I’m using felt with fusible webbing (Wonder Under is a great brand). I’ve learned that it’s best to also sew the pieces so that they don’t try to pull up when being played with. I’ll give an explanation for each page/spread and what I would change.
Using felt has its pros and cons. It’s so easy to use, it’s pretty cheap, and there’s no need to finish the edges. Some of the cons include: it tears up pretty easily (this book will likely only last for one child, instead of the three I was hoping for! LOL), Wonder Under doesn’t work completely well with it, and there’s only one texture to it (though I did see some the other day with some texture for the first time but I didn’t feel like any of it would fit in with the book and it was pretty expensive).
I used a pattern for the shoe, corn, and flowers (Simplicity 3709). There are some other cute ideas in the pattern but some of them aren’t so “quiet.” Also, a lot of the pages online called for Velcro and I used snaps instead since Velcro isn’t exactly “quiet.” The other pages were ideas I got online and designed myself (I’m sure you can tell!). I used a number puzzle that the girls have to do the number pages.
As you will notice, I didn’t put a whole lot of details into this book. There are two good reasons for this. 1. I simply don’t have time and 2. Josie is 3 and I’m pretty sure the details would be lost on her. So for me, simple is better. Feel free to embellish a lot more than I did!
Cover: If you have an embroidery machine, I’m sure you can make yours much cuter than mine. Obviously I don’t have one so mine is pretty bad looking. But it serves its purpose.
Numbers Pages: I learned the hard way that the numbers need to sewed down (Josie took them all off the page the first day she used it in church). I was originally going to let her just match the numbers up. However, I’ve decided snaps will make it more interesting. This page still needs a lot of work: I will add snaps and blanket stitch all the numbers down. I made the moveable numbers two-ply with Wonder Under between the pieces (I will blanket stitch these as well).
Shoe Page: I used the Simplicity pattern for it and it was the first page I made. I bought some eyelets that were very easy to install (and on sale the day I got them!). I do, however, need to get a real shoelace so it’s more authentic. The ribbon is not working well for teaching her how to tie.
Flower Page: When adding buttons in the future, I’ll apply some fusible interfacing to the back of the page, then sew on the buttons through all layers. They are already showing signs of pulling the felt apart. I added a ribbon at the bottom of the page to thread the flowers on…I’m thinking it’s not necessary but it could be a good lesson on threading I suppose. The stems are just some remnant ribbon I had. The flowers are two-ply with Wonder Under between but one-ply might have worked better because they’re a bit difficult to button and unbutton.
Caterpillar Pages: One of Josie’s favorites! I ended up blanket stitching everything because they came apart during the first use. This was another easy page. The face on the caterpillar is just hand embroidered (and pretty rough, I admit!). I could have put a lot more detail into it (each circle could have a number that she has to place in order, etc.). I used gripper type snaps (installation requires a hammer and special little tool). These seem to be more difficult for Josie to use and they tend to really pull at the felt. If I use them again, I plan to add some fusible interfacing to the back of the page and install the snaps through all layers. Sew-on snaps honestly seem to work the best (size 2/0 seems to be the best so far). I added a “pocket” on the facing page for the pieces. At first it seemed a waste but Josie really likes the pockets I’ve put in the book and she uses them!
Apple Tree Page: Josie’s absolute favorite! The apples are two-ply with snaps installed. She loves the “basket” to put the apples in. She informed me that she needed more apples so I hope to have some other fruit trees/flower trees/leaves on trees type pages in the future.
Corn Page: This is the one page I wish I had embellished more. It’s from the simplicity pattern and the pattern calls for some quilting on the corn itself and a tassel. I also think different material would have been better than the felt. Josie’s known how to zip for awhile so maybe that’s one of the reasons it’s not her favorite page. I may try to embellish this page more but I may not.
To put the book together, I used large eyelets (the kit was pretty inexpensive and they are easily installed). I wanted to be able to add pages as I made them so I used ribbon to hold it together. Then I found two rings in my craft supplies so I may use them. It’s not a “fancy” way of doing things but it works for us. You could sew on a spine and make it look more professional.
These are some pages I hope to make: