I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home with my daughter and work from home, allowing me both the best and worst of both worlds. I love getting to spend time with her, taking her to see her friends or out for a walk, or just staying inside stacking toys and playing games (and I’m not going to lie, in the summer I hide from the sun like a vampire, so there’s been a lot of stacking and playing these past few months).
I wouldn’t trade the moments I’ve had with her for anything, but the fact remains that aside from the snuggles and games, mama has work to do. Yes, there’s the housework – the laundry, the dish washing and cooking. But then there’s also the work work. There are emails to be answered, websites to be updated and logos to be designed.
So what’s a mama to do? Mostly, whatever I can to keep her busy. Sometimes it means listening to the same song over and over and over until I can’t take it anymore. Sometimes it means letting Little Miss do something weird, like arrange my unused canvases like a little hammock and sit on them. Sometimes it means typing an email with one hand while holding a nursing munchkin with the other (clients: yes, you’ve almost certainly received an email written whilst nursing).
Fairly often, I wind up sitting at my desk trying to work with Little Miss on my lap. And my desk…my desk is an absolute wonderland of things to grab, crumble and throw on the floor. What kind of toddler would she be if she didn’t take advantage of these opportunities?
And that’s where this project comes in. Little Miss got into the habit of grabbing the envelopes stacked on my desk. She would specifically target the bills, and while I’d love for them to disappear, somehow I don’t think the companies they’re from would appreciate “my daughter ate the payment slips” as an excuse for nonpayment.
So one day, looking at the pile of fabric I had
stolen scavenged brought home from my parents’ house I had a thought. That white felt can become an envelope. I can make Little Miss mail of her own! And so this project was born. It’s quick and easy, requiring only the most basic of sewing skills – if you can sew a straight line and turn a corner, you’re good. You could hand sew this also, but it will take a little bit more time. Now, without further ado, the tutorial.
Felt Play Envelope Tutorial
You will need:
- A sewing machine and thread
- Scissors and/or a cutting mat and rotary cutter
- White felt (dimensions below)
- A tiny snippet of colored felt
- Half to an inch of white sew-on velcro
- Sewing pins
Step 1: Cut your felt into a rectangle the basic size you want. You can do it short and wide like a bill, or smaller like a note card. This one started out just about 5×11″. You can easily get this out of a sheet of craft felt, or felt you purchase by the yard. Felt is the ideal fabric here because it’s sturdy and doesn’t fray on the edges.
Step 2: Fold your felt up so that you have the pocket portion of the envelope and a smaller bit up top that will become the flap. Place a pin where each of the two folds will go as placeholders.
Step 3: (optional) Fold the flap piece and taper it like a real envelope. You can also skip this step and leave it straight. If you cut it, open up your fabric and leave those marker pins in. Now grab your other color of felt and cut out a little square, 1×1″ or so (not too much smaller or it’ll be tough to stitch on).
Step 4: Add your little one’s “address”. If you have a fancy embroidery machine, have fun. Otherwise, do a zig zag, straight stitch, or whatever strikes your fancy. Use pins to mark a central area on the middle panel and with a darker thread, just sew three lines, using the presser foot as a guide for spacing.
Step 5: Up in the corner where the stamp would go, pin your little contrasting square. Using a straight stitch, just stitch a box over it to attach it to your white felt. Be mindful of where your guide pin marking the fold is; keep the stamp a little below so it doesn’t interfere with the fold, and at least .25″ from the edge.
Step 6: The first piece of velcro! You really only need 1/2″ or under. Pin it in the center of the peak on what will be the inside (the backside from where you just added your stamp), and stitch it on with a simple square just like you just did the stamp. The photos below should help with placement.
Step 7: Now take the other side of your velcro and fold the peak down to see where it should sit. Pin it on and stitch away. This is on the front/right side. When you fold it you’ll see where it goes.
Step 8: Using those pins you’ve had in place to mark your folds, fold your felt, remove those pins and put them in place to hold the sides. Now stitch close to the edge on both sides. Clip any hanging threads, and you’re done!
I cut felt shapes to put in Little Miss’ envelopes. Her favorite is the note card sized envelope with the heart inside.
And that’s that! Easy, inexpensive, and now your little one can have mail to open alongside you. You can get creative too, using different colors or decorating the envelopes. Have fun!