Friday, April 18, 2014

DIY Felt Heart Garland

As promised in this year's Blogiversary (aka blogging anniversary), I'm crafting again. Wait! Before you immediately click out of this post because my last crafting attempt was so painfully weak that you can't stomach the thought of suffering through a similar embarrassment, please give me another chance and keep reading. Everyone deserves a second chance. Novice crafters included.

A while back, I was inspired by an image of felt hearts that I came across on Pinterest. I'd love to share this image with you, but I believe it's against blogging rules (here is the link if you're interested). My idea was to make the felt hearts and string them together in a garland or, if you're British, bunting. I wanted to tweak the hearts a bit...well...I'll just show you because months after finding this inspiration, I actually did it.

There she is, my first felt heart. Not too bad. But, let's back up.

I got all my supplies at Joann Fabric because there's a store really close to where I live. These supplies are super basic and you can get that at any craft store or or even Target. The supplies include 8 sheets of 9" x 12" felt, polyester fill (that gauzy material inside stuffed animals) and a roll of twine. For the felt, I chose four colors (pale pink, coral, bright pink, red) and got two sheets of each color. I own a sewing machine (this one) and white thread.

My first step was to cut all the felt in half and then half again.

Above is my pile of felt and to
the right is a sheet of the pale
pink cut into four pieces.

Next, I made a heart template because I wanted my hearts to be roughly the same size. I didn't have any cardboard laying around, so I used a Carter's mailer. It was card stock, not quite as thick as cardboard, but worked just fine.

Starting from left to right (above): I used the piece of felt to cut a rectangle in the mailer, then I cut a heart (free hand) out of the rectangle. 

Next came the task of using my heart template to cut all the quartered, rectangular pieces of felt into hearts. It took a while to cut all 32 hearts (8 sheets, each cut into 4 rectangles). I got lazy halfway through and cut two hearts at a time. I now know that I could have been even lazier because having a perfectly shaped heart from the start isn't necessary (more on this later).

The plan was to pair off the hearts, sew the twosomes together and somehow stuff them with fill in the process. But I was a bit stumped when it came to the stuffing part - I didn't know how. My first thought was to layer the felt with fill, pin the whole thing together and then sew. Within seconds, that idea fell to the wayside because it seemed too difficult and too time-consuming.

Above is the layered heart and fill. Not a great plan. My next idea was to begin sewing the two felt hearts together, leave a small gap before finishing, stuff the heart while it was still on the sewing machine, then finish out the sewing. Below is a photo of this method...I admit that it's not a masterful idea, but I'm neither a masterful craftsperson nor a masterful it was fine by me. And, most importantly, it worked.

I would just push the fill into the small whole at the bottom until the heart was full and then finish sewing.

Above is an action shot for ya. Don't worry the sewing machine was off...I think. There were definitely bumps along the way. I'm still not great with my sewing machine (see below), but overall they came out pretty well.

I chose a zig-zaggy stitch setting on my sewing machine (#3 if you have the same machine) for a little flare. Also, after I completed each heart, I trimmed the outer edge to even out the shape - hence why it didn't matter whether the heart was perfectly shaped from the get go.

Above is my final batch - all 16. The low-tech photo taken by my iPhone doesn't show the range of color (at all), but in person it's a true spectrum of pale pink to fire engine red. The first 8 hearts took me a little over an hour to make and the second 8 hearts took me about half that time. In total, it was a two hour project. 

My next step is to use the twine and string them into a garland. If you've been relatively more impressed by today's crafting show - thank you and stay tuned for a post next week on the finished product. If you are, again, saddened by my attempt, you have my full permission not to read the follow-up post. My apologies.

What crafting projects have you embarked on lately? Ever followed through on a DIY project inspired by Pinterest? Oh, and what DIY/Crafting blogs do you read (and love)?

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