Creativity is a funny thing. While I’m completely at home futzing and tweaking away in the kitchen, I often feel all thumbs when attempting almost anything else that could be considered a hobby. It’s not that I don’t want to knit socks for my dining room chairs, or beat Dan at Wii Golf, or learn to play guitar (though thanks to my sister, the ukulele looks like it might stick. Tiny stubby T-Rex fingers can tackle four strings!), it’s that my coordination somehow doesn’t translate. I could write a whole memoir about my humiliating attempts at sports.
Which is why I’m in awe of Amy Palanjian, who quilts, crochets, cooks, bakes, gardens, sews, makes adorable flannel bunny toys for her daughter, and has so much creative energy I’m constantly waiting for some to rub off on me. [Disclosure: yeah, Amy was my editor at ReadyMade, where she encouraged my junk food-making habits. You all have her to (partially) blame.]
And not only is Amy crafty as hell, she’s a generous promoter of other crafters and their handiwork, and an inspirational teacher for us nervous newbies. Amy’s new book, So Pretty! Felt: 24 Stylish Projects to Make with Felt compiles projects from crafters all around the world, which run the gamut from gorgeously complex to straightforward enough for even a sewing simpleton like me to make something, well, so pretty!
While I’m dying to hone my skills to the point where I can make the flower-felted purse adorning the book’s cover, I’ll start small with projects that can gussy up my dining table. The felt flag cupcake toppers (tutorial below) are a prime example of simple touches that look a lot more difficult than they really are. Even if you feel like your pastry bag-squeezing skills are inferior, I bet even you can wield a glue gun and slap these puppies together for your cupcakes. With or without the embroidered letters, they’re a pretty sweet addition to a party.
I see so many opportunities to spruce up your desserts in So Pretty! Felt: the felt carnations meant for hair ornaments could easily be adapted to cake decorations; the stylized poppy pillow can be transformed into a project for a table runner or placemat; felt bows can adorn your holiday goodies (even if said goodies are store-bought!). Amy’s done the heavy lifting in bringing these stunning, tactile projects together in one book; now it’s just up to us to figure out how to incorporate them into our homes and lives.
Thanks to Amy and Chronicle Books, I’m giving away a copy of em>So Pretty! Felt: 24 Stylish Projects to Make with Felt to one lucky reader.
Felt Flag Cupcake Toppers
from So Pretty! Felt: 24 Stylish Projects to Make with Felt by Amy Palanjian
- felt in assorted colors (specific amount will vary based on the number of flag toppers you’re making)
- disappearing fabric marker or very fine-tipped black pen (no more than 0.3mm thick)
- cotton embroidery thread in contrasting colors—make sure the thread is light or dark enough to
- stand out against the felt
- embroidery needle
- glue gun and glue sticks
- round wooden toothpicks
Print a copy of the flag topper template below (print two if you’re messy like me). Cut out the template and use it to trace diamonds onto the felt with the disappearing fabric marker or fine-tipped pen. Cut out each diamond.
Important: when printing this template, make sure your print settings are set to scale at 100% (not “scale to fit” or “fill entire paper”) to ensure the template prints at the correct size.
If you used a fine-tipped pen to trace your diamond template, place the side with any black marks face-down on your work surface to become the back of the flag. You don’t want any pen marks showing on the finished product!
Thread your needle with one of the colors of embroidery thread. I find it easiest to work on one color combination at a time (orange felt with green thread, for example) so I’m not constantly re-threading my needle.
With the disappearing fabric marker or fine-tipped pen, lightly trace the outline of a letter onto the front right side of the diamond, about 1/4 inch from the center where you’ll eventually fold the diamond in half to make a flag shape.
Sew the letter onto the diamond, starting from the back side to make sure the knots aren’t visible on the finished letter. Keep your stitches fairly close together. Repeat with the remaining diamonds and embroidery thread.
Preheat your glue gun. Working on the back side of one diamond at a time, place a small amount of glue around the edges of one side of the diamond, and down the center “crease.” Position the top third of a toothpick in the crease, then quickly and carefully fold the diamond in half to create the flag shape and secure the toothpick. Repeat with the remaining diamonds.