Felt Lettuce Tutorial

I bought a loaf of Haba Biofino Bread (they call it toast actually but I have no idea why, there isn’t anything toast-like about it) as a present for a little girl, and I wanted to make some sandwich bits to go with it. First, lettuce.

The bread is about 3″ across, so I started with a 3″ square and sketched a romaine-ish lettuce leaf. This is actually my second sketch, the first was to ruffly, and when I free-hand cut it out with scissors this shape is closer to what I got. So I revised my pattern to match what I had cut. Thus my cutting became correct. Hrm. :-) That’s how I make my patterns anyway.

So, take two felt squares 3″ across, I like mine contrasting, so the lettuce is different colors on the front and back, but you could make them the same color if you want, or you could be daring, and just use one square. Depends on how delicate your felt feels, and the age of its intended audience. You need two contrasting colors for the felting method, if you are going to embroider you can use one or two of matching or contrasting colors.

Put the squares back to back if you have two, and cut your leaf shape. You can print my pattern out, scaling it however you want, but I like all my leaves a little different, so I just freehand it. Whatever shape you cut out, I’m sure there is a lettuce leaf somewhere in the wide world that looks just like that, you are perfect!

Method 1: Embroidery

Mark the rib outlines with a chalk pencil or disappearing marking pen. I tried skipping this step and it didn’t come out how I wanted at all. (I’m a big fan of skipping steps.) Notice that the rib patten I drew on the pattern above is one continuous line, going out along each branch as you come to it. If you follow that line with a running stitch it looks nice from the front or the back, there won’t be any crossing stitches on either side. Pick a contrasting color for your embroidery. Red! I’m going to have to make my next one in red! And maybe I’ll change the leaf shape a little bit to be like that red veined yummy spinach stuff in the farmer’s market salad mix. Mmmmmmm.

Start your running stitch in between the leaf shapes, and leave a long tail behind your knot. That way when you get back around to the beginning you can tie your ends together and hide the knot inside. To do this you need to start somewhere that isn’t too close to the edge of the felt (i.e. don’t start at the bottom of the stem which is the natural place to start…) Or you can just tie off however you want.

Method 2: Felting

I’ve become a total needle felting addict. And that makes this project really fast and simple. Just sketch your rib lines onto the leaf with a chalk pencil or whatever, and go at it with a needle felting pen. Felt along your lines from the front and the back a couple times, and magically the contrasting color will show through on each side. If you have the right kind of felt. My light color on these leaves actually didn’t show up against the dark green, I think it was too transparent, because I used acrylic felt. I haven’t had that problem with wool felt. Since the dark side didn’t have enough contrast I ‘fixed’ it by adding some veins on with a fabric pen. It isn’t cheating if it’s art. Maybe that should be my new motto. :-D I wonder how to say that in latin?

With either method you can fluff up your leaf by sticking your finger in between the ribs and pulling the sheets apart a little. And maybe giving it a good crumple depending on how sturdy it feels.

I hope this is helpful to someone, let me know if you make yourself a salad or some sandwich fillings. Next on my list are tomatoes, cheese, and bread. The bread is the hard part, I think. I was going to skip it, but I’ve been doing some experiments. I couldn’t help it.

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