At the first signs of spring weather, my family is quick to get our Swiss chard planted – we love this crop for its hardiness, beauty and functionality in our diets. We especially love rainbow chard with its vibrant stems in pinks, reds, oranges and yellows. To celebrate the beauty of this crop, I designed a simple pattern to make play rainbow chard – it is simple enough that you can, in a single rainy spring afternoon, make an entire bouquet for your child’s play kitchen. It is sure to brighten up the space for spring and inspire many new hours of creative play.
Wool or wool-blend felt in greens and purples (for the chard leaves) and bright oranges, yellows, reds, and pinks (for the stems)
Chenille stems (6mm width)
Thread that matches stem colors
This rainbow chard pattern is designed so that you can get two leaves from one 9”x12” piece of felt, the size most precut felt is sold in. It will be a tight fit, but you will be left with little waste. Trace the leaf pattern, and cut out. Do not cut along the line in the middle. This will be the gathering line.
Now, sew a line of gathering stitches down the middle of the chard leaf. Pull a single thread to gather the leaf – this will give the chard its true-to-life curled edges.
Cut out two stems that measure 11”x3/4”. Pin the stems onto the front and back of the chard leaf – right down the middle, and on top of the gathered stitches. Make sure that the front and back stems align very closely, as you will be sewing all three layers together like a sandwich. Starting at the bottom of the stem, sew up one side, around the top of the stem, and about a ½ inch down the next side. Stop sewing, so that you have room to insert a chenille stem to give support to the chard leaf. Nestle the chenille stem inside the chard stem, and then finish sewing down the other side and bottom of the stem.
Now the leaf is almost done. Using thread that matches the stem, sew the veins on the chard leaf. Sew right across the stem, from one side of the leaf to the other. Next, scallop the edges of the chard leaf by cutting curved indents into the felt at the point of each vein, and your chard leaf is done! To make a whole bouquet, repeat using other stem and leaf colors!
Jennie’s favorite season is spring, and play kitchens are one of her favorite toys. You can find lots of handmade toys, including play food, at her shop, Wild Marigold.