Saturday, 3 November 2012

Felt Banana

The felt bananas have almost been my undoing in this challenge of making felt food items without looking up pictures or patterns on the internet.  I came VERY close to cheating on more than just one occasion.  But I restrained myself & in the end have managed something that might not be the best of my creations, but does resemble a banana at least.

I wanted to make a banana that could not only be removed from the skin but that could also be fully peeled and unpeeled, with the skin closing right over the banana.  I had imagined I could use velcro to make this happen but in the end, after many swear words,  I have settled for a banana with skin that doesn't quite join up at the top so it will never fully close.  Sigh.

Instructions for one banana
Finished size approx 23cm long 
Materials - yelllow felt, cream felt, small scraps of brown felt, needle, thread, stuffing & sewing machine (optional but faster!)

First the easy part, the banana itself.

Fold cream felt in half lengthways.  Draw around outline of pattern template as indicated.  Pin through both layers of felt to secure.

Machine stitch around outline, leaving a gap for stuffing on the inside curve of the banana. (see below for an alternative of adding seed lines onto each banana half before stitching together)

Cut out banana close to the stitched line and then turn right side out.

Stuff banana full of stuffing and then hand stitch opening closed.

Option: I also tried making a banana with the stringy bits most people pull off (phloem bundles, part of the banana's vascular system if you want to know the botanical name...celery has phloem bundles too...and no, I don't remember learning this in a botany lecture...Google taught me this time around).
Not sure which version, stringy or non-stringy,  I prefer as the end product - picture below shows both banana halves cut out with added 2 lines of stitching to resemble the stringy bits).  I then stitched both these halves right sides together, turned inside out and stuffed.

Now for the tricky bit.
Actually, with a pattern it isn't too tricky at just took me a number of goes to get the pattern right.
Problem is that at the moment my camera has died so I can't take a picture of the pattern I finally came up with yet.

Here's the basics for now however:

Firstly mark out each pattern piece onto yellow felt and cut out. You may find it is worth numbering & marking each piece on the wrong side.

From left to right:  Piece 3 - Piece 1 - Piece 2.  
In the instructions to follow side A is the left side of each cut out piece as seen in the picture above and
side B is the right side of each piece.

Stitch side B of piece 1 to side A of piece 2 (right sides together), matching the pieces at the bottom and stitching up to about 2-3cm cm from the top. Secure the thread at the end of the stitching.

Then stitch side A of piece 3 to side B of piece 2, making sure to match up pieces at the bottom and then stitching to about 2-3cm from the end of piece 2, again securing the thread well. 

To close up the skin then stitch side B of piece 3 to side A of piece 1, again finishing 2-3cm from the top and securing thread well.

Then turn skin right side out.  Cut a small triangle with curved corners out of brown felt and then stitch this to the base of the banana as shown.

Then take the rectangle shaped end of piece 3 of the banana skin and fold each edge in to meet at the middle (shown in left of photo below held down with my finger).  Then fold this in half and pin before stitching to secure.  Trim threads, insert banana and you are finished!
Left of pic- each edge of the rectangle on piece 3 of the banana skin folded into the middle.
Right of pic - folded in half again and secured with a pin

Rectangle part of piece 3 shown folded as described above just before being pinned.

Finished bananas and their skins (the one with the phloem bundles is in the right!)