Introduction: Felt Watermelon Slice
My nephew loved playing with the small plastic food set at my parents' house, so when I found out that he didn't have any play food at home, his Christmas gift became obvious. But I can't simply buy play food for him. I have to do something WAY more complicated and time-consuming. I decided on a theme: a play deli. I found patterns and ideas online for various food items, and made an apron for him with the logo I designed for his deli ironed on to it. One thing I had seen at various places online were different types of fruit, which seemed to fall within my general theme. I loved the bright color of the watermelon slices I saw, but couldn't find a pattern. So I set out to design one myself. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, so I thought I'd share my work. I am including instructions on how to make the pattern, so you can decide on the dimensions yourself. Or, if you're like me and would rather just print off an existing pattern, the one I used here is attached as well that you can scale to your desired size.
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Step 1: Tools for Creating the Pattern
- Ruler, I used a measuring square which I think works best
Step 2: Creating the Pattern
The first step is to decide how large you want your watermelon slice to be. I chose for the length of the straight sides to be 5 inches, including the rind which I decided would be 1 inch. You can chose any dimensions you want, but I would suggest whole numbers, since we'll be doing some math later to figure out the length of one of the pieces. Using a ruler or square edge, draw 2 lines at a right angle, each the same length.
Step 3: Creating the Pattern Continued...
Next, taking your compass or other tool you prefer for creating an arc, connect the ends of both lines. Then, moving 1 inch back towards the corner, create a second arc. This will be the pattern for the pink and dark green parts of the wedge sides of the slice.
Step 4: Creating the Pattern Continued...
For the rectangular flat sides of the watermelon slice create rectangle the same length as the lines you drew for the large side, in this case 5 inches, and make them about as wide as you made the rind part of the wedge pattern, in this case 1 inch. Then, make a line inside the rectangle, the same distance from one edge that you used when you made the rind pattern, in this case 1 inch. We will want a small light green piece as the transition between the dark green rind and the pink fruit pieces of the wedge side, so create a rectangle as long as the width of the other rectangle (here 1 inch) and make the width about a quarter of the length (here 1/4 inch).
Step 5: Creating the Pattern Continued...
To create the pattern for the light green arch for the large wedge sides, make a mark on the cardstock, then, using a ruler or square, make a dot the length you made the pattern for the pink fruit, here 4 inches, in a right angle to each other just like you did when you made the wedge pattern. Then, using the same width as the smaller light green pattern (here 1/4 inch), make a mark on either side of the dot so that the distance between these marks is your intended width with the original dot in the middle. Using a compass, connect the inner dot from each edge and the outer dot from each edge. Do not connect the middle dot (the one 4 inches from the corner). We want this piece to overlap the connection between the fruit and the rind, so we want there to be a smaller arc than the connection on once side and a larger arc on the other.
Step 6: Creating the Pattern Continued...
Now we need to create a pattern for the dark green outside rind piece. Here is where the math comes in. We need the length of the arc we drew for the large wedge pattern. Since we used a right angle, we know that this will be exactly 1/4 of a circle. We can determine the length of the arc by taking the length of our pattern (5 inches), and multiply it by 2 to get the diameter of the circle (10 inches). To get the circumference, or distance around the edge, of the entire circle we multiply 10 inches by pi, or 3.14. This gives us 31.4 inches. Since this is 1/4 of a circle we divide 31.4 by 4 to get the length of our arc, which here is 7.85. It's best to round up because we can always cut off any extra later, so I made my rectangle 8 inches by 1 inch (the width of the rind and the side rectangles).
For the seeds, I free-handed some teardrops. These I just used as a reference for size when I cut them out. It's really difficult to pin and cut out shapes that small, so I cut them out free hand and used the drawings I did for size guides.
Step 7: Supplies for Actually Making This Thing
For the sewing portion of our program, you will need:
- Bright pink felt
- Dark green felt
- Light green felt
- Black felt
- Cutting tools, both for paper and for fabric (don't use sewing scissors on paper)
- A fine point marker
- Freezer paper (the kind with plastic on one side)
- Batting and/or polyester fiber fill
- 6 strange embroidery floss in colors matching your felt
Step 8: Tracing Your Patterns
After you have completed creating your pattern (or printing out the one I have provided) cut out all the pieces. Tear off a piece of freezer paper and tape it to your work surface. Using the marker, trace around each pattern twice, except for the outside rind which will only require 1 piece. When I do this I write on the pattern what color it is supposed to be so I don't get confused later.
Step 9: Tracing Your Pattern Continued...
Using the pattern for the entire wedge side (both the pink fruit and dark green rind), trace on the batting (if you're using it). Then make a few layers (I ended up using 5), pin them together and cut out just inside of the traced line. You can always trim it a little bit later if it's too big to fit inside the felt shell.
Step 10: Get the Pattern to the Felt
Cut out all of the traced freezer paper patterns and arrange them on the felt. Use an iron (a low setting is fine--it doesn't take a lot of heat to melt the plastic on the freezer paper) to adhere the pattern to the felt.
