Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Go Fish

This year for Christmas I made my nieces a fishing game. I got the idea, as well as the patterns for the fish and worms, here.

I started with a large piece of green felt for the base, then cut out a pond from blue felt and sewed it onto the green felt. I then sewed three concentric shapes on the inside, following the shape of the pond, and added a lily pad. The brown tackle box in the corner holds the fish when not in use and is held shut by velcro.

To make each fish, I doubled a piece of felt, traced my fish pattern onto it, then sewed along the outline. I filled the middle of each fish with polyester stuffing to give it some volume, and used the alphabet setting on my sewing machine to embroider a letter "O" for the eyes. There are magnets in the head of each fish so that the fish can be "caught".
Keep in mind when sewing you fish that you will need to leave openings to insert the magnet and stuffing. Here's the method that worked best for me:

(Note: These pictures were taken after cutting out the fish; however I did all the sewing first, as shown here)

Start at the top of the tail fin and curve back around, leaving a small opening
Insert the magnet into the head

Sew the head closed and continue around the bottom fin

Add stuffing
Sew around the top and tail fins, closing the body of the fish

Add eye, mouth, and details to tail fin
The last step is to cut around the outline of the fish, removing the excess felt. You can follow similar steps to make the worms. I also added eyelets to the end of each worm using my crop-a-dile and attached string using small lanyard hooks.

I used dowel rods for the fishing poles and painted them to coordinate with the colors of the fish (purple, magenta, and goldenrod). Instead of using screw eyes, I just drilled holes through the dowel rods and tied the string through the hole.

Go fish!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Toddler shoes

I found an excellent pattern for baby shoes and modified it a bit for a toddler. The free pattern, along with video demonstration, is available here. The original tutorial uses fusible tape to hold most of the shoe together. My approach was a little different and involved more machine sewing.
Wool-blend felt
2 shoelaces
4 eyelets
Fusible tape (Optional. May be used to fuse inner and outer pieces together before sewing. I pinned my pieces together)

Measure the child's foot, adding approximately 1/2" to the pattern. For example, if their foot is 4" long (heel to toe), enlarge the pattern to 4 1/2". Trace pattern onto your fabric and cut out.

Pin the cuff accent onto cuff; Sew around edge of cuff accent, affixing it to cuff.

Pin together the main body pieces (2 for each shoe). I used brown for the inner piece and tan for the outer piece. Cut along dotted lines to form the tongue of the shoe. Sew inner and outer pieces together along top edge and around tongue (shown below in purple.)
Pattern from

Next, sew the toe piece onto the end of the main body. You only need to sew along the upper curve. Pin cuffs to main body, aligning the top edge of the cuff (shown above in green) with the top of the shoe (purple). Turn the body of the shoe inside out, with the back edges touching (blue). Pin together and sew along edge.
Pin sole to body of shoe, wrong sides together. Machine stitch together. Turn shoe right side out and check seams. You're almost finished!

The last step is to add the eyelets for the shoe laces. I wrapped the cuffs snuggly around the front of the shoe and marked where I wanted the eyelets to go. Using a Crop-A-Dile, I punched a hole through the cuff and set each eyelet.  I chose a short pair of shoelaces and cut them to length. Then I tied the ends off in a knot and melted them slightly to keep them from fraying.

These shoes are a gift for a special little boy on his first birthday! 

Monday, October 11, 2010


Remember those plastic alphabet letters you had as a child?

I decided to make a soft version out of felt for my youngest niece, who's turning one this month. This was a really fun project! I chose felt in teal, purple, and pink, and sewed a magnet inside each letter.

I started by printing out each letter of the alphabet, using Arial Black font, size 220. Then I cut out each letter and traced it on to my felt, using a fabric marking pen or chalk. I then cut out a square of felt around the letter and sewed around my outline, slipping the magnet inside before sewing the letter closed. If you're using a metal bobbin, you want to be very careful that the magnet does not pull your bobbin out of place while sewing and tangle your thread. Try to keep the magnet as far away from the bobbin as possible while sewing. I found it helpful to pin it in to a corner so it wouldn't move around.

After that, I carefully cut around the edges of the letter, again minding the magnet so it didn't stick to my scissors and cause a crooked cut.

I also made a drawstring bag to hold all the letters.