Making and Sewing on Features
The Features are the eyes, cheeks, beak or wings! It is what you choose to put on the outside of your Toy to give it a personality.
I use woolen-felt fabric, pure woolen-blanketing material and quilting fabric lined with woolen-felt or pure woolen blanketing material for my features.
Felt is a very common fabric used for making features on Soft Toys and Cloth Dolls. Felt comes in such a great colour range.
Felt has no grain, does not fray, which makes it an enduring fabric.
The only disadvantage with felt it is not washable, but spot stains can be treated with a damp cloth.
I perfer to use woolen-felt, recycled pure woolen-blanketing material and a combination of quilting fabric and woolen-felt/pure woolen-blanketing material for my features. I like to give a little depth to my features by layering the fabrics and sometimes adding a little stuffing behind the features so the features lift off the body of the toy.
I choose not to glue my features onto the toy as they will lift off in time and could be easily swallowed by a young child. The features on my toys are always securly blanket-stitched onto them.
Your new best friend...Fusible Webbing!
What is Fusible Webbing?
Fusible Webbing (sometimes called 'Visoflex') is a man made fiber that will melt when heated with an iron. When it is placed between two pieces of fabric, the melting action of the web causes it to fuse the fabric together.
Fusible Webbing has two sides, one feels like paper, the other has a rough texture-this is the glue- never let your iron come into direct contact with this side!
Fusible Webbing can be purchased by the metre on a roll in different sizes at your local craft or sewing store. Pattern shapes can be traced onto the paper side, cut out and pressed onto fabric for applique work. I use Fusible Webbing for my applique work and to created features for my toys.
Using Fusible Webbing to create Features for your Toys with
Woolen-Felt & Pure Woolen Blanketing Materials
1. On the paper side, using a lead pencil trace all the pattern shapes and label each one. Cut out the shapes a good 1/4 inch away from the drawn pencil lines.
5. The paper shape is now stuck to the reverse side of the fabric.
Making features using Fusible Webbing, Woolen-Felt & Quilting Fabric
Quilting Fabric alone is not strong enough to use for features on your toys, as it will fray and fall apart with play. If you choose to use quilting fabric for features your shapes will need to be backed with Woolen-felt of Woolen-Blanketing Material.
2. 3. & 4.
2. Take your felt or woolen-blanketing material and place it face down on the ironing board, so the reverse side of the material is showing.
3. Place the paper with the glue-side down on top of the reverse side of the material.
4. Press with a dry hot iorn for a few seconds only, just enough to melt the glue.
Tip: Felt and Woolen Fabrics can be very delicate and burn easily, so cover the area to be pressed with the iron with a scrap piece of cotton fabric to protect it from the heat.
6. Allow it to cool then cut around the shape, carefully following the lines. Now prepare all the other features for your toy using the same method.
1. If you look at Image 6. the Penguins pupil's are made using Quilting Fabric. I chose a white fabric with a black dot, simply trace the circle shape for the eye. Cut out the circle away from the pencil line.
2. Place the Quilting Fabric (white with a black dot) face down on the ironing board. The reverse side of the fabric is facing up. Place the circle shape, centred directly over the top of one of the black dots on the fabric.
3. Press with the iron, allow to cool then carefully cut out the circle.
4. Now using a piece of woolen-felt or blanketing material preferably a colour similar to the quilting fabric (in this case white or cream), peal off the paper from the back of the shape and place the fabric shape ('glue' side down) on top of the woolen-felt or blanketing material.
5. Press the circle shape with the iron. When it is cool, cut out the circle following the outside edge of the shape.
Repeat the same process to create another Eye.
Blanket-Stitching around the Features before they go onto your Toy
Now with all your the Features ready, you will need to prepare them for sewing onto your Toy.
If you take a look at this cute little guy, you will see that I have Blanket-Stitched around every Feature piece. This is done before we put the Feature pieces together on the Toy, and attach them to the Toy.
How to do Blanket-Stitching?
I Blanket-Stitch around all my features before I sew them onto my Toys. I like to use 2 stands of DMC Embroidery Cotton in a matching or contrasting colour to the fabric being sewn. When you Blanket-Stitch you sew left to right, along the edge of the fabric and need to make a regular stitch of the same length and evenly spaced.
d. & e.
a. To begin, bring the needle through the back of the fabric to the right side.
b. Take it to the edge of the fabric.
c. Put the needle down though the top of the fabric close to where you began at a.
d. Take it through and bring it up through the loop you make.
e. Put the thread securely so that the stitch sits againsit the side of the piece of fabric.
f. Move a short distance to the right and insert the needle in line with the last stitch, through the fabric so that the thread comes out directly below.
g. Draw the thread through the loop that has now appeared.
h. Pull the thread through, this is your first stitch.
Continue sewing Blanket-Stitch around the entire edge of the fabric piece. Finish off by bringing the needle and thread to the back of the fabric piece and tieing it with a knot close to one of the stitches on the reverse side.
Sewing the Features onto your Toy
With all your features pieces Blanket-Stitched it is now time to position & pin the features pieces to your Toy, and attach the features to the Toy by sewing them on.
To sew a fabric piece to the body of a Toy, simply using 2 stands of DMC Thread in the same colour as the blanket-stitching on the fabric piece being sewn. Bring your needle from the back up next to the thread on the outside edge of the blanket-stitch and take the needle back down the other side of the same thread on the blanket-stitch. Continue sewing in and out the blanket-stitch stitching all around the fabric piece until it is attached to the body of the Toy. Finish off the last stitch bu tieing a knot to the last stitch and taking the thread back next to the knot and through anywhere in the body and out. Cut off the excess thread close to the body and it will disappear to the inside of the Toy.
I have chosen three examples below, to show how to approch positioning of feature pieces, to show how to work out which features pieces overlap and the features pieces to sew on your Toy first.
1. Little Bird- The features are the tummy piece, beak and the two pairs of eye pieces. I pinned and sewed the tummy piece to the bird first. I then sewed on the beak. The eyes are made up of two fabric piece, so I sewed each pupil onto the second eye pieces, then sewed the larger eye pieces to the body.
2. Tommy Turtle- Very simple, the two eyes and two eyelids. I positioned the eyelids onto each eye and sewed the bottom of each eyelid to each eye.
I then sewed the each eye onto the Turtle, changing DMC Thread colours to match the same colour as the DMC Thread on each blanket-stitched fabric piece.
3. Pop the Penguin- There are quite a few fabric pieces that go together to create his 'stunning' good looks! The white body front, the feet, the bead and nostrils, and the three pairs of eye pieces.
I began by sewing each eye, I sewed a yellow fabric piece onto the red fabric piece. Then I sewed a white pupil onto the yellow fabric piece.
Next I sewed the nostrils onto the beak, then I pinned the beak to the white body front and sewed it in place. Position and pin each eyes to the white body front and sew them in place.
Pin the white body front to the Penguin's Body and sew the white body front in place. The final fabric pieces to attach to the body are the feet. Position each foot so that it overlaps the white body front and sits on the black of the Penguin's body too.