For many years I have loved felt foods for pretend play. They make the perfect addition to any play kitchen or pretend picnic. Sure you can get cheap plastic faux foods but it just isn’t the same. Because I knew they would not be very hard to sew myself I often decided to go with wood instead of felt… ya know, why pay for something you can make right? The problem is that I never made any… the time it would take to draft a pattern and test and tweak just seemed like too large an undertaking and most of the patterns I have seen for them have been kind of spendy. Generally you will have the most luck finding these adorable foods or the patterns for DIY versions, from natural toy makers or Etsy artisans.
Recently discovered the VERY affordable Lilly Bean Market Felt Kits at one of my fave online stores for organic toys, Down to Earth Toys. These felt toys are so very cute and so very easy on the pocketbook. The Fruit Felt Kit is only $7.99 for instance, and you get the stuff to make 4 different fruit toys. It comes with the felt, the patterns, and the step by step instructions with lots of pictures. Plus, after you cut out the patterns, you can reuse them again and again with your own felt.
The kit comes with everything you need to make a felt apple, pear, banana, and strawberry. They were all equally involved with the strawberry being perhaps a bit more difficult than the others. All of them were pretty fun to complete.. after some swear words and finally figuring out the trick to turning the pear and apple right side out after stitching. Maybe it has been too long since I had a sewing day but that 3/4 inch opening was kicking my butt. All I needed to supply was was fiberfill, thread, scissors, a needle, and a sewing machine. The sewing machine to hand sewing ratio is about 30/70%. I haven’t done much hand sewing in recent years due to carpel tunnel syndrome, but I managed okay. All the fruit needs to be closed by hand and the leaves, stems, and ends of the banana all require hand stitching. Because you basically cover the stitched openings with other fabric elements, it all comes out very clean and nice looking.
For the hand stitching I chose to use like colored thread but for the machine sewing it was white or nothing.. call me lazy, but I still think they turned out very nice despite this.
And of course the real test.. do kids like them? Of course! They are infinitely better than plastic as far as texture and a real “feel” is concerned. My youngest son hasn’t quite caught on to why fake food is fun (that is his sister’s domain) but even he had to giggle and take a bite of the apple.
I am excited about having these groovy patterns now so that I can make up a basket of felt fruit for gifting the little people in my life and I am excited about our next LillyBean Market kit… oh yeah.. we’re gonna make some pie! Stay tuned for that one!
Just make sure to put away your scissors when you are finished lest some child who will not be named take them to her hair… grrrr!