This easy DIY Toy Car Carrying Case is perfect for stowing matchbox cars, trucks, and trains on the go. Great for kids when going out to eat, play dates, and traveling. Carry Case comes with play mat with roads for endless fun and creativity.
Do you have a vehicle obsessed toddler? And by obsessed I mean OBSESSED! Every time we go out, my toddler always wants to bring one, two, three…or ALL of his little magnetic trains and cars out. For awhile we let him do that. However, we would forget trains in the car seat, trains in my purse, trains in the stroller. Later on, he would get upset because he couldn’t find his trains…*sigh* toddlers!
Finally one day I decided it was time to sew him his own little toy train baggie! At first it was just going to be a simple zipper pouch (like a makeup bag). However, I knew if I just threw all his cars in there, I wouldn’t be able to keep track of them. How many trains did we bring? Did we leave Thomas in the house or did we pack it? What about the red truck? After doing some research on ways to pack toy trains, I came across a Toy Car Caddy Play Mat and BINGO! That’s it! Exactly what I need!
In today’s’ tutorial, I will be showing you guys how to make this very easy and handy Toy Car Carrier with Play Mat for the cars to drive around. There are 5 pockets to stow 5 little vehicles, and there’s also a handle for easy carry. When you are ready to go, simply pack your 5 little vehicles, roll up the bag and you are all set! I decided to use 1” elastic bands to close up the carrier since it allowed more flexibility as the toy cars are different height. This carrying case would also be perfect for bringing out matchbox cars or hot wheels. I’m so excited to share this project with you!
If you are new here, please don’t be intimidated by the number of photos in this tutorial! This is an easy sewing project and I always post lots of photos to make sure you can follow along. The most time consuming part is appliquéing the road to the play mat. However, you can always cut and sew an oval shaped race track to simplify 🙂
What do I Need to Make DIY Toy Car Carrier?
- Pattern: Toy Car Carrier Road Map Pattern (available in my free resource library) – get the password by subscribing, I promise no spam! Just occasional updates of new projects I’m working on.
- Car/Train Print Cotton Fabric – 2/3 of a yard (24″ or 61cm) Fat Quarters are great too!
The car fabric in this tutorial is a 100% cotton fabric I found on clearance at Joann’s Fabric. However, they have a good selection of cute car printed fabric. Otherwise your local fabric store may carry some nice prints as well.
- Cotton Fabric for Play Mat – 2/3 of a yard (24″ or 61cm). Can also use fat quarters
I used this solid cotton fabric in tarragon for the play mat. You can also use a car/train print cotton fabric that’s same or different than #2. Even better, find a fabric that has a road/track print on it because then you don’t need to separately sew on the roads!
- Gray Fabric for Road Map – 2/3 of a yard (24″ or 61cm). Can also use fat quarters
I used this solid cotton in Grey. I’ve also used Gray fleece fabric for another play mat and I liked the way it turned out too (soft and fleecy feel)
- Fusible Fleece – 2/3 of a yard (24″ or 61cm)
This gives the play mat extra padding. I used Pellon fusible fleece. I love fusible fleece because you can just iron it on without having to baste first. Alternatively, you can also use a low loft batting.
- Fusible Interfacing – 1/8 of a yard
Helps to stiffen the carrier handle. I used ultra lightweight fusible interfacing
- Applique Stabilizer – Very important to help stabilize sewing when you appliqué the road fabric onto the play mat. I use embroidery stabilizer because that’s what I have on hand. However, looking back I would use Iron-on Adhesive to make sure the roads sew nice and flat on the play mat.
- 1″ Black Elastic – you will need two pieces that are 11″ (27.94cm) long
- Sewing machine – one that has a zig-zag stitch option or other stretch stitches. Refer to your sewing machine manual if you are unsure
- Rotary Cutter – optional, but great for making quick, clean straight lines.
- Fabric Scissors – these Ginghers Fabric Shears are my favorite
- Clear Ruler – I have this one
- Clear tape – for sticking pattern piece together
- Chalk – I highly recommend Clover Chaco Chalk Liner for marking. It’s thin thin, marks well, and easy to use!
- White Fabric Marker – For marking dotted lines on road. I used Deco Fabric Fine Tip Marker in White. White acrylic paint works too, but in my opinion a lot harder to get even thickness lines.
Pattern Pieces for Toy Car Carrier
Cut out the Following Fabric Pieces:
- 1 OUTER PIECE – this is the outside of the carrier bag. I used 100% cotton fabric with car print.
21” x 13.5” (53.324 cm x 34.29 cm)
- 1 PLAY MAT PIECE – this is the piece your road will be sewn on.
21” x 13.5” (53.324 cm x 34.29 cm)
- (Optional) 1 Piece of fabric with trees, building, etc if you want to add extra details to the area between the roads. Joann Fabrics has a series of STATE PRIDE fabric that has images of buildings, trees, etc.
Alternatively, you can also create trees, ponds, buildings, etc by sewing solid felt/cotton fabric.
- 1 FUSIBLE LINING PIECE – I used Pellon fusible fleece, which helps to add more padding to the play mat. However, if you use fleece fabric for the PLAY MAT PIECE you will not need this.
21” x 13.5” (53.324 cm x 34.29 cm)
- 1 PLAY MAT ROAD – You will need a fabric that measures about 21” x 13.5” (53.324 cm x 34.29 cm). Fat quarters work great for this!
Download the pattern in my free resource library
- 1 POCKET PIECE – this will make the pockets where the cars will be stowed. I used the same cotton print as the OUTER PIECE
9” x 22.25” (22.86 cm x 56.51 cm)
- 1 HANDLE PIECE – this makes the handle for the toy car carrier. I used the same cotton print as the OUTER PIECE
3.5” x 8.5” (8.89 cm x 21.59 cm)
- 1 FUSIBLE LINING for HANDLE
3.5” x 8.5” (8.89 cm x 21.59 cm)
Preparing Outer Piece for Toy Car Carrier
Iron fusible fleece to wrong side of OUTER PIECE fabric. You can leave outer fabric as is, or do a simple quilt design like I did (completely optional)
Making Toy Car Carrier Handle
- Apply fusible lining to HANDLE PIECE. I cut 1″ off the length of the fusible lining as you don’t need the seam allowance to be fused.
- Fold HANDLE PIECE in half length-wise and stitch at 1/2″ (1.27cm) seam allowance
- Press open seams
- Sew one end at 1/2″ (1.27cm) seam and trim seam allowance.
Turn HANDLE PIECE to right side and fold in fabric 1/2″ (1.27cm) at opening.
Sew opening closed from right side of HANDLE PIECE at 1/8″ (~3mm) from edge (indicated by yellow dotted line, but please use matching thread color!)
Sewing Handle and Elastic to Toy Car Carrier
Pin the HANDLE PIECE to OUTER PIECE as shown in diagram. It will be 3.5″ (8.89 cm) from the top edge, and 3.5″ (8.89cm) from both left and right edge.
NOTE: The placement of the handle is designed for carrying magnetic toy trains. If you are making this to carry matchbox cars (shorter in height), you will need to adjust the handle placement so it’s centered when the case is rolled up.
Sew HANDLE PIECE down by stitching a 1″ square with a ‘X’ inside on both sides of HANDLE PIECE. Make sure to backstitch where you start sewing and where you end.
Fold each 11″ (27.94cm) piece of elastic in half. Pin 2″ (5.08cm) in from the sides of OUTER PIECE and machine baste in place.
Preparing Fabric to Make Toy Car Pockets
Fold POCKETS PIECE in half lengthwise and use chalk to mark the measurements as shown. Mark the fabric lightly, just enough to see the line, as some chalk may leave a residue.
Assembling Car Road Pattern and Cutting on Fabric
Print and cut out ROAD PATTERN (available in my free resource library). Match arrows as indicated and tape the pattern together. NOTE: The white area of the pattern is where the road is. The area shaded in Light Gray is the area between the roads and needs to be cut out.
Pin Pattern to Fabric. I’m using a piece of dark gray solid cotton fat quarter in the photo.
Cut out pattern on fabric.
NOTE: I use a pair of fabric scissors from the dollar store that I use to cut paper and fabric together at the same time. Otherwise, please don’t use your nice fabric shears and cut on paper as it will dull your fabric scissors! In this case you should cut out the light gray area on the pattern with paper scissors first, then trace the pattern onto the fabric and cut the fabric out with fabric scissors.
Sewing Car Play Mat
LEFT: ROAD PIECE once it’s cut out
RIGHT: Pin ROAD PIECE to PLAY MAT PIECE, leaving about 3/4″ (1.9cm) border around the sides and top. I found this series of fabric that has buildings and trees so I cut out a few pieces and pinned it to the play mat. Alternatively, you can also sew some buildings, trees, pond, etc in the area between the roads.
Applique ROAD PIECE to PLAY MAT PIECE. I used stitch length 1 and stitch width 4 for this project. Check out this post to learn more about how to Applique.
Using Chalk, mark the yellow lines on the bottom of the PLAY MAT PIECE as shown in photo. In the next step we will pin the POCKETS PIECE to the PLAY MAT PIECE, matching at the sides and the yellow lines.
Match PLAY MAT PIECE to POCKETS PIECE at marked chalk lines as shown.
Match marked lines on POCKET PIECE to PLAY MAT PIECE and pin in place.
POCKETS PIECE pinned to PLAY MAT PIECE. Sew at chalk marked lines.
Push the extra fabric on POCKETS PIECE towards the inside of the pocket. You will be tucking the excess fabric approximately 0.4″ (1cm) in on both side of every pocket. The amount you tuck in doesn’t have to be exact as long as you it’s equal on both side of the pocket. Pin the tuck at the bottom of PLAY MAT PIECE, matching the folds at the stitch line (yellow dotted line)
View of all the pocket tucks pinned in place. Baste at the bottom of play mat to keep the tucks in place.
Sewing Toy Car Carrier Together
In the next step, we’re going to sew the PLAY MAT PIECE to OUTER PIECE. Prior to sewing, make sure to push the top of side of POCKETS PIECE in flat so that you don’t accidentally sew the POCKET PIECE.
Sew PLAY MAT PIECE to OUTER PIECE right sides together at 1/2″ (1.27 cm) seam allowance (red dotted line). Make sure to leave a 3-4″ opening at the top so you can turn the mat to the right side.
Clip corners, making sure not to cut into the stitch line. Turn to right side, using a blunt tool (or scissors) to poke out the corners.
Toy Car Carrier Play Mat turned to right side. Close opening using invisible ladder stitch.
Use a fabric marker to draw in the white dotted line of the road. I used Deco Fabric Fine Tip Marker in White. If you would like to be super exact use a ruler. The lines are about 0.25″ (0.635 cm) long and 0.25″ (0.635 cm) spaced apart.
Finished! Which vehicle loving child can resist their very own toy car carrier play mat?
Trucks and trains driving around town. Vroom Vroom! Choo Choo!
And when it’s time to go…everyone back into their pockets. We roll, roll, roll it up!
Toy vehicles are all packed up and ready to go…until next time!
I hope you enjoyed this project! My toddler loves this toy car carrier and driving his toy cars and trains around the play mat. It also makes a great gift for any vehicle loving child, not to mention it will last for several years even into the elementary school years. Let me know in the comments below if you made this, happy sewing 🙂
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