Emma Elephant is Here!

Emma Elephant - a felt softie pattern from Shiny Happy World

Emma Elephant - a felt softie pattern

Emma Elephant is Here!
Emma Elephant - a felt softie pattern from Shiny Happy World

Meet Emma Elephant!

She was the first pattern in the Party Animals Kit Club and now she’s available as a PDF pattern for everyone!

Emma’s the first one to arrive at the party because she wants to help with the decorations. :-)

Get ready to settle in for a bit of handsewing with lovely wool felt. Embroidering on wool felt is a joy – a total delight for the eyes and the fingers.

Plus – handsewing is portable. Take it with you to soccer games, Girl Scout meetings, you name it.

It’s also faster than you think. Emma only takes a few evenings to make! I keep bringing a project with me to one of my daughter’s activities and finishing it before it’s time to go home. Aaaack! Idle hands! I can’t stand it!

What You Get

  • Full-sized pattern pieces for Emma, her hat, and her garland. No need to enlarge anything!
  • A 12-page pattern loaded with full-color step-by-step photos and very clear instructions. You’ll never feel lost or wonder if you’re doing things right.
  • Links to videos teaching you all the techniques you need to know to complete the project. You can totally make this!

What You’ll Need

  • One sheet of felt for Emma. I used Periwinkle. You can buy the lovely wool-blend felt I use here.
  • 1/2 sheet wool felt for the dress (Emma’s is Ruby Red Slippers)
  • scraps of wool felt for the hat and garland (Emma’s hat is Grass Skirt. The garland is Fuchsia, Kelly Green, Peacock, Banana Cream, Lavender and Mac & Cheese)
  • embroidery thread to match the felt. I used DMC #156, 600, 151, 3846, 699, 907, 741, 333 and 726)
  • 2 4.5mm safety eyes
  • 1 pipecleaner
  • 4 American pennies (or other small coins)
  • polyfill stuffing (I like Soft Touch Poly­fil Supreme Fiberfill)
  • 4 3/8″ buttons ­- two to match the elephant body and two to match the dress
  • freezer paper (optional, but recommended)
  • Sulky Sticky Fabri­-solvy (AKA The Magical Embroidery Stuff – optional, but recommended)


The finished Emma is 8 inches tall (not counting her party hat) and she stand on her flat-bottomed feet with no props or other assistance. Cool!


embroidery 2

This is a very easy pattern – appropriate for beginners. Can you whipstitch? Then you can do this! (Not sure if you can whipstitch? The pattern includes a link to a video showing how – and I teach the stitch to kids as young as 3. You can totally do it!)

This pattern is really perfect for portable work – or handwork while you watch TV. You’ll be whipping up a horde of party animals in no time! Get the pattern now. (And I actually mean now. It’s an instant download.)

People in the Party Animals Kit Club received the pattern already printed on freezer paper and Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy, the felt, matching thread, safety eyes, buttons, pipecleaner and pennies – basically everything except the stuffing. Want to get in on the mailbox fun? Get all the details and sign up here.

© Wendi Gratz 2014
This pattern is for personal use only and is not available for commercial resale. That means you may not copy and sell or digitally distribute the pattern. You may, however, sell things you make with the pattern, as long as you are making them yourself.

Price: $7.50

The folks who are in the Party Animals Kit Club have already met Emma (and a couple of people have already finished making theirs – photos coming in the next Show & Tell!) but I’m very excited to introduce her to the rest of the world today. Mine makes me smile every time I see her. I hope you love her too!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy sewing!

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Free Applique Pattern – Buzz the Bird

Buzz - a free bird applique pattern from Shiny Happy WorldThe Bird Quilt pattern had thirteen different applique birds in it.

I usually do twelve, but this time I added one more because I wanted to balance out right, left and forward facing birds.

So I decided to make one of the blocks available as a free pattern – and I let you all choose which one would be free!

Thanks so much to everyone who voted!

The winner was Buzz, this cardinal-ish bird. :-)

So here’s the link to download the free pattern!

What can you do with just one block pattern? Tons of things!

Check out this page I’ve been slowly building – 100 Things to Do with an Applique Pattern. :-)

Have fun! And send me a photo of what you make! You can email it to me at blockhead[at]wendigratz[dot]com or post it to the Shiny Happy World Facebook page.

