Sunday, September 8, 2013

THE FELTED FOX GOES TO NORWAY: Felt Fox Pillow DIY


Jeremy recently traveled to Norway to visit his family.  We usually try to make the trip together during the summer, but given my work schedule this year I couldn’t take the time off.  I love these family pilgrimages - staying on the organic apple farm, picking wild berries, swimming in the lake and watching the midnight sun.  Visits also always include pulling out family photographs, apple cider and wonderful homemade cakes!  His family members are among the most welcoming and loving people I have ever met. 

Though I couldn’t visit Norway this year, I wanted to send along a few small gifts for cousin Tone’s adorable little girls.  As a wildlife biologist, I am always looking for ways to bring nature into my designs (if I had my way our home would be filled with animal figurines, wildlife-themed tea towels, duvet covers, and much more!). Having spent much of my early career working with leopard populations in South Africa, I have a particularly soft spot for predators. 

On previous visits to Norway, Jeremy and I had seen beautiful red foxes on the family farm.  Although still widely regarded as pests and persecuted for their pelts, red fox populations in Scandinavia suffered their most drastic decline in the 1970’s and 80’s, due to the spread of mange.  Thankfully, populations have now largely recovered, and I was delighted to see these beautiful creatures frolicking in the apple orchards.  They are amazing to watch: graceful, fast and usually very shy.  As I wanted to share a bit of my passion for wildlife with Tone’s little girls, I decided to make felted fox pillows.  Hopefully, the girls will grow to admire the breathtaking nature that surrounds them—especially the foxes—as much as I do.

To make your own felted fox, you will need:
Inkjet printer
Freezer paper
X-acto knife
Cutting mat/board
White felt 15” x 22”
Non-toxic fabric paint in grey and red
2 Paintbrushes
Iron
Sewing machine (the pillow is also small enough to be hand sewn)
Sewing needle
Thread in white and grey
Polyester fiberfill (small bag)

NOTE: this pattern is for domestic use only and cannot be used commercially or sold. 

Step 1:
Print pattern directly on to 2 sheets of A4 sized freezer paper. Make sure to print the pattern on the matt side.  Place a cutting board underneath the freezer paper and cut out solid black lines.

Step 2:
Place freezer paper shiny side down on to the felt and using a dry iron, adhere freezer paper to felt.

Step 3:
Using small paintbrushes, paint over stencil. I used grey fabric paint to outline the body and red to fill in hearts. 

Step 4:
Once the fabric paint has dried, cut the felt along dotted line and remove freezer paper. Use the front piece as a template to cut back of fox pillow. 

Step 5:
With right sides facing, sew a ½ “ seam, leaving an opening at the base of pillow wide enough to fit you hand through. 

Step 6:
Trim excess felt around ears and tail.  This will allow the pillow to curve more easily.  Turn pillow right side out.
Step 7:
Use grey thread to add a few running stiches along face and tail of fox pillow.
Step 8:
Stuff pillow and sew base. 

Your felted fox pillow is now ready to put a smile on a little face. 


For those who are interested in experiencing the Norwegian countryside, the stabbur (first image of Norway) has been converted into a rental cottage. Visit grenske.no for more information.

If you have any questions/comments or would like to send photos of your finished foxes, please leave a note in the comments section or send me an email.  I’d love to hear from you, Nicole.


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