Small Sewn Gift Owl Ornament
Simon the Owl Ornament
This Small Sewn Gifts Sew Along project is a recycle project! Love those. It is pretty quick and can be as colorful as your thrift shop sweaters allow. This is Thursday’s project… but since tomorrow is Thanksgiving!!! I thought I’d better post it a day early.
I used 3 different wool and “felted” sweaters from the thrift store.**
2 small buttons, about 1/2″ in diameter
1 piece of ribbon, about 5″ long
hand sewing supplies (GASP!)
**For the sweaters, I had these on hand from many craft projects and honestly, by the time I started making Simon, the cute little owl, the sweaters were already chopped up. If you are looking to start a collection or pick up felted wool for this project, here’s what you are looking for- go to the women’s section of the thrift store and look for a sweater that is awkwardly short or has “shrunk” sleeves. The tag size will not at all reflect the size you are seeing. The sweater will say wool, or angora, or cashmere, etc, on the tag, so you’d expect it to be light and soft. HOWEVER, when you touch the weird short sweater, you’ll notice it is quite dense. What happens is someone threw the “hand wash only,” high-end, perfect fiber sweater into the washer. Too bad for them, SCORE for you.
Once wool has been felted like that in the washer, the fibers do not fray apart, so it is perfect for crafting projects.
Notice, I have sweaters that have some color blocking- that is awesome because for scrap projects, I get more crafty colors all in one sweater. Hooray.
Plan your shapes. For the owl body, cut TWO 4 1/2″ circles and cut TWO 1″ circles for the eyes. You will also need a small triangle for the beak. Cut ONE 3″ circle for the wings.
NOTE: My Simon owl ornament body isn’t a circle in the photos. Towards the end of my construction, I decided it would make more sense to use a circle rather than have the “ears built in” so please ignore those little points for a bit.
I also planned the wings. Those are a 3″ circle, cut in half and laid over the owl body. Notice the semi-circles hang off the edge of the body. Not a problem. I just wanted to be sure to give enough wing fabric to trim down as needed.
Pin the wing shapes in place and stitch 1/8″ from the cut edge around the arc.
Stitch the triangle beak in place first, then add the two eyes. Sew carefully to not stretch they sweater fabric or distort the circle shape.
I started stitching in the middle (above the beak) for each eye circle. I wanted to be sure that if any stitching or shifting occurred, I’d still have the eyes touching and covering up the top of the beak.
So everything is in place and stitched down. It is time to trim. See how the semi-circle wing sticks out? Chop those off!
I cut two larger equilateral triangles for the new “ears”. Seriously. Those aren’t ears, are they? What are they called? Anywho- for now they’ll be ears. You can see on the cutting mat, the ears are about 1 3/4″ per side.
Pin the ears pointed into the owl’s body, opposite of how they would naturally look and pin the ribbon, looped in half, to the top center of the owl’s head, also opposite how it will be used in the end. Using a long basting stitch on your sewing machine, to secure these in place.
NOTE: You can sew on the button eyes here, if you like, or at the end. It doesn’t matter, if you plan to hand sew them in place. If you sew the button eyes on by machine, you should do it now, though.
Lay the second owl body circle onto the owl’s face, matching right sides. Sew around the perimeter of the circles using 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave a small opening at the bottom of the circle to turn the owl right side out.
Turn Simon right side out. Pull on the ears gently to get them all the way out. They are single ply and will already be a nice pointed shape. No worrying about how to get ridiculously thick felted sweater fabric to create the point.
Tuck the seam allowances into the opening. You can click the image, above, to enlarge it and see the pins at the lower edge.
Hand sew the opening closed. I used a ladder stitch to sew through the thick sweater. Using this ladder stitch makes it so you do not see loads of hand sewing thread on the bottom edge. I also stitched his button eyes in place. I made sure that the hand sewing thread for the eyes did not go all the way through the back of Simon the Owl.
There he is. Finito. Cute little Simon. He’s pretty basic and pretty straight forward and super easy. I totally thought about going all Cookie Monster and giving him googly eyes… but alas, I did not.
My Christmas tree ornaments are purple and yellow and Simon the Owl Ornament is going to look great hanging out with his color coordinated ornament buddies. Oh way, these are supposed to be gifts aren’t they??!?!!! Dangit. =)
This project is part of the Small Sewn Gift Sew Along.
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