Make your presence felt


POSTED: Sunday, November 08, 2009

Felt is one of those versatile materials that can be used in multiple craft projects. One of the most adorable uses can be found in Nelly Pailloux's new book, “;Felties: How to Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends”; (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99) (available from Amazon.com).

Among the palm-size stuffed toys are a retro alien, a sun-loving rat, a mummy cat and a panda. The projects are designed to be completed in a few hours and require only basic sewing techniques.

Step-by-step directions are provided for each project, with tips such as using a disappearing marker for drawing around templates.

The creatures could be used as Christmas tree ornaments or pins, or dangle from key chains, a gift from the heart.

”;Handmade”; will present a simple craft idea for the holidays each Sunday through Christmas. E-mail Nancy Arcayna at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).







1. Trace the pattern pieces onto tracing paper. Cut out to make templates. Cut two pieces EACH for the body and the arms from the beige felt (plus a narrow strip for the tail if you prefer not to crochet), one piece for the mane from the yellow felt and one piece for the nose patch from the white felt.


        » One 6-inch square of beige felt
        » One 3-inch square of yellow felt
        » Small scrap of white felt
        » Embroidery floss in black, beige and brown
        » Two small black beads
        » Small quantity of beige yarn and crochet hook (if you plan to crochet the tail)
        » Toy stuffing
        » Embroidery needle
        » Beading needle
        » Scissors
        » Pencil
        » Tracing paper
        » Craft glue
        » Toothpick or matchstick

2. Thread an embroidery needle with two strands of black embroidery floss and embroider the nose onto the nose patch, using two straight horizontal stitches and one longer vertical one. Using the same thread, embroider a French knot under the nose to make the mouth. Knot the thread on the wrong side of the felt. Use a sparing amount of craft glue to fix the nose patch onto one of the felt body pieces, positioning it just below the center of the face. Next, stitch the whiskers across the nose patch and the face, using four horizontal stitches.

3. Still using two strands of black floss, stitch two eyebrows, checking against the photograph to position them correctly. Thread a beading needle with a strand of black embroidery floss and stitch the two beads on for the eyes.

4. Using the embroidery needle and strands of black floss, add a belly button by embroidering a French knot.

5. Turn the embroidered body piece face down and glue the mane and arms in place on the wrong side.

6. Make the tail. Either crochet a little chain (the one in the photograph is 10 stitches long) or use a strip of beige felt. For the crochet version, thread the yarn through the remaining body piece at the right point and fasten off on the wrong side. If you are using felt, simply glue the tail in place or stitch it in place with a couple strands of beige embroidery floss.

7. Give the tail a bushy tassel on its end by threading an embroidery needle with two strands of brown embroidery floss and passing it through the tip of the tail several times, leaving a small loop each time. Fasten off the thread into the tail so that it is not visible, and cut through the loops to make a little brush.

8. Align the body pieces together, right sides out, and thread an embroidery needle with one strand of beige embroidery floss. Stitch the pieces together around the edges of the body using a neat overstitch, sewing through all three layers of felt in the mane area. Leave a gap along the base of the legs (don't fasten off the thread) and fill the lion with a tiny amount of stuffing, using a toothpick or matchstick to help even the padding. Don't overstuff. When the padding is evenly distributed, stitch the gap shut.