LiEr from ikatbag is a brilliant, creative person! Over the years we’ve enjoyed countless projects she’s made for her lucky children, and her extensive archive of free tutorials. LiEr brought us the Spring Bunny last year, plus the Back to School Pencil Case and Cloverleaf Bag. (There’s still time to make the bunny for Easter!) LiEr designed this Raccoon Softie for our Six Weeks of LOVE for Softies series. He’s both squishy and loveable, and we know you’ll have fun with this little guy.
Learn all about LiEr and get lost in her world at ikatbag, including a look at her line of patterns for sale. We recently profiled her Humpty Dumpty in our Softie Du Jour series; that post has lots of links to more softie goodness. We can’t wait for LiEr’s menagerie of friends to join this raccoon!
A note about the tutorial: We have a post all about different softie eyes, including the safety eyes shown on this raccoon. For more details see 6 Super Cute Options for Toy Eyes.
Hello! I am LiEr and I am happy to be back again on Sew Mama Sew to share a new project with you. I have a three daughters, aged almost-7, 8 and 10, and all the toys I’ve sewn are inspired by watching them at play. Some time ago, I made a hedgehog softie for my oldest daughter, and thought I’d modify that hedgehog to make a simpler, generic base pattern from which any number of other animals can be designed. For reasons unfathomable to me, my kids have a clear preference for softies that sit on their bottoms, as if waiting to be picked up and cuddled, so I designed these sitting softies with open arms and upturned faces.
They are a good size for cuddling! My youngest calls them Pick Me Up Toys.
In collaboration with my kids, we designed 18 different animals from this versatile base and I am sharing the Raccoon here today on Sew Mama Sew.
I will also have the pattern available soon on my ikatbag blog.
It contains additional templates, techniques and instructions to make the remaining 17 animals, as well as the framework that enables you to design your own unique variations. Please visit my blog for updates on when it’s ready, and to see all the other animals in the menagerie!
- Fleece or stretch faux fur as follows:
- White wool or wool-blend felt for claws
- One pair of 9mm safety eyes, or buttons, or felt circles of similar size
- Knit fabric (jersey or interlock) for pellet bag (a fat quarter is sufficient)
- Polyfill stuffing
- Poly pellets (about 1 cup)
- Polyester sewing thread in coordinating colors
- Dark brown embroidery floss or pearl cotton for mouth details
– ivory fleece (1/3 yard is plenty)
– dark brown fur (1/3 yard)
– tan fleece (for tail)
– 1.25″ circle of black fleece
- Sewing machine with regular presser foot for straight and zig-zag stitches
- Regular fabric scissors and pinking shears
- Hand-sewing needle
- Seam ripper
1. To facilitate enlargement and reduction for making softies in different sizes, the templates have NO seam allowances (SA). When laying out on fabric, add 1/4″ SA around all templates except the pieces marked with an asterisk (*). Those templates will be used to cut pieces for applique or embellishment and will not require additional SA.
2. Pay attention to the direction of stretch of the fabric during the layout; the direction of greatest stretch should be parallel to the double-ended arrows on the templates. Wherever there are two of the same pieces (i.e. a pair), they should be cut in mirror image of each other.
First, print your free Raccoon Template.
Lay Out + Cut the Following Pieces:
– Body: Cut two in dark brown fur (or fleece)
– Face: Cut two in ivory fleece
– Eye Patch*: Cut two in mirror image, in dark brown fleece
– Leg: Cut four, in two mirror-image pairs, in dark brown fur (or fleece)
– Arm: Cut four, in two mirror-image pairs, in dark brown fur (or fleece)
– Belly: Cut one, in ivory fleece
– Arm Claw*: Cut two in white felt
– Leg Claw: Cut two in white felt
– Base: Cut one in ivory fleece
– Tail: Cut two in tan fleece
– Outer Ear: Cut two in ivory fleece
– Inner Ear: Cut two in dark brown fleece
– Bands*: Cut two of each band in dark brown fleece. In the picture below, the bands are cut out as continuous strips and trimmed to length as they are sewn on.
– Nose (no template): Cut one 1 1/4″ circle in black fleece
– Pellet Bag: Use BASE template to cut two in knit fabric. Do not add SA; this pellet bag will be – slightly smaller than the base of the completed animal.
Step 1: Make the Pellet Bag
With WS together, sew all around the outline, 1/4″ from the edge, leaving a small opening. Fill with 1/2 cup poly pellets and machine-stitch the opening closed. The SA will remain on the outside. Set aside.
