Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Felt Owl Measuring Tape + Free PDF Pattern

OK Internet, as promised, an owl craft made just for you! You can download a PDF pattern for this little Owl at the bottom of the page.

I have been stuck in bed this week, hit hard with the worst cold I think I have ever had. So if you want to try this at home, it is so easy it can be done under the covers, on a lap tray, while drinking tea and hunting for a good movie on Netflix. I just hope your partner doesn't mind little bits of felt and fluff in the bed!

I made this little owl out of some of my wool felt scraps and a tiny Japanese measuring tape which I had picked up ages ago at my favourite local fabric store, Gala Fabrics. Our little owl friend is hand sewn and embroidered with cotton embroidery threads, and stuffed, along with the measuring tape, with a little polyester fiberfill and some quilt batting. It is hard to see in the pictures, but the tape has a pull tab which comes out just behind the owls wing. If you don't have a tiny tape measure, you can still make a stuffy version or applique him onto any of your projects for some added cute.
The first step is to decide what colours you like for your owl and cut out all your felt pieces. This took my sick-addled brain a long time, but I finally I chose some of my favourite colours, a soft heather purple and pink with light browns. If you design your own felt animal for this project, notice in the photos below that you need to make the body at least a 1/4" bigger than your tape measure on all sides

Next, sew on the felt features and embroider the body of your owl. I used 3 strands of embroidery floss for most of the decorative stitches, 6 strands of brown for the owl body, and 2 strands to sew down the eyes and beak. I also used a little bit of stuffing in the beak to make it puffy. All my stitching is just simple straight stitches and overcast stitches. If you are not under the influence of a big mug of NeoCitran, you might want to attempt something fancier, but it's not really necessary (I had this idea to cover the back of the owl with lazy-daisy stitch "feathers", but that seemed too exhausting).

Decorate the front of each wing as you like and then sew the wing fronts and backs together with 2 strands thread, adding a little stuffing before closing them up. Stitch together the little toes. I used 1 strand of floss in a fine needle to make sewing the tiny little toes easier.
Cut out two pieces of cotton quilt batting a little smaller than your owl body. I used a little quilt baste spray (yeah, don't do that step in bed!) to attach the batting to the wrong side of each brown body piece. Position your measuring tape button side down, on the back side of your owl body, so that the tab comes out behind where a wing will be. I held the tape in place with a couple of basting stitches which I pulled out when the owl was finished.

I sewed the body together with overcast stitches, starting from the middle of the head and working my way around clockwise. Stuff as you go, both around the edges, and adding a little stuffing on top of the tape.

When you reach a spot to insert wings or feet, tuck them between the two body pieces and make sure your stitches catch all 3 layers as you sew. When you reach the tape measure tab, cut a little slit in the felt so that the tape can move freely (see picture above).

Keep sewing and stuffing until you reach the top of the head again, make a knot and then draw your thread through the owls body. Clip the thread close, the tail will be pulled back into the owls body. Pull out the basting stitches around the measuring tape from the back.
This little owl would be a great gift for a crafty friends sewing box, but a handy little measuring tape in your purse is really useful for thrifty shoppers too! I find carrying a measuring tape to garage sales and thrift stores helps me be sure that one of a kind finds will actually fit and be used in The Tiny Apartment and won't be a waste of money. I also carry a tiny notebook with the measurements of things I hope to find: the height of my chairs, the width of a shelf I could use, yardage for sewing projects, the diameter of the Pyrex lid I am missing, etc...
Download the PDF pattern here


  1. That is sooooo cute!!!! Thanks for posting the pattern :))) I hope you feel better soon!

  2. found my way here via liesl made blog. thanks for the adorable pattern! i can't wait to make one!!! :)

  3. This is so, so cute!! I linked to your pattern over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  4. Thank you so much for posting this and sharing! This is something I would buy!!

  5. beautiful...

  6. You are Canadian!! Woo Hoo! Love this owl and I thank you for sharing the tutorial. I am unable to download the PFD because I really, really want to make one for myself! I have signed up to follow you and look forward to more fresh and interesting projects!

  7. Super cute! I might actually find my tape measure when it looks this cute!!!!

  8. I am going to make these for my Thursday Night Craft Girls. Thanks

  9. So cute; I love, je vais mettre le lien sur mon blog si tu veux bien....

  10. je viens de t'envoyer la photo de la mienne Amitiés

  11. Thanks !
    This owl is very cute !!!

  12. That's so cute! Very very nice...
    I'll make it soon!

  13. Muchas gracias por el patrón.. ;D

  14. I used this pattern, but instead of a tape measure, i used it to make a change purse. i love this though!

  15. Thank you for such a sweet little owl pattern. Just what I have been looking for!!! Sandy. :)

  16. Ciao, sono Giovanna, ho trovato il tuo blog per caso, e ti ringrazio per questo tutorial, questo gufetto é simpaticissimo!
    Mi scarico subito il modello, appena l' avrò realizzato lo posterò sul mio blog.

  17. Beautiful!You just gave me a brilliant birthday gift idea! Thank you!

  18. Thank You
    My granddaughter LOVES owls. Can't wait to make this for her.

  19. Just about to start this; can't wait as it looks awesome!

  20. I can't open the download :( It wont open for me for some reason and I loveeeee this little pattern!!!!!!!!!!!! I am bummed :(

  21. Hi there Amy, I sent you a message on your blog as well, but if you send me an email, I can try to send you the file as an attachment. It might be that your computer is having issues connecting to Google Docs. The file is a pdf, and seems to be working on my end. I hope we can sort you out, sorry you are so bummed :(

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  23. Thank you for this neat Tutorial !!! Made one yesterday ...My tape measure was too big to fit inside but love it as a cute ornament instead !!!!

  24. This is just perfect for a swap I'm in :)

  25. Hey Gabrielle, stopping by from Fine Craft Guild Time for a party. That owl is soo cute! Thanks for sharing and for the pattern!
    Greetings from Spain

  26. A gorgeous blog! My 12 year old daughter has always LOVED these mini tapes and collected them when she can. She couldnt believe I made the little owl for her! Its her absolute favourite. Thank you!

  27. What can I say?? You're very tallented! Really gifted person! Now I am happy to follow your ideas and stuff!
    A great hug from Brazil...
    Pat Canheti

  28. Very cute! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to make one for myself!

  29. Has anyone tried doing them. It seems hard to do?

  30. Absolutely adorable!!!! My sister wanted an owl pattern and she is just starting to sew. Is this a good pattern for a beginner? I am going to make one too and it does look pretty easy... :) Hope you make more tutorials for cute soft toys just like this li'l cutie!!!!!

    1. Hey there Anonymous :) Yes it is very easy for a beginner as it is a handsewing project. If she wants, she can just make it as a 1 dimensional patch to add to something as decoration, or lightly stuff it to make a cute ornament. Good luck!

  31. Hi there!

    This is just sooo cute, I will definately be making one. I hope you don't mind but I had an owl craft themes post on my blog and I added your picture and a link as one of my top five favourite owl crafts. Let me know if this is not OK and I will of course remove it straight away!
    Hugs from Marilyn


  32. Hi
    Absolutely adorable!!!
    I can't wait to make one for myself, but I need have one Measuring Tape, because I don't find here in Brazil.
    Please, send me one Measuring Tape such yours.

  33. Bello,bello,bello,bello!!!!!!!Lo cucirò sicuramente!Con simpatia..

  34. gracias muchas gracias, mañan,a mismo empesaré a hacerlo, es el más bonito que he visto, felecitaciones por tu blog. un abrazo.