A few weeks ago I acquired a book from a huge sale simply titled The Cute Book by Aranzi Aronzo full of instructions and patterns on how to make cute little stuffed toys from felt. I was pretty much sold by the infectious pictures of little felt bunnies and pandas, but was hesitant to buy it because I’m pretty much a dunce when it comes to sewing. Assuming these were made with sewing machines I was pleasantly surprised these were made mainly by hand stitching. But I guess I should have figured it out in the first place because these things are really tiny – hopefully the not-very-good photo kinda gives the sense of scale (approximately as big as just the palm of my hand).
And I thought I may as well give these a try since 1.) I’m fairly good at handstitching 2.) Felt is REALLY cheap and 3.) I’m a sucker for infectiously cute things.
While the book insists these mascots are really easy to make – and they fairly are – there are some gripes on my end. First and foremost are the embroidery knots used to make the eyes and nose. The book shows how to make French knots, but there’s A LOT they don’t tell you when it comes to stitching those hellish things. After seeking advice from handicraft co-workers, the web, and my mom as well as practicing over and over and over and over and over again I finally got the knack of it.
Another gripe of mine is the lack of tips on how to stitch the heads onto the bodies while keeping most of the stitches hidden. I guess I’ll just have to keep making a few until I discover a way to keep the stitches clean.
But anyway, after tackling the hell that are French knots I was well on my way to crafting my first little bunny. After stitching in the eyes and nose, I cheated and used some tacky glue to keep the knots intact. Glue limbs here, stitch there and voila! My first felt bunny was completed.
It’s a little rough around the edges. Actually it’s just rough everywhere. But the result still came out really cute.
So what does one do with these after they’re done? The book also gives some ideas on what to do with these felt animals including turning them into purse accessories, appliques, and hair ties.
Of course, anyone can improvise and just use the patterns as a base. While these instructions show traditional colors for bunnies and bears I’ll probably stitch some mutli-colored felt monstrosity…while it still ends up being cute.