I love making softies – usually from scraps of felted knitwear or old blankets that might otherwise be discarded. Although the process itself is not difficult (though it can sometimes be fiddly) too often the results can be disappointing. I hope that you will find the following notes useful, some tips were handed down to me, and others I have learned the hard way!
Choosing your materials:
Making softies need not be an expensive craft. I make most of mine from scraps that would otherwise be thrown away. If you are watching costs though, don’t try to economise using cheap materials. A recycled piece of good quality fabric will make a much nicer, longerlasting softie than a flimsy, poor quality piece of fabric bought especially for the purpose. Look for old woollen or cashmere knitwear in thrift shops or jumble sales – when felted these make wonderful softies – felted cashmere is particularly lovely for baby toys as it keeps its super-soft feel. Old blankets are also good and of course felt is the classic choice.
Be sure to choose a good quality wool or wool-mix felt though – cheap acrylic craft felt is likely to tear at the seams and lose its colour in washing.
Man-made fibres are mostly unsuitable for softie making. Shiny materials such as silk, satin and heavily glazed cotton are also unsuitable. They fray too easily, pucker when sewn together and do not stuff or wash well. Cotton prints should always be washed if you’re using new fabric – this will remove any dressing and avoid future shrinkage of your softie.
I do hope you’ve found this useful – be sure to check back next week when I’ll be talking about cutting your pattern pieces!