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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Never Too Old For a Stuffie

eSheep Designs sheep stuffie
Meet my new mascot!
I once told a young lady in her early twenties that "you're never too old for a stuffed animal".

And how can anyone argue that point when for eons, guys of all ages have risked ego-crushing embarrassment at fairs and carnivals trying to win stuffies for their girlfriends??

My hubby and I went to our summer fair for the first time in years this past July. And you know, even though I saw an amazing number of "real seniors" (i.e., people older than me) on the grounds, it occurred to me that the midway is really a place for the young. And even though my other half would have happily demonstrated his various skills at those impossible games had I asked it of him, I was just mostly appalled by how much it would cost to try anything.

Not to mention that I didn't see any stuffie that appealed to me. :-)


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It wasn't that case earlier this year. Back in May, I saw this tutorial for a sheep stuffie pillow featured on AllFreeSewing's Seams and Scissors blog and fell for its cuteness factor. (The creator is Stephanie Woodson, who blogs at SWoodsonSays. Full link to the tutorial can be found towards the end of this post.)

As usual, I didn't jump into the project right away, filing it for future reference. It was almost three months later by the time I gathered up materials to make my version of this ultra cute sheep.

eSheep Designs sheep stuffie
Preparing to cut my fabric...

From another crafting project, I had a package of assorted pieces of felt, but they were small pieces. While I had sufficient black felt, I would need a new supply of white. Never one not to "make do" somehow, since I still had some of the white fabric left over from my skirt project, why not make this with fabric instead of felt?

Besides, haven't I been changing up things on found patterns all year long?

With that thought in mind, I also found a different ("easier") way to make the eyes and mouth. (Embroidery floss? Satin stitching? Not for me, thanks.) I did away with the need for the white felt under the eyes and just used some ready-made "googly eyes" that I found at the dollar store. Also, if this sheep was going to become the official eSheep mascot, it had to have some red in it. Therefore, I used red felt for the mouth and then some more for the back electrical cord.

Yep...

eSheep Designs sheep stuffie
Planning my electric sheep stuffie...

This was going to be an electric sheep, after all. (I used fabric glue to attach the felt on the back.)


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Had I used felt for the body, it would just be sewn all the way around from the right side; i.e., no turning required since felt doesn't fray. Using fabric for the body meant that it would have a different look along the edges if I didn't do something else different.

As you can see in one of the photos above, I adjusted the size of the body template by about a quarter of an inch. My plan was to topstitch along the edge of the body so that the finished item would have the same look as the original.

eSheep Designs sheep stuffie
Pinning along the seam to prepare for topstitching...

I stuffed the sheep with a half bag of cotton balls, shoved them to one side and then pinned and carefully sewed up the side opening. It has just the right amount of fill for my purposes. The final step was to secure the eyes and the mouth using double sided tape and fabric glue respectively.


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Here is the back view of my eSheep...

eSheep Designs sheep stuffie
Back view of my electric sheep...

What do you think? Is he cute?

And if you know me at all by now, you would know that I needed to have a place and a purpose for him before he came to be. I snagged some fishing line from the other half and hung this mascot from the ceiling over my sewing machine. May it inspire creativity!

eSheep Designs sheep stuffie
Finished mascot hangs over the work area in my sewing room...

If making this for a child as a toy, of course, one would have to reconsider some of the changes I made. However, as you can see, it would make a great crib mobile (you can adjust the template to make the sheep in other sizes). For that purpose, I would recommend cutting out an additional circle of black felt and gluing it onto the back as a tail. (Assuming you don't want to follow my lead and turn them into electric sheep!)

Swoodson sheep pillow
image courtesy of
swoodson.com...
To make one of your own, click here for the original tutorial. The original's even cuter — and arguably looks more like a sheep — but I'm always willing to go a different route based on what I have on hand and what I can easily find.

By the way, while this is the first stuffie that I've actually made, there have been a couple that have attracted my attention. The first one was a very classy looking penguin. The second was a cool looking cat.

This third one, while technically not a stuffie, deserves a mention just because it's so unusual and intricate... a fabric Mad Hatter Tea Set (which I will never make because it's all hand-sewn)!

free "stuffie" patterns
images courtesy of wee wonderfuls (Hillary Lang), super pop (Kris DeGraeve), and Purl Bee (Molly)...

These two stuffies in particular need to be packed really tightly to keep their shape, which is likely the reason I haven't attempted them. The thought of having bits of polyester fill all over the place as I try to close a seam by hand is just not the kind of punishment I am willing to take on any time soon.

Now I'm ready for some stuffie-making stories! Do you have any experiences to share? Any favourite free patterns to pass along?


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