Not content with my robin, and determined to add to my homemade Christmas stash, this afternoon I decided to have a go at making a couple more felt decorations. And this time I would do things differently.
Previously, I hand stitched all around the edge of my felt shapes. Whilst this gives a good effect and is a lovely hand-sewing project, this time round I thought I’d have a go using my machine.
And the proof is in the Christmas pudding: this method was a lot more successful. The photo shows the pudding (complete with green ric rac and red button garnish) and a Christmas tree (with red gingham ribbon and a string of gold sequins for tinsel and a gold button for a star). Now these are decorations I’ll be proud to hang on my very first Christmas tree this year.
Recently, browsing the DIY & Crafts board on Pinterest has been one of my favourite past times, so when I came across various photos of some adorable felt Christmas decorations I couldn’t exactly turn a blind eye. Whilst Pinterest is great for fuelling my imagination it does not, however, give you instructions on how to make what you see. That’s why I’ve decided to have a go at creating my own pattern for these handmade decorations and blog about it for you all to have a go too.
First up is the felt robin decoration. Begin by cutting out 4 shapes from greaseproof paper (baking parchment) in the shape of the robin’s body, an oval for the red chest, a triangle for the beak and a heart shape for the wing. Click on my template image to the right to enlarge it. The felt I’ve used is in dark brown, golden brown and bright red.
Next, trace around the shapes onto your coloured felt and cut them out (see picture left). Make sure you do 2 of each shape so that you have two robins to stitch back-to-back later on. I also recommend you cut out a few spares in case you go wrong. You’d be surprised how easy it is to accidentally chop off a beak!
Once your robin parts are cut out, assemble them neatly and stitch around the edges using matching embroidery thread. I used a sequin for the eye too, but you could use a bead or a round piece of felt if you prefer. Again, remember to make two of each and this time make sure you sew them as mirror images. You don’t want to end up with two robins facing the same direction and suddenly find your plan to sew them back-to-back has gone awry (this is just as easily done as cutting off a beak).
Step four is to sew your two robins together. Use white or cream embroidery to make it look a bit like a Christmas gingerbread. Try to get all your stitches the same size too – it’s quite difficult but the end result will look much neater! Leave an inch gap at the top to push a bit of wadding in, insert some ribbon and then sew it up.
Here’s a picture of my first attempt. Not quite as professional looking as I’d hoped for but definitely a step in the right direction for our ‘homemade Christmas’!
On 1st August, I (plus one very lucky boy) moved house and stepped onto the very first rung of our very own metaphorical property ladder. Previously in our lives we had been university graduates with bigger dreams than working in retail and commuting every day from our youth-filled bedrooms round at our mums’. Now that we’re both reaching (or have reached) the big 2-4, we decided that this summer was the time to stretch those metaphorical wings and fly the family nests. So here we are.
Whilst I’m having unimaginable fun arranging furniture, doing the ironing and choosing crockery, since moving house I’ve had very little time to pursue any of my usual craft and sewing projects. These days all my money seems to disappear on oak-veneered bookcases, candle-shaped light bulbs and filling up the salad drawer. Alongside working all week, this leaves minimal time and minimal pounds to spend on the embroidery threads, material squares and colourful cottons that I’d quite like to own more of.
That’s not to say I haven’t done ANY sewing though. I’ve sewn buttons onto the backs of cushions, shortened the living room curtains and started a bit of cross-stitch. I’ve even sewn half of the bias binding onto that (slowly becoming infamous) spring picnic blanket of mine.
And what’s more, this afternoon I started out on this beauty of a project; Accessorize’s finest ‘Make Your Own Glove Puppy’ kit. My sister bought me this for Christmas last year and so far it’s remained in the craft cupboard waiting for a rainy day. Well, today it is raining. I’m also home alone whilst the boy slaves away selling 2 for £10 DVDs to the general public. Perfect.
