Quick Gift Idea – Handmade Outfits for Store Bought Stuffed Animal


Chelsea’s friend from ballet is having a birthday party tomorrow. We were shopping for a gift this afternoon, and we were having trouble deciding what to get her. From what I’ve noticed, she and Chelsea have very similar taste in toys, and I was afraid we were going to get her something she already had.

We went to Hobby Lobby to find a fun craft set, but we never found anything we really liked. I was beginning to get discouraged, but then we passed by the Valentine’s stuffed animals on display at the front of the store. Sitting there was the cutest little stuffed dog, and I immediately thought we would buy her and make a little doggy purse. I was getting pretty excited, but then I vaguely remembered Chelsea’s friend might have just gotten one in the last week, and I didn’t want to give her a duplicate gift.

I’m not sure when it hit me, but I was very excited when the idea came to me to make the dog a tutu. Delighted with the idea of turning her into a ballerina poodle, we bought her. Somewhere in the twenty minutes it took to get home, I started daydreaming about a doggy dress up set. Chelsea loves to stuff her animals in doll clothes.

All four outfits took about an hour and half, and that includes digging through my fabric stash and setting everything up. If you’re interested, I explained how I made each piece below. I’m very sorry if the directions are confusing. I rarely use patterns for this sort of thing–I just sort of ‘sew as I go’–but it should give you an idea where to start. If you have questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments and I will do my best to help you along.

Note: I serged all my seams and edges. The projects might take longer if you finish them differently.


1. Ballet Tutu: Measure around the stuffed animal’s middle. Add half an inch to the measurement, and then cut a piece of 2″ wide stretchy knit fabric to that length. Cut two 3″ strips of tulle to about a yard in length(or enough to gather tightly on the waistband), and then gather them. Sew each gathered tulle strip to the long edges of the knit fabric with long zigzag stitches. Sew the band into a circle and then fold in half, hiding the raw edges in the middle. Zigzag the waistband.

2. Summer Dress: Measure the stuffed animal’s middle. Multiply that number by 3, and cut a 3″ wide strip of satin to that length; fold in half lengthwise. Cut a 3″ wide strip of dress fabric to the same length. Set the dress fabric on your work surface, right side up. Sew the satin to the top long edge of the dress fabric (you will be sewing through two layers of satin and one layer of dress fabric). Finger press the seam open. Once stitched, the satin piece becomes the waistband. Cut a piece of elastic to fit the animal’s middle, and insert it into the satin waistband. Gather the fabric over the elastic, and pin the elastic in place on both ends. Match both sides of the dress and stitch together, making sure to catch both ends of the elastic as you sew.

3. Princess Gown: Cut a piece of elastic to fit the stuffed animal’s middle. Cut a 6″ wide piece of material long enough to gather nicely on the elastic. For the poodle, I used about a yard of very lightweight fabric. Finish each long edge (I serged it). Fold in half, and sew about 3/4″ away from the folded edge (or however wide you need to make the casing for your elastic). Insert the elastic into the casing and gather the fabric. Pin the elastic in place on both ends. Match both sides of the dress and stitch together, making sure to catch both ends of the elastic as you sew.

4. Capelet: Cut a rectangular piece of fabric to fit over the back of your stuffed animal. Cut a U shape neck opening in the middle of one of the long sides (large enough so the fabric drapes over and around the animal nicely). With scissors, round the edges of the capelet. Finish the edges and add a ribbon to both top front edges of the capelet. 

Oh my, I’m afraid I didn’t make much sense. Just look at the pictures. If you’ve sewn much at all, I think you’ll see what I did. If you’re new to sewing, this is still a great little project. Even if you completely botch it up, you’ll have wasted the tiniest amount of fabric!

Just think of all the fun things you could make! Leashes, collars, vests, jackets, raincoats, holiday outfits, career-themed outfits, fairy tale characters, and so much more! I’m definitely going to be making more clothing and accessories for Chelsea’s animals.


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