Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Hoot of a Tutorial

  • Ever cut out a project and have those skinny connector strips that you never cut off, but just fold in with the rest of the scraps?
  • Can you think of a potential project for each and every dime size piece of fabric that snips off your scissors?
  • Do you save small bits of fabric because you paid so much a yard for it so you are going to get every last project out of it even if you have to start sewing quilted coats for your pet mice?

Maybe not, but if you are a sewer, I bet you (like me) have an extensive scrap collection. This month Sew, Mama, Sew is giving you some grrrrrreat ideas on how to use your scraps. Here is my contribution: Owl (or other animal) Embellishments :D

Supplies you need:
  • A long but thin piece of fabric for the owl's head. The one I used here was 3/4" wide and about 30" long. This is a perfect job for those skinny connector strips between project pieces! Feel free to cut a longer strip if needed or desired.
  • Other coordinating scraps for the ears, claws, nose, body, and wings
  • Two buttons for eyes
  • Scissors, needle, embroidery floss
  • Scraps of felt (wool felt is ideal)

Starting with the owl's head, take a gathering stitch down the length of the skinny strip of fabric. (Not folded)

Gather the strip until it is about half of its original length (in this case 15") and knot it. You can make your strip longer or shorter depending on how full you want the owl's head to be.

Next, cut a circle out of felt that is slightly smaller than the finished owl's head. My finished owl head is 3" and my felt circle is 2 1/4 inches in diameter. This does not have to be precise. Just find something circular in the approximate size of your desired circle (cups and glasses are always good traceable objects!) . Starting on the outside, sew the gathered strip to the circle, winding it so that it ends in the middle of the circle. (It is best to arrange it, adjust the gathers, then sew it.)
Next step is to sew on the eyes. Then cut scraps of felt and fabric into triangles. The felt should be just slightly larger than the fabric. I left all edges raw because it gives the owl a worn, feathery look. Simple, no? Sew two triangles onto the top of the head as ears and one triangle under the eyes as a nose.
Next, cut out the body and wings for the owl. Cut the wings on folded fabric so you make sure you have a left and right side. The body looks like a large U with the top closed in. The wings look like a waxing gibbous moon. Clear as mud, no?

Cut the felt for the body and wings slightly larger than the fabric. Once again - raw edges for the worn out feel.
Here's a shortcut: Sew the body felt and fabric together first. Then lay the wings down and get them into position. Sew the wing fabric to the wing felt at the same time you sew everything to the body. See the picture below for a visual explanation of that!

[ Otherwise, you will sew the wing, then have to attach it to the body and I didn't write a step for that! ;)]
Once the wings are on, then cut and sew some more fabric/felt triangles for the claws.

Sew the head to the body by running some stitches underneath the ruffles of the head
Voila! An owl embellishment for your fall projects! Attach it to a corduroy jumper or skirt. Put it on a bag. Make several and string them on some jute for a garland. The ideas are as numerous as your scrap bags! You could also adapt the pattern to make a lion's mane or fluffy bunny head! Be creative!

Here's another creature made with the 3/4" skinny strip of fabric and some felt scraps:

Have fun!


  1. I love it! Great job.

  2. super cute--the owl and the lion. great idea.

  3. Just adorable. Way to use up those long skinny scraps! I always look at them longingly, knowing there must be something I could do with them! I've just used them to 'artfully' tie up gifts before, but this is far better!

  4. Ms. Keri, you are clever! very fun.

  5. Oh wow. These are adorable! I'm so impressed!



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