Thursday, 6 April 2017

Bunny Pockets for Easter Treats Tutorial

 Well hello there , how are you ?
Can I just say a big heart felt thank you to all of you that left such warm and supportive comments on my last post , I really do appreciate your kind words .

 I've popped by today to try something a little new for me ( I am filled with a little bit of trepidation and I  do hope it works) I'm doing my first ever sewing tutorial  with a free pattern (pdf) for you to print out and make these sweet little Easter treat bags ( this is a project for doing on a sewing machine ) . Be warned  this is a photo heavy post so you may want to make a brew before you sit down and read it and maybe grab a note pad and pen . As well please make sure you read through the tutorial before jumping in and cutting fabric as there are some vital bits of information explained in the tutorial for you to consider

 I call these my ' Bunny Pockets for Easter Treats'
I designed them a number of years back , originally so I could make Easter gifts for family and friends children . But I thought what a lovely thing it would be to share this with you for you to make at home . So over the last week I've been making and photographing the whole process so I can share it with you . I'm hoping that by reading and following the instructions aided by your printed out pattern pieces  you will find it easy to make some of these for someone this Easter , yep I know there's not long to Easter but they really are a quick make !
They are basically a felt pouch which has an opening in the back ( you will see as you progress down the photographs) and they are fully lined. I have been able to raid my stash of Liberty Tana Lawn for them and use both standard Felt and Felt wool suiting to make the 3 you can see above .
Here's a closer look.
They are very cute ! and when they are stuffed with treats stand up quite well.

Here you can see the back of the Bunny Pockets and how they open and  it's a great excuse to use some big, bright or funky buttons .

.....and yes I have a bit of a thing for Liberty Fabric and this was a great excuse for me to raid my stash as it is so soft and lovely to sew with and the colours and the designs are just so fabulous . But not everyone has a stash of Liberty to hand and any light weight cotton would be absolutely fine , you could even recycle a piece of old clothing and use an old cotton shirt or dress ( maybe a piece of old clothing that belongs to the child you're gifting it to, making it an extra special keepsake for the child ) .
The choice is endless when you start thinking about it , but I would recommend using felt or felted wool suiting ( but not anything too heavy ) for the outer body of the bunny so you get that same slightly fuzzy exterior to the make .

So lets get your list of things to gather started ready for you to make your own Bunny Pocket.

Patterned fabric ,  this is used for one side of the bunny's ears and the lining inside the pocket as well as two pieces for binding ( for the back opening ) and to make the loop for the button closing .
You will need a piece of cotton fabric that is approximately  40 cm x 50 cm / 20 inch x 15 inch ( this is being slightly generous ) it all depends on which way you want the pattern on your fabric to run  , if you have a stash of fat quarters these are perfect and you would have more than enough fabric for the job . But if in doubt or recycling from an old garment and fabric quantity is more of an  unknown quantity for you go straight to the bottom of this tutorial and print off the pattern and cut out the pattern pieces  this way you can play with them on the fabric you want to use , please note that the size of the pattern pieces are to the stitched edge only you need to allow for a hem allowance ( I use a generous 5 mm hem allowance as there is a bit of snipping into the curves in this make so don't scrimp on the hem allowance ).
 One thing to consider when you are doing this is you also need to allow for the two strips of binding and  the button loop that you need to make from this fabric and there aren't any pattern pieces allowed for this as they are simply made from strips of fabric .
So in  your fabric calculations you need to allow for making the strips , you need 2 x strips that are 6 & 1/2 inch long x 2 inch deep ( approx 17 cm long x 4.8 cm deep ) and a piece that is 6 inch long x 1 & 1/2 inch deep (approx 15 cm long x 3 cm deep ) .  

For the felt fabric used on the outside of the pocket and ears your fabric allowance is slightly less as you don't need extra for binding or a button loop. You will need a tiny piece of pink felt for the nose too , when you see the pattern pieces you will see it is tiny ! 
So for the felt for the main body and ear pieces you will need a piece that is about  30 cm x 40 cm or 18 inch x 12 inch once again I am being a little on the generous side and if in doubt use the printed of pieces once you've cut them out . The colours are up to you anything bunny coloured goes !
You will also need to get yourself some medium or heavy weight interfacing for the ears , a piece that is approx 14 cm x 17 cm or 6 inch x 7 inch but don't panic if you don't have any . In the past if I've not had any I've used other things to hand rather than going out and spending more money , for example a piece of white felt , I've even put a small amount of stuffing in to plump up the ears a little , the interfacing is just used to give the ears a little rigidity. So if you choose to miss out using interfacing or any other substitute you may end up with slightly floppy ears but this may look quite cute too .

