In this project, sew up versatile mitt-shaped fabric hand puppets. Printable patterns are included for cat and rabbit puppets. Or, starting with the basic mitt shape, use fabric markers, embroidery and a few felt cutouts to make puppets of your own design. For a quick and easy puppet craft, make bear hand puppets by printing the bonus printable bear patterns directly on fabric sheets.
Related craft: For a simple paper version of the mitt puppet, see the Simple Mitt Hand Puppets craft project.
Sewing crafts: Beginning (or experienced) sewers will enjoy other Needle and Thread Crafts from Aunt Annie.
Choose the puppets that you want to make. Download the pattern and print it on white paper. The Sewing Pattern is for both the rabbit and cat hand puppets. Use the Puppet Faces Pattern as a guide for creating felt cutouts and drawing features for the cat and rabbit mitt puppets.
The printable bears are meant to be printed directly on fabric sheets, and cut out using the mitt sewing pattern. Add felt ears for a quick and easy fabric puppet!
Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The Adobe Reader is available for free.
All of Aunt Annie's project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter-size paper (8.5"x11" or A4). When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Fit, Auto-Rotate and Center or Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.
Cut out each pattern piece on the solid black outline. The Sewing Pattern has patterns for the puppet mitt and ears. Inside both ear patterns is a pattern for a felt ear insert.
The Puppet Faces Pattern is a guide for creating puppet faces. It can also be used as a pattern for cutting felt eyes, noses, and rabbit teeth. You can use these pattern pieces or cut your felt freehand.
Fold the fabric in half, right sides together. Pin the pattern pieces to the fabric, placing the mitt pattern on the fold as indicated on the pattern piece, and cut.
Tip: A 9" by 18" piece of fabric is enough to make one puppet.
Open the mitt fabric piece and lay it face-side-down. Fold up ¼" along the bottom edge, then fold a 3/8" hem. Sew the hem near the top edge using a running hand-stitch or a straight stitch on the sewing machine.
Tip: For best results, press the hem before sewing.
Cut out felt ear insides, one for each ear, using the center of the ear pattern piece. Hand-stitch the felt piece to the front of the ear using a running stitch.
With the ear pieces' right sides together, stitch a scant ¼" seam following the line indicated on the pattern. If you are hand-stitching the seam, use a backstitch. On a sewing machine, use a straight stitch. Turn the ear right-side-out. Use the eraser end of a pencil to push the point of the ear out. Repeat for the other ear.
Tip: For best results, press the ears to sharpen the tips and smooth the fabric. You can stuff the ears with a bit of poly-fill if you like.
Add a face to one side of the mitt piece. You can use fabric pens, embroidery or felt cutouts to make the face. Refer to the Puppet Faces Pattern for feature placement and felt cutout patterns.
Tip: To accurately center the face, turn the edge of the puppet back 3/8" to account for the seam.
Tip: You can also use googly eyes and a pom-pom for the nose. Glue these in place after the puppet has been stitched.
Fold the mitt fabric piece in half with right sides together, matching the edges. Pin the finished ears inside the mitt with the ear tips down and the raw edge of the ears in the top seam of the mitt. Be sure that the fronts of the ears are facing the puppet's face. Pin along the seam every inch or so, or baste the seam with a long running stitch.
Stitch the side and top seams of the mitt with a 3/8" seam on the line indicated on the pattern. If you are hand-stitching the seam, use a backstitch. On a sewing machine, use a straight stitch. To avoid fraying of the woven cloth, use liquid fray check or zigzag the edges.
Turn the puppet right-side-out using the eraser end of a pencil to push the seam out completely. Press the puppet.
Tip: To keep the rabbit's ears from flopping, top-stitch just below the ear on the mitt side of the seam. To help the ears stand up, apply spray starch to the back of the puppet ears and the top of the mitt. Iron the starch following the manufacturer's instructions. Apply starch a second time if needed.
That's it. Your puppets are done!