Sew a little festive magic with Anabella Cahwje’s Nutcracker- inspired heirloom softies
Three Nutcracker cuties to make
HOW TO MAKE HEIRLOOM SOFTIES MATERIALS
Q 20 x 20cm (77/ 8 x 77/ 8") cotton fabric in light grey, natural and beige Q 15 x 15cm (6 x 6") cotton fabric in baby pink, red, navy, aqua and white Q 15 x 15cm (6 x 6") patterned cotton fabric in red and pink Q 15 x 5cm (6 x 2") cream tulle fabric Q 30 x 5cm (117/ 8 x 2") cream polka dot tulle Q Wool felt in red, navy, yellow, baby pink, black and gold Q 10 x 5cm (4 x 2") cream fleece fabric Q 15 x 10cm (6 x 4") cream faux fur Q Gold ric rac, 7mm (¼") wide Q Gold metallic frogging braid, 1cm ( 3 /8") wide Q Gold metallic cord, 3mm ( 1 /8") wide Q Gold fringing, 1.5cm ( 5 /8") wide Q Gold glitter ribbon, 2mm ( 1 /8") wide Q 50cm (19¾") wired sparkly ribbon, 1cm ( 3 /8") wide Q 20cm (77/ 8") cotton crochet lace in cream, 1cm ( 3 /8") wide Q 20cm (77/ 8") gold ribbon, 1cm ( 3 /8") wide Q Three 1.5cm ( 5 /8") jingle bells Q Stranded embroidery thread in black, gold, navy, pink and red Q Polyester machine thread in cream Q Soft toy stuffing Q Erasable fabric marker Q Wooden skewer We reckon the real magic happens on Christmas Eve once the house is quiet and still. There’s a mince pie and a carrot waiting on the kitchen counter, and carefully wrapped parcels sitting underneath a twinkling tree. That’s when you might just see something stirring from the corner of your eye, or hear a rustle of movement behind you – these three little pals coming out to play.
Sew a sugar plum fairy bunny, a mouse king and a Nutcracker lion as Christmas decorations or extra special stocking fillers, using a 0.25cm ( 1 /8") seam allowance throughout. And, turn to page 98 for an embroidery stitch guide.
01 Cut the fabric pieces using the templates on page 98. For the bunny, cut two body pieces, four arms and two ears from the natural cotton. Cut two ears from the pink patterned cotton and two garment pieces from the pink cotton. For the bunny skirt, cut two skirt pieces in polka dot tulle and one in tulle. Finally, cut one bunny collar piece in faux fur and one star in gold felt. For the mouse, cut two body pieces, two ears and four hands in light grey cotton and two leg pieces in white cotton. Cut two ears in pink cotton, two shirt pieces and four arms in aqua cotton, one cape piece in red patterned cotton and one cape collar piece in fleece. Cut one crown piece from the yellow felt. For the lion, cut two body pieces, two ears and four hands from the beige cotton. Cut two ears from the pink cotton, two shirt pieces and four arms in red cotton and two leg pieces in navy cotton. Cut one hat piece in red felt and one hat piece in navy felt.
02 For each of the ear pairs, place the inner and outer pieces with
right sides (RS) together and sew around each one, leaving the base open. Press, then turn RS out.
03 For the mouse and the lion, lay the hand pieces on the arms with RS together, aligning the straight edges. Sew where indicated, then fold open and press the seam.
04 Pair the arm pieces with RS together and sew around each one, leaving the ends open. Turn out and lightly fill with stuffing.
05 For the mouse and lion, fold the neck of the shirt to the wrong side ( WS) by 0.25cm ( 1 /8") and sew in place on the body, as shown. Align the short edges of the body and leg pieces with RS together, then sew as shown. For the bunny, fold the neck and leg edges of the garment to the WS as marked on the template, then sew in place on the body.
06 Press all the body pieces. To assemble, choose the piece that looks best to use as the front for each animal, then pin on the ears and stitch them facing down at the a-b and c-d template marks on the front of each head, as shown. The bunny’s ears need to be folded in half at the base. The mouse ears need a tiny fold at the upper edge.
07 Pair the body pieces with RS together, then sew leaving the e-f and g-h marks open. Place the arms inside the body within these marks, aligning the raw edges, and sew leaving a 3cm (1 ") gap under the arm on the g-h side.
08 Carefully turn each body out to the RS through the g-h gap. Stuff the legs, then sew a line across them with matching thread to allow them to bend.
09 Stuff the rest of the body, then neatly sew the g-h gap closed using ladder stitch.
10 For the bunny tutu, stack the three tulle layers together with the plain one between the two polka dot ones. Fold in half along the length, then sew a long running stitch 1cm ( 3 /8") below the fold. Next, fold the skirt in half along the width and sew the short ends together, leaving the ends of the running stitch at the top free. Turn RS out, position the tutu on the bunny’s hips with the seam at the back, then pull the ends of the running stitch threads to gather the fabric. Knot them and trim. Sew the tutu to the body with running stitch. Without cutting the back seam, trim the top layer of tulle slightly to reveal the layers underneath. Thread a bell onto a length of gold glitter ribbon and tie it around the bunny’s waist, over the tutu skirt.
11 To complete the bunny details, cut a 4.5cm (17/ 8") piece from the wooden skewer for the wand and glue the gold star to one end.
HOW TO MAKE HEIRLOOM SOFTIES
Sew the wand to one of the arms. Referring to the main image as a guide, sew the faux fur around the neck and tie a length of crochet lace around the bunny’s head as a headband. For the wings, make a big and smaller bow with the wired ribbon and sew to the back between the arms. Sew the ears onto the back of the head with two little stitches in matching thread.
12 For the mouse, fold the cape piece in half, RS together, and sew leaving a small gap. Turn RS out and sew the fleece piece along the cape’s fold line. Sew to the mouse’s neck and add the bell. Fold the crown in half and sew the short edges together with matching thread, then sew it onto the mouse’s head. Sew on a length of gold ric rac trim around the waist to cover the shirt and leg seam.
13 For the lion’s hat, lay the red felt piece on top of the navy piece and sew on a length of gold glitter ribbon, following the zigzag. Add a bell in the middle. Fold in half with WS together and sew the short edges. Sew the red circle to the top of the hat with whip stitch.
14 To complete the lion details, use gold thread and whip stitch to sew the gold frogging vertically down the centre front of the shirt, starting at the neck. Stitch a length of gold cord around the hips and a 0.5 x 9cm ( x 35/ 8") piece of black felt underneath it as a belt. Sew a 4 x 1.5cm (15/ x ") piece of faux fur 8 along the side seam either side of the head, between the ears and the neck. Sew the hat onto the head.
15 Using six strands of gold thread, stitch a short line in the centre of the black belt as a buckle, then stitch two parallel cuff lines around the end of each sleeve. Stitch the fringe around the neck, folding the ends so they don’t tear.
16 Stitch the bunny and mouse noses using three strands of black embroidery thread. Stitch a straight line following the a-b mark, then take the needle out at c and back in at d. Take the needle out at the neckline and secure with a knot.
17 Use three strands of black thread and fly stitch for the lion’s nose. Following the template marks, stitch two diagonal lines either side first as a guide. For the eyes of all the animals, use French knots in six strands of thread, following the template marks. Cut six tiny circles from pink felt and glue under the eyes for cheeks.
18 Using the images as a guide, embroider the shoes with six strands of pink thread for the bunny, gold thread for lion and navy for the mouse. If using as decorations, cut a length of gold ribbon, fold in half, then sew the short ends to the back of the head.