Monday, 4 August 2014

Free Quiet Book Pattern - Felt Airplane Busy Book - Red Arrows

I wanted to do another Busy Book and was totally inspired by Katsuhiko Tokunaga's photo (taken while flying as a passenger with Red 10 over Cyprus)! So this is how it started--------------------->

The Red Arrows has become a big part of my life and it has been great watching friends and loved ones achieve their dreams! I Love creating things that have a special meaning to the world around me (my first busy book was created for the kids in my preschool room) and I thought it would be a great way to get little monsters involved in celebrating the Reds 50th year.

I had an expert pilot on hand to guide and correct me throughout the design process, but I had to remind him that I was the little monster expert and things had to be done for a child, not a pilot!

This Red Arrows inspired Felt Busy Book is packed with everyday skills your little monster needs to learn to become independent and confident. I took inspiration from my first Busy Book and made a   stack of cards, instead of a book. I did this for a few reasons- Firstly, this allows the pages to be
separated so more than one little monster can use it at a time (which always helps in a room full of kids). Secondly, if one of the pages gets ruined, fingers crossed it's the only that does! I also purposely made no loose pieces - it's like socks- where do they go and how do they get lost!!!!
What I used:
Assorted coloured felt
Needle and assorted coloured thread
Hemline Pins
Fabric Glue
5.5mm Eyelets
Small pair of Scissors (A Must!)
Soft Toy Filling
Coloured Threading Laces (I got mine here: 10 Pack of Coloured Threading Laces)
Ribbon (Red, White & Blue)
6 inch Separating Zipper
Sewing machine

In The Sky:
What I did:
The airplanes become the button holes on this page. Sew the clouds on first and then the red buttons on extra tightly! I used two different size buttons, so little monsters can do some problem solving and learn about sizes. I then sewed each airplanes by hand, stuffing it as I went and making sure to put the ribbon in before sewing it up! (Make sure the ribbon is long enough to reach the button from the side too.)
 I made the button holes by hand this time around (you could easily use a sewing machine)! Make sure you pin the size of the button before you create it.

This is a great activity to get those little finger moving!

 The Selfie:
Like I said, Katsuhiko Tokunaga's photo is where it all started. I printed it out and turned in into a little monster friendly felt experience!

What I did:
I pinned everything down to make sure I got the lay out I wanted and then started to (hand) sew bottom to top. I then (hand) sewed the ocean detail and MDC (squiggly line on the canopy)!

After that I (hand) sewed the numbers onto the moveable airplanes (they're really small so it's best just to hold it tightly) and then I (hand) sewed the backs and ribbon together. I didn't stuff these, but you can if you want.

This page my expert pilot had a lot to say!! Firstly, he wanted the airplanes to be different sizes, as in the photo. But I want little monsters to be able to place the numbered airplanes on any of the blank ones on the page, therefore all the airplanes had to be the same size! You can easily make your airplanes different size, by trimming the one from the pattern to suite. Secondly, I really wanted to put numbers on the airplanes on the page, but my expert pilot insisted they be placed as the Red Arrows fly:

As an Early Years Educator there was no way I was going to lay out numbers like that for a little monster who is just learning! So we compromised and I only added numbers to the movable airplanes, so that little monsters and expert pilots could place them where ever they wanted too! But feel free to add the numbers (or letters) to the airplanes on the page and make a matching game out of them!

This is a great activity for counting, number recognition and matching.

The Team on the Ground:
The Team is made up of 120 people, including pilots, engineers and essential support staff. There's loads of different ground crew that the pilots depend on to achieve their daily needs, and they all play an important part. The little man in blue is part of the Circus, which is made up of  nine aircraft engineering technicians, who are allocated to a specific pilot for the duration of the summer display season.They get to fly in the passenger seat of the Hawk to and from display airfields and service the aircraft before and after every display. (RAF Red Arrows)
What I did: 
 Sew on all the objects to create a picture (Hand sew on the roundels (instructions below) onto the airplane before you sew it onto the page) and line up the shapes on the opposite page and sew on the shapes (remember the shape will be on the opposite of the picture when you're looking at both of the pages at the same time!). Glue the pages down on the cardboard and use the sewing machine to bind them together. Use the eyelets to make threading holes in each object/shape.
Top Tip: Cut little gaps where you want the threading to come out of (I did it at the bottom)
 and glue the thread into these gaps. Make sure the thread is the correct length to make it through both eyelet holes (some will be longer than others).

This is a great activity for colour matching, shape recognition, problem solving and dexterity.

The Light House: 
I did it again and got inspired by another photo!

This is by far the hardest page to do - so many little pieces! But I love this photo and it had to be done. The team use 4 different location in Cypress as crowd positions, this one is called the Light House. There's only 8 airplanes in the sky, and it just so happens that the missing pilot is the one on the ground "looking" for the team. As professional as all these guys are, it's great seeing them having a laugh!
What I did:
I (hand) sewed all the pieces (bottom to top) to the page and added the detail to the Light House, shack and bush. When it came to sewing down the little pilot, I actuality glued him down and then added a few stitches- you'll see, they're really small pieces! I used a swing machine to add the smoke, but you could easily do this by hand too. Hand sew on the clouds and then use the machine to attach the zippier onto each side of the white felt. I then glued the page to the cardboard and pinned the clouds to the page and used the sewing machine to bind it all together. (Make sure that the reverse page is completely finished before binding it.)

Once a child learns how to do their zip, life gets that much easier for everyone! This cloud zip is a great way for children to understand and see the simple mechanics of how a zippier operates.

British Icon:
The Red Arrows are a British Icon, like a cup of tea, the Queen or the Beatles! They represent and showcase the skills and vales of the Royal Air Force at home and abroad. This page is designed, so your little monsters can explore the different counties that make up the United Kingdom and fly like a Red Arrow. There's an extra surprise as the airplane has a magnet in it and each heart on the map has a magnet underneath, which as you know creates a strong pulling sensation that your little monster can feel!
What I did:
Once again (hand) sew the whole UK down and then add the hearts! You can put these hearts wherever you want!! Hand sew on the roundels (instructions below) and then glue the magnet face up onto the top of the airplane. Stuff as you go, (hand)sewing the two layers and ribbon together. Make sure to leave enough ribbon to reach the top of Scotland- it's a long way away!

Top Tip: Make sure to get EXTRA strong magnets and glue down your magnets so they don't move around!

Making the RAF Roundel:

Use your Eyelet Tool to make perfect red circles. Use the pattern to make white circles and  blue thread to pin the white circles down onto the airplane. These are really small pieces, it took me a few goes to make near to perfect white circles!

For Each Page:
Each page of the "book" is made by sandwiching a piece of cardboard between two slightly larger pieces of felt. Glue each side down to the cardboard, cut off excess felt and using a sewing machine bind it all together! If you have ribbon or thread sticking out make sure these are straight, before running them through the sewing machine! Each page should measure 8 3/4 by 8 inch, but some of mine are off, so don't worry. If you can get larger felt squares, do it! Some of these pages took on a life of their own, and I just worked with what I had!

Make sure you sew all the small pieces, buttons, etc on securely and supervise very young monsters when they play with the book.

Get the Free Pattern

If you like this, check out our other free pattern
 Free Quiet Book Pattern - Honey Bee Felt Busy Book

One final thing:
I recently got to watch the Reds, with a play by play from my expert pilot!
Looking forward to watching him fly with the Reds over the next 3 years!

1 comment:

  1. love your blog! I am a Brit married to a Canadian and your love of the Red Arrows resonates with me! Great stuff