Now who loves buttons ? I know I do , any excuse to play with buttons when I'm being creative !!
For this make you will need to find  3 button , two that match for the eyes and the colour depends on your own personal choice and what you feels suits the fabric you choose and size wise nothing too large , I find its worth having a play with a few different sizes once the piece is nearly finished as you get a better idea of scale and placement of the buttons on the face of the Bunny. 
Also you need 1 button for closing the pocket opening at the back of this make and choose one that you feel sits nicely with the choice of your fabrics . The bigger the better in this case, there is no restriction on the size of the button in this case as you can make your button loop to fit your button .
As well as buttons you will need sewing thread that matches with your fabric to use on your sewing machine and 2 different colours of embroidery thread ( floss ) for the hand stitching of the mouth and whiskers detail , again the colour is up to you , I tend to go for grey and beige when  stitching on  light background and cream/ white and a darker grey on darker background . I also split the embroidery thread/floss down to 3 strands . But if you cant get you hand on some embroidery thread just use normal household sewing thread in appropriate colours .

You also need to pop to the bottom of this post and print out your pdf  pattern , there are two pages to the pattern so make sure you print out both. ( and I do hope this bit works !!) .
 Then cut out your pattern pieces do remember before you start snipping at your fabric that this pattern is to the sewn edge and you need to allow for a seam allowance . 
Do no less than a 5 mm hem allowance all the way around the pieces ( try be a bit on the generous side as you can always trim it back once sewn ) also you have snipping into this area to do on some of the curved edges . 

So lets just do a quick round up of the materials you need but also a list of things you will need to hand .
Equipment you need to hand :
A sewing machine 
An ironing board
An iron 
scissors , a pair for cutting paper , fabric scissors and a little pair ideal for snipping in small areas. 
Pins and a hand sewing needle.
A ruler and or tape measure 
If you have one a fabric pencil or pen might come in handy too.

Items for your make :
1 x printed out pattern cut out 
1 x piece of felt or wool felt
1 x a tiny piece of pink felt for the nose 
1 x piece of patterned fabric
1 x pieces of medium or heavy weight interfacing 
2 x buttons for eyes
1 x button for fastener of pocket.
Two different colours of embroidery thread for hand stitching detail on the face.
Sewing thread for your sewing machine that matches your chosen fabrics and for a little bit of invisible hand sewing . 
Here you can see my making board and how I like to get organised before I start sewing the make . I have printed out and cut my pattern pieces as you can see I am quite generous with the hem allowance , I've also gathered a selection of buttons to play with to keep my options open for the eyes and fastener and I cut out two different pink felt noses to see which I think suits towards the end of the make . You can see I've cut and pressed my two  binding ready ( I will go over this a bit further into the tutorial ) and my piece that makes the button loop.and I gathered some threads too .
So I have everything to hand to get started .
One thing that you will be doing a lot of is pressing your pieces , so it might be helpful to have your iron and ironing board close to where you are sewing .
 Now the cutting out your fabric , make sure you allow for all of your pieces and don't forget to add your hem allowance .
 I do need to bring to your attention that  with regards to the felt back top and felt back bottom pieces  that on the two opening edges only, where you can see the two binding strips in the above picture there is no hem allowance ( cut to the pattern on this edge only ) the binding covers the raw edge on the finished item . This is the only place where there is no hem allowance need !!
( The felt pieces need a good hem allowance on all other edges !)
Don't forget to cut your two strips for the binding out of your chosen lining fabric and the one strip for your button loop as discussed earlier in the tutorial .
I also like to do the Bunny Ears together in one block as you have 3 layers to sew through and I think it just makes it easier , I will show you shortly how I do mine .
When you have cut out all your pieces press them on the appropriate temp on your iron for your fabric . You can see in the picture below that I have pressed the hem allowance of the Back top and The Back bottom pieces on the lining fabric over the pattern pieces , there is a reason for this and you need to do this too , all will be explained later.

