welcome To The One Thimble Blog
Hi! I’m Alicia from Felt With Love Designs. I contributed the Pretend Play Adventure Kit pattern to the current issue, the Woodland Creature finger puppet pattern to Issue 6, the Desert Fox Softie pattern to Issue 8, and the Circus Beanbag Toss Game pattern to Issue 9. The last three can all be found in our etsy shop now. Today, I am kicking off the Adventure Kit Sew Along with a few tips on choosing felt and cutting out the pieces. (If this is your first time hearing about it, head over to this post for more info.)
Please note: This post includes affiliate links, as indicated by an asterisk.*
I absolutely love hand-sewing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my machine too. I enjoy sewing my daughter’s clothes and other larger projects. But …
I have an itch to always be doing something. Just ask my husband, it drives him crazy! Hand-sewing satisfies that desire. I do the majority of my felt sewing while I watch my daughter play with her friends at the playground in the afternoon or while I watch a movie with my husband in the evenings. It makes me feel so much less guilty about spending the couple hours watching television (something he loves to do.)
It wasn’t until joining the One Thimble team that I realized not everyone shares my love of hand-sewing. So, Jen and I put together a little impromptu sew-along.
Choosing Your Felt
Before starting your Adventure Kit, you will need to decide what to sew it with. I love hand-sewing with felt because it doesn’t fray and it’s very difficult to mess up.
One Thimble recently interviewed Candice about her felt business and she does a great job explaining the differences between wool felt and acrylic (craft) felt.
For this project, both types of felt will work. When choosing which to use, keep in mind that craft felt will be thinner than wool felt. Wool felt is also much softer than craft felt.
It might help you decide between the types of felt if you choose which colors you would like to work with. In my experience, wool felt is available in a much wider array of colors. I sewed my Adventure Kit from boring grey but let your imagination run wild!
For the sew along, I will be making a more “girly” set, at the request of my daughter. It’s always fun to see ways people think outside the box with their color choices. (I am still in love with the pink, glittery Desert Fox Candice sewed incorporating her glitter felt.)
I strongly suggest using a heavy interfacing on the majority of the pieces for the Adventure Kit, otherwise the toys might turn out a little too flimsy. If you stuff them well, the compass and flashlight do not require interfacing. The magnifying glass needs interfacing in the main body piece and the binoculars need it for both the inner and outer cones. (It is ok to skip the interfacing for the sets of rings on the binoculars and the end piece on the magnifying glass, if you would like.)
You will need a few circles of clear vinyl for the flashlight, magnifying glass, and binoculars. Look around your house for things you might be able to repurpose for this step. I used the clear vinyl from an old pencil pouch. You can also use the little bags that bedding comes packaged in. I highly recommended using several wonder clips* when sewing the vinyl sections to hold things in place while sewing. They do not leave holes in the vinyl the way pins would.
I like to shred my small felt scraps with a rotary cutter and use them for stuffing (this also makes the toys denser and gives them more structure) but, when not using scraps, this* is my favorite stuffing. I would not recommend using scraps inside the binoculars. The binoculars only need to be lightly stuffed. Too much stuffing will crush the inner cone piece.
When hand-sewing, I generally use DMC embroidery floss*. Their floss is soft and doesn’t knot as much, in my experience, as other, less expensive brands (although those are totally fine to use also!) Floss comes in 6 strands. I sew most of my projects using two strands of floss (more if I want a thicker line.) In order to get two strands, I find it easiest to cut a length of thread TWICE as long as I think I will need (does not need to be exact), pull out one of the strands from that length, fold it in half, and thread my needle with the loose ends of the piece of folded thread. When I start sewing, I always thread my needle back through the the loop created by the end, on the backside of the project, instead of knotting it. (Stephanie has a great tutorial for this, if you need a little more guidance.)
Cutting Your Pieces
When cutting felt shapes, I always recommend a pair of sharp scissors. These micro-tip scissors* are my favorite (and I recently learned Fiskars has an awesome lifetime warranty!!) This pattern doesn’t have any super small nooks and crannies to cut so your regular sewing scissors will work fine too. When cutting the rectangles for this pattern, I used my rotary cutter.
Freezer paper* is my absolute most favorite supply/tool for cutting accurately. You can print directly on the freezer paper, saving time from tracing out the pattern, and then iron those pieces to your felt. Cutting is my least favorite step in the sewing process and I am so glad I discovered freezer paper. You can also reuse the pattern pieces 4-5 times. If you need more tips on freezer paper, check out my tutorials here and here.
When cutting your pattern pieces, do not forget to measure and cut the rectangles listed on the template. Pattern pieces are not included for those 4 pieces.
To cut the vinyl circles, I place the vinyl over the template (freezer paper or regular – it’s the same process no matter how you printed it) and trace the circle with a sharpie. Cut around the circle and then wipe the ink right off.
Be sure to join the One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts group on Facebook. We will continue the sew along updates, starting tomorrow with the compass!
If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask!
