She’s done it, folks. Whitney has written a full tutorial on the most adorable matryoshka finger puppets you have ever laid eyes on. Enjoy!
The facts, straight up:
Pattern: Full tutorial below
Fabric: “Bright” from Little Kulka by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Kona solid
Make it again?: Oh heck yeah
“I found an adorable fabric and have been making everything under the sun from it. I really wanted a set of finger puppets and searched the internet for some sort of tutorial to make them. I came up short. There were plenty of great ideas for felt puppets, but nothing that called for fabric ones with a little dimension to them. Let me share my process. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful!
Start by picking an appropriate fabric.
This is from the Little Kulka line and I LOVE it. I multiple-purchases-12-yards-total-plus-extra-coordinates LOVE it.
Basically what you’re looking for in a fabric is an image with a definite border that stands somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three inches tall. You could use animals, people, fictional characters… you name it. While you’re at the fabric store, buy a coordinate for the back.
Start by cutting out the image with some extra space on the sides. You’ll probably want at least a ¼ inch overhang, but if you have more room, by all means, use it. Do not feel like you have to cut around the image exactly. A rectangle or a square is perfectly fine.
Once you have that piece cut, use your coordinate fabric to cut out a second set of pieces that are exactly the same size. For your third set, fold a large piece of your coordinate in half, iron, and cut a final set of pieces the same (folded) size as the first two. The fold will ultimately go along the bottom of the puppet, so in my photos, the fold is along the short end of the rectangle.
You should end up with a pile that looks like this:
What you’re ultimately aiming for is a small stuffed puppet with the image on the front, some fiberfill in the middle, a single thickness of the coordinate to contain it, and the folded thickness to go around your finger. Your finger will end up between the folded thickness and the single thickness. Hanging in there?
Stack your fabrics like so:
Start with your image face up. Then layer your folded coordinate on top of the image, but slightly above the bottom of the finished puppet. The fold goes towards the bottom of the puppet. Finally, layer your unfolded coordinate on the very top, lining it up with the original image on the bottom. The final photo shows your finished sandwich of fabrics.
Now pin your little stacks of fabric together, image side up, and get to sewing.
Start at the bottom edge of your fabric and sew around the image, leaving the bottom of the doll open. Backstitch at the beginning and end. I sewed slightly outside the image, leaving a thin whitespace around the doll. Experiment and see what works best in your situation. Once you’ve sewn around three sides, cut the excess fabric away. Snip small cuts in corner areas. In this case, there is a small snip between the doll head and body on each side. Be careful not to cut through your stitches. You just want to facilitate turning the puppet right side out.
I did not draw any lines to follow on my puppets. I was able to see the image well enough through the fabric to be able to follow it with my presser foot. If your fabric isn’t as transparent, you may want to trim that layer with a uniform edge to help with the sewing.
Turn your puppets.
I like to use a knitting needle to run around all the edges. I also like to iron the puppets at this point.
Edgestitch (sew closely to the edge) your puppets.
This step is optional, but it reinforces the seam and means that when you close the bottom of your puppet, all the edges will match. Make sure you’re still only stitching three sides. You want to leave that bottom open for the next step.
Fill your puppets and sew them shut.
I used a small handful of fiberfill in each puppet. The knitting needle helps get the fiberfill into tight spaces. Turn the bottom of your puppet in, pin and sew it up. Make sure your seam allowance is scant enough to avoid sewing the back folded piece into the puppet. You need a spot for your finger.
All done! Sit back and admire your handiwork.