Felt Piglet Tutorial

We’re having a Winnie the Pooh craze around here. Craze may be putting it a little strongly, but Dexter is frequently Pooh, pretending to suck honey off his hand and telling me he’s spitting out bees. He asked the other day if I’d make him a piglet… so I paused for a half-second and said, “Sure!”

If you’d like to use the exact pattern* I traced out, here it is:

 
I’ll show below how to assemble him and how I drafted my pattern.
*1. Where the body meets the legs, use the top pink line. The lower one was a mistake I didn’t remove. *2. My pattern is not symmetrical. It just didn’t occur to me until it was too late. This will be most obvious on the ears, the inner parts need to match the correct ear, unless you care to correct that on your pattern.

You can do this with any character really. Piglet is pretty simple in that he’s almost entirely made up of 2 colors. I found a picture online, blew it up to the size I wanted, printed it… and realized it wasn’t quite as big as I’d expected. So I roughly traced around it to enlarge it.

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You can see that I did a lot of correcting throughout the whole process. I was flying by the seat of my pants and really didn’t spend anytime in the planning phase! But all of these corrections should be reflected in the PDF pattern.

I folded over my felt and traced the pattern onto the side of the fabric that would be on the inside. Then I cut out both layers together.

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Next, I went scrounging for fabric for clothing. I didn’t want to have to hem anything, so I used only felt and t-shirt scraps. I didn’t have any dark pink, and I felt like he just HAD to have stripes. I figured purple would work too. It’s a warmer purple than it looks in all these pictures.

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So, lay Piglet down where you’d like the stripes to fall. Again, fold your fabric, with the wrong sides facing out.

I used a Sharpie to mark the points at his neck and crotch, and then traced the sides of his tummy.

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You’ll get a an outline that looks like the picture on the left (if you do it without the pattern I linked). Then just connect all the lines, making a dip at the top for his chin.

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Then I turned all the pieces right-side-up and started building Piglet.

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Cut out all the facial features. He’s starting to look pretty cute! Also, he looks a little broader than normal, but when he’s stuffed, it turns out just right.

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Sew on all the dark pieces.

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Next, layer the snout.

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Then add the little nose triangle.

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Then sew the clothes to the front and the back. Remember, you have not put him together yet, your back piece should still be separate from the front.

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Flip the sides and trim off any excess t-shirt fabric. You’ll want to check the front side after you do this and make sure you trim the parts you can’t see from the back.

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Now you create your Piglet sandwich (hmm…) and sew around the outside, starting below one ear, and ending at the bottom of the next ear.

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Piglet’s head should be floppy and open like this:

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Stuff the arms and legs first, leaving it slightly soft where they connect to the body, so that he won’t be completely stiff. Then talk some little kid into stuffing the rest for you. Actually, he got tired of this pretty quickly and I had to finish. He just wanted to shred the stuffing.

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Then I stitched across the arm joint to give them a little range of motion. I didn’t bother doing this with the legs, but you’re welcome to try if it pleases you.

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Round the Polyfil at the top, keeping it clear of where seams will be. I didn’t put any stuffing in the ears.

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Sew around the curve of the head, still ignoring the ears.

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Pin the pink parts onto the ears. Keep in mind that if you used my pattern, the ear parts are not interchangeable.

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Sew around the edge of the dark pink, both attaching it to the ear and closing the ear openings.

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Then trim off the threads and he’s good to go!!

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The first thing Dex did was cram him down into a jar. Poor Pickled Piglet.

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And he felt like he needed to compare the pattern to see if they matched up.

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He now sleeps with Piglet every night, which is awesome. I should add that felt starts to look a little ratty when it’s handled by sticky hands everyday. Just a heads up.

There are lots of steps, but this was a pretty quick project. All told, it took me about 2 hours to complete, including drafting the pattern and taking pictures.

I’d love to see if anyone comes up with any other characters! I hope to make a Winnie the Pooh sometime! But then I’d probably lose it and end up making the whole Winnie the Pooh family. Felt is dangerous!

Tutorial: Easy Robot Appliqué

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This story begins with a Bert and Ernie marathon. My son loves Ernie and talked us into watching probably 30 clips on YouTube before nap. He’s very persuasive 🙂

I started thinking how cool it would be to surprise him with an Ernie shirt, and in my search for Ernie inspiration, I stumbled across an awesome it’s-already-been-done tutorial over at MADE. It’s almost exactly what I was hoping to do! But I realized that I didn’t have all the colors I need, and I’m also hoping to do some textures, especially in the hair. So we’re shelving Ernie for later.

But I still had the crafting itch, and it’s been a while since I’ve made something for our family. I’ve been on a steady diet of car seat ponchos (separating zippers, AAAGH), so I really needed something to cleanse the palate.

Dexter has also been deeply immersed in a robot craze, so it didn’t take long for me to change directions.

