Friday, January 28, 2011

My first tutorial!

I'm not sure that anyone who reads this blog actually sews, but I was bored during Eden's 3 hour nap and out of wrapping paper for a very belated little girl's birthday present.

Felt is such a wonderful medium. This particular type is Eco-fiber, made from recycled plastics I believe, and is very inexpensive. It can be found at Jo-Anns. Felt doesn't fray and it stays sturdy while sewing, so it's a great for beginners*ahem*.

This whole project can be done by hand sewing, no machine required! You can easily change the dimensions to fit whatever your gift may be. The flap can be cut differently and the embellishment possibilities are endless.

Here's the tutorial:

Felt (I used two colors)
Contrasting Thread (or embroidery thread if you are hand sewing)
Coordinating Fabric Scraps
Velcro (optional, and not used in the pictured envelope)
Fabric marking pencil (you can also use chalk or just wing it :) )

1. Cut two rectangles.
First rectangle: Determine the size bag you will need by measuring your finished present and adding 1 inch to each side for seem allowances and room. This will be the dimensions for the front of your envelope. Cut one rectangle to this size.
Example: My finished present folded measured 8.5 X 8.5. I cut my first rectangle 9.5 X 9.5.

Second rectangle: Keep the same width as your first rectangle and add 5 inches to the height (the extra is your flap).
Example: My first rectangle was 9.5 X 9.5 so my second rectangle was cut 9.5 X 14.5.
***If I were to do this project again, I would add more inches to the height of my larger rectangle, to make the flap longer- adjust to your liking.***

2. Using a plate and your preferred method of fabric marking (I like chalk pencils), round off the top two corners of your larger rectangle. This will be the flap. You may choose to cut it in a different manner, mark accordingly.

3. Cut the edge with pinking shears or make a decorative edge with normal fabric scissors. You really can't go wrong, just use your imagination!

4. Align the smaller rectangle on top of the larger, wrong sides together, with the straight edges aligned and the flap extending at the top. 

5. Using a contrasting thread color, sew around three sides, stopping and starting at the top corners of the smaller rectangle, leaving an opening along the top edge and leaving the flap unsewn. If machine sewing, backstitch a little at the beginning and end to secure and use a 1/4" seam allowance. If sewing by hand, use embroidery thread to sew a running stitch, whip stitch, or blanket stitch around these three sides. (google the stitches, you will find thousands of easy tutorials).

6. Fold over your flap and finger crease.

***At this point you can add velcro to the inside of the flap and the front of the small rectangle, being careful that they would line up when closed. I was out, and as I mentioned this was a naptime project. The decorative embellishments will hide the stitching from adding velcro. Simply pin your velcro pieces and sew around all four corners, close to the edge.****

7. Cut various sized circles from coordinating fabric and felt using pinking shears. I was in a hurry so I eyeballed the circles, but you can mark them first with a fabric pen/pencil. You could also cut five petaled flowers, bows, hearts, etc.etc. Again, get creative!

8. Layer and tack your flowers together. I used a sewing machine with a darning foot attachment and free motion quilted my layers with a circular stitch pattern. You can simply use a straight line sewn back and forth or a decorative stitch if your machine allows. If hand sewing, create your own pattern with embroidery thread.

9. I added a decorative edge to my envelope using my darning foot and some free motion stitching. If your machine has decorative stitches you can use those, or hand embroider a design (even a simple running stitch in a contrasting color would look cute).

10. I tacked the flowers into place on the center front of the envelope flap, though you may place them wherever strikes your fancy. Stitching forward and back a few times is all you need, just so they are securely in place. Make sure to do this with the flap open so you don't sew your envelope shut.

Tada! Your done!

It's a bit silly that I'm making more out of the "wrapping paper" than I am out of the present. The gift is for Eden's only girl-friend in our neighborhood (seriously, drowning in boys over here). She occasionally hosts a tea party, and even though she is a whole year older, is quite the hostess to Eden. We wanted to surprise her with a tablecloth for her birthday, but by the time I had the measurements it was almost Christmas, which meant a month away from my sewing machine. So it's late, but I think she like it just the same! Randomly timed gifts are in fact my favorites.

(this is shown on Eden's table, her friends is a bit larger)


  1. Very cute!! (I saw this on Prudent Baby)

  2. Came over from Prudent Baby - I was going to make a table cloth for my daughter's exact same table!

  3. ooooh how gorgeous.
    Came across your blog via pruden baby.
    cant wait to try this as i have just bought a darning foot too...

  4. You did an excellent job on your first tutorial and sooo cute! Came over from Prudent Baby :)