It's almost autumn for our northern fur friends, and while we hope you are still enjoying some sweet summer sunshine, we have an easy autumn dog toy DIY for you to get ready for autumn fun ahead. Leaf piles are, of course, the most fun (well, maybe second to running wild through falling leaves) but leaf squeakers are pretty pawesome too! So pawesome in fact that if you accidentally let the dog have the leaf before taking blog photos, well... :)
To make your own, you will need two autumn shades of fleece (I used brown and yellow), complementary 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 main leaf shapes (i.e. each the full size for your finished your toy plus seam allowances). Basic leaves are easy to freehand, but if you aren't comfortable free-handing, draw it first on paper to make your own template or download a free template.
- Cut a slightly smaller leaf shape in your complimentary colour (yellow for my toy). Pinking shears can be used, if you wish, to add a little extra style to the edges.
- Cut a small tapered strip for the stem.
- Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew around the outside edges of the stem to secure it to the accent leaf.
- Position the accent leaf on the front side of one of the main leaf shapes and pin to secure. Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew around the outside edges to secure.
- To add veins (optional), mark a few stem-to-leaf points on an upwards diagonal. Veins should be angled in parallel, from mid-stem stopping on the face of the leaf leaving a gap from the outer edge allowances. You can also add a centre line though the stem towards the top of the leaf, if you wish. Sew the veins on your design. Trim threads before continuing.
- Position the main leaf shapes together, right-side-out, and pin to secure. Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew around the outside edges to secure stopping with a large enough gap to add filling. Alternative approach: If you would rather not see the edge seams, position the main leaf shapes together, right-side-in, and pin to secure. Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew around the outside edges to secure stopping with a large enough gap to inverse the tiy to right-side-out and add filling.
- Stuff and (optional) add squeakers. Amazon sells squeakers if you can't find any in your local shops.
- Sew 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.
The ultimate measure of a happy Humphrey? He played until he was so tuckered out that he fell asleep with his new toy, protectively guarded against tidying humans and opportunistic older brothers under his chin and paw. Little cutie.