I love love love working with this wool felt. It doesn't stretch like its synthetic counterparts, making it perfect to use along with cottons. To give it extra stability, I used a quilter's cotton lining which also covered up my stitching from the exterior applique. Think up your favorite spring scene and get to work on your own bucket, too! Felt is the perfect material here, because you won't have to finish any edging and it gives great dimension to your applique.
(2) 8x12in sheets of wool felt for exterior sides
(1) 8x12in sheet of wool felt for bucket bottom & strap
1 fat quarter of quilter's cotton for interior liner
Wool felt scraps for applique images
I went with a slightly muted color palette of felt to give it a less traditional look, but still stuck to some springtime favorites (pink, purple, green). To minimize waste, I limited the number of sheets I dug into for the applique pieces.
1. Cut your bottom circle.
2. Cut out strap
Cut (2) 1.5 inch wide strips the length of your felt, 12 inches. I used two strips which I pieced together with a 1/4 seam allowance to create a long strap. I kept the strap unlined, I like the looseness of it so it'll drape more naturally over a small shoulder (this one's going to a 1.5 year old). This will give a strap that is 23.25 inches after seam allowance attachment, but you can choose to shorten here if you'd like. If it's too short, the bucket will hang awkwardly under the arm, making it stick out too far, which is why I kept mine long.
3. Cut out applique shapes
4. Sew on decoration
5. Attach liner
Cut (2) cotton pieces to the same size as your exterior pieces, after you've appliqued to account for any shifting in your felt. Iron down 4 sides of your (2) liner pieces with a 1/4" single fold-over. Center each cotton lining piece onto one felt piece interior. Pin in place if necessary (I didn't -- the nap on the felt kept it in place from the ironing board to my machine). Stitch down as close to the cotton edge as possible, about 1/8" on all 4 sides.
6. Attach sides to bottom
This is where my studio suddenly got very dark and I forgot to take a photo! I'm including a rough illustration of these next steps.
Pin one felt side piece along one half of your exterior bottom circle, with seams facing outward, along the 12" longer bottom edge. Leave a 1/2" edge unpinned at either vertical side of your exterior piece. Once the first side is attached to the circle, begin with your second half in the same manner, matching up the open edges with the edges of your first side piece that is already attached. Pin everything in place. Stitch up the seam on ONE side only with an approximate 1/2" seam allowance (stitch up whatever your overhang measures). Note: You're creating ONE exterior facing SIDE SEAM here. Next, moving across the bottom circle, stitch around the bottom with a 1/2" seam allowance, skipping across your open side & leaving the exterior overhang un-sewn (so you don't sew your edge flap flat). I followed along the same stitches already in place from my liner to eliminate what shows on the outside. Once the bottom circle is completely sewn, sew up your remaining side seam so it's flush with the bottom circle. You may have to trim your final side seams down to whatever look you desire (we trimmed ours to about 1/4").
7. Attach strap
Sew your strap across your edge seams on either side of your bucket, approximately 1/4" down from the top of your bucket, lining up with your existing stitches used to hold your liner in place. This will make that stitching less pronounced on the outside, so you don't have multiple lines visible from the exterior.