Reprinted with permission from Pretty Birds © 2015 Virginia Lindsay, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Illustrations by Jess Hibbert.
Owls have long represented wisdom and scholarship. There is something about their unique shape and big round eyes that is just so appealing. Just one warning note—making fabric owls is addictive. I have been doing it for years and I still love it.
These fun little friends are a quick and easy sew, and you can use a variety of fabric combinations. Feel free to use bright and funky colors; the Owl’s shape and features are so distinctive that it’s always obvious what you are making. You can search for all your favorite fabric scraps and use them up for this project. The Owl pattern can be used to make toys, door stops, cable caddies, and fun pillows. Be sure to use good-quality wool felt so the eyes and base do not become spoiled after a few big owl hugs!
• Cotton fabric scraps in 3 colors
• Wool felt in 2 colors, 1 for eyes and 1 for coordinating with cotton fabrics for base
• Sewing machine (optional), thread, scissors
• Polyester fiberfill
• Needle and thread
• Separated coordinated embroidery floss
• 2 ½-in. (1.3-cm) buttons
Height: 5 ½ in. (14 cm)
Width: 5 in. (13 cm)
Zigzag stitch the belly piece onto the front body. Switch back to straight stitch and sew on the felt eyes. To handsew, use blanket or overcast stitch then running stitch. The pattern piece has a placement guide to help you.
Pin the front and back pieces right sides together. Leave the base open but sew up the side to the point and then back down the other side. Trim the seams down and then clip the fabric at the tip.
Turn right side out and press flat. The pattern piece has a guide for sewing the ears. Do this with the sewing machine by marking with pins where you want to begin and end and then just sew a curve above the eyes.
Stuff the Owl with polyester fiberfill. Knot the end of a piece of thread and then sew a running stitch around the base of the Owl. Gently pull the thread to gather the fabric together. Secure the gathered fabric with a strong knot.
To finish, sew the button eyes in place and sew the beak down with a couple of stitches. You can really make the eyes stand out by doing a simple decorative stitch around the circumference of the eyes.
Other Ideas to Try
Small hot-water bottle cover
Because of its shape the Owl is perfect to transform into a small hot-water bottle cover for chilly nights. Consider using heat-insulated batting to give your hot water bottle longer-lasting warmth. You could use flannel and minky fabric for the exterior pieces to create an extra cozy bottle cover. The book has additional templates, QR codes, and full instructions.
Headphone or cable caddy
Add a simple pocket to the back of the Owl. Use a scrap of fabric 6 ¼ x 9 in. (16 x 23 cm) to make a piece that is 6 ¼ x 4 ½ in. (16 x 11.5 cm). Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, to make a pocket. Line it up with the base of the back piece and tack it to the sides. In Step 3, sew through the pocket layer when you sew the front and back sides together. Finish the Owl as usual but now you will have a nice little pocket in the back. Keep it on your desk next to your computer!