It’s not often I get crafty but sometimes I’m inspired. This last year I’ve started using the sewing machine (finally, it’s only been 6 years since I took ownership after my mum died). Sometimes, it’s nice to handstitch something. I wanted to teach N to sew by hand by making felt stuffed hearts.
Of course, it doesn’t always work like that, and he didn’t want to join in. But in theory they’re easy enough for children to make and learn how to do basic stitches. They only need back stitch, or even blanket stitch (depending on what you’re using for filling. I prefer the safety of backstitch, but you could just do running stitch if you only know that stitch.
These hand stitched fabric hearts can be made from any scrap material, but I used some felt I’d bought for the purpose. I then added different fabric or stitches to add a bit of interest. You can make them any size – a bowl of different sized stuffed hearts will look great as decoration over Valentine’s day.
You’re not restricted to heart shapes either. Once it gets round to Christmas I’ll make some in Christmas tree triangle shapes, and stars. If you’ve got young children you could make simple animal shapes for them using the same technique.
The method is simple. You just need 2 pieces of felt or other fabric, paper to create your template shape, filling (I used scrap pom pom wool cuttings and chopped up unusable scraps of felt, but you can buy filling of different types, and thread. I used 2 strands of embroidery thread as it’s strong and easy to work with felt, and appropriately sized needle.
You can cut out a heart shape from paper. Then you can pin it on folded fabric and cut out 2 shapes of fabric, then sew leaving a gap to stuff. But I prefer pinning the paper heart on,to folded over fabric (so you’ve joining 2 pieces) and sew round the edge of the shape through both pieces of fabric, leaving a gap. I prefer this because it makes a neater shape with the sewing. You can then remove the paper template, cut the heart out near to the sewing
Then in with both options, stuff the filling through the gap you left, then stitch up the gap.
If you want to decorate your hearts, sew on shapes, buttons, more fabric etc, on one piece of the fabric before you fold it over and cut out or sew round the heart template. It’s easier to sew and decorate before you sew the 2 shapes together.
You can choose a similar colour thread to the fabric or use a contrasting colour to make more of a statement.
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Ideas for decoration:
- Fabric hearts or other shapes
You can add a ribbon to hang a string of them up as a garland, place a selection in a decorative bowl, give them away or even create a Valentine’s Tree, hanging them from branches in a vase.
- Thread – embroidery thread
- Fabric – felt is good, but any fabric works (for thin fabric you might want to use interfacing to make it a bit stiffer. If not using felt, iron the fabric before using.
- Stuffing – you can buy stuffing, but I keep offcuts from pom poms and fabric for this purpose.
- Embellishments if wanted
How to make a basic fabric stuffed heart:
1, Draw a heart template on paper (either free hand or you can print off a shape from clipart or online. Cut out.
2, Fold over your fabric and pin on the paper heart so you have 2 layers of fabric.
3. Sew around the outside of the heart template.
4, Remove the paper and cut around the outside of the heart shape, outside the sewing. Pinking shears will make a pretty edging (and help if you’re using a fabric that frays).
5, Fill the heart with stuffing. Make sure there’s enough to push back down to the part you still need to sew up.
6, Stitch up the gap and move around the stuffing to more evenly fill,
Use whatever fabric you have. Felt doesn’t fray and is good for starting out (no need to iron), but you might need interfacing for other fabrics, and pinking shears to prevent fraying.
You can draw on the heart shape to the material with chalk or fabric pen and cut out the felt shapes before sewing. Just turn the 2 pieces of fabric to the reverse so the outline doesn’t show.
If embellishing your hearts, sew on the decoration to one of the heart templates before sewing them together.
These felt stuffed hearts don’t just have to be for Valentine’s Day. They make sweet tokens to give to family or to use as decoration around the home. Why not try neutral autumnal colours or spring yellows, pinks and greens for the different seasons.
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Have you taught your children to sew?
You can also try my pom pom hearts.