Sunday, May 16, 2010

Play farm fabric fences

Last year for Amelia's 2nd birthday I decided to make her a farm play set. It came from inspiration that struck while I looked around the toy shop for gift ideas. We already had a lot of the usual type gifts because Esther and Ellamay have had plenty of toys over their years. I really didn't know what to get for Amelia. I found some cheap plastic farm animals and the above is what I came up with.

This post is about the farm fences. I thought about making some out of paddle pop sticks but I knew they wouldn't last. And all the plastic ones that come in farm sets are usually pretty useless at standing up.

You will need some fabric (I used a fat quarter) and plastic canvas. Firstly, I used the animals to size up how high the fences should be to keep them from escaping. I made four panels of plastic canvas, 4cm by 13cm.
Adding a little extra for seam allowances, I made tubes (is there a technical term for that?) stitching the fabric right sides together. Stitch one end closed and then turn the tube right side out. Iron.
Then bend, curl and fold (whatever works) the plastic canvas and wrestle it down into the end of the tube. Do this with all 4 pieces.
Making sure that the first piece of plastic canvas is pushed into the closed end, sew a line as close to it as possible without actually stitching on it. Do this for 3 of the pieces.
Close the open end by folding the extra fabric into the tube and last piece of plastic canvas and sew it closed with the sewing machine.

And there you are! They fold up and stand up and keep those animals all together.
I thought about making a little tab on the ends so they could be joined together with Velcro, a press stud or a button, but I decided against this. They work fine without any fasteners and they are much safer for small kids too.
Here is Amelia playing with the extra fences that I have only just finished! Her birthday was in September and I have only just finished it now!

I hope you can follow what I have written here. It feels a bit clumsy. These are the easiest thing to make so get on and make some. Please let me know if you do. I would love to hear about it.


  1. Great open ended toy! Love the creativity.

  2. OMGosh this brings back memories of when my oldest was little - she LOVED her play horses and would have loved this project. She used to make hers out of cardboard. So cute. She is going to be envious of your fence when I shoe her this and will want to know why I didn't make her something just as cute. :)

  3. That is such an awesome idea!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

  4. hello, I saw you in craft gossip!
    I like your idea, a lot!!

  5. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks everyone for your super nice feedback. Thank you all for visiting too.

  7. I took your awesome idea and ran with it ! For weeks, I've been trying to figure out how to make Barbie some screens - you know, like boudoir screens, or fitting room ones, or even room-dividing ones. I just couldn't figure out how to make them stand up. Reading your tutorial gave me the missing element !

    I'm gonna write up a tutorial, and link back to you as the source idea. Want me to send you the link when it's done ? I'm still tweaking the pattern, but I hope to have it finished this weekend. Here's a sneak peek - version 2.0.

    Thanks for the missing piece - and a great tutorial full of ideas !

  8. That is fantastic! I love it. I would love to see the link when it's done. Our twin daughters are about to turn 6 and I think it's going to be a barbie year. I will be able to make some too! I have been playing around with the fence idea too. If I can organise my to-do list, I hope to have another idea here soon too.

  9. Well, it's a week and a day later than I intended, but 2010's been that kind of year ! The Barbie screens tutorial is finished, and posted on my scatter-shot website, if you'd like to take a peek !

    Love to hear your opinion on it, if ya get a chance to read it. Let me know if something doesn't make sense, I'm not the best tech writer ! Hope some of my readers find the link to your site as enjoyable as I have !

    Happy June to you and yours !

  10. Thanks for the link dorriebelle. The finished screen looks great. I like the embroidered screen! Well done.