This owl cushion project is part of a series of projects for beginners written by Helen Rhiannon and sponsored by Hantex. Find other projects in the series by clicking the beginners tab on the projects page.
The pattern for the owl cushion is the size of an A4 piece of paper so the finished owl is pretty small but very cute! It works well as a soft toy owl for children too, just make sure your buttons are very securely stitched or replace them with felt circles for younger kids. You can enlarge the patterns on a photocopier to make it bigger also. It is relatively quick to do and one of the most popular projects at the All Sewn Up workshops!
Owls are definitely the in thing. Enjoy creating your first one of many!
What you need
I used two different fabrics for the owl cushion so two fat quarters will be more than enough. I also used a small amount of felt which can be bought as small squares or by the metre.
Fabric – 2 Fat Quarters if using two different fabrics. If just using one fabric for the main owl patterns, one fat quarter will be plenty and the wings can be cut from scraps.
I used Carnaby Street from Art Gallery Fabrics Kindly provided by Hantex.
A small selection of felt
Selection of buttons for the eyes
Medium weight iron on vilene
Small rectangle of Bondaweb the size of the eye background pattern – for a large range of craft supplies, visit Minerva Crafts
Sewing Machine – Straight stitch length 2.5
Stage 1 – Cutting out your owl cushion.
Lay fabric out with any patterns facing up. Lay your pattern pieces onto the fabric as instructed.
Make sure to use the tip of your scissors to cut a 3mm slit into the fabric where the notches are marked. These are used to match your patterns up when pinning your wings onto the owl.
Stage 2 – Sewing the wings onto the front of the owl cushion.
Iron your fabric pieces and lay one of the main owl cushion pieces flat on the table with the right side of the fabric facing up.
Position your two wings on either side of the owl, making sure to match the notches so that the wings are sitting in the right positions. Pin in place and then sew along the curve of the wing approximately 2mm from the edge of the fabric using straight stitch.
You need to keep the stitching close to the edge as this will be hidden by the ric-rac.
Stage 3 – Sewing on the ric-rac.
Now, place the ric-rac along the edge of the wings and pin well in place. Don’t be afraid to use lots of pins! The ric-rac should hide the row of stitching you just sewed.
Stitch along the centre of the ric-rac with straight stitch.
Stage 4 – Creating the eyes of the owl
Cut a rectangle of Bondaweb slightly larger than the eye background pattern piece. Place the glue side (rough to touch) face down on a piece of felt with the paper side facing up at you. With the iron on a low setting of 1-2, iron the paper side of the Bondaweb to bond the layers.
Then place the eye background pattern piece on the felt, pin in place and cut around. You will now be able to catch the edge of the Bondaweb paper and peel off the paper layer to reveal the layer of glue underneath.
Position the felt eye background onto the main owl fabric and pin in place allowing for the 1cm seam allowance around the edge of the owl. Make sure the sticky glue side is facing down and the soft felt is facing up. To avoid burning the felt with the iron, flip over the pieces so the WRONG side is facing up at you. With the temperature on 2, iron the area where the felt is positioned. The heat of the iron will melt the glue of the bondaweb and fix the two layers together.
NOTE – This method is excellent when fixing a wide range of fabrics to another layer but not essential when using felt.
To stop thinner fabrics puckering around the eye section, you can iron a rectangle of medium weight iron on Vilene onto the wrong side of the fabric, behind the eye section.
Stage 5 – Stitching the eyes onto the owl.
The next step is to sew around the outside of the felt to secure the eye background in position.
I set my zig zag to Length – 1.5 and Width – 4. Keep the centre of the foot in line with the edge of the fabric for a neat finish.
You then need to position the white eye felt pieces on top of the eye background. These can be sewn using zig zag also but I prefer to hand sew around the edge for that home made look.
You could also use Blanket Stitch which takes time to complete but gives a fantastic finish.
Next step is to choose your buttons for the eyes and stitch them in place.
The last part is to attach the beak. I chose to use felt as it is such a small piece of fabric, felt is easier to sew in place neatly and obviously won’t fray so you only need to sew along the top.
Stage 6 – Sewing the front to the back.
The front of your owl cushion is now complete. Lay it on the table with the RIGHT sides facing up at you. Place the back piece face down onto the front piece and pin around the edges. The WRONG side will be facing up at you.
Stitch all around the edge with a 1cm seam allowance but remember to leave a gap of 2-3 inches, on the side or bottom, to turn it through.
Stage 7 – Snipping into the seam allowance for a neat finish.
Before turning your cushion the right way around, you will need to snip into the seam allowance where the curves are. This allows the seam to sit flat when turned the right way around.
Using the tip of your scissors, snip into the seam allowance, right up to the stitching but be careful not to cut the stitching! Leave a 2mm gap.
You can also cut off excess fabric from around the ears to reduce bulk.
Stage 8 – Stuffing the owl cushion.
Turn the owl cushion the right way around through the gap in the seam.
Now for the fun bit! Stuff your owl with wadding as full as you want to.
Hand stitch the gap up and voila, you are finished! One gorgeous cuddly owl cushion.
Please note – Please be careful if giving your owl to a child. To avoid sewing buttons on, you could sew small pieces of felt on for the centre of the eyes.