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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I "Felt" Like Maken' Cake- Part 1

 
Emmalee's Birthday party is this Saturday!  It promises to be the end of the party spree.  Trying to come up with a theme, at last I settled on "Princess in the Kitchen." I had been wanting a pattern for one of these felt cakes for a long time and had finally found my excuse to buy one!!! Only problem was, when I went looking for a pattern, I realized that the cake was just like the bags I have been making all month.  Even Madison said, "Mom, you can just make that!" There you go.  From the mouth of babes.  So, that is what I did, and here is how.
I found a bowl that was about the size I thought the cake should be-around 5".  Next, I found this plate to be my cake plate-about 7".  Decided later it needed to be 6-6 1/2", but we will talk more about that later...

I bought a 22 x22" square of foam (pre-packaged, normally $10.99) from Joanns with my 50% off coupon for about $6 and and still have some left over now that I have all the cakes done. I should also mention that I used fuzzy felt, not the regular felt, to give the cakes a more whimsical look. It was $4.99/yd. I bought 1 yard. That should give you an idea how far you can get with $10 when you are making 11 felt cakes.  I actually got all 11 5" cakes and a three tier 5", 7", 9" cake out of the same supplies.  You will also need about 1 yard of random felt for the cake plate/bottom.
So, the bowl, I just cut around it with my rotary cutter, green self-healing mat underneath the fabric to protect my counter.  One circle per cake.  That circle will be the top of the cake.  I did make that three tier cake also.  It has a top and bottom circle so each layer can be separate(cut 2).  For these little ones, just cut one.
I wanted to show you that there were jagged edges-it isn't totally easy to cut a circle with a rotary cutter and a bowl, but jagged edges are OK.  They will end up inside the cake so don't cry about them too long.
Next, cut the strip of felt that will be the side of the cake.  I cut mine 3", for use with 2" foam.  It turned out just fine.  I can't, however tell you how long.  You can take a measuring tape, run it around the brim of the bowl you used, add 1/2" for the seam, and cut.  Mine still ended up too long (given the way the fabric stretches when sewn), so be prepared.  My best, mind boggling equations have never given me the accurate, end-in-just-the-right-place product I crave, so I just don't figure any more. I cut one strip for each cake.
Just a side note, if you place your fuzzy felt fuzz-side-down, you will get fuzz stuck in your mat :0)
Originally, I sewed the ends together, then sewed this strip to my circle.  In the end, I cut off the seam I sewed and fiddled away.  I am telling you, don't bother sewing the ends together.

Here, I will show you what I did...



If you can do it easier, by all means!  I am sticking with this method for now-it is the only way it works out for me.

Now for the foam insert!
I made a template for the foam insert using the same bowl we cut around to make the top of the cake-traced it on cardstock I have been hording since 1996 :0)  I knew I would use that cardstock eventually!!!  I just knew it! 
Because there is a seam allowance on the fabric circle, but not the foam, you MUST cut of 1/2" all around the template for this paper to be the correct measurement for your foam.  Now the foam, because it squeezes, can be just a tiny bit too big.  It will fit snug in the fabric.  Too small, not so good.  It will leave your cake lumpy and bumpy.  Still cute, but not as appetizing :0P 
Do you like how I have my name on these crazy old scissors like someone will try and take them from me?  I should have written "Take me, I'm yours."  Anyway, use a very old and yucky pair of scissors.  I found this pair in the old farm house we bought in MN.  They are probably older than either of my parents.  I used them for my drywall tape when we were mudding. 

Enough scissor history, trace your template on 2" foam.  I found that it worked great to either snip away at the circle little bits at a time, or the way I preferred, cut about 1" down, all the way around, then come back and cut the rest of the way.  Just jump on in there and give it a try.  Another really good way to cut foam is with an electric knife, like the one you use on Thanksgiving to cut the turkey.  I had one.  Loved it.  Can't find it.  I think it may have been yet another casualty of either one of our plethora of moves, or of my sporadic  empty-the-house-of-all-I-haven't-used-in-a-while-flings.  Whichever it was, it makes me sad.  Oh well. 
You can go around the foam circle afterward and shave snip off any huge jags.  Again, the foam is very forgiving, bumpiness is OK.  Just try and minimize it.
Grab your foam and squeeze, then put it inside.  Oh, you can first throw in a piece of batting cut to the same size as the foam if you wish...
but, I didn't think it really made a difference.  The felt I used was plush and didn't seem to need a layer of batting.  
Once the foam is inside, you do a simple running stitch around the edge like this...
then tie it off.  Did I mention it is best to use button/upholstery thread?  I love the stuff!  So much, in fact, that I have used about 4 spools this year, and have not a stitch left.  I was, however, very pleasantly surprised that my guttermann thread, doubled, was strong enough to only have one thread break in all 11 cake makings.
Now for the bottom plate...Use that saucer from the first picture, lay it upside down on doubled felt, and cut around it with your rotary cutter.  A simple blanket or whip stitch will look great.  Feeling lazy, just sew around it on your sewing machine, but loosen your pressure foot pressure because this felt is lofty and will stretch and ripple if you sew it regularly.

This is where we need to talk about size of your plate.  The plate I chose was fine, but after I did one plate, I decided it was too big.
Exhibit A
The 7" plate

Exhibit B
After I cut another 1/2 off the rim of my pattern-I think it looks WAY better.  Of course I didn't re-do the first one!  These cakes are for 2yr olds!  They won't care.  This is just another obsessive-compulsive moment. 

Stitch that cake to the plate and take a coke break before it's time to make dinner.  Whew!  You deserve an award if you finished reading those instructions, let alone, making a cake.  It is more work to read about it than it is to make one.  It is really rather pleasing.  Be prepared for it to take some time, but it is really a lot of fun.

Tomorrow, the frosting!!!

4 comments:

  1. How cute! I thought it was a real cake!

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  2. Vanessa, this is just darling!!! I'm definitely bookmarking it. I thought it was real at first, too! LOVE the frosting.

    Thank you so so much for the award. It is so flattering. I will be trying to get together a little post soon, but I'm a bit slow. :)

    Have an awesome weekend!!
    Hugs,
    Stef

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  3. Just wanted to let you know what fun it was to read your cake tutorial! Reading on your blog is like talking to my sister... we both have our "squirrel" moments, but then we get back on topic, and everyone is the wiser and richer in trivia than they they ever knew they needed to be. ;-D
    I have been having a bit of felty fun myself, lately, as i am in the midst of making an entertainment center-cum-play kitchen for my grandkids, and of COURSE they NEED to be properly stocked in such felty goodness.
    I am going to post the play kitchen soon, as i am doing the final painting today. (Trim, put in the picture for the window, screw everything back on... you know the drill....) Anyway, loved your blog, and feel free to visit mine, if you want. ~ http://www.redhead83402.blogspot.com

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