I have a confession …
. . . I sew most of the samples for our photo shoots . . . BUT if its a hand sewing sample you can guarantee I haven’t sewn it!
I like the IDEA of hand sewing …
. . . Sewing you can do at netball practice
or while waiting for school pick-ups
or while watching Frozen for the 4 billionth time
or while you’re on holidays and away from your sewing machine, what’s not to love?!
But somewhere between recognising its a good idea and actually completing a project I chicken out!
Which brings me to this challenge . . .
If you’ve been planning to give hand-sewing a go “someday”, or always wanted to complete the Pretend Play Adventure Kit but needed a little hand-holding I would absolutely LOVE to have you join me! We can learn together!
If you’re a hand sewing aficionado who gets excited about mentoring newbies through their first hand sewing project, we’d love to have you along too!
How will it work?
1) Join the One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts group on facebook.
2) Get your copy of the Pretend Play Adventure Kit as a stand alone here or in Issue 10 here.
3) Drop by the group each day to see which steps we’re doing, read Alicia’s extra tips/explanation for beginners, ask questions and share your WIP. Search the #pretendplaysewalong
When is it?
Things will kick off “officially” on Thursday 21st April, but there’ll be some preparatory information tomorrow to help you with choosing and cutting your felt.
If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask – either comment below or send me an email. I’m a big fan of questions because they help me learn too!
Hope to see you there.
Hi! Today I’d like to introduce you to Candice from Rose Petal Collections. I first met Candice through Lauren from Molly & Mama after the release of One Thimble Issue 8 and since then I’ve been getting all my wool felt and glitter felt from Candice!
I’m quite proud of how these flowers turned out! I used the Molly and Mama Coco Flower Crown Pattern from Issue 8 and Wool Felt from Rose Petal Collections.
So without further ado – let’s chat to Candice – the lady behind Rose Petal Collections!
Tell me a little about your business and how you got into crafting.
My name is Candice and I’m originally from a beautiful small town in Queensland called Quilpie. It’s about 1000kms west of Brisbane. I loved my life there, small country town values and being with family. Particularly with my beautiful late Nan Delma. I used to spend nearly all of my time with her. We always were doing something, dressing up in her old ball gowns or gardening, but most of all craft.
My goodness we did some crafting, just about everything you could think of. I guess that’s where it all started with me and I noticed it was very comforting for her and I found solace in it myself by watching her delight with all the things she created.
Not long after she passed away I found myself crafting even more than I had in the past. It comforted me knowing that I could hold onto her memory by doing something as simple as creating. Later it grew into a small business, Rose Petal Collections. I’ve met so many others who inspire me just as much as I inspire them. I named my business after myself and my daughters middle name, and mostly because I love Roses.
Now living in Chinchilla with my beautiful family I continue with my business and my crafting, sharing my things along the way. My children love it too especially my daughter which is such a delight to see.
You stock divine wool felt in the most amazing colours. Can you let me know how wool felt differs from cheaper felts?
I’m often asked what are the benefits and differences between using Wool Felts and Acrylic Felts. I think understanding how they are made is the best way to see the differences between them. This quick and easy explanation was provided by my supplier. The 100% Merino Wool Felt I sell is the Wool Felt they’re talking about here.
Wool felt is made from agitating wool to create a non woven fabric. The wool shaft has scales which interlock and form a fabric through felting. Because felt is nonwoven it won’t unravel and the raw edges do not need to be finished. Wool fibers also have a high concentration of fatty acids, this gives wool anti-bacterial properties this keeps wool fabric from mildewing or retaining odors. Some people worry about allergies but wool is actually hypoallergenic. And not to mention my favorite textile to use!
Now Acrylic felt is made by interlocking acrylic or acrylonitrile which is made from natural gas and petroleum, ie a type of plastic. Acrylic is not suitable for some craft projects or pieces which will be handled often because it will pill and fuzz. Acrylic also tends to be stiffer than some other felts and therefore may not layer well.
In my opinion if your making things used by children and infants which will most likely be handled roughly or even chewed on then using Wool felt is your best option, and did I mention my favorite
Can you give me some examples of projects you could use Wool Felt in?
So far I’ve used Wool Felt in almost all of my projects including Quilts, hair accessories and most definitely soft toys.
Recently you’ve also started stocking glitter felt. I used some of your Glitter felt to make Christmas Ornaments and it really is quite astonishing how you don’t end up covered in glitter. Can you tell me a little more about the Glitter Felt you stock?
This Glitter felt is a High-quality glitter vinyl on my very popular 100% Merino Wool Felt. It has a textured feel, non shedding and flexible ready for a huge range of projects including applique, hair accessories, Christmas ornaments and so much more.
Can you give me some examples of projects you could use Glitter Felt in?
Recently you may have seen Molly and Mama’s ultra cute Festive Felties. She used the Glitter Wool Felt in her projects and it did not disappoint. I’ve also used it in hair accessories as well as features on soft toy’s like the inner of an ear on a teddy or the heart on a belly of a softie.
