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Sleepy Time Stuffed Owls

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Oh! is for Ollie and Olivia Owl. This adorable stuffed pair is wondering, "Whoooooo wants a hug?" We provide all the pattern pieces you need to make one, two or an entire parliament. Yep... a group of owls is called a parliament. They must be wise indeed. These owl pals are a generous size for easy squeezing, and well as for laying your head for a little sleepy time nap. Each is approximately 18" tall x 16" wide, excluding ears, wings and feet. We especially love their big, bright eyes – they're staying wide awake so you can doze safe and sound.

We used Poly-Fil® 100% Premium Polyester FiberFill. You may be under the assumption that all fiber filling is created equal, and you just punch it in, like you're stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey. "Oh No!" says wise Olivia Owl. For a smooth, professional finish that's super soft and huggable, you must start with a quality filler. One that is resilient, washable, and will not bunch. Then, you need to take the time to fluff that quality filler and insert it, in small handfuls, into all the nooks and crannies. We have a good tutorial on Pillow Stuffing Tips & TricksOllie and Olivia each used one 12 oz bag of  Poly-Fil® 100% Premium Polyester FiberFill. 

We purchased our fleece locally, but have included links below to similar fabric available online at Fabric.com. It's great fun to mix and match, and you can pick colors that are a favorite of the owl owner-to-be.

Please note that our Sleepy Time Owls have button eyes. They are very securely stitched in place (you'll see below we used our machine's button foot to do the stitching). But, if you want to make these for a very young child, you may want to consider using appliquéd black fabric or felt circles instead of buttons. Just make sure you choose a fabric that will not bleed into the white when washed.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

    

Supplies shown below are for TWO Owls

  • ½ yard EACH of TWO striped or chevron-patterned fleece fabrics for the bodies and wings; we used a pink and white chevron and a green/red/white chevron, purchased locally; we found a similar Pink and White Chevron, and a similar Multi Color Chevron at Fabric.com
  • ⅜ yard EACH of TWO coordinating solid fleece fabrics for the heads; we used pink and lime green solid fleece, purchased locally; we found a similar Fuchsia Solid and Solid Lime at Fabric.com
  • ¼ yd of solid fleece fabric for the feet and beaks; we used, and recommend, pale yellow, purchased locally; we found a similar Banana Minky at Fabric.com
  • ⅛ yd of solid fleece fabric for the eyes; we used, and recommend, white, purchased locally; we found a similar Snow White Minky at Fabric.com
  • TWO 12 oz bags of  Poly-Fil® 100% Premium Polyester FiberFill
  • Four 1" black buttons or colorfast fabric/felt to create 1" black fabric circles
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Decorative thread for the eyes and beak, we used 40 wt polyester in black for the eyes and dark yellow for the beak
  • Bobbin thread in white for the appliqué process
  • ½ yard of tear away stabilizer for the appliqué process
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors 
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Transparent tape, optional for button sewing

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out our SIX pattern sheets which are combined in one PDF file: Owl Pattern, This PDF file includes Owl Body Parts 1 and 2, Owl Head Parts 1 and 2, and Owl Features Parts 1 and 2.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line. 
  3. Butt together (do not overlap) the two HEAD pattern pieces and the two BODY pieces, aligning the arrows printed on the patterns. Tape together to create one full pattern piece for each.
  4. Fold the patterned fabric (chevron in our sample), centering the motif and making sure any chevrons/stripes are perfectly straight. Place the pattern pieces for the Owl Body (on the fold) and Owl Wing as shown in the photo below and cut out the first set. 
  5. Refold the fabric, again centering the stripe/chevron. Carefully position the pattern pieces so they match the first set. Cut out the second set. Make a small clip at each marked dot on the Owl Body pattern to mark the position of the wings and feet.
  6. Repeat to cut the front and back body and wings for the second owl.
  7. From the solid fleece fabrics for the head, for EACH owl, use the assembled pattern to cut TWO head pieces.
  8. From the pale yellow fleece fabric for the feet and beak, for EACH owl, use the patterns to cut ONE beak and FOUR feet.
  9. From the white fleece fabric for the eyes, for EACH owl, use the pattern to cut TWO eyes.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

NOTE: The instructions below show the steps to complete one owl. Repeat as needed to make a full "parliament."

