Wednesday, October 13, 2010

THe PiLLow BuDDy

Here's how to make your own pillow buddy body.

Disclaimer:The following tutorial is for the basic construction of the pillow buddy.  You will have to adjust depending on the animal that you choose to make.  I wish I knew how to attach a PDF pattern, but alas, I'm technically slow so get ready to use your own creativity to create your cuddly pillow buddy.

What you need for the body:
1 - 20 x 20 inch piece of microfleece, regular fleece or chenille
1 - 20 x 20 inch piece of microfleece, regular fleece or chenille with corners cut out in an arch shape
4 - arch-shaped pieces of contrasting fabric (These arches should be slightly bigger than the arches that were cut from the body piece.)
2 - 4 x 10 inch pieces of microfleece, regular fleece or chenille for the strap
2 - 3 inch pieces of hook and loop (Velcro)
extra microfleece, regular fleece or chenille for the tail

1)  Pin all four arch-shaped pieces wrong sides together onto body piece in place of the arch pieces you cut off earlier.

2)  Sew arches on.

3)  Take the rougher pieces of Velcro and sew them parallel to the right side of one of the strap pieces.

4)  Pin strap pieces right sides together.  Sew around two long side and the short side closest to the Velcro.  Leave the other short side open for turning.  Turn strap piece right sides out.  Top stitch with your machine around the two long sides and one short side.  

5)  If making an animal with a long tail, use one piece of fleece about 3 inches by 10 inches.  Fold wrong sides together.  Cut a rounded edge on one short end and pin. Sew around long edge and rounded end - leaving other short end open for turning.  Turn right sides out and stuff.  If making a short poofy tail, use two corners that you cut off from one of the 20 x 20 piece.  Draw a big round partial circle like in the picture below on one wrong side.  Pin right sides together and sew along partial circle.  Cut of excess.  Turn.  Stuff.

6) Pin the tail to one edge of one of the 20 x 20 body pieces.  Pin it to the opposite side of where you will eventually want the head. 

7) Pin the strap piece edge to the edge of the same 20 x 20 piece.  The strap piece should be pinned to the side left of the tail. 

8)  Pin the two 20 x 20 body pieces wrong sides together sandwiching the tail and strap piece inside.

9)  Sew around this body piece leaving about three inches open for turning where the head will eventually be sewn on.

10)  Turn body piece right sides out.

11)  Stuff body piece pretty full.

12)  Fold the pillow and pull the strap across the belly to find where the soft Velcro pieces should go.  Hand stitch or use fabric glue to fix the softer side of the Velcro pieces on to the top 20 x 20 piece parallel to one another.  Don't sew up the opening yet.

What you need for the head:
-a brown paper bag cut flat for pattern
-microfleece, regular fleece or chenille
-small felt scraps
-embroidery thread

What you do:
1)  Draw freehand the shape of your animal's face onto the brown paper bag.  If you aren't too fond of freehand drawing, google "coloring pages of dog head" (or whatever animal) and you might find a page you can enlarge and print off for your pattern.   Cut out pattern head.  Draw and cut out ears separately.  Because the pillow buddy body turns out to be a little over 18 inches, I kept the widest part of the head (the cheeks) to about 10 inches. KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU NEED ABOUT 1/4 to 1/3 INCH EXTRA ALL THE WAY AROUND FOR SEWING AND TURNING.

2)  For both the puppy and the kitty I decided to use some contrasting fabric for a part of the face.  You don't have to do this.  If you want to, first take the head pattern and pin it to your fabric.  Cut out ONE piece from this pattern for the back of the head.  Unpin.  Now cut the pattern piece in the way you want the front of the head to look with contrasting fabric.  Pin these pieces to your fabric of choice and cut out adding even more of an edge wherever you will be sewing the two pieces together.  

3)  Put the two contrasting pieces of fabric for the front of the head right side together at the edges and pin.  Sew together.  In the way I did this for the puppy, I made little eyelids which you can see in the second picture below.

4)  You need four pieces cut from the ear pattern.  Put ears right sides together and pin.  Sew around leaving flat ends open for turning.  Turn.  You can top stitch around the ears once they are turned, but I chose not to for the pupply so that the ears would be pretty floppy looking.  I cut four large triangles for the kitty ears and I DID topstitch the kitty ears after turning to make them stiffer and more likely to stand up.   

5)  Baste or pin the ears to the right side of the back of the head.

6)  Layer the front piece of the head over the ears sandwiching the ears in between.  Head pieces are right sides together.  Pin.  Sew around leaving about two inches open for turning.

7)  Turn head right side out. 

8)  Stuff head but don't stuff it too full yet because you are going to sew on the nose.  

9)  Cut out a piece of felt for the nose and start to sew it on with embroidery thread.  I waited to do this until now, so I could see exactly where the nose would be when the head has stuffing in it.  After sewing most of the nose on, I put a bit of stuffing in it to make it stick out and sewed the rest of the nose up. 

10)  Use embroidery thread to stitch the mouth down from the nose.

11)  Stuff the head full now and stitch up the opening of the head.

12)  Use pink thread to sew the head very securely onto the body.  I basically used needle and thread to sew a small circle of stitches connecting head to body.  Then I went around again making a bigger circle.  In the process of sewing the larger circle, I closed the hole on the body that was left from turning and stuffing by stitching up the hole and attaching each stitch to the head as well.  Basically, you just need to sew the head on securely however works best for you.  

13)  Secure eyes on head.  I used felt for eyes on the puppy, but you could use buttons as well.  (I know . . . I know . . . it seems like it's a little late in the game to put the eyes on, but that's how I roll.  I don't even have eyes on the kitty pillow buddy yet.  So basically, put the eyes on whenever you want.) 

14)  Cuddle with your new pillow buddy.  Okay, I know you made this for a kid in your life, but you can still cuddle with it.  Do it . . . you won't regret it.  These pillow buddies are so soft and cuddly you might even want to make one for yourself!  ;)
**The kitty's head was made by cutting a triangle like hole in the front face and cutting contrasting fabric in a slightly larger triangle.  I pinned and used the sewing machine to sew the triangle shape into the triangle hole.  Done!  Not too hard either.

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