Rowan: a bunny or mouse sewing pattern
This tutorial is for my Rowan sewing pattern. Rowan can be made as a bunny or a mouse. The descriptions for both are here. Click the image below to buy
To strengthen your keepsakes / soft toys, give them a smooth appearance and stop them stretching when they are stuffed I would recommend you always interface your fabric. To do this draw around each pattern piece onto the interfacing. Then roughly cut these out, and iron them onto the reverse side of the fabric. Then cut the pieces out neatly.
If you intend to make this pattern more than once glue your pattern pieces on to thin cardboard (like pizza or cereal box cardboard) to create templates.
Info before you start
All seam allowances are 5mm, unless stated otherwise.
There is a 5cm scale on the page with the back piece to check your pattern has printed out the correct size.
Always cut the excess fabric away from the seam allowances after sewing unless directed not to.
When you draw/cut out the legs draw/cut out 2 with the hole, one of which is reversed. Then draw/cut out 2 without the hole, one of which is reversed
All pattern pieces have a directional arrow on to use if you are making your Rowan out of fur fabric.
Mark J and K on the paw pieces, P and R and the eye dots on the forehead piece and the placement marks on the inner legs. Also mark the stuffing hole on the arms If you are making Rowan as a bunny mark X on the cheek piece (there is no need to do this if you are making Rowan Mouse). If you are making Rowan as a mouse mark the tail insert lines on the back piece (there is no need to do this if you are making Rowan Bunny)
Ensure you start and finish every line of stitches with a few reverse stitches to secure, unless directed to do otherwise.
Fabric: If you are using this pattern to make a fur or fabric Rowan you will need 1/2m of fabric.
Or, if you are using this pattern to make a baby clothes keepsake you will need 8-10 baby grows or an equivalent amount of clothing, for an adult clothes keepsake 1 medium short sleeve t-shirt or an equivalent amount of clothing.
Interfacing: 1/2m woven cotton iron on interfacing I use THIS ONE from the Empty Bobbin
Eyes: 12mm or 15mm craft eyes
Wool felt: 2 square inches to make the nose
Embroidery floss: If you are making Rowan Bunny 16” to sew the smile
Or If you are making Rowan Mouse 26” to sew the whiskers
Fleece: for Rowan mouse only – 18″ x 4″ to line the ears
Tracing paper or baking paper: for Rowan Bunny only – 3 square inches to make the smile template
Toy stuffing: 500g or 1lb (approx)
A stuffing tool: a plastic chopstick, or something similar that is long with a blunt end, to insert the stuffing
Plus: pins, cotton thread that matches your fabric, hand sewing needles, scissors, plus pinking shears if you have them
Sewing the body
1 Sew the 2 tummy pieces together, right sides together from A to B do not cut away the excess fabric at point B
2 Stitch a row of guide stitches from E to F 5mm away from the raw edge on each of the two back pieces (this is not sewing the 2 pieces together).
3 Stitch the two back pieces together but only from C to D as shown by the dotted line. Do not cut away the excess fabric from point D
4 Stitch the tummy and back pieces together at the side seams. To get a neat base nest the seams of D and B. Only stitch the lines shown by the dotted line on the pattern, do not try to stitch around the semi-circular indentations. This has now created the body. The oval holes that you have created are where you will attach the legs
5 Turn your Rowan’s body so the fabric is right side out
Sewing the Legs
1 Lay the first inner leg piece onto the leg hole of the body with the fabric right side to right side. The leg will be the correct way round if the foot is by the tummy and the toes are pointing upwards towards the neck. Line the placement marks on the inner leg hole up with the seams on the body. Pin around the hole and sew. Clip the curves. Repeat for the other leg
2 Push each of the legs through their own holes from the right side of the body through to the wrong side.
3 Lay your first outer leg piece onto an inner leg piece with the fabric right side to right side. Sew from G to H as shown by the dotted line. Then do the second leg. Cut the excess fabric away from the seam by points G and H
1 Attach the paws to the legs one at a time. Attach them with the right sides of the fabric together
Start by holding the paw so it is facing you and pin center point J of the paw to the end of the seam G of the leg. Then pin center point K of the paw to the end of the seam H of the leg
Make sure the leg fabric edge is exactly lined up with the paw fabric edge. Working out from those 2 pins gradually pin the paw to the leg fabric pinning from the paw through to the leg all the way round at approx. 1cm intervals
Continue pinning all the way round. If you have any leftover fabric remove a few pins and gently shape it to fit
Then turn the leg / paw over and pin in between all your first set of pins, pinning from the leg fabric through to the paw fabric
You will now have a lot of pins!
