapier! :/ any tips?

  5. Melissa said:

    Nope, I do nothing special to it. This is my second experience using minky and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how easy it’s been to sew on. I use a straight stitch and my normal foot and just sew. The only thing I can say is to pin like crazy and trust your pins. I don’t take them out until after I’ve sewn (like on the back side of the presser foot instead of in front of it) so the two pieces stay together great. Also, I lay it out on carpet so it doesn’t move while I pin. Put the minky on the bottom and your cotton on top and you move around the blanket to pin.

    I never pay full price for it, either! I buy it at stores like Hobby Lobby or JoAnn’s that offer coupons off 1 cut of fabric. This particular minky I got on, and was able to use a coupon code on it. I also got my other fabrics at the same time and qualified for free shipping, so I saved myself the hassle of hauling small children from store to store looking for what I needed! :)

  6. Nicole said:

    WOW this looks amazing! I have recently found your blog through another fav blog. I have really enjoyed your blog as I am amazed by everything you can sew. I especially loved this nap mat. SOOO cute. Your sewing skills just amaze me and I hope that I can (sometime in the near future) begin learning to sew to eventually make beautiful projects. Thanks!

  7. Helen said:

    Good evening) I’d like to ask you one question. What material did you use to fill the pillow? Two types of syntepon I used once are not very good((

  8. Ana said:

    This is just adoreable. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am thinking about doing one for each of my kids, just for fun! I am sure they will love it.

  9. Sara said:

    Love, love, love this! I cannot sew, but this is such a cute idea! I am especially fond of the owl print. My little boys’ nursery is decorated with owls. May need to find a more masculine owl print for him and take this project on. And maybe by the time he starts daycare I can have it finished! : ) thanks for sharing..,

  10. Nadia said:

    You have such talent!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for making the directions for this so clear and easy to follow!!! I’m clueless when it comes to sewing and I was able to make this for my little boy.

  11. nicole said:

    This is so cute! I can’t wait to make my tot one. Will it work if you can’t find the 1″ mat and can only get the 2″ with all the same measurements?

  12. Melissa said:

    Hi Nicole! Yes, the measurements would be the same, you’d just cut a 1″ square in the corner if you wanted to make them boxy. It’s very forgiving on mat size!

  13. Sunny_Banks said:

    Oh wow! I love love love it! Is there any way that you could recommend to attach the blanket? My girls are not technically supposed to have blankets, but several of their class mates do as long as they are attached!

  14. Patti said:

    Thank you for your tutorial! I just finished making one for my daughter as a Christmas present. I ran into a couple of things and I was wondering if you could help me out. My blanket seems quite a bit smaller than the one shown in your pictures. Also, when I got to the step where you sew the front and back pieces together, I found the back piece was about 1.25″ short. I did use the plush fabric at the bottom of the front, so that might have had something to do with the difference between the two parts. I might make another one as a gift someday, so I just wanted to clarify.

  15. Leslie said:

    This idea is so cute!! I just had a couple of questions…At what point do you put the mat between the two pieces of front and back fabric? Do you sew it in when you sew the straps on? Also, I am having a hard time figuring out how to sew the velcro on during the last step. Can you try to explain it in words please? Thank you! I want to make this for my nephew, so I want to make sure I get it right. The tutorial is great!

  16. nicole said:

    This is fantastic! I have one suggestion that will probably make you itch now, but save you later. When your friend sends it to school, she should place it in a plastic zipper bag like the ones sheets come in. This will keep her daughter’s mat from touching others, helping prevent the spread of lice and germs. On that note… Happy napping!

  17. cindy boyd said:

    I made mats for my girls pretty close to yours but I attached the pillow to the top and then I made the opening on the side, i also attached the blanket with the same large buttons that closed the cover. (one button and 2 button holse x 4) that way it stayed togerther and on my girls when they slept. I also made my straps with wide elastic so there was no tying involved just roll up and slide over it and go.

  18. Sunny said:

    This is the cutest thing ever! I don’t have a sewing machine and haven’t sewn in years, would you be able to make one for my daughter that I could purchase?

  19. Corina said:

    This is so cute. And my question may be stupid but how did you sew on her name. And did you cut out the letters or did you buy them pre-cut? I love this mat cover and I would love to make one for my son, and yours looks so professional with the name etc. that I wanted to get mine as close as possible! 😉

  20. Dotsy said:

    On the box corners – you said mark in 1/2″ from the seams — do you then sew that? Do you trim off what you have left in the corner?
    You are so sweet to share with everyone. This is a beautiful mat and your directions are fantastic. Thank you.

  21. Melissa said:

    I do sew them, like you do corners in a tote bag. I cut out the little squares and stitch it closed to make a box corner. Hope that helps!

  22. Jaci said:

    Is it 2 yrds total…one of each fabric to make the mat cover or 2 yrds of each?

  23. Veronica said:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am making a cover right now using your directions and it is coming out great.

  24. Adrienn said:

    This is great!Thank’s the tutorial.My son goes to the kindergarden soon.. 😀

  25. Tracie said:

    Do you pre-shrink your fabric?
    Thank you for sharing!

  26. Melissa said:

    Not usually. Most of the fabric I buy is designer quilting fabric and there’s no need to preshrink it (Moda, Michael Miller, Free Spirit, etc). But if I buy a cotton print from a big box store like Hancock or JoAnn’s, then yes, I do! Their fabric shrinks up tons and I’ve ruined projects that way in the past.

  27. Sunni said:

    Do you want to see pics of projects that we’ve made that were inspired by this post???

    Thanks for the awesome tutorial! We’re using these as travel beds during our next family vacation since the toddlers still roll out of bed.

  28. Lauren said:

    I use Minky often in my small home business. If you have problems with the Minky stretching while sewing, I find the easiest thing to do is use a “walking foot.”

  29. Melissa said:

    I always want to see completed projects! You can email me at

  30. Rebekah said:

    I am not someone who normally sews, but I’m going to attempt my first project using your tutorial. I have a question about the cover…do I need 2 yards of each fabric ( coordinating and solid) or 2 yards total?

  31. Melissa said:

    2 yards total. If you’re using 2 prints, you need 1 of each.

  32. Tori said:

    Your tutorial has inspired me to make one for my son. He’s starting Kindergarten this week. I have the 2″ does that mean, to box the corners, that I would come in 1″? I’m also changing up the design a bit and having it open only on one end. I’ll also be permanently attaching the blanket. My son tends to get it all wadded up under him if it’s not. lol I’m thinking I might make the pillow attachable/detachable as well. I think if it’s loose he’ll just play with it or worse, start pillow fights with it! =) If that’s the case, then I would have to have it open at both ends and add velcro to the pillow case edge. If the teachers find the pillow distracting, then I can just detach it and keep it home. I’ll post pictures when I get it done and post a link here for it. Wish me luck!

  33. Lauren said:

    I love this tutorial. We recently moved our daughter from a twin bed to a full size bed. She loved her bedding on her twin so I am going to try and use the fabric from her twin bedding to make this cover for her nap mat. I was hoping to attach the blanket. Do you think it would work to sew the blanket into the side of the actual mat cover?
    Thank you again for sharing this wonderful idea :)

  34. Melissa said:

    Yes I do think it would work beautifully, if you just sandwiched it in there when you sewed the front to the back. I hope she loves it!

  35. Melissa said:

    Sounds wonderful! If you do it, could you blog about it and come back here and link to it? I’m sure others would love to see how you make the changes for his nap mat. Thanks so much for sharing, Tori!

  36. Monica said:

    I just finished making this mat for my son. I was just wondering where you got the letter appliques? I have been having a hard time finding letters for my son’s mat. Thanks!

  37. Melissa said:

    Hey Monica! I cut the letters for the appliques myself. Follow the link to my applique tutorial and it’ll show you how I use MS Word and downloadable fonts for awesome letters!

  38. Karina said:

    Thank you so much! I wanted to make a nap mat that would be fluffier than just using batting. I made a combo “duvet” cover with an attached pillow and blanket. I plan on making another cover for back up for my 3 1/2 year old and another set for my 17 month old. Too cute!

  39. Kristi said:

    I am so excited that I found your blog. I have been searching all morning for a nap mat that would stand out from everyone else’s. Your pattern is just perfect! Now if I can only convince my mom to make it for me!

    I can’t wait to explore your site for more ideas. Thanks!