Step 2: Applique Eye Patches + Tail Bands
Using a close zig-zag stitch, stitch the edges of the eye patches in position on the RS of the face pieces. Using a close zig-zag stitch, stitch the edges of the bands in position on the RS of the tail pieces.
Step 3: Make the Tail
With RS together, sew around the curved edge of the tail pieces. Turn RS out through the opening and stuff with polyfill.
Baste across the opening to secure it shut. Set aside.
Step 4: Make the Ears
Place one inner ear and outer ear together with their RS touching. Line up the straight edge and one corner (red arrow) and lay the pieces under the presser foot, with the smaller inner ear piece on top of the bigger outer ear piece.
The tips of the two ear triangles do not meet now, but we will ease the SA together to match them up as we stitch. This will result in the outer ear piece naturally rolling over the edge of the inner ear in the completed ear. Refer to Step 4 in this earlier tutorial for more detailed instructions.
When completed, the outer piece will bulge slightly while the inner ear piece is taut and flat.
Notch the SA at the tip and turn RS out. The edge of the outer ear piece will curl around and frame the inner ear piece.
Repeat this step to make a second ear.
Step 5: Attach the ears to the face pieces as shown.
Step 6: Sew the face to the body at the neck seam with their RS together. You will catch the ear in this seam as you sew. Repeat this for the other face and body pieces.
Step 7: Lay the two halves of the body with their RS together and their center back (CB) seams aligned and sew along this entire CB seam, leaving a 3″ opening close to the bottom of the animal for turning out.
Step 8: Attach the Eyes
This is a good point in the construction to install the eyes because you can check the face and ensure that the eyes are symmetrical and positioned where you’d like them to be. Pierce a hole in the eye position through both fleece layers (face and eye patch)…
…And install the safety eye according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Repeat this step to install the other eye.
Step 9: Make the Limbs
First attach the claws. Line up the concave edge of the claw piece with the tip of the one leg piece (RS) as shown in (a). Stitch within the SA to secure. The claw piece will bunch as you sew; this is okay – it will lie flat when the leg is turned RS out later. Tip: To minimize bunching, you can also notch (or pink with pinking shears) the other edge (red arrow) of the claw before sewing so the felt lies flatter.
Lay the other piece of the leg pair on the first, with RS together (a), and sew all around the curved edge (b). Turn RS out (c). Pink the free edge of the felt piece to look like claws (d).
Fill to about 1.5″ deep with poly pellets and finish up with polyfill stuffing. Set aside.
Repeat this step to make the second leg, and both arms. Do not add poly pellets to the arms; stuff them only with polyfill.
Step 10: Attach the Limbs + Tail
Flatten the openings of the leg pieces, with the seams at the sides, and baste across to keep them closed.
Bring the seams of the arm pieces together, so that they meet and baste across the openings to keep them closed. The arm pieces will now be turned 90 degrees at their openings.
Baste the four limbs in position on the RS of the belly piece. Baste within the SA region so that these stitches will be hidden in the seam when the animal is stitched up later. The concave seam of the arms should lie against the belly, as if the arms are curled inwards to the body.
Similarly, baste the completed tail in position on the RS of the base piece.
It is now time to assemble the raccoon!
Step 11: Attach the Body to the Belly
With their RS together and the belly piece below, line up the side edges of the body (CAEAC) with those of the belly. Sew from one bottom corner C to the other, going around the rounded tip E of the belly. You will catch the limbs in this seam in the process. Notch the SA at the tip (point E) and turn RS out.
Step 12: Sew the Nose
Sew a running stitch about 1/4″ from the edge of the black circle…
…And gather into a ball, stuffing it so that it makes a firm round nose. Secure the gathered opening shut with a few stitches,
then, without cutting off the thread, hand-stitch the nose onto the tip of the animal’s face (point E). Ladder-stitch is recommended; the stitches are invisible when pulled tight.
Step 13: Embroider the Mouth
With embroidery floss (all 6 strands) or pearl cotton, sew three lines as shown, below the nose, to make the mouth.
Step 14: Attach the Base
Turn the body WS out again. With their RS together, place the body from Step 11 on top of the base, lining up their SA and matching up points D and F. Sew all around to attach the base to the body.
Step 15: Stuff the Animal
Turn RS out through the opening left in Step 9. Insert the pellet bag in the bottom of the animal so it lies on the inside of the base. Stuff the animal generously and ladder-stitch the opening closed.