Put the leg /paw fabric paw side down on your machine. Then sew round slowly and carefully, staying an even 5mm from the edge all the way around
Take out all the pins and clip the curves, or use your pinking shears, all the way round the paw. Be careful not to snip through your stitching line
1 Pin the arms together in pairs of one inner and one outer arm
2 Sew all the way round from L to M except for the stuffing gap. Cut the excess fabric away from the ends of the seam allowance by L and M and clip the curves. Do not stuff the arms yet, you will do this at the end
3 Turn the arms through the right way
4 Tack the arms onto the body so the inner arm fabric sits against the right side of the back piece, the edge of the arm at M needs to sit against the side seam. Make sure the arms are curving forwards ie towards the tummy’s central seam
Sew the ears (Rowan Bunny only)
1 Pin the ears together in pairs of one inner and one outer with the right sides of the fabric together
2 Sew from S to T as shown by the dotted line, cut the excess fabric away from the end of the seam allowance at S and T and clip the curves all around the bottom
3 Turn the ear right side out, run your stuffing tool around the inside of the ear to make sure it is all turned through and neat
4 Top stitch all the way round from S to T
5 Fold the ear in half so S touches T and the inner ear is on the inside of the fold. Handstitch the ear closed with small stitches (these will be hidden from sight when you sew the head together)
Sew the ears (Rowan Mouse only)
1 Place the ears together in pairs of one inner and one outer with the right sides of the fabric together
2 Put a fleece insert on top of each pair so that the curve of the ear and the curve of the fleece are lined up
3 Pin the three layers of each ear together so the pins go through both layers of ear fabric and the fleece fabric
4 Sew from S to T as shown by the dotted line. Cut away the excess fabric all the way around the ear
5 Turn the ear right side out, run your stuffing tool around the inside of the ear to make sure it is neatly turned through
6 Fold the inner and outer ear fabric in along the edge of the fleece and ladder stitch closed. If you are new to ladder stitch click here for an explanation with pictures
7 With a doubled up piece of thread, sew a running stitch along the inner ear fabric close to the straight edge – leave a tail of thread either end
8 Pull the thread so the ear gathers up, with the inner ear fabric inside. When you have pulled the thread as much as you can so the ear sides at S and T are touching each other tie the thread and cut away the excess
Sewing the head
1 Sew the 2 cheek pieces together from point N to point O
1.5 ONLY if you are making Rowan bunny – tack the ears into place on top of the cheek pieces. The top of the ear sits along the top of the cheek fabric, right side to right side, so points S and T sit against X (ie the ear opening faces towards N)
2 From here is for both patterns again: pin the forehead into place on one of the cheeks so the centre point of the forehead P lines up with the cheek centre seam on the join at point N, and the pointed end of the forehead by point Q is lined up with point R of the cheek. Sew from P to Q but stop 5 mm away from the end of the fabric
3 Remove all the pins except for the one at point P and then pin the second side of the forehead onto the second cheek so that Q lines up with R. Then sew from P to Q, stop sewing when this second line of stitches meets up with your first line at point Q
* I have recommended to sew the forehead to the cheeks as 2 separate lines because if you try to sew this all in one go the fabric will catch or become misshapen
4 Snip the excess fabric from the seam allowance by point Q.
5 Sew the back of the head closed from R to S
6 Turn your Rowan’s head through so the right side is facing out
7 Insert the eyes
Attaching the head to the body
Keep your Rowan’s body right side of fabric facing in. And keep your Rowan’s head with the right side of fabric facing out. Tuck your Rowan’s head inside the body so that the fabrics are right sides together. Line up the neck seam of the body with the neck seam of the head. Line up the central seam of the cheeks at O with the central seam of the tummy at A and pin. Line up the back of head pieces at T with the back of body pieces at F and pin. Then pin securely all the way round. Stitch all the way along the neck seam from T/F one side to T/F the other side
Rowan’s Mouse tail
1 Cut a rectangle of fabric 12” x 3”. Draw a line 1 inch from one end and fold the raw edge of the fabric to this line. Press with your iron to hold.
2 Draw a line along the center of the fabric, fold the raw edges of the fabric into this line, press along the folds, then fold in half again so the raw edges are inside. Press and pin to hold and top stitch all the way along the open edge 5mm from the edge
3 Pin this tail in position on one back piece between the tail insert lines so the fabrics are right side to right side and the raw edge of the tail juts out a little from the edge of the body (this is to make it more secure).