Now those binding strips I keep mentioning , these are used to create a pretty finish to the back opening of the Pocket . They are placed over and stitched onto the raw edge of the felt . I have already discussed at the start of the post the size the strips of fabric you need to make these , but if you want to slightly alter the depth of the strip that I recommend that is completely up to you as I tweak it often if I don't have quite enough fabric or I think it look too deep  . So don't worry if you've had to be frugal when cutting . But what you do need to do to make the binding is firstly press with the iron the width of the piece in half , then folding the raw edges from the outside to the center and press .
 Then slot it over the raw edge of the opening edge of the Back top and Back bottom pieces of felt.
as you can see in the next two pictures.

Then you are going to stitch these two binding strips in place as seen in the next two pictures

It already looks pretty doesn't it ?

Remember I've kept mentioning the button loop strip , I've already mentioned the size of strip you need to start of with , here's what to do to make your loop . As with the binding , press the width in half then press the raw edges into the center of the strip  , so you have a long piece with all the raw edges hidden inside . you are now going to sew the strip closed , as shown in the next two pictures .

You now need to press your stitched piece into a flat loop that will sit neatly under your chosen button .
To do this you will firstly need to fold your strip in half length wise as in the picture above , you will notice a little triangle form on the back . This is good as it means you've done it right , now press this in place so this shape stays . You now have your loop for your button to fasten the pocket closed. 
Here you can see how this will eventually look on your finished pocket.

Now the ears , now you need to make sue you get your fabrics layered the right way  and in the right order for this to be successful , there's nothing worse than stitching something to then realize you've done it inside out or the wrong way round . Believe me I've done it on numerous occasions in the past !! and normally because I was in a rush or not bothering reading the instructions and I'm sure there are many of you that have done this too .
 In the picture bellow you can see I've kept a piece of the lining fabric and the felt in a block to accommodation  both ears and this has been layered with the interfacing I have previously talked about . This is because I stitch around my paper templates then cut the ears out . 
The right order of the layers is to place the lining fabric (patterned fabric) with it's right side facing down onto the right side face of the felt with the interfacing laying behind the felt .
As you can see in the picture blow , pin your pattern pieces in place and make sure you leave plenty of room in between to pieces for their hem allowance when cutting out .

You then need to sew around the templates like so , remember to sew right up to the paper edge . If you don't want to use your templates like this you could always draw around the template onto the fabric and follow that line to sew , unfortunately my eye sight isn't up to that so this is the way I choose to do it . 
Once you've cut out your ears with a good hem allowance you need do some snipping on the curves , this helps the shape of your piece once turned . You can see in the picture below how I've done little V shaped snips spread around the curved edge .

Then you need to turn the ear , I use an old crochet hook that has a ball end to help push it through to the right side but what ever you choose to use as your impliment to do this to help you turn it must be rounded not be sharp or pointed or that will pierce and ruin your fabric and we don't want that to happen after all your hard work . 
Once youv'e turned your ears give them a quick press.

Now you may have noticed a diagonal line made up of dashes in the ear pattern pieces , what I use this for is a line to press on each ear so I can line it up with the other pieces when they are all sewn together . So you may wish to do this , I find it quite a helpful thing to do , see next picture.

Then comes the assembling of the parts to make the outer of the Bunny , don't forget we are always looking at the inside of the piece where all the seams will be hidden .
Take your felt front piece and your two back pieces of felt that have the binding edges and lay then on top of one another with right side facing each other, use your templates to line everything up as in the picture bellow . You will be using the templates to stitch around the outer curved edges (not the bottom as that is where you will stitch a gusset bottom to ) 
Before you stitch the sides of the pocket you need to get your ears in place as they are stitched in at this point .

Get both your ears , you need be looking at the felt backs to have them the right way around for sewing .Slot them in between the back top felt piece and the top of the front piece of felt ( your making a sandwich of layers your going to sew through ) .Remember those pressed lines ? You need to line them up with the curve of the top of the head .  Place the front template on top of everything and just check  that the bit of ear that is protruding from the sandwiched layers is in the dotted area indicated and that some of the raw edge of the ear folds back into this area .  If this is like the picture below I think you have them placed correctly .
another tip to placing the ears correctly is to check the tips are equal length like this picture indicates . Make sure everything is pinned and well secured ready to go through the sewing machine ,
Now follow the curved outside edge of the pattern and sew the sides of your bunny pocket , you may want to reinforce the stitches at either side of the opening where the bound edges meet . I normally go back and forth a couple of times . You should now have a piece that looks something like bellow ready for trimming any excess off and snipping those curves just like below.

Turn the right way out and press , look it's starting to take shape .

