I love making softies with flat feet and flat bottoms.
This is Napoleon and Josephine.
Like any self-respecting elephant, Josephine has nice flat feet at the bottom of her trunk-like legs.
She also has a flat bottom that helps her sit nicely.
Napoleon has a flat bottom too. See?
Franklin the Fat Cat, the Eggheads and the Oddballs all have flat feet and/or bottoms.
Nellie the Pig has a flat bottom and a flat snout.
You might be a little daunted at sewing a flat bottom to what is essentially a tube of fabric – but it’s really not that tricky.
There are two techniques – one for use with larger pieces going through the sewing machine, the other for smaller, hand sewn felt softies. I’ve got a photo tutorial for the first one and a video for the second one – because the second method involves faith and I know some of you won’t believe it until you see it. 🙂
Sewing a Flat Bottom With the Sewing Machine
Cut your round foot and sew your leg or body into a tube. Do not freak out when you think about putting them together. We’re going to break it up into sections and take it one section at a time.
Fold the round part in half and put a pin in the fold at each side. Open it up. Fold it in half the other way, so the pins match up, and put pins in the two new folds. You’ve divided the circle into perfect fourths without using a protractor. 🙂
Now we’ll divide the leg into fourths. Fold it in half so the seam is at one fold. Put a pin in the opposite fold. Now refold it so the pin and the seam match up and put two pins in the new folds. See? Perfect fourths – no measuring.
Put the two pieces together, matching pins.
Now take it just one quadrant at a time, fitting the curve of the round piece to the edge of the tube. Add more pins as needed. Fleece (like I’m using in this photo) is a dream to do this with. The fleece just stretches right into the curve and doesn’t need many pins. Non-stretchy fabrics might need a few more. I like to divide the quadrant in half and put in a pin. Then if it needs more, divide each half in half and put in a pin. Keep going until you feel like it’s all held together neatly – then run the thing through the sewing machine. I like to sew with the flat part down so I can see (and control) the excess fabric in the tube.
Sewing a Flat Foot by Hand
For smaller, hand sewn felt softies it’s even easier – but you do need to have faith in your pattern designer. It looks like there’s NO WAY this the little round bit will fit on the tube – but it will. I show you the whole process in one shot from start to finish.
See? That flat bottom fits right on there – almost like I used math or something to calculate the exact size needed. Which is exactly what I did – and then I tested it a couple of times to make sure I did that math right. 🙂
(In case you’re curious, that’s whipstitch I’m using to sew the foot on. There’s a tutorial here showing how to do it.)
Ready? Go give your softies some flat feet and cute sittable bottoms. 🙂
How can I make sure that the circle is about the right size
If you’re using a pattern, just trust the designer. 🙂
If you’re designing it yourself, you have to use math and formulas with the circumference of the circle. And make sure to do all your calculations BEFORE adding your seam allowance.
Can I just like, squeeze you right now??? I’m so happy to come across this!! YIPPEEE!!!! I just made a prototype elephant that my mother made for me 40 yrs ago. She gave me what she had for the pattern but no instructions and I had to make-up the rest of it myself. AFTER HOURS of trying to figure it all out (I’m a quilter, not a seamstress) I got most of it, I think. But the FEET!! This is how they are made…little circles sewn by machine. GAH!! What I did kinda worked, it looks “ok” but this….this is the ANSWER!!! I can’t wait to do this tomorrow and see it come out so much better. Thank you!!!
I have the pattern for Munch – I clicked for the Video – all I get is the pictorial instructions – no video. Is there a video for sewing the “flat bottom” as it states in instructions
The video in this post is showing hand-sewing, but the process is the same for sewing by machine except that you’ll want to pin the pieces first as shown in the photos. It’s a combination photo/video tutorial.