July is Sew a Softie month. This global event is in its second year and is spearheaded by Trixi Symonds, a designer and sewing teacher in Australia. The goal is to encourage children who haven’t sewn before to give it a try through a fun, low-pressure project: a softie!
Trixi has inspired 100s of kids to sew in her local area and now she’s expanded the effort to kids all over the world. I was, of course, excited to get in on the action and this year I invited my two older children, Roxanne (13) and Simon (11), to join the fun.
Both girls opted to design their own project. One of the things I love most about simple softies is how easy they are to design: sketch a shape, add some details, done! This is the kind of project my kids jump right into with little to no help from me.
Simon decided to make a smiley face emoji which he named Steve. Here are Simon’s instructions if you’d like to make a Steve of your own:
1. Trace a medium-sized circle in fleece and cut out two.
2. Draw a shape half the size of a smaller circle and cut out one of them in felt.
3. Draw an oval about the size of the eyes you want. Cut out two.
4. Pin the mouth to the bottom of one fleece circle.
5. Sew it on, and then draw in eraseable marker vertical lines for teeth and sew along them in the same color as the mouth.
6 Take the two oval eyes and pin them on to the same fleece circle. Sew them on in the color of the eyes.
7. Pin the two larger fleece circles together and pin. Don’t forget to leave an opening. Sew around the pillow close to the edge.
8. Check for holes and if you see none stick your hand inside and flip the pillow right sides out. Point poke gently along the seams. Fix any holes you find.
9. Stick your hand in stuffing and fluff it up. Fill your emoji pillow up with stuffing to your liking.
10. Pin the opening closed and sew it up using the latter stitch or the whip stitch.
11. Give your new emoji a hug! Give it a name and smile every time you see it!
He gifted Steve to her best friend, Matilda, as a graduation present when they finished 5th grade in June.
Roxanne is a fan of all things geek and decided to design and sew a felt Cthulhu. If you don’t know who Cthulhu is here’s Roxanne to explain:
So Cthulhu is a ‘fictional’ creature created by writer and crazy guy H. P. Lovecraft a little less than one hundred years ago. Great Cthulhu is the center of a horrific pantheon of beings beyond time and space, the Elder Gods. I designed this down-sized monsterous being because I love Cthulhu and I just really wanted a small version of him to cuddle with. I hope you enjoy it! Ph’bgluo mglw’nath Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nahl fhtagan. La, la, Cthulh fhtgan!
Roxanne has written these instructions explaining how to make him (she also took all of the photos of her project and wrote the captions):
- Cut out a body shape with a head that is oversized and pointy from green felt for the front and black for the back. For the head think about how a squid’s body looks.
- Cut out 4 squiggly shapes from green felt and two small almond shapes from red felt.
- Stitch x’s from green floss to attach the tentacles to the front of the body at the base of the neck. Make one stitch to attached each red eye to the upper part of the face. In between, use two small black stitches to make little nostrils. Finally, use 3-4 overlapping stitches of green floss to make embellish the face.
- Carefully sew the front of the body to the back. Stuff and close.
All hail the true king of the stuffed animals.
Nothing better than a good book.
Join the fun! Sew a softie with a kid in your life this month. It’s a great summer project. With just a little bit of fabric, thread, and stuffing and a few hours of time kids can design and sew their own awesome toy that’s truly an expression of themselves. What could be better?