When I was a Girl Guide in the ’80s, these were the thing to have! Before we had those cushy little self-inflating therm-a-rest butt pads to provide comfort for our bums, we made Sit-upons. Before I became a guider, I had completely forgotten about them until I came across a post over at Little Blue Boo about how to make them. Sit-Upons are little round mats that protect your bum from the damp ground when sitting. When I was a girl in guiding, every girl had to make her own, and we brought them proudly to all the picnics, hikes, jamborees, and camping trips.
I still remember how long it took me to make mine, I had to sew it by hand, and if I’m not mistaken, we used newspaper for the inside lining, not batting! I think I was in Brownies at the time, and couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old. It was probably one of my first big sewing projects! I thought about that a lot as I easily made five in about an hour tonight. I guess you get better at things after 30-something years of practice!
At any rate, these little mats are terrific for picnics, gardening, camping, the park, kid’s sports events, hiking or anywhere you might want to sit, but don’t want to risk your delicate tush on the cold, wet ground.
They also make a wonderful upcycle project as they can be made from old flannel-backed table cloths, raincoats, IKEA bags or the like. You can also utilize old blankets as the lining in the middle.
How you make yours, or how your girls get them is up to you. You can make fancy durable ones like I’ll show you here and gift it to your Young Sparks as a welcome or enrollment gift. Sit-upons are an essential tool for Sparks, in my opinion. We use them at opening and closing so that everyone has their own place to sit and stays there.
If you want your Sparks or Brownies to make their own sit-upons, it’s actually quite simple. You can pick up the plasticy reusable grocery bags, let the girls stuff them with newspaper and then duct tape them closed. A very simple, yet completely effective sit-upon! You can even make them so that they have handles! These bags are easily and cheaply found at dollar stores or grocery marts.
If you want to make a fancier, round, more durable version for gifting to the younger units, of if your Guides, Pathfinders or Rangers are looking for a practical sewing project, here’s how I made mine.
How to Make a Sit-Upon
- Enough vinyl (I use old cheapie dollar store table cloths!) to cut two 24″ circles
- Quilting batting, or and old fleece blanket or a thin towel (or newspaper, apparently!)
- Scissors or rotary blade and self-healing mat
- Adhesive spray (helpful)
- Matching or contrasting thread
- Ribbon/bias tape (optional)
First, make a template. It should be a 24″ circle cut out of cardboard or something sturdy. If you’re lucky enough to have a platter or something this big, even better! I had to tape two large sheets of Bristol board together to get it big enough!
It goes really well with the Rotary blade, you can cut through your two pieces of vinyl at once.
It’s actually faster to work assembly-line style if you plan to make more than one sit-upon. Just keep cutting out circles, remember you need two for every one sit-upon.
Cut out your batten or old blanket to the same 24″. Use 1 batten/blanket per Sit-Upon.
Next, you’re going to attach the batten/blanket to the wrong side of one of your vinyl circles. I recommend using an adhesive stray to help it stay put, because it can be tricky sewing three layers together. Don’t use too much, just a little light spray, just to make it tacky.
After gently adhering the batten to the wrong side of the vinyl, put the other piece of vinyl into your work. The two vinyl pieces should be situated with right sides facing.
Basically you should have a three-layered sandwich. It should be one vinyl circle with the wrong side down, followed by the second vinyl circle right side down (which means, right sides are facing), and third, the batten on top.
Now that you’re certain you have your sit-upon sandwich in order, take it over to your sewing machine and sew a 1″ seam all the way around the side, making sure you catch all three layers and leave a hole big enough to turn your project right side out. If you are using batten, do not sew batten-side-up. It will grind your machine to a halt! Keep the batten on the bottom.
Next, pull your Sit-Upon right-side out and run the seam to make sure you caught all three layers. If you missed somewhere, just put it back inside-out and stick over it to make sure you catch it. It’s hardly going to matter if your circle isn’t absolutely precise.
Afterwards, I sewed a top stitch all the way around, catching and closing the opening used to pull the fabric right-side out.