The costs of the mats can vary from $27.12 to $16.73 if all new material is used. The lower price is based on using the JoAnn Fabric’s weekly 40% coupons. Go to Sleeping Mat Costs for cutting directions and the detailed cost sheet.
Recycling – Using old blankets, comforters and quilts is a great way of reducing costs. Stains and repaired holes will be hidden or cut out and not used at all. The only limit to how thick the sleeping mat can be made is what your machine can sew.
Cutting – is made easier with a rotary cutter and cutting mat used in quilting. Typically, the blade rides along the cutting guide, however when cutting through thick material, the blade’s protective cover can hang up on the cutting ruler preventing cutting all the way through. To avoid this, position the cutting ruler 1/8″ beyond your measurement and position the blade’s protective cover, not the blade against the cutting ruler.
Vapor barrier – Water always wins, but we can slow it down. It’s amazing how fabric can wick moisture from one corner and spread it through the entire fabric. Using a 2 mil plastic drop cloth sold at Home Depot can prevent that and may even extend the life and use of the mat. The drop cloth is 9 by 12 feet and costs $2.98. This is enough for 8 sleeping mats or $.39 a mat.
Quilting – Quilting is required to prevent the layers of material from shifting and bunching up during use. Typical hand or machine quilting defeats the purpose of the plastic by using lots of holes. The plastic also makes machine quilting difficult by rendering the walking foot useless. A walking foot will ‘walk’ the top fabric through at the same rate as the bottom fabric. The plastic causes sliding and makes machine quilting erratic. However, using ties out of yarn or crafting thread every 6 to 8 inches solves the problem. Use jewelry pliers to pull the needle through all the layers. Use a large running stitch (6 to 8 inches). Then before tying, cut in the middle. Using a surgeon’s knot shown below prevents unraveling. Say a prayer for the child when tying each knot.