Seattle's Child

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DIY gifts

The book's pillow friends to sew include a bunny, a sloth, a lion, a koala and a polar bear. (Photos: Sanae Ishida, courtesy of Sasquatch Books)

DIY gifts? Make your own ‘Animal Friends’!

Get instructions here to create Sanae Ishida's lion pillow and panda puppet.

homemade gifts November 2020

Sanae Ishida makes sewing accessible in her new book ‘Animal Friends to Sew.’
Photo by Joshua Huston

DIY gifts Sanae Ishida

Some friends, as shown in Sanae Ishida’s “Animal Friends to Sew.”

DIY gifts: This November and December, with the current COVID-19 situation and the chillier weather, we’re probably going to be spending a lot of time indoors — and not a lot of time picking out unique, hand-crafted holiday presents in person.

Seattle author Sanae Ishida’s book “Animal Friends to Sew: Simple Handmade Decor, Toys, and Gifts for Kids” (Sasquatch Books) has templates and patterns galore for simple but elegant gifts for kids (and for stuffy-loving adults who are kids at heart). 

These are a great DIY gifts project for kids who want to learn to sew — and for

adults who might still need to learn also. The bonus is you can get gift hunting out of the way and engage your child in an entertaining, crafty project in one fell swoop. With the permission of Sasquatch Books, we are reprinting the templates and instructions for making two DIY gifts, a lion pillow and a panda bath puppet. Get started here. Happy sewing!

DIY gift: How to make the lion pillow

DIY gifts Sanae Ishida

© 2020 By Sanae Ishida. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Animal Friends to Sew by permission of Sasquatch Books.

NOT ONLY CAN THESE CRITTERS scrub all the grubbiness off, but they might also inspire an impromptu bath time puppet show! 

SUPPLIES + MATERIALS 

1/3 yard mustard or light brown fabric for mane

¼ yard beige fabric for face and ears

Scrap of black wool felt for nose

Stuffing (cotton, wool, or fiberfill)

Marking tool such as chalk

Embroidery floss: black, cream, pink, and mustard

Embroidery needle

Hand-sewing needle

Coordinating thread 

Drafting kit 

Buttons for eyes (optional)

RECOMMENDED FABRICS 

Linen, linen/cotton blend, cotton

FINISHED DIMENSIONS 

Approximately 11 inches wide by 10 inches high

PATTERN PIECES 

Mane (cut 2)—draft 

Face (cut 2)—template 

Ears (cut 4)—template

Nose (cut 1)—template

CONSTRUCTION STEPS (Illustrated below)

  1. Draft the mane. Start by folding a 12-by-11-inch piece of paper in half vertically. Draw a perpendicular line from the vertical center point (A). At about a 45-degree angle above and below the perpendicular line, plot 6-inch marks from point A. Using these points as a guide, draw curvy lines for the mane outline. Don’t worry too much about symmetry or precision; you can always adjust the mane shape later. Draw an almost straight edge of about 3 inches near the bottom of the mane, where you can leave an opening that can later be closed easily with a slip stitch. Cut out the template.
  2. Trace the templates for the mane, face, ears, and nose onto the appropriate fabric and cut out the pieces.
  3. Make the ears. Sew each set of ear pieces with right sides together with a ¼-inch seam allowance along the curved edge. Do not sew the bottom edge. Trim the curved edges to about ⅛ inch. Turn right side out and press. Topstitch ¼ inch from curved edge, if desired. Align the raw edges, and baste the ears to the right side of one of the face pieces where marked. Make sure to center the ear pieces at the markings.
  4. Make the face. Sew the front and back face pieces with right sides together with a ¼-inch seam allowance, leaving an opening of about 2 inches along one of the straighter edges. Clip along the curved edge, making sure not to cut into the seam. Turn right side out and press.
  5. Make the nose, eyes, and mouth. Pin and satin/zigzag-stitch the nose onto the right side of the face piece with the basted ears (see the template for placement of the facial elements). Because of the small size, feel free to hand-stitch the nose if it feels easier. Use a marking tool to indicate the general positions of the eyes and mouth on the face piece. Embroider the eyes using a satin stitch (black floss) and the mouth using a backstitch (pink floss). You could also use buttons for eyes instead. With cream floss, add other decorative embroidery such as more nose definition and detailing on the forehead and whiskers, if desired.
  6. Appliqué the face to the right side of one of the mane pieces by hand-stitching or using a machine satin/zigzag stitch. Press.
  7. Make the mane. Embroider decorative running stitches that radiate outward from the face to the outer edge of the mane with mustard embroidery floss if desired. With right sides together, sew the front and back mane pieces with a ⅜-inch seam allowance, leaving an opening of about 3 inches at the bottom. Clip along the curved edge, making sure not to cut into the seam. Turn right side out and press.
  8. Stuff the pillow with small tufts of stuffing to avoid future bunching. Use plenty of stuffing until you get a nice rounded shape without straining the seams. I find a tool like a chopstick is helpful to get the stuffing into all the nooks and crannies. Slip-stitch opening closed.

