Thursday, June 30, 2011

{ All the Pretty Ponies - A Simple Handmade Baby Gift }

Today's post is a "How to" on making a simple stuffed lovey for baby. I call these little guys ponies, but they can be giraffes or donkeys or whatever you think they resemble. Whatever you choose to call them, they're cute and perfect for little hands to grasp. I think that they make the perfect addition to any baby shower gift and they're super simple to make. So read on to find out where I got the idea from and how I made my little ponies.

I first ran across the idea of these little guys on Pinterest. My virtual friend (we've met in person only a couple of times in passing) Joy had these pinned and I of course repinned them to my own board. My initial thoughts were, those are cute and I think I can make those. The original pin came from the blog Sparkle Power and here are what her ponies looked like:

Super cute, so you can see why I was inspired. Candace, the author of this blog, used the book Simple Sewing for Baby by Lotta Jansdotter. I checked the book out and it looks like a lot of fun, so if you want a pattern and you want it to look like the cuties above click on the link and buy the book. But if you're like me and you think it looks simple enough to figure out on your own, follow along and I'll show you how I got some loveys similar to Candace's rattles.

For the record, this is sewing project number 5 for me. That's right, a whopping five; so this tutorial is the blind leading.  If you have any helpful hints to share with me please do so in the comment section.

Let's get started! Here are the materials you'll need:

fabric scrap
ribbon - 6", 3" for each ear
coordinating thread
sewing machine (optional, this is simple enough to hand sew)

First I had to make a pattern:

I used a file folder, a straight edge, a pen and a glass or something else small and round for the head and nose/mouth curves.

Here you see my finished drawing for the pattern. I started with the neck (two-ish inches wide) and used the glass to make the curved head. (A protractor would be a great tool for this if you have one of those. Shout out to ninth grade geometry!) I then created the curve of the nose/mouth and connected it to the neck and head. Voila! You have a pattern for your pony/giraffe/donkey/?.

Here are the two faults I see with my pattern: one, the neck is too straight. Curve yours out a little more at the end. Two, my nose/mouth ended up way too long, which I didn't notice until I had cut and sewn them. When drawing yours, try going almost immediately into the curve of the snout from the neck. Hopefully these corrections will help your ponies look more like the original rattles.

Next, cut your pattern out and then trace it on the fabric. If you fold your fabric right sides together, you will only have to make one cut.

Let's take a break here to talk fabric choice. I made two of these loveys with woven cotton and one with knit. For the cuddle factor the knit feels softer, for the ease of sewing and the look of the end product I would suggest the woven cotton.

Back to work now. Once you've traced your pattern onto the fabric, pin the fabric together so that it won't slip while you cut. Like this:

Once you've got your pony(ies) cut out you're ready to sew.

I made three for three new little friends we have.
Before we sew these loveys together, we need to get some ears cut. Choose your ribbon and cut two three inch pieces.

Next, you'll want to fold the ribbons in half and pin them in place between your two pieces of material. Make sure that your ears are turned in so that they'll pop out when you turn your pony right side out.

Now we're ready to sew. Keeping no bigger than 3/8" seem allowance (did I say that right?), smaller could be good too, sew your ponies up. You can do this with your machine or by hand. Leave the short, straight bottom open to turn your ponies right side out.

Here are our pony forms turned right side out.

All we have to do to finish them up is stuff them with stuffing and do the detail stitching. Onward and forward!

After you have stuffed your pony, stitch up the bottom. I did this by hand, but you could probably do it with your machine too.

Sorry this is so blurry! I can't wait to get my camera back from the shop, this iPhone 3G just ain't cuttin' it.
Note: I used embroidery floss on the flower and striped ponies and regular thread on the butterfly pony. I preferred working with the regular thread, it gave me a more precise look and was easier to work with.

Next mark and stitch the face. I just did two little eyes and a mouth at the tip of the snout.

And that's all there is to it!

Stripes and Butterfly, as I now call them, are slated to be joined by oilcloth bibs I've got in the works before they head to their new owners; but the flowered pony went to her home before these two were finished, so she missed the photo shoot. Here's a picture of her all dressed up to go in the gift bag.

Each little pony is as unique as the hands that will hold them. That's the fun of handmade gifts. Once you have your pattern made, you can easily sew one of these ponies in an hour or two. So go on, get sewing and get giving!

I hope that seeing how I put my ponies together inspires you to make some of your own. I'd love to read any tips you have or answer any questions. Don't be shy, leave a comment and have a great day!

The Lettered Cottage

Somewhat Simple



Joy Madison said...

oooh, CUTE!!! I love them. I think I'll make mine a little fatter, but that's a perfect baby gift huh?

Elle said...

This is great!!!
What kind of fabric did you use? I want to make these for a friend but I'm unsure about whether to use cotton or what :S I'm new to this

Oly Momma said...

Elle - You're a "no - reply" blogger so I hope you check back here for my reply. I used quilting cotton, so any woven cotton should work. I used knit for the striped pony, I didn't like the way it turned out as well. Flannel and minky would work too. I would just stay away from stretchy materials... but it seems like you could make these with recycled sweaters too... so just experiment and see what you like. Stretchy material doesn't turn out bad it just doesn't hold the form as strictly as the non-stretch. Good luck! -Jess

Elle said...

Thank you for getting back to me!
I might have a play around and see what materials I can get then :)
They look amazing and I have the stuffing and thread leftover from a Christmas project that needs using and this looks like a good outlet :)
Again, thanks very much :)

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