April 12, 2014

Felt Faces Book - Toddler Quiet Time Activity

As any mom of a toddler or preschooler knows, sometimes you just need a quiet time activity for the little ones. We had a trip planned than involved 4 flights over 3 days, so I was searching for quiet activities to keep the little one occupied (and happy) during those. I came across Holly's blog on Pinterest, which led me to her tutorial and pattern for an Egg Faces Design Book. She even gives you the templates and step-by-step instructions on how to make it! Perfect for a sewing novice like me.

Felt faces book - great toddler quiet time/busy bag activity | A Crafty Wife

Felt faces book - great toddler quiet time/busy bag activity | A Crafty Wife

Holly's instructions are straightforward so I'll just tell you what I did differently. After printing the pattern, I decided to make my book slightly larger to accommodate toddler hands. Her dimensions were about 6.5" x 5" for the finished book, so to keep the same proportions and fill a 9" x 12" sheet of felt, I made mine 6" wide x 7.75" tall. I used remnant fabric I already had from a cushion project that never happened. It's bright and cheery and perfect for a fun activity book.

I cut the fabric to size and then folded in the edges to create a half inch seem allowance. I ironed and pinned this together so it would hold its shape.

Measure and fold fabric to create seam allowance | A Crafty Wife

I didn't have double-sided fusible web, so I used iron-on fusible interfacing leftover from my t-shirt pillow project. I cut this so it would be slightly smaller than the overall outer cover (i.e. it wouldn't get sewn to the fabric, just sandwiched between the fabric and felt) since I wasn't 100% sure how my sewing machine would handle 2 layers of fabric + felt + interfacing.

Fusible interfacing gives cotton cloth more strength | A Crafty Wife

Instead of using all circles for the faces, as the pattern suggested, I made various sized oval templates in PowerPoint. To do this, select the circle shape, draw a circle, then right click and select 'Format Shape' to adjust the size. I made a 4.5" diameter circle, a 5" tall x 4" wide oval, a 5.25" tall x 3.75" wide oval, and a 4.1" tall x 4.5" wide oval. Simply print, cut and pin to the felt, then cut around the templates to create your felt shapes. Easy peasy. Here are all of the pieces ready to be sewn together.  

Note: I did not change the size of the pocket, although in hindsight I should have made it a half inch bigger on all sides. Also, you'll see in the photo below there are 2 pieces of white felt to make up the inside cover of the book - since I was working with 9" x 12" sheets of felt from Michaels, I didn't have a piece long enough for the full 15.5" I needed.

Instead of bias trim, I used colorful ribbon I already had on hand. I folded each end down and sewed it to basically make a hem, then I sewed one end to the inside of the felt flap before the felt was attached to the outer book cover (so it was hidden between the layers). I followed the pattern for the rest of the sewing.

In place of the thin elastic cord to close the pocket, I used a white elastic hair band (I have a bazillion of these since I'm always losing them). The button came from my spare button bin - I went with the largest one I could find since this will be used by a toddler.
 Use hairband and spare button to close pocket for felt faces book | A Crafty Wife

Once the book was sewn together, the fun part started - making all of the face parts! I made different templates in PowerPoint for eyes, noses, mouths, hair and accessories. Some (like the hair) I drew freehand. I pinned the templates to the felt and cut around the outside.
Create templates to cut out felt shapes for felt faces book | A Crafty Wife

A couple pieces required some hand stitching to keep them together (the hats, eyes, toothy grin and hairbows). Here are the felt pieces all done.

Felt faces book - great toddler or preschooler quiet time/busy bag activity | A Crafty Wife

I had some fun making faces of my own.

Felt faces book - great toddler or preschooler quiet time/busy bag activity | A Crafty Wife

A 'no man' face for my little one! 

Felt faces book - great toddler quiet time/busy bag activity | A Crafty Wife

I really had fun making this, and so far it's been a hit with my toddler! I have to keep an eye on her so she doesn't throw the smaller pieces (noses, eyes) and lose them. She even tried to put the glasses on one of her stuffed animals. Guess that means it's a keeper?

PS - if you like this idea but don't want to make one yourself, Holly occasionally sells them in her Etsy shop. Super cute and a great gift idea!

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