The kit contains some white, woolly gloves, a bit of checked fabric, some thread and three black buttons. After following steps 1-14 on the back of the packet, and watching an hour of Beautiful Lies starring Audrey Tautou, Doug the Dog was born. Just glancing at this photograph I can tell that you’re jealous he isn’t yours. This is clearly one of my finest sewing projects to date.
When I get really bored my next task is to finish that blanket. Unfortunately I’ve now completed all the easy bits and the only thing that remains is to hand-stitch the other side of the binding all the way around the edge. The thought of doing this is making me feel slightly sick. This blanket is bigger than my dining table. My sewing needle is smaller than my little finger. Watch this space.
Apart from maybe the white felt elephant or the orange felt dog, this cutesy felt kitten is possibly the loveliest felt toy I’ve made yet. Just look at his adorable eyes and whiskers. I defy you to disagree.
He’s currently residing at my friend’s house – I somehow managed to part with him alongside a birthday present – so I only have the photo evidence that he ever existed.
The pattern for the cat came out of my Felt Friends in Japan book, which I reviewed in another blog here. As with the other felt toys, the pattern pieces were all about 2cm big (the finished cat is only about 2 inches tall) and so it was quite fiddly to sew and later stuff. I think it took me a couple of hours in front of the television altogether, which I don’t think is a bad effort!
I used a red-wine coloured felt for the body and decided to use a similar coloured embroidery thread to stitch it together. The book suggests contrasting stitching or felts but I didn’t want it to be too fussy. Though I do think that my addition of the little pink bow is the perfect final touch.
This year Children in Need have got several renowned fashion designers on their side to create a range of limited edition Pudsey Bears. Adorable! From left to right – Erdem, PPQ, Mulberry, Giles Deacon, Katie Hillier, Liberty, Henry Holland, Patrick Grant and Jonathan Saunders. There’s also a black and white bear by Topshop and one featuring Pudsey in a leather jacket, styled by Louis Vuitton. The bears are currently for sale on Children in Need’s eBay page here and are (so far) fetching between £500 and £5500 each! If I had the cash I’d definitely be making an attempt to put my paws (sorry) on that Erdem Pudsey.
As Hallowe’en eerily creeps nearer, what better time is there to crack out the stripey pipe cleaners and orange origami paper in order to create a unique and handmade Hallowe’en display.
I’m planning a little get together this weekend and, aside from the games, it wouldn’t be a proper party without the themed decoration. Plus I’m me. And I’ve never been one to do things half-heartedly. I’ve also taken a much more friendly approach to Hallowe’en this year – smiley pumpkins look much more fun and kawaii around the house than the traditional scream mask.
Using the fabulous Origami Club website for guidance, I’ve folded, creased and pressed my way to a field full of pumpkins and a sky full of adorable paper bats. Follow the logo link to find the patterns for these. Kirigami has come in handy to make the spider webs – to copy this yourself, just imagine you’re making a Christmas snowflake but make the cuts horizontally rather than diagonally to look like a web.
Love the pipe cleaner spiders? Follow this link to watch the how-to video! I’ve attached cotton to mine so I can hang them from the ceiling…
And finally (for now) is this fantastic 3D Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas that I made today. I found the print-out pattern for it online and have pain-stakingly spent all morning cutting and sticking. This printable craft was made for children. I’m almost 23 and found it quite fiddly! Best as a team effort maybe. Now that it’s finished though, how good does it look sat on my living room mantelpiece?!
I can’t wait to show you my finished Hallowe’en display once it’s all put together. Check back soon for the photos!
A couple of weeks ago I received, in the post, a beautiful invitation to my friend’s wedding. In Washington. I would absolutely love to attend but, alas, I cannot. Instead I’ve decided to create the bride and groom a lovely little home-made wedding present.
Enter stage left – 1x cross stitched London skyline.
