Monday, June 13, 2011

Quiet Book Week!

While sitting in church a couple weeks ago and watching Catie play with her quiet book I realized I hadn't ever blogged the scripture pages I made for her.  I put her book together just after she was born and I blogged about the original 10 pages but then I decided to make some scripture pages.  Initially the plan was to make a separate book but I soon lost interest in felt and it became clear that it wasn't going to happen so instead I finished them up and put them in her current book.  It's now huge but adorable so we lug it to church every week anyway.  There are 6 new pages so I thought we'd do a page a day until you've seen them all (taking a break for What Catie Wore Wednesday).  Also, I've made up templates for each of the pages so you can print them off and make your own (I really hope someone is interested and I didn't kid myself into thinking they're awesome).

Before we start on the actual pages though today I wanted to show my favorite trick when working with felt, there are super crappy pictures to go along with it so hopefully you'll get what I'm saying.

Often with felt you need to sandwich two layers together to give some strength and stability, so what do you do?  You cut out two shapes the same size and sew them together.  But in the end the two pieces always end up shifting so they're not exactly the same size anymore.  I always ended up trimming my edges so my end result was smaller than the beginning and it didn't look as clean and I wanted it to.  Also, if your piece is intricate it's difficult to move the flimsy felt around the sewing machine and you end up with messy looking lines.

For these crummy pictures we're going to use a little naked man who will eventually become Jonah.  So start by cutting out your shape, in this example we'll be using his body and hair.

Since Jonah is going to be 3D (not sewn to the page), you want the back of him to look as nice as the front so go ahead and stitch his cute little face on.  It's much easier if you wait to put his hair on until later so imagine him hairless. 

Once that's done take your little Jonah body and lay it over some more flesh covered felt.  Cut out a chunk that goes all around his body, not cutting too close to the outline.

Stitch all the way around Jonah (still imagining him hairless).  Once that's done you can cut away the excess and you're left with two neat, lined up edges and on the back you don't see any of the stitching from the face (He definitely has one leg fatter than the other hey?  Guess he needs to do some toning, good thing his clothes hide it).

Once his body is done do the same with his hair.  Cut out the front hair piece and stitch it on but only stitch the hairline.  The back piece will need to be sewn along the top edge as well so you can sew those two pieces at the same time.  The back of the hair won't frame his face of course so cut out the bottom of the hair to look the way you want and leave the rest a big square, like so.   See how the front hair is stitched on at the hairline and the back is just cut along the bottom.

Line the bottom hairline where you want it and stitch your two layers of hair on and then trim off the brown excess like you did with the body.  Make sure when you're sewing the bottom hair line on that you're only stitching through one layer of felt, you don't want to see brown threads running across his face.

When you're done this is what the back of Jonah looks like.

 Like I said, this is my favorite trick with felt but I do have a few more tips to share.

You can see that for the above pieces I hand stitched everything, it's so small I find it just as easy to sew it by hand then to use the sewing machine, I use that for bigger pieces but you can use the machine for everything if you want.  When using a sewing machine on felt increase your stitch size just a little, it gives a slightly better look to the end product.

Also, as tedious as it seems make sure you always match your thread colour to your felt colour.  It will look much more professional if you take the time to switch, even if it means re-threading your sewing machine 12 times.

One last point, quite books are a ton of work!  They're worth it though when you get to watch your kids be entertained by something you made.

So there you go, an introduction to Quiet Book Week.  Come back tomorrow and see Noah's Ark, it's real cute. 

I should have mentioned that my pages are all made out of white cotton and the size of each is 12" x 12".  In hind site I would have made them a little smaller, I find the size awkward.  If you want to make that change though my templates will be too big and you'll have to shrink them. 

One last tip, quiet books are all about layers.  Take this photo for example.
The first thing you would sew on would be the tan house at the top of the ark because you want the ship to overlap it.  So you would sew on the tan house, then the brown ship, then the door of the ark.  Then you'd sew on the brown window.  The beak of the dove goes next and then the white of his body followed by his wing.  Lastly you'd sew on the leaf in his beak.  It helps to lay all your pieces where you want them before you sew any of them on.


Grace & Beauty said...

hehe, cute !

Debbie said...

I am so glad you are doing this. I want to make a book for my daughter but didn't know were to start.

Becca Bingham said...

I stumbled across your site and man these are awesome!!! I am working up the courage to attempt such a think and LOVE that you shared your templates! Thank you so much!

Sam said...

The tip on sewing 2 pieces of felt is a "why didn't I think of that 20 quiet book pages ago" for me. My least favorite part, solved!!! Thanks!

Jessica Gonzalez said...

Thanks so much for posting these. I'm almost done making all your scripture pages for my daughter. I used clear thread. It blends in with whatever color you're stitching so it looks nice, but you don't have to switch the thread eight million times!

Anna said...

Thank you. I never would have thought of sewing the two pieces together before cutting them out. You just saved me a ton of work!

Unknown said...

Just found this...thanks so much! can't wait to try it for my youngest granson!

Carissa D said...

Hi Laura, your idea has come in very useful for me. I used it when making a cake quiet book page. You can see it on my blog at

Betik said...

Beautifully done! Thanks for all the sewing tips.
Once a Teacher,Always a Teacher