Monday, September 22, 2014

Sew Easy Fabric ABC's

Hello Everyone!  Elizabeth here with a very late post ... like a week late kind of post. I’ve seriously had two weeks in a row that imploded ... or is that exploded? Not sure ... either way, what started out to be a couple of mild, less-than jammed packed weeks, turned out to be anything but boring and idle. So here I am just now getting to get a post posted.  Hope it will be worth the wait. If not, lie to me ... it’s been a long few weeks : ).

** Insert Spoiler Alert **
If you are reading this post and happen to have a child or grandchild(ren) under the age of three, just know that if you continue to scroll down, you will be viewing items that could potentially be a future gift. Just sayin’ you’ve been dully warned ... I now take no responsibility for any potential disappointment caused by not being surprised when you open a package from me : ).

Last year I came across this very adorable set of fabric letters on Pinterest.  I knew at once I wanted needed to make a couple of sets to give as gifts.  And f.i.n.a.l.l.y.  last week I was able to begin my letter adventure. Yay!

The letters were a lot of fun to construct ... although I must say the best part was picking out the fabric.  I know that others out there in the blog world made theirs from scraps, but my fabric scrap pile is not as large as my paper scrap pile ... so I took the opportunity to get lost in the fabric aisles of Joanns ... which I think was the definitive catalyst for my new found obsession ... ¼ yard cuts of delicately delicious printed fabrics. Swoon.

Ok. Could that last sentence have been any longer? Lol.

So here’s how I made my alphabets ...

First: Gather Tools

I would add a disappearing ink pen to the picture ... I found the pen worked better than the chalk pencil on some fabrics.  Just be sure to test the pen on the fabric first ... the pen I used was not recommended on red and pink dyed fabrics ... which I discovered was a very correct recommendation.  Test first. Trust me.

Second: Gather Fabrics, Batting and Letter Templates

  •  Since I was planning on giving these letters to little people, I decided to wash my fabric before I got started constructing.  Washing it removed the sizing and also allowed for pre-shrinking.  I am hopeful that these letters will get well used and subsequently need to be washed periodically ... pre-shrinking the fabric will hopefully keep them from getting misshapen.
  • Originally I had bought regular craft batting for the insides but my expert quilting friend put the kibosh on that idea.  She gave me some “warm and natural” batting to use instead and I must say “THANK YOU”.  It was a dream to work with!  I think you could get the same results from fleece if that’s what you have on hand.  Same texture and loftiness. 
  • My letters are sized to be 3 x 3 inches and I used Arial for the font.  Use a sans-serif font.  It will be much easier to sew.  Again, trust me.

Third: Cut Fabric and Batting

I used my rotary trimmer to cut my fabric and batting into 4 x 4 inch squares.  Basically you will be making a fabric/batting sandwich so for every letter you will need TWO fabric squares and ONE batting square. 

Fourth: Cut Letter Templates and Assign Fabric

  • Cut out the printed letters.  If I do this project again, I will print my letters on cardstock instead of regular copy paper.  The extra heft would make tracing the letter easier.
  •  I did print an extra set of vowels and some random consonants.  In addition, I made sure that there were the appropriate letters to spell the recipient’s name(s).
  • Matching the fabric to the letter was probably the second most time consuming part of the project : ).  Seriously ...  the kids I am making these for probably started college in the time it took me to assign fabrics to letters.  

Fifth: Trace Letters and Make Sandwiches

  • Mmmm ... sandwiches ... ice cream sandwiches ...
  • As I mentioned above, use either a chalk pencil or disappearing ink pen to trace the letter onto the fabric square.  The fabric color and pattern will dictate which you use.
  • Pin the sandwiches for sure ... and use small headed pins unlike shown in the picture.  Do as I say, not as I show : ).  I found there was less puckering on the back side of the letters when I left the pins in as I stitched.  Another thing to trust me on.

Sixth: Stitch

Only advice here ... stitch the inside sections of the letters first and backstitch like crazy when you start and stop in order to lock the stitches up.

Seventh: Trim

I wish the word “Trim” could be used to describe me ... lol ... anywho ... I chose to use pinking shears to trim my letters.  I like the look and it will definitely help to keep them from fraying uncontrollably.  Who wants hairy letters? Less Mess = More Happy Momma.

Eighth: Sit Down on the Floor and Play

Hope this tutorial inspired you to create your own set of fabric letters!  Or maybe to try other shapes and even numbers!   I’m heading back to the sewing machine ... only 117 more letters to go! Wish me speed and a never empty bobbin!


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