Rabbit Softie and Petal Skirt Tutorial

Hi friends! I'm back today with a tutorial on how to make the rabbit and petal skirt from my Umbrella Prints 2014 Trimmings Competition entry. By the way, have you seen the rest of the competition entries? If not, you should take a look, because they are amazing and completely inspiring. 

Let's get started with the rabbit!  I made the rabbit out of some really soft blush colored jersey I bought from Girl Charlee Fabrics. Old t-shirt or legging material typically works great too.

The first thing I did was draw my pattern. I had to tinker with it a little bit, but these were my finished pieces. There is a link at the end of this post with all of the template pieces you need to make a rabbit and petal skirt.

I cut the paper pattern pieces out, and then traced the following onto the jersey with my disappearing ink pen:

  • two head pieces
  • four ear pieces
  • two body pieces
  • four arm pieces
  • four leg pieces

Then I cut all of the pieces out. Already kinda cute!

The first pieces I sewed together were the ears, arms and legs. First I sewed two pieces of each respective limb together, leaving the base of the appendage open. I sewed them with a scant quarter of an inch seam allowance. Here's one of the arm pieces.

Next I turned all of the appendage pieces right side out, using a pair of tweezers to help pull each one through its opening. Jersey is a stretchy fabric, which makes it easy to turn small pieces. Yay!

The next step is to top stitch around the ears, 1/8 of an inch or less from the edges. Then, in preparation for embroidering the rabbit's face, I sewed the ears on to one of the head pieces, aligning the base of the ears with the top of the front of the face, and taking just a few stitches to hold them in place.

I also attached the body piece to the head piece with a 1/4 inch seam allowance to give myself more to hold on to as I embroidered the face.

I do not profess to be an expert at embroidery, but Mollie of Wild Olive sure knows her stuff, so I encourage you to visit her tutorials on embroidery basics if you want to learn more.

Next I stuffed the arms and legs and set them aside.

Then I sewed the head pieces together, right sides facing each other, and ears tucked in. I started and stopped stitching at the head/body junctions to give myself plenty of room to attach those chubby arms.

After sewing the head pieces together, I flipped up the top layer of the body and pinned the arms to the bottom layer of the body. Make sure that you position the arms facing in on top of the body when you line up the arm raw edges with the raw edge of the body. Otherwise, when you turn your rabbit right side out, the arms will be facing the wrong way!

Hooray for Rain - rabbit arms pinned in place.jpg

Once your arms are properly positioned and pinned, take a few stitches against the bottom layer of fabric to secure them in place. Then repeat with the legs.

Now, flip the upper body layer back down and secure a few pins, if you want, before you sew the body together. It's not going to look super pretty at this point. Those arms and legs are chubby and will need to get squished together in order to fit inside so that you can sew around the body. Yet another opportunity to be thankful that jersey is so stretchy!

Before you start stitching the body, take a minute to plan where you are going to leave an opening to turn your rabbit right side out. I like to leave the opening between an arm and a leg. Start at the head/body junction on one side, where your stitches left off when you sewed the head pieces together. Stitch down over the arm attachment, and around and over both leg attachments. Stop after both legs are secured, and backstitch a few. Now start back up at the other head/body junction and stitch down over the remaining arm attachment, and backstitch a few. Yay, you are almost done!

You have left yourself an opening in order to turn your rabbit right side out. Do it with a little bit of care. Jersey is forgiving, but you wouldn't want to pull an arm or leg seam loose after all your hard work!

Now you get to stuff your rabbit. I used Poly-Fil, but you can use whatever you want. The stretchier your material is, the more, ahem, overstuffed your rabbit may appear. The last step is to sew up the opening. I like to use a ladder stitch.

Hooray - your soft and wibbly rabbit is complete!

And now we move on to the petal skirt! I started with this brown floral piece of trimming, which was the longest piece I had left. It was about six inches long and one inch wide. I pressed the seams to the inside so the finished width would be half of an inch. It just so happened that my well-stuffed rabbit was just under six inches around. I'd recommend measuring the circumference of your rabbit and adding 1/2 inch for seam allowances when making your petal band.  

Hooray for Rain - petal skirt band.jpg

The template for the fabric petals is located in the template file at the end of the post. A six inch long band takes six petals. I traced the petals onto my trimmings and cut them out.

I had a few scraps of interfacing around, and I decided to use them to help turn the seams of the petals. I sewed the petals right sides together with the interfacing, trimmed the excess interfacing, and turned the petals right side out.

Hooray for Rain - petals.jpg

Then I pinned and hand stitched the petals to the band, just because I was feeling fussy and didn't want machine stitches to show on the bright white flowers.

The petal skirt is finished by placing the ends right sides facing each other, sewing a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and flipping the skirt right side out. Voila!

Here is the file with the template pieces for both the rabbit and the petals for the skirt.

If you make your own rabbit and/or petal skirt, please send me the pictures, I'd love to see your creations!