I originally started this as a comment on the last post, but when it started to get too lengthy, I just decided to put it on the blog as an actual post--hopefully it will encourage some of you. :) So no new pictures yet, but soon, I promise. This one is just more about the logistics of sewing a felt playhouse.
Sewing with felt is SO easy. I really haven't sewn hardly at all since my 7th grade home ec class. A couple little blanket things, but really, that was it. This year I just felt like jumping in, so I have. Felt is nice because it is so forgiving, and you don't have to worry about hemming it at all, because it doesn't really fray. I haven't even worried about turning anything inside out to hide seams--the seams are part of the charm with felt, I think. I love it. To save on $$, I bought it when it was only $2.00/yd at JoAnn Fabrics. This goes a LONG way, since their felt bolts are 72". (I'm positive some of the people at JoAnn's thought I was crazy or rude or whatever on Black Friday when I had my seriously loaded up cart of felts to be cut, but the savings were absolutely worth it. $2/yd vs $5-6/yd? Not missing that deal, that's for sure.) I used some of the templates Jill provided on her blog (found at Jill's site) as guides, and cut others of my own out of posterboard I had hanging around the house. I still have all the templates, too, if anyone wants to borrow them. As far as cutting goes, I do have a cutting board and rotary cutter, but I haven't used them hardly at all--you definitely don't need those for this project. I think the hardest part, really, of sewing this whole project has been working with the large pieces of felt on the sewing machine--trying to sew in the middle of a wall is a bit of a trick. Not really hard, just takes more effort than the rest of the project. If you're doing a house to fit over a round or oval table, I'd recommend still doing it in a couple pieces, just to cut down on the size of the fabric you're sewing on. Also, remembering to sew velcro on the backs of pieces *before* sewing the front to them and stuffing them...but I think that just might be my inability to plan ahead.
As for the time factor--I won't lie, this has taken me a lot of hours, but I just sew while we watch our shows at night, which makes me feel like I'm actually doing something productive, instead of just mindlessly watching tv. I sewed a few of the smaller parts during Janey's naptime, but I do want this to be a surprise for the girls, so I try not to do much while Breanne is around.
Upon taking on this project, there were some expenses I expected--the felt, velcro and the stuffing, mainly. I didn't really expect (though I should've, if I'd thought through it) the expense of the thread (I wanted different colors to match the felt), which was like $1.50-2.00 a spool, and then bobbins to go with each color (I bought a 12 pack of empty ones for like $2.00 at Walmart). Also needed are pins to hold things together while sewing. That's about all I can think of right now--so all told, the house has probably cost me close to $70.00, but I will have a ton of leftover felt, velcro, stuffing and thread, which I think I'll probably use for the dolls and crayon rolls I mentioned before, and a quiet book when I get up the energy to whip up one of those. I could actually probably do the whole interior of the house with what I have left (when I was calculating how much I'd need for the exterior, I didn't realize the bolts were 72", which means I have a lot left over). I just need to decide if I want to do that or not. I mean, a fireplace, a fridge (where you could put the fresh veggies from the back of the house), curtains... what could be cuter, seriously? I'm just not sure if I should limit the girl's imaginations like that. If I leave it blank, it could be whatever they want it to be inside... decisions, decisions.
Anyway, not sure if this post is helpful or not, but I think you should all know--this really hasn't been *hard* necessarily, just time consuming, and an investment. I hope the girls will play in it enough to make up for all that's gone into it, and I really think they will. Felt is pretty durable, too, so it should last a good long time, hopefully through all our kids. I love that I will just be able to put it all away, so it doesn't take up a ton of space in our little house. If you want to make one, and you have the means, I'd really encourage you to--it's not a scary project. I've also seen several people make them out of sheets or other fabrics they have hanging around their houses already--that seems like a great idea to me, too. Felt is nice because velcro sticks to it anywhere you put it, but using what you have obviously has its own benefits. And that is all I think I have to say about it... today. :)