One of my favourite things to do when I’ve plenty of time to sit and concentrate is to work on a new softie pattern. I love working out shapes, and am fascinated by how only small tweaks to different pieces can make such a difference to the look of the finished design. Below is just a small selection of some Bustle & Sew softies – I seem to have made so many over the years!
It’s fun to share my love of softie-making with others and this month in particular through the Sew a Softie initiative. This is an initiative that aims to ignite a love of hand sewing in a new generation by encouraging parents and children to turn off their computers, put down their smart phones and discover the fun and fulfillment that comes from creating a simple-to-sew softie together. It was started by children’s hand sewing teacher, author and designer Trixi Symonds to show parents who can’t sew or think that sewing is not for young children, that hand sewing is a simple, inexpensive and highly creative activity that everyone can do and that young children absolutely love.
I’m delighted to be participating in the “Sew a Softie Month” – when for the whole of July a free pattern and/or softie tutorial will be posted daily on the Sew a Softie Facebook Page by lots of talented designer/makers. Today it’s our turn and I was originally going to just share Flora the elephant in this post. But ….. I’ve decided to remind everyone about our Pin Cushion Mice too as these are such a simple design, and the perfect project for children. In fact my version of this pattern is based upon my memories of making these little mice with my mum more years ago than I care to remember! The Pin Cushion Mice are completely hand stitched, whilst Flora is a great first sewing machine softie project.
Pin Cushion Mice
- 9″ square felt for body and ears
- 6″ square contrast fabric for tail and ears
- 3″ square cardboard to stiffen base
- Rice or poly beads to weight base (optional)
- Polyfil for stuffing body ü Stranded embroidery floss in suitable colour to sew body
- Black stranded embroidery floss for eyes and nose- or use small round black beads if preferred – but this means the mouse will not be suitable for a small child.
- Pink floss for nose
- Dark brown strong thread for whiskers (optional)
- Cut out all body pieces using the template
- Cut a strip of fabric for the tail 4″ long x 1 ½” wide. Fold ¼” under along each long side, and then fold in half lengthways and press. Tuck one short edge in for the tip of the tail and secure with a few small stitches. Using 3 strands of embroidery floss, blanket stitch along the open side of the tail to secure. Set to one side.
- Stitch the bottom edge of the body to the circular base with wrong sides together. First work half-cross stitch in one direction, then return and overstitch in half-cross stitch in the other direction using 3 strands of floss. Then stitch up the back for ½” in the same way, wrong sides together.
- Insert the unfinished end of the tail with the blanket stitched seam facing upwards and secure in place with small stitches. Continue up the back for a further 1″ Leave a 1 ½” gap for stuffing and then stitch up to the nose.
- Insert the cardboard circle into the base to keep it flat. Stuff the nose end using small pieces of stuffing to avoid lumpiness. Pour rice or granules if using into the base and then add stuffing to body. When you are happy with the shape, close the back seam.
- Make the ears by placing the pairs of outers and inners together, wrong sides facing and cross stitch around the outer curved edge. Fold the base edge in half and secure with a few stitches, then flatten the seam and position ears on head, either side of the centre back seam so they will frame the mouse’s face.
- The eyes are French knots worked with black floss – or stitch round black beads into place if using.
- The whiskers are strong thread – catch them in place with a small stitch under the nose so they can’t be easily pulled out.
Flora the Elephant
I think that to include the full tutorial for Flora here would make this post a bit on the long side, so if you’d like the pattern and tutorial to make your own Flora the Elephant as a free pdf file, then click the button below and I’ll be very happy to send it to you.
Softie Kit Giveaway
And finally ….
Because I love making softies, and I’d really REALLY like to share this love with others, then I’d like to offer you the chance to win one of our hand assembled softie kits. We have five kits in stock at present for you to choose from – please just CLICK HERE to see them all. Then all you need to do to enter the draw is to leave a comment below telling me which kit you’d like to win – and just for fun it would be nice to know why that one in particular! The draw will close at midnight on Wednesday 19 July and the winner will be chosen by random selection. I am happy to post your kit anywhere in the world! Good luck everyone – and enjoy your softie-making!!
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED and I will be announcing the winner at the weekend. Thank you everyone for entering.