Friday, February 3, 2017

Cow Tutorial: Left-headed cow, no horns

There has been some controversy about female cows with horns (yes females can have horns, but often dairy cows have them removed). But from a patchwork perspective, horns can be downright fiddly. So I thought I would provide a cow tutorial for one without horns. And this cow is facing forward, but we'll call it a left-headed cow, and later I will provide a tutorial for a right-headed cow.

The cow's finished size is 9.5 by 14.75 inches and is based on a .75 inch grid.

The cow uses five fabrics: a background, a very dark color for the eyes and nostril, a contrasting fabric (orange) for the nose, udder and hooves, a medium dark (dark teal) for the face and tail and a light teal for the rest of the cow. For the medium dark fabric, you don't want it so dark that the eyes don't stand out, but you do want it to differ enough from the rest of the cow.

Black Fabric (Very Dark): Total of 1.25 by 5 inches
  one 1.25 by 2.5 inch rectangle
  two 1.25 inch square

Medium Dark Teal: Total of 2 by 11.5 inch strip and a 1.25 by 13 inch strip)
   two 2 by 2.75 inch rectangle
   three 2 in squares
   one 1.25 by 2.5 inch rectangle
   two 1.25 by 2.75 inch rectangle
   four 1.25 inch squares

Light Teal:
   one 1.25 by 3.5 in rectangle
   six 1.25 in square
   three 2 by 2.75 in rectangle
   one 2 by 3.5 in rectangle
   one 2 by 4.25 in rectangle
   one 2.75 by 4.25 in rectangle
   one 2.75 by 3.5 in rectangle
   one 5 by 6.5 in rectangle

Contrast (Orange):  Total 2 by 7.75 in strip and 1.25 by 7 in strip
   two 1.25 by 3.5 in rectangle
   four 1.25 by 2 in rectangle
   one 2 by 2.75 in rectangle

Background:
  ten 1.25 in square
  one 1.25 by 2 in rectangle
  one 1.25 by 3.5 in rectangle
  one 2 in square
  one 2 by 3.5 in rectangle
  three 2.75 in square
  one 2.75 by 3.5 in rectangle
  one 2.75 by 4.25 in rectangle
  one 3.5 by 5.75 in rectangle

As I make the various animal blocks, I don't always cut everything at once. I usually have strips of fabric in useful sizes and slice from that as I need it. I do cut the large hunks first, like the cow body.

And before we lay out the entire cow, let's make the cow eyes.

To make the cow eyes, take the 1.25 by 2.5 in rectangles of teal and black and sew them together lengthwise. Then cut them in half as shown. You now have two cow eyes and are ready to lay out the entire cow.

This looks complicated but will be done in a few easy steps. First, we'll construct the nose. Then we'll chain piece all of the flip triangles (those squares in the corner of the blocks that we iron over to make triangles). At that point the cow will be easily constructed from ever growing building blocks.

 To make the nose, first sew the nostrils to either end of the 1.25 by 2 inch rectangle of orange. Next, sew 1.25 by 3.5 inch strips of orange to either side of the nostril piece. Now that you have a nose, sew four 1.25 in squares onto each corner to make a flip triangle in each corner.

This is what the nose part looks like when you're finished.

There are ten pieces that require flip triangles. This diagram shows all of the pieces that go into the units. Look ahead to the next step to see the placement and direction of each flip triangle.


After you have sewn all the flip triangles onto their bases, the cow really begins to take shape.

 In the last diagram, I show some sections already sewn, but this step shows that extra sewing. This includes sewing the 1.25 by 2 inch orange hooves to the leg pieces (2 by 2.75 in light teal rectangles for the front legs (3, 4) and a 2 by 3.5 in light teal rectangle for the back leg). Also, sew the 1.25 by 3.5 in teal tail to the 2 by 3.5 in background rectangle (1).

Next, we will sew the eyes to the forehead units, the right ear to the back, and the top of the tail to the middle part of the tail. Also sew the tail tip to the 1.25 by 2 inch background rectangle. Then sew the udder to the 2.75 in square of background. And sew the front legs to either side of the 1.25 by 3.5 in strip of background. Last, but not least, sew the cheeks to either sides of the nose.

This is how the cow should look now.

Sew both eyes to either side of the forehead. Sew the udder section to the background piece with the single flip triangle. Sew the front legs to the chest and sew the left ear to the 2.75 by 3.5 inch rectangle of background.

I don't want you to think Molly was not doing her job. In fact, she got up from her nap behind the design board about the time I had laid out all of the individual pieces. Of course, we know that is more temptation than Molly can resist, so I put her outside of the sewing room and closed the door. As you proceed with the rest of the tutorial, imagine her banging on the door to be let in. Also, imagine that Buddy has joined her and is insisting that he needs to be in the sewing room NOW!

Ignore the pounding for now, and this is what the cow should look like at this point.

Now sew the forehead to the nose and the back to the body. Sew the tail tip piece to the 2.75 in square of background. Sew the front legs to the 3.5 by 5.75 in rectangle of background.

Now the cow looks like this.

Now sew the left ear to the head and sew the top of the tail to the body. Also, sew the tip of the tail unit to the back leg and udder.

Now sew the udder section to the body and the front legs to the head.

And yes, it is now quite safe to let the cats back in the sewing room. You only have to sew the front of the cow to the back of the cow and you are finished.

Ta da!
   

9 comments:

  1. A lot to scroll through to find the cat picture, but was not disappointed.

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  2. Udderly fantastic. Thanks sew much for sharing all your planning, pattern and finish.

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  3. What a lot of pieces, but worth it for a sweet cow. I had to laugh about cows having horns...I work in the dairy industry (diagnostic testing, so a rather loose association), but have heard this is a surprise from too many people...thank goodness there's at least one more out there that knows! (And understands how fiddly sewing them could be!) As far a Molly...I fully expected there to be a shot of her holding down the pieces...that's how my Emma does things...and the door? Challenge to a cat, not a barrier...Emma helps me remember that every day!

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  4. What a lot of pieces, but worth it for a sweet cow. I had to laugh about cows having horns...I work in the dairy industry (diagnostic testing, so a rather loose association), but have heard this is a surprise from too many people...thank goodness there's at least one more out there that knows! (And understands how fiddly sewing them could be!) As far a Molly...I fully expected there to be a shot of her holding down the pieces...that's how my Emma does things...and the door? Challenge to a cat, not a barrier...Emma helps me remember that every day!

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  5. I am amazed at the time, creativity, and perseverance you take in creating your menagerie. And then you freely share it with the rest of us. Thank you. I plan to make some standing bunnies but haven't gotten there yet and now the sheep are baaing at me, although they require just the right fabric for the bodies. Yours are perfect.

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  6. A very moooooving tutorial. Thanks! And there are lots of cows here in rural Iowa and some females have horns and that's no bull.

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  7. Smashing tutorial and I love this cow - even without her horns! Obviously so do Molly and Buddy.

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  8. That is a glamor shot of Molly to be sure!
    Thanks for the tutorial. I love your cows!!!

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  9. Moo! And meow!
    I need to sew a cow!
    Now!

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