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Tag Archives | Applique

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: American Girl Crafts- Funky Felt Pins

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

With summer quickly approaching it is a great time to plan some creative activities for my kids.  It is always wise to have some fun and easy kids crafting supplies on had to entertain the kids.  Since the American Girl dolls have always been popular in my household,  the idea of trying out the American Girl craft kits was met with enthusiasm by my girls.  The kit we tried out was the “Funky Felt Pins” which is recommended for children 8 years old and up.  The kit retails for $12.99.  

The packaging on the “Funky Felt Pins” is very colorful.  From the outside of the package, it does not look like you get much in the way of supplies.  However, I was happily surprised to find it was jam packed full of enough supplies for my girls and their friends to give this kit a try and learn some basic embroidery skills.
This kit comes with the following:
● Project & Idea Booklet
● 12 yards of embroidery floss in 4 colors
● 33 plain felt pieces
● 5 embroidered patches
● 12 adhesive pin backs
● 10 sequin flowers
● 1 piece of white practice felt
● 1 needle
● 1 needle threader
The instruction booklet does have some nice colored simple instructions for their versions of the following stitches and knots:
● running stitch
● applique stitch
● cross stitch
● french knot
● finishing knot
The kit is color coordinated with enough materials to create at least 12 pins.  Since it includes instructions and materials, it would make a fun scout troop project.  However, you would have to pick up extra needles for each girl; this kit only comes with one needle.

The first thing we did was to lay out the pieces and then pick out a few different shapes to sew together.

Then I sewed the small floral sequin onto the green felt flower using white thread to make the stitches stand out.
I then sewed the green felt flower onto the orange felt flower.

Which was followed by sewing those pieces onto the darker felt flower.
The kids took a vote and wanted to add some bling to the flower.   So I added beads to finish it off the piece.
As you can see, the steps are very simple and easy to follow.  However,  I did find that it was a little bit challenging for little fingers to negotiate the needle and accomplish the smaller stitches.   

However, even with that frustration, the project certainly kept her attention.

A different size needle did make the difference for her and she enjoyed making her project.
Here are some other projects we made with the die cut felt pieces provided in the kit.  The first is a felt owl pin.
The second is a funky felt ring.  A quick note on this one, my daughter sewed the different pieces together. However, since she wanted a ring we felt that adding glass beads would add some sparkle and interest the ring.


The third is a funky felt hair band.
The fourth is a funky felt  hair clip for one of their American Girl dolls.
These projects are so fun and easy for the kids to do.  They also provide a great surface for adding beads, buttons, rhinestones, and more.  I like this because it allows for creative self expression and personalization.  Since this kit was such a hit with my girls, I will be purchasing some of the other American Girl Craft kits this summer to keep them entertained.
Tips:

  • Lay everything out so you can pick your colors and shapes.
  • If you are using the kit for younger children, you can help avoid frustration by using white glue to adhere the pieces together.  Let dry.  Then sew together with simple stitches.
  • Use up those fun beads and charms you have around the house to use as accents for these fun pieces.
Pros:
  • Plenty of material for a fun party activity or scout craft project.
  • The materials in the kit are versatile, you can use the pieces to create more than just pins.
  • Kit appeals to more than just 8-year-olds.  My 20-year-old thought they were pretty cute and wanted to make one.
Cons:
  • The felt die cuts are a little difficult for smaller hands to negotiate.  I would recommend using a different needle for smaller hands and perhaps backing the die cut felt materials onto a slightly larger piece of felt.
  • Not enough needles, it would be nice if they included more than one needle in the kit.
  • Some of the accent stitches are little challenging for some 8-year-olds.  I would recommend sewing or gluing on beads or rhinestones, if the child gets frustrated.

GIVEAWAY
The folks over at EK Success are giving away kits to two lucky readers. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.
What are some of your favorite summer projects for your kids?  Do you have any hand sewing tips for kids or kid craft ideas?  We would love to hear from you.

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!

Disclaimer

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Slice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter (2 of 2)

Reported by Susie Ziegler

The Slice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter is a digital design cutter with design cards made specifically to cut fabric. If you work with fabric you know that sometimes the intricate shapes of other digital design cards will not work well with fabric which snags when the knife turns sharply to cut funny angles. Then when you go to sew down the edges of your cutouts, you’ll want to have gentle curves and simple shapes.

The Slice Fabrique comes with a power cord, 3 blades with an adjustment wrench, a sturdy 6″x 6″ tempered glass mat, a very small bottle of liquid repositionable adhesive, 3 6″x 6″ fusible web sheets, a user manual, and one Applique Basics SD design card. This design card has a nice letter font, basic geometric shapes and stars, some basic leaf and tree shapes, butterflies, a nice variety of simple flowers, hears, and a few fruits.