I hope you like this project! Want more? Sign up for the Shiny Happy News! I’ll keep you updated on all the newest tutorials and give you early access to any sales. You also get immediate access to twelve exclusive free patterns – plus a new free pattern every month – just for subscribers! :-)

Happy sewing!

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Getting the Eyes Just Right

Poppy - a Dress Up Bunch rag doll pattern from Shiny Happy World

Last summer I wrote a post about how I design softie faces.

The face is really important, and I usually spend a lot of time on it, trying a lot of variations until it feels just right.

I always try things out on an already-stuffed softie. That does two things.

  1. I don’t have to visually erase the seam allowance. Even when I draw the sewing line on my pattern pieces, I think it’s hard not to see that extra bit all around the edge and place features accordingly. When the softie is already stuffed, that seam allowance is gone.
  2. I can account for the curve of the finished softie. Let’s say I place the eyes, nose and mouth up high on the softie (that can often make it look extra-plump). That might look super cute on the pattern, but once I stuff it, the face is actually on the curve facing up instead of facing out. That’s no good.

I’ve found I get the best results when I draw my face on the finished prototype, then pick it apart and trace it onto the pattern piece.

So what’s the best way for you to transfer that face to your own softie piece?

It’s all about the eyes.

You can play around a bit with the placement of the nose and the mouth, but I really recommend putting the eyes right where the pattern tells you to.

And the easiest way to do that is by punching holes in your pattern piece. I know this is crazy obvious to may of you – but it took me a long time before the light-bulb went on. :-)

This is the pattern I made when I taught a recent softie-making class to a bunch of kids. They made Warren the Charity Bear.

Warren the Charity Bear pattern piece

I used a hole punch to punch holes right at the pattern markings for the eyes. That way the kids could just pop in a couple of dots with a marker while they were tracing around the pattern. Easy peasy!

For my own use I don’t bother with cardboard and I don’t trace the pattern pieces – I use pattern weights and just cut around the piece. But I still punch holes where the eyes go so I can mark them very easily and very precisely.

If the eyes are too far from the edge of the pattern piece to reach them with a hole punch, I just punch a messier hole with my awl. You could also cut them with an X-Acto knife. Whatever works best for you – just make a hole in the pattern piece so you can easily mark dots exactly where the eyes go.

This works with any kind of fabric and you’ll always get the eyes just right. :-)

Happy sewing!

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Quilt As You Go #10 – How to Quilt Interlocking Boxes (video)

Quilt As You Go #10 - How to Quilt Interlocking Boxes - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldWe’re up to #10 in the Quilt As You Go series. In this video I show you how to quilt interlocking boxes. I love the mosaic-ish kind of look of this pattern!

It breaks out of the row formation we’ve seen in previous patterns, and that means it take a little more thinking as you go – but it’s not hard. Just give yourself permission to slow down or stop whenever you need to in order to plan your next step.

Take a look at this sample block. You can click on it to see it bigger for more detail.

Quilt As You Go #10 - How to Quilt Interlocking Boxes - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Now that you’re seen a sample – here’s the video showing how.

See? Easy peasy. :-)

As always – you can do this quilting before you do your applique – no matter what applique method you’re using. Fusible? Freezer paper? Needle-turn? It’s all good!

Handy dandy links. . .

Happy quilting!

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Pretty Easter Eggs – Easy Felt Patterns

Easy Applique and Embroidered Felt Eggs - patterns from Shiny Happy WorldAll four eggs from the Happy Eggs Easter Stitch-Along are now in the shop as individual patterns. If you want to make one design in a rainbow of pretty colors – now’s the time to get the pattern. :-)

Happy Eggs Easter Mobile - pattern from Shiny Happy World

You can make individual ornaments, pretty beanbags, stitch the designs on T-shirts, onesies, tea towels and more. Use them as a guide for decorating Easter sugar cookies. Enlarge the patterns to make Easter pillows. Reduce them to make Easter pendants or pretty stitched hair clips.

Or you can make a pretty center-strung mobile to decorate for Easter!

Get the Springtime Chick Egg Pattern here.

Get the Pretty Daisy Egg Pattern here.

Get the Polkadot Egg Pattern here.

Get the Easter Bunny Egg Pattern here.

Get all four patterns at a discount here – including the instructions to string them into a pretty mobile.

If you want to use the exact colors I used, there are just a few felt and thread bundles here.

There’s less than a week until Easter – but these eggs are quick and easy to stitch up. You still have time!

Happy stitching!

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A Prairie Skirt and Shirt for the Dress Up Bunch

Prairie Outfit - easy skirt and shirt pattern for Dress Up Bunch dolls from Shiny Happy World

Prairie Outfit - skirt and dress pattern for Dress Up Bunch dolls

A Prairie Skirt and Shirt for the Dress Up Bunch
Prairie Outfit - easy skirt and shirt pattern for Dress Up Bunch dolls from Shiny Happy World

Here’s a pretty outfit for all the girls in The Dress Up Bunch – and easy shirt and gathered prairie skirt.

It’s CRAZY easy to make. No set in sleeves. No facings. No hemming curves.

The gathers in the skirt will take a little time – but there’s nothing hard about it.

Make it up in neutrals (like Emily’s hedgehog outfit shown here) and it’s perfect for a nature girl.

Make it up in bright colors for a girl who likes to stand out.

Add some fancy trim around the bottom hem. Maybe some rickrack or pompom fringe?

Add a bit of embroidery. Add some special buttons. Dress it up or down to suit your doll’s needs – and personality. :-)

Use this one pattern to make up a whole wardrobe of mixable and matchable skirts and shirts!

This outfit is easy for little hands to put on and take off all by themselves. The head opening and skirt top are stretchy elastic. Easy peasy!

I designed these to last. All the edges are finished and the clothes will be durable enough for lots of not-always-gentle play and any necessary trips through the washer and dryer.

What You Get

  • full-size pattern for the shirt and skirt – no enlarging needed
  • detailed instructions and lots of step by step photos – you’ll never feel lost or wonder if you’re doing it right
  • links to videos teaching you all the skills you’ll need to complete the project

What You’ll Need



1 thimble

Easy! Easy! Easy! Even if you just started sewing you can make this dress!


This will fit all the dolls in The Dress Up Bunch. Here are just a few of the dolls available. . .

Dress Up Bunch dolls from Shiny Happy World

Like all Shiny Happy World patterns – you’re welcome to sell anything you make.

It’s a PDF so you’ll get your pattern immediately after purchase. Make a new outfit this afternoon!

Price: $5.00

Have a great weekend!

And happy sewing!

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Choosing Fabrics for the Bird Quilt

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy WorldChoosing fabric for a quilt is one of my very favorite parts. It’s so much fun to play with the colors – trying this and that until you get a combination that really sings.

But sometimes choosing colors can be hard – and a lot of people feel unsure about whether they’re doing it “right.” Every time I release a new quilt pattern I get a ton of emails asking me about the fabrics. . .

  • What did I use?
  • Is it still available?
  • Is it hard to find?
  • Can I send a list?

I’ve started including links to all the fabrics I used in each pattern, but I think it’s also useful for share why I chose the fabrics I did. So that’s what I’m doing here. :-)

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy WorldBackground Fabrics

First – let’s talk about the background fabrics.

The illustration style of my quilts is all very similar. I like big cartoony shapes with smooth curves that are easy to applique and don’t have too many tiny bits.

But I don’t want all my quilts to look exactly the same – so I like to mix things up with the fabrics I choose. For the Safari Quilt and the Peekaboo Bear Quilt I used a mix of prints for the background, with solids for all the faces. For the dog quilt and the cat quilt I did just the opposite – solid backgrounds with prints for the faces.

For the bird quilt I decided to use prints everywhere – but I still wanted a clear distinction between the background and the birds. I wanted all these wild and crazy colored birds to look like they were sitting in an almost-real tree or hedge – just a smear of varied greens in the background.

When I’m going for a dappled smear of color I always choose batiks. Timeless Treasures has a great line of batiks with all kinds of beautiful patterns – but I stuck to the Tonga Java Blenders – those delicious smears of color without any clearly defined pattern.

I looked at all the greens. (They have a lot – did you know that the human eye can distinguish more shades of green than any other color? That’s part of the reason why green is such a hard color to match.) I decided to stick with earthy, natural greens – nothing too bright or with too much yellow. I ended up choosing six colors – mostly medium shades – but with a couple of darker and one lighter one thrown in. I wanted most of the blocks to kind of blur together, with sharper lines between some of them. Here’s what I used, from darkest to lightest. . .