Willow Shirt as a Shirt Dress.
I have always loved shirt dresses; they look so smart but are no-fuss and comfortable to wear. Here’s a quick tutorial to show you how to alter the Willow Shirt pattern to a dress length. You can use a wide variety of fabrics and make it any length you like with long or short sleeves. I recently made a size 12 in chambray for my friend’s granddaughter and added a tie belt. The design details and sewing instructions are the same as for the shirt.
To adjust the pattern:
1/ Trace out the complete pattern in the size required. Get a largish sheet of paper to make the new dress length pattern or enough paper to attach an extension to the existing pattern. There are three pattern pieces that will need to be lengthened; the main back, front and facing. All the other parts remain the same.
2/ Get the length measurement for the new dress: the most reliable place to measure length is on the centre back from the cervical bump at the base of the neck down to knee level. Then decide the finished length you would like for the dress; about 6 to 8cm / 2½-3” above the knee is a good length for a young girl. Note the finished length.
3/ Lengthen the back pattern:
Place the back yoke and body patterns together overlapping the yoke seam allowance. The edge of the yoke neckline sits at the cervical point on the body so measure down from here and mark the new hem length, add a couple of centimeters for the hem allowance.
Remove the yoke pattern and outline around the body pattern, use a ruler to extend the side seam and centre back lines to the new length.
If you want to keep the curved hem use the existing pattern to draw the new hem line. This will be a little wider now. Take care to get a squared 90 degree angle at the centre back/hem junction.
Make sure to mark the tuck notches at the yoke seam. Cut the new pattern out. The hem can be squared off if you prefer by lengthening the side seam to create a straighter hemline.
4/ Lengthen the front and facing patterns.
Outline around the front pattern. Mark the notch points on the armhole and neckline.
Place the new back pattern against the side seam and draw down so the front is the same length as the back.
Rule the centre front line down and use the existing pattern to shape the hem curve. Make sure to get a 90 degree angle at the centre front hem. Cut the pattern out.
Outline the facing and place the new front against the facing and draw down to get the new length and cut out.
Label the patterns and be sure to mark all the notch points,
The dress is ready to cut out now using all the remaining pattern pieces
If you want to add a tie belt simply decide how long and wide you want the finished belt, Use double the finished width for a bagged-out belt, add a small seam allowance and cut out. I also added belt loops to the waist of the dress.
To read the interview with Stephanie from earlier in the week check out this blog post HERE.
I live high up in the Blue Mountains where I grow the best tasting, totally organic apples and cherries in my monster garden. I have one grown-up daughter.I am now retired after 40+ years in the rag trade in Sydney as a designer, pattern maker and product developer. I started Felicity Sewing Patterns in 2012 because I wanted to have a more creative, fun and easier way of earning an income. As a bonus I enjoy the closer interaction with my customers. It’s great to know that my patterns are helping people to create their own lovely items.
How did you get into pattern making?
I have been sewing almost as far back as I can remember. My mother taught me to sew and to make patterns and sketch, she was always there to help me and I was very keen to learn. I went straight from high school to the National Art School as it was known in those days. I studied Clothing Design; this was the only course available back then if you wanted to work in the Clothing Industry as a designer. That was just the beginning. I spent the next 40+ years working as a women’s wear designer, pattern maker and product developer for many well know companies. I started Felicity Patterns in 2012 which meant learning a whole new skill base; actually I am still learning.
What/where/who inspires you?
I am interested in a lot of things and have a strong creative urge. I am a very DIY person and will try almost anything including building things. I renovated my old weatherboard house in Sydney before I moved to the mountains. The gorgeous picket fence around 3 sides of the front garden was my proudest creation. When I was 9 I built my own cubby house in the backyard and insisted that I was moving in there but mum ‘convinced’ me otherwise. I am an odd mix of artistic and practical.
When it comes to pattern design if I am not ‘inspired’ to create a new pattern then I just don’t; I have to really like the design and it has to meet certain criteria before I will put the energy and time into turning it into a pdf pattern. I take more notice now of what kids are wearing and what is on offer in retail stores plus I spend much more time in fabric shops.
What’s your best tip for people getting started with sewing?
I think you need a lot of patience and some good hands-on help to get you started so I would suggest taking introductory sewing classes. I believe most people learn much faster with someone to show them just how it’s done. Sewing tutorials and videos are great but hands-on is better by far if you are just getting started. Then it’s all down to practice to improve your skill level.
What’s your favourite pattern/ thing you have sewn? What you are working on now?
I don’t think I have an absolute favourite pattern and I am always itching to get onto the next new project. At present I am working on updates to most of my older patterns. I would like to freshen up some of my earlier items with new samples and promotion photos etc.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I am a very keen gardener and I am a qualified horticulturalist. I really wanted to get out of the rag trade in my late thirties so I did a 4 year diploma course in horticulture but ended up never leaving the rag trade. Growing things has always been my favourite thing and my way to escape the pressures of work.