Step 1: Sketch an awful picture of a robot that you will quickly scrap.

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Step 2: Cut out trapezoids for the head and body, rectangles for the legs and feet, and then shapes for the arms and hands. I used a pincher-type hand, and then I wanted the arms to broaden near the hands. The fabric I used was gray t-shirt scraps.

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Step 3: Place and pin the pieces. I liked the way the pieces didn’t quite touch.

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Step 4: Sew around the edges of the  pieces. I used a black thread, about 1/8” away from the edge. I didn’t use backing, adhesive, or stabilizer, but it might make it  easier to keep the pieces in place if you’re nervous. I didn’t take pictures of the sewing process, so hopefully that’s pretty simple to figure out. Just remember to not sew through all the layers!! You want your shirt to be wearable 🙂 I know this sounds obvious, but it’s exactly the sort of thing I might do without thinking. My robot is still messy in this picture, but eventually clip the threads.

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Step 5: Add features! You can use buttons, fabric, stitching, or paint. Be creative! I took a minimalist approach and I love it! I love that I had a deep red button to sew over the “heart” area 🙂

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When Dexter saw the shirt this morning, he cheered, “Robot!!!” and I knew it was worth the work 🙂

My little photographer was pretending to take pictures of me with the lens cap. He kept saying, “Cheese!!”

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I also like how keeping the pieces separated allows the robot to have a little movement. It’s funny how he looks slumped over when Dex is sitting 🙂

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Dexter is not a fan of photo shoots these days. Even though I don’t force him to do anything, besides stand at least 10 feet away from me, there is something in him that just makes him resist  having pictures taken. It must be the genes he got from his dad!! Here’s where we had to break so he could crawl at me, growling like a monster.

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And then he rests…

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Toddler Hoodie Tutorial

Time for my long-awaited return to the blogging world! This past month has been full of sick family members and other craziness. After my nephew recovered, my son got sick. That was a 2 week ordeal (Thankfully not as intense as it was with my poor nephew!!) and just when it felt like Dexter would never be Dexter-y again, suddenly he was! So things are slowly coming back around to “normal”, if that term can be applied to my everyday life.

Now, let’s get down to business.

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This tutorial will include a walkthrough of how I created and assembled my new toddler hoodie pattern. What it does not currently include is the pattern (boo), but as soon as I figure out how to create and attach printable files I will do an update! Until then, you can create your own pattern the way I did: Take one of your child’s shirts and trace all the pieces, adding about a half-inch seam allowance. Don’t forget how much your seam allowance was (maybe write it on your pattern) because if you don’t sew enough your shirt could be a little big, or worse, too tight if you sew too much. I did choose a roomy cut because I wanted my son to be comfortable and for this shirt to last for several seasons. The sleeves are a little long, but we cuff them.

If you don’t have a shirt that has everything you want, then use multiple shirts to get your pieces! I used a jacket of Dexter’s to trace the hood for this pattern.

Choose your fabrics, and have fun doing it! You can make the shirt entirely out of the same material, but this pattern is perfect for using up scraps! (In another blog I’ll show you just how scrap-friendly this pattern can be!)

You will need 5 total pieces: 1 front, 1 back, 2 sleeves, 2 hood halves. In the following pictures, you can see that I originally planned to just use a regular neckband, but decided to take a chance and make my first hoodie!

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I have LOTS of scrap knit fabric, so I cut the front out of the graphic area of one of my husband’s old tees, and then used a fabric for the back that was similar to the front. Then I used the dark green for all the accent pieces.

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Here is a tip for the arms: Cut along the length of an already hemmed tee if you want hemmed sleeves. You’ll learn later that you don’t have to hem at all, but if you want that finished look (and don’t have a serger) this is an easy way to cheat and get it.hoodie tute 7

I did the same thing with the hood, laying my pattern piece so the hem created the part of the hood that frames the face.

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Then put the front and back right sides together, and sew (ZIG ZAG!!!) along the shoulders and sides.

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Next, sew down the length of the sleeves. Do NOT sew around the shoulder curve. You would sew the upper arm of your sleeve shut, rendering the sleeve useless, and making you a big dummy. It’s possible I might have done that one a shirt recently, but I will neither confirm nor deny it in this particular blog post.

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Also, if you decide to go with the pre-hemmed look, I suggest that you start your stitches at the wrist side of the sleeve, that way it will definitely match up and look a little neater. (Side note: don’t freak out that I’m using 2 different thread colors. It means nothing other than that I was too impatient to wind a matching bobbin.)

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Attach your sleeves to your shirt. Keep the body of the shirt inside out, but turn the sleeves. Place the sleeves inside the shirt. Match seams at the shoulder first, and then at the underarm if things work out well.

