Emily’s Hexagon Playmat Bag tutorial

This week we have a fabulous tutorial from Emily of Strawberry Patch Ramblings! She’s created an adorable playmat that draws up into a bag so you can carry your toys on the go or tidy away your play area instantly! Here it is in our homepage photo as a playmat:

Play Mat
And here I am modelling it as a bag! Now I’ll turn it over to Emily to tell you how she created this genius project. Thank you Emily!
I was so excited to play with the wonderful new Briar Rose collection. It has such a beautiful soft hand and combined with the sweet details in the prints I knew it would be perfect for this little baby project. A sweet playmat perfect for play dates and travelling with little ones, fill it up with toys and picnic treat as it draws up into a handy bag.
Fabric required:
6 fat quarters for patchwork top
Wadding 45” x 45” (Crib size pack most suitable)
1 ¼ meters of fabric for backing (44”wide)
½” meter of fabric for binding (44” wide)
4 Meters of strong ribbon or cord for drawstring
Assembly Directions:
Use an accurate ¼” seam allowance throughout
Cutting instructions:
Trim the longest side of the fat quarters to 22” if it is not already.

playmat 1

Cut a rectangle 12 ½” x 22” then subcut the rectangle on the diagonal. Retain leftover strip for later.

playmat 2

Repeat with the remaining five fat quarters.
Sewing the Patchwork Top:

Arrange triangles into a hexagon layout.

playmat 3

Taking two triangles at a time sew them together to create 6 segments. Press seam allowances.

playmat 4

playmat 5

Sew three segments together to give you a half hexagon.

Repeat with the remaining segments to give you the second half. Press seam allowances.

playmat 6

Join the two halves, this time pressing the seam open to reduce bulk.


Layer the patchwork front and backing fabric with the wadding to make a quilt sandwich. Pin into place or spray baste using 505 basting spray.

playmat 7

Quilt as desired. I chose to echo the six segments of the hexagon with some evenly spaced straight line quilting.

Once quilted trim the excess wadding.

playmat 8

Attaching drawstring Channels
Take 4 strips from those you retained from cutting the fat quarters earlier.  You are looking for two strips for the outside of the drawstring channels, I chose the two strawberry prints, and two for the inside of the channels, as these will not be seen I used two of the solid strips. Check that the strips are 7” x 22” (if not then trim to
size). Subcut into six 7” x 3 ½”.

playmat 9

playmat 10

Take one printed strip and one solid strip and place RST.

Sew down the two short sides, backstitching at  the beginning and end.

playmat 11

Turn the right way out and press flat, then press in half along the length.

playmat 12

Repeat until you have made 12 of these units.

playmat 13
Pin into place along the edge of the playmat on the back, two per side and position evenly, I spaced mine 3 ½” in from the edges. Machine baste into place 1/8” from the edge.

Finishing the bag

Bind using your preferred method.

playmat 14

I like to use a 2 ½” straight strip binding machine sewn down onto the back of the playmat and then hand sew down onto the front.

playmat 15

playmat 16

Thread the ribbon or cord through the channels using a bodkin or large safety pin.

playmat 18

playmat 17

playmat 19

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20 Responses to Emily’s Hexagon Playmat Bag tutorial

  1. Charlotte October 30, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    fantastic playmat! What a great idea 🙂

  2. Katy October 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Um, it looks great, but also very reminiscent of Tickle and Hide’s drawstring quilt, which I made earlier this year for my niece – http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157637117422596/.

    • collette howie October 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      I thought the same x

    • Emily Strawberry Patch November 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi Katy, I’m sorry you though it looked the same. I did design the playmat from scratch, drafting the measurements myself to be fat quarter friendly and use the most of the cut of fabric. In the course of making the tutorial I did see there where other playmats already made on the internet and some patterns available, however wanted to provide a free tutorial for people to access and use and as I say, base it upon using a fat quarter cut. By cutting the fq in the way described in the tutorial it uses the fabric in the most efficient way, giving you a triangle and the channel for the drawstring with practically no waste of the fq.

  3. Lynz Graham October 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    That is so, so cool! I MUST need one for something…

  4. Fran October 31, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    I’ve got just enough fat quarters to give this a go, and this morning I found a 5 meter length of ribbon – fate!

