These are great and the supplies are cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeap!
I found this on the YALSA programming list-serv. (yaac) It was posted by Mary Ann from Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA. She gave me permission to post it and wanted me to be sure to credit the “two very creative members” of her Teen Advisory Group. A similar activity is in the 2010 CSLP YA Summer Reading manual as well. (Sea Creatures-pgs. 61-62)
This is a much better and thorough post than usual thanks to the great instructions provided by Mary Ann. Thanks again!
How to Make a Stuffed Creature
1. Pick out a design or draw your design on paper
– keep it simple!
– keep it small
2. Pick your fabric; pick out felt for eyes, mouth, face, etc.
3. Pin the design to the fabric
4. Cut fabric for side 1; repeat for 2nd side. Save the fabric scraps!
5. Sew face & other attachments (if you want to glue things on, do that after you stuff)
6. Pin front & back together, then stitch around the outside–leave a space to insert stuffing.
7. Stuff your creature.
– use the eraser-end of a pencil to work to stuffing into tight spaces.
8. Sew up the stuffing hole. Glue attachments if needed.
9. Congrats! You have a creature! Give it a name and a good home!
Creature Craft Rules
When you remove pins from the fabric, put them back in the box. DO NOT leave them loose on the table or anywhere else!
Put your needle in a scrap of fabric when not in use. When you’re finished, return it to staff.
Help each other when needed.
Clean up after yourselves.
Tips for Organizer:
Make sure when you promote the craft you emphasize that hand-sewing will be involved.
Plan for a two hour event, if possible (I had to do several in 1.5 hrs and not everyone was able to finish).
Instead of doing individual handouts of instructions, I made a giant posterboard that they could reference; it included samples of most of the steps.
Before you begin, briefly go through the steps. Demonstrate how to pin the pattern to the fabric (some were just stabbing the pins straight down!) and basic sewing stitches if needed.
Tell teens who are designing their own pattern to keep it small (no larger than and 8.5×11 sheet of paper) so they can finish it within the allotted time. Avoid narrow features in their design—hard to stuff.
To reduce waste, I told teens to pick only two felt squares for their creature (one for the front, one for the back). They can use scraps for smaller pieces.
Ask them to add their scraps to the felt scraps pile (I went around and collected them, too—it helped keep the area uncluttered while they were working). They could use as many felt scraps as they wanted to embellish their creatures.
Have extra adults around if possible to help those who aren’t as adept with hand-sewing.
Encourage them to help each other—tying knots in the thread was actually more difficult for some of them than sewing stitches, so the ones who could tie knots were in demand.
If they’re going to glue anything to the creatures, do it after the creature is stuffed. Otherwise the glued pieces fall off and they have to re-glue them anyway.
Be neurotic about keeping track of needles and putting pins back in the box or a pin cushion! We worked in carpeted areas where small children also use the space, so I really didn’t want anyone to have unpleasant surprises after we were gone.
Stuffed Creatures Supply List
Plush-o-rama, book by Linda Kopp
Copies of simple patterns
Felt in assorted colors
* Other fabrics, if desired
Fabric glue or tacky glue
Pin cushions or containers for pins
* Sharpies or other permanent markers
* Measuring tape
* Seamstress chalk/pencils
* Embroidery floss
* pinking shears
* not essential, but good to have around if you’ve got it