I cannot wait to get started with this! I am particularly excited about the easy to sew letter font. I cant wait to make letter monograms in cute fabrics! So the first thing I have to do is get the repositionable adhesive goo onto the glass mat and let it dry.

I’m supposed to use a thin layer of this stuff, but it globbed out of the bottle right away.


I am not exactly sure how thin a thin layer is.


Next I have to iron on the fusible web to the back of my fabric. Fusible web is a paper backed product that when ironed, can fuse fabric to fabric. The manufacturer, Making Memories, recommends that I use their fusible webbing. I had some small fabric charm squares which, at 4 inches, are a little bit smaller than the glass mat and the squares of webbing provided in the packaging. There are only 3 little sheets of fusible webbing in the package. Be sure to pick up some more when you get your Slice Fabrique.


I ironed on a square of their fusible web and I also fused another brand of fusible web to another one of my charm squares.


I pressed my square of fabric onto my sticky glass mat. I’m going to make a monogram for a little girl I know, so I plugged in the Slice Fabrique inserted the design card and selected the letter I need.


I set it in the center of the mat and pressed the button to cut. You can choose sizes of your shape from 1 inch to 4 inches and you can cut out a shadow of your selection or a mirror of it.


It cut super fast, but uh-oh… it totally did not work. It looks like the fabric was not stuck to the mat, but I’m sure I did a good and careful job with the adhesive. I tried again with the other square and it failed again.


Perhaps the square of fabric was too small. Next I fused a larger piece of fabric that could be held in position by the Slice Fabrique as it cut. Success! I got a very good cut out of felt as well using my other brand of fusible web without any paper back.


I did get a nice shadowed monogram too, but my cuts did not always work out. And I seemed to be wasting my fabric because I needed large 6-inch squares for each cut.


I stitched up a monogrammed drawstring bag. I really love the shadowed font, and it was easy to stitch down too..

The other side has a shadowed butterfly. Cute and easy!


We contacted Making Memories about our trouble with consistent cuts. They recommended we use their Slice Repositionable Spray Adhesive. The sent some along with some larger sheets of their fusible webbing which is very thin and has a stiffer paper backing. If you are planning to try your own repositional spray adhesive, just be sure it is water soluble! You’ll need to wash your glass mat and respray often making sure each time that your fabric piece is adhered securely to the mat.

If you are purchasing the Slice Fabrique, be sure that you also pick up a bottle of Slice repositionable adhesive. It is much easier to use than the liquid adhesive, is stickier, and more effective.


Okay, so now I really went to town with my applique cutouts. I was able to get several letters cut out of one 6 inch square of fabric, as long as the letters were less than two inches. I found that it did not matter if the fabric was fabric side up or paper backing side up when I tested my cuts, as long as I was using the spray adhesive.


When the mat seems to be losing its stickiness, wash off and reapply the spray adhesive.


I used some of my new appliques to embellish these fabric containers I made:


Remember, for durability, you will need to stitch down the edges of your fused pieces.


I already had success with felt, but how about with fleece? Uh oh…


I’ve been cutting with this knife for awhile. Perhaps I should change it. This was easily done on the underside of the Slice Fabrique. Since fleece is thick, I adjusted the knife so that it could cut more deeply. Success with both felt and fleece!


I got the hang of conserving my fabric and getting more cutouts out of each square.

Here I used an unsuccessful large cutout as the base for some smaller circles. I cut two, but then the third snagged. This was an off brand of fusible webbing and it worked pretty well, but not as well as the Slice Fusible Web.


Look how great it cuts twill, corduroy, and t-shirt fabric!


Pros:

  • Great small lightweight size is easy to store.
  • Can be used without the cord. Holds charge for a very long time.
  • Cuts many types of fabric easily and very quickly
  • Designs are specifically for fabric applique and not papercraft which is often unsuitable.
  • Easy to use right out of the box.

Cons:

  • Liquid repositionable adhesive is unreliable and there isn’t enough in the package. Be sure to use the spray.
  • It is hard to know exactly where the knife will cut, so there can be fabric waste. Be sure to have extra fabric on hand just in case you misjudge your cut.
  • I have sturdy fingernails so I don’t need a spatula to remove the cutouts from the sticky glass mat. You may need to use a spatula.

I am most excited about the happy fabric banner I made for all the spring holidays. If you can believe it, I started out trying to make it suitable for male or female, but it went all girly pretty quickly. Rick-rack and flowers have a way of doing that.

I’m planning to use my Slice Fabrique to make more banners and monograms. I might try embellishing some kids clothes too. The possibilities are endless!

GIVEAWAY!
The great folks at Making Memories are giving away the newest member to the Slice Family, the Slice Fabrique, to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the comment section of this article on this blog to be entered:

Have you tried the Slice Fabrique yet? What do you love about it? If not, what do you use to cut fabric shapes now and what do you love/hate about it?