  40. Casie said:

    I love this tutorial! I plan to make nap mats for preschool for my 2 and 4 year old sons. I will be carrying both in and out of preschool 2x a week, so I was wondering if there might be a way to add a shoulder strap to make it easier? Any suggestions?

  41. Grandma G said:

    I just made one of these for my granddaughter who starts kindergarten this week. It’s not quite as fancy as yours, but it still turned out really cute. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  42. Kellee said:

    This is a great tutorial! But I’m stuck when it comes to the kindermat, it seems in Australia we don’t have any similar equivalent to this and when I did find one on an Australian retailer they wanted $60 for the same thing you pay $8 for. :(
    Trying to think of alternatives for the mat because I really wanna give this a go!

  43. Melissa said:

    That’s really crazy! I’m so sorry. :( Is there anyway you can get it shipped cheaper than it would be to buy it locally?

  44. Kellee said:

    Lol not your fault just crazy that I can’t find anything the same here. I’m wondering whether its because we have different child safety laws or something (not that I could see why that is a problem.)
    Have been looking around need to find somewhere where shipping isn’t too expensive. Otherwise I’ll substitute with a foam inlay or something. Will share a pic when done :)

  45. Lynn said:

    I love this!! I am going to have to make some for my kiddos- you are genius!! Thanks!

  46. Shane B. said:

    I really love this!! Thank you so much for sharing. My twin grandsons are starting day care in a few weeks. So I want to make this for them for naptime. Just beautiful!

  47. Deepti said:

    Great tutorial indeed, loved the end result after so much of effort!

  48. Rose Betty Piper said:

    I loved the pattern for the mat cover. I will be making one for my grandson. Can you tell me the total number of yards of material that I will need for the pillow, mat cover and blanket. I did not understand the yardage. Thank you, RB

  49. Melissa said:

    I used 4 yards total, plus some scraps for the pillow. They’re all different fabrics, that’s why I didn’t provide a total yardage because it might have confused more than it helped. Let me know if you have more questions!

  50. Zulma said:

    I just made some for my 2 girls. They love them! This was the cutest, most helpful tutorial I found. Thanks for this great tutorial!

  51. Wanda said:


    I am having a problem trying to download your instructions. Are they not on pdf? I can’t even print them either. I need to make a nap mat cover for my grandson for daycare in the Fall.

    I love your fabrics that you picked and the instructions are easy to follow. Just too much to try to write it all down.

    What do I need to do to get it to print?

    Thanks for your help!

  52. Nikki said:

    I made one for my daughter and this blog was soooooo helpful! I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! I would love to send you a picture if you could let me know where to send it to! :)

  53. Madeline said:

    Have made one but all to ready to make another. Great tutorial, easy to follow.

  54. Patty said:

    Thank you so much for the great tutorial. A friend in my quilt guild showed her granddaughter’s nap mat at our last meeting. I found you tutorial and am in the process of making one for my great-great niece in Hello Kitty fabric. It is turning out so darn cute. Love your site and will be visiting often.
    I love that younger people are getting into sewing. I fell in love with sewing when I was young and quilting when I became a senior. It’s so great to see young women like you carrying on the tradition!

  55. elizabeth said:

    thanks for the tutorial, I used this and decided to go off of this, but create my own masterpiece at the same time. I attached the pillow and blanket to the mat cover, and left the straps to tie. i posted pictures (not for sale) on my website

    right now i only have cell phone pictures so not the greatest. but my son is going to love this when he wakes up in the morning! all ready for school next week! thank for the inspiration!

  56. Sandy France said:

    I love this mat cover. I am making one for a 2″ thick x 24W x 48L mat. I will have to change the measurements to fit. Some 2″ mats are wider and longer than yours so, adjustments do have to be made.
    This is adorable and I can’t wait to finish mine.
    Love your web site!

  57. Amanda said:

    I would love to know what measurements I would need for the 2″ thick 24wx48L mat. If you or Sandy France could help me with that! Thank you so much!

  58. Melissa said:

    Just add 1/2″ to the length and width of the front and back pieces and cut a 2″ square instead of 1″. :)

  59. Amanda Thompson said:

    Thank you! Excited to give it a shot!

  60. Ciava Hogsett said:

    I would love to make one of these but we don’t have anything like those mats in Ireland (love your blog by the way) what can I use instead. Thick wadding or batting you might call it ?
    any helps would be greatly appreciated

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