Fabric Yoyo Lion Toy Pattern

Fabric yoyo lion

Fabric yoyo lion

My fabric yoyo lion is a sweetie.  I had seen fabric yoyo toys before now without ever working out just how they are made.  In fact it’s very easy to make them.  It took me a bit longer to make than I had anticipated, but it certainly wasn’t difficult.

I used three different fabrics all within a lion range:  brown,yellow, light brown, and I used two different sizes of yoyo.  I should probably have used a greater range of sizes but I was trying to keep it simple.  The circles that I used were 6.1/2″ and 4.1/2″ diameter and I think that it would have become too fiddly if I had tried to use smaller circle sizes.

You can buy the kit for this project at this week’s special offer.




Cutting requirements for the fabric yoyo lion

6.1/2″ circles:  six each in three different colours (eighteen in total)

4.1/2″ circles:  sixteen each in two of the colours and eight in the third colour (forty in total).  In addition you will need two more circles for the lion head.

Thin elastic (I used 1/4″):  about 1 yard.

Cut the circles

Cut the circles

Make the fabric yoyos

For the templates I just chose kitchen crockery that was roughly the right size.  Draw around them to make a paper template and then cut out the required quantity in each fabric that’s eighteen 6.1/2″ circles and forty 4.1/2″ circles.

Stitch around the edge

Stitch around the edge

Adjust your sewing machine to give the longest possible stitch length and sew round the edge of each circle.  Try to keep to about 1/4″ from the edge of the circle.  That really just means taking it nice and slowly and lifting the presser foot often in order to straighten out the fabric.  Leave a good 6″ thread at the beginning and end of the seams.

Pull the threads to gather the edge

Pull the threads to gather the edge

The seam will begin to gather as you are sewing the circle edges.  Now take the outer two threads and pull gently to continue the gathering.  Ease the gathering so that it is even all the way round.  Continue until the gathering is quite tight.  Tie the ends of the thread to hold the gathering in place.  I try to use a triple knot just to be safe.

Flatten the centre with fingers only – don’t iron the yoyo.  It should now look like the shape in the top right of the photo.  Keep going with all the circles, keeping the two sizes separate from each other.

Make the body for the fabric yoyo lion

Make the central holes

Make the central holes

Use the larger yoyos for the body.  Thread the end of the elastic on to a hair grip or a thick needle.  Begin to make the central hole in each yoyo.  For this I use a large needle, a very large needle and then a knitting needle.

Use a knitting needle

Use a knitting needle

You can judge the middle of the yoyo quite easily.  You want the needles to go through one layer of fabric only, so the needle needs to pass through the hole at the centre of the gathering on the back.  Push through the first needle and move it back and forth to create a small hole.  Then push through the next size needle to enlarge the hole.  Finally push through the knitting needle to enlarge the hole enough for the elastic to be threaded through it.

Body and tail section

Body and tail section

Now you can thread the elastic through the hole and push the yoyo up next to the others on the elastic.   Add all eighteen large yoyos in this way.  The first ones should be threaded with the smooth side on the left.  The final one should be threaded with the smooth side on the right so that you have a smooth end at each end.

Select eight of the smaller yoyos to use for the tail and add these to the elastic immediately after the larger ones which form the body.  Measure the length of this body and tail section.  Add 1.1/2″ at each end for fastening and cut the elastic to length.

Sew elastic loops

Sew elastic loops

Finish the elastic ends

My first instinct would have been to tie a knot in the elastic ends to secure them.  However this is not the best method as the knot could be pulled through the fabric, enlarging the hole and causing the whole thing to disintegrate.

Instead, fold the end of the elastic over to form a loop and sew in place.  This is shown on the left hand end in the photo.  Then flatten the loop by pressing down the middle to give a section of elastic on either side of the middle.  Sew this in place to form a bar of elastic as shown on the right hand end in the photo.  This provides a larger surface area which is unlikely to pull through the fabric.

