Wednesday, 3 October 2012

GUEST BLOG ENTRY: Felt Owl Tutorial

Today's entry comes from Sedef Imer, who is about to have her second child any minute. After sending her many thanks for her great work and very valuable contribution, and wishing her the best of luck with the birth of her daughter and motherhood in general, I am leaving you with her post. Enjoy!


***
I am an ex-investment banker-management consultant-chartered accountant (basically high flying career girl lol) originally from London but had a complete lifestyle change when my husband and I moved to Adelaide in 2009 and then had our first baby. I am now a proud stay-at-home-mum and also pregnant again and due to have a little girl in October. I have discovered and fallen in love with crafts and sewing recently, a total lifestyle transformation.

I got into felt work about 6 months ago after a friend showed me the activity books she had made for her kids 20 years ago. I just had to make one for my boy, as you simply cannot purchase those at the shops! I am completely self taught, thank god for google and you tube tutorials... Currently half way through making a felt activity book for my toddler (who is now 19 months old). About 2 months ago I bought my first sewing machine and started learning how to use it, so I am diversifying from felt. So far, I have tried my hand at relatively easy stuff, mainly making decorations for the new baby's nursery - bunting, cushion cover, rag doll etc. Next, I have a simple quilt planned for my little girl.

This tutorial covers how to make an ornamental felt hanging to decorate your baby's nursery or a child's room. It also demonstrates basic principles of felt sewing which can easily be replicated for other animals or other types of decorations.

Step 1 - Find an image that you wish to turn into a decoration. If doing this for commercial purposes always check with the owner of the image if they give you permission to use it! This is a felt owl image I found on google, nice simple lines. It doesn't have to be the picture of a felt object, any simple vector or clipart would also work. You can also draw your own (sadly I am not talented enough in this department, so I resort to technology) ;)

Felt owl
Step 2 - Gather and prepare your materials and tools:
- Felt for the body, belly, and wings (whatever colours you want), white felt for eyes, orange felt for feet and beak (and black felt if you can't find a black button the right size for the eyes)
- Scissors
- Craft glue or hot glue gun
- Pins or stapler

- Embroidery thread in matching colours and sewing needle (embroidery needle if you have one, it has a larger eye than a regular sewing needle)
- Filling material (hobby fill or pillow filler, even cotton wool will do)
- Black button for the eye(s) and 3 buttons to decorate the back

Felt owl
Step 3 - Using whatever software you prefer enlarge the picture to the size you want your finished product to be. Mine is about 10cm tall. I use Adobe Illustrator for patterns. The page size i use is A4 so I know the exact size the owl will be when printed & templated. You can also use photoshop, even powerpoint. Or get it enlarged with a photocopier :) I put two owls on a page as i will need several of these for the patterns, so to save on paper.
felt owl

Step 4 - Print enough of the owls so you have a pattern piece for each 'element' of their body, and trace around the various body parts with a felt pen.
felt owl

Step 5 - Roughly cut the patterns out (not on the line, but slightly out)
felt owl
Step 6 - Pin or staple the patterns onto felt. I prefer staples (just an ordinary stapler) as they lay flat on the felt and produce a better more precise finish on the cut piece. But normal sewing pins will do too.
felt owl

Step 7 - Cut on the black line. Tip: For cutting out smaller pieces like feet and also pieces with curves like the eyes - i find it easier to use a pair of curved nail scissors for those

Felt owl

felt owl

felt owl

 All pieces are now cut and ready to stitch/assemble.

Step 8 - Get your matching embroidery thread. I used three colours - pink to match the body, strawberry to match the wings, and black for the eyes. All my thread is in an organiser box but the white skein is how they come
.
felt owl
  
Step 9 - Warning - only use 1 strand from the embroidery thread, not all 6! Some people prefer to use 2 strands to make the stitches stand out, you can even use a contrasting colour (lighter/darker) of thread to make them stand out more. I prefer mine to blend in as much as possible so I use one strand of matching colour. If you are making a larger ornament, you may want to use more strands.
Keceden baykus

Step 10 - We now need to prepare each 'side' of the owl before stitching them together. Starting with the front. I decided to use fabric for the belly so stitched it on to the felt using backstitch (google it if you dont know how to do backstitch, it's very easy). If you are using felt you can just glue the piece on, no stitching required. You can also glue fabric on if it is a darker colour fabric, but the glue may show under a lighter colour fabric.
Felt owl

Step 11 - Glue the eyes, beak and feet on. I also stitched a little fabric rose that i already had to make it extra girly ;) I just use craft glue, any liquid glue or hot glue gun will be fine.
Felt owl
  
Step 12 - Eyes. Sew on the black button. If you are making a winky eye, you can either draw it on with a felt tip pen, or for a more professional look embroider it on. I first drew on the winky eye using a water erasable pen (you can just use a pencil or pen even, as the stitches will cover the pen mark)
  
Step 13 - Embroider small backstitches following the pen line to make the winky eye. I used three strands of black thread for this as one strand would have been too thin. I then dabbed a bit of water on top to get rid of the blue from my pen. And voila the front is finished.
Step by step felt owl tutorial

Step 14 - The back. Staple or pin the wings where you want them. WARNING - make sure you staple them on to the correct side of the felt, as the pattern is unlikely to be symmetrical!

Felt owl

Step 15 - Blanket stitching the wings onto the body. Before you attempt this cut two small pieces of felt and learn to blanket stitch. This is a good tutorial. http://www.futuregirl.com/craft_blog/2007/09/tutorial-hand-sew-felt.aspx It is dead easy but you dont want to practice on the owl! Start blanket stitching the wings wherever you wish.
Felted owl

Step 16 - as you stitch around the wings, you will eventually get to the body. Just keep stitching it as if the body isn't there, putting the needle down through it and back up where you want it to come. The wings are now stitched on.

Felt owl

Felted owl

Step 17 - Sew 3 decorative buttons on to the back which i think is a nice touch. Both front and back now finished and ready to stitch together!
Step by step craft

Step 18 - Blanket stitching the front and back. When you get to the wings, make sure you dont sew through them as the stitches will show on the wings! Just push the wings back a bit with your hand and pretend they are not there.
Felted owl tutorial
  
Step 19 - Blanket stitched all the way around except a 3cm opening at the top (for the stuffing). I just left the thread and needle hanging to finish the stitching after filling.
How to make a felt owl

Step 20 - Get your filler material. This is the one i use, they come in $3 bags from spotlight. Excuse my toddler's toy car in the background! :)
How to make an owl
  
Step 21 - Stuff it in using a pencil and your finger, push into all the nooks and crevices. I found the ears were easier with my fingers.
Easy felted owl
  
Step 22 - Put a ribbon through the opening on top before finishing the blanket stitch.
Easy crafty tutorials
Voila! A cute little owl to decorate your kid's room :)

Felt owl

Felt owl

Note: Soon after Sedef wrote this post for us here and had her second child, her beautiful daughter, she launched her own business pageshop and blogGreat work Sedef! 

7 comments:

Clare said...

Wow, thanks for a great tutorial! Such a gorgeous little owl too! :)

Mel@Mellywood's Mansion said...

Great tutorial, that is cute! I love your floss collection.

Mrs. Lucky said...

Thanks Clare and Mel for your lovely comments. Whatever work I have seen of Sedef has always impressed me. She is really good at what she does. Many thanks to her!

Karen said...

Hoot Hoot so Cute and such a brilliant tutorial. You have made me want to get my felt collection out and start creating!!!! And thank you so much for your lovely comment on my tags :) Karen @ Sugarbird

Mrs. Lucky said...

You are welcome Karen. I love your artwork and it is always good to share true thoughts and feelings. I am glad you have enjoyed the beautiful tutorial of Sedef and found it inspirational. That makes me smile!

sllvncookie@aol.com said...

This owl is so cute,think may try one Thank's you have great Blog.....Cookie17

Mrs. Lucky said...

Thanks for your lovely comment sllvncookie.

Post a Comment

I love comments. Thank you for leaving one!