Tutorial: Felt Conversation Heart Accessories
Fascinators are great when you don't have the courage or desire to wear a hat yet you want to bring some sort of old-school styling to your ensemble. I like to think of them as the gateway drug training wheels of hats — sooner or later you're going to be brave enough for a hat but until then, the fascinator is there for you.
If you want to make this Valentine's Day fascinator (or brooch or insanely large choker) you'll need:
- craft or wool felt (in as many pastel colors as hearts you want to make)
- red/hot pink embroidery floss and thread
- needle or sewing machine
- fusible interfacing
- paper to make heart template
- glue gun
- lace, ribbon, headband, pin back or whatever apparatus you want to attach your hearts onto
If you have a sewing machine that does embroidery, the first step is pretty straightforward. Using a sans-serif font (the smallest your machine will do), embroider the phrases you'd like to appear on your hearts using red/hot pink embroidery floss. I'm a married fuddy-duddy so I tend to stay clear of phrases like "kiss me" or "sexy." And because I wanted to make this fascinator for me and my daughter, I stuck with old-time phrases of approval. You're free to use whatever phrases you want, of course.
If you haven't used your embroidery attachment, check your manual since all machines are different. I used craft felt and did not have to stabilize it.
If you don't have a machine that does embroidery, you're going to have to do it by hand. But don't worry, if you can write, you can embroidery text! Just thread that needle with floss and construct your letters using a basic running stitch. To make your letters uniform, you may want to lightly mark the felt using a disappearing ink marking pen.
The next step involves cutting out a heart template. I used the standard tried-and-true method I learned in kindergarten and just folded a piece of tracing paper in half and cut a heart. If you want to be more precise, here's a template to use. You'll want to adjust to your preferred size using your printer scaling settings.
Optional: You're going to use your machine's basting stitch or hand stitch around the perimeter of each heart. The reason why this is optional now is because one of the last steps call for doing this again in order to secure the hearts. I just wanted to be thorough and have the borders completely around each heart.
Once all your hearts are cut out and stitched, you'll want to arrange them in their final position. It all depends on where you want the placement of each heart. Once you've arranged them to your heart's content, you're going to place them on fusible interfacing.
Since we're working with felt, you're not going to iron directly onto the surface of the hearts. I found that ironing on the interfacing works best. Just be sure that the heat is hot enough to fuse but not hot enough to scorch. I choose to iron-on a larger piece of interfacing and then cut once it is fused.
BE SURE TO REMOVE ALL PINS BEFORE IRONING! I learned this lesson the hard way.
Even though you have secured the hearts to the interfacing, you're going to want to stitch the perimeter again to guarantee that each heart is secured. If you've already stitched the perimeter of each heart, you're going to go over the lines again. Even though I'm showing the stitching on the back, it's best to stitch on the front side so you can follow your previous stitching path.
Hopefully, your stitches will be a little more precise. I blame it on caffeine.
Now that your hearts are complete, there are a lot of methods to attach them to a headpiece. Usually after doing all these steps I'm ready to just get the glue gun out and solve the problem in a less elegant way. But you're more than welcome to stitch the hearts clip or ribbon or headband.
For my fascinator, I decided to take some lace and simply glue it across the back of the hearts. Please don't burn your fingers by pressing down on the lace directly. Because the fusible interface was used, the glue will stick quite nicely to the lace (rather than glueing onto the felt).
Optionally, if you want to glue a pin back to the hearts, it will make a nice oversize felt brooch.
It's certainly not subtle, but it will certainly fill you with all sorts of Valentine's Day spirit.