When I posted about making the Graceful in the Garden gathered full skirt I was asked if I knew any patterns for simple gifts for babies – coincidentally I had a couple of things in mind to make for gifts for a few lovely new mums or mums-to-be! The last 6 months have been quite busy for new babies and baby announcements, there must be something in the water!
I love the look of hand made baby gifts and there are some lovely ones around, but where do you start when you want to make your own? Sometimes you just want that extra special personal touch that you get when you make it yourself. Plus you can use any colour, pattern and design you like – none of this pink is for girls and blue is for boys nonsense that the 80s and 90s introduced purely for marketing purposes!
My very crafty friend Julia has created a few different patchwork animals and baby blankets over the last few months (check them out on her instagram page @lifeiswhatyoubakeit) as she seems to have had quite a few friends and family with babies at the same time. Being at a complete loss as to where to start I asked her where she got her inspiration and patterns from – the answer was Pinterest of course! I spent a few hours happily searching for inspiration to pin to my new board, Arts n Crafts. Oh my goodness, you can spend days on pinterest if you want to! I saw a lot of cute things but when I finally stumbled across a felt mobile the decision was made for me. There was no tutorial but it was too late, I wanted to make it! Just think of all the fabulous animals and shapes you could make! Not the quickest and easiest baby gift to make but it would be bright and colourful and beautiful.
It didn’t take me long to figure out what shapes I wanted to make for this felt mobile but where oh where can you buy the wooden frame from! Apparently not my local Spotlight…
Crafters to the rescue! After asking on a fantastic Facebook craft group for people with chronic illness I was directed to Tomni design and their range of children’s toy making bits and pieces. Problem solved!
After ordering the frame and figuring out I had 5 strings to play with I finalised my choices for what to put on them – A sun and rainbow, a Rainbow Lorikeet with some gum leaves and a gum flower, a Penguin with a sparkly fish and bubbles, a black and white bunny (well you have to add that unique personal touch don’t you!) with a carrot and a Golden Retriever dog with a ball – another special personal touch as the family have a Golden Retriever who I’m sure will be this little boy’s best friend for years to come.
I couldn’t find any patterns or tutorials on Pinterest for making felt mobile animals so had to design my own using images I found as inspiration and I’d love to share with you how I did all this in a couple of instalments.
What you will need:
- Mobile frame
- Felt pieces in your chosen colours
- Matching or complimenting thread
- Tailors Chalk
- Dressmakers pins
- Toy stuffing
- Fabric glue (non-toxic) – you can glue your edges together before you stitch them if you wish
- Circle templates
- Tracing paper or plain paper for drawing your designs on
- Fabric scissors
- Paper scissors
- Sewing needle – medium sized (you can stitch the pieces together with a sewing machine to save a LOT of time but it’s easier to make faces with hand stitching)
- Unpicker (just incase!)
- Pencil and eraser
Let’s start at the start!
A Sun and Rainbow
To make the sun I used two circle templates – one with an approx 7.5 cm (3 inch) diameter and one with a 6.5 cm (2.5 inch) diameter
Divide the larger circle into quarters through the middle
Extend each sectioning line out from the edge of the circle by 1.5 cm (this will make the top of the sun’s ray triangles)
Make triangles using the extended line as the top point, each side of the triangle should be 2.5cm (1 inch) and they should join the next triangle back at the circle edge. If it’s easier, use your ruler to mark the half way point between two sectioning lines and join your triangles there.
Cut 2 of these and 1 of the smaller circle
Pin the smaller circle to the centre of a larger one and stitch around the outside. I used a blanket stitch for all my joins but you can machine sew it if you prefer.
Trace a smiley face on the smaller circle using tailors chalk and then go over it with coloured thread. I used a chain stitch in red for the mouth and knotted black thread for the eyes (buttons and googley eyes are out just incase they become unstuck and baby eats them!)
Pin the two larger pieces together (right sides out) and stitch them together until you are 3/4 of the way finished
Stuff the sun, making sure you poke stuffing into the triangle points
Finish your stitching – well hello there smiley sun!
Every smiley happy sun needs a pretty rainbow to compliment it and this one is a quite easy to make
Using your largest circle template – I used a coaster that had an 11cm diameter (4 1/4 inches) trace 1/2 of the circle and extend the ends down straight 1cm on either side
Then use a smaller circle with 4cm (approx 1 1/2 inch) diameter to trace the centre so you end up with a large arch
Using your ruler divide the arch into 3 arches (do not cut)
Cut 2 large arches in your chosen felt colour – I used red
Cut your arch to the second (medium) line and cut 2 pieces in your chosen colour – Orange
Cut your template to the smallest sized arch and cut 2 pieces (I used blue for this one)
Trace a 4.5cm circle and draw fluffy cloud edges around it then cut out – cut 2 with the fabric facing the right way and 2 the wrong way (2 clouds)
Now you’re ready to put it all together!
Line up a medium sized arch to the base of each of the large arches and stitch the top edge of the medium arch to the large arch
Repeat with the smaller arches, letting them overhang the other two arches at the bottom by 2mm so when you join them together you can’t see the other colours
Pin a cloud piece to both ends of the rainbow, lining up the clouds so they fit together
Stitch the top of each cloud piece to its rainbow piece
Place the two rainbow and could pieces together right way out, pin the edges
Begin stitching the pieces together starting with the inner arch
When you have joined the clouds together, fill them with stuffing
Then begin stitching the outer edge of the arch leaving 2 inches to insert the stuffing through
Stuff the rainbow to your desired thickness and finish off your stitching