This hoop, with its little pink house and garden of wool felt flowers is an excellent way to use up felt scraps if, like me, you have drawers full. (If you don’t have drawers full of scraps, then this project is an excellent way to make some for future use!)
- 7” wooden embroidery hoop
- Linen fabric to fit hoop with approximately 2 inches overhang all around (I’ve used creamy-beige linen, but this project looks great with a sky-blue background as well. Cotton works, too.)
- Felt scraps (I use wool felt or wool-blend felt exclusively in my projects because the look is rich and lustrous and the felt never pills. You can, of course, use whatever felt you have on hand.)
- Thread and/or embroidery floss (either will do). You can use a single thread color (like white) for the entire project or match your thread to each piece of felt appliqué. (I have used green to attach all my flower pieces.)
- Wool Hoop Template (This is optional, as you can freehand this project if you wish.)
- Sharp scissors
- One or two straight pins
- Hand sewing or embroidery needle
- Pinking shears
- Tacky glue
1. Stretch your linen on the hoop, and alternate tightening the hoop and pulling the fabric taut until you have a nice, smooth, drum-like surface on which to work.
2. Using the templates, cut your house piece (pink) and your roof piece (gray), along with all your window pieces (the pink background for the dormer and all the white pieces for the glass).
3. Pin your house piece so that it’s centered left to right and approximately 1 and ½ inch from the top of the hoop frame.
4. Use a simple, running stitch to attach the house piece to the linen, taking care to make your stitches small and as even as possible.
5. Pin your roof piece so it overlaps the house piece and sits approximately ¾ inch from the top of the hoop frame.
6. Use the running stitch, again, to attach the felt roof to the linen.
7. Because the window pieces are small, you won’t pin them before you sew. Position the pink dormer piece so it’s centered left-to-right and top-to-bottom on the gray roof piece, and attach the dormer to the roof using a small, neat whipstitch.
8. Repeat this process for the dormer glass (white), centering it inside the pink piece.
9. Position a window piece ¼ inch from the left edge of the pink house piece and approximately ½ inch from the roof’s bottom edge, and attach with a whipstitch. Repeat for the remaining window.
10. With white thread or one or two strands of white embroidery floss and using a backstitch, create “stripes” from left to right across the pink house piece, approximately 1/3 inch apart. (Note: for much of the embroidered detail in my work, I use cotton thread doubled up and knotted off at the end, creating a double strand. For larger details that I want to stand out more boldly, I use two strands of embroidery floss doubled in the same manner to create a four-strand thickness. Whew. That’s a lot of math.)
11. With black thread or one or two strands of black embroidery floss, use a backstitch to trace the outside of each white window piece and to create a crossed/pane effect inside each window.
The finished house.
The Flowers & Petals:
12. Now for the fun part! Using your desired colors of scrap felt, cut circles that vary in size from a bit smaller than a dime to a bit larger than a quarter. (You can cut these freehand, use the templates I’ve included, or even trace coins if you like!) Some of these will be the “petals” part of the flower and others will be the centers, so you can experiment, before attaching to the linen, with different configurations and color combinations, trimming pieces to fit as necessary. I made sixteen flowers, so I needed 32 circles, but I always make loads, and I think you should, too! You will also need to cut approximately 8 leaf shapes from green felt. (I’ve included a templates, but these are fairly easy to cut freehand.)
13. You can use the photo of the finished hoop as a model or experiment to your heart’s content with the placement of your circles. Attach each “petals” circle to the background with a small, neat, running stitch, until all your “petals” circles are in place.
14. Create “stems” for the flowers that flank the house, using green thread or floss and a backstitch.15. Attach a center circle inside each “petals” circle using a small, neat whipstitch.
16. Attach leaves to your stems and in other nooks and crannies around the garden, using green thread or floss and a backstitch. (I’ve begun the stitching at the inside point of the leaf and worked my way out, stopping shy of the other end point of the leaf.)
17. At this point, your appliqué is complete (Good job!), and all that remains is to secure the back before hanging. I like to trim some of the excess fabric to make gluing easier. Then lay the hoop on your work surface so that back is facing up and run a bead of glue around the inside hoop. (Tacky glue works fine, or you can use a glue specifically made for use with fabric and wood.) Using your thumbs, smooth the fabric down over the inside hoop, all around the edge, affixing the fabric to the inner hoop. Sometimes I have to go around the hoop with my thumbs two or three times to smooth and affix the fabric properly.
18. Once the glue has dried, use your pinking shears to carefully trim excess fabric, cutting as close as possible to the hoop.