Hello fellow sewists, I’m Naomi Stewart, a Shannon Fabrics Brand Ambassador. I love Mckay Manor Musers patterns — I met Shelia at a quilt show several years ago and I was impressed with all of her patterns, quilts, softees, slippers, etc.
Her daughters also design with her, and I became a pattern tester for her whale, turtle, squirrel, and elephant Softees patterns. Be sure to talk to designers at quilt shows — they love to hear what you are making from their patterns. While I have made many of McKay Manor Muser patterns, I particularly love the Jelly Bean (JB) pillow series.
I have made and taught the original Jelly Bean faces pattern (racoon, fox, panda), and the Mythical Beasts Jelly Bean pattern (unicorn, dragon, yeti). My students have loved creating these cute pillows — they all have the sweetest tails and heart pockets on the back of the pillows. I also made the husky bag (yes, a bag) from these cute faces!
Shannon Fabrics Cuddle® fabric makes the pillows especially soft and fluffy, and the extra plush (extra nap/extra fluff) Luxe Cuddle® fabric makes them extra cute! My first projects were the raccoon, fox, and panda using Cuddle® 3 fabric, and I then made the yeti using Luxe Cuddle® Llama.
Oh my, stinking cute!
This blog post is all about the Barnyard Buddies Jelly Bean pattern, more specifically the duckling and the sheep.
A Few Tips On Working With Cuddle® Minky Fabric
If you have used other minky fabrics you may have struggled a bit when sewing with them, so what sets Shannon Fabrics Cuddle® apart is the quality. Cuddle® minky fabric stretches less and typically only in one direction. I know some longarmers who will quilt using Cuddle®, but not with minky fabrics from other brands.
Check the Shannon Fabrics website for free tips and tricks (as well as tutorials) to help. And don’t be afraid of the higher nap, it sews up beautifully if you follow their tips. Also, the higher nap hides any sewing imperfections even more. Jump in and try it or attend a Shannon Fabrics class if you can.
A big thank you to the wonderful Shannon Fabrics partners — I was able to use the following additional supplies:
Sewing Notions & Tools Used
- SCHMETZ Size 90 Jersey or Stretch Needle
- Aurifil cotton or polyester thread
- Aurifil Cotton Floss (I didn’t know they made this)
- Heavy thread (I used a button or upholstery thread) for sewing Sheep’s tail
- Kai serrated scissors (I love serrated scissors for applique)
- Quilters Select Appli-Web
- Fairfield Poly-Fil®
- Olfa artist knife
- Clover flat flower head pins
Cuddle® Minky Fabrics Used
For my duckling fabric, I chose:
For my sheep fabric, I chose:
Tips For Barnyard Buddies Jelly Bean Faces Pillows
- When cutting straight lines on heavily napped (fluffy) Cuddle®, use a box knife (I know this sounds weird). Draw a line with a Sharpie on the back of the Cuddle®. Using a sharp box knife, cut through only the back of the fabric. If you don’t cut the longer hairs, they don’t fall out.
- Always toss cut pieces (not the pieces backed with fusible), in the dryer on low or fluff with a damp washcloth for 10 minutes. This should take away most of the “Cuddle® dust.” Note that Llama may take 20 minutes. Many of the Cuddle® fabrics are embossed, and heat will remove the lovely embossing (i.e., rose or hide pattern).
- Be mindful when turning pieces with small openings, such as the feather on the top of the duck. Pull/push the smaller feather through first, then the larger feather. If you try to push the entire piece you wind up with a hard mess! A chopstick works well to smooth out the edges and for stuffing.
- Don’t overstuff your parts! I’m talking about ears and tails here — it’s much, much easier to attach your ears when you can see the seam.
- Pin well when sewing to minimize slippage. Lengthen the stitch length to 2.8 and sew slowly!
- When attaching animal parts, especially stuffed ears, tails, etc., double check your sewing from all sides carefully. Believe me, it’s much easier to make corrections (un-sew) at this stage.
- Appliquéing with Cuddle®: Use a good double-sided fusible and a pressing cloth. I typically use a medium sized zigzag. When finished stitching, always check your stitches and make sure you caught all the edges. It’s much easier to re-stitch when the face is still in pieces. My stitch width for appliquéing is 3.7 and my stitch length is 1.0, but adjust to fit your machine and taste. On the sheep face, I used a buttonhole stitch that works well (stitch width 3.5, length 2.5.). For a video on applique, see here: How to Applique with Cuddle and Minky
- I make my heart by tracing the shape on the Cuddle® fabric. I back a cotton piece with interfacing and then sew completely around the heart (see below).
- Clip the cotton fabric and make a small slit in only the cotton fabric and turn (see below).
- Smooth the edges out and stitch the small opening closed. Then sew the heart on the back using a straight stitch about 1/8 inch from the edge (leaving an opening at the top). This method works well with hearts, circles and other shapes, when it’s important to maintain the shape (see picture below).
- Before stuffing anything, double and triple check all your seams, especially where you attach ears and tails. If you find a hole, usually you can just resew the area — remember Cuddle® is not only soft but forgiving.
- When making the sheep tail, use a heavy, color coordinated thread. There is nothing worse than when your thread breaks while gathering, so I find the heaviest thread in my sewing kit (color is a close match) and use it.
Wrapping It All Up
I strongly encourage you to make one of these pillows. Convince a friend to make one with you, or contact your local quilt store and maybe they can get a Shannon Fabrics Brand Ambassador to teach a class for you.
Your favorite child, grandchild, sister or friend would love one of these ‘stinking cute’ pillows. I know I can’t quit making them — I’m thinking I need to make the cow next, or maybe the werewolf! Until the next project, remember: creativity is messy and I am very messy!
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