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!Finger Puppet Tutorial

The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  Full tutorial below
Fabric:   “Bright” from Little Kulka by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Kona solid
Notions:  Fiberfill
Difficulty:  easy
Make it again?:  Oh heck yeah

Her words:

“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.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

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:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

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:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

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.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

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.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

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.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

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.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

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.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Finger puppet tutorial

Finger Puppet Tutorial

The tiny pocket tank has me craving something flowy and sleeveless. Like, all of the time.

One could attribute that to the 100 plus degree temperatures in Montana right now. If they wanted.

Attribute away I say, I’m still going to scour the thrift stores for too-big, sleeveless numbers to appease my craving.

Meet Big Red.

And boy is she big. A 1XL Notations tank (that makes me look 8 months pregnant) would be perfect to turn into a tiny pocket tank, I thought.

I put it on and quickly called for my sew-talented mom to assist. She grabbed a bit of fabric from each side to see what it would look like if we merely brought the sides in a bit. The result was a long, flowing cap sleeve. A basic piece for lounging in skinny jeans or tucked into a skirt for more cleaned up look.

So take in the sides we did. Literally the quickest sewing fix available. And when you’ve resized about a hundred button-ups, this is a no-brainer. I promise you’ll think so too.

First, we placed a pin in the armpit where we wanted to take the shirt in. Then I used a quilter’s ruler and chalk to draw a diagonal down to the hem of the shirt, making sure to leave more room at the bottom of the shirt than at the top.

Then, I made sure the slippery fabric was laying absolutely flat and I pinned along that line.

Normally, I would cut the fabric off the side, pin it up, then sew. But this time I just sewed down that white chalk line, and cut the extra fabric off after I knew the fit was right. It worked like a charm!

Finally, I serged up the sides to prevent fraying.

This project took a total twenty minutes from start to finish. My kind of sewing indeed.

I wore this shirt the same day to the Vintage Whites Antique Market and sewing all day. It was totally comfortable, and breezy to boot.

There are many more Sew Thrifted posts to come! Check back each Thursday to see all the crap I’ve accumulated from thrift stores in the past 30 days.

A Year of Nothing New Update:

My year of nothing new has been rather uneventful thus far, besides a slight moment of panic when I was told I’d need work boots for a workshop I’m taking. I quickly scoured eBay, added several used items to my watch list and then forgot completely about the work boots that I’m required to wear…on Monday.

Today is Thursday.

Gulp.

Yesterday, I asked each of the girls I work with their feet size and my favorite coworker told me she’s exactly my size and has an extra pair that I can borrow! I will admit that it’s a little anxiety inducing asking people if you can borrow random items, but I’ve found that, in general, people are more than willing to help a friend out.

If nothing else, this year of nothing makes me appreciate the generosity of my friends and family, and drives me to be equally as willing to give the shirt off my back. Life is good and people are good. Amen.

Over a relaxing, Hawaiian Thanksgiving break I stumbled across an amazing pattern. This little summer frock looked comfy and cool, but also completely out of my skill range as a dress making newbie. I bookmarked the source, and moved on with my life, and tried to forget that beautiful, jersey dress.

Until…I entered the thrift store a few weeks ago and found the 1980’s polyester copy-cat (possibly…if you squint your eyes really tight) of my inspiration. We shall call her…Fuschia.

I liken Fuschia to my high school choir robe. Shapeless, matronly…something out of Big Love, if you will. The first thing that caught my eye about this piece were the awesome skirt pleats that looked something like this. Gorgeous, perfectly spaced, neatly pressed pleats. It turns out that when you machine wash a piece of clothing that says “Dry Clean Only” in huge letters on the tag, those pretty little pleats wash right out.

A quick image search of Karin Stevens apparel yielded some pretty freaking fantastic results. Check out these vintage gems on Etsy!

And now, I present to you…the infamous shoulder pads. I’ve had one of these stuffed in my winter coat pocket for about a week after toting it to the fabric store to find matching thread. I feel a weird affinity for them now. They will not be thrown away! Though I have yet to think of a clever repurpose for them.

Since this is my first tutorial, I’ll be the first to admit I forgot to document several important steps. It might have something to do with the fact that I hastily ripped the arms of this little gem off in a fit of rage in the wee hours of a Monday morning. Seam ripping is the best therapy.

Since I was attempting to imitate my inspiration piece, the arms (and shoulder pads) obviously had to go. Then, the back had to become the front and the front had to become the back. This would require some neck tidying.

I added a 1/4″ topstitch to the fraying neckline to clean things up. Easy peasy.

Next, it was time to sew up those arm holes. Now this part is not pretty, and I welcome any insight you have about transforming a sleeved piece into a sleeveless piece. This is my second attempt at removing sleeves, and it seems the arm holes always look a little wonky afterwards.

To do this, I folded the arm holes in towards the inside of the fabric once about 1/4″ and then again over itself to create a nice inner seam. I carefully sewed around the edge with about a 1/8″ seam allowance.

The last step would require a fair bit of fabric to come off the bottom of this sucker. Karin and Steven designed this little lady to hit just about mid-shin. Flattering.

I cut about 2.5″ off the bottom with my rotary cutter. Then, I folded the fabric over 1.25″ and pressed, and folded over again and pinned. This time I sewed with about a 3/4″ seam allowance. Now, the dress falls above the knee.

After taking so much length off Fuschia, I had plenty of fabric to whip up a little belt. Because the elastic waist is completely stretched out, I needed something to suck it all in. To make the belt, I simply sewed the raw edge of the extra fabric towards the middle, keeping it in a loop. It’s a bit strange to tie, but it creates a neat little bow-type thing in the back. For me, it works.

I have to say, I don’t totally hate this look. Not quite the inspiration dress I was going for, but certainly wearable.

It was a sunny day in Boulder, imagine that. Hence, the eyes stay shut.

And one totally dorky picture for good measure.

I hope you enjoyed! Any feedback on my tutorial skillz is gladly welcomed.