Owl eyes

  1. Find one head piece, two white eye circles, two buttons (or black fabric circles), and the tear away stabilizer.
  2. Position the eyes on the head, according to the pattern. Pin in place. 
  3. Cut a piece of tear away stabilizer to fit behind the eyes. 
  4. Place the fleece on top of the stabilizer. 
  5. Set up the machine with bobbin thread in the top and in the bobbin. This fine thread will allow you to "pre-position" the eyes, appliquéing them in place and creating a smooth edge for the decorative stitches that follow. The thin white thread will virtually disappear into the nap of the fleece.
  6. Select a medium zig zag stitch (we used 3.0 width and 1.5 length). Attach a decorative stitch foot (we used the clear Janome Open Toe Satin Stitch F2 foot with its wide open front and helpful center guide notch). 
  7. Zig zag around the eye, using the edge of the white circle as your center guide. The fleece fabric may curl as you stitch. You can use your seam ripper or a stylus to hold the edges down as you sew. Zig zag around both eyes.
  8. Place the Owl Beak in position between the eyes, again following the placement shown on the paper pattern. Notice how the beak overlaps the eyes. Place a pin at this overlap point on each eye. This is where you'll start and stop the eyes' decorative stitching so the stitching overlap is hidden under the beak. Remove the beak.
  9. Re-thread the machine with a decorative thread on top (we used black) and keep the bobbin thread in the bobbin. Select a satin stitch that will give you an "eyelash" effect. We chose Stitch #144 on our Memory Craft 8900. You could also use a simple wide zig zag or a blanket stitch.
  10. Starting at the pin point you just marked above, stitch around each eye, centering the stitch on the edge of the white eye circle.
  11. Find two of the 1" black buttons. 
  12. Center one black button within each white eye circle. Tape in place. 
  13. We used a Button Sewing foot and the button sewing option on our Janome MC8900. To do this, attach the Button foot on the machine and lower the feed dogs. Select the "Sew on button" option, or select a zig zag. This will be determined by your machine's instruction manual. Place the button under the foot. Turn the wheel by hand to lower the needle into the first hole of the button. Continue to turn the wheel by hand until the needle approaches the second hole of the button. Adjust the stitch width if necessary. Sew on the button. Remove the tape. Remove the excess stabilizer.

    NOTE: For more information, check out our tutorial on Sewing Buttons by Machine. Of course, you can sew the buttons on by hand. But make sure you double or triple your thread, and stitch numerous loops so you can completely fill the button holes with thread. You don't want any white showing through the holes of the buttons. 
  14. As mentioned above, if you are worried about using buttons, appliqué black fabric or felt circles into place as an alternative.

Complete the owl body (front and back) and add beak

  1. Re-thread with all purpose thread to match the fabric in the top and bottom.
  2. Place the appliquéd head right sides together with one body piece. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together. Steam the seam open. Fleece is delicate and an iron can leave marks, so steaming the seam should be done from the back and without touching the fabric.
  4. Repeat to sew the remaining plain Owl Head to the remaining Owl Body, but leave a 4" opening in the center of this seam for turning and stuffing.
  5. Flip over the owl front to the right side and position the beak according to the pattern. Pin in place.
  6. Cut a piece of tear away stabilizer to fit behind the beak. 
  7. Place the fleece on top of the stabilizer. 
  8. Re-thread the machine with bobbin thread in the top and the bobbin. 
  9. As you did above for the eyes, select a medium zig zag stitch and appliqué the beak in place.  
  10. Zig zag around the beak, using the edge of the beak as your center guide.
  11. Re-thread the machine with a decorative thread on top (we used dark yellow to create a strong outline for the beak) and leave the bobbin thread in the bobbin. Select a standard tight zig zag stitch - also known as a satin stitch (we used 3.5 width and 0.40 length). Stitch around the entire perimeter of the beak. Remove the excess stabilizer.

Feet and wings

  1. Find all the feet and wings. Match them up into appropriate pairs and place each pair right sides together. Pin in place.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the curved outer edges of each pair. The inner straight edges remain open. 
  3. Clip into the points of the curves and trim the seam allowance back to ¼". 
  4. Turn right side out and get a small handful of fiber fill. Fluff up the fiber fill. 
  5. Stuff both feet and both wings, working the filler down into the "toes" and "feathers."
    NOTE: Don't forget to review our Pillow Stuffing Tutorial for stuffing tools and tricks. 

