I love Easter eggs. There's something delightful about the elevation of such an ordinary, every day object into colour and pattern and life: it's spring and rebirth and all the good things we've been longing for through the long, white winter. This year, in addition to dying real eggs, I wanted to make something a little more permanent and a little more playful. It was a perfect time to dig into my quilting scraps.
I was surprised at how many tries it took me to get a shape and size that I liked and the enormous quantity of "fluff" that I was able to cram into each egg. I'm very happy with the end result. These play Easter eggs are the size of real eggs and so firmly stuffed that they're hardly squishable at all. They have a heft and solidity that begs to be picked up and handled.
Though they're sturdiness makes them perfect for little hands and my son has been playing with them nonstop, the eggs also look lovely as part of our spring decor. Adults and kids alike seem to find them pleasurable to hold and to contemplate.
They're a preview of spring and a little bit of silly, colourful fun to lighten up the monotony of the tail end of winter.
Scrappy Fabric Eggs
You will need:
- scraps of quilting cotton (quilting weight holds up very well to the pressures of stuffing, but feel free to experiment with other fabrics)
- polyfill or other fluffy craft stuffing (100% wool would probably be lovely)
- sewing machine, scissors, etc. -- all of the normal sewing items
- egg template
- a fabric marking pen
- a chopstick or other narrow, blunt object for stuffing the egg
- needle and hand-quilting thread for hand-sewn finishing. (You can, certainly, make this project without using machine thread, but quilting thread is so much less likely to tangle and break that it's probably worth picking up a spool in a neutral colour just to hand finish little projects like this.)
I know that if you're trying to use up little scraps of fabric it can be frustrating to try to get all of the fabric cut out exactly on bias. I had this issue and found that a little bit of turning was okay. It is very important not to place the template on the straight grain, though. If you do, as you stuff the egg, it will stretch too much around the middle and it will come out entirely too round. But, If you cut the pieces on the bias (or at least very close to it), the egg will stretch a little along the long side and you'll be able to massage it into a pleasing egg-y shape.
Do remember to decrease the stitch length on your machine so that you get these nice, tiny stitches. Stuffing your egg firmly will put a lot of strain on the seams, so you want them to be as strong as possible. For the same reason, make sure to back-tack at the beginning and end of each seam.
After you've sewn up both pairs (step 3), fold back the fabric so that there are three layer (halves) on one side of your piece and one layer on the remaining side.
Now put both halves of the egg together! You'll match up the single layer sides first.
Where you choose to end your seam is personal. Leaving a smaller gap (seam ends closer to the top point) means that you'll have less hand-sewing to finish the egg, but it will be a little trickier to turn the fabric right side out and to stuff the egg. If you're making lots of eggs, you'll soon have a preference!
You can use your chopstick to help you turn the egg. (A knitting needle would seem ideal, but they have a nasty habit of poking right through the seam.)
Seriously, they take a lot of fluff! Massage and shape as you stuff.
This illustrates how nice and smooth you can get the seam by pushing it to one side with the chopstick as you cram stuffing behind it.
For ease of sewing, it's nice to have the fabric ends tucked mostly under like this.
For the neatest sewn seam, use a ladder stitch. I like this video tutorial by Wendi Gratz because she's working with a softie and that's relevant here. For those who just need a little pictorial refresher, Sew it, Love it has a nice one.
Now make many, many more!