Sunday, 5 February 2017

Valentine Bear Felt Bags with Detailed Cuts

Add Details To Felt Bear with HTV by Janet Packer for Silhuette UK Blog

Hello Janet here again.  Today I'm sharing a technique for adding small details to felt items made on the Silhouette Cameo® 3. In this post I'll demonstrate how in a felt project, turning a paper pocket file into a cute felt bag, and enhancing it with small fun details.

Add Details To Felt Bear with HTV by Janet Packer for Silhuette UK Blog

Many of the files in the Silhouette Design Store, designed to be made from paper, can be made into felt projects. If the felt is backed with Silhouette Fusible Fabric Stabiliser it will cut on the Silhouette CAMEO®3 or Silhouette Curio™.  For this project I'd recommend using Clean Cut Stabiliser, rather than Cut and Sew, as it doesn't require any machine sewing.

In order to make the smaller and more detailed pieces I have used my favourite cheat - Flocked Heat Transfer Material. Once incorporated into the the project its velvety texture looks like felt, but more intricate cuts can be made with a level of detail not possible from felt.

What You'll Need
  • Felt Sheets in Brown Shades (preferably a  30% wool, 70% viscose blend)
  • Cotton Fabric for Lining  
  • Fusible Fabric Stabiliser (Clean Cut)
  • Black Flocked Heat Transfer Material 
  • Iron (on a non-steam setting)
  • Pressing Cloth or Non-Stick Sheet
  • Fabric Adhesive
  • Ribbon or Cord (for a strap)
  • Craft Knife
  • Fabric Paint (for the eyes)
  • Downloaded Bear Hug Candy Pocket by J M Rush (#172324)
  • Downloaded Bow File (eg #16778 by Alaa' K)
  • Downloaded Bear File (eg #84654 by Studioilustrado)

The file's designer, J M Rush, gives full instructions on how to make the pocket. These instructions can be accessed from the file details in the Silhouette Design Store,  and also by using the Show Properties facility in your Downloads Library. If you are uncertain how to find Show Properties, you can find out how in the Preview Files in Silhouette Studio post. Today I'll show you the steps which differ from the designer's instructions. They are:-
  • how to cut the bear from the stabiliser-backed felt, 
  • make a lining to hide the stabiliser, 
  • add a handle, and 
  • make and add the extra details.


Detailed instructions on how to cut felt backed with the stabiliser can be found in my recent post Cutting Felt with Cameo®3.  I also recommend using a wool/viscose felt mix, rather than a completely synthetic felt. Not only does it cut more easily, but it also retains more of its softness and dimension.

I cut the body, and only the solid head and paw pieces from one colour of felt, and the nose from another. In the photos you'll see two bears in different colours (I just swapped their noses). I cut them from felt backed with the fusible stabiliser. For most of the pieces I removed the backing before placing the felt on the cutting mat. I left the backing on one of the heads as an experiment (see comments in the next section).


The lining was trimmed by hand. I just ironed lining material on to the stabilised pieces and then trimmed them with sharp scissors. Because the two pieces were stuck firmly, trimming the lining material neatly was easy. I also made slots in the lining of the bear's pocket with a sharp craft knife.

Note that I didn't place the lining right to the top of the bear's head, this was so an area of adhesive remained to iron the head on later (don't let your iron touch this part).

I ironed the lining to the paws and trimmed them in a similar way.

I was undecided as to whether to add lining to the head. I did one bear with lining (which, after features were applied, needed to be stuck to the body with fabric adhesive) and left one with no lining, using the stabiliser to adhere it (I cut this piece with the backing paper on, and left it there while I applied the nose and the heat transfer). Both looked much the same when finished so I'll leave the choice up to you.


I ironed the nose to the head before applying the heat transfer material, using a similar heat setting. Using pressure can flatten the felt fibres, so I used a gentle touch to maintain some dimension between the pieces. Heavier pressure causes the two felt pieces to flatten and fuse. I tried light and heavy pressure and liked both looks; you might just be able to make out the difference on the two finished bears.


The features and paw prints were cut from black Flocked Heat Transfer Material using the detailed elements. The outlines of the head and paws were also cut to give a convenient weeding border.

I used the AutoBlade in the Tool 1 slot, chose Heat Transfer Material Flocked, and reduced the pressure/thickness to 30. The editing options are displayed when you click on the material in the list. It is wise to do this to check that the AutoBlade is selected (Ratchet Blade is the default).  If you haven't used the material before I recommend that you carry out a test cut first.

Once the elements were cut, I trimmed the pieces and pulled away the unwanted parts. I then ironed the heat transfer onto the felt using an iron setting appropriate to the felt, protecting the piece with a non-stick sheet or pressing cloth.  Just a few seconds of pressure were required, the transfer allowed to cool slightly, and then the backing peeled slowly away. It may be necessary to ease the edge of any stubborn pieces away from the backing using your finger nail.


To make up the bag I followed the instructions provided by the designer, pressing the crease lines with the iron, rather than pre folding them.

I used fabric adhesive to adhere the pocket edges to the bear's body and then the paws (backing paper was used to prevent any stray glue sticking the pocket closed).


I cut a length of ribbon (mine was a piece of re-purposed suede belt) and then made short slots for the handle with a craft knife, level with the top of the pocket.  I fed the ribbon through from the back and adhered it to the inside with fabric glue.  Rivets could be used for an even firmer hold.


I cut bows, hearts and teddy from felt backed with the stabiliser. The teddy and bows were so tiny that a further stabilising layer was required on top of the felt surface. I cover this technique in my Needle Case post.

I constructed the bows with fabric adhesive, trimming off the trailing ends. I adhered the hearts to some stiffener (I used faux leather paper, but card would work too). Then I ironed the tiny teddy onto one of the hearts. I also added Heat Transfer features to the teddy, an optional step. For an alternative decoration the heart could have a name, an initial, or some other simple shape applied.


I added some small drops of fabric paint for the bear's eyes and then completed the bags by folding and adhering the arms and adding the heart.

There you have it - a cute Valentine's gift for a bear-loving child or a 'Silhouette-ing' friend.

Bye for now,
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 Black Flocked Heat Transfer

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