This tutorial includes a materials list and easy to follow instructions so you can make a padded felt sun ornament. The finished sun measures 9cm in diameter, and is approx 1.5cm thick, and hangs by a length of embroidery thread / floss.
If you have bought one of my Happy Sun Sewing Kits, then you will already have all the materials you will need to hand.
The kit comes complete with a yellow felt front and back, plus 3 layers of white wadding. Also included are all the embroidery threads / floss you will need to complete this little project. In fact I have supplied a full skein of the green thread you will use to sew around the outside edge of the sun, and to create the loop. This gives you plenty to have a practice! You need less black thread as this is just for his eyes and mouth, I’ve included 2m (2 yards) on a little wooden bobbin.
If you don’t have the Happy Sun Sewing Kit, you will need:
- Bright yellow felt fabric, a piece approx. 12cm x 24 cm. You will cut 2 sun shapes from this fabric each 9cm in diameter.
- Polyester wadding, a piece approx 12cmx 32 cm. You will cut 2 sun shapes from this each 9cm in diameter, plus a single circle shape 5cm in diameter (Polyester wadding is usually found in the quilting section of haberdashery stores).
- Green / yellow cotton embroidery thread or floss.
- Black cotton embroidery thread or floss.
You will need to cut two sun shapes to a diameter of 9cm. You can design this yourself, or use my 8 pointed sun shape as a guide, or look on the web to see lots of free clip-art sun images. Cut the same shape from wadding x 2, and finally cut a small circle of wadding approx 5cm in diameter.
You will need:
- A clear flat work surface, scissors, pins and a sewing needle (I recommend an embroidery needle) and a disappearing ink pen to complete the project.
- Happy Sun Sewing Kit, or items from the materials list above.
- Basic sewing and embroidery skills – the stitches I use for the Sun’s face are a long French knot (or Bullion stitch) and a back stitch. To join the sun together you can use a blanket stitch or a running stitch, both work well and look good.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Remove your materials from the Happy Sun Sewing kit – which include felt, wadding and thread.
Or assemble your materials from the list above.
Either way you should have 2 felt sun outer pieces, two sun shape pieces of wadding and a small circle of wadding plus green and black embroidery cotton.
Step 2: Create Your Sun’s Happy Face.
Taking one of the pieces of yellow outer felt, mark two eyes and a smile on the fabric. Felt fabric usually looks the same on either side so don’t worry about the front and back of the fabric.
You can trace the face onto the fabric using the template provided in your Happy Sun Sewing kit by holding the template up to the light (use a window) and lining up your felt onto the shape, then trace the eyes and mouth onto the fabric.
You can of course draw your own face design directly onto the fabric, either way I have found it best to use a temporary sewing pen for this process, one that will either fade in time or a pen such as the Frixion pen by Pilot, which can be lightly ironed away (with a very cool iron – this type of felt is acrylic and will burn easily).
Step 3: Sew the Sun’s Smile.
Thread a sewing needle with a short length of black embroidery cotton, tie a small knot in the end of the thread. Work from the right side of the mouth to the left using a back stitch.
Bring the needle out at point A, insert at B, and then back out of the felt at C. Continue with this stitch along the line you have drawn for his mouth.
When you reach the end of the mouth, take the thread through to the back of the fabric, thread through the stitches on the reverse and tie off.
Step 4: Sewing the Eyes.
Thread a long sewing needle with a short length of black embroidery cotton, tie a small knot in the end of the thread. Work each eye separately using a bullion stitch. Bring threaded needle through from back of fabric to the top of the mark made for the eye. use a bullion stitch to make each eye.
Bullion stitch detail
Bring needle out at B, (top of the eye). Wrap thread around needle approx 4 times. Reinsert needle at A, I find it useful to press my finger on the wrapped thread round the needle to hold it in place, pull thread through all the wraps and through to the back. I think this may be my own version of a bullion stitch! It works for me, but there are plenty of examples on the web if you need more info.
Step 5: Attaching the Hanging Loop.
This method gives a good sturdy anchor to your hanging loop.
Gather the wadding elements together, 2 sun shaped pieces and a circle, and thread a needle with the green embroidery cotton. Make a stitch in the centre of the wadding circle. make a loop approx 20cm long, and make 2 more catching stitches in the wadding. Make a knot in the cotton and trim the excess thread.
Step 6: Make a Wadding Sandwich!
Place the sun shape at the bottom then add the circle shape – with loop positioned at the top, finally place the 2nd sun shape on top of the wadding pile. The circle gives and extra amount of padding to the centre of the sun, without making the edges too bulky with layers of wadding when sewing round the edges.
Step 7: Sew Sun Together.
This is the final step, in this example I’m using blanket stitch, you could also use running stitch.
Add the 2 yellow felt pieces to your wadding sandwich. The layers should be from the bottom up: blank yellow felt sun shape, sun shape wadding, circle of wadding, sun shape wadding, yellow felt sun with embroidered face.
Line up all of the edges and firmly hold all of the layers together with two pins. Remember to make sure the loop comes vertically out of the top of the sun.
Thread your needle with green thread, don’t make your length of cotton too long, you will never get right round the sun in one go – so best to use a manageable length of thread which won’t tangle, I usually cut off about 30 – 40cm.
Catch the thread inside the sun in the circle of wadding, and bring to the edge of the sun and start blanket stitch. The distance between the stitches is up to you, but make sure to keep them even and the same size.
Step 8: Sew Around the Edges
Sew around edge of sun with blanket stitch, use your needle to gently stuff wadding in between felt outer fabric as you go round.Carefully stitch around the points of your sun, try not to pull too tightly on the thread so it can line up on the outside seam.
When you reach the end of your first length of thread, tie off the finished thread and tuck end inside the ornament, then with a new knotted length of cotton begin again.
Keep your pins in the ornament until you stitch completely round the edge, this helps keep the layers of felt & wadding lined up right to the final stitch.
Step 9: Loop
Make sure your hanging loop is positioned at top of sun when stitching round edge of sun.
Step 10: Finishing Off
To finish, make a knot in thread approx 2cm from edge and take a long stitch into the centre of the ornament from the right and out the left side. Gently tug on the thread to get the knot through the felt fabric. Pull thread tight, snip off next to felt fabric, and let the thread disappear inside the ornament.
Step 11: Your Felt Sun Is Ready to Hang
The middle sun image uses the same kit, but I have used French knot stitches for the eyes and a running stitch to sew the edges together, (which is easier than a blanket stitch). I really like the way handmade objects with sewn facial features each take on a personality of their own!
I hope these instructions have been of use, please feel free to ask questions below and I will try my best to answer.