Saturday, September 27, 2014

I Am Addicted To Felt!

Here's the thing, I have never liked sewing with felt.  It was never "pretty", it didn't feel nice, and everything sticks to it, hair, fur, fuzz, whatever!  If I was going to sew, it was going to be with pretty fabrics that feel lovely to the touch!
Then I had kids, and kids are rough, and I bought my first felt patterns.  Felt food, because what little girl doesn't want to pretend to make cupcakes and have tea parties, right?  I found the cutest patterns on etsy here, be sure to check out her blog, the link is in the store info, she is wonderfully creative!  I got the Cookbook and Baking Set, the Blue Plate Special Restaurant Pattern and the Breakfast in Bed pattern, plus I got some free patterns from her blog.  The patterns are PDF files that include amazing instructions, including photos for assembling, as well as the pattern pieces.  I actually printed them off, got them all nice in a binder, and never made a single one.  Don't get me wrong, I still look at those pages and patterns and know that I will get to them, but they are for felt, and I don't sew with felt...  I don't have the hidden stash of eco-fabric or wool that I imagine other crafters must have.  I made lists!  I must have at least half a dozen floating around by now, lists of all the felt I want/need to get in order to make up each and every one of these patterns!  I even considered making them out of fabrics I already do have, satins, silks, lames, confetti dot knit!  I have a feeling those fabrics just won't hold up, so I will just have to get those felts...
Then there is deciding what felt to use!  I'm all about budget friendly when I make something for myself, or for my kids to play with, and eco-felt is cheap and pretty good supply locally.  Sweetie Pie Bakery suggests wool felt, as it "wears" better, meaning my kids can play normally with it and it won't all fall apart in minutes.  Wool felt can get confusing though, there are different percentages of wool in felt, and the price can get up there...  With the time it takes to make those small pieces, I created a monster in my own head that it wouldn't be beneficial for me to make them at all...  Then I found something made of felt that has changed my entire outlook!

So we all know I got an embroidery machine years ago.  Beauty (my Singer embroidery machine, to the left) and I have had a slow courting.  I don't like to sew with her very much.  Beast (my Kenmore machine, on the right) is my go-to for sewing.  Beast will sew through anything like it's warm butter.  Beast has been around since before I was born!  Alas, Beast is missing some parts, a few of which I was able to order, but still, he just doesn't have all his feet, and Beauty came with so many fun feet to try!  There is simply no muscle to Beauty.  She sews nicely, and the presser feet make for more options, but I really bought her for the embroidery, and the embroidery has been an uphill learning battle!
"I will create my own designs" I thought!  There is so much that goes into creating embroidery designs, even when you have Singer's super software, it became easier to just buy designs from trusted companies.  I joined some groups on Facebook which have been life-saving when trying to figure out embroidery, and my collection of designs grew!
I'm pretty good with creating and stitching out basic fonts with my machine, and that has really been her main function, until recently.  I moved quickly to applique as there are not as many stitches as with a fully stitch-filled design.  Plus, applique is fun because you get to add fabrics and threads to a main project!  It wasn't until I found felties and non-paper dolls that my truly addictive nature reared its head, snarled its teeth and took a huge bit of my newest addiction!
My kids were given some "paper" dolls from an aunt of mine.  They are actually magnet dolls with clothes that have been printed on magnetic paper.  More stable than paper, I was sure these would be great!  Then the outfits started getting rips in them.  How do you rip magnetic paper?  Well, my kids come from a long line of boundary breakers, like when companies started putting peanut butter in plastic jars and saying they were "unbreakable"...  Yeah, my little brother put that myth to pasture with our first jar...  So I got to thinking, there has got to be something better, and not as expensive, but with the same idea of paper dolls.  A Google search found a few links for how to make felt dolls, but I either had to draft the pattern myself and sew them with a machine or they really looked handmade.  Then I found Dejah Vue Designs, my search was over and an addiction was started.
Somehow I ended up finding her just as she was offering a free non-paper doll design on her Facebook page.  I couldn't wait to make Oliva!  I had a few sheets of felt that I picked up for some other project that never panned out.  My first attempt, while not perfect, was all I needed to light a fire!  I joined her fan group and took notes on what other people were doing.  The first time she offered a sale (she hit a milestone and offered 50% off) I picked up TWELVE dolls!!!  Slowly I have acquired more designs, and in September I bought my very first membership which landed me every design released for the month!  What I ended up getting was far more that I could have imagined!  Yes, there were a few non-paper dolls, and the communication with everyone in the group was fun, but I was turned on to an entirely new world of felt, embroidery sewing!  More felties, puzzles made in the embroidery hoop, key fobs with snaps, felt play sets for the dolls, stuffed animals made in the embroidery hoop, cases for electronic devices made in the hoop!  Yeah, it kinda blows my mind too!
If you want to see what I have made, feel free to check out my Facebook page, for designs I have purchased and plan to make see my Pinterest boards, and look for items I will be selling over on etsy, hopefully I will be listing items for sale the first week in October.
I do plan to go back and sew up those patterns I got for felt food items, my goal is to have them done in time for them to be Christmas gifts for my kids!
I have a lot of projects in the pipeline right now, from classes I have enrolled in over at Craftsy, practicing with all of the options of my current sewing machines, as well as new patterns I have been purchasing from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop!  My goal is to share my experiences, but as I am living life in the crazy lane, I will post as frequently as I can!
Feel free to check out the links, send me questions or comments, or visit me over at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!