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I did have a problem here. And if upload my pattern and you use it, you will possibly have the same problem. The shoulder of the sleeve was a little bigger than the armhole for the body. The way I corrected this is not ideal, and if you’re OCD about these things, the following truth-bomb might make your head explode: I just folded the excess fabric at the armpit and went on with my life.

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It might be a little hard to tell, unless you click to enlarge the picture, but you can see where I’m making about a half-inch overlap here.  I just pinned it with the fold toward the back (I’m not OCD enough to care about the fold, but my seams WILL face the same direction. Always toward the back.) and sewed right over it. I never even see the gather when my son is wearing it. If you’re making this hoodie for a girl and this problem pops up, use the excess fabric to make subtle gathers at the top of the shoulder! It will be a cute addition, and no one will ever know you didn’t plan it.

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Take a minute and admire your almost-finished shirt! I always love this stage because you can see that it’s really happening! Also, it never hurts to model the shirt at this stage to make sure no adjustments are needed! if it’s just way too huge, you could always put a seam down the middle of the front or back. it might not work with every design, but this particular shirt is pretty forgiving. My next blog about the pattern will show how seams can be used effectively when working with scraps, so I’m certain it would work for sizing issues and be just fine.

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Next sew the 2 hood parts together (right sides together). Remember to match up your finished edges and sew from there if you want to be certain there won’t be weird overlap.

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Ok. There comes a time in every tutorial where I’m so focused on the finish line that I forget to take pictures. This is that time. And I’m not happy that it’s the hood-attachment part, because that took some time for me to figure out. I’ll do my best to explain it verbally, and I apologize if it’s just too unclear.

With this pattern, the 2 sides of the hood will overlap. I marked the center of the back of the shirt and matched the hood seem up with that. I didn’t explain earlier, and when I upload the pattern it will be marked, but the hood slopes down toward the face. the short part is the back.

So, your shirt is right side out this time, the hood attached on the outside, with the right side facing the shirt. Start pinning the neck, matching the centers of the shirt and the hood. When you get around to the front, overlap the sides. This might be preferential, but when the hoodie is on, the left side overlaps the right side. If that’s what you want, pin left side down first, and lay the right side over that. Then sew all around the neckline.

Here you can see the slight overlap of the finished hood.

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Lastly, evaluate any unhemmed areas. (Check the bottom of the shirt, the sleeves, and the hood edge). Either turn those areas under and stitch (I hope you’ve been zig-zagging. Always zig-zag when sewing knits with a regular sewing machine, or your seam will pop when stretched!!) or, you can leave them raw. In a lot of cases it’s perfectly fine to not even stitch, but if you’re worried at all about unraveling, go ahead and stitch near the edge.

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And there you have it! A finished hoodie! Clip the treads and trim any really wide seams, and you’re done!

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Put it on your kid and take some awesome pictures 🙂

Dexter wasn’t extremely pleased to model immediately after nap, but he did what he could!

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Thanks for making it through the excessive Dexter pictures! I could claim that I included so many so you could see what you could expect your hoodie to look like, but really I was just showing off my baby lol. Send me a link if you try the tutorial!!! I’d love to see other people’s interpretations of the design!

Monster Hats, Photo Shoot Bloopers, and The Few Tips I Have

I’ve been planning to make monster hats for my Etsy shop FOREVER. But I kept putting it off. I finally got the motivation to do it, and I’m loving them! I have 5 listed in my shop so far, and almost 20 more started.

Shooting them was so hard, though. The older Dexter gets, the harder it is to photograph him. He was all over the place. Plus, even though he has been an active hat-wearer since birth, he felt it was an injustice to his soul to have to wear these hats for me. (Am I allowed to say, “I carried you for 9 months, the least you can do is let me exploit your cuteness to sell hats!!”?)

IMG_5087 “But Mom, it’s JULY!!!!”

IMG_5149 “Ok, I’ll be still, I just need to blow some kisses first!”

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He spent most of his time running around on the far side of the room with my camera’s lens cap in his mouth.

I made the mistake of making him think we’d go outside, just to lure him closer to the natural light… drama ensued.

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The best tips I can give are these:

1. Shoot when your baby is comfortable (not tired, not hungry, not wet, not too cold, not too hot…)

2. Distract, distract, distract! He chose the lens cap and my phone, and then I tried pulling out a mirror so he could check out his hats. But in the future I’m going to find some props that I won’t mind ending up in the pictures.

3. Do your best to get natural light so you can shoot without your flash. My pictures aren’t the best, but that really brings them up several notches. Just keep in mind that if there’s not enough light, your pictures will look blurry.

4. WORK FAST! If you have a digital camera, don’t get picky. Just focus and shoot as fast as you can, because those babies are quick. You may be able to use a quarter of the pictures you take 🙂 If you’re lucky :).

In the end though, if you can get just one drooly, lovable picture of your dude, it’ll be worth it 🙂

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