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From the Purl Beehive: Emily's Memory Game

Recently a wonderful new site called The Student Teacher joined the Purl Beehive. As we were adding it to our roster we fell in love with a charming and inspiring project idea for a felt and fabric memory game. We just knew we had to share it with you and happily, Emily, the author of The Student Teacher blog, agreed to let us present it to you here, complete with a tutorial for making your own!

We love that Emily's Memory Game was originally inspired by a post written by Purl Soho's graphic designer Brooke Reynolds on her blog Inchmark (which is also a part of The Purl Beehive).  Brooke's beautiful memory game was made with fabric and paper.   It's so nice to see crafters being inspired by one another in this way!  Above is a photo of Emily's version from The Student Teacher, and below is Brooke's from Inchmark.

To make our version of the game we decided to follow Emily's lead and use 100% wool felt in ecru as the base of the cards. For the fabric inside the felt frames we turned to our favorite Liberty of London Tana Lawn, the fine detail and beautiful colors are perfect inside the little frame of felt.

Since so little of each fabric is needed we used a Liberty Mini Rainbow Bundle which contains twenty different 8-inch x 12-inch pieces, and each print in this little bundle is more beautiful than the next!

This project takes time and attention to make, but it is relatively simple and very doable. What a lovely present for a child! 

Thank you so much to Emily for generously allowing us to present her wonderful idea here on The Purl Bee. Please be sure to check out her blog, The Student Teacher for lots more exciting craft ideas and to say hello. (This recent post about an embroidered growth chart also had us really excited!)

P.S. If you'd like to learn more about joining The Purl Beehive yourself please click right here!


To make a set of forty 2 3/4-inch square memory game cards


From the Liberty:

  • Cut each of the twenty different prints into two 2 1/2-inch squares (40 total)

From the felt:

  • Eighty 3-inch squares

From the Interfacing:

  • Eighty 3-inch squares
  • Forty 2 1/2-inch squares

Prepping the Pieces

Please note that the interfacing has 2 sides- a bumpy side which is the fusible side, and a smooth side which is the non-fusible side.

Place a Liberty piece right side up on top of the fusible side of the 2 1/2-inch interfacing pieces so that their edges meet up.

Press these pieces together so they fuse, making the Liberty a bit stiffer.

Fuse a 3-inch piece of interfacing to 40 of the 3-inch pieces of felt. These are the top pieces of the memory cards.

For the 40 remaining 3-inch felt pieces use a pencil to mark a 1/2-inch from all four sides of the square. This will yield a centered 2-inch square.

Cut this square carefully out of the center with scissors. The side with the pencil marks is the wrong side. Discard the center. You will be left with a frame shape as shown above.

You should now have the following pieces (clockwise from top left):

  • 40-fused Liberty pieces, 2 of each print
  • 40-felt frame shapes
  • 40-fused 3-inch felt squares (top pieces of the memory cards)
  • 20- 3-inch interfacing squares

Sewing Together

Center and pin one of the Liberty pieces to one of the frame pieces, wrong sides up.

When you turn it over the Liberty should be neatly framed by the felt as in the picture above.

Using a zig zag stitch sew around all four inner sides of the frame, thus attaching the Liberty to the frame. When you get to a corner leave your needle down and pivot the piece then continue down the next side.

Press the piece and make sure the felt and the Liberty are securely sewn together.

Turn the piece over and trim any excess Liberty from the back.

Fuse a 3-inch square of interfacing to the back of the framed piece.

Repeat this for all 40 felt frames and Liberty pieces. This framed piece is the bottom piece of the memory card.

Pin a bottom piece to one of the top pieces (the 3-inch square fused felt pieces), wrong sides together. Sew them together with a continuous seam 1/4-inch from the outer edge around all four sides.

Using a rotary cutter trim 1/8-inch off of each of the 4 sides. This will tidy up the edges and ensure that each card is a uniform shape and size.

Repeat this for all 40 memory cards.

Reader Comments (18)

So beautiful, simple and functional. As it happens, I have plenty of leftovers from the mini rainbow bundle from the circle mini-quilt earlier this year!
May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily in MV
i love this, and am totally doing it! you guys should check out madebyjoel for more amazing handmade kid stuff... i have no affiliation, i'm just a fan.
May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjill
These are AMAZING! I have an on-going Memory Game battle with a niece, I keep losing to her with her Disney Princess version (so many of those princesses are after my time!). I plan to tip the scales in my favor with leftovers from treasured quilts - Bwah-ha-ha!!! :) These are beautiful and so simple. This design would also make gorgeous coasters if enlarged just a bit.
May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathrine in VT
This is so fabulous! But after reading the instructions... I'll probably only make it for children i REALLY love :)

ha! Thanks for the fun tutorial. yet again.
May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlison
I absolutely love it! Gonna try that sometime :) Thank you for sharing <3
May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmilie
I am making this now for my son's kindergarden teacher for a present and I am so pleased with how it has turned out. Such a great idea. It does take some time, but I have done a little bit each night and it is so rewarding to make a handmade gift for his teacher. You could even do 20 cards (2 sets of 10) for a younger child. Thanks for the wonderful idea!
June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
should read "Kindergarten" in my previous post - I was thinking about the garden!
June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
Tips and time Savers:
Fuse the felt with interfacing before cutting!
Cut the fabric into rectangles - 3 x 6 - fuse with interfacing then cut into squares.
I find that working in bigger pieces then cutting is easier to fuse and your squares will always line up!

Great game!
July 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy
FYI: 1/4 of a yard of this felt (if purchase by-the-yard) is not quite enough to make 20 pairs. I discovered this after I ordered a quarter yard and tried to make this for my daughter the other night. I could still make enough for her to play, but I will have to get more felt to make 20 pairs.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErica
HI Erica- Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. The pattern has been corrected. Best- Molly
July 25, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Just beautiful!!!!
August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMake and Play
LOVED this idea! I've made two so far--one using natural canvas and one with denim as the backing/fabric. They look BEAUTIFUL! So excited to give them as a baby shower gift. Thank you!!
September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
I just got my materials to make this project for Christmas for my kids, and two sets of nephews and nieces! Can't wait to start!
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz K
I love this idea and can't wait to make a set. I think I will start with a set of 20. I also love Meredith's tips on fusing larger pieces first then cutting. Good time saver! Thanks so much for sharing a cute little craft!
September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah
FYI - The Student Teacher site you link to is password protected.
December 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobinN
I'll echo what other commenters have written: great project! I'm not particularly crafty, but for my 22 month old niece, I may have to learn!
As Robin mentioned - The Student Teacher link is password protected. I was hoping to see what other treasures she's created....
December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterC
This will also be cute and economical with leftover children's clothing scraps....I love the idea of the fusable webbing though, saves a ton of time.
January 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter71sweetheart
Hey there - just wanted to let everyone know that my site is up and running again. I was having some problems with it, so I temporarily blocked it from public view, but all is well again. I'm sorry for any inconvenience. Thanks!
February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

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