By: Morgan Bowling
A great project to do at home with kids, and no sewing machine required! Great for crafters young and old!
As Halloween draws near I’m sure a lot of us are brainstorming ways to bring in the spooky spirit without some of the traditional social activities we would usually be doing. Felt crafts are a great activity to do with friends and kids because you don’t need a sewing machine or any intricate stitching. I’ve made these felt Halloween inspired ornaments which can be used in a garland or as stand-alone toys. I’ll be showing the steps on the ghost ornament, but I also made a little cat. Because of the narrower curves of the cat, I would recommend that for a more experienced crafter.
Here's what you'll need:
- Black and white felt (though other colors can be used)
- A skein of white, black and orange embroidery floss
- A larger hand sewing needle
- Small black buttons
- Stuffing or soft fabric scraps
- A marking tool
- A shape template
Let’s Get Started
You’re going to start by printing or drawing a template to use to cut out all your shapes. I like drawing or tracing my template on a thicker piece of paper, like cardboard or cardstock because I find it is way easier and sturdier to use again and again, versus just regular printer paper. Once you get your design ready to go you’re going to cut it out using paper scissors. Once you have your template cut out it’s time to start tracing. When it comes to tracing tools, there are a ton of different options to use.
Because I have my sewing studio at my disposal I like using fabric specific marking tools, but if you just have a pencil handy, that will work too. For my white felt I used a fine tipped Frixion Pen, because I like how they can be erased and I like how easy they are to use on the felt. For the black felt I used some yellow tailor’s chalk because my pen wouldn’t show up on the darker fabric. Also, if you don’t have anything to trace your pattern at all you can try pinning the template to the fabric and cutting directly into it, however I wouldn’t suggest this for younger crafters. As you can see, I liked to “tile” my tracing, so that I can get the most out of the felt that I have.
You will want to trace a front and back for each ornament. Once you have everything traced it's time to cut everything out.
Let Get Stitchin’
Now that our pattern is cut out and ready to go it’s time to get in to the hand sewing portion of the project. We’ll start with attaching the face to the ghost before we actually sew the front and back together. I used two small black buttons for the eyes and then a backstitched mouth, however you can use whatever stitching or design you’d like! If you’re working with a younger crafter it might be easier to use fabric markers to make the face. Or, if you don’t have any buttons around you can make the eyes with a simple cross stitch.
For the button eyes, I marked where I wanted them first, then simply attached them using the embroidery floss and stitched them on in a X shape.
Once I have the eyes attached I stitch the mouth using a backstitch. A backstitch is a very useful embroidery sitch that can be used to create solid lines. To start, you’re going to bring your needle up from the wrong side of the felt. Then you’re going to make one stitch forward. The term “backstich” comes from this next part, because the next time you bring your needle through, it will be one stitch length away from your first stitch. You bring it “backwards” towards your first stich, and put your needle trough where the first stitch ended. From there, you’ll do a forward sitch where your second stitch ended and repeat the process.
Once your face is assembled you are ready to put the front and back together. I like using a blanket stitch for this part, but if that seems a little advance for right now you can always attach the two layers using a running stitch.
To start I like to cut off an arm’s length of embroidery floss. Then, I thread my needle. I like using an embroidery needle with a larger eye, and for this project this size of the needle will just be personal prefrence (though if you get a plastic needle or a super thick needle it might be difficult to get it through the layers of the felt). When I thread my needle I like to have a longer side of thread, and then a “tail” of thread that’s about 3” long. After I’ve threaded my needle I like to make a knot at the end of the longer side, this knot will secure our thread in the felt when we’re just getting started.
Once my needle is ready to go, I am going to start my sitch by going through just one layer of the felt on the wrong side. I do this so that my knot will be hidden in between the layers.
You are going to want to start your stitch along the longest edge of the shape. We’re going to stitch all the way around, leaving a 1” wide gap open to insert the stuffing. Once you have your thread pulled through one layer of the felt, you’re going to match up the front and back, wrong sides together. This is the part where you can decide if you’d like to do the blanket stitch or the running stitch. I’ll be explaining the blanket stich, but feel free to use the running stitch for a simpiler alternative.
For younger crafters I suggest using the running stitch and a simplier face design as shown above. All the steps will be the same as below, you will just be using the running stitch instead of the blanket stitch.
To start my blanket stitch, I poke my needle about halfway through both layers. I don’t pull my needle all the way through. After my needle is halfway through I loop my thread around the tip of the needle. Once the thread is looped, then I pull my needle all the way through. Your first stitch might look a little different than the rest of your stitches, and that’s ok! Once you’ve done your first stitch you can decide how far apart you want your sitches to be. It might be easier for younger crafters to make their stiches larger. Once you’ve decided how far apart you want your stitches to be you’ll poke your needle through both layers again, one stich length away.
You’ll then continue this pattern of blanket stitch all the way around the shape. When I got to the tighter curved sections I did make my sitches smaller. You’ll stop stitch when you’re 1” away from where you started.
Once you are left with a 1” gap you will begin stuffing your ghost! You can either use a soft polyfill stuffing or scaps! I personally always use my soft fabric scraps for stuffing different craft projects. It’s a great way to cut down on waste and use what you already have. For the ghost I used light colored fabric scraps so the color doesn’t show through and I cut them into small pieces to make stuffing easier.
I then will use something small and pointy, like a chopsitck, knitting needle, or pencil, to help get all the stuffing in and pushed in to the little arms.
Once your ghost is adiquetly stuffed, you can close up the hole with more blanket sitching. Once you finish your final blanket stitch you will make a knot close to the fabric. To make mine extra neat, I like to make my knot while the needle is still threaded and then thread the end through the two layers of fabric the pull it out a few stitchs away, then snip it.
And you’re done!! To hang you’re felt ornament you’ll just thread your needle with a shorter piece of whichever color of floss you’d like to use to hang it and pull it through both layers at the top. Make the floss even on both sides and tie a knot or bow at the tips. Attach it to a piece of twine or hang them anywhere