How to Make a 36" Baby Dumpling Playmat

Feb 2023

Make a 36" circular quilted playmat to gift to celebrate that new baby who's just arrived!

A sweet lady in my church recently had a baby girl, and that was the perfect excuse to make a baby quilt!

She didn’t have an easy time with her birth experience, as our state was in lockdown at the time. The tight restrictions made it even more lonely and scary for new mothers.

I really wanted to create something special for her to feel loved and heard through all of this.

Baby quilts are great to make because they’re small and quick, and this version is no exception!

My current favourite baby quilt is this 36” wide circular playmat that’s really fun and useful.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - trendy gifts for baby

This is perfect for tummy time, and easy to pop in the car and take to the park or can be used for a nap when needed.

I made my grandbaby a version of this a few months ago, and it’s been so lovely to see him playing on it!

This one is made with half-square-triangles, which are so versatile for layout options.

If you’re not a fan of making large numbers of HSTs, you’ll find they’re not overwhelming when making a baby quilt size.

The size that I chose for all aspects of this quilt means that you’ve probably got everything you need already.

Finishing at 36" wide, this means you can back it with just one width of fabric length, making it super economical.

If you don't have that much laying around, just join 4 fat quarters together, and make the back even more interesting.

This is beginner friendly, with the most challenging part being the bias binding.

But stick with me…it’s the wide binding that makes this really unique.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - fabric pull

See how many of your favourite fabrics you can spot here…I’ve included Tilda, Ruby Star Society, a shot cotton and the burgundy Posy fabric by Annabel Wrigley's Posy range.

There’s a range of pinks and yellows, but all the fabrics are in the warm range, except the grey large floral. I felt this was a fun addition to the palette that plays well with some of the other patterns in the prints.

Sadly this was cut off from the edges when the circle was trimmed, so be aware that this will happen and choose these edge bit to be something you don’t mind losing. My fabric pull shown here is missing the burgundy Liberty fabric that I included at the last minute.

Have fun pulling a range of shades here, including solids, low volume and prints.

My backing fabric is a Jocelyn Proust fabric from Spotlight (equivalent to Joann’s in the US.)

Let’s get started!

Fabric Amounts Required:

Quilt Top [18] fat eighths (9” x 18”)

Backing [1.1] yards or [4] fat quarters

Binding [1] Fat quarter (18” x 20”)

Batting 40” square


Please read right through the instructions before beginning.

RST = right sides together

HST = half square triangles

Seams are ¼” unless stated

Press and starch fabric before beginning

Basic quilting tools are required

Also needed: tape measure, fabric marker


Make HSTs.

Cut [2] 7” x 7” squares from each quilt top fabric = [36] squares total

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - how to half square triangles

Place together in contrasting pairs, right sides together, for a total of [18] pairs.

Rule a line diagonally from corner to corner.

Stitch ¼” away from each side of the marked line.

Cut apart along the line, open out and press seam to one side.

Square up with a 6 ½” square ruler to measure 6 ½” x 6 ½”square.

This will give you [2] HST units. Repeat this process to make a total of [36] HST units.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - layout ideas random
How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - more layout ideas

Lay the HSTs out in a 6 x 6 grid, on a table, design wall or the floor. Play around with the colour placement and direction of the units until you’re happy with the layout.

You can see a couple of my draft layouts I played around with, before I settled on the less random placement.

Sew the HSTs into rows, then sew the rows together, RST, to form a 6 x 6 square.

Baste & Quilt

If using fat quarters for backing, piece RST into a 2 x 2 grid.

Lay the backing fabric wrong side up.

Lay batting on top of the backing.

Place quilt top on top of the batting right side up and pin or spray baste.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - basting the sandwich

Quilt as desired. I’ve kept mine minimal and very basic by stitching along the seams in a diamond pattern to accentuate the pattern of the layout.

The burgundy thread really pops, so see if you can challenge yourself and step out from just using neutral thread, and enjoy being a bit daring!

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - quilting on the Janome M7
How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - try dramatic burgundy thread

Trimming to Shape

So now you can just trim and bind this as a square quilt if you wish, especially if you don’t want to lose your corner sections.

(You will need about 3/8 of a yard for binding this the non-bias way)

But getting the fun effect of a circular quilt is really easy to achieve.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - mark the circle with your tape measure

Use your tape measure as a compass arm.

Place the end directly onto the centre of your quilt, and measure out 18”, keeping the tape measure straight and stretched taut.

Mark with your pen at the 18 inch mark and continue measuring out from the centre and marking until you get a full circle.

Cut out.


Now let’s make this wide bias binding!

Because this is a circular mat, you can't use straight grain binding for this, as it just won't ease around the curve.

But the great news is that you can get all the binding you need for this baby quilt from just one fat quarter… awesome!

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - cut bias binding

Cut your fat quarter into 3” wide bias strips. You should be able to get [10] decent lengths from this.

Mix up the shorter lengths in between the longer ones and join RST to form one long strip approx. 118” long.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - piece binding together

Press in half length wise, and press under ¼” hem along both edges.

My preference is to only press one edge under, as I will use it as the stitching guide as mentioned below.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - binding joined
How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - stitch binding to edge

On the back of the quilt, measure and mark another circle ¾” in from edge of quilt and use this as a guide for aligning the edge of the binding to.

Pin or clip bias around circle, leaving approx. a 6” tail, and line up one edge of the binding to the marked ¾” line.

Stitch along edge of binding with ¼” seam allowance, being careful not to stretch as you go.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - join binding by overlapping ends

Stop sewing when you get to approx. 8” from where you started.

Join by opening out ends and overlapping.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - overlap ends of binding

Mark and cut sections leaving a ½” overlap.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - join ends of binding

Sew ends RST with ¼” seam. Stitch remaining section to edge of quilt.

Flip binding back to the right side and press carefully to the front, making sure the edge just covers the stitching line.

I like to glue the edge into place with crafty glue/glue stick, and machine stitch close to hem or hand bind as desired.

How to Make a Circular Quilted Playmat - finished binding stitched down

Give the completed playmat a good press around the binding to help ease out any puckers that you might have.

Congratulations on your finish!

I've absolutely loved creating this tutorial for you, and I'd love to see you make one!

Share your baby quilts using #BabyDumplingPlaymat on Instagram and Facebook, and tag me - I'm always excited when you do!

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Meet Ali Phillips

So glad you stopped by for a read! I'm a sewist with a passion for family, creativity, & organisation.