Sometimes you want to make something just to see if it can be done. In August, I visited a craft show where someone had made adorable jewelry and hair accessories out of fabric-covered buttons. These buttons captured my imagination—and I wanted to create something where they could really shine: a fabric picture. Just because I’ve never seen a fabric-button-picture doesn’t mean I couldn’t make one, right?
First step was to settle on a theme After considering and discarding several ideas (beginning with a fabric-button monogram…still floating around in my brain), my sister suggested The Very Hungry Caterpillar (book by Eric Carle), and knowing that my neighbor wanted to throw a Very Hungry Caterpillar party for her little daughter, that idea stuck!
First step was to get the general layout of the picture. I pulled a frame out of my garage (rescued from my parents basement), blue fabric (rescued from my stash), and we played a little. We had spent the afternoon making fabric flowers (for a previous idea that didn’t get off the ground), so we used those and yarn to outline the caterpillar’s body.
I backed the blue fabric with some fusible fleece to give it some body. I drew some wavy lines directly on the fleece, and then stitched them onto the fabric for a quilted look.
I made the caterpillar “pattern” by placing a sheet of tissue paper over the yarn outline I made, and then transferred that to dark green felt. I used light green felt to make accent pieces, and a red scrap of cotton for the head.
I free-hand cut the caterpillar’s eyes, nose, feet, and antennae out of felt. Each piece was appliqued onto the background (I sewed around and around and around….)
I used two different green rick-racks to make the flower stems.
I used a yarn needle and red and blue yarn to stitch the caterpillar’s fuzzy spine.
One afternoon was taken up with making 100 fabric buttons. I used two different green fabrics to make four different sizes of buttons for the caterpillar’s variegated body. (My button covers were purchased from Three Dancing Magpies Supplies..highly recommended). It wasn’t too bad…thanks to Netflix!…but it resulted in some sore thumbs!
I carefully arranged all the buttons on the caterpillar’s body, and then I used hot glue to fasten them on.
I cut a piece of scrap wood to the size of my frame (by now painted orange) and ‘upholstered’ it with a couple of layers of batting before stapling on my new fabric art.
And there you have it…one Very Hungry Caterpillar—recreated in fabric! (The color in the next picture is a bit dark…sorry.)
I added a little buggy “friend” for Mr. Hungry Caterpillar…look just below his “chin.”
Do you think Mr. Carle would approve?