Today's doggy DIY is a Halloween Frankenstein squeaky softie. To make your own, you will need sturdy green, black, and grey fabric plus additional accent scraps for the face, complementary thread, stuffing, squeakers (optional) and scissors/sewing tools. The toy can be hand sewn, but will be much easier if machine sewn. My Frankenstein was made with a scrap of heavy green upholstery fabric with a bonded black fleecy backing - it is ridiculously tough stuff! 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. You can easily scale the project to suit the size of your pet - cat brother Tiger has his own matching mini-Frankenstein felt catnip toy. :)
- Cut a large rectangle of green fabric for the head. If your fabric/scrap is big enough, you can fold at the bottom neckline, as shown, and eliminate a seam. If not, you can use two separate pieces instead.
- Cut two similarly-sized rectangles of black fleece in the same width as your head for the hair, and trim the bottom of your front piece into a zig-zag. Position the hair pieces just slightly higher than the top of the head. Using complimentary coloured threads, sew the bottom edges of the hair into place, zig-zag at the front, plain at the back. You do not need to sew the sides or top at this time. Sew a few ad hoc vertical lines into the hair, which will quilt the hair onto Frankenstein's head for added security plus add a little style to the hair. Trim loose threads.
- Cut accent pieces for the face from scrap fleece. Tip: You can cut fleece slightly over-sized then fine-trim edges after sewing if needed for small pieces. This is particularly helpful for adding the scar, as shown. Using complimentary coloured threads, sew the facial features into place. Trim loose threads and any excess fleece if/as needed.
- Trim the bottom edge of the face to slightly round the jawline. Just a touch - Frankenstein is a square fellow. :)
- Cut strips of grey fleece to create bolts (optional). I used two rectangles plus two squares per bolt to give a little extra dimension to my bolts. Tip: Leave longer than needed strips for the bolts to extend into the stuffed interior of the finished toy. Using complimentary coloured threads, first sew the square head onto your bolt strips, then sew the strips together, creating a double seam around the external edges of the bolt head (use a tiny gap between if you'd like for extra style). Leave the bottom open for later stuffing. Trim loose threads and any excess fleece if/as needed.
- Position the front/back of the head together, right-side-in. Mark a gap for the bolts at the base of the head, where the neck would begin, and ensure that you do not sew this closed when joining the edges. Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew the sides of the head together, stopping just short of the marked gaps for the bolts.
- Invert the head, right-side out. Position the bolts into the gaps, stuff to past the seam, and pin to secure, ensuring that the raw edges of the face are turned inside to match the rest of the side seams. Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew an outside seam along each side of the face all the way from top to bottom. This secures your bolts and strengthens the rest of the toy.
- Stuff and (optional) add squeakers. Amazon sells squeakers if you can't find any in your local shops.
- Sew the top of the toy closed with a double outside seam, one across the hair plus face, and another just above in the fleece hair only (this is why we positioned the hair just higher than the head). Trim any threads or rough edges if/as needed, and enjoy! Note: You can, of course, flip these edges inwards instead if you wish but this is easiest, Plus my heavy duty materials were pretty tough for sewing when doubled over with the extra layers so this proved much easier.
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.