HOW TO MAKE… A FELT SQUIRREL
30 x 23cm (12 x 9") chestnut red wool felt 10 x 7cm (4 x 3") light grey wool felt 20 x 18cm (8 x 7") aqua wool felt 20 x 18cm (8 x 7") floral print aqua cotton fabric 24cm (9½") thin pink ribbon Two 0.5cm (¼") dolls’ eyes Chestnut red upholstery thread Long sewing needle Matching sewing threads Embroidery thread in black, pink and green Soft toy stuffing Craft glue Pulling off a cape requires a certain amount of gumption. Squee-inducing red squirrel Twig has it in spades, making this swooshy garment ideal for her swashbuckling woodland exploits – leaping from branches or liberating secret caches of forgotten acorns.
Use a 0.25cm ( 1 /8") seam allowance throughout and find stitch guides on page 97.
Using the templates on page 97, cut two head pieces, two body pieces, four arm pieces, two tail pieces and two ear pieces from the chestnut red felt. Cut two more ear pieces from the light grey felt.
Using the templates on page 97, mark the features on the head pieces. With RS together, sew leaving the base of the head and the dart at the back open.
Position the dart at the back of the head so the seams match. Sew the dart from edge to edge, then turn RS out, making sure to gently ease out all the curves and the point of the snout. Fill the head with stuffing until firm.
Mark the position of the eyes with pins. Sew the eyes in place using the upholstery thread, anchoring the thread inside the stuffing in the head opening.
Using two strands of black embroidery thread, stitch a few backstitches over each other on the tip of the nose. Pass the thread back through the stitches and stitch a small upside-down V at the base of the nose. Stitch an eyelash on the outer corner of each eye.
Place the body pieces with RS together and sew, leaving a gap at one edge. Turn RS out through the opening, easing out the legs. Fill the body with stuffing until firm, then sew the gap closed.
Make a hollow in the stuffing in the head and push the top of the body inside the head opening firmly. Pin in place, then sew the head onto the body, stuffing a little more as you go if needed so the head is firmly attached to the body.
Pair the arm pieces with RS together and sew all the way around, leaving a gap on each one. Turn RS out and stuff firmly, with a little less stuffing towards the top. Sew the gaps closed.
Pin the arms to either side of the body, just under the head. Using two strands of upholstery thread and a long needle, sew right through one arm, through the body and out the other side of the other arm. Repeat until the arms are firmly attached.
Pair the ear pieces with one grey piece on top of each chestnut red piece, RS together. Sew around each ear, leaving one edge open, then turn RS out. Make a little fold at the base of each ear on the grey felt and secure with a stitch.
Pin the ears in place, making sure the folded front of each ear faces to the side of the head. Sew the ears in place, tucking the raw edge under as you sew.
Place the two tail pieces with RS together and sew all the way around, leaving the base open. Clip the curves and turn RS out. Stuff the tail very firmly and pin to the bottom of the body. Sew the tail in position, tucking the raw edge under as you sew.
Using the templates on page 97, cut one cape piece and one collar piece from the aqua felt and one cape piece and one collar piece from the printed cotton fabric.
With RS together, make two tiny pleats in the curved upper edge of both the felt and fabric cape pieces. Sew them in place from the top curved edge, as shown, tapering them to a point.
Cut two lengths of ribbon, approximately 12cm (5") long. Pin them in between the two layers with RS together.
Sew the cape all the way around the outer edge, leaving a gap along the bottom edge and making sure to catch the end of the ribbon in the stitching.
Clip the corners, turn the cape RS out and press. Sew the gap closed, then tie a knot at the end of each ribbon length to prevent them from fraying.
Using the stitch guide on page 97, embroider two lazy daisy leaves in green thread and one French knot flower in pink thread in each corner of the felt collar piece.
Place the fabric and felt collar pieces with RS together and sew all the way around the outer edge, leaving a gap for turning out. Clip the corners, turn RS out and press. Sew the gap closed.
Pin the upper curved edge of the collar (with the felt side innermost) to the top curved edge of the cape and sew it in place, as shown. To finish, trim any loose threads and tie the cape around the squirrel’s neck.