Here’s a new take on the tag toys I’ve been churning out: a sensory experience in the form of a patchwork flower.
I guarantee you have enough stuff laying around to make one of these: The petals are made out of scraps from other projects and old clothes. Even if you don’t have many scraps on hand, you could use a felted wool sweater, an outmoded pair of corduroy pants, a torn camisole, a stained tea towel, a pillowcase who’s lost his match… you get the idea.
You just cut out the petals free-form and sew as you would a pillow, with right sides together (I didn’t even pin anything). Turn inside out, sew once on the outside to close the hole, and attach to two circular pieces (made in the same way as the petals) with a big round of stitches on top. I made the circular pieces in the same way as a tag toy, attaching the ribbon pieces so that they come out of the seam in the circle.
The coolest innovation for this project was the idea of using not only different textures of fabric, but filling them with different materials as well. Two of the petals are filled with those clear window plastic things you get on envelopes from your telephone/cable/electric bills. Just cut out the middle of the “window” and stuff inside a petal or two. It gives the petal that crunchy sound many baby toys have. I also made a couple of them extra thick with fleece.
I made sure each side had a variety of colors, too. This is side one, with a red houndstooth fleece center, and that pink petal is satin.
Side two has a center cut from a pair of jeans I don’t wear anymore. I used a sewing machine to keep it all together, and didn’t mind the scrappy look of sewing on top. If you want to have a more neat finished product, embroider all the parts together with pretty thread and a more steady hand.
It’s a floppy toy, just like the tag blankets, but I could see doing a stuffed version as well, maybe with a stuffed center or a few stuffed petals, too. It was fun just experimenting with it all and not worrying too much about matching things perfectly or lining it all up symmetrically.
Yesterday I sent this off to my sister Monica, who is due with my nephew tomorrow. Hope he’ll come out soon to start exploring the many colors and textures of the world outside the womb!