Hey Lego lovers, check this out!  My kids have been scattering their Lego far and wide the last couple of weeks, and whilst I love to encourage their creativity, the constant tiny clatter of small-but-vital Lego pieces skittering across a laminate floor, and the resulting arguments about who lost what from who’s set is starting to fracture my sanity (I don’t have much left, and it’s precious to me). Thus, today I made a prototype bag/mat, to contain both the playing and the Lego. It worked pretty well, so I thought I’d share it with y’all, because it may just save your sanity too.

Look Master Luke, I'm Harry Potter! Expelliarmus!

Look Master Luke, I’m Harry Potter! Expelliarmus!

OK, I say ‘prototype’, this is actually the second one I’ve made (the first one made a great playmat, but was so big Santa himself would have struggled to carry it up the stairs when full, so my seven-year old had no chance. So, today I made a smaller one. First let me show you how it works, so you can go (as I did, when I saw the (vastly superior) one someone else on the internet had made – yup, it’s all about sharing ideas, I claim no credit for inventing this) WOAH, that’s the best idea ever, I neeeeed one of those!

"Hey, bedtime, clear up your Lego please!""But I haven't finished building it!"

“Hey, bedtime, clear up your Lego please!”
“But I haven’t finished building it!”

"That's OK, it'll still be here tomorrow"

“That’s OK, it’ll still be here tomorrow”

Of course by "here", I mean, in this bag, not all over the floor in the sitting room where I want to relax like a grown-up without stepping on C3PO's head

Of course by “here”, I mean, in this bag, not all over the floor in the sitting room where I want to relax like a grown-up without stepping on C3PO’s head

So yeah, pretty neat, huh?  OK, here’s what you need:

Old bedsheet, or other large piece of fabric (this one is a sheet on one side, and a Pokemon curtain on the other, but a single layer of fabric is undeniably easier).
Sewing machine (yeah, you can do this by hand, if you have a few weeks and infinite patience. I have neither)
Loooong piece of tape or ribbon (note: I used bias tape, but I think it’d work better with ribbon, which is more slippery – as it is it’s not *completely* easy to pull into the bag shape)

Cut a large circle. I’m not going to tell you what “large” is, you work that out – depends what size material you have I guess. Not huge though (see previous comment about prototype bag).  The best way to do this is to fold your fabric in half one way, then in half the other, a bit like you would to make a paper snowflake – then you only have to draw a quarter circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it really doesn’t. This isn’t an art exhibit, it’s something to keep clutter off the floor.
If you’re lining it, put your two fabrics together (the way you want them to be, not inside out) and just sew a straight line across the middle to keep them in place. Then sew a narrow hem all the way around the outside, like this:

small hem

Then, trim the edges, fold it over again and sew a much bigger hem – this will be the channel for the bag cord/ribbon to go through.  This bit may make you cuss, as you’re now essentially stitching a big circle to a smaller circle, and it ain’t gonna go. It will wrinkle up, and twist, but as long as you can get that ribbon through, it really doesn’t matter.  No doubt there are expert sewers out there who know exactly how to sew a hem like this *without* it going all horrible, but I am not an expert sewer. I am a bodger.  I wish it were otherwise, and one day it may be, but for now my sewing is “good enough”. It may start to look like this:


Don’t forget to leave two gaps on opposite sides, to thread the ribbon through.

Hey, you’re nearly done!  Now, get your humungous long length of ribbon/cord/whatever, and thread it through the hem.  I used one of those sticks you use for cleaning woodwind instruments – it’s kind of like a chopstick with a hole at one end (like the eye of a needle). You can also use a large safety pin (pin to the end of the ribbon and you can feed it through the fabric), or anything else you can think of. Be a problem solver.
Lay the mat out flat, and when the ribbon is all the way through, with a little loop sticking out of one gap and the two end sticking out of the other, tie it off, and voila, YOU DID IT. You now have a cool playmat, which will magically transform into a Bag O’ Lego when you need the floorspace.

Find ALL the Lego!

Find ALL the Lego!

I really hope that made sense. Please leave a comment if this was useful, or if I missed anything obvious. Thanks for stopping by!  And yes, it’s a Star Wars walker, I know. We live the cool.