Saturday, August 06, 2011

Sewing Pocket Pals: Cookie Cutter Templates

Are you looking for inspiration for shapes for your child to sew? It may be time for a pocket pal. A pocket pal is a tiny stuffed softie that fits in a pocket.

You and your child can make a pocket pal using cookie cutters as templates. Visit the cookie cutter section at your favourite kitchen supply store. Look for large, simple shapes and pick out his or her favourites.  

There is just about every shape a child could want in a cookie cutter; fruit, water animals, celestial shapes, zoo animals, seasonal, people shapes, pet shapes, farm animals ... even more, I'm sure.

If you've been following me for a while, you know that my method of teaching hand sewing makes use of felt, pre-cut shapes with dots around the perimeter, big needles, quality thread, stuffing and a happy spirit.

To learn more about using cookie cutters as templates, read on. 

How to choose a shape for hand sewing

J Consider how adept your little one is at sewing.  Beginners can sew super simple shapes with straight lines and gently rounded parts while more experienced children will be able to negotiate something a little more intricate.

You don't have to avoid cookie cutters that have tight curves, simply round them gently when cutting them out.

A simple cookie cutter on the left. A bumpy one on the right.
The bumps can be rounded out more gently when cutting the felt.

J Consider size.  Sometimes a favourite silhouette may be difficult to sew if it’s small, but try a bigger version, and wow! (s)he’s able to stitch circles around it!

J There is almost always a bump somewhere on the perimeter of the cookie cutter - either the seam on a stainless steel one, or a hanger on a plastic one. Skip drawing over the bump and fill in later freehand, or fix it up when you cut it out.

 J Speaking of cutting – make sure the cookie cutter is going to be easy for you to cut around. 

Steps for cutting a shape from felt 

1.  Pin 2 pieces of felt together.

2.  Trace cookie cutter onto felt with a fading fabric marker. I used a Sharpie marker for this in the past, but it left a line of marker around the shape's perimeter. Some children do not like seeing a tracing line on their finished piece.

3.  Make sure there is at least one straight pin completely inside the shape to hold the 2 pieces of felt together.

4. Decide if you want to cut inside the line or outside the line.  You may be surprised. It does change the final size.  If there are intricate parts like the stem on a pumpkin it will matter.

5. Use dedicated felt cutting scissors to cut out the shape.  Try to keep the blades vertical. 

By that I mean, try not to let them slant when you cut because the two pieces of felt will not end up the same size. They won’t fit together nicely.

Now that you have cut out your pocket pal visit this page to see how to prepare it for sewing.

Have fun making your pocket pals together!


  1. Such a great idea! I must try this!

  2. I must get some felt so I can make these. Wouldn't these make great gifts for kids in the hospital? They could have a pal right in their bed with them.

    1. That would be a great idea, Daisy! Very thoughtful, too.