Thursday, 4 October 2012

Felt Beans and Bean Pod

I like how these ones turned out.  The little beans you can see are removable (for now - perhaps I will stitch them in if Little Imp loses too many along the way).

Instructions for one bean pod with beans
Finished size approx 14cm  long and 3-4cm wide
Materials - dark green felt (about 15cm square), light or bright green felt (about 15cm square), scraps of brown wool, store bought pom pom (about 1.5cm diametre), needle, thread, stuffing, sewing machine (optional but faster!)

To make the beans
Fold a piece of light/bright green felt in half. Mark out one of each bean shape onto the doubled over felt (the picture below shows two of each shape marked out).  Do this using a water soluble fabric marker as the beans won't be turned inside - way too fiddly!

 I used my sewing machine freemotion embroidery setting to then stitch through both layers of felt to roughly outline each bean, leaving a small (approx 0.5cm) hole for stuffing.  I'm sure this would also work using hand stitching.

Then cut out each bean a few millimeters outside the stitched line.  Stuff the bean tightly and finally use a running stitch to close up the hole.  The photo below shows these steps:   
From top to bottom: roughly cut out stitched bean;  neatly cut out bean; stuffed bean; completed bean stitched up.
Here is a picture trying to demonstrate how I managed to get stuffing into the small hole in each bean using the blunt end of a closed pair of scissors (obviously I used my right hand to hold the scissors...but I needed to use my right hand at this point in time to take the photo!)

Making the bean pod
Double over a piece of dark green felt and then draw the pod template outline onto the felt.  Again, use a water soluble fabric marker to mark this line as the pod won't be turned inside out so any non-vanishing line will be visible at the end of making the pod.  Note that the line for stitching and the line for cutting are different for the left side 'A' of the bean as shown on the template.

doubled over felt with template ready for marking
 Then stitch around the red stitch line (I used my free motion embroidery foot to do this, I think you could manage with a standard foot or hand stitching).  Use the template as a guide as to where to start and stop this stitching to still allow a hole to insert the beans.  Then cut out the bean pod, a few millimeters from the stitched line & leaving a bit of a 'tail' at point 'A' by following the blue cutting line shown on the template.  (the top pod in the picture below is a bit confusing as I've taken the photo with the pod back to front with point 'A' actually on the right side)

top pod - shown back to front before being cut out.  bottom pod - neatly cut out with a 'tail ' on the left side 'A'
 Wind a piece of brown wool a few times about 0.5cm from the end of point 'A' and then tie off and cut loose ends to neaten.
top pod - piece of brown wool wound and tied around 'tail' at point 'A' . bottom pod - loose wool ends trimmed
 Now to insert the beans.  The first 'bean' I used was a small store bought pom pom stuffed down inside the pod.  This is quite difficult to get out so figuring it is there to give the pod a bean-filled shape but nothing more.
top - pom pom 'bean' before being stuffed into the pod. bottom - and then stuffed into the pod
 Then stuff the two beans you made into the pod and you are all done.

About my felt food challenge

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