Friday, April 18, 2014

What does the fox say?

My sincerest apologies if you thought you had gotten that
 ridiculous song out of your head.... 
I understand.

If that's you... I'm sorry.  :)  Unfortunately for you, prepare to hear those awesome fox sounds in your head all day, because today I'm going to share my recent experiment in the world of stuffed animals, namely foxes.

PS- Like I said earlier this month, it's baby shower season. :)  This is a great gift to add to your repertoire!

So here we go. :)

-Fabric for the body, arms, legs, tail (I used < 1 yard, but it depends on the size animal you want)
-Polyfill stuffing, or any other stuffing of your choice
-Felt for face "mask"and nose
-Buttons for eyes
-Embroidery floss to attach nose (also optional for eyelashes on the girl fox) :)
-Fabric glue (optional)
-Any other "accessories" you want for your fox (i.e. extra fabric or felt for a bow, bracelet, clothes, whatever!)

This bright little lady was my first attempt at a stuffed animal:

Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures while I was making her.  So, today I'll walk you through the process I used to make a boy-friendly version:

Ok, first choose your fabric.  (You won't need to pre-wash for this project.) :)
I used flannel for this guy, but you could use just about any fabric!
I made up a pattern/template for this fox based on some cute creations I saw on Etsy.   
(So, no, it's not symmetrical.) :)

I wanted to attach the pattern I made in a way that you to be able to download it, but I obviously lack technological skill.
So, since I couldn't figure out how to make PDF versions of the templates I drew, here are pictures*:

*Note: You may be able to enlarge these images on your computer and trace them directly from the screen or print them. They are pretty simple shapes and curves, so you can probably just use them as a guide to draw some for yourself!

The size of the pattern is dependent on the size animal you want.  Play with the pieces you cut out of paper and decide whether you want them bigger or smaller.  (Better to use more paper and get it right then cut out fabric and then change your mind later.) 
**I will advise you to make it a bit bigger than you want your final product to be, to allow for stuffing and seams. (In hindsight, I would have made the "body" portion wider, so you can adjust it to your liking!)

Ok, so once you have drawn your template, start tracing the pieces of the body onto your fabric using a pencil or disappearing ink fabric pen.  

You should have traced/drawn:
-2 pieces of head/body shape (one for the front and one for the back)
-4 pieces of the arm template (front and back x 2)
-4 pieces of the leg template (front and back x 2)
-2 pieces of the tail template (keep in mind these should be mirror images, see pictures below)

*Here are the pieces for the tail.  Since it is a funny shape, trace it in mirror image pieces, so that they will fit together when you sew it.

Ok, now, you're ready to cut out all of your body/limb pieces!


The first things you will need to assemble are the limbs. 
(I didn't need to iron any of these, but depending on your fabric choice, you may need to iron them to make pinning/sewing easier.)

Go ahead and set them up in their pairs and align them with "right" sides facing each other.

I used pins to hold these pieces together and make the sewing a little easier.

Once your pairs are pinned, start sewing them!
Keep in mind, one end of each limb/tail needs to be left open (where it will join the body)

Now, turn each limb inside-out and pull out the stuffing!
If you buy poly-fill stuffing, there is usually a long stick/dowel in the bag that you can use to push stuffing in pillows (or fox arms).  I used a crochet hook to help me with the stuffing process.

The amount of stuffing you use is completely up to you!  

Once the arms and legs are stuffed, they're ready to go.  

However, the tail needs to be sewn shut.  Once it's happy and stuffed, fold in the open part, press the sides together and sew it closed.  (We'll be sewing it onto the back of the body later.)

Now you can set all of these aside, get a snack, and get ready to work on the body.


We need to get the face details done before we sew it together.  

Trace the face mask and nose onto felt and cut out your pieces.

Pick a head/body fabric piece for the front of the fox, and line the mask onto the head to make sure your sizing is correct.

If you have fabric glue, you can use it to hold the mask in place before you sew. (Don't worry, it will dry clear.)

Using a topstitch, sew the mask onto the face.

I hand-sewed the nose to the face with coordinating embroidery thread, but you could also use the machine.

Next, sew on some sweet button eyes. :) (If you're making a lady fox, you could also stitch on some eyelashes now!)

Ok, now you're ready to line up your head/body pieces!  (Right sides together!)

Pin to secure the body/head pieces, so they do not slip or move while you're sewing.


This will keep the head secured when we start attaching the limbs, and will decrease the number of pins you have to deal with later.

OK, take another snack break... it gets a little tricky from here. :) (But you can do it!!)




First, pull out the arms and legs that are prepped and stuffed.

Next, you'll be pinning them inside the body, so that when you sew the perimeter of the body, you'll also be sealing and attaching the arms and legs.

This will take some squishing.

Tuck the legs into the head/body piece (between the two "right" sides), pinning them so that a little bit of the open ends stick out.  (This way you will be sure that you aren't missing part of the limb.

Repeat for the arms.

This takes a little squishing and patience, but once you're legs and arms are tucked in the body, you're ready to sew.

Carefully and slowly, sew the perimeter, leaving a space open for you to turn the fox inside-out. 
(I left a space under one of the arms open.)

Make sure you back-stitch over the limbs and where you start and stop sewing to secure your stitches.

Now, you can start to bring your fox to life!
Carefully start turning him inside-out.
Pull out the legs, arms, then the head.



Ok, before you start stuffing him, let's attach the tail.

I used orange embroidery thread to attach the tail with a tight running stitch.  Done!

Now you're ready to stuff!

Start stuffing at the ears and work your way down... remember, you can make him as squishy or firm as you like!

Once you've stuffed satisfactorily, it's time to do a little surgery to close the open seam!

I used a blanket stitch to close the seam here.

And, pat yourself on the back, you're done!


If you're a fan of accessories like me, then you may think he's missing something. :)
A bow-tie, perhaps?

I used some scrap blue flannel fabric from the burp cloth project.

I used an iron to fold in the long sides (to make a finished edge), then I folded in the ends so that they overlapped slightly.

I used a running stitch to secure the pieces of the bow.

Pull the thread tight to cinch the bow, wrap it around the center and tie a knot.

Next, I used some scrap ribbon and attached it to the center of the bow with hot glue.

Now, just use a few stitches to secure the bow-tie to the fox, and he's all set!

Isn't he cute?

(You could use the same idea/technique for any animal you want!  All you would need to do is adjust the head shape, change the tail, add longer or shorter ears, add whiskers.... whatever your imagination can create!)

Have fun and try something new this weekend!


...& Happy Easter to all of you!

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6

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