Soft toys with squeakers are a very special treat around here. Boy dogs love them, so they are fiercely contested treasures and can be rather short lived in the quest for the all-important squeaker. Since birthdays are a time for special treats, I made a monogram "H" softie for Humphrey's birthday. Whether is is a donut, and eclair, a long-john, or just a cake, it was by far the favourite toy of the day and is the final post of our special pawty week series.
To make your own, you will need chocolate brown (or other colour of your choice), a small piece of white for the icing, mixed fleece scraps for embellishments (a great use for offcuts!), complementary coloured thread, stuffing, squeakers (optional) and scissors/sewing tools. The toy can be hand sewn, but will be much easier if machine sewn. Softie dog toys follow the same basic principles as you would use if sewing (or buying) for a small child - no loose parts to nibble free and everything securely stitched into a sturdy toy.
- Cut two identical letter shapes in your brown fleece to the the full size for your finished your toy plus seam allowance on all edges. If you aren't comfortable free-handing, draw it first on paper to make your own template or print a template using a thick and block non-serif font. Tip: If your letter has inside edges (e.g. A, B, D, O, P, Q, R) you can make a full monogram or you can simplify by keeping the inside of the shape solid and using the icing to delineate the shape.
- Cut a slightly smaller letter shape in the white fleece for your icing. If you have pinking shears, these make a cute edging for your icing.
- Cut small pieces of coloured fleece for sprinkles.
- Using a complimentary thread colour, sew your icing onto the front of one letter.
- Sew your sprinkles securely into place. I used white thread for all of the embellishments - it is barely visible on the finished fleece and much quicker that changing for every colour.
To make a simplified version of this toy without the boxing, you can simply join the two letters together, seams in and inverted before stuffing or seams out (like our DIY Easter Bunny softie) for an even easier sewing project. If you would like to make a boxed monogram proceed as below.
- Cut a long piece of brown fleece to the width of your desired box edge plus a double seam allowance. To box with a single strip, it needs to be sufficiently long to go all the way around the outside of your letter at the seam allowance with extra for overlap at the closure. If your letter has inside edges (e.g. A, B, D, O, P, Q, R), and you opted to have these as cut-outs you will need extra boxing for these edges as well.
- Sew the boxing to the embellished front/top of your monogram (right-side-to-right-side for a seam-in finish) using a complimentary coloured thread. Start from a location that will help you mask the closure (e.g. an inside corner, if your letter has one), leave a small allowance at the end, and sew the boxing carefully along the seam allowance taking care to turn corners on a right angle. Stop a few cm short of your starting point to leave a gap for inverting and stuffing.
- Repeat for inside edges, if your letter has them, then sew the back/bottom onto these inside edges in the same manner before proceeding to sew the outside edges per below.
- Sew the boxing to the back/bottom of your monogram (right-side-to-right-side for a seam-in finish) using a complimentary coloured thread. Start from the opposite side at the same location using the same methods and aligning your turns/corners. Tip: You may find this a little more difficult to maneuver and position than when you were working with a free boxing strip , which is why we start with the top for a nicer finish. If you find it tricky to turn any of the the corners when working, you can use a stop/start method instead of turning. Remember to lock your stitches each time.
- Inverse to right-side-out.
- Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s). Make sure your squeaker is well padded into the toy.
- Tuck your boxing overlap into the toy (trim excess if needed), fold your starting boxing allowance under, and finish stitching the toy closed. Trim any threads if/as needed and enjoy!
Remember, toys are for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs would rather eat their toys (whether store bought or handmade), and that's dangerous. Toys are for playing and playtime is safer (and more fun!) with you involved. You can read more about dog toy safety here.
See all of Humphrey's second birthday pawty details, DIYs, and recipes: