Saturday, March 28, 2015

Confessions of a Wannabe Seamstress: Fun with Felt Pt 2

I have had several people tell me that I'm not a very good seamstress (why thank you!). First of all, I know that. But how am I supposed to get better if I don't practice? And I practice by making fun things for my kids. I document these projects and post them here, not to show off how impressive my sewing abilities are, but to show people that you don't have to be a good seamstress to make these things. If I can do it, by all means, anyone can do it! I am at the very beginning of my sewing journey and many of the tutorials I find are confusing and beyond my ability level. I hope that I'm able to offer some fun, simple, inexpensive projects for you to do and that you'll take pride in your work (because I'm dang proud of the things I've made so far!). Let's sew and learn together, shall we?

Anywho... like I said it part 1 of "fun with felt", I'm a little felt obsessed. Pair that obsession with my other obsession of finding new ways to entertain my children at church, on long car trips, in a restaurant, or during our "quiet hour" we have daily, I think this new tutorial is a match made in heaven.
 Foldable Felt Flats (try saying that 10 times fast). You can put one of these together in a couple of hours and would be a great gift to put inside your child's Easter basket. They fold up, lay flat, and are perfect to put in your purse or diaper bag to pull out when the whining, fidgeting, hitting your sibling, starts! There are two versions I'll show-- the farm playmat and the felt "paper" dolls. Both follow similar principles in putting them together and really, the possibilities for all sorts of other versions of these playmats are endless!

So first of all, gather your materials. You'll need a an 8.5 x 11 piece of felt for your playmat, you'll also need another piece of coordinating fabric for the backing and then just felt pieces/scraps to make the farmyard scene. You'll also need some velcro. I chose to use the no sew kind.
Here is the link for the pattern I made to make my farm scene. Print this on a regular sized sheet of paper or cardstock. Cut out, and then use to trace the shapes on your felt. To download the farmyard pattern shapes click HERE
After I cut out the basic shapes, I did add some details. Cut out two of haystack shapes on yellow felt. Cut one of the yellow pieces into thirds and use your scissors to create a fringe on each piece (careful not to cut all the way through!) I also added the details to the barn, pasture, and some grass fringe around the lake.
I try to do as little hand sewing as possible, so I decided to hot glue the barn details and the haystack pieces together before sewing them on the green mat.

After all all your pieces are cut out, arrange them on the mat.
  You'll want to sew all the pieces onto the green mat first. Once that's done, you'll want to pin it to the fabric you've chosen for the back of your mat. You'll notice the striped fabric is longer than the green. That's because I'm going to turn that into a pocket to hold the farm animals. I'll fold that extra piece in half to make the pocket, but just ignore it for now while you sew around the edges. You'll also want to make sure and leave an opening along the side opposite the pocket. You'll use this opening to turn your playmat rightside out again, and then later to attach the velcro closure.
  Now that the back piece of fabric is attached to your mat and is rightside out, we can work on making the storage pocket. You'll see that it's pretty simple. I just folded that extra fabric piece in half (wrong sides out) and sewed along the edges, leaving one side open. turn it rightside out and wah-lah! A pocket! I also attached some velcro to it to help keep the animals inside. Note that doing the pocket this way, the open side will have a raw edge.
 With your pocket done, all that's left to do is attach the tab so you can close and fasten your mat. I just cut a piece of extra wide fabric and folded in in  half (wrong sides out) sewed along the sides, leaving an opening, flipped it righside out and then inserted the tab into the opening I had already left in my mat and sewed. I then attached the velcro to the tab and outside of the mat (there's a better picture of this in the felt paper dolls tutorial) Remember to iron both sides of your mat to get the seams pressed down and get a more polished look.
Put your animals in the pocket, fold pocket over the mat part
now your felt farm playmat is ready to travel with you!

 Felt "Paper Dolls"
This is very similar to the farm playmat as far as how to construct the mat so it folds with a velcro closure.

First, gather your materials. You'll need an 8.5x11 piece of felt for the mat and then a piece of fabric for the backing. You'll also need a piece of felt to make a body for the dolls, furniture, white felt for the back of the clothes, and then fabric for the dolls' dresses.
I cut out all my shapes on a piece of paper first and arranged them on the mat so I knew they'd fit how I wanted (I'll go into more detail about the doll and dress pattern later on)
First, if you want to add any details to the dresser do that first otherwise you'll sew your pocket closed. You can see I sewed a square around the middle and added brown "knobs" to make it look more like drawers in a dresser.
Sew the dresser to the mat, but remember to leave the top open so it can be a storage pocket for the dresses. I used a piece of patterned felt to make the bed and white felt for the pillow. Again, remember to leave the top of the bed open so the dolls can fit inside.
Now you can attach your mat piece to the fabric back. remember to pin them together wrongsides out and leave an opening on one side so you can add the velcro closure once it's turned rightside out. And your mat should be done! Remember to iron both sides of your mat to get the seams pressed down and get a more polished look.

I used the no sew velcro for my project. To apply it, I just stick the hook and loop sides together, position the velcro sticky side down on the tab and then  pressed firmly so it will stick to the mat side.
Okay, now for the dolls and dresses. I adapted the dolls and dresses from this pattern. The PDF is sized
for a regular sized piece of paper. Of course that was way too big for what I need, so in my printing options, I sized the PDF to only print on a quarter of a page. Same with the dresses. This website has all sorts of other fun outfits, shoes, and accessories patterns for felt paper dolls.

I cut out the paper dolls and dresses on paper first and then traced their shapes onto the felt and fabric. I wanted my dolls to be extra sturdy so I traced two bodies for each doll that I'll sew together. You only need one each of the felt dresses. I made 6 dresses. You'll also need to copy the dress pattern onto the fabrics you chose for the outside of the dress. Again, I cut out six different fabrics. I'll sew the dress fabric to the felt cut-outs. The felt backing on dresses is what makes them stick to the dolls.
To put the dolls together, I sewed their bodies together first and then did the hair. I attempted to sew the blonde hair first with mixed results, and then gave up all together with the brunette and just hot glued her hair on. Once the bodes are sewed together, you'll probably have to trim places where the bodies didn't align perfectly. The last thing is to apply a face to your doll. I'm still trying to decide if I want to embroider eyes and a mouth or just use a fine tipped sharpie.

The dresses are simple, but slightly tedious. They are small and there is a lot of turning the fabric to get your lines to look just right. Not all my dresses have perfect lines, but just go slow and they'll turn out fine. Also remember that since we aren't flipping the dresses inside out, they'll have a raw edge. You can buy some "no fray" stuff (I think it's spray) from craft stores if you're worried about them unraveling. Personally, I'm not.
 Now your felt paper doll set is ready to go!

I'll be back soon with some NEW spring printables, so keep checking back. And remember, if you liked this post (or any others) please share them on facebook or pin them. Word of mouth is what keeps my business afloat and I notice and appreciate every like, share, or pin I receive! You can also check out my shop on etsy. Thanks for stopping by!