Now and again, I run across a cute little vintage dog shaped pillow . They’re typically a mishmash of different fabrics, obviously a scrap project, and come in all different sizes. They’re completely charming and not too hard to re-create. I’ll show you how!
The first step is to cut fabric squares. You will need a total of 112 squares. To really give it a vintage look, over half of my squares were cut from my collection of vintage tablecloths and tea towels. Don’t be alarmed. These tablecloths are torn, stained and not suitable for display or use. The other half of my squares were all cut from the same fabric. I wanted something almost solid colored to ground the busy prints from the tablecloths.
The finished size of your puppy is completely dependent on the size of your squares. I used 2 1/2 inch squares for this particular pup, but I’ve made bigger ones, and I’ve seen smaller ones.
Next, you’ll want to layout your puppy shape. One puppy goes this way.
The other goes this way. You absolutely must make one going each direction. If you do not, you will be sad when it’s time to sew the front and back together! And, removing and reattaching a puppy’s head is not fun for anyone. (I learned this the hard way.)
The pieces are sewn together in strips. I start with the body strips which are five squares each. Put two squares right sides together and stitch along one side. I use about a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Continue this to make a horizontal strip five squares long. Repeat for the second strip of the body. You’ll need to do the same for the two head strips and the two legs. TIP – I do not reverse stitch when I am sewing the squares together. By the time you are done, all of the edges will be closed up, so it’s not necessary. And, when you’re working with small pieces like this, that backstitching can cause bunching.
Then, you’ll want to press open each of the seams. (I hate pressing seams, but it’s absolutely essential if you want things to end up neat and tidy.) If someone has a way to press open tiny seams without burning yourself, I’d love to hear it!
Next, you’ll start putting all of the pieces together. Take the two body pieces, pin them right sides together, matching the seams. Sew and press the seam. Do the same for the two head pieces.
Now, you can attach the legs. Again, right sides together. You’ll want to match the outer edge of the leg with the outer edge of the body. Do the same for the tail. Don’t forget to press your seams.
Go ahead and attach the head in the same manner, matching seams, sewing and pressing.
To make the ear, place two squares right sides together and sew along three sides. Clip the corners and turn the ear right side out to make a little pocket. Press.
Lay the ear on top of the square closest to the body at the top of the puppy’s head. You will want to line up the edge of the ear with the inside seam of the head and not the outer edge. Otherwise, when you sew everything together, your needle will catch the ear, and the puppy’s ear will get sewn down and there won’t be any flop to that ear. Pin the ear in place and sew. Keep the ear pointing down as you complete the project. You might even want to pin it in place to avoid catching until you’re done.
Then, do it all over again for the other side of the pillow. You’ll end up with two puppies who face each other.
Now, you’ll create the pillow casing by sewing together 30 squares in one long strip. Then, sew the first and last squares together to complete a closed loop. And, press open the seams. That’s right. All of them. No whining.
Now comes the part that will make you wonder why you ever started this project. This is the part that might make you use words you shouldn’t. With right sides together and matching seams, pin the casing all around one of the puppies and stitch.
After stitching, I turned it right side out and checked all my corners and curves to make sure everything was secure. Then I fixed any boo-boos and reinforced some of the spots that I was concerned might need a little extra strength.
Then I turned him back the other way and prepared to pin the other puppy to the pillow casing.
Once again, right sides together and seams matching, pin it all together and stitch, leaving an opening in his tummy for turning and stuffing. This part will make you question your sanity even more, but you’re almost done. Just keep going! TIP – You might want to do a little backstitching at the beginning and end here. This will keep the opening from pulling and ripping when you get ready to stuff the pillow.
Turn the puppy right side out. Again, this is a good time to check your corners and seams to make sure everything is tightly closed up.
Fill that puppy with stuffing! I started with the legs, then tail, then head. I like to stuff very firmly so that the puppy is less likely to lose shape over time. A chopstick or stiff ruler is a good tool for getting stuffing into all the corners.
Use a very small whipstitch to close up the opening.
I like to use this patchwork method to make other pillow shapes, too. I hope to share some of those with you in the future.
Linking up with Savvy Southern Style.