Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Owl Tutorial

Thanksgiving owl would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving owl would like to show you how he was prepared. And no, he does not mean how to prepare owl for dinner...and he is horrified that you would even think that. Also, if you think this owl looks a little squirrely, you're right. While some feast on turkey for the holiday, owls prefer a nuttier concoction.

The owl's unfinished size is 12.5 inches tall and 13 inches wide. I should mention that I haven't made a tutorial of the owl before because it has some weird measurements and you may conclude that the feet were designed by a crazy person. So you've been warned (although I do provide an easier alternative for the feet).

The owl eyes are made first. For this you will need to cut a 3 inch square of gold fabric and a 2 inch square of black fabric. Also, cut a 1 and 3/8 inch diameter circle (available in Karen Buckley's set of circles) in the middle of a 2.5 inch square of freezer paper. The eye is made using Dale Fleming's simple circle method which was demonstrated on this blog here and here. After using this technique you will have the black square sewn onto the 3 inch square (with the circle in the middle).

Next, you will take four 1.5 inch squares and attach flip triangles to each of the four corners. A flip triangle is a square sewn on the diagonal and then ironed over to form a triangle. The excess fabric underneath can be trimmed away (saving the 1/4 inch seam, of course.) This technique is used a lot to make an owl.

Here is the owl eye after the first round of flip triangles have been sewn on. The next step is to surround each eye with the same fabric as the flip triangles. Sew 1.25 inch strips to border the eye on all four sides.

Both eyes should now look like the one shown above on the right. In the next step we will add yet another layer of flip triangles and border fabric, except for this go round, we will be using the squirrel fabric. Also, we will be adding the beak. So the first step is to cut the pieces needed for this next step. We will make the owl cheeks at the same time.

For this next step you will need a 1.5 inch strip of squirrel fabric. From this cut six 1.5 inch squares. Next cut two 2.5 by 3.75 inch rectangles of squirrel fabric and two 2.5 inch squares of squirrel fabric. Last but not least, you will need a 1 by 3.5 inch strip of squirrel fabric to go between the eyes.

For the beak, you can use the same gold as the eyes. For mine, I used a different gold fabric, but I don't really know why. Cut two 1.5 inch squares, two 1.75 inch squares and one 1 by 1.5 inch square.

Now let's sew flip triangles. The 1.75 inch squares of gold fabric are sewn to the 2.5 by 3.75 inch rectangles of squirrel fabric that form the cheeks. For the left cheek, the flip triangle goes in the upper right corner. For the right cheek, the flip triangle goes in the upper left corner.

For the eyes, sew 1.5 inch flip triangles of squirrel fabric to three corners, and in the fourth corner sew a 1.5 inch flip triangle of gold.

For the section between the eyes, sew the 1 by 3.5 inch strip of squirrel fabric to the 1 by 1.5 inch rectangle of gold.

After assembly, this is what we have. Next, sew both eyes to the section that goes between the eyes. And also sew the two cheeks together being careful to match the flip triangles. If the beak is crooked, your owl will mumble when he constantly complains about his beak. And worse, you will have to feed him squirrel through a straw.

Here are the owl face sections assembled. Next, let's surround the eyes with 1.5 inch borders of squirrel fabric on both sides and the top of the head.

The owl looks worried because he's a bit afraid that you may give up and go do something else instead. But we've come to the fun part! Now it's time to make the owl wings and chest.

For the wings, cut either four 1.25 inch strips or three 1.5 inch strips. You will want the wings to differ from the chest either in the width of strips or color or value. I cut my strips a bit longer than 8 inches. When all the strips are sewn together for the wings, I trim them to 3.5 by 7.5 inches.

For the chest, cut six 1.25 inch strips and 2 1.5 inch strips. Again, I cut the strips a bit longer than 5 inches. You can strip this however you'd like, but in the end, trim it to 4.5 by 7 inches.

 After you reach this step, the owl begins to look quite relieved. We have the basic form for the wings and chest and head. Except, you guessed it. It's time for more flip triangles.

Let's add the flip triangles. For the head, sew two 2.5 inch squares of background fabric.

For each wing, sew a 2.5 inch square flip triangle of squirrel fabric to the upper inside corner, and a 1.5 inch flip triangle of background fabric to the upper outside corner. In the lower corners of each wing, sew two 2.5 inch squares of background fabric.

For the strippy chest section, sew two 1.5 inch square flip triangles of background fabric to the lower corners.

Now your owl is wanting something to stand on, but I'm still reluctant to take you to crazy town. So how about I show you an alternative set of feet along with the insane one.

The top set of feet will serve your owl well. Unfortunately, that was not what I did for the first version of my owl, so I have been constructing the knuckled version all year.

To make the alternative feet, cut two 1.5 by 3.75 inch rectangles of gold and four 1.5 inch squares to background fabric. Sew flip triangles using the background fabric. For the left foot, you are sewing a flip triangle to the upper left corner and the lower right corner. For the right foot, you are sewing a flip triangle to the upper right corner and the lower left corner. After you have ironed back the flip triangles, sew the two feet together (short end to short end).

Here are the pieces for the crazy feet. First, in the center is a 1.5 by 2 inch rectangle of background fabric. Four 1 inch square flip triangles of gold are sewn in each corner.

Second, two 1.5 inch squares of gold fabric have two 1 inch square flip triangles of mottled fabric sewn on two sides.

Third, two 1.5 by 2 inch rectangles of the mottled fabric, have two 1.5 inch square flip triangles of background fabric sewn on the outer corners.

After all the flip triangles are sewn on and ironed, the feet have five components that are then sewn together. Trim off from either end so the feet segment is 7 inches. Whew. Whichever approach you took, we're ready to assemble the owl!

The owl is now so excited you can see each of the parts jumping up and down with excitement.

To assemble the owl, sew two 1.5 inch strips of background fabric on either side of the owl's head. Sew the cheeks to the chest to the feet. Then attach the wings on either side of the front and center section.

 Last but not least, attach the top part of the owl's head to the rest of the body. To test your owl, say "Knock, Knock."

If you make an owl with the "alternative" feet, this is what it will look like.

So once again, Thanksgiving Owl wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and hopes you have enough squirrel for sandwiches tomorrow.


  1. Thanks for the tut! I like the pigeon-toed owl better.
    Keep them away from here, though. My husband had to shoe a big one away that was after the barn kitties the other night. (At least he thinks it was an owl. I'm too afraid to go out after dark around here - too many eyes watching from all the trees and bushes.)

  2. I love this owl, and like the Other Cathy, I like the pigeon-toed owl best, too. So we must all be crazy. No leftover squirrel here, but plenty of turkey. And on Sunday it's our turn to have the whole fam damily to our place for Mexican food. Lots of leftovers there, too. By this time next week, I expect the only thing that will sound good for dinner is mac and cheese!

  3. Great Tutorial! Love knowing how he was made....

  4. So lovely. I think I have to give this one a try. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Interestingly enough I have made your owl. Not nearly as precise as your but cute nevertheless. Thank your for this wonderful owl. We are both the wiser now ;)

  6. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly feel this site needs far more attention. I'll
    probably be returning to see more, thanks for the info!