Saturday, August 06, 2011

How to Use Cookie Cutters for Templates

Are you looking for inspiration for shapes that your child can sew? How about making a pocket pal using a cookie cutter?

A pocket pal is a tiny stuffed softie that fits neatly into a pocket.

Use extra large {I mean as big as your pocket} cookie cutters in basic shapes for templates. You and your child can make one pocket pal, or several!

Just visit your pantry or the cookie cutter section at your favourite kitchen supply store and look for shapes that you love and that are not very complex. 

Just about every shape a child could want is available as a cookie cutter; fruit, water animals, celestial shapes, zoo animals, seasonal, people shapes, pet shapes, farm animals, and more ...

If you've been following me for a while, you know that in my teaching method, shapes are pre-cut from felt by grown-ups. 

To learn more about sewing project preparation go to this page.

Choosing a shape for hand sewing:

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 necessarily need to avoid cookie cutters with tight curves, but you will need to round corners gently when cutting them out.

A simple cookie cutter on the left. A bumpy one on the right.
Bumps can be rounded out more gently when cutting the felt,
if there aren't too many.

Consider size carefully. 

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!

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 when you reach the bump and fill in later freehand, or fix it up when you cut it out.

And speaking of cutting...
Make sure the cookie cutter shape is going to be easy for you to cut out after you've traced it onto felt. 

Steps to Cut a Shape from Felt 
1.  Pin 2 pieces of felt together. 

2.  Trace cookie cutter onto felt with a fading fabric marker. I used to use a Sharpie marker for this task, 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 before you cut. 

4.  Using a pair of scissors dedicated to cutting felt, cut along the outside of the line you just traced. Try to hold the scissor blades vertical to the table's surface when you cut. If you let the blades slant, the two pieces of felt will not end up the same Now that you have cut out your pocket pal, visit this page to learn how to prepare it for sewing.

Happy stitching!


  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.


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