Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How To-zday: What A Hoot!

The long awaited for owl project!  Whoooo-t!

This is really simple.  I used a sewing machine, but it could easily be done by hand.  Keep in mind, this pillow is meant to have a nice, shabby chic, homemade charm.  The odd little flaws make 'em look loved up!
I used a plain muslin, and what I had left over from the leaf garland for this demo, but on other owls {which make an appearance at the bottom of the post} I used old t-shirts and other fabric scraps-- really, anything goes!

  • Use a solid fabric for the body of the pillow-- color is up to you!  Cut 2 rectangles {you choice on how tall/wide}.  Lay both rectangles on top of one another, then fold in half and press.  With the rectangles in half, cut a rough half circle on one of the short sides of the rectangle, extending from corner to corner.  When you open the two rectangles up, it will look something like this:

  • That was the body, now for the wings.  Take a patterned piece of fabric, roughly 3/4 as tall as the body of the owl and just as wide.  Fold in half and press.  Use a plate or other round object and draw a half circle on the fabric fold.  Cut out the circle, then cut the circle in half, to give you two half circles.

  • For eyes and the beak:  Using a coordinating fabric, cut two circles for eyes.  For this owl, I had a fabric that had a round circle pattern that was perfect, but on other owls, I cut circles and layered fabrics to give it an eye shape and even used buttons on one {not pictured}.  For the beak on this owl, I used another shape that was in yet another piece of fabric that I thought looked vaguely beak-like.  On other owls, I cut a triangle.  Your call.  
  • After cutting the shapes, I ironed on a fuseable interface to the back of the wings, beak and eyes {like I did for the leaf garland}.  It just gives the fabric a little bit of stiffness, which makes it easier to applique.  If you were hand sewing, this step would most likely not be necessary!  
  • Place the eyes, beak and wings on one piece of the body {the other piece, just set aside} and pin in place when you are happy with the look!

  • Use a basting stitch {either on a machine or by hand}, sew the pieces in place close to the edges.  You only need to sew the wings on the rounded side {when you attach the back, that will catch the straight side of the wings}

  • Now set you machine on an applique stitch.  

  • Go over the edges of the wings, eyes & beak using the applique stitch.
  • If you are sewing by hand, you can use an applique stitch, or place stitches far apart for a "raggedy ann"  rustic look, attach with yarn or embroidery floss for a rustic feel, or skip this part all together, just leave the baste stitches & let the edges fray!

  • Whether you sew it by hand or with the machine, don't worry about imperfections, they are part of the charm.  Oh, & it is great practice at learning how to better control the sewing machine...sigh.

  • Once your owl's face is on, give it a quick pressing, then lay the second body piece over the top and pin in place

  • Sew along the edges, making sure to leave an opening on the bottom so that you can turn and stuff your owl!

  • Trim the edges & clip the points {so that the edge will be clean when you turn him right side out}

  • Turn your owl right-side out.  Use a dull pencil, chopstick or similar object to poke out the pointed edges.

  • Start stuffin'!  How much stuffing you put in is up to you.  I wanted mine to be able to sit up, so I made them relatively firm.

  • Hand sew the opening closed and you are done!

  • Fair warning: they are really easy to make, and thus tend to multiply rather rapidly

  • And you may find yourself making some for your daughter who has her own apartment, and her best friend who stopped by for a visit, and your other daughter's boyfriend when he comes for dinner...yeah...its easy to get carried away

  • Once you've got this down, you can do a few subtle changes to the applique pieces to make a fox, bear {just round the ears}, cat...the possibilities are endless! 

Not kidding, they really are addictive & adaptable.  I'm going to be repeating this idea, in essence, to make Matryoshka doll pillows which we'll give out as party favors for Christmas {yeah, I'll post it here}.  Every year we have Christmas Eve dinner here at Cecilia for all our family. We've used it as an opportunity to learn something about another culture.  We've already done French, Swedish, English, American, Irish...you get the idea.  This year, we decided on Russian!  The hubs will be doing a Russian feast {he's already got the menu planned}, Thing 1 will be doing desserts {I'll try to get her to post on them}, I'm gonna do decorations, Thing 3 will be photographer for the crafts, cooking & dinner itself, and Thing 2 will be responsible for various DIYs and as general handyman about the house {including stringing the lights and outside decorations}.  I'll be starting to make the decorations soon-- look for posts to start showing up in November.
But for now, the mantle is done until after Thanksgiving.  Phew!
Don't worry though,  I still have several projects ready to post {including how to make stuffed pumpkins and how to do a hydrangea wreath}, so many good To-zdays to come--

If you make your own owl {or fox, or bear, or cat etc} pillow, let me  know how it turns out!


  1. Those are so adorable!! Perfect for Fall!

  2. So cute! Best fall decoration, I don't think you can have too many :)

  3. Ah they look so alive, love the fabric eye circles, they look so 'owly'Rx


  4. This is adorable! I absolutely LOVE owls so this is right up my alley. I found your blog via Sunday Funday link up & I'm your newest follower now :)


  5. ah these are so cute, they look very Autumnal :) x

  6. Oh I LOVE these! They look great. Thanks so much for sharing on Marvelous Mondays! I will be featuring these on my blog this weekened so be sure to stop by and check out the features post! :)



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