Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Felt Patchwork Kite Tutorial

I guest posted with this tutorial over at kojodesigns a couple of weeks ago as part of Kirstin and Jordan's Spring DeStash. I knew my destash project would have to involve either felt or fat quarters because those are the two things I can't buy enough of and will never ever run out of. While I was brainstorming project ideas, my three year old daughter started talking to me about kites. She learned to fly a kite on a recent vacation, and now she can't get enough of them. Couple her new obsession with my plethora of felt, and I give you...

This kite can be hung on the wall in a child's bedroom or a playroom, or you can hang it from the ceiling like I did in my daughter's room...

Doesn't it look awesome? She absolutely loves it, and it's really easy to make. Let's get started!

  • felt (I used five different 9" x 12" felt sheets.)
  • dowels (I used three 12" long, 3/16" diameter dowels.)
  • cotton piping cord - 1 yard (I have no idea what size I used. I found this in the bottom of a basket in my sewing closet. There are lots of options for the kite tail... use whatever suits your style.)
  • coordinating thread
  • glue gun

These instructions are for creating a kite that is 12" wide by 24" long, excluding the tail (It's about 5' long with the tail). All seam allowances are 1/4".

To start, cut your felt into 4.5" squares. You will need 18 squares of felt. Arrange your felt into three columns with 6 squares of felt in each column. Play with the layout until you have the colors arranged to your liking.

Next, start sewing. Sew one edge of the first two squares in the first column together. Continue down the first column until all squares in the first column are sewn together. Repeat for the squares in the second and third columns.

Now you have three patchwork columns. You will need to sew the columns together side by side. Take the first and second columns and pin the right sides together. Make sure that the seams from each column match up when you pin them.

Sew down the entire length of the pinned columns.

Now, pin the third column to the second column with right sides together, again being careful to match up the seams. Sew down the entire length of the columns.

You now have this lovely felt patchwork to work with...

But first... Since I only had 12" long dowels in my stash, and I needed a 24" dowel for the length of the kite, I needed to do a little work with my dowels. I broke out the Gorilla Glue and some heavy duty packing tape. I glued two 12" dowels together end to end. Once that dried I wrapped it with a piece of packing tape for extra stability. You'll never see it when it's hanging up.

OK, back to the patchwork... Lay your patchwork out right side down. Place a pin in the patchwork at the very center along both the top and bottom edges to mark for cutting the kite shape. Also place pins on both the left and right edges between the second and third rows of felt.

Using a straightedge, cut the patchwork into a kite shape by cutting from pin to pin along adjacent edges. A rotary cutter works really well for this. If you don't have a rotary cutter, use a straightedge to mark the back side of the patchwork from pin to pin and cut along the lines using scissors.

When you're done cutting, you'll have this...

So by now you may have noticed that you didn't really need the bottom felt squares from columns one and three. No worries... you can use those later for the bows on the kite tail.

Flip your patchwork kite shape back over (wrong side up), and trim the seams at an angle along the edges if they are sticking out beyond the edges of the kite.

With the wrong side of your patchwork facing up, get out your glue gun and glue your dowels onto the patchwork. Don't overdo it with the glue... it doesn't take much. I glued down the long vertical dowel first and then glued the short horizontal dowel over it.

Now for the tail... Take your yard of piping cord, overlap one end of the cord and the bottom of the vertical dowel by about 2" and glue them together on the back of the kite.

On to the bows... I added five bows to the tail in five different colors. To do this you will need to cut rectangles of felt that are each 1.5" by 3".

For each bow, fold the rectangle in half lengthwise...

Now fold the long edges back in the opposite direction...

Get your glue gun into all three creases (both sides) and add a dab of glue. This is tricky, and you need to squeeze the bow together once you get the glue in there, so be careful!

Once all five bows are made, decide how you want to space them out on your cord, then grab your glue gun and attach them to the cord.

And you're done! All that's left is deciding where and how to hang your kite. In case you're wondering, I used fishing line to hang the kite from the ceiling. It really looks like it's floating in the air!

I'm linking up...

PhotobucketGet Your Craft On TuesdayTip Junkie handmade projects


KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

I love kites and really like the colour palette you chose. PBK kids used to sell a jumbo kite for kids rooms, but it is no longer available. http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/jumbo-hanging-kite/
I often get queries on how to make one - so I will definitely send them over here. Have a great day!

Amy @ Increasingly Domestic said...

Super cute Gwen!

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

I love the bright colors in this kite! It matches the quilt on the bed so well. What a fun accent to liven up her room!

Katie said...

I just tried to leave a comment but got a conflicting update error message so I don't know if it went through. If it's a duplicate Gwen just delete, okay? ☺

So what I said was...I need to motivate myself to do this! My daughter would love, love, love it. I am just so so tired these days! Super fun project.

Naturally Carol said...

Hi Gwen...I think you're a wonderful mum to make this for your daughter..flying kites is exciting..I love watching them and flying them.

Andi said...

I absolutely love this! But what project of yours don't I love! Those bows are so cute! It looks so cool 'flying' over your daughters bed.

Ladybird Ln said...

Wow, that is darling, I love the patchwork felt! So darling, thanks for coming by and commenting on my blog! You have such a beautiful blog! With lots of great ideas, I am your newest follower!


malia said...

extremely darling miss gwen! i wish i had this tute in my old sorority days... our symbol was a kite and we all had to make one! xo malia

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