Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Memory Matching Game Tutorial

Making a matching memory game out of fabric scraps has been on my To Sew list for years.

Literally, years.

Since before I started Fun Little Things.  Since before I even had kids.

In May of 2011 (see, I told you, years) Purl Bee put out a tutorial for making a fabric scrap memory game (with gorgeous Liberty of London scraps and many intricate details and techniques for hiding all your stitching) and I became obsessed.  My nephew had been born the week before and I instantly wanted to make it for him.  Now, obviously, one week olds are not exactly playing memory games, so onto the old Pinterest it went.  I waited and waited, thinking at every gift giving occasion if he was old enough for this great idea yet.  And then, right about the time he became old enough, I had Annie, and a sewing business, and this tutorial- with its details and techniques, just didn't seem quite so much like the thing to do.  But there it was, all along, hanging out in the back of my mind, calling to me:  I'm so pretty, make me, make me, make me.

And then suddenly (poof!) Annie is a big kid.  And suddenly, she lights up with excitement when she discovers two of something that are the same.

Two! Two!

And my mom (brilliant lady that she is) kept saying, you really should get her a memory matching game.  And then late one night (or was it early one morning?) while nursing June in the dark on the couch, when all my best thoughts are thought, I knew just how to make the perfect memory matching game for Annie!  Fewer steps, easier techniques, pink thread, my favorite zig zag stitch and felt and fabric scraps I had in the closet.  The perfect project!

So, my friends, if you too have scraps in your closet, and a big kid who likes to find two of things, but don't have the time (patience, attention to detail, unlimited supply of Liberty of London) for that Purl Bee memory game- read on, I am going to show you how!

And I promise it is easy.  Easy enough it can even be done with a just-learned-to-crawl-and-now-wants-to-walk-because-she-wants-to-play-like-the-big-kids, 6 1/2 month old in your lap.


Fabric scraps
Scissors or rotary cutter

The total quantity of felt and fabric is dependent on how many pieces you want to make and how big you want them to be, and can be adjusted depending on what you have in your stash.  

Step 1:

Cut squarish shapes out of felt.  Choose any color that calls to you (or that, y'know, you have in that closet of yours.)  Just make sure the felt pieces are all cut out of the same color or as your sweet little one gets older and smarter and becomes a bit of a cheater, different colors of felt will make the game too easy!  My felt "squares"  were 2 1/2 inches x 2 1/2 inches and it would be some sort of unexplainable mystery if they were actually square, but they are pretty close.  This is a great step to do while watching some Netflix and drinking wine after bedtime.  Actually, steps 1, 2 and 4 are all great for that.  Part of what makes this such an excellent project. 

Step 2:

Choose some fabric scraps.  If you just love it all too much and can't decide, but still want it to be a surprise for your big kid, babies are pretty good at choosing.

 However many squares of felt you cut, you will need half that number of pretty scraps.  I cut 22 squares of felt, and chose 11 of my favorite fabrics.  Now just cut 2 squares from each scrap, each just a little smaller than the felt.  Again, perfectly square and the exact size are not what is important here.  My fabric squares were more or less 2 inches x 2 inches.  This is a great chance to have some fun with fussy cutting and choose a cute little bear or bee or flower to center on your square.

Step 3:

For this step you will actually have to go sit at your sewing machine.  If you are living the life I was in San Diego, with your sewing machine in your living room, you can keep up the netflix marathon, because this too is a pretty easy step.

Simply center the little fabric square onto the felt square, choose a zigzag stitch and a somewhat short stitch length and sew each square in place.

The zigzag will keep the fabric from fraying (plus you probably won't be putting these babies in the washing machine, I would recommend just cleaning them by blotting with a wet rag if the need comes up, and based on pretty much every day of my life, I am pretty sure it will come up soon) so there is no need to fold and press and hem down the edges.  I chose bright pink thread because my little matching master has a pretty serious pink obsession these days, and how often is bright pink really the right color for your project.  Gotta take the chance when you get it!  The stitching will be highly visible on the back of the pieces, but as long as you use the same color for all pieces, it won't give any hints to the big kids/ smarty pants/ cheaters in your game.

Step 4:

Snuggle back up on the couch with your zig zagged pieces and some scissors and snip all those threads.

Step 5:


That's it!  You are done!

This is how excited you are about how fun and easy that game was to make!

I happened to have an almost finished drawstring bag on the edge of my desk.  A mistake/ trying to figure out how to remember to make a drawstring bag with box corners from a project a few weeks back.  It was the perfect size and shape for keeping all these little pieces gathered together.  I just finished up the top and pulled a ribbon through to tie it tight.  If you do not happen to have a drawstring bag sitting around, here is a great tutorial for making one.  Or to make life easy you can always use a ziplock or a rubber band, or if you are giving these as a gift, maybe just tie a pretty ribbon around the whole pile- ta da! Beautiful gift completed!

We have so far spent a lot of time dumping the bag out and spreading the pieces around.  There has also been a pretty high degree of excitement at discovering two of the same or talking about what other projects those fabrics have been used for.  The actual playing of this game is still something we are working on figuring out.  But I am in love with the game and all the colorful little pieces.  And Annie thinks it is pretty rad too!  We have had some fun in very short increments and I have nothing but high hopes that our love of the game will keep growing and growing!  And if the 11 matching pairs get too easy as she gets older, I can always make more!

See! I told you!  So easy!  Go make your own and show me pictures (tagging me on Instagram @gracefunlittlethings or posting them to my Facebook page would be a great way to do that!).  I would love to see all the variations in felt colors, well loved scraps and favorite thread colored zig zags.  And I always love to see the excited faces of tiny people having fun!

1 comment:

  1. It turned out so neat and your pictures are so adorable! Both your girls are getting so big! Cora loves matching things too and she has a couple (store bought... one is Frozen, of course!) matching games that she plays with but hasn't quite figured out the "memory" part of the game yet, either. I know when she does that she will be super good at it though... she has a really great memory! I know she'll beat me every time! If I get a chance maybe I'll make a fabric set for her sometime. :)