Today I’m joining the Sew a Softie Tutorial Hop organized by Trixi @colouredbuttons. Sew a softie is an initiative to inspire kids and adults all over the world to learn sew, so of course I was happy to join in. You may join in as well on Instagram, and don’t forget to tag #sewasoftie so we can see what you’ve made. Pop over to @feltwithlovedesigns to see the fun Alicia made yesterday and don’t forget to go over to @cinderellasews to see what tutorial Ashley has planned for us tomorrow. I am so excited to be part of the Sew a Softie Tutorial Hop. To find out more about Sew a Softie visit www.colouredbuttons.com and http://sewasoftie.com
Below is my tutorial for my Easiest Felt Donut: The Donut Backpack Clip along with helpful tips for teaching kids to sew. There are instructions for the adult and instructions for the child.
There are also kid tips added along the way.
First: The Hardest Felt Donut
I have been teaching children to sew for many years. In those years, trends have come and gone. Some have even come back again like scrunchies. The last several years has seen a consistent interest in donuts. Inflatable donuts, donut pillows, and in the sewing world, hand stitched felt donuts.
Felt donuts can be some of the most complicated things to make, especially for kids. Just visit a Pinterest search of felt donuts. I scoured different tutorials and implemented the same techniques for a recent hand-sewing class. These were so fun, but took a long time.
The hardest part of making donuts for kids: the sprinkles. Sprinkles are hard to do!!! There are a variety of sprinkle options, but most are tedious to adhere. Glass beads can be used or pieces of colored felt. These all have to be individually adhered or sewn. The easiest is a pin cushion and letting the pins be the sprinkles. The next easiest is to stitch sprinkles, like those seen above with different colors of embroidery floss.
The next hardest part of making donuts for kids: the assembly. After the sprinkles are adhered, the icing needs to be sewn onto the donut front, then this is stitched to the donut back and stuffed. This can be done by hand as well, or this part can be stitched by machine. The tricky part is sewing along all the curves of the icing, the curves of the donut, and the curves of the donut hole. This is very difficult for little hands.
Now: The Easiest Felt Donut
When I recently had a children’s class that was learning to use the sewing machine, I wanted a fun project that would give them a sense of accomplishment and would not be too hard to do. I came up with the easiest felt donut they could make. It was not only easy, but it was quick and fun!!! The following is the tutorial to make the Easiest Felt Donut.
** Ana Sullivan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
- Card stock or Handmade Charlotte for template
- Sprinkle Fabric
- Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
- Buttercream Wool Felt
- 3/8″ Ribbon
- Metal Clip
- Curved Safety Pin or similar
- Frixion Pen or other vanishing pen
- Craft Clips
- Fiberfill or any filling
Instructions for Adults:
First, make a donut pre-cut sew kit that the child will sew together. Read more about my teaching method: Learn to Sew with Pre-Cut Kits.
Prepare your template.
I used the Donut Shop Garland as a template. But you can use any card stock or file folder to draw a pattern. You will need two circles templates. One that measures 5″ (or 13 cm) and one that measures 7/8″ (or 2.5 cm).
Trace and cut each donut.
For each donut, allow an area of at least 6″X6″ of each of the fabrics and interfacing.
Adhere the interfacing to the wrong side of the sprinkle fabric per manufacturer’s instructions.
The interfacing will keep the fabric from stretching on the bias when stitching around the circle.
Draw the outer circle onto the interfacing side of the sprinkle fabric using the Frixion pen. (If making several, be sure each circle is at least 1″ apart from another.)
Lay the sprinkle fabric right-side-down onto the wool felt. Pin inside the drawn circle through all the layers. Cut free-hand around the circle leaving a 3/8″ to 4/8″ seam allowance.
Using the smaller template, trace the center hole of the donut onto the center of the cut fabric on the right side. This will give the illusion of a hole without making a hole.
Sewing curves can be really challenging for kids. The line tracings will help the children sew on the line instead of using the seam guide on the sewing machine.
The easiest way to sew an opening closed of a softie after stuffing, is to prepare the opening before it is sewn.
Make 2 cuts in the seam allowance about 2″ apart through all the layers of the donut for the opening.
Separate the layers and turn the felt piece over. Press each seam allowance to the wrong side along the stitch line. Since you can’t see the stitch line, you can envision where it would be, pressing down the folds that the extra fabric is making.
Note: Be sure to NOT press away the rest of the fabric pen marking.
Prep the metal clip.
This is another part of a project that many times gets confusing for children. When attaching any kind of ribbon or strap in a seam that cannot be seen, children will often remove the pin before the item is secure and will inevitably get lost in the project. This method ensures this does not happen.
Insert a 3″ length of ribbon into the hole of the metal clip. Bring the ends of the ribbon together.
Flip felt layer of donut back over (so that the right side is up and the folded seam allowance is down.)
Pin the ribbon with the clip onto the felt piece as shown using a curved safety pin as shown. The clip should be positioned opposite the opening and the both ribbon ends are even with the cut edge of the felt. Pin the ribbon as close to the clip as possible and lay the pin away from the seam allowance.
Carefully lay the sprinkle piece over the felt piece with the right sides together and the folded openings aligned.
Clip and Pin Project.
The last step before the donut pre-cut sew kit is complete is the pinning and clipping together of the pieces. With the right sides together and aligned, use craft clips to hold the pieces together.
Craft clips are perfect for little hands as they learn to use a sewing machine. Read my thoughts on craft clips here: Wonder Clips vs. Craft Clips.
Find the place where the ribbon is and secure this with a pin. At this point also draw an extra dark line with the Frixion pen as shown.
Even though this ribbon is secured with a safety pin to the felt. The safety pin is a long way from the seam allowance. The dark line with the Frixion pen is so that the children will know to pay attention and sew a backtack at that point.
The Pre-Cut Sew Kit is complete.
Instructions for Kids:
Now it is time for the kids to make donuts!!!
1. Sew along the line. Backtack in 3 places: at the beginning, at the pin, and at the end. Sew slowly because it is a curve. Do not sew the opening.
2. Reach your fingers in the opening and turn the donut right side out. Remove the safety pin.
3. With the donut layer as flat as possible, sew the small circle. Backtack when you get to where you started.
This might be easier if your “walk” the machine instead of using power to make the tight turn.
4. Have an adult press the donut. This will make all the pen lines disappear.
5. Begin to stuff the donut with the fiberfill to the back and around the donut hole. Continue stuffing up to the opening.
6. Bring the opening edges together and clip or pin. Adjust stuffing if necessary.
7. Stitch opening closed, sewing close to the edges. Backtack at the beginning and the end.
Attach the donut wherever you like using the metal clip.
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