  • spruce
  • jungle
  • holly
  • avocado
  • asparagus
  • peridot

I love these so much that I think I’m going to use the exact same fabrics in a garden/flower quilt I’m planning. :-)

The Bird Fabrics

Here’s where you can really play around! Birds in nature come in so many different colors – it’s hard to do anything that looks really wrong. To keep things from getting too crazy, for most of the birds I chose various shades of just one or two colors. They’re mostly brights – but I threw in a few neutrals too, just to give your eyes a rest every once in a while. :-)

I wanted the texture of the birds to really contrast with the background so I didn’t choose anything dapply or irregular. I went with tone-on-tone prints from a few different collections. . .

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy World

Sketch is a great collection of crosshatching. I think this is my favorite basics collection of them all – it has such a nice hand-drawn quality to it. Buzz here uses Sketch in purple for the body and tail.

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy World

Ziggy is the texture of Sketch – but with zigzags. Love! Floozy here uses Ziggy in aqua for her body.

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy World

Dream is a new collection with small-scale polkadots arrayed in gentle curves. I love that it has a little bit of direction to it, rather than a totally random polkadot. It’s subtle and terrific. Arizona here uses Dream in taupe for the body.

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy World

Rain is a really dense tiny raindrop print. It gives a slightly different effect depending on which way you turn the fabric and I like that a lot.

Dixie here uses Rain in yellow for the body, Sketch in daffodil for the tail, and Dream in lemon for the belly.

That mixing and matching between collections is one of the things I really enjoy about working with fabrics from one company. I live in a remote rural area, which means I choose a lot of my fabric online. It’s almost impossible to get an accurate color on a computer screen. You can easily get an idea – but an accurate enough picture to match colors is hard.

So I rely on the manufacturer to do it for me. Easy peasy! :-)

I know from experience that all of my favorite basics collections from Timeless Treasures work really well together. That allows me to order up a bunch of blues and a bunch of yellows and a bunch of purples and know that when I lay them out in a big bunch on my worktable – they’re going to work.

Fabric for the Bird Quilt

This is just a few of the fabrics I used in the quilt.

Look how pretty! And so easy! You know that I’m all about making quilting as easy and as fun as possible. :-) Choosing a range of colors and textures from a few key collections by one fabric company is a way to make things super easy. And you’ll still do plenty of playing around to mix and match with all these colors!

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy WorldBut What About the Back?

For the back I went in a whole different direction.

My daughter Jo is crazy about this Cuddle Fleece. At her request I used it for the back of the Cat Quilt.

She loved it – and asked for it again for the back of these birds. I think this is going to live on our couch where I’ll wrap up in it more than she will – but I love the Cuddle Fleece too – so I said yes. The olive green was a perfect match for all of those batiks on the front (but it’s discontinued, so if you have your heart set on this for the back of your quilt, don’t dawdle).

I didn’t want any kind of border or frame effect, so I bound the quilt in leftover strips of all the green batiks.

So that’s it! How I chose all the fabrics for my newest quilt. :-) You can get the Bird Quilt pattern here. I’m giving away one of the bird blocks as a free pattern on 4/17. You can help choose which one! Vote here.

You can read about how I chose the fabric for the Cat Quilt here.

Happy quilting!

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Pick Your Free Bird Pattern!

Bird Quilt Pattern from Shiny Happy WorldThe bird quilt pattern is finished – and ended up being thirteen blocks instead of my usual twelve. So I decided to give one away for free!

Please help me choose! Click on the button below and answer the one-question survey. Easy peasy!

Thanks so much!

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How to Applique with Fusible Adhesive – video

How to Applique with Fusible Adhesive - video tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldI’ve been doing a lot more applique with fusible adhesive lately (now that I’ve discovered some products I really like) and I’ve been getting requests for some more tutorials for it.

Ask and you shall receive.

I’ve already got a basic applique with fusible adhesive video here, but it only shows fusing down one piece – not the multiple pieces and layers you often use for cute quilt blocks. Do watch it, though, if you want tips on outlining your applique pieces with zigzag or satin stitch.

I’ve got a non-video step-by-step tutorial here. That has all the steps I’m going to demo in this video – just not in video format. I’ve had some requests for a video, so here it is. . .

See how easy it is and why I’ve grown to love it so much?

In the video I said I’d share a photo of the finished block – nice and big so you can zoom in close. Here it is – just click on it if you want to see it even bigger.

Hazel - a block from the Chirp quilt pattern from Shiny Happy WorldOther handy-dandy links. . .

Happy quilting!

