Day 4: Felt Craft

On Day 4 of #100DaysNoTV I joined a good friend for an evening of felt crafting, helped along by a bit of girly chatter and a soupçon of white wine.

Textiles have never been something I’ve found easy to work with. I made one decent item in our (short-lived) sewing class at secondary school – a small patchwork cushion. Beyond that, I’ve thought about making lots of things, but never got around to it.

Three years ago Rob and I went to our local school’s Christmas fair, and I bought some handmade Christmas tree decorations from my friend Jenny. I was so impressed, I told her that I’d love to do something similar – although clearly, not so well!

crafty business

I thought it was sensible to get some professional guidance before I was let loose on the haberdashery aisles. So, after a lot of procrastination I finally got organised. Jenny of Needle Doodles was going to take me from sewing wannabe to sewing queen, in just one evening. Ahem. Maybe.

I’ve known Jenny for nearly five years. Like me, she has a house full of boys (although she has four to my three!). Unlike me, she is naturally super-talented at making beautiful sewing creations.

Jenny started her business, the gorgeously named Needle Doodles, in 2010 after studying Product Design. However, sewing was not a newly acquired skill. Jenny’s Nan loved to create wool tapestries and taught Jenny to sew when she was around 7 years old.

I knew I was in good hands!

easter felt craft

As it was coming up to Easter, I thought it would be nice for us to create little hanging decorations with an Easter theme. Now, I’m not really an ideas kind of person when it comes to crafts. I often tend to make it up as I go along, and things – occasionally – just fall into place.

I’m not going to write a full tutorial as there are so many elements which are completely personal to the crafter. But, I thought it would be nice to include the main steps we took for our Easter decorations – in case you want to try something similar – and show you our final creations!

our materials

Felt sheets
Paper for the template
Pencil (fabric marker could be used on the felt)
Scissors
Needle
Pins
Thread (you could try matching or contrasting colours)
Ribbons, felt scraps, buttons and beads for decoration
Toy stuffing (also known as wadding)

Felt sheets do vary in quality. You can buy them from large craft and hobby stores, but Jenny recommends trying smaller haberdasheries that often stock slightly better, thicker felt.

how we made them

First thing we did was draw the template by hand. You could search online for one that’s printable, but this is the way Jenny prefers to do all of her work, so every piece is unique.   

I cut out my rather wobbly egg template, placed it on my sheet of felt and used it to draw and cut out two identical pieces. It’s a good idea to draw the outline just a few millimetres outside the edge of the template, so that all traces of the pencil line are removed from the felt when cutting.

The two pieces formed the front and the back of my decoration. I didn’t sew them together at this point as it’s much easier to decorate as individual pieces.

Next was the fun, but for me quite tricky, part of deciding how to decorate. After a bit of artistic advice, I decided to make things difficult for myself by going for a hatching chick! Jenny went for a much more classic design.

I started by pinning the ‘nest’ into position and attached it by using a running stitch. So far, so good. I also added three buttons.
Next I cut a zigzag across the top of the egg and placed the chick’s head behind, sewing across the join so he was secure.
The beak and eyes were fiddly to say the least. I think I got away with it. They’re fairly straight!

By the time I’d got to this point, Jenny had sewn on the grass and the little bunny, had decorated with beads and a bow – then stopped short of the stuffing part to wait for me, and started work on a second decoration! Speedy, and with no missed stitch in sight. 🙂

We got the stuffing ready by teasing it gently to make it fluffy and light.
To help the decoration keep its shape once stuffed, we cut out a piece of card to insert between the two pieces of felt before stitching. The card needs to be small enough for you to avoid stitching through it.

Finding ribbons we liked, they were folded, inserted in the top and pinned. It’s useful to pin the front and back pieces of felt together too at this point. 
A neat little blanket stitch was used to sew the pieces together. It was the first time I’d tried this stitch, so it took a while to get the hang of it. Jenny has bags of patience, fortunately.
When we’d sewn around two-thirds of the outer edge, we added the stuffing, with the card flat to the back piece of felt. Once plumped, we blanket stitched our way to where we’d started. Ta-da!

Side by side I realise how much it looks like a small child has made mine. But, I still like it!

When we were finished I was glad for a chance to rest my eyes. My vision was just a little bit blurred. Now, I may have fibbed about the wine being just a ‘soupçon’, but perhaps it was because my eyes aren’t used to focusing on close up work. Yes, that was definitely it! 🙂

a sense of achievement

I was really encouraged by this experience. With some guidance, patience and the knowledge in advance that it wouldn’t look perfect, I managed to make something that I didn’t believe I could do. That made me smile.

I now have the confidence to try more felt craft. Maybe next time I’ll be more adventurous!

Have you tried felt crafting? If not, I hope this will encourage you to give it a go. Grab some felt, needle and thread, decorative bits and create something fabulous.

Whether you’re a dab hand or a newbie like me, please do share your creations and experiences.

100 Days Top Tips Day 4

Bye for now!

Emma heart pink slender

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