One pair of legs

One pair of legs

Make the fabric yoyo lion legs

The legs are made in a similar fashion but they are made in pairs with a length of elastic between each pair of legs.  Divide the remaining yoyos into four piles of varying colours.  Thread eight on to the elastic then leave a gap of 2″ of elastic and add another eight yoyos.  Make sure that each leg has a smooth yoyo side at each end.

Cut the elastic and finish each end in the same way as above for the body.  Make another pair of legs using the remaining yoyos.

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Sew the leg elastic to the body

Join the body and legs

Fold up the first yoyo of the body so that you can work on the second yoyo.  Sew the elastic between two legs across  the bottom of this second yoyo.  This joins the first pair of legs to the body.

Now fold up the last yoyo of the body – the one before the smaller yoyos of the tail.  Sew the second pair of legs to the second to last body yoyo.

Use a small amount of stuffing

Use a small amount of stuffing

Make the lion head

For the head cut two more 4.1/2″ circles from scraps.  With right sides together sew around the edge, leaving a gap of about 2″ to turn the head right side out.  Clip into the seam and turn right side out through the gap.  Add a small amount of toy stuffing through the gap – just enough to make the head softly rounded.  Slipstitch across the gap to close it.

Add facial features

Add facial features

I had planned to embroider the facial features but I ran out of time so I have just marked the head using felt tip for now.  I had also planned to make two ears and sew them to the head.

Sew the back of the head to the first yoyo of the body.  From scraps cut five small rectangles or circles and use them to cover the elastic ends on the legs and the tail.

That completes the fabric yoyo lion toy.  How could I have improved it?  Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I think that I would have used a bigger contrast in the sizes of the yoyos if I was making this again – and I would have allowed myself more time so that I could embroider the head!

Here’s the video:

Globe Theatre

Globe Theatre

Last week I mentioned that I was going to London.  I saw The Play That Went Wrong at the Duchess Theatre.  It was very funny and we had a lovely evening.  The next morning we all met up for brunch at a restaurant just beside the Thames before moving on to a wine tasting festival.

On the way there I passed the wonderful Globe Theatre.  This amazing round theatre was built to re create a theatre where  Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed.  The whole project was masterminded by Sam Wanamaker so we have a lot to thank him for.

Golden Hind

Golden Hind

Further along the riverside walk I came across the Golden Hinde.  This is a re construction of the galleon used by Sir Francis Drake in the sixteenth century to circumnavigate the world.  It is a fully working ship.  You can just see the figurehead of a golden hind (female deer) at the front of the ship.

What a fascinating city London is.  So much to explore!

Baby Soft Toy – Seahorse Rattle

Baby soft toy - seahorse rattle

Baby soft toy – seahorse rattle

I thought that this baby soft toy – seahorse rattle – was truly gorgeous, but it also made a logical step in my progression of basic soft toy making articles.  The seahorse is made with the same basic principles as the two previous soft toys that I have looked at.  The extra steps are the addition of fins on the outside and something to make a noise on the inside.

Cut out the seahorse rattle templates

Cut out the seahorse rattle templates

Where to find the seahorse pattern

You can find the full pattern on the Hobbycraft site:

http://blog.hobbycraft.co.uk/how-to-make-a-little-seahorse-rattle/

They have a great range of projects for you to make in all crafts, not just sewing.

Preparing the seahorse

Cut out two templates of the sea horse and four of the fins.  Sew the four fins together in pairs with right sides together, leaving a gap to turn them right side out.  I found this bit quite fiddly because they were so small – and do remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.  I forgot on one of the fins and almost all of one side came undone when I was struggling to turn the fin right side out.

Sew the fins to the seahorse

Sew the fins to the seahorse

Sew one fin to each seahorse piece.  I did this by hand.  Then sew the two seahorse sections right sides together, leaving a gap.  Clip all the seam allowances where there’s a curve and turn right side out – I really struggled here with the tail as it was so thin.  I ended up pulling the fabric out with tweezers rather than pushing it out from the inside.

Filling the baby soft toy – seahorse rattle

Put rice in a container for the rattle

Put rice in a container for the rattle

For the rattle they have used a tic tac container in the Hobbycraft pattern.  I found a small round plastic container – the sort that you get when you buy plastic see through bottles to take liquids on a plane.  I used rice to make the noise – don’t put too much in or it won’t make much noise when it is shaken.

