Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scrappy Owl {Guest Tutorial}

'ello Friends
Oh!  But a have a treat for you today.  I'm lucky enough to introduce Jenny from Mend & Make New.  

I've long admired Jenny's eye for design, colour and composition.  She elegantly blends old and new and her attention to the little details is amaz-balls.  

I hope you enjoy her tutorial for these super cute little owl softies made from scraps and leftovers.  Just imagine one of these be made up from scraps of your child's outgrown clothes, or you could make one to match a handmade quilt.  I can see myself making a parliament of these owls - one just isn't enough!

owl softie tutorial

I’ve been making these little owls for a wee while now and people seem to love them. They make great gifts for little kids.

This is the first time I have made this ‘scrappy’ variation of them though – perfect for using up scraps of some of your favourite bits of fabric that you’ve been been reluctant to part with.

To make one of these little guys you will need:

  • strips of scrap fabric – enough to sew together to make a rectangle at least 29x20cm for the body of the owl . (If you have long strips you could make vertically striped owl, or if they are shorter then you could sew them together horizontally.)
  • more contrasting yet complimentary fabric scraps for wings, another smaller scrap for the beak and a larger piece of fabric for the back. (If you don’t have a large enough piece for the scrap, then you could piece scraps together as for the front.)
  • A small amount of felt or fleece for the eyes. (Neither of these fray, but I have found that if used for a toy I’ve found fleece is better as it doesn’t pill so much.)
  • complimentary embroidery floss for the eyes.
  • A small amount of Vliesoflix (which I up ‘til now thought was spelt visoflex).  An iron on fusible webbing with a paper backing. Ask at your local Spotlight or fabric store. (Most Spotlights keep it at the fabric counter.)
  • Stuffing – here I used polyfill but for some of my earlier owls I used un-needed fabric scraps.
  • Other obvious sewing equipment: sewing scissors, sewing thread, a needle for embroidery and to hand sew up the enclosure.
  • AND … Last but not least THIS PATTERN –  when you print make sure ‘shrink to fit’ is NOT selected (you will just end up with a slightly smaller owl.) Unfortunately a very small section of the owl’s butt gets cropped off with printing – but no problemo just connect the two lines in a natural curve.

Step 1: Neaten up scraps to be used for body if necessary


Step 2: Sew the strips of fabric right sides together.  Step 3:  Iron open seams to give a nice crisp, professional finish.


Step 4: Using the pattern provided, trace the owl body onto the combined scraps (or pin the pattern on) and cut out. Also cut one in the backing fabric. Trace the eyes onto the felt/ fleece and cut out.

Trace the left and right wings onto vliesofix and the beak onto a separate, smaller piece – but DO NOT cut these shapes out of the vliesofix yet! (Also, don’t do as I did and trace 2 of the same wing – twice!)


Step 5: Iron the vliesofix with wings traced on, onto the WRONG SIDE of the chosen fabric. Do the same for the beak. Cut out.

You should now have a cut out owl body (front and back), and wings and beak with vliesoflix on the back. Pin eyes of owl in position.


Step 6: Peel vliesofix off the back off the wings (you will notice a kind of glue is left behind when you peel it off.) Position the wings in place and iron them on. (The glue will cause them to stick when activated by the iron.)


Step 7:  Sew the eyes on and wings close to the edge.


Step 8: Peel vliesofix off the beak, iron on and sew down (as per the wings) In terms of positioning I tend to put the top of the beak where the eyes first meet.

Step 9: Draw eyelids/ lashes on with tailor’s chalk (or a faint pencil).


Step 10:  Embroider eyes using all 6 strands of the embroidery floss. The stitch I use is stem stitch. I taught myself how to do it using this video clip.


Step 11: Pin the front and back right sides together and sew around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. MAKE SURE you leave about a 12cm opening at the bottom for stuffing.

Step 12: Snip around the sewed edges with pinking shears if you have them, or clips curves. Turn in the right way.

Step 13: Stuff taking care to ensure adequate stuffing is in ears first (so they don’t droop.) Personally I like my owls to look ‘well nourished’ but the amount of stuffing you use is up to you.


Step 14:  Now to hand sew up the opening at the bottom.  Fold the raw edges inside and use whipstitch to close up the hole.


You are done! Give them to your little person and savour the look of joy in their eyes. Repeat steps 1-14 as required!


Happy owl making!



  1. These are so cute! I can see me making a bunch of these in the near future! Great tutorial Jenn. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Lovely owls - I like the way the fabric is patchworked together too :)

  3. Vey cute owls and a great tutorial - thanks!


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