My four-year-old and I spent a few happy hours last week designing, cutting out, and sewing up a monster for him. We had such a great time that I created a free mix-n-match felt monster PDF sewing pattern, which includes five different monster bodies, five different sets of eyes, five mouths, and five different accessories. (Keep reading to download the free pattern!)
It’s a pretty cute line-up, right? But this is even cuter:
James is in love with his very own little monster, created using pieces he chose from the mix-n-match pattern as well as a little extra personalization. Younger kids, like James, can help trace their monsters, pick out eyes/mouth/accessories, hang out with you while you sew it up (and maybe even sit under the table and push the sewing machine pedal for you), and then help stuff the little guy.
Older kids could trace and cut their own monsters and pieces and maybe even glue the pieces on. It’s a great interactive project.
The 8 page PDF pattern can be downloaded by clicking here. Just print it out and then cut out the monster and other pieces you’d like to use. Trace the pieces on felt, and you’re ready to put your monster together.
Construction is so easy you probably don’t need instructions, but here are some step-by-step photos, and I’ve added a few tips below.
Things to note: I used different colors of acrylic felt cut from a bolt at Joann’s. I purchased 1/4 yard of each color, which came to $1.25 each at regular price, and I could have easily made three monsters from each 1/4 yard piece. Acrylic felt is cheap and comes in lots of colors, so it works well for this project, but it will pill as the monsters are played with and snuggled. Wool felt would hold up better, but it’s much more expensive, so you can decide what works best for you.
This turquoise guy above is the easiest monster, so if you’re new at sewing this might be where you’d want to start.
I sewed my monsters together so the seam allowance is visible on the outside – I think it gives a little sharper look and more definition to the small pieces (like horns and spiky hair). But if you don’t like that look, just sew the front and back of the monster with right sides together, then turn it right side out before stuffing.
When sewing on eyes/mouth, etc., you can use either a straight stitch or a zig zag stitch. On the pink monster above I used a straight stitch, but on the yellow monster below I used a zig zig. I found that the zig zag was a little easier on circular objects, but a bit harder on objects with points (like the teeth). I think it looks fine either way.
I sewed everything on in matching thread, meaning I switched thread four or five times for each monster. However, I used a white bobbin on everyting but the grey/black pieces and it worked just fine. In fact, when I sewed the front and back pieces together I also used a white bobbin thread, and the back looks just fine – so I think you could probably get away with sewing all the pieces (except grey/black ones) with white thread – just use a straight stitch, not a zig zag, if you try this.
My apologies that this red guy looks so much like a little devil. I really didn’t intend it – but when I cut him out in red and added the fangs and guitar he just got a little, well, devilish. My nine-year-old thought it was pretty darn cool, though…so maybe this monster will appear to older kids.
A few more things:
When you’re sewing these up and you get to a point or a corner, leave your needle down through the fabric then lift your presser foot and turn the material to make a nice crisp corner. You’ll probably need to do this a few times around some of the tighter curves as well. I sewed them all up with about a 1/4 inch or 3/8 inch seam allowance.
(That grey one is my favorite!)
Lastly, when stuffing you want to remember to stuff in a little at a time, and start by stuffing the small areas like arms and legs and use a pencil to poke the stuffing in nice and tight. You want to stuff these really firm, so use a lot of stuffing. When it’s all stuffed up, squish the stuffing that’s near your opening in very tight so you can pin the opening closed far enough away from the cut edge of the felt that it will fit under your presser foot. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end when you sew the opening closed.
When it’s all sewn up, check the edges for any areas where the seam allowance looks a little sloppy and trim if needed to make it even.
I had a great time making all these monsters and my boys had fun helping – so I hope you enjoy the pattern. Please let me know if you try it out!