Bee Excellent to Each Other - CrawCrafts Beasties

How to Make… Little Buzzy Bees!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Is anyone out there feeling crafty?

After I put up pictures of the little felt bees I made back in April for The Snail of Happiness’s Craftivism event at The Make It Shop in Manchester, there was a quiet murmuring of interest in response to my offer to share the pattern. So, when I found myself with a clear calendar and the need to do a little bit of computery drawing practice, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to publish the templates and put together a quick tutorial! If any of you take the plunge and give the pattern a try, please let me know how you got on… or share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #crawcraftsmakes! Ready? Let’s go!

You will need:

Bee Making Equipment - CrawCrafts Beasties

  • Felt in black, yellow and cream (make sure it’s quite thick, or your bee will have sad floppy wings!)
  • Sewing thread in black, yellow and cream
  • Sew-on googly eyes
  • Pink or red embroidery cotton
  • Toy filling
  • Sewing kit – Pins, needles, scissors, pinking shears, fabric marker

And here are the templates you’ll need:

Bee Templates - CrawCrafts Beasties

  1. Start by printing out your templates. The pattern is designed to print onto a single sheet of A4 paper, and please make sure the “fit image to page” box in your print options is unticked before you print! I’ve included the dimensions of my original templates so you can check if yours have come out the right size. (Update! Early testers have told me that the best way to get an accurate printout is to download the image, then open it in a drawing program like MS Paint. So, click the template image, then right click and save it to your computer. Open Paint, find the file, open it and send it to print… And don’t forget to set your page orientation to “landscape” before you click OK!)
  2. Mark out the pieces on your coloured felt sheets, as per the instructions on each template. Don’t forget to flip over the yellow body template before cutting out the second piece, to make sure that it’s a mirror image of the first! The fiddly bits (like the antennae) are best cut out roughly with big scissors first, then you can pin the template to the felt and trim a little closer with smaller scisssors like I’m doing in the first photo.
    Bee Tutorial Step 2 - CrawCrafts BeastiesYou’ll also need to cut out a strip, 9.5cm x 1.5cm, for the bee’s stripe. So, you’ll end up with 2 yellow body pieces, 1 black body base, 1 cream wing shape and black pieces for the face, tail and stripe.

OK, let’s start putting these together! Pin your two yellow body pieces together, and sew from point 1 to point 2 along side A, as marked on the template. Keep your seam around 3mm from the edge of the fabric.

Bee Tutorial Step 3 - CrawCrafts Beasties4. For a smoother curve, cut a few notches at intervals along the edge of the felt, near to (but of course not actually touching) the seam. Then turn the body “shell” right side out.

Bee Tutorial Step 4 - CrawCrafts Beasties5. Pin the yellow body pieces to the black body base. Secure the nose and tail first by pinning point 1 of the yellow shell to point 1 on the black base, and point 2 to point 2. Then pin each side. Next, sew almost all the way around the edges with a simple in-and-out running stitch in black thread.

Bee Tutorial Step 5 - CrawCrafts Beasties6. Don’t stitch all the way around, though! When you’re within 2cm of the beginning of the seam, take a break from sewing and get stuffing. Gently push the toy filling inside, making sure it gets right up into the top of the bee’s back! I find a chopstick or pencil really helps with this bit.

Bee Tutorial Step 6 - CrawCrafts BeastiesThen continue sewing to close up the opening.
7. Now for the features! Sew on googly eyes (or stick them with glue) and use backstitch to embroider a simple smile underneath using 3 strands of embroidery floss.

Bee Tutorial Step 7 - CrawCrafts Beasties8. Pin the face to the front (point 1) of the body, then use whip stitch to sew along the bottom edge (side C) first, and then along the top. I’ve done a couple of stitches in orange for the photos, so you can see what’s going on!

Bee Tutorial Step 8 - CrawCrafts BeastiesWhen you get to the antennae, sew a couple of backstitches across the base, so that they can stand up from the bee’s head.

Stitching the Antennae - Bee Tutorial - CrawCrafts Beasties9. To make your bee look nice and fuzzy, trim the long edges of the stripe and side D of the tail piece with pinking shears.

Bee Tutorial Step 9 - CrawCrafts Beasties10. Next, attach the tail piece to the bee’s bottom (point 2) in the same way as you attached the face piece. Side C covers the line of black stitches at the base, while the zigzag edge goes over the bee’s back. Pin in place, then stitch as before…

Bee Tutorial Step 10 - CrawCrafts Beasties11. …And then repeat for the stripe as well!