Closing up the body and head
1 Pin and sew the back of head closed from S to T
2 Sew the back closed from C to E. If you are making the mouse the tail will be sewn into the back seam. You will be left with an 8cm gap, from E to F – this is your stuffing hole
1 Turn your Rowan through the stuffing hole, so that he or she is the right way out. Stuff the legs first, then the head, then the body. Stuff with little bits of stuffing approximately an inch across and push them in firmly using your stuffing tool.
When you stuff the body sit your Rowan on a table and stuff downwards so that he or she sits up straight
2 Once you have finished stuffing, stitch the turning hole closed with a ladder stitch. As above for an explanation of ladder stitch click here. If you want a really firm Rowan, don’t ladder stitch it closed immediately, wait 24 hours then add more stuffing before ladder stitching closed.
3 Stuff your Rowan’s arms. Don’t stuff these too firmly as it will cause them to stitck out, just stuff them firmly enough to look nice. Check they are both stuffed an even amount and then ladder stitch closed.
Completing your Rowan Mouse
1 To create the nose and whiskers. First cut out your felt nose and pin into position so the point at the bottom of the heart is just below the seam join at N/P. Do not stitch the nose on yet.
2 Plan the whiskers using pins. When you are happy with the pins position – with your embroidery thread, backstitch from the center of where your Rowan’s nose will sit leaving a tail of around 2 inches so you can tie off at the end. Stitch with back stitch along each whisker. Take the thread to each whisker in turn and stitch the length of it. When complete take the needle and embroidery thread to the point where you originally started, and tie to secure. Snip off the excess embroidery thread. Whip stitch all the way round the nose in a matching thread to secure it onto your Rowan.
3 Pin your ears into position, check they are even. Push your fingers into the center of each ear to spread the ear out and increase the amount that lays against the side of the head. Pin into position and ladder stitch all around the edge of where the ear touches the head to secure
Your Rowan Mouse is now complete! I hope this photo tutorial to sew Rowan was helpful and your mouse is gorgeous. If you need help or would like to show your completed Rowan come and join my Facebook group HERE
1 Hand sew a running stitch all the way round the outside of your bunny tail piece as shown by the dotted line. Start and end the thread on the right side of the fabric.
2 Put a ball of stuffing into the center of the tail, and pull up the running stitch until it is as tight as you can make it – you may need to add or remove stuffing to make it plump
3 Pin the tail on your bunny and ladder stitch round the outside twice to secure it
Or Completing your Rowan Bunny
1 To create the nose and mouth. Cut out your felt nose and pin into position so the point at the bottom of the heart is just below the seam join at N/P. Do not stitch the nose on yet.
2 Trace the mouth onto your tracing paper. Pin into position on your bunny below the point of the nose, check the height looks right and adjust if necessary.
3 Push pins through the mouth line on the tracing paper into your bunny at approximately 3mm intervals.
4 Lift the paper away from your bunny’s face a little and where each pin enters the fabric push a pin directly into the bunny’s face at exactly the point where the first pin entered the face and take out the first pin. Repeat one at a time so your bunny’s mouth is marked out by pins and the paper is removed. Check your pins are in a nice neat even pair of curves, adjust a bit if necessary.
5 With your embroidery thread, backstitch from the center of where the bunny’s nose will sit leaving a tail of around 2 inches so you can tie off at the end. Stitch with back stitch down the central seam line to the midpoint of the mouth of the smile. Backstitch from one end of the mouth to the other. When complete take the needle and embroidery thread back to the point where you originally started, and tie to secure. Snip off the excess embroidery thread.
6 Whip stitch all the way round the nose in a matching thread to secure it onto your bunny.
Your Rowan is now complete! I hope this photo tutorial to sew Rowan was helpful and your Bunny is gorgeous. If you need help or would like to show your completed Rowan Bunny come and join my Facebook group HERE
Copyright terms & conditions
It is not permissible to make a copy of this sewing pattern except for your own use. It is not permissible to share this pattern either in person, by post or by email. It is not permissible to sell this sewing pattern or a copy of it on to another person.
It is permissible to sell an item that you have made from this pattern in small quantities – for example as keepsakes or soft toys to sell through your in-person or online shop or at craft fairs. Please include the information that your keepsakes / soft toys are made with a pattern from Rachel Leggett at messystork.com in online descriptions and on Instagram please tag me at @rachel.at.messystork . It is permissible to add or remove a limited number of features to this pattern eg altering the ears / changing the tail etc, please then state in the description that your item is made with a pattern from messystork.com with added / altered etc. If you have any queries regarding this please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org