PBR Craft Challenge and the Mini-Plushies Hand-stitching Tutorial
The Philadelphia Independent Craft Market’s 2nd Annual PBR Craft Challenge took place this past Saturday at the lovely and lofty 2424 Studios in Fishtown. The creative energy electrified the room as crafters displayed their PBR-themed artistry to the echoing beat of the live music. Tee shirts, knitted toys in the shape of a beer can (a starter tool for babies, they say), prints, cuff links – you name it, a PBR theme applied. My favorite table (of course) was the Handmade Philly table where our very own Ruth Schanbacher held a tutorial on hand-stitching with felt. Read on for photos and instructions on creating your very own mini-plushie.
1. Embroidery thread
2. Sewing needle – we recommend “crewel” needles to accommodate the thickness of the embroidery thread. You can use regular sewing needles but will need to separate the strands of the embroidery thread to fit through a smaller needle eye.
4. Felt – we used acrylic but you can also use wool.
5. Batting material
6. Stuffing tool – thin and narrow tool to stuff the batting into the plushie. You can use whatever you have on hand, such as the handle of a paint brush, a capped pen, or even chop sticks.
1. Cut identical shapes out of the felt using a pattern that you have created, purchased, or made up in your head. Keep in mind that felt tears easily and the pattern should not be too intricate.
2. Thread the needle with about two arm lengths of thread. Pull the thread through the needle so that it is half of its original length. Tie the ends together with a simple knot, as shown below.
3. Add a face to your mini-plushie. Pick up the piece of felt that will be the front of your plushie. In the spot where you want the eye, insert the needle into the back of the felt and pull up through the front until the knot catches. Using a split stitch, create a circle for the eye.
4. Continue to add the mouth by bringing the needle up through the back where the mouth starts (the end closest to the eye). Use a split stitch for the length of the mouth, ending as close as possible to the tip of the beak without breaking the felt.
5. Place the piece of felt that will make up the back of the plushie underneath the front piece of felt. See how your knot is now hidden? Starting where you left off with the mouth, use a basic wrapping stitch to go around the body of the plushie as you stitch the two pieces together. Leave about 2 inches open for stuffing the plushie.
6. Stuff your plushie with the batting material. Use a stuffing tool to push the batting into the corners.
7. Finish stitching the outside of the body and end it with a knot. Tuck the knot into the body using the stuffing tool as best as you can. Use scissors to trim any thread that you cannot hide.
* Note – if you run out of thread before you finish stitching the body, simply tuck the short thread into the plushie body and pick up where you left off with a newly threaded needle (don’t forget to tie the knot again to keep the thread in place). This is also what you do to incorporate different thread colors.