Easter craft: Felt rabbits and garden play mat

These hand-sewn rabbits and the accompanying machine-sewn play mat will provide hours of fun for the little ones in your life.

By Cynthia Treen, with photos by Karen Philippi

How to sew a felt rabbit for Easter

How to sew felt rabbits
These rabbits can hop around the play mat, or one can be a little gift all by itself. If you do not have time to make both a rabbit and the mat, make a rabbit first, then make the mat to give at a later date.

Materials
• 5" x 5" piece wool felt
• Thread to match felt
• Black thread, for eyes
• Tan embroidery floss
• Hand-sewing needle
• 1 small handful polyfill stuffing

Instructions
1. Print the rabbit pattern pieces (click here to view pattern pieces), resize if necessary (main rabbit piece -- body and head -- should be about 5.2 cm/2 in high) and cut them out. Use them to cut 2 body pieces, 2 ears, 1 tail, and 1 base from the wool felt.

2. To make the body, place one of the cut body pieces over the other, lining up the edges. Using the matching thread, whipstitch up one side, over the curve, and down the other side, leaving the flat bottom open.

3. Place the sewn body on one of your fingers like a finger puppet. Drench the wool with warm water and squeeze out the excess moisture with a towel while the body is still on your finger. This will give it a more three-dimensional form and make the whipstitch seam less visible.

4. Remove the body from your finger and pack it tightly with stuffing (don't worry if the wool is slightly damp; it will finish drying as you work). Take the circle of wool for the base of the rabbit and place it over the bottom hole. Holding it in place, whipstitch around its circumference to close the hole.

5. To form the neck, make one big stitch from side seam to side seam, about one-third of the way down from the rounded top of the head. Draw the stitch in tightly, stitching over it a few times before you knot off your thread.

Page 1 of 4 - Learn how to sew on the eyes, ears, nose and tail of your felt rabbit on page 2

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