My twins (according to the Montessori method of education) are in a sensitive period for learning hand crafts – sewing, knitting, etc. I’ve noticed this, too. If I happen to knit during the day, which doesn’t happen often, I will have at least one of the girls sitting in my lap with their hands under mine on the needles. They also love the lacing cards my mom has at her house. However, I was disappointed that all the lacing cards I found available online were made from cardboard. Yes, I understand that cardboard is stiff and sturdy but generally speaking, people don’t sew cardboard. So I made my own lacing cards. Constructed from inexpensive craft felt, they have the feel of actual fabric, but are stiff enough for small hands to use. Plus, I think they’re darn cute.
- Three colors of craft felt. I picked up a variety of colors 5 for $1 at JoAnns. It’s the recycled poly felt.
- Heat in Bond – heavy weight to fuse your pieces together
- Embroidery thread – your choice of colors – for the embroidered accents
- Eyelet tool – for cutting and setting eyelets
- Fray Check
- Metal eyelets to insert (optional)
- Heavyweight fusible interfacing (optional)
Step One – make your pattern pieces
Cut your pieces. I use the pictured template from the book Doodle Stitching. I’m not going to give away that exact pattern, but I’ll help you draw your own. It’s a simple shape. Feel free to freestyle it. Below, I’ll give you more specific instructions.
If you have a printer, simply save this scanned image and print it at the appropriate size (The owl body should be about 5 1/2″ tall and the chest accent should be about 3 1/8″ tall.) These are patterns that I designed myself and I don’t mind if you print them for your own use. Skip all the foofarah for the pattern drafting below and proceed to cutting and sewing!
Using a straight edge (I used my grocery list note pad!) draw a central line – at least 4 1/2″ long.
At the bottom, draw a straight line at a 90 degree angle to the first, at least 3 1/2″ long.
Measure the central line where it intersects the bottom line and make a hash mark at 4 1/2″. Measure the bottom line 1 3/4″ out from the central line and make hash marks to the right and left.
Using your notepad, draw a straight line across the top, at the top hash marks. (Also 90 degrees from the central line – it should be parallel to the bottom line.) Measure 1 1/4″ from the central line and make hash marks to the right and left.
Measure 1/2″ from these hash marks and make another. These two hash marks indicate the width of the ears.
Centered between the two outer hash marks on the top line, measure up 1 ” and make a hash mark on each side. (This will be the top of the ears.)
Now that you have your guidelines, its time to freestyle your curves. Draw a curved line between the two inner marks along the top line. Draw a similar curved line between the two hash marks on the bottom line.
Starting from the upper curve, draw the ears on either side.
Join the ears to the bottom of the body by drawing a gentle curve. Don’t worry about matching things exactly.
Fold along the center line & cut along the side that you like best.
Draw a straight line, mark the top and bottom at 3 1/8″ tall.
Draw a straight line across the bottom hash mark. (I used a note pad to get a 90 degree angle and straight line.) Mark hash marks so that the line is 1 1/2″, centered on the first line. There should be 3/4″ on either side of the tall line.
In the top 1/3 of the central line, measure out 1 1/8″ and make a hash line. In the bottom 1/3 of the central line, measure out 1 1/4″ and make a hash line. These are simply a guide for the outside curves of the eyes and chest.
Starting from the bottom line hash mark (see pink star) measure up 2″ and make a hash mark. This is a guide to indicate the bottom curve of the eye.
You want the inside of this hash mark to end 3/4″ from the central line. See pink stars.
Now, following the guide markings, draw your upper curve and lower curve. Use the hash marks as a guide, and feel free to make adjustments to suit your personal taste.
Fold along central line. Cut the pattern out.
Cut Your Pieces
Cut a square of Heat N Bond approximately 5 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ – make sure it covers your owl outline piece.
Layer the black, Heat N Bond and gold craft felt. Either pin on the Own Outline pattern, or trace it onto your felt. Cut all three layers using sharp scissors simultaneously. This way your pieces will be identical. You can opt to cut them individually, but this can allow the Heat N Bond to peek out and smudge your iron and you will need to trim the edges when you’re done.
Cut one accent from aqua.
* If you’re using fusible interfacing for an extra stiff card, cut two Owl Outlines now.
Embroider Your Chest Accent
Using the colors of your choice, back stitch the (gold) branches at the base of your Chest Accent. I free styled this, and it’s not really worth tracing a pattern.
Add the (purple) french knots.
Satin stitch the diamond shaped nose (purple).
Position the Chest Accent piece on the gold Owl Outline. Be sure to leave at least 1/2″ of gold showing on all sides of the accent. Using the color of your choice (light pink) outline stitch the chest accent to the gold owl outline piece.
Fuse Your Pieces
Warm up your iron to the Medium setting.
* If you’re using fusible interfacing, fuse one piece to the wrong side of each Owl Outline now.
Layer the gold Outline piece and your Heat N Bond together. Make sure the Heat N Bond is on the wrong side of your Gold Owl (The side with your embroidery knots.) and that the paper side of the Heat N Bond is to the outside. The rough side, which is the glue, should be against the gold outline. Using a pressing cloth (old t-shirt or kitchen towel over your work.) Press the iron down and hold for about 30 seconds. Check to see if the Heat N Bond has fused, repeat as necessary. Allow the piece to cool.
Starting from a corner, peel off the paper backing of the Heat N Bond.
Position the black Owl Outline, sparkles out on top. Fuse together using your pressing cloth.
Allow to cool and stiffen.
Using the largest eyelet cutter (Mine was 4 mm), a cutting board and a hammer, pound eyelets evenly around the outside of the shape. Allow at least 1/4″ of felt between the eyelet and the edge to make a sturdy lacing card. My owl has 28 holes.
Use fray check to stiffen the inside of each eyelet and allow to dry.
Install metal eyelets according to the manufacturer’s directions if you like.
Teach a little one to sew!
Thread a plastic yarn needle with a smooth, thin yarn and teach a little one to sew. (Feel free to use a shoelace with sturdy ends for smaller children.) With a little patience and some assistance my four year old twins are enjoying their lacing card.