Oh my, is this post a long time coming! I originally wanted to make these for Brynlee’s first birthday and bought the fabric (from Hobby Lobby BTW) almost a year and a half ago! I even printed out and cut out the letters back then too, then, there they sat, in a big white envelope, swallowed whole by my craft room, only to be discovered again (very recently) when I was doing a much needed clean out. My craft room/closet could very easily make it onto an episode of hoarders! I try to tell my husband I’m a collector, but I don’t think he is buying it…
Anyway, on to this slightly time consuming, but super easy and so worth it project!
You are going to need 2 yards of fabric total, I wanted to have a variety of colors and patterns so I used 4 quarter yard pieces. I selected a font I liked in word, typed out the alphabet, numbers 0-9, a star shape, heart shape and arrow all measuring 4 inches (except the arrow, I made that a little bigger), printed them out, then cut them out. This part is no fun, but once you have them cut you will have them forever (provided you take care of them) and will be able to use them in a multitude of other projects! I already have a few ideas of what I want to do next with them.
Divide your letters up evenly between your fabrics, A- Yellow, B- Blue, C- Pink, D- Green, etc.
Fold your fabric over and lay your letters on top.
Trace them using a disappearing ink pen (this is the one I have).
I preferred to trace on the back of my letters, just in case I had any issues with my pen, so make sure, for your directional letters and numbers, you trace the mirror image. For the record, my pen left no residual ink, I just wanted to error on the side of caution.
Also, take your quarter yard of fabric (or however much you decide to use), fold it in half, lay all of your letters and numbers you plan to make with that fabric out and trace them at one time. Not only will this save tons of time, but it will cut down on fabric waste so you will have some scraps to save for another project. I only did less so it would be easier to see in the pictures what I was doing, with my 3 other fabrics I traced all at once and it was much quicker.
Now grab your magnets (I would highly suggest purchasing flatter ones than what is pictured, this is all I had when I decided to start this project and it proved slightly troublesome when it came time to stitch. I know you can purchase magnets in rolls, that might be a good idea so you can cut them exactly to the size you needed. These magnets are a strength level 3, I used 2-3 magnets per letter and they worked perfectly. E-6000 is my go to glue when I want something to stay stuck forever, I even have my husband obsessed with it now. We use this stuff for everything! You can get it at any craft store, I’ve also seen it at Walmart and Target. I didn’t want to use hot glue because I was worried about the magnets being able to stick through the thickness of hot glue, this goes on really thin and has amazing staying power. Just be careful to not get it on anything you don’t want to be stuck together forever!
Glue your magnets down, adhesive side up, in a few spots on your letter. Peel off the adhesive backing, cut a piece of batting to size and sandwich it in between your two pieces of fabric and magnets.
Time to sew!!! Finally, I know!! Just stitch along your marked line taking care when going around the curves, lifting up your pressure foot when necessary to readjust
This is a great project for practicing your stitching, by the end you will be a pro at straight lines, curves and angles. Also, don’t forget to do the middles, like on B and O, there were a few time where I wasn’t paying attention and missed those then had to go back. UGH!!!!
Using zigzag scissors (to prevent the ends from fraying), cut out your letters, numbers and shapes as close to your stitch line as possible, taking care to not cut through any of your stitches. Ummm… I may or may not have done that and I also may or may not have used Fray-Check to seal it. Which worked fine by the way, I’m just going to claim I did that to take the guess work out for you should you run into that situation, yeah, I like that. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Oh, I hate how glare-y my fridge is in this picture! But once I had them all cut out, I realized this is the only magnetic surface I have! Guess I will finally need to make that framed magnetic chalk board from Pinterest I’ve been talking about making for years. Do you see a pattern developing here, procrastinator, party of one??? On the bright side, the fabric protects your fridge (or any other surface for that matter) from scratches, so until I get to making that magnetic chalk board I can rest easily that no matter how hard my little plays, my fridge will not be taking the brunt of it.
So, now for a recap of the supplies you will need:
2 yards of fabric
magnets (I highly recommend trying the roll method)
disappearing ink pen
batting (I used some scraps from blankets I’ve made in the past, if you don’t have any, just buy the smallest amount you can, I think that’s crib size
zig zag scissors
letters, numbers and shapes stencil (or make your own like I did)
All in all this project took me about 3 nap times to trace and sew, so about 4.5-5 hours. I kept the sewn letters on my counter and just cut them out, usually one at a time, whenever I had a spare moment. As for cutting the letters out from paper initially, I did that over a year and a half ago, while I was still working and did it whenever I had down time at work, so I really have no idea how long that took total, maybe an hour or so…
I want to stress that this project is really forgiving and so even if you are new to sewing you should still give it a try. Like I said, it is perfect for practicing your stitching and by the end you will be a whiz!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and decide to make some too! If you do, tag me on Instagram (@blissfullymadeblog), I would love to see them! And please, let me know if you have any questions or would like clarification on any of the steps.
Have fun and happy sewing!