Begin filling the seahorse with toy stuffing and add the container to make the rattle.  Pack more stuffing around it so that you can’t feel the rattle and sew up the gap.  Now you just need to embroider eyes and mouth to complete the baby soft toy – seahorse rattle.

Thanks, Hobbycraft for a great toy pattern.

Baby Soft Toy – Teddy Bear – Simple Toy

Baby soft toy - teddy

Baby soft toy – teddy

I’m continuing my hunt for baby patterns on other websites.  After my rabbit, the obvious next choice was going to be a baby soft toy – teddy, but a simple one first.  The one that I have chosen is delightfully simple – it is made in the same way as the rabbit, but this time I have added a face.

My plan is to start with the most simple toys and then gradually move on to more complex patterns step by step.

Where to find the teddy pattern

This particular teddy pattern is from the website of the magazine Prima:

http://www.prima.co.uk/craft/sewing/news/a22006/teddy-sewing-pattern/

Their patterns cover a wide range of crafts – very interesting.

Print the teddy template

Print the teddy template

In order to print the template, I simply right clicked on the image of the template, then copy and pasted it to my photos.  From there I could print it.

Making the baby soft toy – teddy

Clip into the seam allowance

Clip into the seam allowance

Once again I would recommend a lot more clipping in to the seam allowances than most patterns seem to show.  That’s just my personal preference, but I think that it gives you more rounded curves when you turn the project right side out.

Adding the teddy face

Embroider the eyes and nose

Embroider the eyes and nose

I have embroidered the face with just two circles for the eyes and a triangle for the nose.  This takes no time at all and definitely adds something to the toy.  It’s also safer for baby than using buttons or something like that for the face.

Teddy’s right eye is nearly lost in the fabric design, but I didn’t notice that until after I had finished embroidering the face.

It would probably have been easier to do the embroidery if I had chosen to make the face before I sewed the pattern pieces together, but I prefer to add them last of all.  Again that’s just personal preference – I feel that I can better judge where I want the eyes when everything is sewn together.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Baby Soft Toys to Make – Rabbit

Baby soft toy - rabbit

Baby soft toy – rabbit

I made this baby soft toy – rabbit when I visited my grand daughter last week.  Time had been short and I hadn’t had time to make her anything but I didn’t want to turn up empty handed so I looked for a simple soft toy pattern.  I found a wonderful simple pattern with template for a rabbit soft toy.

I’ve made it in a teddy bear wincyette which is really soft to the touch.  Obviously I should have made a teddy bear, but I had left myself too short of time to manage that:  another thing to add to my to do list!




Tips for making soft toy patterns

When you are making soft toys the simplest ones to make are those that just have a front and a back – it gets more complicated once you start making toys that are three dimensional and have gussets and legs and things.  The beauty of these toys is that you can use your imagination and draw any shape – just make sure that you don’t have any parts of the shape (like legs)  that are very thin as they are more difficult to turn right side out once you’ve sewn the pattern pieces together.

Clip the seam allowances

Clip the seam allowances

Always clip the seam allowance

So in broad principle you need to cut two shapes of whatever toy pattern you’re making.  Cut them out together from folded fabric so that you have a front and a back – as opposed to two fronts or two backs.  With right sides together sew around most of the edge, leaving a gap of several inches so that you can turn the toy right side out.  There are bound to be lots of curves in your animal shape, so make sure that you clip into the seam allowance – I tend to make snips about every 1/4″ or so.  This will make the curves more natural looking when you turn the shape right side out.

Once you have the toy right side out, fill it with stuffing and slip stitch across the gap.  This really is a terribly simple toy to make.  You could also make it with lavender mixed in the stuffing as a gift for an adult.

 

 

Cut the template in paper

Cut the template in paper

The pattern that I used came from

http://craftycupboard.net/2013/03/bunny-softies-with-free-template/

She has an interesting blog with plenty of other tutorials for baby sewing on it.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose