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Well, here we are, less than a month away from the end of the longest year EV-ER. If New Year’s Eve 11:59 is a finish line, I am feverishly stumbling towards it with the grace of an elephant – hair unkempt, clothes torn and wrinkled, spirits a bit bruised, but tenaciously (desperately) hurtling myself toward that imaginary line.
When thinking on the projects I wanted to close out the year with, a set of scrappy little gingerbread people – pieced together from bits of leftovers, battle-scarred with bite marks, dismayed, disturbed, and running for the hills – seemed the perfect fit for 2020 (ha!).
Nibble and Snap, our spunky little DIY gingerbread softies, are the ideal accessories to carry with you into this year’s holidays. Made with a lot of love and an extra pinch of grit for good measure, our recipe yields a soft, squeezable 9-inch tall cookie that is equal parts pure comfort and festive silliness.
Turn our gingy over and you’ll find a small hidden pocket, perfect for stashing secret notes, tiny gifts, or wish lists.
I feel like I’ve said it over and over this year, but as with all things 2020, this holiday season comes with its own unique set of challenges, compromises, and possible disappointments. For kids who may be having a bit of a “hard candy Christmas” (keep scrolling for this classic Dolly holiday jam!) our softie can be used as a sort of makeshift holiday worry doll. Whether they’re filling the pocket with concerns, or using their softie for some self-soothing squeezes, these buddies offer your kiddos a simple way to deal with yucky feelings. Even the toughest of cookies sometimes feel “crumby”.
Nibble and Snap are just a pair in a collection of over 100 fun free holiday kids patterns – part of Sew a Softie for the Festive Season. We had the pleasure of contributing a tutorial for Sew A Softie’s upcoming book Sewing Simple Softies with 17 Amazing Designers and it’s available just in time for holiday gift-giving!
For your own DIY Gingerbread Softie you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- Our free printable Nibble and Snap Gingerbread Templates (a sample from our brand new gingerbread play bakery kit)
- Felt scraps, googly eyes, buttons, beads, sequins, ricrac, bells, or similar items for extra decoration
- Yarn and/or ribbon
- Fabric paints and a couple of brushes
Note: If gifting these to younger children, make sure all pieces are sewn on rather than glued to eliminate choking hazards.
DIY Gingerbread Man Softie Instructions:
- Trace our gingerbread pattern onto felt and cut out
Download our free gingerbread patterns and print the template you’d like to use. Trace 2 copies onto felt (I’ve found it’s easiest to use a permanent marker) and cut out.
Note: you’ll want to trace your pattern on one felt piece, then flip it over to produce a mirror image on your other felt piece (as shown above).
We also cut a small pocket shape out of our leftover felt, so we could add a little pouch to the back of our softie!
- Embroider simple features or embellishments
While your pieces are flat, think about what details you’d like to add. This is the easiest time to add embroidered details or stitch a pocket onto your softie.
Remember to add the details to the “good” sides of your softie – it’s always a bummer to realize you’ve accidentally flipped your pattern over and added a pocket to what will be the INSIDE of your softie.
- Pin and stitch your softie front and back together
Sew the front and back of your gingerbread man softie together using a running or blanket stitch almost all the way around the outside edge. Leave a small opening so you can stuff it.
Tip: young sewers may prefer to use safety pins instead of straight pins.
Stuff your gingerbread man softie with polyfill or other stuffing materials then sew closed.
- Glue on features and accessories
Use fabric glue to add details like felt/yarn eyes, mouths, hair, or other accessories to your gingerbread man softie.
There are a million and one ways kids can adorn these to give them their own unique personalities. If you try this as a holiday craft with your kids, I recommend beginning by:
- Providing a list of possible supplies. Set out small bowls filled with the decorative elements that can be used, or write down a list for reference.
- Making a drawing. Have your littles do a quick sketch of their softie design on the pattern before beginning. This can give you an idea of their expectations and a chance to work out any major issues before you’re all right in the middle of your sewing project.
These cute cuddlers provide a wonderful way to practice different kinds of stitches and embroidery techniques. Sew on buttons, practice knots, stamp with fabric paint, glue on sequins or ribbon bows. The hand-picked choices and handmade charm are precisely what make these so darn delightful!
Happy holidays friends! Here’s to getting through one hard candy Christmas safely together (but apart!) with the promise of a rip-roaring, blow-the-roof-off celebration together (truly TOGETHER) in 2021!
Hungry for more gingerbread? We’ve got you covered with our new gingerbread play bakery kit! Use it to make your own felt gingerbread bakery, decorate a set of cardboard gingerbread houses, and much more!
*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon or Woodpecker Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!