I really don’t know what it is about toddlers, but they love to play pretend in the kitchen. My son is no exception. For his second birthday, he got a set of wooden Disney magnets for the refrigerator. I don’t think those things spent more than a day on the fridge before they got turned into “cookies”. Then he started using my thimbles and balancing some spare jingle bells on them and serving us “ice cream cones”. Eventually, my husband and I clued into the fact that this kid was desperate for a play kitchen. And by “clued into” I mean we had dinner at our neighbor’s house and our son ignored us, the neighbor’s kids and everything else to play with the toy kitchen by himself, then spent the next week telling us how fun the kitchen was and how he wishes he had a kitchen. Okay. Okay. We get it.
We’re not inherently opposed to play kitchens. I actually think they’re super cool and had one when I was little. The problem is space (isn’t it always?). Our living room is quite full of baby and toddler toys at the moment and my doesn’t-like-anything-in-the-living-room-except-furniture husband was not on board with a giant kitchen playset being squished between the couch and mini-trampoline. I mean, I get it. But I knew the kid wasn’t going to let the kitchen thing go and frankly, I wanted him to have something. So I put my thinking cap on and went straight to Pinterest.
At the time, the over-the-chair kitchen covers were all the rage and I initially thought that would be the way to go. I showed my son pictures and he got all excited about it. He asked every day if we could go to the store to get the “favric” for his kitchen playset. I had a couple other projects that I needed to get out of the way first so I stalled for about a week. Then, I was browsing Pinterest again (probably while nursing the baby- you know how it goes) and I found this magnificent creation.
I wasn’t able to find any tutorials on how to make it, so I decided to create my own. I put this thing together in less than an hour and that includes making the pattern, cutting, ironing and sewing (and then ripping stitches and sewing again because I sewed it backwards).
- 3-Drawer Plastic Storage Unit (or whatever you want to use for your kitchen base)
- Cardboard/Cardstock/Pattern paper (I used a diaper box)
- 2 Fat quarters and a coordinating 4 x 21 inch strip of fabric if you want contrasting sides or ½ yard fabric of your choice
- Batting scrap the size of the top of your plastic storage unit
- 4 2” diameter buttons (my husband 3D printed mine as an excuse to use his new toy)
- 1 9×12 sheet felt fabric (for the burners)
- Basting Spray
- Coordinating thread
- Sewing machine/needles
- Walking foot
- Start by flipping your storage unit upside down on top of your cardboard. Then trace the outline of your storage unit remembering to add a 1/2 inch all the way around for seam allowance. I determined my son’s magnetic blocks were exactly ¼ inch thick and used two of them as a guide. Then cut out your pattern.
- Using your pattern, cut two pieces of fabric, one for the front and one for the back. Cut your batting piece as well. If you want your “knobs” to be on a different color piece of fabric, sew the 4-inch strip of fabric to the top of one of your fat quarters. Then press the seam to the darker fabric and top-stitch. Then trace and cut your top-piece of fabric using your cardboard pattern.
- Cut 4 4-inch circles from the felt. Lay out on your burners how you’d like them to sit. Then use basting spray to temporarily hold them in place. Using a coordinating thread and a walking foot, sew the felt circles to the stovetop.
- Place the buttons along the curved front of your stove. Play around with their placement and attach the buttons by hand or using a button foot and zigzag stitch with your machine.
- Assemble and sew your stove top “sandwich”. Place the batting on the bottom, then the bottom piece right-side up and finally the stove top right-side down. Sew around the perimeter using a 1/2 inch seam allowance and remember to leave about a 4 inch gap on one side of the stove top.
- Trim the corners and turn the stove top right-side out using the gap you left. Iron the edges and top-stitch about ⅛ inch around the perimeter of the stove top.
- Place the stove top on the top of your plastic storage unit and revel in the excitement of your toddler. We purchased pots and pans and pretend food to go along with the kitchen. We used these as “eat your dinner bribes”, but that’s a post for another day.