So my wonderful little nephew loves cars, whether toddler-sized pedal-mobiles or hot wheels. We wanted to do something special for him, but holiday budget was less than large. I saw a felt racetrack on Parenting Preemies, and immediately thought it would be a perfect solution -- my sister-in-law said that anything that involved cars would be an immediate hit, and we would be able to give him something different than a straight store-bought toy (the present did include two new Hot Wheels, and we sent grandma home with a Publix truck--part of an 8-design series--the one I found on sale had a peach and would be perfect to accompany my mom home on an 800-mile trip.)
While there were some good pics, I wasn't quite clear on how she actually constructed the book (she now has a girls version and sells both in her Etsy shop). Improvisation was in order, so I made a modified version, and it turned out better than I thought it might.
Felt is not exactly known for structural integrity, and with velcro, hand-stitching, a bit of machine stitching and a toddler, I'm not sure how long it will last. But it was a fun project. I'll be uploading a PDF with detailed instructions later this week--feel free to email me if you have any questions!
As you can tell from the quality of the shot, I was in a hurry to get this baby to the post office on Christmas Eve (good thing my family understands my inability to do things on time). I had actually wrapped it all up, realized I forgot to take a picture and had to unwrap it again. You can also tell that by 11 pm the night before, when I finished up the project, I got to the canvas closure, and said screw it. I don't feel like hemming it, so I'll just sew on the the velcro with little Xs and pretend like I'm going with the rustic look.
These pockets were also the victim of "its late and I'm tired of sewing." They're weirdly shaped, and the velcro is probably way too strong for a felt pocket that will store a toddler's car, but they would theoretically fit a Hot Wheels car, so that worked for me.
Here's my sewing desk in the early stages of the project. Andrew likes to make fun of my multiple desks, but I can't help it. I have three at home, and two more in KC. Five?!? Why do I need five!!?? I just can't resist the promise of a desk ready for a project. And I was getting tired of lugging my sewing stuff from room to room.
This particular desk came from a work friend. He even brought it to work for me and he and another coworker put it in my car -- no small feat considering how heavy it is. Working with nice people rocks. Getting it up the stairs of the house was quite interesting. The handrail will never be the same.
Once I figured out how the book portion would actually function, I started laying out the design. I had almost all supplies on hand in advance of starting, so that helped get underway. Just like cooking, when to sew which portion is an important decision. In the picture below, you can see a portion of the spine has already been machine-stitched. Which meant that I had to tunnel my hands in to do any and all hand-stitching (so the spine machine-stitching wouldn't go through the actual design). I'm sure there was an easier way of doing it, but I had already started in one way, and if I had tried to find the perfect way to finish, it might still be sitting on my sewing desk.
For all the hand stitching, I used 3 strands of embroidery floss (each piece of embroidery floss is 6 strands). I think on the fuel tank, I only used one or two, though. I don't normally pin this much, but I didn't want things to get all bent out of shape and not end up very booklike.
Here is the completed smaller track -- it's what you see when you first open up the book. You can see a little of the machine stitching on the spine. I used a fun multi-colored thread that changes color of blue every 4 inches or so. You could get some really cool effects in quilting.
Flip open the book again, and you see the larger racetrack. The pit road was my husband's brilliant idea. He thought the sunshine and clouds were weird though, because technically you have a bird's eye view. I think I started rambling about having a tableau within the track. Anyway, I added a service station and two parking spaces, because that makes it wayyy more logical. Then I realized that little guy, while the smartest kid I know, is only a few months past his second birthday and perhaps realism was not my only objective.