Step 11: Now Cut Them Out...
Cut out all of the pieces. For all pieces except the large pink wedges, cut the length of all the pieces a little bit outside the pattern. It's important to keep the width the same as the pattern, but you need to add a little allowance at the end of every piece beside the 2 big pink wedges. You will regret it if you don't. My picture doesn't reflect that, because I learned this too late and had to re-cut some pieces and was too irritated to retake the pictures. This will allow you to line up the light green pieces without shorting yourself in either direction. You can always trim any pieces that hang over. As long as you keep the large pink pieces the size of your initial patterns, everything else will work out just fine if you give yourself some extra felt at the ends.
If you didn't want to buy freezer paper you can always pin the patterns directly to the felt. I used to do that until I read about the freezer paper trick. It worked fine pinning the pattern pieces, but sometimes I wouldn't be able to cut precisely (especially if the pattern was narrow) and other times I would stick my fingers on the pins. I love the ease of the freezer paper, but it is not absolutely necessary for this. If you used the freezer paper you can now just peel it off of the cut out pieces. They can be reused if you decide you want to make more watermelon slices. I've reused freezer paper patterns 4 or 5 times with no problems.
Step 12: And Now for the Fun Part--Sewing!
The first pieces we're going to sew together are the two parts of the wedge sides. Thread your needle with 3 strands of the 6 strand embroidery floss (the color doesn't matter here because it will be covered up by the light green arcs). Hold the pieces together, with both edges to be joined facing up. Starting from between the pieces, whipstich the pieces together. Unfold them out flat and they should be nicely joined together. Repeat for the other side.
Step 13: Still Sewing...
Now pin the light green arches over the stitches you just made. Using 3 stands of floss that matches your light green felt, whipstitch both sides of the light green arch to the bigger piece. Repeat for the other large side.
Step 14: And More Sewing...
For the rectangular flat sides of the slice, you'll line up the pink and dark green pieces lengthwise, just as you did for the large pieces, whipstitching them with whatever color floss you want. Then pin the light green rectangles over the stitches and whipstitch with light green floss like you did on the light green arches. Repeat for the other side.
Step 15: Now We Assemble the Dang Thing
Now that you have all your pieces constructed, it's time to put them all together. At this point you'll want to trim the dark green rinds on the wedge pieces (along with the light green arches) to make a straight line. Starting at one end of the outside arc of the dark green rind, whipstitch, using 3 strands of the dark green floss, the long edge of the outer rind piece, making sure to keep you knots inside. Continue to the other end of the arch and then trim the rectangle even with the end.
Step 16: Putting Up the Sides
Line up the light green rectangle with the light green arch from the larger piece and pin them together. Make sure that you have enough at both ends of the rectangle (the pink end and the dark green end) to meet up with the edges of the larger piece. Using floss that matches the felt you are sewing in that area, whipstitch the rectangle sides to one of the wedges. Sew the other rectangular side to the other side of the same wedge piece.
Step 17: Finishing the Base
Now you should have one of the wedge sides with the 3 rectangles sewn to it, 1 to a side. Using pink floss, whipstich the ends of the sides together at the point, trimming them even first. Trim the dark green ends even and whipstitch it to the curved side. You should now have something resembling a pink and green container, with all sides joined together except the top.
Step 18: Fill 'er Up
Now, place the layers of batting (or polyester fiber fill if you're using that) into the "container" you just finished to make sure they will fill it up properly. Add more layers until you are satisfied it's is as "puffy" as you want. Remove them and pin the remaining wedge side to the top of one of the rectangular sides. As before, whipstitch this side using the floss that matches the color of the felt you are sewing together. After this side is sewn together, replace the filling and whipstitch the remaining sides.
Step 19: Almost Done...
Now you should have a fully enclosed plush watermelon slice. Cut out some teardrop shapes from the black felt for the seeds. Varying the sizes is best, because I think that looks more realistic. But if you prefer them to all be the same size--go for it! That's the wonderful part about creating things yourself--you're in charge!
Using a knotted piece of black floss, sew through one side of the seed near the edge. Then hold it in place, knot side down, somewhere in the pink area of the slice. Sew around the edge of the seed, into the pink felt, and then come back up somewhere else in the seed along the edge. There's no rhyme or reason to how I sewed the seeds, I just brought the needle back up where it was comfortable for my hand, making sure it was fairly secure. After you are satisfied the seed is sewn securely, knot the thread to one of the other stitches, then run the needle under the seed, coming up through the middle. Cut the thread off as close to the felt as you can. This prevents a little thread hanging off the side where you made your knot. Continue sewing seeds to all the pink sides. Use as many as you like.
Step 20: OK, Now You're Done!
Now you have completed your felt watermelon slice! And since we didn't use any glue, if this ever starts to look dirty, you can hand wash and air dry it. (Because, let's face it, if kids are playing with this, it's going to get sticky at some point) I hope this inspires you to design more of your own food to create a non-messy culinary adventure for the kid in your life!
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