  5. Indianna November 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Thanks for the free pattern. I love the fact that there is no waste from the fat quarters.
    This playmat pattern may be similar to others, just as there are also lots of zip pouch patterns available too….not all the same, but all slightly different!

  6. Claire November 2, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    What a great idea and I love the fact it makes the best use of fabric I hate waste and keep even the smallest piece!!! Great fabric too

  7. Di November 3, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    Emily this is a great tutorial and I love how you have made your design FQ friendly. Di x

  8. Lush November 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Love the bag, especially the fat quarter friendly maths. Love it when someone else does the math!!
    Katy & Colette, I agree that it is similar to the one you pointed out but it is also similar to the many, many, many designs for this bag that have been kicking around since forever ago. My mother made one similar to this for my nephew & that was in the 1970’s. I think the “difference” here is the novel way of approaching the maths. Just my 2 cents worth.

  9. mrs robinson November 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Beautifully made… and the fabric choice makes for a gorgeous playmat!

  10. annaalena January 3, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Hi there,

    thanks so much for the tutorial! Lovely idea, and I started making it right away.

    As I used fabric that wasn’t quite 22 in long (my fabric measured 19.5 in), I had to readjust the squares I cut. And I thought it might be worth mentioning that if you do change the height or width of your fabric squares, you should consider the geometrics that underly hexagons and triangles … before you start cutting your fabric!

    You can find calculators online so you don’t have to dig out long-forgotten maths, e.g. http://www.csgnetwork.com/righttricalc.html.

    Otherwise the no-fabric-waste-project quickly becomes a waste-a-lot-of-fabric-project….

  11. Sheryl Miller May 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Thank you this is amazing!

  12. jill August 2, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    There is only one problem with this pattern. I have already cut my fat quarters and it’s too late to remedy now. When cutting the six 12.5 x 22 inch pieces into triangles, you must cut three from right corner to left corner and three from left corner to right corner. Otherwise they will not lie up correctly to make a segment. Right now I have 12 pieces that do not fit together properly. A very important omission!!

    • Annaalena November 13, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Hi Jill,
      Thanks for pointing this out! when making this a while ago, I fortunately realised this when it was not too late. My only mistake was that I hadn’t considered the maths when altering the length… See comment I left earlier. I am now set to make this again for a friend, and would have completely forgotten about the trick with cutting the triangles had you not left that comment. Thanks a lot! (I’m thinking maybe Emily didn’t mention it as she used quite a lot of solid cottons which you can use both ways?)
      hope you find more fabric to make two blankets, it’s such a lovely playmat and I get loads of compliments for it! And my son loves it too!

    • Linsay November 1, 2015 at 2:35 am #

      Yes! I just did the same thing and think it is a very important thing to leave out, not a happy sewer.

  13. Hannah March 2, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi, I’ve just made the quilt but having a bit of a dense moment when it comes to threading the drawstring. How do you get it to have the two handles and pull the quilt up into a bag? Thanks Hannah

    • Emily March 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

      Hi Hannah,
      when you have threaded the drawstring all the way around, pull it up from one side between any gap in the channels, and then pull up a second handle by pulling up the drawstring from the gap in the channels directly on the opposite side of the mat from where you pulled up to make the first handle. Keep pulling on your handles until the drawstring pull tight and closes the mat up into a kind of bag. I hope this helps explain it!
      Kind regards


  1. Handmade Christmas gift ideas! Projects to make for kids | The Village Haberdashery - November 6, 2015

    […] Emily’s hexagon playmat – An awesome playmat that gathers into a bag so you can take toys to go or tidy up quickly. […]

  2. Baby Boom: 5 Great Sewing Ideas To Welcome Newborn Babies - September 12, 2017

    […] This final idea is one I'm just itching to try out, as it's sure to be a hit with both babies and their parents. I love the idea of a bright play mat that doubles up as a stylish bag, enabling babies to enjoy playtime and parents to effortlessly transport toys. No pattern is required in this case, but there's a comprehensive tutorial from Strawberry Patch Ramblings via The Village Haberdashery. […]

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