Doesn't it look pretty on the back too!!
Now for fitting the bottom and stitching in the gusset . Turn your bunny inside out again so it look like the picture below and pin your gusset in place as I show in the picture below and in the next 3 pictures. When starting to place the gusset in with the pins I roughly start with the center edge of one side of the gusset and roughly line it up with the center of the front or the back piece and work on pinning from there , it usually works out pretty well .

Once your happy with an even placement of your gusset sew like so , you can pull the pins out as you sew when they are placed like I show or leave them in until the end as your sewing machine needle should jump straight over them , it saves on tacking !! Stitch both sides of the bottom section .
.......and you will end up with something resembling the picture below , once you've made those little V shaped snips all around the curved seam allowance .
Just give those curved bottom seams a light press to help the shape when you turn it back the right way out.
Now turn it the right way out and have an admiring look at the outer of your Bunny Pocket.
Here's what it looks like stood up without it having its lining and embellishments stitched on .

Now you can pick a lovely big button for your fastener for on the back of the pocket.
Get the button loop you've made and pressed and sit it as shown in the picture below and place your button on top right where you plan to sew it on to the back of your pocket  . Your are trying to work out how big the loop needs to be and then you can pin the loop in place on the top section of the pocket, keeping the raw edge of the loop tucked underneath as the picture shows. 
Now you need to make the lining its pretty much the same as the outer but without the ears and the binding , so get all your pieces you've cut out and pressed and place your two back pieces with right sides facing down on top of your front piece which should be right side facing up and pin your pattern pieces in place like in the picture . Do you remember me telling you to press over the hem allowance on the opening edges of the two back pieces of lining ? Well these two pressed edges should still be pressed over and now on the side facing you , you will be stitching this in place as you stitch around your template to stitch the curved sides of the pocket . it will create a neat edge to the lining once placed and stitched inside the pocket and you wont see the turned over raw edge as it will be hidden. You may also want to reinforce the stitching of this area where the top and bottom meet as on the Bunny outer . Don't forget don't sew across the bottom as you still have the gusset to stitch in place .
Once again pin the gusset in place as before , see picture below .
You should have a lining that looks like the picture below .
Now for a bit of creative fun before you stitch your lining and button hoop in , your going to design and stitch your Bunnies face . Here you can see I played around with a few buttons to see which I thought worked best and then I put the nose where I thought it looked right so I could get the placement of the eyes right . It will be worth you having a play with placement until you think you've got it right . Then stitch them on working through the back opening of the pocket .

Once you've got your eyes in place and stitched your nose on  (I just used a simple running stitch ) then you can stitch the mouth and whiskers detail on , you can see quite clearly the number of stitches I have use and how in the picture below . All of this is worked through the back opening .

Now your Bunnies face is done its time to put the lining in so keeping the lining inside out slot it into your Bunny pocket.
It should sit quite nicely in there and line your two opening edges up as your now going to hand stitch your lining to your pocket and stitch your button loop in place . I always start on the edge of the bottom opening edge where doth of the reinforced seams are . I stitch my lining to the inside edge of the binding by taking the stitch sits internally under the layers of the fabric this is so the stitch is invisible and  I catch a stitch from the underneath of the  lining then back to the binding , and continue as shown in the picture. But you can choose a different technique if you like , I just think by using invisible stitching it looks really neat .
Eventually you will work your way around to the area where the button loop is you need to make sure your needle sews through this with the lining and into the bias to stitch it securely in place , I do use very small stitches when doing this so I can get more in and make it really secure. 

Then once your lining and button loop have been hand stitched in you can stitch your button in place .

Oh my goodness its finished and ready for treats !!!!
Then it's ready to hand out to the little peeps or not so little for Easter .

What child wouldn't like to receive a bunny pocket full of shiny sweet delights at Easter.

Well I hope a few of your are able to have a go at making these sweet little Bunny Pockets , its been an epic journey ( and I guess an epic read for you too , you deserve a medal !!)
 I put sooooo many hours of work  into the tutorial for you and I do hope people find my instructions easy to follow and I do hope the pdf file I've linked below actually works . 

But for now ta ta and have a lovely weekend, Tracy xx

P.S. I am happy to share this pattern with your for your own personal use so you can make it as a gift or for yourself  but I do own the copy right and do not give permission for this to be produced commercially or to be sold as a finished item, or in part as a kit or reproduced electronically for commercial use , thank you for respecting my copyright .

Please click on the square icon that appears in the right hand corner for the pdf patterns you will need to print out to make your own Bunny Pockets , have fun folks !!