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Diaper changes made easy with one of the best baby gifts

A teddy bear sitting on two handmade flannel and waterproof baby changing pads.

When you are caring for a baby, there are a few things you can count on – lots of time feeding that baby, trying to get them to go to sleep at regular times, and of course, changing diapers all day long. One of the things that made life easier for me when my kids were young was making sure the diaper changing times were as quick and painless as possible – for me and for the baby. For at home and anywhere we traveled outside the house, my favorite most useful tool was a changing mat. I know that sounds pretty basic but stay with me here.

After trying out multiple variations of store-bought mats and homemade, I found a clear winner. This one is soft and cozy on one side so you aren’t laying that baby down on cold plastic. There is absorbent fabric in the middle to soak up any liquids and provide a little more cush between baby and floor. And the back side is waterproof fabric (the same kind used to make cloth diaper covers) so no matter what that baby produces it isn’t going to leak onto the carpet or floor. Plus, because it’s all washable fabric, whenever it does get soiled, a quick trip to the washing machine will have it back up and being used in no time.

I put one of these changing mats on each level of my house so I didn’t have to go far when a new diaper was needed, I had one in my diaper bag, and one in my car. They fold pretty flat so they store easily too.

And while there are many changing mats out there that fold up and hold diapers and/or wipes, I found that I just wanted a simple mat to flop out whenever I needed it. I wanted to be able to get ready for the changing with just one hand and usually pretty fast. You could add a snap or strap to this as well but for me one handed opening means no closure. It also means its quicker to put it away.

This is an easy, extremely useful sewing project and makes a fantastic gift for a new mom. Heck, make a few of them in cute fabrics because they are going to want to have them handy!

Watch the video tutorial here:

Supplies to make a changing mat:

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  • Flannel print for the top cut to 25 x 18 inches

  • White flannel for the center – you could use any color or print but I like to buy a bunch of white and use it for a lot of different changing pads and I don’t want any color to show through – cut to 25 X 18 inches

  • PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate) fabric – the back of the changing mat – cut to 25 x 18 inches

  • Sewing machine

  • Matching general purpose thread

  • Fabric scissors OR rotary cutter, ruler and mat for cutting the fabric

  • Iron

  • Ironing board

  • Sewing clips

Let's get started making a waterproof changing mat

Hands lining up three pieces of fabric to make a baby changing mat.

Once all three of your fabrics are cut to 25 x 18 inches it’s time to make a “fabric sandwich” by placing the white flannel (the one that will be in middle) right side down, the flannel for the top right side up, and the PUL fabric rubbery side up.

Hands pointing to green sewing clips marking a section of fabric not to cut.

Line up all edges and use sewing clips to clip it all together. I highly recommend using clips instead of pins because you want to minimize how many holes you put into the PUL fabric. Each pin hole breaks through the water-proof barrier and you want it to be as waterproof as possible.

Mark a 5-6-inch section at the bottom to leave unsewn in the next step. I use a different color clips to mark it but you could also use a fabric marking pencil.

Sew around the outside of the changing mat with a ¼ inch seam, backstitching at the beginning and end but leaving the 5-6-inch section alone.

Hands using fabric scissors to clip excess fabric in the corners of a sewing project.

Clip off the excess fabric in the corners but do not cut your stitch line.

Hands flipping a handmade baby changing mat right side out through an opening left from sewing.

Flip the whole thing right side out through the hole you left.

A hand holding a wooden stick ready to use it to push the corners out while sewing a baby changing mat.

Make sure the corners are completely pushed out. A stick of some kind is helpful for this step. I used a poky stick thing that came with a bag of Poly-fil but you could also use a pencil or chopstick.

Carefully iron the changing mat seams flat. Try not to iron on the PUL fabric.

Hands folding the edges of a turning hole to the inside of the sewing project in order to line them up and sew shut the opening.

Fold the edges of your unsewn area inward ¼ inch and clip in place so the edge of your opening and the already sewn edge of the changing mat line up.

Hands using a sewing machine to top stitch a handmade baby changing mat.

Beginning at the unsewn area, top stitch around the entire changing mat. This will close the opening and hold everything together.

That’s it! This changing mat comes together really fast, so you can make a bunch.

Another great baby gift idea that uses PUL are these adorable bibs. Or I also have a tutorial for a baby tag blanket that moms and babies love.

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