Little One-Yard Wonders Book Review and Play Mat Project

For sewing fans, One-Yard Wonders is a familiar title. The first edition of this series from authors Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins arrived on bookshelves in 2009 and offered a variety of sewing ideas that all featured one promise: A yard of fabric is all you’ll need. Two years later saw the arrival of their next title, Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders, a collection of 101 projects working through the world of fabrics, from cotton to home decor. Now, the sewing duo is back for a third time with more one-yard projects that have kids in mind – Little One-Yard Wonders.

I loved every minute poring over the impressive collection of 101 projects Rebecca and Patricia have curated with their summer release. Divided into 14 chapters, Little One-Yard Wonders starts out with the basics and getting ready to create projects for children, especially when it comes to sewing clothing. From sewing accessories for the nursery to on-the-go necessities for both mom and dad, Little One-Yard Wonders spans so many needs creative parents might have when spending time with their children both at home and on the road.

The projects feature color photos, pattern pieces when needed and glossary references all along the way. The book boasts items to make for both boys and girls. And they’re spot-on; an item like the set-the-table placemat is just one of the options that works for everyone in the family.

Priced at $29.95 and set up like a workbook, Little One-Yard Wonders is a book you’ll love to keep on hand as your child ages from baby to up-and-coming crafter.

We asked the team at Storey Publishing for a favorite project to share here on Make It. Designed by Patricia Hoskins, the self-storing play mat is a wonderful playtime activity that packs up into a convenient carry-along toy for a visit to grandma’s house. Take a look at the project to get a feel for the book and all it has to offer.

Self-Storing Play Mat

Designed by Patricia Hoskins

Excerpted from Little One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins. Photos by Julie Toy. Illustrations by Missy Shepler. Web published/reprinted with permission from Storey Publishing.

The possibilities are practically endless with this play mat that folds into a storage box! Whether your little one is into animals, trains, cars, superheroes, outer space or something else entirely, you’re sure to find a great fabric to suit – be it a zoo or farm scene, train tracks or roads, a space scene or even a comic-panel print. Flatten the entire piece for a large play surface. Then, when done, snap it up to make a totally self-contained storage cube for those same toys. The handle makes for easier carrying of the folded storage box.


  • 1 yard of 44-to-45-inch-wide quilting-weight or home decor-weight fabric
  • 1 yard of extra-firm stabilizer (preferably double-sided fusible)
  • 1 spool of coordinating thread
  • 9-inch piece of 1-to-2-inch-wide webbing for handle
  • 6 sets of snaps (sew-in, prong or plastic; size 16 or 20)
  • 3 1/4 yards of 1/2-inch-wide double-fold bias binding


  • Finished dimensions: 35-by-21-inch play mat folds up into a 7-inch cubic box
  • Seam allowances 1/2 inch unless otherwise specified


1. Measure, mark and cut. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise with the right sides together, aligning the selvages. Measure and mark one big rectangle that is 35-by-21 inches. When you cut it out, you will have two pieces.

From the stabilizer, cut box and lid sides that are 7 inches square (cut nine).

2. Mark the stitching lines. Click the image to the right for the pattern. With a disappearing marker or tailor’s chalk, mark stitching lines on the right side of one play mat piece, every 7 inches down the length and across the width. On the wrong side only, you may want to label the individual marked squares as indicated in the illustration.

3. Attach the handle. Finish both ends of the handle with a 1/2-inch double-fold hem. Position each end 1 inch from a gridline on the right side of the marked playmat piece as indicated in the illustration (the handle will be slightly bowed).

4. Install the center stabilizer. Pin both playmat pieces together, wrong sides facing and raw edges aligned. Stitch along all four marked 21″ gridlines running across the width of the fabric. Stitch along just one of the marked 35″ gridlines running down the length of the fabric, as shown on previous page.

Insert three stabilizer squares into the three center segments of the playmat, as shown, between the fabric layers. Stabilizer should fit very snugly but without warping; if needed, trim squares slightly to fit. If using fusible stabilizer, press all around to adhere, following manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Install the snaps. Stitch along the remaining marked 30-inch gridline. Install snaps as indicated in the illustration, with the corresponding male/female sides facing up on the outside of the box (the side with the handle). The snaps on the four corner segments should be installed as close to the raw edge as possible, while leaving at least 1/2 inch free for the binding (click the image to right for the pattern). The snaps in the center segments should allow at least 1-inch clearance where indicated.

6. Finish installing stabilizer. Insert the six remaining stabilizer squares into the outer segments, between the fabric layers as indicated in the illustration. If using fusible stabilizer, press all around to adhere, following manufacturer’s instructions.

7. Bind the raw edges. Star
ting at one of the non-interfaced segments, encase raw edges with double-fold bias tape around the entire perimeter, mitering* the corners.

*To see how to miter, scroll down past step No. 8.

8. Close the box. Fasten the snaps on each of the corner (non-interfaced) segments, folding the excess fabric inward as you go. Fill the box bottom with toys before slipping the lid section over the box.

*Miter Corners

Here’s how to miter corners with bias tape, using a sewing machine, also courtesy of Little One-Yard Wonders:

1. Stitch the bias tape in place until the needle is 1/4 inch from the corner; then, backstitch to secure. Remove the project from the machine and clip the threads.

2. Fold the bias tape up and diagonally to form a 90-degree angle, and finger-press.

3. Fold the bias tape down so the raw edge of the tape aligns with the next raw edge of the fabric, and pin, Put the project back in the machine and resume sewing until the needle is 1/4 inch from the next corner.

4. Backstitch and repeat at each corner.

5. Once you fold the bias tape over to bind the edges of the project, a diagonal miter will form on the stitched side. On the opposite side, fold the bias tape under the creased folds to form neat miters, which will be caught during in the final stitching.


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