project // baby groundhog plush with shadow blankie
I'm so excited. In just a few days, a furry little groundhog will pop up out of the ground and let us know if there will be six more weeks of winter or if it will be coming to an end soon! My prediction is that there will be six more MONTHS of winter, but that may be the sub-zero temps getting to me.
Instead of waiting for winter to be over, how about we just hunker down and do some sewing? And then after that you can cuddle with the sweetest, softest little baby groundhog. She even has a security shadow...er, blankie! This little weather-predicting gal has me and my youngest sister smitten, and she's been playing Groundhog Day ever since I let her adopt what she has called Peek-a-Boo the Groundhog.
This goes together really quickly, so there's plenty of time to make a groundhog baby of your own!
Here's what you need:
Tan fleece- 1/4 yard or about 9x24 inches
Dark gray fleece - about 9x11 inches
Black felt - scrap
Black embroidery floss
Two 5mm safety eyes
Needle and thread (I used tan to match my fleece)
Baby Groundhog Pattern PDF
Notes: I highly recommend using anti-pill fleece. Use 1/4-inch seam allowance (included on the pattern).
Here's what you do:
Cut two body pieces and two tail pieces from tan fleece, and one body piece from dark gray fleece. Cut one nose from black felt. Be sure to take note of the stretch of the fleece, as well as the right and wrong sides, which sometimes look similar.
Using the pattern as a placement guide, stitch the nose onto the front body piece. Use an applique stitch with three strands of embroidery floss. Stitch the mouth with back stitch. You'll find that it's pretty easy to just stitch this freehand.
Attach the two safety eyes by snipping a teeny hole (it will stretch!) on each side of the nose, again, using the pattern as a placement guide. Slide the posts through the holes and push the backing in place.
Eep! What a sweet face! I just love how these eyes give toys such character. Of course, if you're giving this to a small child, skip the safety eyes and applique small black circles instead.
With right sides together, sew around the tail, leaving the flat end open. It's a good idea to back stitch the start and end of this.
Turn the tail right side out and tuck the raw edges in a bit. Fold one side in just a little more than the other. This will make it so the tail points down.
Place the tail towards the bottom of the back body piece. It should sit at a slight angle, pointing down. Use an applique stitch with regular thread to stitch the tail in place.
Fold the tail up a little, and lay the front body on top, so the right sides are together. Pin, pin, pin. Pin some more. The poor dear looks like a scared voodoo doll, but it will be happier in the end this way!
Sew around the shape, leaving an opening for turning and back stitching at the beginning and end. I left my opening right between the bottom of an arm and the top of a leg.
Check both sides to be sure you caught your fabric...fleece can be tricky sometimes!
In all the places where ears, arms and legs meet the body part, there's a corner. Carefully clip those, except for the corner at the opening.
Turn baby groundhog right side out. This is the part where the personality shows up...Prepare to have your heart melt!
Stuff your groundhog to be nice and plump. Get the stuffing into the ears and limbs (although sometimes with tiny ears and arms it slips out a little) and take care to keep the eye posts straight (so her face looks right).
Sew the opening closed with ladder stitch.
Then, watch to see if your baby groundhog sees her shadow! But if she does, since she's just a baby, she might get a little scared.
That is, until she realizes that her shadow is really her blankie!
She'll probably want a little cuddle, so rock her to sleep, then...
Tuck her in so she can sleep for the rest of winter.
With any luck, she'll be up from her nap in no time!
I had so much fun making this, and I hope you give it a try too. I didn't get a photo of her backside, but tail acts as a sort of support to hold her in a semi-standing position. All those pics of her standing in front of her shadow? She was doing that all on her own!