Felt Ferret


A pattern after the style of Sewing Tiny Toys by Carolyn Vosburg Hall - designed for hand-sewing from craft felt.

Some years back (well, at least four by the copyright notice), I made a simple felt ferret pattern, along the lines of the felt critters in Carolyn Vosburg Hall's _Sewing Tiny Toys_. I put it into a little PDF, and sold it with felt and thread and beads and stuffing as a little kit, my very first.

I put the PDF up on the website some time later, but for some reason it would always abort partway through the download, so I decided I'd convert it to HTML... at which point I discovered I'd lost the scanned files, not to mention the paper original. Hmph.

So I debated about reinstalling PageMaker 5, to read the .pm5 from which the PDF was created, and ended up finding a pdf-to-html critter that would extract the graphics files for me. I couldn't quite figure out the original DPI, so when I reprinted it, it ended up a bit larger.

After that, I found the paper original, but now I don't have a working scanner. So it goes.

Step 1:

The Pattern

The original pattern

First, go to your bookstore or library and get Sewing Tiny Toys by Carolyn Vosburg Hall. Really, you can probably stop reading at this point once you've done that. The author is much clearer than I am, which is why she writes books and I write blog entries.

Second, print out the pattern, on cardstock if possible. The poor fellow's gone through some permutations, so it looks like the rather odd DPI of "about 94" is appropriate... just a smidge over 7 1/2 inches from nose-tip to tail-tip, on paper (somewhat shorter when he's sewn up).

Cut the pattern apart on all the solid lines, except the mask. The dotted lines are fold lines, except for the one in the middle of the body, but don't actually cut the felt folded or you'll end up with extra (which won't hurt anywhere but the tail-tip, I suppose).

If you're making him out of something other than felt, add seam allowances. I don't recommend this unless you size him up, and if you do that you'll want to put some darts inside the legs or he'll be all spraddle-legged and unferretish. If you're making him out of felt, cut the pieces very precisely. There are some tricks to this: you can trace around the pieces with a pen, then cut just inside the pen lines (if you don't, you *will* have ink showing in your seams. Trust me on this). Or you can put just a little spray adhesive on the pattern and stick it to the felt (preferably on the wrong size, as it will fuzz the felt a little peeling it off). Or you can probably trace your pattern onto freezer paper (wonderful stuff, freezer paper) and iron it onto the felt, then cut it out (again, wrong side).

After you've cut out the main body pieces, cut the pattern on the dotted line and cut two more pieces from just the lower section. I cut mine out of tan, but if you want your ferret to have a white belly, go for it. You still don't have to cut the mask out.

Then just sew everything together with a tiny overcast stitch, right sides out, and changing thread color as necessary (where two colors of felt meet, matching the darker color generally looks better). As I recall, I went down the spine of the two body pieces first, then sewed the tailtip on, sewed the rest of the forehead and then sewed the white head piece onto the body, and sort of went from there. I sewed the leg tops to the respective body or underbelly pieces, and then just did things like chin to one front paw, then chest point down to the other front paw. Up the back of one front leg over to down the front of one back leg, etc.

Stuff as you go, or you'll be struggling with a little bitty critter and stretching it out. Hall's book recommends sewing the ear in when you close the head seam, but that never comes out quite right for me, and I sew them on separately. Your mileage may vary.

The eyes are two green seed beads, and the nose is two pink ones, glued together side by side and sewn on with a couple stitches of pink thread between them. Cut a rough mask out of black and tack it down by sewing the eyes in. I ran a hidden stitch down through the point where the chin meets the neck, to flatten the head slightly. I'd redraft the pattern if I was doing it again. Trim the mask until it suits you, then sew the edges down (or glue it, if you're not a purist).


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