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In today’s post, we’re talking about the quintessential taco dinner ingredient: taco meat! Spicy, salty, and even a little greasy, this classic ground beef preparation is essential for any American-style taco dinner. We’ll be reproducing it from soft Tiger’s Eye brown acrylic felt.
Go ahead and get your giggles out now- there was definitely plenty of snickers and poop emoji references when constructing this little brown log of taco meat. Though giggle-worthy, it’s a simple pattern that’s easy for beginner sewers, fits great in our felt taco shells, and is a size and shape that’s easy for young hands to pick up and play with their play kitchen.
In the photo above you can see all the ingredients in our taco dinner set
The most important part for making taco fillings is getting the color just right. For this project, we used Tiger’s Eye brown acrylic felt, but for a wool-felt option, Bewitching Brown is an excellent choice. The heathered shade of bewitching brown is great for replicating the color and texture of cooked ground beef. Because the felt sheet is made of brown fibers of different shades, a more realistic effect can be created for your felt food projects.
Sewing the Taco Meat
To make the meat I begin with two identical strips of felt- 2 rectangles cut about 7″ by 2.3″, with jagged and scalloped edges.
To start stiching, just quickly start stitching a running stitch along the edge and basically just making a tube. We’ll lather gather and fill this tube, for texture, but for now just stitch the short edge and one of the long sides.
When 3/4ths of the tube is stitched, pause and add just a little bit of stuffing. You don’t want it to be overfilled, but you can just insert some felt scraps to give it a little dimension, and then keep stitching, completing the circle joining the two sides together.
Next, we want to gather the fabric a bit to add texture. If you are using a heathered/variegated shade of felt, like the Bewitching Brown, you’ll already have a lot of dimensions just from the depth of the color shading, but adding a 3-D effect with gathering makes a huge difference as well.
Once “taco meat” tube is stitched, use strong thread (or multiple strands of embroidery thread as shown here) to add a long running stitch down the length. Gather the stitch for the fabric is slightly bunched, and then tie the thread off. The bunched up fabric won’t be able to lay flat, so the texture adds some fun, some dimensionality, and some realism.
Repeat that stitch-and-gather on both sides. If you just do it on one side, the felt curls over, but if you repeat on both sides the tube should lie flat, but textured.
Once the gathers are finished, tie off your thread, trim, and you have a perfect little taco filling to pair with a felt taco shell for your felt taco playset
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