Bee Tutorial Step 11 - CrawCrafts BeastiesNearly there!

Flightless Bee - CrawCrafts Beasties12. For the wings, fold the wing shape in half and sew a seam 2mm from the short edge in cream thread.

Bee Tutorial Step 12 - CrawCrafts Beasties13. Then attach the wings by placing the folded edge in the centre of the bee’s back, and sewing a quick line of stitches through the fabric between the seam and the fold.

Bee Tutorial Step 13 - CrawCrafts BeastiesFinito! Ready to take off for all sorts of new adventures…

A Finished Bee - CrawCrafts BeastiesA Little Felt Bee - CrawCrafts BeastiesThese bees make fun little gifts (for you or someone else), or why not use them for a little craftivism of your own? I reckon the pattern could also be simplified for kids (or the short of time) by gluing the features in place, rather than sewing them! Or why not mix up the colour combinations to match the bees who live in your garden?

We’ll be back next week (hopefully not so late in the day!) with some more new Beasties for you to meet! See you then… and happy making!

A Sweet Sweetheart Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties

Enough Beastie Love to go Around…

Well hello there! And WOW, for some reason it feels like ages since my last post – there’s been a lot happening this past week. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

But first, I think I promised you a new Beastie – although some of you might recognise this little guy from the post I did a couple of weeks ago about my new Beastie-sized photo studio!
Beastie-Sized Photo Studio! CrawCrafts BeastiesLet’s take a look at how those pictures turned out, shall we?
A Beastie for Molly, by CrawCrafts BeastiesOoooh, look at that! Cerise and blue, side by side, with neither colour flaring or getting washed out – teeny photographic studio, I salute you!

As for the Beastie, he’s a Sweetheart Beastie… One of the mainstays of my monster crew for every market I go to. Hearts speak to everybody*, and a soft, squishy felt one stitches up nice and quickly. This particular one was made to order for a customer I met at the Dublin Christmas Flea, who wanted a friend to keep her niece company while she’s in hospital. Hopefully his big toothy smile will help keep her spirits up…
Beastie Smile - CrawCrafts Beasties… And he’s so proud of his oversized cuddly heart!
Heart Closeup - CrawCrafts BeastiesI also couldn’t resist kitting him out with a funny little bobble hat! Very stylish.
Beastie Bobble Hat - CrawCrafts BeastiesThis Beastie had quite a way to go as well – as soon as he was ready, he left Beastie Towers and headed Down Under. But he’s bringing a flavour of this side of the globe with him… Since half of the family originally hail from Huddersfield in the UK, he’s proudly sporting the local football team’s colours!
Blue and White for Huddersfield FC - CrawCrI hope he’s settling in well in his new home!

*Well, almost everybody. At a Christmas market a few years ago, a boy marched up to my stall and told me that he really liked the handsome black and red Sweetheart Beastie I’d brought along. “Apart from that,” he said, indicating the heart, and pulling the most disdainful face I’ve ever seen.

And now for my other big news – I’m in a magazine!
Caboodle Magazine Cover - K Peschke/CrawCrafts BeastiesI first found out about Caboodle, an independent magazine from the UK that publishes twice yearly, through the blog Claireabellemakes. I ordered a copy, loved it, and when I saw an email calling for submissions a few months later, I thought why not? Then, can you imagine how excited I was when they actually accepted one of my tutorial ideas? WOWEEEEEEE!

The magazine is available now from the Caboodle website, but here’s a sneak preview to whet your appetite! I should add (although it is probably quite obvious) that those clumsy arrows in the first picture were added by me in as an expression of my joy at being a published author. Check it out!
Sneak Preview - Caboodle Magazine/K Peschke/CrawCrafts Beasties

My tutorial is a simple dip-your-toe-into-needle-felting project, inspired by my own first forays into this craft last year. If you’re interested in giving needle felting a try, this is a handy way to get used to the basic techniques by making and decorating some simple shapes!

Big thanks to Kayti Peschke from Caboodle for sharing an electronic version of the magazine, and giving us permission to use it! And also to Eirin, who took all my photos – believe me when I say that the tutorial would have been a disaster without her help! You can view her own stunning, atmospheric work on Instagram.

Phew! That’s about all I have time for this week! Swing by again next Tuesday, when I’ll have another new Beastie to share… In the meantime, have a great week!