Thanks for sharing your opinions, we love to hear what YOU think!
You have until Monday, April 18th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Clover Needle Felting Tool

Reported by Deja Jetmir

The Clover Felting Needle Tool is an innovative and easy-to-use instrument for anyone who has ever wanted to try needle felting. The particular tool I am reviewing is the 5 barb felting needle that is used for appliqué work.

Quick lesson on how this thing works: felting is the interlocking of animal fibers to make a dense woven fabric. Wool, alpaca and just about any other natural animal fiber can be felted.
The most common way of felting is through agitation – either vigorously rubbing it with your hands or using a washing machine. The other way of felting is using specially-designed needles. These needles have numerous barbs along the shaft that help the fibers interlock as the needle is punched through it.

Clover designed a tool with 5 barbed needles which not only makes fast work of you project, but also helps secure it that much more. As a crocheter by trade, I picked up the Clover tool to try adding felted crochet appliqués to finished felted crochet articles. There is nothing I loathe more than sewing a finished crochet project and I thought this might help with adding final touches without all of the work. So, not only am I reviewing the main purpose of this tool as a needle felting implement, but I am also reviewing it on how well it works for the purpose in which I chose it.

Fair warning before we go on: I never claimed to be talented in constructing needle felted appliqués in anyway. The projects you are about to see are purely for the ability to review the ease of use and quality of product, I apologize now for the poor representations of the flower and butterfly.

Before beginning, I needed to compile the needed accessories to be able to create my projects. You not only need the needle felting tool and felting implements, but you also need a base to put your project on for the needles to be able to pass through the work completely and not damage any furniture you are working on. I am a thrifty person, so before purchasing the recommended needle felting brush mat from Clover to use with my new tool, I chose to purchase a block of foam from the flower department of my local craft store. Then using wool roving and an already felted piece of wool crochet I began designing.

I placed the roving into the simple shape of a flower, then releasing the lock on the tool, I began easily punching my design into place. The five barbs are stationary in the tool. The outer clear plastic sleeve retracts with each push allowing the barbs to be exposed and pushed into your work. This is a great feature Clover has that other needle felting tools do not. Most other needle felting tools are a single barb with no protection. Though I wouldn’t let my child play with this tool, I feel much more comfortable having this one with its safety lock in my house rather than a stray piece of needle barb laying about.

The tool worked very smoothly, and within a minute I had finished the first layer of my flower. I took other colors of roving and placed them around my completed base, working them in the same way as the first. It was very easy to manipulate the roving with the edge of the plastic sleeve before pressing down to secure it with the barbs. Before long my flower was complete. I could make out the holes from where I was punching through, I was able to cover it up by rubbing the top of my work with my finger. So far the block of foam is working well as a base.

Next, I decided to try a simple piece of store-bought felt with the wool roving. My sad attempt at a butterfly was easy to complete, but the block of foam has decided to vomit on the back of my project. I’m guessing because the piece of felt was much thinner as compared to my crocheted felt piece, the needles dug deeper into the foam causing it to come apart and stick to the roving that was pushed through. Unfortunately, the holes made by the barbs are more apparent on this piece, also because of the thinness of the felt, but that is not readily seen from a distance.

Front side of project

Back side of project with foam vomit

I broke down and bought the recommended Clover Felting Needle Mat for the next project:

Photo of brush mat from manufacturer’s website

Now I am ready to try the intended use I wanted from this tool. Felted crochet appliqués on a felted crochet background. Using the same technique as the other projects, I simply placed the base material on top of my mat, then laid the appliqué in the desired location. I was quickly able to add the crocheted tree appliqués with no problem at all. There is no drag even though both pieces of the project are quite thick, the needles moved smoothly and attached all the pieces with no trouble.

This product is well-made and well-thought out. It really makes needle felting appliqués an easy and fun task. The only drawback I see to needle felting appliqués as opposed to sewing them is the fact that you cannot use this for small children’s projects. I know this because as soon as I turned my back on my newly finished crochet project, my young daughter pulled all of the trees right off. I tested the roving to see if it was more secure and it too can be pulled off. This is of course helpful if you make a mistake as you are working, but not good for the busy fingers of a young child.

Pros:

  • Works smoothly and quickly
  • Great safety features in the plastic sheath and locking mechanism
  • Needles are easily replaceable and come in two thicknesses

Cons:

  • Finished appliqués can be pulled apart easily
  • Extra cost for recommended and needed brush mat
  • Visible holes from needle punches in some of the finished work

The Clover Felting Needle Tool is available at Amazon.com

Have you tried the Clover Needle Felting Tool, or any other similar product? We’d love to hear your feedback about them.