PADDED BABY PLAY MAT TUTORIAL …Simplicity Sewing Pattern S8901 Baby Tummy Time Animal Mats Tutorial

Hi peeps! Oh what a blessing to be able to sew for baby. I couldn’t stop looking at this cute otter play mat that I’ve sewn for our baby boy. I could’ve make a simple round quilt as a playmate but this pattern from Simplicity caught my eyes.

I’ve put together this tutorial to help you along the way. This pattern is easy to follow, the only problem I have with it was how thick the layers are when it’s sandwiched. In fact, it’s so thick, it wouldn’t feed through my machine foot without any helping of pulling.

For face padding and batting, I used Poly Fil Hi Loft 100% Bonded Polyester Batting.


Apply batting to body front and back.

Iron on interfacing to wrong size of belly.

Mark 3/8″ from curved edge.

Machine-stitch along the markings..

Mark 1/4″ inside the seam line, machine-stitch along the markings.

Pulling up ease stitches to shape the curve.

Press under curved edges.

Eliminate bulk by notching out the fullness.


On outside, pin belly to front. I skipped baste and went straight to stitching close to pressed edge.

The ears are not in this picture but apply batting to each fabric of ears, arms, feet and tail. Baste raw edges, leave openings, clip edges and turn them inside out.

Pin body parts to right side of front body, baste.

Right side together, pin body back to body front. Stitch curve edges, leaving opening, clip curves and flip it inside out.


For the head:

Apply applique to head front.

Pin batting to head front, baste.

Keep batting on, I realized that I forgot to baste the batting on this step.

Pin ears on the right side of head front, baste.

Right side together, stitch upper heed back and lower back head, leaving opening. Clip to small dots.

Right side together, sew front head to back head, turn right side out.

Open seam allowance, stitch upper head back at neck edge.

Stuff head.


Slip stitch lower head back to body front.

And you’re done.

I know this looks like a relatively easy pattern, but trust me I got extremely frustrated with it several times. The fabric is too thick for my machine foot to feed through it, especially when it comes to body parts. and the batting kept getting caught with my foot.

Despite the frustrations I was having, the result is pretty comforting.


Useful Tips

  • Use Q-snap or embroidery hoop when sewing the whiskers, made my life so much easier.
  • Use pulling when feeding through the pressure foot, WITH CAUTION.
  • Use 90/14 needle.
  • This is still a stretchy fabric, loosen the tension and lengthen the stitch length.
  • Use hand wheel when needed to.
  • Double pinning to stabilize the fabric.

Thanks for following along. 💓

Posted by

Mary loves to sew, crochet and cross stitch. On her downtime, she loves burying her face into books and jamming to Flamingo. She is furthering her study in hoping to be an OBGYN.

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