So about a year ago, I made myself what is possibly the mostly useful thing I've had for a baby (besides the basics).
A diaper changing pad. So simple, so useful. I made it when Cailin was like 9 months old, and honestly, I thought it was sort of silly to be making it so late in her infancy, after the blow-outs were supposed to have stopped, but I tell you what--I use this thing almost every day of the week even still. It's that great. :)
The best part about it is that instead of using iron on vinyl, or trying to find a cute sewable vinyl, you just use a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth. Super cute patterns available (my fish one is from Target for $5, the purple one below is from Walmart for $4), and you get a TON of fabric for that price. So you can make a whole slew of them and give them to every baby you know. When I was invited to a baby shower this last weekend, I decided to make one for the coming baby, and along the way, I had Cory take pictures so I could put together a brief tutorial for you. I hope you find it as useful as I have. Enjoy!
To make a changing pad out of a vinyl tablecloth, you'll need the following:
Coordinating fabric (approximately 16"x24" piece, or whatever dimensions you want your pad to be)
Small piece of velcro (I used a piece maybe 1.5" long)
Usual sewing supplies (machine, thread, scissors, etc)
All seam allowances will be 1/4".
To start out, you're going to cut out your fabric and vinyl tablecloth to the size you'd like your pad, plus 1/2" added to each measurement to account for seam allowances. So for my pad, I cut it to be 16.5"x24.5". Then you're going to round the corners (I traced around the edge of a plate).
Sew the two rectangles, right sides together, and leave yourself a gap to turn it right side out. I would tell you to pin them first, as the two fabrics will slip around a bit and not stay quite even, but something to keep in mind when working with vinyl--any pins you put in will leave marks that you can't undo. The pinholes will not heal back up like they will with normal fabric. So only use pins where they'll eventually be covered up by seams. (PS please ignore my crazy messy sewing desk--it was a ridiculously busy week, the end of which was crammed full of sewing random projects that still haven't gotten cleaned up. Sorry.)
Turn the pad right side out through the gap you left, and top stitch around the edge of the whole thing. Once again, you can't pin, and you also can't iron (it'll melt the vinyl), so just pinch the edges together tightly to crease the fabric where your gap is, and sew it slowly so it doesn't slide around and get all wonky.
Yay, you've got a basic changing pad! Next, you're going to fold it up to create creases where you'll eventually like to fold it. I do this by folding in the sides so it ends up a width I like (around 3-4 inches per side), then it in half (hamburger style), then unfold it, and fold the ends in to meet the middle and crease it again. Since that last sentence probably made zero sense, the blue lines in the next pic show (approximately) where my creases are:
Make more sense? I hope so. You can mark the creases more obviously, or just make sure you can see them ok to sew along them.
Then simply sew on your creases. This enables you to fold it up easier.
Don't worry if the vinyl stretches a little bit and doesn't match up quite right--somehow it all works out enough in the end that you won't notice it once the pad is complete. Or at least I don't. Just try your hardest to keep it straight and stretched together.
Once your lines are all sewn, fold it up along those lines (sides in first, then basically roll it up), and get ready to place your velcro.
Once again, no pinning where you don't want it to show up. :) Just hold your velcro in place, and either mark it (I marked it with a pencil on either side), or memorize your spot (if you have a pattern that makes that simple). Sew it on, and...
Voila!! You are done!
Admire that beauty, and enjoy having a nice clean place to put your stinky baby on to change them. I love it because once I'm done changing even the worst of diapers (and let's be honest, entire outfits), I can just wipe it down with a wipe, or if it's really bad, I can toss it in the washer. It does fade the tablecloth a bit every time I put it in the wash though, just a warning. And do not put it in the dryer. I haven't done it yet, but I can only imagine the damage. It easily fits in your bag, and can even be folded up smaller, if you want. Yes, yes, if you have to change crappy blowouts (haha, pun totally intended), this is a pretty decent way to do it.
(In case you noticed and are wondering, I sewed one of the extra fish from my original tablecloth onto the outside of the velcro for a little added decoration. Not hard, and made it just that much cuter).