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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Something Extra for the Kids: Cut-Out Softies

When I sew outfits for my daughter, I always buy a little extra fabric to throw in something special for her such as a matching clutch purse or hair accessory and often a matching outfit for her doll.  To me, the outfit is already special on its own but I know the little matching details are what excite her. And if it's something that she can actually play with, it's all that much better! 

Have you had the chance to see Brenna's Bubble Pocket Shorts that were released just yesterday? They have an adorable bubble pocket on each side. This beautiful model's mother and seamstress, Alison Brorsen, thought it would be fun to make her bubble pockets look like little houses! And then of course it was only natural for her daughter to want some little dolls to go in the house pockets.  After considering the options, we suggested she use her leftover fabric to make Fabric Cut-Out Softies for her daughter's pocket dolls. Look at what a great job she did!

They are perfect for her pockets!  What a sweet little set for a sweet little girl. They are sure to be a favorite she'll remember. Today we're going to show you how to make these cut-out softies out of any fabric characters that you might have - dolls, mermaids, cars, monsters - anything! Here we go: 

To start with, we want to find a fabric that has enough full characters to create two sides for the softie. They don't have to be exact matches but they do need to be the same size. I got my Anne Kelle Ballerinas and Anne Kelle Mermaids from Katie's Quilt Shop on Etsy.  Decide which characters you want to cut and keep in mind that each one will need extra space around it so sometimes we may not be able to use two characters that are close to each other. 

When we know which characters we want, we will cut around the basic shape of each, leaving at least a 3/8" border of white space. We may cut into other characters but we need a good seam allowance. Also keep in mind that our two cut-outs will be sewn together facing each other, so if they are not completely symmetrical we will need to leave room for any differences. For example, if one leg is sticking out on one side it needs room to stick out on the other side too. 

Now we are ready to place our two cut-outs together with right sides facing. Trim any uneven edges.  Then sew around the shape, about 1/4" from the edge, leaving a 1" opening. (I often leave the opening at the feet of the character but in this case it is a ballet dancer and I wanted to be extra careful with her slippers so I left my opening on the side.)  Clip the curves. 

Now we are ready to turn it right sides out and stuff with our favorite batting. We want to give it a nice plump shape but not over-stuff it.

Stitch the opening closed by hand or machine. (I did it by hand in this case, since it wasn't by the feet.)  Now we're done! It was that easy.  We can repeat as many times as we'd like or until our kids' pockets are overflowing with softies! 

I wanted to make a special note here that some characters may be non-symmetrical enough that instead of matching them to themselves we will be better off matching them to similar mirror images.  In the picture above I matched the characters so that the top row of mermaids have their tails pointing to the right and the bottom row have their tails pointing to the left. When I put them together right sides facing, they will line up very closely. I was also careful to match their hair sizes too.

I have not yet sewn the mermaid softies because I know my daughter is going to want to help make some when she gets home from school!  I can't wait to show her the little basket of cut-out softies I made for her: 

We hope you will try this out with your kids!  If they are still too little to help, I'm sure they will be more than happy to put them in their pockets when you're done.  

Let's Create! ~ Kristen

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