December 05, 2015

Make a Play Alphabet- A Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago someone on Instagram posted a picture of her daughter playing with fabric letters and I thought that would make a great Christmas gift for the two boys I babysit. I even thought to take pictures as I went along so that I could share a tutorial here.

Great baby toy! Sewing tutorial at
Sewing time has been a bit limited for me this week, so I'm still working on my two alphabets, but the letters really come along quickly. There's still time for you to make an alphabet or two for Christmas gifts!

Gather your supplies.


*Print out an alphabet in a font that you like. I used Aharoni and set the size to 550. To save paper, you can print on both sides of the paper.
*Freezer paper. If you don't already have a roll of freezer paper, you can buy it in the grocery store, in the same aisle as the plastic wrap.
*A pencil
*Paper Scissors, fabric scissors and pinking shears
*Fabric. This is a great project for scraps, which is how I'm making mine.
*Fabric for the back of the letters. I'm using a big piece of muslin for the back of my letters.
*Batting. This is a great use for small pieces of leftover batting.
*Thread. I'm using a beige thread, which will blend with some fabrics and stand out on others, but since I'm going for scrappy with the fabrics there was no way to match everything.
*Walking foot for your sewing machine (not pictured).

The best part of this project is that it's coming entirely from my stash, and you can probably do the same! I did have to buy the pinking shears, but they're an investment in future sewing projects, right? Actually, I'm already making plans for another Christmas project I want to try using this same method. Hopefully I'll be able to share that in a week or so.

Make Your Letter Templates

Place the freezer paper on top of your printed letters, shiny side down, and trace each letter. Cut out the templates with the paper scissors.


 Sew Your Letters

Again with the shiny side down, iron the freezer paper letters onto the right side of your fabric. Leave a small margin of fabric on all sides of the letters.
Layer the backing, batting and fabric with the fused letter, then pin together. If the freezer paper lifts off the fabric, just touch it again with the iron to re-adhere it.
Shorten your stitch length slightly to make it easier to stitch around the curves of the letters. Then, with the walking foot on your sewing machine, stitch right at the edge of the freezer paper. Make sure to overlap your first couple of stitches with your last couple of stitches, and backstitch at the end. Remember also to stitch inside any holes in the letters, like in the middle of the A.
Peel off the freezer paper. The freezer paper can be reused, so you can save the letters if you think you'll want to make another alphabet.

Finish It Up

Use your pinking shears to trim the excess fabric away from the stitching lines. The pinked edge won't fray like a straight cut edge would, meaning you don't have to bind or otherwise finish the edges.

It's not always easy to trim the holes in the middle of the letters, but it is possible! I use my regular fabric scissors to cut open a hole for the pinking shears and then carefully cut a tiny bit at a time. And yes, I have cut right through the stitching line once so far, but only just barely, so I restitched the line and I think it will be okay.
 My letters are almost 6" high, which I think will be a great size for toddlers and preschoolers to play with.

And there you have it...a quick and simple, scrappy gift idea!

I haven't decided yet how to gift the letters. I've been looking for a reason to make the 1 Hour Basket or I may make a drawstring bag or a denim pouch. I'll probably have to wait until I finish all of the letters before I decide.

If you make a play alphabet using this tutorial, I'd love to see it! You can email a picture or blog post link to devotedquilter at gmail dot com, or tag me on Instagram (@devotedquilter).

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, WIP Wednesday, Sew Simple Saturday, NTT, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop


  1. This is such a fun tutorial and a great way of using up some scraps!

  2. So cute! I would love to search my stash for novelties that match the letters. A is easy as I have a couple apple fabrics.

  3. HI, love this tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

  4. i LOVE this idea Leanne! What a great learning tool too. I love Heidi;s idea of matching fabric to letters too. Thank you for the tutorial and for linking up! xo jan

  5. What a cute idea and a great tutorial.

  6. Great scrappy idea! I'd probably fold that A in half to cut out that centre triangle! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday!

  7. I made two sets of those last year...not sure if my hand has recovered from cutting with the pinking shears!!! They are totally cool, but definitely labor intensive!

  8. That is a great idea - I would give them the letters in their names.

  9. Thanks for the tutorial. This will make a lovely gift for a new mom too. I can see this in a larger size and hung on the wall. Thank you.

  10. Thanks for the tutorial. Kids would love them.

  11. Hello, thank you for sharing. I love letters!


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