Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Simple Stuffies

     Nate and Elli love owls.  This love may have begun with Martin Waddell & Patrick Benson's Owl Babies or they may have been hooked upon their first visit with Grammy to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (V.I.N.S.) which specializes in rescuing injured birds of prey.  Either way they love owls and playing owls.  When they were younger an adult jacket quickly became a set of wings and a well cover the nest. 

     This love has continued and became our family’s inspiration for last Fall’s Trunk or Treat car decorating competition.  Jeff and the kids built a nest in our trunk.  We found that a trunk sized nest is very big and needed much larger owls than any we had on hand.  One thought had been to have the kids dress up and be the owls in the nest, but we decided that they would too quickly fly away leaving a vacant nest.  Afterall, sitting in a trunk dressed up as an owl only seems exciting when there are not a bunch of friends and a bounce house waiting!  This being said we opted for the next easiest possibility.  Making our owls.  We had been given a large garbage bag of fleece which seemed perfect for creating lovable stuffies. 

For the pattern I did a quick search on Google Images for owl drawings and found what I was looking for.  A simple owl outline with simple eyes and beak.  I sketched the shape onto a large piece of paper.  I sketched separate eyes, beak, and wing patterns as well.  Each of us chose the colors that we wanted and off we went.  Once I had the fabric cut, Nate and Elli helped sew and stuff their owls with some assistance.  Within the afternoon we had four owls ready to roost and two very happy children.  Our owls continue to have many adventures. 
The basic pattern

Wing for larger owl.

Here are the basic steps:

Select a simple pattern.  This could be from clip art or a child’s drawing.
Enlarge the pattern.  I chose to free hand it but you could also enlarge on a copier.  Make sure to make separate pattern pieces for any separate items to be sewn on later such as eyes, arms, mouth’s etc. 
Cut out your pattern.
Pin the pattern to your chosen fabric doubled.  For items such as a beak you may only need a single thickness as you’ll be sewing those right to one of the body pieces and not stuffing. 
Cut out your fabric. 
Sew any features such as eyes to the outside of one of your body pieces.  I chose to do this by hand using a heavier crochet cotton, but you could use a machine.  Be sure to knot your cotton firmly on the inside to secure items.
Sew your body, right sides together, leaving at least a 4 inch opening to turn and stuff. (I used a machine for this.)
Hand sew opening closed. 
Sew and attach any additional outside items.  This is where I sewed on the wings.  I sewed two pieces of fleece together for each wing and did not turn them leaving a one inch seam allowance.  Once each wing was sewn, I then fringed the edges of the wings to form “feathers” taking care to not snip the seams.  I then hand stitched the wings on in their desired location. 

Items needed:
Fabric – I used fleece as it does not fray, is soft, readily available, and very easy to work with.
Paper to make a pattern – I taped typing paper together to get desired size.
Sewing machine – You could do this all by hand.
Needles – One for regular thread and one with a larger eye for the crochet cotton. 
Crochet cotton or some sort of heavier thread to attach wings, eyes, etc. 
Extras:  Buttons, beads, pompons, etc.

Other notes:  I made all four owls from the same pattern, but just cut wider around the pattern for the desired size.  If any of this is confusing feel free to ask questions.  I’ll gladly help you in your creations! 

Elli stuffing her owl!

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I'd love to hear about your adventures!