stuffed felt letters – how to

It’s babies galore among our pals these days, so I’ve been pondering cute baby gifts. While I can generally find some version of some project I like on the intertubes, I was feeling pretty underwhelmed by the available options. I mean, really, there have to be other folks out there who agree that the bulk of baby projects are twee and unnervingly pastel. I suppose the other problem was that I was feeling project-picky. I’m not in a knitting mood (it’s, ya know, a little hot here) and only recently did I finish the interminable cabled scarf, so sweaters, blankets and booties were out. I don’t love any of the swaddling blanket patterns I’ve seen, plus the sewing machine had barely resolved our spat over buntings for the wedding. Then I was poking around on Etsy and saw the cutest stuffed felt letters. And a new project idea was hatched! Seems only appropriate, what w/ everyone else hatching offspring.

The H-e has friends (and now I have friends by osmosis!) who recently had twins, so theirs was the inaugural project.

letter templates (I made mine, but you can buy them too)
felt (i used wool felt from TaDaa Studio Felt)
tailor’s chalk
embroidery floss
tapestry needle
chop stick (or other pointy item for stuffing)
fasteners for hanging

1) First, decide on which typeface you want to use for your letters. I fooled around with Word for awhile, before deciding on Cooper Black in 450 point font. This is just a bit bigger than those over at Made by Rae. Type out the lucky kid’s name, then print. Carefully cut around the letters so you have a pretty little template to trace onto the felt.

2) Trace your letters, two times each, and trim them neatly from the felt.

Note: You’re making two copies of each letter. You want to be sure that you can keep the part w/ the tailor’s chalk on the inside of the stuffed letter, so it isn’t visible. If not, you can try to rub it off, but that didn’t work so well for me.

3) Thread your needle w/ two or three strands of floss, then begin to stitch both sides of your letter together. I used a blanket stitch for this. For letters w/ holes in them, start w/ those and work all the way around. Then move on to the outside perimeter. Don’t get carried away and sew all the way around; instead, read on to the next step. :)

4) I discovered that it was easier to stitch and stuff simultaneously. It avoided the problem of trying to jam stuffing into parts of the letter that turned out to be far narrower than I thought. So…stitch a section (say around the rounded top part of an “l”), then stuff that part, then stitch some more. I just let my needle/thread hang off the side while I stuffed. If you adjust your stuffing as you sew, you won’t be stuck jamming your chopstick into the letters and cursing a blue streak. Or something…
Finish stitching around the letter, then pull the thread through the middle of the stuffing so the end isn’t visible.

5) Repeat sewing / stuffing for all letters. (obviously)

6) Now stitch each of the letters together, overlapping them, so your stitches aren’t visible. This part is optional, but since I wanted the names to be able to hang on the wall without tipping over, this seemed like a reasonable solution.

7) Attach fasterners to back of name, so it can be hung up. I made little wire loops, that I then sewed onto each corner. I can imagine these hanging w/ a piece of yarn or twine from each side, strung through w/ invisible thread, or made w/ magnets fastened to the back.

Then you’re done! Now if only I can get mine in the mail and on to their wee recipients.

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