  6. Find the owl front. Place it right side up on your work surface. 
  7. Following the pattern markings, as well as the little clips you made when initially cutting out the body pieces, pin the feet and wings in place. Push the filler away from the raw edges so your seam will be going through just the fabric.
  8. Machine baste the feet and wings in place, staying within the seam allowance or about ¼" from the raw edge.
  9. Place the owl front and back right sides together, sandwiching the feet and wings between the layers. Align the raw outer edges of both pieces. Pin in place.
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all around the owl body. Stitch with the owl front facing up so you can see the basting seams holding the feet and wings in place. Go slowly and carefully around all the curves to maintain a smooth seam allowance. Remember, you left an opening in the back head/body seam for turning and stuffing, so this outer seam is uninterrupted. In the photo below, you can see us stitching past the basting seam holding a wing in place.
  11. Turn the finished owl right side out through the opening in the back head/body seam.
  12. Stuff with the remaining fiber fill. A 12 oz bag of the Poly-Fil® 100% Premium Polyester FiberFill gives a soft, cushy... huggable feel.
  13. Thread a hand sewing needle and slip stitch the opening closed. 

Optional bow

  1. Olivia the Sleepy Time Owl is sporting a little fleece bow. To make this bow, cut two strips from the scraps of the pale yellow fleece used for the beak and feet. One strip is 2" x 8" and the other is ¾" x 2".
  2. Fleece does not ravel, so no finish is needed. Simply fold each strip in half, matching the short ends. 
  3. Zig zag the ends together, using a matching thread. 
  4. Roll the seam of the larger strip, centering it at the back. 
  5. Slip the larger strip through the smaller strip, centering the smaller strip to form a 'faux knot' and conceal the seam on the larger strip.  
  6. Hand stitch the bow in place at the base of one ear.



Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

Section: 

Comments (18)

Trigal said:
Trigal's picture

Question - I have downloaded the pattern and it appears that the head is a big wider then the body.  I double checked printing - no error there.  Is this intentional - just want to check before I cut my fabric?

Thank you - it is a wonderful design!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Trigal - It is just a bit wider along the seam line because both the body and head are curved shapes, and when two curves intersect across a straight seam line there will be points of fabric that extend. The seam allowance itself will take up that excess to create a smooth line from the head to the body. You can kind of see that in our photos of assembling the head to the body, but since the head is on top, it might be harder to visualize. Center the two pieces and match up as best you can but don't be worried is just a bit extends to either side. However, if it's a lot .... then there is a problem with your print-out. We're sure the pattern itself is great. Have fun with the project.

Gayla said:
Gayla's picture

oh my gosh---- it turned out adorable!!! thank you so very much!!! 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Gayla - That's fabulous - they are an adorable pair! We'd love to see a picture - post if you can to either Facebook (sew4home) or Instagram (sew4home_diy).

Aunt Puddin said:
Aunt Puddin's picture

I'm looking for an elephant pillow, want it to be like the owl pillow. , I did the owl pillow, turned out wondrful

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Aunt Puddin - we have an appliqué elephant pillow (link below) but not a dimension one. But, I will put it on our You Asked 4 It list for future consideration. So glad you loved our owls. 

Betty Meyskens said:
Betty Meyskens's picture

So cute - every child would love to have one of these to cuddle with.

Mary Ellen Blacker said:
Mary Ellen Blacker's picture

Love these!

I will be making some for my grandchildren.  Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Mary Ellen - You are so welcome. Let us know how they all turn out!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Tina - you're welcome; we'd have to agree -- they are super duper cute.

Rosemary Bolton said:
Rosemary Bolton's picture

Owls are big in Baby Land. I know. Sarah's (my very first grandbaby, 4 months old) loves her owl.

I would love to make her a Parlament of owls!!

Thanks you so much for sharing this today Liz!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Rosemary - an entire Parliament!!! She'd be in owl heaven

Veronica Norris said:
Veronica Norris's picture

These owls are so cute.  I don't sew suffies but I think I am going to try doing these cuties.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Veronica - Thanks! They are pretty irresistible.

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