 

 

 

 

Another DIY gift: Making the Panda Terry Cloth Bath Puppet

 

 

© 2020 By Sanae Ishida. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Animal Friends to Sew by permission of Sasquatch Books.

NOT ONLY CAN THESE CRITTERS scrub all the grubbiness off, but they might also inspire an impromptu bath time puppet show! 

SUPPLIES + MATERIALS 

Approx. 20 inches by 11 inches white terry cloth fabric 

Scrap of black terry cloth fabric (for eyes*, arms, and ears) 

Approx. 20 inches by 11 inches lining fabric 

Embroidery floss: black 

Embroidery needle 

Coordinating thread 

Hand-sewing needle 

Walking foot if your terry cloth is extra thick (optional) 

*Sometimes small pieces of terry cloth may be difficult to hand-sew, so you may want to use black wool felt for the eye pieces instead. 

RECOMMENDED FABRICS 

Cotton terry or French terry for outer fabric, gauze or muslin for lining fabric 

FINISHED DIMENSIONS 

7 1⁄2 inches wide by 7 inches high 

PATTERN PIECES 

Panda body (cut 2 from outer fabric, cut 2 from lining fabric)—template  

Eyes (cut 2)—template 

Ears (cut 4)—template

Arms (cut 4)—template 

CONSTRUCTION STEPS (Illustrated below)

  1. Trace the templates for the panda body, lining, eyes, ears, and arms onto the appropriate fabrics and cut out all the pieces.
  2. Make the ears. Sew the two sets of ears right sides together with a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance. Turn right side out, press, and baste onto the right side of one of the outer pieces.
  3. Make the arms. With right sides together, baste the arms to the front and back outer pieces with a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance.
  4. Attach the eye pieces. Hand-stitch the black eye pieces to the outer piece with the basted ears.
  5. Add embroidery. Referring to the template or illustration below for placement of facial elements, embroider the eyes and nose using a satin stitch.
  6. Sew the outer puppet pieces right sides together with a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance to about 1⁄8 inch, turn right side out, and press.
  7. Sew the lining pieces right sides together with a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance, leaving an opening of 2 to 3 inches on one side. Trim the seam allowance to about 1⁄8 inch except at the opening, turn right side out, and press.
  8. Assemble the puppet and lining. With the lining wrong side out, place the outer piece, right side out, inside of the lining. Match the raw edges and stitch with a 1⁄4-inch seam allowance around the bottom. It’s easier to position the puppet with the presser foot on the inside of the puppet (in this case, the wrong side of the outer piece) than trying to sew from the wrong side of the lining. Turn right side out from the opening left in the lining, slip-stitch the opening closed, push the lining inside of the puppet, and press. Topstitch about 1⁄4 inch from the edge along the bottom. 

 

 

DIY gifts Sanae Ishida

DIY gifts Sanae Ishida

DIY gifts Sanae Ishida

DIY gifts Sanae Ishida
(c)2020 by Sanae Ishida. Excerpted from Animal Friends to Sew by permission of Sasquatch Books.

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About the Author

Jillian O'Connor

Jillian O’Connor is managing editor of the Seattle's Child print magazine. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two sons and a dog named after the Loch Ness Monster.