The pattern came out of Cross Stitcher magazine (August 2011) and is intended to be made into a purse. I’ve made a few modifications to the design – instead of writing London I’ve put England (my friend, the groom, used to live over here so I thought it’d be a nice memento of our time together). I added in the royal guard myself too – the pattern and materials for this came free with the same edition of the magazine. I’m also planning on making it into a small cushion rather than a purse.
The overall project took me about 2 weeks (and 6 episodes of Dexter, 4 Project Runways, 2 White Collars, 4 Mad Men and a couple of films) to complete. Persistence really is key with cross stitch!
In other news, I also had another go at making a felt animal out of my Felt Friends From Japan book – see my review here. This time I chose a little felt puppy (even more adorable than the felt elephant?). He took me a couple of hours to stitch together and passed an otherwise uneventful Sunday morning. He is now residing at my lovely friend’s house – what a lucky guy
Today I decided to have a crack at making something from my new book – Felt Friends From Japan. I wrote a review about it previously, and so thought it was about time that I actually gave it a go! I decided to start with one of the most basic-looking animals…
And here we are. Introducing Alfred, the felt elephant.
The pattern is made up of 3 body pieces, 2 ears, 2 eyes and a tail which are all stitched together using white embroidery thread. It was a bit fiddly to sew, as all the components are around 2 inches big at most – but it was a lovely project for a morning off work. I have such a lot of felt saved up from over the years so the patterns in this book are perfect for using it all up!
Next time I’m going to attempt to make an adorable felt cat. And perhaps a frog shaped coin purse. Or a gingerbread man brooch. I think it’s safe to assume you’ll be receiving one of these for Christmas, too!
Felt Friends from Japan is a felt-based toy making book that I spotted this weekend in my (not so local) Waterstones Exeter store. Obviously I made no hesitation in falling head over heels for it. Toys+Japan= sure winner for everyone involved. The fact I get staff discount in Waterstones does help with the book’s appeal – although this perk only lasts until the start of July, so buying it yesterday was my ONLY option. Naturally.
The book is written by a lovely looking lady named Naomi Tabatha - and I believe it’s the only one she’s turned her hand to. Born in Japan, and having worked as a toy-maker for magazine, book and CD covers, as well as writing magazine columns and (as the book delightfully tells me) has blood type B – Tabatha epitomises everything I would love to be myself. What a girl.
The inside of the book is sickeningly cute – those with a nervous disposition towards everything kawaii, please look away now. There are options to make gingerbread men brooches, goldfish coin purses and puppy dog mascots to name but a few of the delightful toys on offer. The inside of the book jacket even contains all the patterns needed to make the items – ingenious.
In my own sewing kit I have a special box dedicated to bits of felt, so I’m hoping that Felt Friends will help me to use them up. I can’t wait to make myself a Kenji Cat or a pin badge in the shape of a flowerpot – all essential items that I have no idea HOW I lived without beforehand. The last time I worked with felt was on the needle case I made – check that out here.
Pictures of completed toys will, of course, be uploaded in due course. Super kawaii!
Surely there’s nothing better than seeing a lion-shaped purse with a zip for its mouth?No, I thought not. Presented to you by the June 2011 edition of Sew Hip magazine, this little feline was an absolute treat to sink my own (zip-free) teeth into.
The lion’s face is made up of a circular, interfacing-backed piece of ‘lion-coloured’ material, complete with contrasting snout and felt eyes and nose, which I attached using iron-on bondaweb. Easy. I then folded a long strip of contrasting, lion-coloured material in half and created little gathers in it for the mane. I made the ears, sandwiched all the layers together and sewed all the way around the edges to create the end result.
The zip mouth was slightly trickier to pull off. A rectangular hole was cut in the main fabric, the zip was placed behind and then stitched in place. I used a contrasting colour to make it stand out (and also because I didn’t have a short white zip!). In the pattern, the face is sewn onto a back piece to create a purse with the mouth-zip as the opening. Instead I stitched my design onto a blank pencil case using the same pattern I used previously, which I think looks just as cute!
Overall a roaring success. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.