I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of Futuregirl’s Supercute Sea Creatures pattern a few days ago (thanks Alice!) so that means it’s time for me to learn another new craft – how to sew felt softies!
The last time I attempted blanket stitch was well over 20 years ago (now doesn’t that make me sound old! I was a very small child at the time) so I had a little apprehension, but I needn’t have worried. The pattern is very clear and easy to follow, even for a novice like me, especially when supplemented with Alice’s tutorials on how to hand sew felt.
I decided to go with a colour theme – white with blue embellishments – but to try to find subtle variations within the theme for each creature. I also wanted it to be a stash-busting project (i.e. I wouldn’t buy anything new in order to complete it), so the whole thing cost an amazing 28 cents (for 1 sheet of white craft felt).
First up was the starfish. I stitched seed beads (clear with a blue core) onto the front, embroidered a pattern on the underside, and then blanket-stitched them together. I really love the embroidered back, although it does look a bit like a 5-sided snowflake… hey, there’s another craft idea! The starfish took me 2 hours to make.
Next up, the octopus. Wow, cutting out all those legs was a lot of work! For the suckers, I found some blue plastic beads that were once part of an ugly beaded belt that came free with a pair of trousers. I had unpicked the entire belt a few months ago, and now have little piles of red and black wooden beads, and the blue plastic beads, waiting for a use. I figured out a way to sew them on invisibly with transparent nylon thread, which I threaded inside the thickness of the felt between each bead so the thread doesn’t show on the back side either. The eyes were more difficult… I don’t have any sequins or suitable-sized buttons in my colour scheme. Finally, I decided to make a sead bead cluster for each eye and I think it has a nice effect!
Thirdly, the fish. I’m getting the hang of the felt cutting etc by now, and I’m racing through the blanket stitching. My white fins didn’t show up against the white body, so I blanket stitched around them. Again, I had the problem of what to use for the eye, and I didn’t want to do the same thing as I’d used for the octopus, so I came up with a ring of opaque seed beads with one larger blue glass bead in the centre.
And lastly, the jellyfish. I left it to last because I thought it would be the most difficult, but either I was super-experienced by this point (haha), or it was very easy. I made the entire jellyfish (except the trailing floss tentacles) during a 25-minute wait at the US border! I’d made a little kit of the pattern, some felt, embroidery floss and needle, my sewing scissors and a tiny bit of fiberfill stuffing in a zip-lock bag, and put it in my handbag in case I was stuck waiting at the border. While everyone else was complaining about the length of their wait, I was happily cutting and sewing. I was almost annoyed when they called my name. I felt a bit self-conscious of my public crafting at first, but I don’t think anyone even took any notice (although I didn’t look up to check, just in case anyone was laughing at me).
So there you go – the set is complete. I really enjoyed making it. Cutting out the fiddly shapes (why oh why do octopi have to have so many legs?!) and the beading took the longest time. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working with the felt and floss. Maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist freak, but seeing all those little neat stitches take shape made me very happy. I can definitely see myself doing some more work with felt and floss in future.