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Warren the Charity Bear – a free teddy bear pattern

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy WorldI designed Warren especially for people who want to make bears for donations. I had a few goals in mind as I worked on his design. . .

  1. He had to be easy to make. Easy enough for kids to make.
  2. He needed to be a good, huggable size.
  3. I wanted him to have mix & match parts – so you could make a hundred of them and never get bored.
  4. He needed to be pretty foolproof – it doesn’t matter if his features are precisely positioned. It’s ok if he’s stuffed a little loose or a little tight. It’s all good. :-)
  5. He needed to work well with easy-to-find polar fleece – but also work well with fancier fabrics like minky and cuddle fleece.

Jo and I tested this pattern a LOT – and then I used the pattern to teach softie-making to a bunch of kids – and then Jo and I made a bunch more. And now he’s ready to share. I can’t wait to see the bears that YOU make with him!

One note – I designed this pattern especially for charitable giving – but of course I’m giving it to you with no strings attached. Make bears for yourself and your kids and grandkids. Use the pattern when you teach. Sell finished bears. The pattern is yours! Make whatever you want with it! If you want to make bears to donate, I suggest the following places. . .

  • homeless shelters
  • battered women’s shelters
  • fire departments
  • police departments
  • children’s hospitals (check first to see if they have special requirements about the materials they’re made with)
  • Please suggest other places in the comments!

Here’s how to make him!

Prepare the Pattern

Download the pattern here. Print it out at 100%. Layer the two pieces together, overlapping so the edges of the pattern and the little hearts line up. Tape the pieces together into one large pattern piece and cut it out. I like to punch holes where the eyes are to make marking their placement easy.

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy WorldCut Out the Body

Lay the pattern on the fabric so the stretch of the fabric goes across the bear’s belly. You want him to stretch wide – not tall. :-)

Cut two body pieces.

Mark the placement of the eyes on the front piece.

Applique Any Parts

Cut any muzzles or belly pieces you want to use out of felt and applique them in place. Just stitch them close to the edge with a basic straight stitch. Nothing fancy. If you have trouble on the tight curves of some of the smaller pieces, watch this video for help.

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy World

There are two different muzzle patterns so you can give your bear a wide muzzle, a tall muzzle or no muzzle. You can see the three nose sizes in these photos too. :-)

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy WorldYou can also give him a belly patch, a heart patch, or no patch.

Embroider the Mouth

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy World

Thread a needle with a full six strands of black embroidery thread and knot the end. You’ll embroider the mouth in three stitches, always coming up at point A and going down at point B. If the A’s on the second and third stitches are above the B, your bear will be smiling. If the A’s are below the B he’ll be frowning. Don’t worry about making the sides exactly even. Crooked smiles are sweet. :-)

Pop in Some Safety Eyes

I carry four sizes of safety eyes and three work well for these bears.

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy WorldThe small ones are 6 mm, the medium are 9 mm, and the large are 12 mm.

There are more eye options too. . .

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy WorldIf you want to use black eyes on black fabric, you might want to back them with a circle of colored felt so you can see them.

Mismatched eyes are always fun.

And even if the eyes don’t go exactly where they’re supposed to, the results are cute. :-)

If you’re making your bears for kids under three, you’ll want to embroider the eyes instead of using safety eyes. Here’s a tutorial showing the stitch I use.

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy WorldSew Up Your Bear

Layer your bear front and bear back pieces right sides together and pin or clip the layers in place.

Sew around the edge using 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a stuffing opening on the side of one leg.

If you’re using a fabric that has no stretch, you’ll need to clip into all the concave curves. Watch this video for the why and how. Polar fleece, minky and cuddle fleece don’t need this step – they have a natural stretch that will allow the curves to turn smoothly without clipping.

Warren the Charity Bear - a free teddy bear pattern from Shiny Happy WorldFinish Your Bear

Turn your bear right side out and stuff it.

Make sure you get some stuffing in his ears and arms before you fill up the big body – once you block access to those bits it’s hard to get back in there. Watch this video for some stuffing tips.

Sew up the opening. Ladder stitch is totally invisible on fleece - here’s a video showing how to do it.


I hope you like this project! Want more? Sign up for the Shiny Happy News! I’ll keep you updated on all the newest tutorials and give you early access to any sales. You also get immediate access to twelve exclusive free patterns – plus a new free pattern every month – just for subscribers! :-)

Happy sewing!

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